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So shows my soul before the Lamb,
My spirit before Thee ;
To that I hope to be.
Thro' all yon starlight keen,
In raiment white and clean.
He lifts me to the golden doors ;
The flashes come and go;
And strows her lights below,
Roll back, and far within For me the Heavenly Bridegroom waits,
To make me pure of sin. The sabbaths of Eternity,
One sabbath deep and wideA light upon the shining sea
The Bridegroom with his bride !
My good blade carves the casques of men,
My tough lance thrusteth sure,
Because my heart is pure.
The hard brands shiver on the steel,
The horse and rider reel :
And when the tide of combat stands, Perfume and flowers fall in showers,
That lightly rain from ladies' hands.
How sweet are looks that ladies bend
On whom their favours fall ! For them I battle till the end,
To save from shame and thrall :
But all my heart is drawn above,
My knees are bowd in crypt and shrine : I never felt the kiss of love,
Nor maiden's hand in mine.
Me mightier transports move and thrill ; So keep I fair thro' faith and prayer
A virgin heart in work and will.
When down the stormy crescent goes,
A light before me swims,
I hear a noise of hymns :
I hear a voice, but none are there ;
The tapers burning fair.
The silver vessels sparkle clean,
And solemn chaunts resound between.
Sometimes on lonely mountain-meres
I find a magic bark ;
I float till all is dark.
A gentle sound, an awful light !
Three angels bear the holy Grail :
On sleeping wings they sail.
My spirit beats her mortal bars,
And star-like mingles with the stars.
When on my goodly charger borne
Thro' dreaming towns I go,
The streets are dumb with snow.
And, ringing, springs from brand and mail ; But o'er the dark a glory spreads,
And gilds the driving hail.
No branchy thicket shelter yields ;
Fly o’er waste fens and windy fields.
A maiden knight—to me is given
Such hope, I know not fear ;
That often meet me here.
I muse on joy that will not cease,
Pure spaces clothed in living bearns, Pure lilies of eternal peace,
Whose odours haunt my dreams; And, stricken by an angel's hand,
This mortal armour that I wear, This weight and size, this heart and cyes,
Are touch'd, are turn'd to finest air.
The clouds are broken in the sky,
And thro' the mountain-walls A rolling organ-harmony
Swells up, and shakes and falls. Then move the trees, the copses nod,
Wings flutter, voices hover clear : “O just and faithful knight of God!
Ride on! the prize is near.”
By bridge and ford, by park and pale, All-arm'd I ride, whate'er betide,
Until I find the holy Grail.