"Come, fill me flagons full and fair
Of red wine and of white,
And, maidens mine, my bower prepare—
It is my wedding night.
"And braid my hair with jewels bright,
And make me fair and fine—
This is the day that brings the night
When my desire is mine."
They decked her bower with roses blown,
With rushes strewed the floor,
And sewed more jewels on her gown
Than ever she wore before.
She wore two roses in her face,
Two jewels in her e'en,
Her hair was crowned with sunset rays,
Her brows shone white between.
"Tapers at the bed's foot," she saith,
"Two tapers at the head!"
It seemed more like the bed of death
Than like a bridal bed.
He came; he took her hands in his,
He kissed her on the face;
"There is more heaven in thy kiss
Than in our Lady's grace".
He kissed her once, he kissed her twice,
He kissed her three times o'er;
He kissed her brow, he kissed her eyes,
He kissed her mouth's red flower.
"O Love, what is it ails thy knight?
I sicken and I pine;
Is it the red wine or the white,
Or that sweet kiss of thine?"
"No kiss, no wine or white or red,
Can make such sickness be,
Lie down and die on thy bride-bed
For I have poisoned thee.
"And though the curse of saints and men
Upon me for it be,
I would it were to do again
Since thou wert false to me.
"Thou shouldst have loved or one or none,
Nor she nor I loved twain,
But we are twain thou hast undone,
And therefore art thou slain.
"And when before my God I stand
With no base flesh between,
I shall hold up this guilty hand
And He shall judge it clean."
He fell across the bridal bed
Between the tapers pale:
"I first shall see our God," he said,
"And I will tell thy tale.
"And if God judge thee as I do,
Then art thou justified.
I loved thee and I was not true,
And that was why I died.
"If I could judge thee, thou shouldst be
First of the saints on high;
But ah, I fear God loveth thee
Not half so dear as I!"