Eadric of Mansfield
fallen in Crown Tourney, September, A.S. XXV*
The lady loosed her milk-white dove
To scour the plains of woe,
And watched it scale the silver clouds
And dither to and fro
In search of news of her true love
Somewhere ensconced below.
To lift the corners of the shrouds
If need be - she must know.
She watched the light of day grow dim
And ember into night.
And still she waited on the bird
Whom she had given flight.
Her cheek against the window rim
Grew cold from stone, and fright,
Yet stay she must to hear the word
To make her heart delight.
"He's tarried with his Abbey friends
To lift a cup in cheer.
Or mayhad he has stopped awhile
To stay another's fear.
My lord is like to give amends
When once he does appear,"
The lady told herself to while
The time that cost so dear.
The dark took on a rosy glow
That kindled into dawn,
And found the lady at her post
Now wearisome and wan.
She spied a speck and watched it grow
As to the window drawn
The dove returned with what she most
Desired to dote upon.
"What news! What news! My messenger?
What word do you bring me?
What keeps my Eadric from my heart,
Now duty's set him free?"
With flutt'ring wings the harbinger
Of sorrow made to flee,
But her cool hand was quick to dart
And catch what she must see.
Her fingers closed upon the prize
The bird loosed as he fled,
And raised it to the light of day
To see it streaked with red.
And stark the truth banished all the lies:
A lock from Eadric's head,
Once-tender heart now turned to clay.
Toline's true love lay dead.
-- Lady Philippa Llewelyn Schuyler
*I wasn't the editor, Thoron was, 1990 (before he conned me into doing it) ;->