The Defence of Guenevere, by William Morris

Praise of My Lady

My lady seems of ivory

Forehead, straight nose, and cheeks that be

Hollow’d a little mournfully.

Beata mea Domina!

Her forehead, overshadow’d much

By bows of hair, has a wave such

As God was good to make for me.

Beata mea Domina!

Not greatly long my lady’s hair,

Nor yet with yellow colour fair,

But thick and crispèd wonderfully:

Beata mea Domina!

Heavy to make the pale face sad,

And dark, but dead as though it had

Been forged by God most wonderfully

Beata mea Domina!

Of some strange metal, thread by thread,

To stand out from my lady’s head,

Not moving much to tangle me.

Beata mea Domina!

Beneath her brows the lids fall slow.

The lashes a clear shadow throw

Where I would wish my lips to be.

Beata mea Domina!

Her great eyes, standing far apart,

Draw up some memory from her heart,

And gaze out very mournfully;

Beata mea Domina!

So beautiful and kind they are,

But most times looking out afar,

Waiting for something, not for me.

Beata mea Domina!

I wonder if the lashes long

Are those that do her bright eyes wrong,

For always half tears seem to be

Beata mea Domina!

Lurking below the underlid,

Darkening the place where they lie hid:

If they should rise and flow for me!

Beata mea Domina!

Her full lips being made to kiss,

Curl’d up and pensive each one is;

This makes me faint to stand and see.

Beata mea Domina!

Her lips are not contented now,

Because the hours pass so slow

Towards a sweet time: (pray for me),

Beata mea Domina!

Nay, hold thy peace! for who can tell?

But this at least I know full well,

Her lips are parted longingly,

Beata mea Domina!

So passionate and swift to move,

To pluck at any flying love,

That I grow faint to stand and see.

Beata mea Domina!

Yea! there beneath them is her chin,

So fine and round, it were a sin

To feel no weaker when I see

Beata mea Domina!

God’s dealings; for with so much care

And troublous, faint lines wrought in there,

He finishes her face for me.

Beata mea Domina!

Of her long neck what shall I say?

What things about her body’s sway,

Like a knight’s pennon or slim tree

Beata mea Domina!

Set gently waving in the wind;

Or her long hands that I may find

On some day sweet to move o’er me?

Beata mea Domina!

God pity me though, if I miss’d

The telling, how along her wrist

The veins creep, dying languidly

Beata mea Domina!

Inside her tender palm and thin.

Now give me pardon, dear, wherein

My voice is weak and vexes thee.

Beata mea Domina!

All men that see her any time,

I charge you straightly in this rhyme,

What, and wherever you may be,

Beata mea Domina!

To kneel before her; as for me,

I choke and grow quite faint to see

My lady moving graciously.

Beata mea Domina!

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:58