Bohemian legends and other poems/The Daughter's Curse

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THE DAUGHTER'S CURSE.

Why are you so lost in thinking,
Daughter mine?
Why are you so lost in thinking?
You who were so fond of laughing
And whose face was always glad!”

I have killed a little pigeon,
Mother mine;
I have killed a little pigeon,
A forsaken little pigeon;
It was white; ah, white like snow.”

’Twas no pigeon, I misdoubt me,
Daughter mine;
’Twas no pigeon, I misdoubt me;
But your brain is touched, I fear me,
And your look is strange and wild.”

Oh, I have killed a little child,
Mother mine;
Oh, I have killed a little child;
My new-born babe, my own fair child—
Would I could die with remorse!”

What do you mean to do, I ask,
Daughter mine?
What do you mean to do, I ask?
How will you mend this luckless task—
How will you find God’s mercy?”

I will go seek that flower now,
Mother mine;
I will go seek that flower now;
That soon will cool my criminal brow,
And stop my pulses throbbing.”

And when you find the grass you seek,
Daughter mine;
And when you find the grass you seek;
The flax that grows beside the leek
In many a garden round?”

Behind the bridge, upon the hill,
Mother mine;
Behind the bridge, upon the hill,
In tree I’ll drive a nail with will,
And so end all my sinning.”

What last word will you leave the youth,
Daughter mine?
What last word will you leave the youth
Who used to come to us, forsooth,
And loved thee for a season?”

A blessing on his head, I pray,
Mother mine;
A blessing on his head, I pray
Remorse until his dying day,
Because he lightly wooed me.”

What last word do you leave to me,
Daughter mine?
What last word do you leave to me,
Who loved you when a baby wee
And who brought thee up with toil?”

My curse I leave thee, that is all,
Mother mine;
My curse I leave thee, that is all,
That you may know no peace at all,
Because you let me have my way.”