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And one from Edyrn. Every now and then,
“Fair and dear cousin, you that most had cause To fear me, fear no longer, I am changed. Yourself were tirst the blameless cause to make My nature's prideful sparkle in the blood Break into farious flame; being repulsed By Yniol and yourself, I schemed and wrought Until I overturn'd him ; then set up (With one main purpose ever at my heart) My haughty jousts, and took a paramour : Did her mock-honor as the fairest fair, And, toppling over all antagonism, So wax'd in pride, that I believed myself Unconquerable, for I was wellnigh mad: And, but for my main purpose in these jousts, I should have slain your father, seized yourself.
I lived in hope that sometime you would come
Such fine reserve and noble reticence,
Long since, to guard the justice of the King: Manners so kind, yet stately, such a grace
He look'd and found them wanting; and as now of tenderest courtesy, that I began
Men weed the white horse on the Berkshire hills, To glance behind me at my former life,
To keep him bright and clean as heretofore, And find that it had been the wolf's indeed : He rooted out the clothful officer And oft I talk'd with Dubric, the high saint, ûr guilty, which for bribe had wink'd at wrong, Who, with mild beat of holy oratory,
And in their chairs set up a stronger race, Subdued me somewhat to that gentleness,
With hearts and hands, and sent a thousand men Which, when it weds with mavhood, makes a man. To till the wastes, and moving everywhere, And you were often there about the Queen, Cleard the dark places and let in the law, But saw me not, or mark'd not if you saw ; And broke the bandit holds and cleansed the land. Nor did I care or dare to speak with you, But kept myself aloof till I was changed ;
Then, when Geraint was whole again, they past And fear not, cousin; I am changed indeed.” With Arthur to Caerleon apon Usk.
There the great Queen once more embraced her He spoke, and Enid easily believed,
friend, Like simple noble natures, credulous
And clothed her in apparel like the day. of what they long for, good in friend or foe, And tho' Geraint could never take again There most in those who most have done them ill. That comfort from their converse which he took And when they reach'd the camp the Ki himself Before the Queen's fair name was breathed upon, Advanced to greet them, and beholding her, He rested well content that all was well. Tho' pale, yet happy, ask'd her not a word, Thence, after tarrying for a space, they rode, But when apart with Edyrn, whom he held
And fifty knights rode with them to the shores In converse for a little, and return’d,
Of Severn, and they past to their own land. And gravely smiling, lifted her from horse,
And there he kept the justice of the King And kiss'd her with all pureness, brother-like, So vigorously yet mildly, that all hearts And show'd an empty tent allotted her,
Applauded, and the spiteful whisper died : And glancing for a minute, till he saw her
And being ever foremost in the chase, Pass into it, turn'd to the Prince, and said: And victor at the tilt and tournament,
They call'd him the great Prince and man of men. “Prince, when of late ye pray'd me for my leave But Enid, whom her ladies loved to call To move to your own land, and there defend Enid the Fair, a grateful people named Your marches, I was prick'd with some reproof, Enid the Good; and in their halls arose As one that let foul wrong stagnate and be, The cry of children, Enids and Geraints By having look'd too much thro' alien eyes, Oi times to be ; nor did he doubt her more, And wrought too long with delegated hands, But rested in her fealty, till he crown'd Not used mine own: but now behold me come A happy life with a fair death, and fell To cleanse this common sewer of all my realm, Against the heathen of the Northern Sea With Edyrn and with others : have ye look'd In battle, tighting for the blameless King. At Edyrn ? have ye seen how nobly changed ! This work of his is great and wonderful. His very face with change of heart is changed. The world will not believe a man repents; And this wise world of ours is mainly right.
MERLIN AND VIVIEN. Full seldom doth a man repent, or use Both grace and will to pick the vicious quitch A STORM was coming, but the winds were still, Or blood and custom wholly out of him,
And in the wild woods of Broceliande, And make all clean, and plant himself afresh. Before an oak, so hollow, huge, and old, Edyrn has done it, weeding all his heart,
It look'd a tower of ruin'd masonwork,
At Merlip's feet the wily Vivien lay.
