Vintage verse – The Enchanted Knight by Edwin Muir

The Enchanted Knight

Lulled by La Belle Dame Sans Merci he lies
. . . .In the bare wood below the blackening hill.
The plough drives nearer now, the shadow flies
. . . .Past him across the plain, but he lies still.

Long since the rust its gardens here has planned,
. . . .Flowering his armour like an autumn field.
From his sharp breast-plate to his iron hand
. . . .A spider’s web is stretched, a phantom shield.

When footsteps pound the turf beside his ear
. . . .Armies pass through his dream in endless line,
And one by one his ancient friends appear;
. . . .They pass all day, but he can make no sign.

When a bird cries within the silent grove
. . . .The long-lost voice goes by, he makes to rise
And follow, but his cold limbs never move,
. . . .And on the turf unstirred his shadow lies.

But if a withered leaf should drift
. . . .Across his face and rest, the dread drops start
Chill on his forehead. Now he tries to lift
. . . .The insulting weight that stays and breaks his heart.

by Edwin Muir (1887-1959)

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