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Bat-for he heard of Arthur newly crowu'd, With Anguisant of Eriu, Morganore,
And Lot of Orkney. Then, before a voice
Flying, and Arthur call'd to stay the brands And Arthur yet had done no deed of arms, That hack'd among the flyers, “Ho! they yield!" But heard the call, and came: and Guinevere So like a painted batile the war stood Stood by the castle walls to watch him pass; Silenced, the living quiet as the dead, But since he neither wore on helm or shield And in the heart of Arthur joy was lord. The golden symbol of his kinglihood,
He laugh'd upon his warrior whom he loved Bat rode a simple knight among his knights, And honor'd most. " Thou dost not donbt me King, And many of these in richer arms than he,
So well thine arm hath wrought for me to-day." She saw him not, or mark'd not, if she saw, "Sir and my liege," he cried, “the fire of God One among many, tho' his face was bare.
Descends upon thee in the battle-field: Bat Arthur, looking downward as he past,
I know thee for my King!" Whereat the two, Felt the light of her eyes into his life
For each had warded either in the fight, Smite on the sudden, yet rode on, and pitch'd Sware on the field of death a deathless love. His tents beside the forest. Then he drave
And Arthur said, "Man's word is God in man: The heathen, after slew the beast, and fellid
Let chauce what will, I trust thee to the death." The forest, letting in the sun, and made Broad pathways for the hunter and the knight, Then quickly from the foughten field he sent And so returu'd.
Ultius, and Brastias, and Bedivere,
His new-made knights, to King Leodogran,
Give me thy daughter Guinevere to wise."
Debating-" How should I that am a king,
And a king's son!”-lifted his voice, and callid And find vor face nor bearing, limbs nor voice, A hoary man, his chamberlnin, to whom Are like to those of Uther whom we knew.
Ile trusted all things, and of him required This is the son of Gorlois, not the King;
His counsel: “Kuowest thou anght of Arthur's birth $* This is the son of Auton, not the King."
Then spake the hoary chamberlain and said, And Arthur, passing thence to battle, felt
"Sir King, there be but two old men that know: Travail, and throes and agonies of the life,
And each is twice as old as I; and one Desiring to be joiu'd with Guinevere:
Is Merliu, the wise man that ever served And thinking as he rode, “Her father said
King Uther thro' his magic art; and one That there between the man and beast they die. Is Merlin's master (so they call him) Bleys, Shall I not list her from this land of beasts
Who taught hin magic; but the scholar rau Up to my throne, and side by side with me! Before the master, and so far, that Bleys What happiness to reign a lonely king,
Laid magic by, and sat liin down, and wrote l'ext-0) ye stars that shudder over me,
All things and whatsoever Merlin did
In one great anpal-book, where after-years
To whom the King Leodogran replied,
But summon here before iis yet once more And reigning with one will in everything
Ultius, and Brastias, and Bedivere." Have power on this dark land to lighten it, And power on this dead world to make it live." Then, when they came before him, the King said,
"I have seen the cuckoo chased by lesser fowl, Thereafter-as he speaks who tells the tale- And reason in the chase: but wherefore now When Arthur reach'd a field-of-battle bright
Do these your lords stir up the heat of war, With pitchi'd pavilious of his foe, the world
Some calling Arthur born of Gorlois, Was all so clear about him, that he saw
Others of Anton ? Tell me, ye yourselves,
Hold ye this Arthur for King Uther's son ?"
And Ulfius and Brastins answer'd, “Ay.”
