William Butler Yeats

The Three Bushes

An incident from the `Historia mei Temporis' of the Abbe Michel de Bourdeille Said lady once to lover, 'None can rely upon A love that lacks its proper food; And if your love were gone How could you sing those songs of love? I should be blamed, young man. O my dear, O my dear. Have no lit candles in your room,' That lovely lady said, 'That I at midnight by the clock May creep into your bed, For if I saw myself creep in I think I should drop dead.' O my dear, O my dear. 'I love a man in secret, Dear chambermaid,' said she. 'I know that I must drop down dead If he stop loving me, Yet what could I but drop down dead If I lost my chastity? O my dear, O my dear. 'So you must lie beside him And let him think me there. And maybe we are all the same Where no candles are, And maybe we are all the same That stip the body bare.' O my dear, O my dear. But no dogs barked, and midnights chimed, And through the chime she'd say, 'That was a lucky thought of mine, My lover. looked so gay'; But heaved a sigh if the chambermaid Looked half asleep all day. O my dear, O my dear. 'No, not another song,' siid he, 'Because my lady came A year ago for the first time At midnight to my room, And I must lie between the sheets When the clock begins to chime.' O my dear, O my d-ear. 'A laughing, crying, sacred song, A leching song,' they said. Did ever men hear such a song? No, but that day they did. Did ever man ride such a race? No, not until he rode. O my dear, O my dear. But when his horse had put its hoof Into a rabbit-hole He dropped upon his head and died. His lady saw it all And dropped and died thereon, for she Loved him with her soul. O my dear, O my dear. The chambermaid lived long, and took Their graves into her charge, And there two bushes planted That when they had grown large Seemed sprung from but a single root So did their roses merge. O my dear, O my dear. When she was old and dying, The priest came where she was; She made a full confession. Long looked he in her face, And O he was a good man And understood her case. O my dear, O my dear. He bade them take and bury her Beside her lady's man, And set a rose-tree on her grave, And now none living can, When they have plucked a rose there, Know where its roots began. O my dear, O my dear.