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TWO MORNINGS

Sarah Orne Jewett

In armor strong the fearless knight
   At daybreak rode away,
And from her window in the tower
   The lady watched all day.

There stood that morning by the gate
   A little page, to see,
And wished to be, in years to come,
   As grand a knight as he.

All day the idle echoes brought,
   Like noises in a dream,
The roar of fighting from afar,
   The dashing of a stream;

And when the stars came, one by one,
   The lady could not sleep;
She feared the shadows in the room,
   She heard the waters leap.

The daylight lingered ere it came,
   And hardly with surprise
She heard the tale the servants brought,
   With terror in their eyes;

How at the close-barred castle gate
   At daybreak they had found
The knight's horse, which came drooping in,
   Weak with a mortal wound.

Oh, all forlorn and riderless,
   Stained with his master's blood,
With human sorrow in his look,
   He hurt and trembling stood.

The lady did not speak. She came
   Beside the horse to stand;
She kissed the bridle where the knight
   Had held it in his hand;

And all that day she longed and feared
   To hear the soldiers' tread,
When they came marching up the glen
   To bring the knight home dead.

She wished the women would not wail;
   She hoped that she might die;
She longed to be the little page,
   Who hid himself to cry.


NOTE
"Two Mornings" was published with this illustration in Harper's Monthly (62:78) December 1880. The illustration is initialed A. F. on the lower left. Lynn Sky has helped to identify this signature as that of Alfred Fredericks (d. 1926).  Illustrations attributed to him in other publications have the same signature.
    According to Who was Who in American Art (1999), Fredericks was a landscape and figure painter as well as an illustrator.  He lived in New York City and exhibited at the National Academy and the Pennsylvania Academy in the 1850s and 1860s, the Brooklyn Academy in the 1880s, and in Boston through much of his career -- 1875-1907.  Sky adds that Fredericks was one of the eleven founding members of the American Watercolor Society and a mentor to Thomas Nast.

Edited and annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College


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