CANADIAN BALLADS,

AND

OCCASIONAL VERSES.

By Thomas D’Arcy McGee


 

THE PENITENT RAVEN.

A NURSERY RHYME.




I.
 


The Raven’s house is built with reeds,
                              Sing alas and woe is me!
And the Raven’s couch is spread with weeds
                              High on the hollow tree.
And the Raven himself telling his beads

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In penance for his past misdeeds,
                              Upon the top I see.


II.
 


Telling his beads from night till morn,
                              Sing alas and woe is me!
In penance for stealing the Abbot’s corn,

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                              High on the hollow tree.
Sin is a load upon the breast,
And it nightly breaks the Raven’s rest,
                              High on the hollow tree. [Page 101]


III.
 


The Raven pray’d the winter thro’,

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                              Sing alas and woe is me
The hail it fell; the winds they blew,
                              High on the hollow tree.
Until the spring came forth again,
And the Abbot’s men to sow their grain

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                              Around the hollow tree.


IV.
 


Alas, alas, for earthly vows,
                              Sing alas and woe is me
Whether they’re made by men or crows;
                              High on the hollow tree.

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The Raven swoop’d upon the seed,
And met his death in the very deed—
                              Beneath his hollow tree.


V.
 
 


So beat we our breasts in shame of sin,
                              Alas and woe is me!

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While all is hollowness within,
                              Alas and woe is me!
And when the ancient Tempter smiles
So yield we our souls up to his wiles,
                              Alas and woe is me! [Page 102]

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