The wily Vivien stole from Arthur's court:
She hated all the knights, and heard in thought Sanest, and most obedient: and indeed
Their lavish comment when her name was named. This work of Edyrn, wrought upon himself
For once, when Arthur, walking all alone, After a life of violence, seems to me
Vext at a rumor issued from herself
Of some corruption crept among his knights,
Would fain have wrought upon his cloudy mood Should make an onslaught single on a realm With reverent eyes mock-loyal, shaken voice, of robbers, tho' he slew them one by one,
And flutter'd adoration, and at last And were himself nigh wounded to the death." With dark sweet hints of some who prized him more
Than who should prize him most; at which the King So spake the King; low bow'd the Prince, and felt Had gazed upon her blankly and gone by: His work.was neither great nor wonderful,
But one had watch'd, and had not held his peace: And past to Enid's tent; and thither came
It made the laughter of an afternoon The King's own leech to look into his hurt; That Vivien should attempt the blameless King. And Enid tended on him there; and there
And after that she set herself to gain Her constant motion round him, and the breath Him, the most famous man of all those times, or her sweet tendance hovering over him,
Merlin, who kuew the range of all their arts, Fill'd all the genial courses of his blood
Had built the King his haveus, ships, and halls, With deeper and with ever deeper love,
Was also Bard, and knew the starry heavens ; As the southwest that, blowing Bala lake,
The people call'd bim Wizard; whom at first Fills all the sacred Dee. So past the days.
She play'd about with slight and sprightly talk,
And vivid smiles, and faintly venom'd points But while Geraint lay healmy of his hurt, Of slander, glancing here and grazing there ; The blameless King went forth and cast his eyes And yielding to his kindlier moods, tbe Seer On each of all whom Uther left in charge
Would watch her at her petulance, and play,.
Ev'n when they seem'd unlovable, and laugh But neither arms nor tongue-0 stupid child ! As those that watch a kitten; thus he grew Yet you are wise who say it; let me think Tolerant of what he half disdain'd, and she, Silence is wisdom; I am silent then, Perceiving that she was but half disdain'd,
And ask no kiss;" then adding all at once, Began to break her sports with graver fits,
“And lo! I clothe myself with wisdom," drew Turn red or pale, would often when they met The vast and shaggy mantle of his beard Sigh fully, or all-silent gaze upon him
Across her neck and bosom to her knee, With such a fixt devotion, that the old man, And call'd herself a gilded summer fly Tho' doubtful, felt the flattery, and at times Caught in a great old tyrant spider's web, Would flatter his own wish in age for love,
Who meant to eat her up in that wild wood And half believe her true : for thus at times Without one word. So Vivien call'd herself, He waver'd; but that other clung to him,
But rather seem'd a lovely balefal star Fixt in her will, and so the seasons went.
Veil'd in gray vapor; till he sadly smiled:
“To what request for what strange boon,” he said, Then fell on Merlin a great melancholy;
“Are these your pretty tricks and fooleries,
For these have broken up my melancholy."
And Vivien apswered, smiling saucily,
“What, O my Master, bave ye found your voice ? The meanest having power upon the highest, I bid the stranger welcome. Thanks at last! And the high purpose broken by the worm.
But yesterday you never open'd lip,
Except indeed to drink: no cup had we: So leaving Arthur's court he gain'd the beach ; In mine own lady palms I cull'd the spring There found a little boat, and stept into it; That gather'd trickling dropwise from the cleft, And Vivien follow'd, but he mark'd her not. And made a pretty cup of both my hands She took the helm and he the sail; the boat And offer'd you it kueeling: then you drank Drave with a sudden wind across the deeps, And knew no more, nor gave me one poor word: And tonching Breton sands, they disembark'd. Oh, no more thanks than might a goat have given And then she follow'd Merlin all the way,
With no more sign of reverence than a beard. Ev'n to the wild woods of Broceliande.
And when we halted at that other well, For Merlin once had told her of a charm,
And I was faint to swooning, and you lay The which if any wrought on anyone
Foot-gilt with all the blossom-dust of those With woven paces and with waving arms,
Deep meadows we had traversed, did you know The man so wrought on ever seem'd to lie
That Vivien bathed your feet before her own ? Closed in the four walls of a hollow tower,
And yet no thanks: and all thro' this wild wood From which was no escape for evermore ;
And all this morning when I fondled you:
But such a silence is more wise than kind."
