by Thomas Chatterton (1753 - 1770)

O! sing unto my roundelay
Language: English 
O! sing unto my roundelay,
   O! drop the briny tear with me;
 Dance no more [at holy-day]1,
   Like a running river be:
         My love is dead,
       Gone to his death-bed,
     All under the willow-tree.

Black his cryne as the winter night,
   White his rode as the summer snow,
 Red his face as the morning light,
   Cold he lies in the grave below:
         My love is dead,
       Gone to his death-bed,
     All under the willow-tree.

Sweet his tongue as the throstle's note,
   Quick in dance as thought can be,
 Deft his tabour, cudgel stout;
   O! he lies by the willow-tree:
         My love is dead,
       Gone to his death-bed,
     All under the willow-tree.

Hark! the raven flaps his wing,
   In the briared dell below;
 Hark! the death-owl loud doth sing
   To the night-mares as they go:
         My love is dead,
       Gone to his death-bed,
     All under the willow-tree.

See! the white moon shines on high;
   Whiter is my true love's shroud,
 Whiter than the morning sky,
   Whiter than the evening cloud:
         My love is dead,
       Gone to his death-bed,
     All under the willow-tree.

Here upon my true love's grave,
   Shall the barren flowers be laid,
 Not one holy saint to save
   All the celness of a maid:
         My love is dead,
       Gone to his death-bed,
     All under the willow-tree.

With my hands I'll dent the briars
   Round his holy corse to gree;
 Ouphant fairy, light your fires--
   Here my body still shall be:
         My love is dead,
       Gone to his death-bed,
     All under the willow-tree.

Come, with acorn-cup and thorn,
   Drain my heartë's-blood away;
 Life and all its goods I scorn,
   Dance by night, or feast by day:
         My love is dead,
       Gone to his death-bed,
     All under the willow-tree.

Water-witches, crowned with reytes,
   Bear me to your lethal tide.
 'I die! I come! my true love waits!'
   Thus the damsel spake, and died.

S. Wesley sets stanza 1

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1: Wesley: "on holiday"
Glossary:
'Cryne:' hair.
'Rode:' complexion.
'Dent:' fix.
'Gree:' grow.
'Ouphant:' elfish.
'Reytes:' water-flags.

Authorship

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)


Researcher for this text: Virginia Knight

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 60
Word count: 312