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Ballad of the Goodly Fere Print E-mail
By Ezra Pound   
Friday, 18 November 2011
 
Simon Zelotes speaketh it somewhile after the Crucifixion.


HA’ we lost the goodliest fere o’ all   
For the priests and the gallows tree?   
Aye lover he was of brawny men,   
O’ ships and the open sea.   
 
When they came wi’ a host to take Our Man           
His smile was good to see,   
“First let these go!” quo’ our Goodly Fere,   
“Or I’ll see ye damned,” says he.   
 
Aye he sent us out through the crossed high spears   
And the scorn of his laugh rang free,           
“Why took ye not me when I walked about   
Alone in the town?” says he.   
 
Oh we drank his “Hale” in the good red wine   
When we last made company.   
No capon priest was the Goodly Fere,           
But a man o’ men was he.   
 
I ha’ seen him drive a hundred men   
Wi’ a bundle o’ cords swung free,   
That they took the high and holy house   
For their pawn and treasury.           
 
They’ll no’ get him a’ in a book, I think,   
Though they write it cunningly;   
No mouse of the scrolls was the Goodly Fere   
But aye loved the open sea.   
 
If they think they ha’ snared our Goodly Fere           
They are fools to the last degree.   
“I’ll go to the feast,” quo’ our Goodly Fere,   
“Though I go to the gallows tree.”   
 
“Ye ha’ seen me heal the lame and blind,   
And wake the dead,” says he.           
“Ye shall see one thing to master all:   
’Tis how a brave man dies on the tree.”   
 
A son of God was the Goodly Fere   
That bade us his brothers be.   
I ha’ seen him cow a thousand men.           
I have seen him upon the tree.   
 
He cried no cry when they drave the nails   
And the blood gushed hot and free.   
The hounds of the crimson sky gave tongue,   
But never a cry cried he.           
 
I ha’ seen him cow a thousand men   
On the hills o’ Galilee.   
They whined as he walked out calm between,   
Wi’ his eyes like the gray o’ the sea.   
 
Like the sea that brooks no voyaging,           
With the winds unleashed and free,   
Like the sea that he cowed at Genseret   
Wi’ twey words spoke suddently.   
 
A master of men was the Goodly Fere,   
A mate of the wind and sea.           
If they think they ha’ slain our Goodly Fere   
They are fools eternally.   
 
I ha’ seen him eat o’ the honey-comb   
Sin’ they nailed him to the tree.   
 
 
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