Song (“A Cypress Bough…”)

A cypress-bough, and a rose-wreath sweet,
A wedding-robe, and a winding-sheet,
      A bridal bed and a bier.
   Thine be the kisses, maid,
      And smiling Love’s alarms;
   And thou, pale youth, be laid
      In the grave’s cold arms.
      Each in his own charms,
         Death and Hymen both are here;
            So up with scythe and torch,
            And to the old church porch,
         While all the bells ring clear:
      And rosy, rosy the bed shall bloom,
      And earthy, earthy heap up the tomb.

Now tremble dimples on your cheek,
Sweet be your lips to taste and speak,
      For he who kisses is near:
   By her the bridegod fair,
      In youthful power and force;
   By him the grizard bare,
      Pale knight on a pale horse,
      To woo him to a corpse.
         Death and Hymen both are here;
            So up with scythe and torch,
            And to the old church porch,
         While all the bells ring clear:
   And rosy, rosy the bed shall bloom,
   And earthy, earthy heap up the tomb.

[Kelsall, 1851]