The Black Ships


Deep is the Shadow at sunís door,
Grim now the storm-flags streaming.
Fell is the cry in the windís roar,
Laden to taint Menís dreaming.
Dim are the scattered hope-shards,
Vain is the brave manís dying,
Doom-ships of dread on the east-guard,
Midnight the death-sails flying.

Where is the lord and the liegeman?
Where is the war-horse springing?
Where is the oath of the kinsman?
Where is the bright blade singing?
They are ridden to night and to sorrow,
Bidden to doom and ending.
Dark is the day and the morrow,
Dark is the world past mending.

Lift up the spear with joy-song!
Lift up the bold heart failing!
Winged is the Crown of the Star-dawn,
Borne by the black ships sailing!
From sunset the day is returning,
The tide of a Sea-change flowing;
Wrathful the Stars are burning,
Northward the West Wind blowing!


C. Baillie / '03