Then Bedivere, the first of all his knights And shonts, and clarions shrilling unto blood, Knighted by Arthur at his crowning, spakeThe long-lanced battle let their horses run. For bold in heart and act and word was he, And now the barons and the kings prevail'd Whenever slander breathed against the KingAnd now the King, as here and there that war Went swaying; but the Powers who walk the world “Sir, there be many rumors on this head : Made lightnings and great thunders over him, For there be those who hate him in their hearts, And dazed all eyes, till Arthur by main might, Call him base-born, and, since his ways are sweet And mightier of his hands with every blow,
Aud theirs are bestial, hold him less than man: And leading all his kuighthood threw the kings And there be those who deem him more than mau, Carádos, Urien, Cradlemont of Wales,
And dream he dropt from heaven: but my belief Clandias, and Clariance of Northumberland,
In all this matter-so ye care to learuThe King Brandagoras of Latangor,
Sir, for ye know that in King Uther's time
The prince and warrior Gorlois, he that held
Who love thee.' Then the King, in low deep tones, Tintagil castle by the Cornish sen,
And simple words of great authority, Was wedded with a winsome wife, Ygerne:
Bound them by so strait vows to his own self, Aud daughters had she borne him,-one whereof, That when they rose, knighted froin kueeling, some Lot's wise, the Queen of Orkney, Bellicent,
Were pale as at the passing of a ghost, Hath ever like a loyal sister cleaved
Some flush'il, and others dazed, as oue who wakes To Arthur,-but a son she had not borne.
Half-blinded at the coming of a light.
“But when he spake and cheer'd his Table Round So loathed the bright dishonor of his love,
With large divine and comfortable words That Gorluis and King Uther went to war:
Beyond my tongne to tell thee-I beheld And overthrown was Gorlois and slain.
From eye to eye thro' all their Order flash Then Uther in his wrath and heat besieged
A momentary likeness-of the King: Ygerne within Tintagil, where her men,
And ere it left their faces, thro' the cross Seeing the mighty swarm about their walls, And those around it and the Crucified, Left her and fled, and Uther enter'd in,
Down from the casement over Arthur, sinote And there was none to call to but himself.
Flame-color, vert and aznre, in three rays, So, compass'd by the power of the King,
One falling npon each of three fair qneens, Enforced she was to wed him in her tears,
Who stood in silence near his throne, the friends And with a shamefnl swiftness: afterward,
Of Arthur, gazing on him, tall, with bright Not many moons, King Uther died himself, Sweet faces, who will help him at his need. Moaning and wailing for an heir to rnle After bim, lest the realm should go to wrack. "And there I saw mage Merlin, whose vast wit And that same night, the night of the new year, And hundred winters are but as the hands By reason of the bitterness and grief
of loyal vassals toiling for their liege. 'That vext his mother, all before his time Was Arthur born, and all as soon as born
“And near him stood the Lady of the Lake, Deliver'd at a secret postern-gate
Who knows a subtler magic than his ownTo Merlin, to be holden far apart
Clothed in while samite, mystic, wonderful. Until his hour should come; because the lords She gave the King his huge cross-hilted sword, or that tierce day were as the lords of this,
Whereby to drive the heathen ont: a mist Wild beasts, and surely wonld have torn the child or incense curl'd abont her, and her face Piecemeal among them, had they known; for each Welluigh was hidden in the minster gloom; But sought to rule for his own self and hand, But there was heard among the holy hymns And many hated Uther for the sake
A voice as of the waters, for she dwells or Gorloïs. Wherefore Merlin took the child, Down in a deep, calm, whatsoever storms And gave him to Sir Anton, an old knight
May shake the world, and when the surface rous, And ancient friend of Uther; and his wife
Hath power to walk the waters like our Lord. Narsed the young prince, and rear'd him with her own;
“There likewise I beheld Excalibur And no man kpew. And ever since the lords Before him at his crowning borne, the sword Have foughten like wild beasts among themselves, That rose from out the bosom of the lake, So that the realm has gone to wrack: but now, And Arthur row'd across and took it-rich This year, when Merlin (for his hour had come) With jewels, elfin Urim, on the hilt, Brought Arthur forth, and set him in the hall, Bewildering heart and eyc—the blade so bright Proclaiming, “Here is Uther's heir, your king,' That men are blinded by it-on one side, A hundred voices cried, 'Away with him!
Graven in the oldest tongne of all this world, No king of ours! a son of Gorlois he,
* Take me,' but turn the blade and ye shall see, Or else the child of Anton, and no king,
And written in the speech ye speak yourself, Or else base-bord.' Yet Merlin thro' his craft, 'Cast me away" And sad was Arthur's face And while the people clamor'd for a king,
Taking it, but old Merlin counsellid him, Had Arthur crown'd; but after, the great lords • Take thon and strike! the time to cast away Banded, and so brake out in open war.”
