La Morte de la Belle Dame

The bells are ringing in the dale

Slowly, sadly ringing

Echoing every heart’s pain.

The forests resound with silence

Cold, deathly silence

All creatures sighing quietly.

The heavens burst forth with rain

Warm, mournful rain

To drown the grieving world.

And I, I cry from the heart

My broken, listless heart

For the one who has gone away.

The lady has died

Our lovely, lonely lady

Who dwelt in her tower of glass.

She had many wonders in her tower

Her shimmering, impregnable tower

To pass her idle hours.

She held the love of all her subjects, but no single man

No special, loving man

To rule her passionate heart.

The lady would sit and watch the sea

The cool, inviting sea

For many a day and night.

She was courted by foul Despair

Cruel, devouring Despair

Who played the knave with her.

He enticed her to seek the sea

The cool, friendly sea

To relieve her earthly woes.

The lady leapt to embrace the sea

The cool, breathless sea

And gave her heart to Death.

She has taken our light away

The bright, refreshing light

And left us all alone.

She now lies in the earth

The dark, motherly earth

Peacefully at rest, dreaming.

I wrote this on November 26, 1985 for Carolyn Young, a TTU chemistry major who took her own life on November 20, 1985 the way that only a chemistry major knew how. I never knew her, but her sad death touched my heart.

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