Sore was her longing to go see her friend in the wood, but the haysel lasted more than a week, and when that was done, whether it were of set purpose or no, the dame forgat her other promise, to give Birdalone more holiday, and kept her close to her work about meadow and acre.
So wend ye as weird willeth and let your hearts be light; For through your days of battle all the deeds of our days shall be fair. To-morrow beginneth the haysel, as if every carle were here; And who knoweth ere your returning but the hook shall smite the corn?
"Nay," said Ralph, "I seek a good hostelry where I may abide the night for my money." The monk shook his head and said: "See ye the folk? It is holiday time, and midsummer after haysel. Ye shall scarce get lodging outside our house. But what then? Come thou thither straightway and have harbour of the best, and see our prior, who loveth young and brisk men-at-arms like to thee.
Now therefore shall they and I together earn the merry days to come, the winter hunting and the spring sowing, the summer haysel, the ingathering of harvest, the happy rest of midwinter, and Yuletide with the memory of the Fathers, wedded to the hope of the days to be. Well may they bid me help them who have holpen me! Well may they bid me die who have made me live!
"Now we are in a fit mood for dinner," said Dick, when we had dressed and were going through the grass again; "and certainly of all the cheerful meals in the year, this one of haysel is the cheerfullest; not even excepting the corn-harvest feast; for then the year is beginning to fail, and one cannot help having a feeling behind all the gaiety, of the coming of the dark days, and the shorn fields and empty gardens; and the spring is almost too far off to look forward to.
Albeit, the haysel will wait no longer for us, and the day after to-morrow we must fall to on it. But when that is done, thou shalt be free to do thy green gown, or what thou wilt, till wheat harvest is toward; and thereafter we shall see to it. Or what sayest thou?
Come, hands for the dance! For the toil hath been mickle, And 'twixt haysel and harvest 'tis time to be blithe. And what shall the tale be now dancing is over, And kind on the meadow sits maiden by man, And the old man bethinks him of days of the lover, And the warrior remembers the field that he wan?
Now she looked along the grass that glittered under the beams of the newly-risen sun, and noted belike how heavy the dew lay on it; and the grass was high already, for the spring had been hot, and haysel would be early in the Dale.
O! my feet to be treading the threshold once more, O'er which once went the leading of swords to the war! O! my feet in the garden's edge under the sun, Where the seeding grass hardens for haysel begun! Lo, lo! the wind blows To the heart of the Rose, And the ship lies tied To the haven side! But O for the keel The sails to feel!
'True is that, said Red-beard of the Knolls, 'but look you, Folk- might, we be but simple husbandmen, and may not often stir from our meadows and acres; even now I bethink me that May is amidst us, and I am beginning to be drawn by the thought of the haysel. Thereat Folk-might laughed; and when the others saw that he laughed, they laughed also, else had they foreborne for courtesy's sake.