In gladsome mood they wandered down the mountain,
both holding hands, with radiant smiles
exchanged. ‘And what’, said he,
‘could find two hearts and bind them?
I did not know I’d meet my love today’.
‘Dame Fortune smiled’, said she,
‘up on the mountain. She smiled on us,
and made us meet this way’.
And down they went,
who met upon the mountain, and to
the maples where the green fields lay.
One waited in the shadow of the maples.
On a white horse, with a black one
held at rein. ‘Good morrow, sir’,
she offered, brightly smiling, ‘Why wait you here,
so early in the day?‘ ‘I wait here for
the rider of this black steed. ‘Twas ready for
the first to pass this way. But you two
come abreast to me, as lovers – and so must choose
who comes, and who will stay’.
‘A stately steed, sir’, fenced the maid’s companion,
‘for Charlemagne or Hector, of the lays’.
‘Aye, true’, the horseman breathed within the shadows,
‘and both of those he bore
in ancient days. A handsome steed – an old one
and a tireless – a strong steed that will
carry all away. Men grumble though, and say
he is not faultless. He takes, indeed; but
brings not back again’.
Their hands clasped tight. She whispered to him faintly,
‘Fie that we met, and walked abreast today… ‘
‘Come – choose now’, growled the rider on the pale horse.
‘It must be one. Who comes with me? Who stays?’