I HAVE broken the king’s law
To save the king’s son ;
Am I culprit or heroine, Or both in one ?
He was lying at death’s door,
And pale with dread
King, queen, and courtiers all
In terror fled.
The young wife of a twelvemonth
Cowered wild with fear ;
He was lying at death’s door,
And no help near.
In the darkness I stole forth
(’T was death to go,
But naught else could save him)
To the king’s foe.
From the camp of the enemy
I brought the leech ;
I bribed the sentinel
With silver speech.
I have broken the king’s law,
But saved the king’s son ;
Must I die as a felon dies,
For the wrong done?
Or be led to the banquet-hall,
And sip red wine,
While the sweet-tongued singers praise
That deed of mine ?
If but one voice accuse me,
No power can save
My young life from a dreadful doom, —
A traitor’s grave.
King, queen, and judges all
Would set me free ;
The young prince with his pale lips
Did plead for me.
Yet I die at the set of sun,
A death of shame ;
I, the queen’s tiring-maid,
Of spotless fame.
Who is mine enemy ?
Who seeks my life ?
Who speaks the fatal word ?
The young prince’s wife !
Helen Barron Bostwick.