Is yet far-off.' So this great brand the King
Took, avd by this will beat his foemen down." Then while the King debated with himself If Arthar were the child of shamefuluess,
Thereat Leodogran rejoiced, but thought Or born the son of Gorlois, after denth,
To sift his doubtings to the last, and ask'd, Or Uther's son, and born before his time,
Fixing fuil eyes of qnestion on her face, Or whether there were truth in anything
"The swallow and the swift are vear akin, Said by these three, there came to Cameliard, But thou art closer to this noble prince, With Gawaiu and young Modred, her two sons, Being his own dear sister;" and she said, Lot's wife, the Queen of Orkney, Bellicent:
** Daughter of Gorlois and Ygerne am I;", Whom as he could, not as he wonld, the King “And therefore Arthur's sister," ask'd the King. Made feast for, saying, as they sat at meat, She answer'd, " These be secret things,” and sigo'd
To those two sons to pass and let them be. "A doubtful throne is ice on summer seas. And Gawain went, and breaking into cong Ye come from Arthur's court. Victor his men Sprang out, and follow'd by his flying hair Report him! Yea, but ye-think ye this king- Ran like a colt, and leapt at all he saw: So many those that hate him, and so strong, Bot Modred laid his ear beside the doors, So few his knights, however brave they be- And there half heard; the same that afterward IIath body enow to hold his foemen down ?" Struck for the throne, and striking found his doom
"O King,” she cried, “and I will tell thee: ferr, And then the Qneen made answer, “What know 1! Few, but all brave, all of one mind with him; For dark my mother was in eyes and hair. For I was near him when the savage yell
And dark hair and eyes am I; and dark or Uther's peerage died, and Arthur sat
Was Gorlois, yea and dark was Uther too, Crown'd on the dais, and his warriors cried, Wellnigh to blackness; but this King is fair * Be thon the king, and we will work thy will Beyond the race of Britons and of men.
Moreover, always in my mind I hear
An old mau's wit may wander ere he die. A cry from out the dawning of my life,
Rain, raiu, aud suu ! a rainbow on the len! A mother weeping, and I hear her say,
And truth is this to me, and that to thee; "O that ye had some brother, pretty one,
And truth or clothed or baked let it be. To guard thee on the rough ways of the world.'” Rain, sun, and rain ! and the free blossom blows.
Sun, rain, and sun! and where is be who knows? "Ay," said the King, “and hear ye such a cry? From the great deep to the grent deep he goes.' But when did Arthur chance upou thee first ?"
“So Merlin riddling nnger'd me; but thou "O King!" she cried, “and I will tell thee true: Fear not to give this King thine only child, He found me first when yet a little muid:
Guinevere : so great bards of him will sing Beaten I had been for a little fault
Hereafter ; and dark sayings from of old
Rangivg and ringing thro' the minds of men,
For comfort after their wage-work is done,
Hath spoken also, not in jest, and sworn
But pass, again to come; and then or now
Til ihese and all men hail him for their king."
She spake and King Leodogran rejoiced, At times he seem'd, and sad with him was I, But musing “Shall I answer yea or nay?" Stern too at times, and then I loved him not, Doubted and drowsed, nodded and slept, and saw, But sweet again, and theu I loved him well. Dreaming, a slope of land that ever grew, And now of late I see him less and less,
Field after field, up to a height, the peak But those first days had golden hours for me, Haze-hidden, and thereon a phantom king, For theu I surely thought he would be king. Now looming, and now lost: and on the slope
The sword rose, the hind sell, the herd was driven, "But let me tell thee now another tale:
Fire glimpsed ; and all the land from roof and rick, For Bleys, onr Merlin's master, as they say, In drifts of smoke before a rolling wind, Died but of late, and sent his cry to me,
Stream'd to the peak, and mingled with the haze To bear him speak before he left his life.
