The Black Horseman

" Thou ridest late," the shepherd said,
" Art not afraid to take
Thy dreary way - on a night so black,
With the moon's light hid by the storm-cloud's rack ? "
          But never the Horseman spake !

" Thou ridest late," the shepherd said ;
"Know'st not a rider's fate ?--------
Who dares to cross-----through the mist and rain-----
The great moor's breast, sees not home again."
          But still the Horseman sate !

" Thou ridest late," the shepherd said,
And wond'ringly did make,
A step more near to the traveller bold,
Who sat on his black steed straight and cold.
          But never the Horseman spake !

" Knowest thou not," the shepherd cried,
" That the bog thy horse will take------
That the ice-cold mist will soon enwrap thee,
The clinging darkness enfold and entrap thee ? "
          But never the Horseman spake !

Then fearfully the shepherd strove
To see the rider's face ;
But the shadowy mantle covered all
The dark form, like a dreaded pall.
          And the fog crept up a pace !

Then fearfully stood the shepherd,
As he thought of the legend old,
Of the Ghostly Rider who scours the moor,
O'er the great wide waste where the tempests roar,
          Seeking a spirit bold !

" Christ ! Give me strength," the shepherd prayed,
" To flee from this Phantom dread ! "
But horror led his feet astray,
In the white-wreathed mist he lost his way,
And when dawn broke clear, o'er the desert drear,
          There lay the shepherd dead.

Written by
Jessie Lee Shannon


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