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The Demon of the Gibbet
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- There was no west, there was no east,
- No star abroad for eyes to see;
- And Norman spurred his jaded beast
- Hard by the terrible gallows-tree.
- "O, Norman, haste across this waste,—
- For something seems to follow me!"
- "Cheer up, dear Maud, for, thanked be God,
- We nigh have passed the gallows tree!"
- He kissed her lip: then—spur and whip!
- And fast they fled across the lea.
- But vain the heel, the rowel steel,—
- For something leaped from the gallows-tree!
- "Give me your cloak, your knightly cloak,
- That wrapped you oft beyond the sea!
- The wind is bold, my bones are old,
- And I am cold on the gallows-tree!"
- "O holy God! O dearest Maud,
- Quick, quick, some prayers—the best that be!
- A bony hand my neck has spanned,
- And tears my knightly cloak from me!"
- "Give me your wine,—the red, red wine,
- That in a flask hangs by your knee!
- Ten summers burst on me accurst,
- And I am athirst on the gallows-tree!"
- "O Maud, my life, my loving wife!
- Have you no prayer to set us free?
- My belt unclasps,—a demon grasps,
- And drags my wine-flask from my knee!"
- "Give me your bride, your bonnie bride,
- That left her nest with you to flee!
- O she hath flown to be my own,
- For I'm alone on the gallows-tree!"
- "Cling closer, Maud, and trust in God!
- Cling close!—Ah, heaven, she slips from me!"
- A prayer, a groan, and he alone
- Rode on that night from the gallows-tree.