Page images

"Then when he ask'd us, kvight by knight, if any For grief, and all in middle street the Queen, Had seen it, all their answers were as one:

Who rode by Lancelot, wailid and shriek'd aloud, Nay, lord, and therefore have we sworn our vows.' * This madness has come on us for our sins.'

So to the Gate of the three Queens we came, "Lo, now,' said Arthur, 'have you seen a clond? Where Arthnr's wars are render'd mystically, What go ye into the wilderness to see ?'

And thence departed every one his way.

“Then Galahad on the sudden, and in a voice "And I was lifted up in heart, and thought Shrilling along the hall to Arthur, callid,

Of all my late-shown prowess in the lists, *But I, Sir Arthur, saw the Holy Grail,

How my strong lance had beateu down the knights, I saw the Holy Grail and heard a cry

So many and famous names ; and never yet "O Galahad, and O Galahad, follow me." '

Had heaven appear'd'eo blue, nor earth so green,

For all my blood danced in me, and I knew
“Ah, Galahad, Galahad,' said the King, 'for such That I should light upon the Holy Grail.
As thou art is the vision, not for these.
Thy holy nun and thon have seen a sign-

“ Thereafter the dark warning of our King, Holier is none, my Percivale, than she

That most of us would follow wandering fires, A sign to maim this Order which I made.

Came like a driving gloom across my miud. But ye, that follow but the leader's bell'

Then every evil word I bad spoken once, (Brother, the king was hard upon his nights) And every evil thought I had thought of old, "Taliessin is our fullest throat of song,

And every evil deed I ever did, And one hath sung and all the dumb will sing. Awoke and cried, 'This Quest is not for thee.' Lancelot is Lancelot, and hath overborne

And lifting up mine eyes, I found myself Five knights at once, and every younger kuight, Alone, and in a land of sand and thorns, Unproven, holds himself as Lancelot,

And I was thirsty even unto death ; Till overborne by one, he learns—and ye,

And I, too, cried, “This Quest is not for thee.' What are ye? Galahads ?-10, nor Percivales' (For thus it pleased the King to range me close "And on I rode, and when I thonght my thirst After Sir Galahad); nay,' said he, but men Would slay me, saw deep lawns, and then a prook, With strength and will to right the wrong'd, of power With ove sharp rapid, where the crispivg white To lay the sudden heads of violence flat,

Play'd ever back upon the sloping wave, Knights that in twelve great battles splash'd and And took both ear and eye; and o'er the brook dyed

Were apple-trees, and apples by the brook
The strong White Horse in his own heathen blood- Fallen, and on the lawns. "I will rest here,'
But one hath seen, and all the blind will see. I said, 'I am not worthy of the Quest ;'
Go, since your vows are sacred, being made: But even while I drank the brook, and ate
Yet-for ye know the cries of all my realm

The goodly apples, all these things at once
Pass thro' this hall—how often, O my knights, Fell into dust, and I was left alone,
Your places being vacant at my side,

And thirsting, in a land of sand and thorns.
This chance of noble deeds will come and go
Unchallenged, while ye follow wandering fires "And then behold a woman at a door
Lost in the quagmire! Many of you, yea most, Spinning; and fair the house whereby she sal,
Return no more: ye think I show myself

And kind the woman's eyes and innocent, Too dark a prophet: come now, let us meet And all her bearing gracious; and she rose The morrow morn once more in one full field Opening her arms to meet me, as who should say Of gracious pastime, that once more the King, * Rest here;' but when I touch'd her, lo! she, too, Before ye leave him for this Quest, may count Fell into dust and nothing, and the house The yet unbroken strength of all his knights, Became no better than a broken shed, Rejoicing in that Order which he made.'

