I think The Lady in Black is not an ordinary woman mourning for somebody who died because she is a special woman, a special presence.
*1) First of all, she comes unexpectedly one morning and she seems to know the author of the poem, but he doesn’t seem to know her.
*2) she is able to see him, even if „in darkness I was walking”. That’s a subtle way to say that this is not an ordinary encountering.
*3) the atmosphere of the song is not an ordinary one: „destruction lay around me/From a fight I could not win”. it’s about a war, a battle or something similar.
*4) He had somehow wished her to be there, around him, because he wants to kill – to do what men usually do: „I said the need within some men/To fight and kill their brothers/Without thought of love or God”. And in otrder to fight his enemies/kill he knows that she can help him. So he asks for her help: „And I begged her give me horses/To trample down my enemies/So eager was my passion/To devour this waste of life”
*5) In the next unit we find out that she is „the mother of all men”. She is capable of councelling the poet so that he fears to walk alone again … She has the power to seduce him somehow, because after this encountering, he symbolic asks „if she would stay”.
*6) The next unit represents a kind of ode to the misterious lady: „Oh lady lend your hand outright/And let me rest here at your side” But she says to him somehow that his time has not come yet: „Have faith and trust/In peace she said” and tells him to have trust in peace. Then, she does something extraordinary: „filled my heart with life”. It seems that the lady is capable to bring both dead or life. „But when you need me/Be assured I won’t be far away”
*7) The last unit may speak about the fact that facing death can inspire courage and wisdom to men: „And if one day she comes to you/Drink deeply from her words so wise/Take courage from her/As your prize/And say hello from me”. We can see that the prize one man can get from encountering death is Courage. The poet himself is using this experience to understand that he can face death at each step: „But now I know I’m not alone”, but this is strenghtening him: „I find new heart each time/I think upon that windy day”. Now he knows he has nothing to loose, only his life and that can happen any moment. A last observation: Although Death is most represented as a skeleton holding a scythe, in many cultures Death is a lady. And that can explain why in this case death is a SHE, not a HE.
4 oct 2007