Madison Julius Cawein Poems >>
Orlando Mad


  In mail of black my limbs I girt,
  And when the bugles clanged the charge,
  The rolling battle's bristling marge
  Beheld me a black storm of war
   Dash on the foe;
  While Durindana glitt'ring far
  Made many a foeman mouth the dirt
   In bleeding woe:--
  For thou didst fire me to the war
  'Mid many a Paynim scimetar,


  No more the battle fires my blood,
  No more gay lists flaunt all their guiles,
  And chivalry's charge, and beauty's smiles!
  I wander lone the thistly wold
   When night-snows fall,
  And crispy frosts the wild grass hold.
  Great knights go glimmering thro' the wood,
   The clarion's call
  Wakes War upon his desert wold--
  I see the dawning breaking cold,


  When Southern winds sowed all the skies,
  With bloom-storms of the flowering May;
  When all the battle-field was gay
  With scented garb of sainted flowers,
   I found a stream
  Cold as thy heart to paramours!
  Deep as the depth of thy blue eyes!
   And like a dream
  I found a grotto 'mid the flowers,
  Cool 'mid the sunlight-sprinkled bowers,


  My casque I dofft to scoop the fount,
  With beaded pureness bubbling cool--
  It clashed into the purling pool;--
  Thy name lay chiseled in the rock,
   And underneath--
  And then meseemed deep night did block
  My steel-chained heart in one huge mount
   Foreshadowing death!--
  _Medoro_ deep in every rock!
  The Moorish name my soul did mock,


  No more wild war my veins ensteeps,
  No more gay lists flaunt all their guiles!--
  White wastes before me miles on miles
  With one low, ruby sunset bound--
   Thou fleest before,
  I follow on: a far off sound
  Of oceans gnawing at dark steeps
   Swells to a roar.--
  'Mid foam thou smil'st: I spurn the ground--
  I sink, I swim, waves hiss around--
  Oh, could I sink 'neath the profound,
   And think of thee no more!