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Emilie Autumn - Poem: Alas (the Knight)

Alas, my love, if I could make you live
And from the page step forth and sit beside me
Or better still, bestride the steed I gave you
Wrapped close within the cloak I lent to hide thee
Perhaps I’d venture forth to ask thy name
Since while thou liest underneath my pen
That honour given which the poorest claim
Unjustly was withheld. But if again
I held thee captive as I did ere now
Stalling to pass my fingers through the last
Of midnight tendrils, or peruse thy brow
In fear of sending off what heaven cast
Too early for my insufficient mind
To grasp the fullest detail and retain
The presence that your image left behind
That thou in all thy glory should remain

I fear my oversight I would not mend
For now upon reflection I confess
That secretly I never did intend
With title long or surname rich to bless
But rather let in my imagination
Run wild the thoughts of who perhaps you were
Before your soul demanded your creation
And deigned my mind and willing heart to stir
For such a noble and impassioned face
Could well be but newborn unto this sphere
But sure among a distant beauteous race
Thou hast known more than all who dwelleth here
And could tell much of places thou hast seen
And battles fought for honours won and lost
And how each service done a faerie Queen
Becomes a brighter jewel than it cost

The ladies of your world, you may impart
Desire to be neither over-graced
Nor underrepresented in the art
Of living, where their lips were meant to taste
A sort of feline stealth they wear about them
And while a flame of innocence they hold
In forests dark you fear to be without them
For knights of maler kinds are ne’er so bold

Yes, in thy orb a maid may be a knight
(Thou knew’st a friend would make upon this news)
Without a whisper loud or censure slight
For lords are not afeared their stock to lose
Where no stock may be taken or be kept
No property be granted, nor no bride
No maiden may be stolen while she slept
Nor robbed of her freedom to decide
What suits her best. No county’s law is needed
To cut the weed of violence from the stem
No danger for the law to go unheeded
For acts as these do not occur to them

The gentlemen you raise are rarer still
For in their eyes, as in the depths of thine,
Such soft and thrilling mysteries fulfill
The darkest corners of their heart’s design
Their arrows, much like those I gave to thee
Could not but graze the flank of yonder cow
Without making him laugh. ‘Tis much to see
Them tickling their prey. I know not how
They ever do encapture what they eat
Save that perhaps their bright unfettered brains
Have learned that what grows underneath their feet
And in the trees above better sustains
A life intent on living well tomorrow.
But how, I ask thee, most endearing fiend
Do lords and ladies love where is no sorrow
No strife to overcome, no soul uncleaned
Of crushing ardor long worn out its stay,
Betrothal to a mortal less divine
Than that who stole thy blushing breath away,
No hot forbidden kisses for to pine,
No heart affixed to age where heart is young,
No ill intentioned suitors to evade?
“Still madam! Would'st thou kindly hold thy tongue”
Thou sayest. “Your mistake has rash been made
In living long in combat with your kind
Thou see’st no other obstacle but these
Thy hands are careworn that have yet to find
The hands that first should hold them. Yet to please
The hierarchy which you serve unwitting
Thou dost believe that love in fighting grows
That happiness in love is not befitting
But in thy sadness thou mak’st light of woes
For even were there ne’er a cloudy day
No tempest to divide what love had bound
The galley which the moon holds in her sway
Could not but stir the peace it finally found
The wound is deeper than the sea about thee
The stars upon my doublet you have drawn
May light my homeward path, but how, without me
Wilt thou escape the fate thou tremblest on?”

And in this way and more my paper spoke
O, fierce, savage, gentle beauty bright
Thou who I’ve given breath my soul has broke
You had authority but not the right
Could I but see the lips that dare not breathe
They are so beautiful and pressing sweet
Could I but touch the wings that underneath
Are made so soft thy heart forgets to beat

Perhaps I should have more for which to strive
You came to my domain and brought despair
For though I be the chastest heart alive
The realm you speak of will not take me there
Have you no pity? Can’st thou not perceive
That I, a blinded beast, had but the eyes
To see where I would love? Dost thou believe
That ere you came I was but vain disguise?
I know the murmur of music reveals
The things no human heart could comprehend
I render’st thou for all that torment feels
And longed to be thy lordship’s faithful friend

Yea, quiet as a mushroom did I wait
I willed to thee my form to overtake
I shivered at each passing horse’s gait
And so I slept to suddenly awake
Alas, my love, wilt thou kiss me goodbye
The lingering night will aid thee on thy travels
I’ll craft but one thing more, a crow to fly
Before to tell me how thy tale unravels

I say, thou art complete and free to go
What holds thee here save one who lives no longer
For I have given thee the life you know
The weaker I become thou art the stronger
And in your antique words your clear intent
Was that once thou art gone I should dismay.
Quothe thee, “Your thought mistook me for I meant
To leave thee not but offerest to stay
For true I never did in my own realm
Partake of that pure love of which I told thee
But be my guide and with me at the helm
And I shall in the cloak you wrought enfold thee
And journey to the ends of all the earth
For thou hast proved more generous and wise
Than all we faeries, moons and stars are worth
For live we not but living in your eyes.”

Dear nameless knight, if thou would’st be mine own
And leave thy dragons for a while thou may’st
Find in these arms within which thou hast grown
A better reason than the which thou say’st
But with your hand you pointeth; swear I so
And ‘tis not plain to me, though I did draw it
Which way thou dost intend for us to go
Sure in the mind it is of she who saw it
Yet still perhaps I made thee to discover
What one would do if one were asked to choose
‘Tween back and forwards. Be thee friend or lover
Perhaps you were to be my favorite muse
Thou feel’st thy armor; fight but when you must
Thou see’st the blade of truth below thy knee
Use arrows against all whom you mistrust
But when thou ride’st my way aim one at me
Your world is yours as ere it was before
Your time beneath my busy hand well spent
I’ve made a thing I love; I ask no more
And never shall redeem the heart I lent
Me in my world and thyself in thine
Two petals on the same and silent flower
And evermore I’ll welcome thee in mine
Your dear creation was my finest hour

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