Page:Early poems of William Morris.djvu/154

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Concerning Geffray Teste Noire

Therefore we set our bastides round the tower
That Geffray held, the strong thief! like a king,
High perch'd upon the rock of Ventadour,
Hopelessly strong by Christ! it was mid spring.

When first I joined the little army there
With ten good spears; Auvergne is hot, each day
We sweated armed before the barrier,
Good feats of arms were done there often—eh?

Your brother was slain there? I mind me now
A right, good man-at-arms, God pardon him!
I think 'twas Geffray smote him on the brow
With some spiked axe, and while he totter'd, dim

About the eyes, the spear of Alleyne Roux
Slipped through his camaille and his throat; well, well!
Alleyne is paid now; your name Alleyne too?
Mary! how strange—but this tale I would tell—

For spite of all our bastides, damned blackhead
Would ride abroad whene'er he chose to ride,
We could not stop him; many a burgher bled
Dear gold all round his girdle; far and wide.

The villaynes dwelt in utter misery
'Twixt us and thief Sir Geffray; hauled this way
By Sir Bonne Lance at one time, he gone by,
Down comes this Teste Noire on another day.

And therefore they dig up the stone, grind corn.
Hew wood, draw water, yea, they lived, in short,
As I said just now, utterly forlorn,
Till this our knave and blackhead was out-fought.