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Errantry

This song is by Donald Swann and appears on the album The Road Goes Ever On (1993).

There was a merry passenger
A messenger, a mariner:
He built a gilded gondola
To wander in and had in her
A load of yellow oranges
And porridge for his provender
He perfumed her with marjoram
And cardamom and lavender

He called the winds of Argosies
With cargoes in to carry him
Across the rivers seventeen
That lay between to tarry him
He landed all in loneliness
Where stonily the pebbles on
The running river Derrilyn
Goes merrily for ever on
He journeyed then through meadow-lands
To shadow-land that dreary lay
And under hill and over hill
Went roving still a weary way

He sat and sang a melody
His errantry a tarrying
He begged a pretty butterfly
That fluttered by to marry him
She scorned him and she scoffed at him
She laughed at him unpitying
So long he studied wizardry
And sigaldry and smithying

He wove a tissue airy thin
To snare her in; to follow her
He made him beetle-leatherwing
And feather wing of swallow hair

He caught her in bewilderment
With filament of spider-thread
He made her soft pavilions
Of lilies and a bridal bed
Of flowers and of thistle-down
To nestle down and rest her in
And silken webs of filmy white
And silver light he dressed her in

He threaded gems and necklaces
But recklessly she squandered them
And fell to bitter quarrelling
Then sorrowing he wandered on
And there he left her withering
As shivering he fled away
With windy weather following
On swallow-wing he sped away

He passed the archipelagoes
Where yellow grows the marigold
With countless silver fountains are
And mountains are of fairy-gold
He took to war and foraying
A-harrying beyond the sea
And roaming over Belmary
And Thellamie and Fantasie

He made a shield and morion
Of coral and of ivory
A sword he made of emerald
And terrible his rivalry
With elven knights of Aerie
And Faerie, with paladins
That golden-haired, and shining-eyed
Came riding by, and challenged him

Of crystal was his habergeon
His scabbard of chalcedony
With silver tipped and plenilune
His spear was hewn of ebony
His javelins were of malachite
And stalactite - he brandished them
And went and fought the dragon flies
Of Paradise, and vanquished them

He battled with the Dumbledors
The Hummerhorns, and Honeybees
And won the Golden Honeycomb
And running home on sunny seas
In ship of leaves and gossamer
With blossom for a canopy
He sat and sang, and furbished up
And burnished up his panoply

He tarried for a little while
In little isles that lonely lay
And found their naught but blowing grass
And so at last, the only way
He took, and turned, and coming home
With honeycomb, to memory
His message came, and errand too!
In derring-do and glamoury
He had forgot them, journeying
And tourneying, a wanderer

So now he must depart again
And start again his gondola
For ever still a messenger
A passenger, a tarrier
A roving as a feather does
A weather-driven mariner

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