And made it thicker ; while the phantom king' Shrunk like a fairy changeling lay the mage ; Sent out at times a voice ; and here or there And when I enter'd told me that himself
Stood one who pointed toward the voice, the rest Aud Merlin ever served about the King,
Slew on and burnt, crying, “No king of ours, Uther, before he died; and on the night
No son of Uther, and no king of ours;" When Uther in Tintagil past away
Till with a wink his dream was changed, the bazo Moaning and wailing for an heir, the two
Descended, and the solid earth became Left the still King, and passing forth to breathe, As nothing, but the king stood out in heaven, Then from the castle gateway by the chasm
Crown'd. And Leodogran awoke, and seut Descending thro' the dismal night-a night
Ultius, and Brastias, and Bedivere, In which the bounds of heaven and earth were lost- Back to the court of Arthur answering yea. Beheld, so high npon the dreary deeps It seem'd in heaven, a ship, the shape thereof Then Arthur charged his warrior whom he loved A dragon wing'd, and all from stem to stern And honor'd most, Sir Lancelot, to ride forth Bright with a shining people on the decks,
And brivg the Queen ;--and watch'd him from the And gone as soon as seen. And then the two
Chief of the church in Britain, and before
That moru was married, while in stainless white, Who stoopt and canght the babe, and cried, "The The fair beginners of a nobler time, King!
And glorying in their vows and him, his knights Ilere is an heir for Uther!' And the fringe Stood round him, and rejoicing in his joy. or that great breaker, sweeping up the strand, Far shone the fields of May thro' open door, Lash'd at the wizard as he spake the word,
The sacred altar blossom'd white with May, And all at once all round him rose in fire,
The Sun of May descended on their King, So that the child and he were clothed in tire. They gazed on all earth's beauty in their Queen, And presently thereafter follow'd calm,
Roll'd incense, and there past along the hymns Free sky and stars: “And this same child,' he said, A voice as of the waters, while the two "Is he who reigns : por conld I part in peace Sware at the shr be of Christ a deathless love: Till this were told.' And saying this the seer And Arthur said, “Behold, thy doom is mine. Went thro' the strait and dreadful pass of death, Let chance what will, I love thee to the death !" Not ever to be questiou'd any more
To whom the Queen replied with drooping eyes, Save on the further side; but when I met
“King and my lord, I love thee to the death !" Merlin, and ask'd him if these things were truth- And holy Dubric spread his hands and spake, The shining dragon and the naked child
“Reign ye, and live and love, and make the world Descending in the glory of the seas
Other, and may thy Queen be one with thee, He lough'd as is his wont, and answer'd me
And all this Order of thy Table Round In riddling triplets of old time, and said:
Itil the boundless pnrpose of their King !" "Rain, rain, and sun! a rainbow in the sky! So Dabric said ; but when they left the shrine A young man will be wiser by and by;
Great lords from Rome before the portal stood,
Io scornful stillness gazing as they past;
Until she let me fly discaged to sweep Then while they paced a city all on tire
In ever-highering engle-circles up With sun and cloth of gold, the trumpets blew, To the great Sun of Glory, and thence swoop And Arthur's knighthood savg before the King: Down upon all things base, and dash them dead,
A knight of Arthur, working out his will, "Blow trumpet, for the world is white with May: To clenuse the world. · Why, Gawain, when he came Blow trumpet, the long night hath roll'd away! With Modred hither in the summertime, Blow thro' the living world— Let the King reigo.' Ask'd me tu tilt with him, the proven knight.
Modred for want of worthier was the judge. "Shall Rome or heathen rule in Arthur's re::Im! Then I so shook him in the saddle, he said, Flash brand and lance, fall battlenxe opon helm, * Thou hast half prevail'd against me,' said so-heFall battleaxe, and flash brand! Let the King reign. Tho' Modred biting his thin lips was mute,
For he is alway sullen : what care I ?” "Strike for the King and live! his knights have beard
And Gareth went, and hovering round her chair That God hath told the King a secret word. Ask'd, “Mother, thu' ye comnt me still the child, Fall battleaxe, and flash brand! Let the King reign. Sweet mother, do ye love the child ?” She laugh'd,
"Thon art bnt a wild-goose to question it.” "Blow trumpet! he will lift us from the dust. “Then, mother, an ye love the child," he said, Blow trumpet! live the strength and die the lust! “Being a goose and rather tame than wild, Clang battleaxe, and clash brand! Let the King Ilear the child's story." "Yea, my well-beloved, reigu.
