St. Agnes' Convent

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St. Agnes' Convent

by: William Morris (Author)
from: The Collected Works of William Morris (Pp. 68 - 69)  1910-15

St. Agnes' convent by the merry sea
That dashes on the shore of Brittany,
The tower that held our great bell, slim and red,
The deep-sunk fearful moat that the sea fed
Twice in a day; the fair churchyard and good
And therein over all the blessed rood,
Mary and John and soldiers with gilt spears
Stone-grey and moveless through these many years;
The hanging yellow flowers in the Church;
The watching from the walls the perilous lurch
Of the o'erladen dromond as it turned
To enter the glad harbour where there burned
Those three coal fires every windy day;
The strong west wind that drove the summer hay,
Driving my hair too all about my face;
That writing-room, each slim nun at her place
Specking the vellum with the red and black;
Our fireside converse wherein was no lack
Of talk about the world, of such a knight
And how he sped, who was held most bright
Of the court ladies, Arthur's wars and deeds--
Yea I remember setting sunflower seeds
When willow trees were red, I watched them too
When these were grey and waning; just a few
Great bees about me humming all their best
And in that good time every thing had rest--
     Gone, gone, Iseult! the happy days of old
Are vanished as a little tale is told:
The gay uprising, the glad lying down
Are gone for ever. To a painful frown
My brows draw when I sleep, for though I fall
Yards, fathoms down in dull dreams, not at all
Do I the less know what I am and what
I want and shall not get; my hands are hot
And moist this wretched day, though the cold wind--
Cold rain--cold air loves well enough to wind
And curl my body like a withered leaf--
This is enough. Moreover, like a thief
Comes creeping through a dark house in the night,
My woe comes on me when I think I might
Be merely wretched with the wind and rain,
Bur not for any moment will my pain
Grow softer even. Ay turn the mirror, let
Me see Nantes City with its streets afret