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Two songs.

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By TRISTRAM FANE SAUNDERS.

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Llewellyn.
Welsh elegy (selected verses)

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When Llewellyn bled, the cherry grew red,
the elder-tree berry grew sweet.

When he slept, the velvet leveret
nestled by Llewellyn’s feet.

When Llewellyn wept, tempests swept
the welded, eel-grey sky.

The slyest elves resembled themselves
when held by Llewellyn’s eye.

Llewellyn’s green cheeks swelled the dry leeks
when he fell, feebly fevered.

When Llewellyn fell, the steeple bells
were empty. Hell cheered.

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Wych Brook.
Old Scots, from Lost Folk Songs of Troon, Vol. O

My smooth brook knows
no storm-blown sky,
no flood to drown,
nor drooth to dry,

no owl to hoot,
nor flock to throng.
On old Wych Brook
look not too long.

No goby swoops,
try not thy hook;
worms only rot
on old Wych Brook.

From Wych Brook’s slop
grow rocks of gold.
My worldly goods,
soon took, soon sold.

Row north, my son,
by soft moonglow,
to cold Wych Brook,
by frost, by snow.

Go soon, my son,
by strong wood prow.
Don’t stop, nor stoop
to mop my brow.

To go’s to know
Wych Brook’s own cost:
blood, my son,
my fool, my loss.


Tristram Fane Saunders lives in London and works as a journalist. His poems appear in New Poetries VIII (Carcanet, 2021).

 

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