Welland River

William Morris

Fair Ellayne she walk'd by Welland river,
  Across the lily lee:
O, gentle Sir Robert, ye are not kind
  To stay so long at sea.

Over the marshland none can see
  Your scarlet pennon fair;
O, leave the Easterlings alone,
  Because of my golden hair.

The day when over Stamford bridge
  That dear pennon I see
Go up toward the goodly street,
  'Twill be a fair day for me.

O, let the bonny pennon bide
  At Stamford, the good town,
And let the Easterlings go free,
  And their ships go up and down.

For every day that passes by
  I wax both pale and green,
From gold to gold of my girdle
  There is an inch between.

I sew'd it up with scarlet silk
  Last night upon my knee,
And my heart grew sad and sore to think
  Thy face I'd never see.

I sew'd it up with scarlet silk,
  As I lay upon my bed:
Sorrow! the man I'll never see
  That had my maidenhead.

But as Ellayne sat on her window-seat
  And comb'd her yellow hair,
She saw come over Stamford bridge
  The scarlet pennon fair.

As Ellayne lay and sicken'd sore,
  The gold shoes on her feet,
She saw Sir Robert and his men
  Ride up the Stamford street.

He had a coat of fine red gold,
  And a bascinet of steel;
Take note his goodly Collayne sword
  Smote the spur upon his heel.

And by his side, on a grey jennet,
  There rode a fair lady,
For every ruby Ellayne wore,
  I count she carried three.

Say, was not Ellayne's gold hair fine,
  That fell to her middle free?
But that lady's hair down in the street,
  Fell lower than her knee.

Fair Ellayne's face, from sorrow and grief,
  Was waxen pale and green:
That lady's face was goodly red,
  She had but little tene.

But as he pass'd by her window
  He grew a little wroth:
O, why does yon pale face look at me
  From out the golden cloth?

It is some burd, the fair dame said,
  That aye rode him beside,
Has come to see your bonny face
  This merry summer-tide.

But Ellayne let a lily-flower
  Light on his cap of steel:
O, I have gotten two hounds, fair knight,
  The one has served me well;

But the other, just an hour agone,
  Has come from over sea,
And all his fell is sleek and fine,
  But little he knows of me.

Now, which shall I let go, fair knight,
  And which shall bide with me?
O, lady, have no doubt to keep
  The one that best loveth thee.

O, Robert, see how sick I am!
  Ye do not so by me.
Lie still, fair love, have ye gotten harm
  While I was on the sea?

Of one gift, Robert, that ye gave,
  I sicken to the death,
I pray you nurse-tend me, my knight,
  Whiles that I have my breath.

Six fathoms from the Stamford bridge
  He left that dame to stand,
And whiles she wept, and whiles she cursed
  That she ever had taken land.

He has kiss'd sweet Ellayne on the mouth,
  And fair she fell asleep,
And long and long days after that
  Sir Robert's house she did keep.