A Highland Regiment/Clytemnestra

For works with similar titles, see Clytemnestra.

     
OUT of the drinking cup,
  Out of my own hearth-fire,
The taint of blood goes up.
  The scent of the burning pyre.
When the feasters' shout is high.
  Or the spinning maidens sing,
I hear the dead man's cry,
  The dead who was my king.

For this is an ageless thing,
  And the blood runs fresh again
In the cleansing draught from the spring
  And the stored wine I drain.
And the joyous marriage-song,
  And the drinking-song at the board,
Is the voice that sobbed so long
  In the agony of my lord.

Oh dark stern face of him
  I wedded and could not love,
Oh terrible eyes grown dim
  And torn black hair above.
Oh hands so strong in fight,
  So weak in the folding net,
Dead feet that by day and night
  Follow the slayer yet,

Lo I am drawing near
  To the door of the house of death.
Must I for ever hear
  The sound of the labouring breath,
Must I for ever see
  The murdered body lie.
And on my own roof-tree
  The blood that will not dry ?

1914