Au 'twere but of the goose and golden eggs." "Strike for the King and die! and if thon diest, And Gareth answer'd her with kindling eyes, The King is King, and ever wills the highest. “Nay, nay, good mother, but this egg of mine Claug battlease, and clash brand! Let the King Was tiner gold than any goose can lay ; reign,
For this an Eagle, a royal Eagle, laid
Almost beyond eye-rench, on such a palm “Blow, for onr Sun is mighty in his May! As glitters gilded in thy Book of Hours. Blow, for our suu is mightier day by day!
And there was ever haunting round the palm Clang battleaxe, and clash brand !
Let the King A lusty yonth, but poor, who often saw reign.
The splendor sparkling from aloft, and thought
• An I conld climb and lay my hand upon it, "The King will follow Christ, and we the King Then were I wealthier than a leash of kings.' In whom high Grd hath breathed a secret thing. But ever when he reach'd a hand to climb, Fall battleaxe, and flash brand! Let the King reign." One, that had loved him from his childhood, canght
And stay'd him, 'Climb not lest thou break thy neck, So sang the knighthood, moving to their hall.
I charge thee by my love,' and so the boy, There at the banquet those great lords from Rome,
Sweet mother, neither clomb, nor brake liis neck, The slowly-fading mistress of the world,
Bnt brake his very heart in pining for it, Strode in, and claim'd their tribute as of yore.
| And past away." But Arthur spake, “Behold, for these have sworu To wage my wars, and worship me their King;
To whom the mother said, The old order changeth, yielding place to new;
"True love, sweet son, had risk'd himself and climb'd, And we that fight for our fair father Christ,
Aud handed down the golden treasure to him." Seeing that ye be grown too weak and old To drive the heathen from yonr Roman wall,
And Gareth answer'd her with kindling eyes, No tribute will we pay:" so those great lords
"Guld? said I gold ?-ay then, why he, or she, Drew back in wrath, and Arthur strove with Rome. Or whosoe'er it was, or half the world And Arthur and his knighthood for a space
IIad ventured-had the thing I spake of been
Mere gold-but this was all of that true steel
And lightnings play'd about it in the siorm, The heathen hordes, and made a realm aud reign'd. And there were cries and clashings in the nest,
And all the little fowl were florried at it,
Then Bellicent bemoan'd herself and said,
" Hast thon po pity upon my loneliness! The last tall son of Lot and Bellicent,
Lo, where thy father Lot beside the hearth And tallest, Gareth, in a showerful spring
Lies like a log, and all but smoulder'd out! Stared at the spate. A slender-shafted Pine
For ever since when traitor to the King Lost footing, fell, and so was whirl'd away.
He fought against him in the Barons' war, "How he went down," said Gareth, "as a false knight' And Arthur gave him back his territory, Or evil king before my lance if lance
His age hath slowly droopt, and now lies there Were mine to use, senseless cataract,
A yet-warm corpse, and yet unburiable, Bearing all down in thy precipitancy
No more ; nor sees, nor hears, nor spenks, por knoris And yet thou art but swollen with cold snows And both thy brethren are in Arthor's hall, And mine is living blood: thou dost His will, Albeit neither loved with that full love The Makers, and not knowest, and I that know, I feel for thee, nor worthy such a love: Have strength and wit, in my good mother's hall Stay therefore thou; red berries charm the bird Linger with vacillating obedience,
And thee, mine innocent, the jousts, the wars, Prison'd, and kept and coax'd and whistled to- Who never knewest tinger-ache, nor pang Since the good mother holds me still a child ! of wrench' or broken limh-an often chance Good mother is bad mother unto me!
In those brain-stunning shocks, and tourney-falle, A worse were better; yet no worse wonld I. Frights to my heart; but stay: follow the deer Heaven yield her for it, but in me pnt force By these tall firs and our fast-falling burns ; To weary her ears with one continuous prayer, So make thy manhood mightier day by day;
Sweet is the chase: and I will seek thee out
Silent awhile was Gareth, then replied, Some comfortable bride and fair, to grace
“ The thrall in person may be free in soul, Thy climbing life, aud cherish my prone year, Aud I shall see the jousts. Thy son am I, Till falling into Lot's forgetfaluess
Avd since thou art my mother, must obey.