And Merlin lock'd his hand in hers and said: Upon the great Enchanter of the Time,
“Oh, did ye never lie upon the shore, As fancying that her glory would be great
And watch the curl'd white of the coming wave According to his greatness whom she quench'd. Glass'd in the slippery sand before it breaks !
Ev'n such a wave, but nut so pleasurable, There lay she all her length and kiss'd his feet, Dark in the glass of some presageful mood, As if in deepest reverence and in love.
Had I for three days seen, ready to fall. A twist of gold was round her hair ; a robe
And then I rose and fled from Arthur's court Of samite without price, that more exprest
To break the mood. You follow'd me unask'd: Than hid her, clung about her lissome limbs, And when I look’a, and saw yon following still, In color like the satin-shining palm
My mind involved yourself the nearest thing On sallows in the windy gleams of March:
In that mind-mist: for shall I tell you truth? And while she kiss'd them, crying, “Trample me, You seem'd that wave about to break upon me Dear feet, that I have follow'd thro' the world, And sweep me from my hold upon the world, And I will pay you worship; tread me down My use and name and fame. Your pardon, child. And I will kiss you for it;" he was mute:
Your pretty sports have brighten'd all again. So dark a forethought roll'd about his brain, And ask your boon, for boon I owe you thrice, As on a dull day in an ocean cave
Once for wrong done you by confusion, next The blind wave feeling round his long sea-hall For thanks it seems till now neglected, last In silence: wherefore, when she lifted up
For these your dainty gambols: wherefore ask; A face of sad appeal, and spake and said,
And take this boon so strange and not so strange.' “O Merlin, do ye love me?" and again, "O Merlin, do ye love me?" and once more,
And Vivien answer'd, smiling mournfully: “Great Master, do ye love me?" he was mute. "Oh, not so strange as my long asking it, And lissome Vivien, holding by his heel,
Nor yet so strange as you yourself are strange, Writhed toward him, slided up his knee and sat, Nor half so strange as that dark mood of yours. Behind his ankle twined her hollow feet
I ever feard ye were not wholly mine; Together, curved an arm abont his neck,
And see, yourself have own'd ye did me wrong. clung like a snake ; and letting her left hand The people call you prophet: let it be: Droop from his mighty shonlder, as a leaf,
But not of those that can expound themselves. Made with her right a comb of pearl to part Take Vivien for expounder; she will call The lists of such a beard as youth gone out That three-days-long presageful gloom of yours Had left in ashes : then he spoke and said,
No presage, but the same mistrustful mood Not looking at her, “Who are wise in love That makes you seem less noble than yourself, Love most, say least," and Vivien answer'd quick, Whenever I have ask'd this very boon, “I saw the little elf-god eyeless once
Now ask'd again: for see you not, dear love, In Arthur's arras hall at Camelot:
That such a mood as that, which lately gloom'd
Your fancy when ye saw me following you,
But shall it ? answer, darling, answer, no.
And Merlin look'd and half believed her true,
Like sunlight on the plain behind a shower:
“Far other was the song that once I heard How hard you look, and how denyiogly!
By this huge oak, sang nearly where we sit: Oh, if you think this wickedness in me,
For here we met, some ten or twelve of us, That I should prove it on you unawares,
To chase a creature that was current then That makes me passing wrathful; then our bond In these wild woods, the hart with golden horns. Had best be loosed for ever: but think or not, It was the time when tirst the question rose By Heaven that hears I tell you the clean truth, About the founding of a Table Round, As clean as blood of babes, as white as milk: That was to be, for love of God and men O Merlin, may this earth, if ever I,
And noble deeds, the flower of all the world. If these unwitty wandering wits of mine,
And each incited each to noble deeds. Evin in the jumbled rubbish of a dream,
And while we waited, one, the youngest of us, Have tript on such conjectural treachery
We could not keep him silent, out he flash'd,
To such a stern and iron-clashing close,
That when he stopt we long'd to hurl together, And grant my re-reiterated wish,
And should have done it; but the beauteous beast, The great proof of your love: because I think, Scared by the noise, upstarted at our feet, However wise, ye hardly know me yet.”
