I present today my last selection from the collection Rosa Mundi, and other love-songs, the ninth poem in it. The poet remembers courting a young peasant girl, “too happy to be loved,” who kissed him “frank and straight.”
Here ‘Rossett Ghyll’ designates a pass in Cumberland (according to the editor).
by Aleister Crowley
‘TWAS dark when church was out! the moon
Was low on Rossett Ghyll;
The organ’s melancholy tune
Grew subtle, far, and still.
All drest in black, her white, white throat
Like moonlight gleamed; she moved
Along the road, towards the farm,
Too happy to be loved.
“O Katie Carr! how sweet you are!”
She only hurried faster:
She found an arm about her waist
A maiden knows her master.
Through grass and heather we walked together
So hard her heart still beat
She thought she saw a ghost, and fast
Flickered the tiny feet.
“O Katie Carr, there’s one stile more!
For your sweet love I’m dying.
There’s no one near; there’s nought to fear.”
The lassie burst out crying.
“From Wastdale Head to Kirkstone Pass
There’s ne’er a lass like Kate:”—
The gentle child looked up and smiled
And kissed me frank and straight.
The night was dark, the stars were few:—
Should love need moon or star?
Let him decide who wins a bride
The peer of Katie Carr.
Source: Rosa Mundi, and other love-songs (1905), in The Collected Works of Aleister Crowley, Volume III (1907). See the digitisation of the original on David Moews’s home page.
Previously published on Agapeta, 2018/06/28.