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A ballad of departure

[From the Romaic.]

Fair white bird, what song art thou singing
In wintry weather of lands o'er sea?
Dear white bird, what way art thou winging,
Where no grass grows, and no green tree?

I looked at the far-off fields and grey,
There grew no tree but the cypress tree,
That bears sad fruits with the flowers of May,
And whoso looks on it, woe is he.

And whoso eats of the fruit thereof
Has no more sorrow, and no more love;
And who sets the same in his garden stead,
In a little space he is waste and dead.

Andrew Lang