I therefore yield me freely to thy will;
To serve with scullions and with kitchen-knaves ;
And turning toward him wheresoe'er he turn'd, Set two before him. One was fair, strong, arm'd- Perplext his outward purpose, till an hour, Bat to be won by force-and many men
When waken'd by the wind which with full voice Desired her; one, good lack, no man desired. Swept bellowing thro' the darkness ou to dawn, And these were the conditious of the King:
He rose, and out of slumber calling two
The three were clnd like tillers of the soil.
Southward they set their faces. The birds made Yea-some she cleaved to, but they died of her. Melody on branch, and melody in mid-air, And one-they call'd her Fame; and one,-0 mother, The damp hill-slopes were quicken'd into green, How can ye keep me tether'd to you-Shame! And the live green had kivdled into flowers, Man am I grown, a man's work must I do. For it was past the time of Easterday. Follow the deer? follow the Christ, the King, Live pure, speak true, right wrong, follow the King- So, when their feet were planted on the plain Else, wberefore born ?"
That broaden'd toward the base of Camelot,
Far off they saw the silver-misty morn To whom the mother said, Rolling her smoke about the royal mount, "Sweet son, for there be many who deem him not, That rose between the forest and the field. Or will not deem him, wholly proven King-- At times the summit of the high city fash'd; Albeit in mine own heart I kuew him King, At times the spires and turrets half-way down When I was frequent with him in my youth, Prick'd thru' the mist: at times the great gato shone And heard him Kingly speak, and doubter him Only, that opend on the field below: No more than he, himself; but felt him mine, Anon, the whole fair city had disappear'd. Of closest kin to me: yet-trilt thou leave Thinc easeful biding here, and risk thive all,
Then those who went with Gareth were amazed, Lise, limbs, for one that is not proven King ? One crying, “Let us go no farther, lord. Stay, till the cloud that settles round his birth Ilere is a city of Enchanters, built Ilath lifted but a little. Stay, sweet son."
By fairy kings." The second echo'd him,
“Lord, we have heard from our wise men at bome Ånd Gareth answer'd quickly, "Not an hour, To Northward, that this King is not the King, do that ye yield me I will walk thro' fire,
But only changeling out of Fairyland, Mother, to gain it-your full leave to go.
Who drave the beathen hence by sorcery Not proven, who swept the dust of rain'd Rome And Merlin's glamour.” Then the first again, From off the threshold of the realm, and crush'd “Lord, there is no such city anywhere, The Idolaters, and made the people free?
But all a vision." Who should be King save him who makes us free?"
Gareth anstrer'd them So when the Qneen, who long had sought in vain With langhter, swearing he had glamour cnow To break him from the intent to which he grew, In his own blood, his princedom, yonth, and hopes, Found her son's will unwaveringly one,
To plunge old Merlin in the Arabian Sea; She answerd craftily, “Will ye walk thro' fire ? So push'd them all unwilling toward the gate. Who walks thro' fire will hardly heed the smoke.
And there was no gate like it mder heaven. Ay, go then, an ye must : only one proof,
For barefoot on the key-stone, which was lined Before thou ask the King to make thee kuight, And rippled like an ever-fleeting wave, of thine obedience and thy love to me,
The Lady of the Lake stood : all her dress Thy mother, I demand.”
Wept from her sides as water flowing away;
But like the cross her great and goodly arms And Gareth cried, Stretch'd under all the cornice and apheld ; "A hard one, or a hundred, so I go.
And drops of water fell from either hand;
A censer, either worn with wind and storm ;
Were giddy gazing there ; and over all
Of Arthur, who should help him at his need.
Then those with Gareth for so long a space Low down thro’ villain kitchen-vassalage,
Stared at the fignres, that at last it seem'd Her own trne Gareth was too princely-proud The dragon-boughts and elvish emblemings To pass thereby; so should he rest with her Began to move, seethe, twine, and curl: they cali'd Closed in her castle from the sound of arms. To Gareth, “Lord, the gateway is alive."