From An Anthology of World Poetry, edited by Mark Van Doren, a French ballad. No poet is named.
“The Bridge of Death”
“The dance is on the Bridge of Death
And who will dance with me?”
“There’s never a man of living men
Will dare to dance with thee.”
Now Margaret’s gone within her bower,
Put ashes in her hair,
And sackcloth on her bonny breast,
And on her shoulders bare.
There came a knock to her bower door,
And blithe she let him in;
It was her brother from the wars,
The dearest of her kin.
“Set gold within your hair, Margaret,
Set gold within your hair,
And gold upon your girdle band,
And on your breast so fair.
For we are bidden to dance to-night,
We may not bide away;
This one good night, this one fair night,
Before the red new day.”
“Nay, no gold for my head, brother,
Nay, no gold for my hair;
It is the ashes and dust of earth
That you and I must wear.
“No gold for mu girdle band,
No godl work on my feet;
But ashes of the fire, my love,
But dust that the serpents eat.”
They danced across the Bridge of DEath,
Above the black water,
And the marriage-bell was tolled in hell
For the souls of him and her.