The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo

  • The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo

  • (Maidens’ song from St. Winefred’s Well)
  • The Leaden Echo
  • How to keep–is there ány any, is there none such, nowhere
  • known some, bow or brooch or braid or brace, láce, latch
  • or catch or key to keep
  • Back beauty, keep it, beauty, beauty, beauty, . . . from vanishing
  • away?
  • Ó is there no frowning of these wrinkles, rankèd wrinkles deep,
  • Dówn? no waving off of these most mournful messengers, still
  • messengers, sad and stealing messengers of grey?
  • No there’s none, there’s none, O no there’s none,
  • Nor can you long be, what you now are, called fair,
  • Do what you may do, what, do what you may,
  • And wisdom is early to despair:
  • Be beginning; since, no, nothing can be done
  • To keep at bay
  • Age and age’s evils, hoar hair,
  • Ruck and wrinkle, drooping, dying, death’s worst, winding
  • sheets, tombs and worms and tumbling to decay;
  • So be beginning, be beginning to despair.
  • O there’s none; no no no there’s none:
  • Be beginning to despair, to despair,
  • Despair, despair, despair, despair.
  • The Golden Echo
  • Spare!
  • There is one, yes I have one (Hush there!);
  • Only not within seeing of the sun,
  • Not within the singeing of the strong sun,
  • Tall sun’s tingeing, or treacherous the tainting of the earth’s air.
  • Somewhere elsewhere there is ah well where! one,
  • Óne. Yes I can tell such a key, I do know such a place,
  • Where whatever’s prized and passes of us, everything that’s
  • fresh and fast flying of us, seems to us sweet of us and
  • swiftly away with, done away with, undone,
  • Undone, done with, soon done with, and yet dearly and
  • dangerously sweet
  • Of us, the wimpled-water-dimpled, not-by-morning-matchèd face,
  • The flower of beauty, fleece of beauty, too too apt to, ah! to fleet,
  • Never fleets more, fastened with the tenderest truth
  • To its own best being and its loveliness of youth: it is an ever-
  • lastingness of, O it is an all youth!
  • Come then, your ways and airs and looks, locks, maiden gear,
  • gallantry and gaiety and grace,
  • Winning ways, airs innocent, maiden manners, sweet looks,
  • loose locks, long locks, lovelocks, gaygear, going gallant,
  • girlgrace–
  • Resign them, sign them, seal them, send them, motion them
  • with breath,
  • And with sighs soaring, soaring síghs deliver
  • Them; beauty-in-the-ghost, deliver it, early now, long before
  • death
  • Give beauty back, beauty, beauty, beauty, back to God, beauty’s
  • self and beauty’s giver.
  • See; not a hair is, not an eyelash, not the least lash lost; every hair
  • Is, hair of the head, numbered.
  • Nay, what we had lighthanded left in surly the mere mould
  • Will have waked and have waxed and have walked with the wind
  • what while we slept,
  • This side, that side hurling a heavyheaded hundredfold
  • What while we, while we slumbered.
  • O then, weary then whý should we tread? O why are we so
  • haggard at the heart, so care-coiled, care-killed, so fagged,
  • so fashed, so cogged, so cumbered,
  • When the thing we freely fórfeit is kept with fonder a care,
  • Fonder a care kept than we could have kept it, kept
  • Far with fonder a care (and we, we should have lost it) finer, fonder
  • A care kept. Where kept? Do but tell us where kept, where.–
  • Yonder.–What high as that! We follow, now we follow.–
  • Yonder, yes yonder, yonder,
  • Yonder.
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