And like a silver shadow slipt away
Thro' the dim land ; and all day long we rode And Merlin loosed his hand from hers and said, Thro' the dim land against a rushing wind, "I never was less wise, however wise,
That glorious roundel echoing in our ears,
And chased the flashes of his golden horns
That laughs at iron-as our warriors did-
Where children cast their pins and nails, and cry, And stirr'd this vice in you which ruin'd man ‘Laugh, little well!" but touch it with a sword, Thro' woman the first hour; for howsoe'er
It buzzes tiercely round the point; and there In children a great curiousness be well,
We lost him: such a noble song was that.
I felt as tho' you kuew this cursed charm,
And felt them slowly ebbing, pame and fame.”
Aud Vivien auswer'd, smiling mournfully: That settles beaten back, and beaten back
“Oh, mine have ebb'd away for evermore, Settles, till one could yield for weariness :
And all thro' following you to this wild wood, Bat since I will not yield to give you power
Because I saw you sad, to comfort you. Upop my life and use and pame and fame,
Lo now, what hearts have men ! they never moun: Why will ye never ask some other boon?
As high as woman in her selfless mood. Yea, by God's rood, I trusted you too mnch.” And touching fame, howe'er ye scorn my song,
Take one verse more-the lady speaks it-this: And Vivien, like the tenderest-hearted maid That ever bided tryst at village stile,
"My name, once mine, now thine, is closelier Made answer, either eyelid wet with tears:
mine, "Nay, Master, be not wrathful with your maid ;
For fame, could fame be mine, that fame were thine, Caress her: let her feel herself forgiven
And shame, could shame be thine, that shame were
mine. Who feels no heart to ask another boou. I think ye hardly know the tender rhyme
So trust me not at all or all in all.' of 'trust me not at all or all in all.' I heard the great Sir Lancelot sing it once,
“Says she not well ? and there is more—this rhyme And it shall answer for me. Listen to it.
Is like the fair pearl-necklace of the Queen,
That burst in dancing, and the pearls were spilt ; «•In Love, if Love be Love, if Love be ours,
Some lost, some stolen, some as relics kept. Faith and unfaith can ne'er be equal powers :
But nevermore the same two sister pearls
Ran down the silken thread to kiss each other Unfaith in aught is want of faith in all.
On her white neck-80 is it with this rhyme: "* It is the little rift within the lute,
It lives dispersedly in many hands,
And every minstrel sings it differently; That by and by will make the music mute,
Yet is there one true line, the pearl of pearls : And ever widening slowly silence all.
Man dreams of Fame while woman wakes to love'
Yea! Love, tho' Love were of the grossest, carves "The little rift within the lover's lute
A portion from the solid present, eats Or little pitted speck in garner'd fruit,
And uses, careless of the rest ; but Fame, That rotting inward, slowly moulders all.
The Fame that follows death is nothing to us ;
And what is Fame in life but half-disfame, "+It is not worth the keeping: let it go: And counterchanged with darkness ? ye yourself
Know well that Envy calls you Devil's son,
Closed in the four walls of a hollow tower From which is no escape for evermore."
Then the great Master merrily answer'd her: "Full many a love in loving youth was mine; I needed then no charm to keep them mine But youth and love; and that full heart of yours Whereof ye prattle, may now assure you mine; So live uncharm'd. For those who wrought it first The 'wrist is parted from the hand that waved, The feet onmortised from their ankle-bones Who paced it, ages back: but will ye hear The legend as in guerdon for your rhyme ?
