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The Song of Ohbrid (Part 2)

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

In this extract, the Mother (Ria) rejects the wooing of Tetheos, Lord of the Oceans:

The song of Ohbrid (part 2)

Beyond gull haunted headlands cliffs and strands

Where bold Tetheos lord of waters dwells

Full forty fathom deep his palace stands

Bejewelled all with oyster pearls and shells

And here he rests his trident on his knees

Imperious on the corals of his throne

Majestic king of ocean, gulf and sea

Commands and rules his briny realm alone

He gazes now upon his ranks of lords

The tritons and their dolphins all about

The nereids and mermen with their swords

Defenders of this watery redoubt

The king calls out to all who gather there

In rumbling tones within this hall serene

‘Will none amongst you find a maiden fair

Fit to enthrone beside me as my queen?’

On craggy rocks in moonlight silvered bays

Where mermaids sit and comb their oozy hair

Reflecting constellations in their gaze

They raise their star song in pellucid air

But when they see the Mother tread that shore

Resplendent in her beauty and her grace

They hasten to recount all that they saw

Regale their king of noble form and face

He turns his head and hears, on their descent

The tale of the fair maiden they have spied

He rises from his throne with bold intent

To woo her and to take her for his bride

The Mother pacing lone upon the strand

Looks up to see the sea approach the earth

White horses at the ocean king’s command

Draw his bright chariot splashing through the surf

The foamy billows parts as he steps down

And bows before the maiden where she stands

He offers to her brow a royal crown

All wrought with pearls by artful triton hands

‘Behold my realm,’ he says with regal pride,

‘Adjoining yours it circles all the globe

My oceans deep, my empire reaches wide

If you were mine my seas should be your robe.

My subjects, be they great, or be they mean

Beg that I take a wife to be my own

The throne there at my side demands a queen

And wretched are my days to rule alone

My people now are troubled and they weep

Partaking in my anguish and my care

Leviathon is stirring in the deep

Uneasy is the realm without an heir

The song of whales groans low in the abyss

And mermaids raise sad voices to the land

To dwell with you would be eternal bliss

I beg that I may take your noble hand.’

The Mother shakes the spindrift from her hair

And gazes on his noble countenance

She places there a hand with gentle care

And spares his briny realm a wistful glance

‘I cannot be your bride, I fear to say

She says in tones regretful but unmoved

For though my heart would gladly see that day

My head warns me that I should be reproved

The creatures and the spirits of the glen

The denizens of mountain top and heath

The dwellers in the field and in the fen

The sightless earthy burrowers beneath

Would damn my name if I should so consent

To let you tread my green and pleasant hills

For where you place your feet I shall lament

A salt cursed wilderness that no man tills

Where poisoned all is barley, spelt and wheat

Your hand upon my shores is judged a theft.

Though pleasure may be found where they do meet,

Forever shall the land and sea be cleft.’

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