The Singer

by Lizette Woodworth Reese

With spices, wines, and silken stuffs,
The stout ship sailed down,
And with the ship the singer came
Unto the old sea town.

“Peace to ye!” quoth the sailor folk,
“A month and more have we
Been listening to his songs. Ah, God!
None sings so sweet as he.”

Up from the wharves the salt wind blew,
And filled the steep highway;
Seven slender plum trees caught the sun
Within a courtyard gray.

Out came the daughter of the king;
Oh, very fair was she!
She was the whitest bough a-grow,
So fair, so fair was she!

The singer sang, “My love,” he sang,
“Is like a white plum-tree!”
Then silence fell on house and court;
No other word sang he.

The king’s daughter, when she was old,
Sat in a broidered gown,
And spun the flax from her fair fields –
Oh, it was sweet in town!

Seven plum-trees stood down in the court,
Each one was white as milk;
The king’s daughter rose softly there,
Rustling her broidered silk.

“Oh, set the wheel away, my maids,
And sing that song to me
The singer sang!” “My love,” sang they,
“Is like a white plum-tree!”