And Merlin lock'd his hand in hers and said, "I once was looking for a magic weed, Aud found a fair young squire who sat alone, Had carved himself a knightly shield of wood, And then was painting on it fancied arms, Azure, an Eagle rising, or the Sun In dexter chief; the scroll, 'I follow fame.' And speaking not, but leaning over him, I took the brush and blotted out the bird, And made a Gardener putting in a graff, With this for motto, “Rather use than fame.' You should have seen him blush ; but afterwards He made a stalwart knight. On, Vivien, For you, methinks you think you love me well ; For me, I love you somewhat; rest: and Love Should have some rest and pleasure in himself, Not ever be too curious for a boon, Too prorient for a proof against the grain Of him ye say ye love: but Fame with men, Being but ampler means to serve mankind, Should bave small rest or pleasure in herself, But work as vassal to the larger love, That dwarfs the petty love of one to one. Use gave me Fame at first, and Fame again Increasing gave me use. Lo, there my boon! What other for men sought to prove me vile, Because I fain had given them greater wits: And then did Envy call me Devil's son: The sick weak beast, seeking to help herself By striking at her better, miss'd, and brought Her own claw back, and wounded her own heart. Sweet were the days when I was all unknown, But when my name was lifted up, the storm Brake on the mountain and I cared not for it. Right well know I that fame is half-disfame, Yet needs must work my work. That other fame, To one at least, who hath not children, vague, The cackle of the unborn about the grave, I cared not for it: a single misty star, Which is the second in a line of stars That seem a sword beneath a belt of three, I never gazed upon it but I dreamt Of some vast charm concluded in that star To make fame nothing. Wherefore, if I fear, Giving you power upon me thro' this charm, That you might play me falsely, having power, However well ye think ye love me now (As sons of kings loving in pupilage Have turn'd to tyrants when they came to power), I rather dread the loss of use than fame; If you-and not so much from wickedness, As some wild turn of anger, or a mood of overstrain'd affection, it may be, To keep me all to your own self-or else A sudden spurt of woman's jealousyShould try this charm on whom ye say ye love."
“There lived a king in the most Eastern East, Less old than I, yet older, for my blood Hath earnest in it of far springs to be. A tawny pirate anchor'd in his port, Whose bark had plunderd twenty nameless isles ; And passing one, at the high peep or dawn, He saw two cities in a thousand boats All fighting for a woman on the sea. And pushing his black craft among them all, He lightly scatter'd theirs and brought her off, With loss of half his people arrow-slain ; A maid so smooth, so white, so wonderful, They said a light came from her when she moved: And since the pirate would not yield her up, The King impaled him for his piracy: Then made her Queen: but those isle-nurtured eyes Waged such unwilling tho' successful war On all the youth: they sicken'd; councils thinn'd, Aud armies waned, for, magnet-like, she drew The rustiest iron of old fighters' hearts :: And beasts themselves would worship; camels knelt Unbidden, and the brutes of mountain back That carry kings in castles, bow'd black knees Of homage, ringing with their serpent hands, To make her smile, her golden ankle-bells. What wonder, being jealous, that he sent His horns of proclamation out thro' all The bundred under-kingdoms that he sway'd To find a wizard who might teach the King Some charm, which being wrought upon the Queen, Might keep her all his own: to such a one He promised more than ever king has given, A league of mountain full of golden mines, A province with a hundred miles of coast, A palace and a princess, all for him: But on all those who tried and fail'd, the King Pronounced a dismal sentence, meaning by it To keep the list low and pretenders back, Or like a king, not to be trifled withTheir heads should moulder on the city gates. And many tried and fail'd, because the charm of nature in her overbore their own : And many a wizard brow bleach'd on the walls: And many weeks a troop of carrion crows Hung like a cloud above the gateway towers."
And Vivien answer'd, smiling as in wrath : "Have I not sworn ? I am not trusted. Good ! Well, hide it, hide it; I shall find it out; And being found, take heed of Vivien. A woman, and not trusted, doubtless I Might feel some sudden turn of anger born of your misfaith ; and your fine epithet Is accurate too, for this full love of mine Without the fall heart back may merit well Your term of overstrain'd. So used as I, My daily wonder is, I love at all. And as to woman's jealousy, oh, why not? Oh, to what end, except a jealous one, And one to make me jealous if I love, Was this fair charm invented by yourself? I well believe that all about this world Ye cage a buxom captive here and there,
And Vivien, breaking in upon him, said: “I sit and gather honey : yet, methinks, Thy tongue has tript a little : ask thyself. The lady never made unwilling war With those fine eyes: she had her pleasure in it, And made her good man jealous with good cause. And lived there neither dame por dameel then Wroth at a lover's loss ? were all as tame, I mean, as noble, as their Queen was fair? Not one to flirt a venom at her eyes, Or pinch a murderous dust into her drink, Or make her paler with a poison'd rose ? Well, those were not our days : but did they find A wizard ? Tell me, was he like to thee "
She ceased, and made her lithe arm round bis
neck Tighter, and they drew back, and let her eyes