And in it a dead babe; and also this

Fell into dust, and I was left alone. “So when the sun broke next from under ground, All the great table of our Arthur closed

“And on I rode, and greater was my thirst. And clash'd in such a tourney and so full,

Then flash'd a yellow gleam across the world, So many lances broken-never yet

And where it smote the ploughshare in the field, Had Camelot seen the like, since Arthur came ; The ploughman left his ploughing, and fell dowu And I myself and Galabad, for a strength

Before it; where it glitter'd on her pail, Was in us from the vision, overthrew

The milkmaid left her milking, and fell down So many knights that the people cried,

Before it, and I knew not why, but thought And almost burst the barriers in their heat, "The sun is rising,' tho' the sun had risen. Shouting, 'Sir Galahad and Sir Percivale !

Then was I ware of one that on me moved

In golden armor with a crown of gold “But when the next day brake from under ground - About a casque all jewels; and his horse O brother, had yon known our Camelot,

In golden armor jewell'd everywhere: Built by old kings, age after age, so old

And on the splendor came, flashing me blind; The King himself had fears that it would fall, Aud seem'd to me the Lord of all the world, So strange, and rich, and dim; for where the roofs Being so huge. But when I thought he meant Totter'd toward each other in the sky,

To crush me, moving on me, lo! he, too, Met foreheads all along the street of those

Open'd his arms to embrace me as he came,
Who watch'd us pass; and lower, and where the long And up I went and touch'd him, and he, too,
Rich galleries, lady-laden, weigh'd the necks Fell into dust, and I was left alone
Of dragons clinging to the crazy walls,

And wearying in a land of sand and thorns.
Thicker than drops from thunder, showers of flowers
Fell as we past; and men and boys astride

“And I rode on and found a mighty hill, On wyvern, lion, dragon, griffin, swan,

And on the top, a city wall'd: the spires At all the corners, named us each by name,

Prick'd with incredible pinnacles into heaven, Calling ‘God speed !' but in the ways below And by the gateway stirr'd a crowd; and these The knights and ladies wept, and rich and poor Cried to me climbing, Welcome, Percivale ! Wept, and the King himself could hardly speak Thou mightiest and thou purest among men!'

And glad was I and clomb, but found at top Not to be crost, save that some ancient king
No man, nor any vcice. And thence I past

Had built a way, where, link'd with many a bridge, Far thro' a ruinous city, and I saw

A thousand piers ran into the great Sea. That man had once dwelt there, but there I found And Galahad fled along them bridge by bridge, Only one man of an exceeding age.

And every bridge as quickly as he crost Where is that goodly company,' said I,

Sprang into fire and vanish'd, tho' I yearn'd "That so cried out upon me?' and he had

To follow; and thrice above him all the heavens Scarce any voice to answer, and yet gasp'd, Open'd and blazed with thunder such as seem'd Whence and what art thou !' and even as he spoke Shoutings of all the sons of God: and first Fell into dust, and disappear'd, and I

At once I saw him far on the great Sea, Was left alone once more, and cried in grief, In silver-shining armor starry-clear; 'Lo, if I find the Holy Grail itself

And o'er his head the holy vessel hung And touch it, it will crumble into dast.'

Clothed in white samite or a luminous cloud.

And with exceeding swiftness ran the boat, “And thence I dropt into a lowly vale,

If boat it were—I saw not whence it came. Low as the hill was high, and where the vale And when the heavens open'd and blazed again Was lowest, found a chapel, and thereby

Roaring, I saw him like a silver starA holy hermit in a hermitage,

And had he set the sail, or had the boat To whom I told my phantoms, and he said : Become a living creature clad with wings?

And o'er his head the Holy Vessel hung ""O son, thou hast not true humility,

Redder than any rose, a joy to me, The highest virtue, mother of them all;

For now I knew the veil had been withdrawn. For when the Lord of all things made himself Then in a moment when they blazed again Naked of glory for His mortal change,

Opening, I saw the least of little stars "Take thou my robe,” she said, "for all is thine," Down on the waste, and straight beyond the star And all her form shone forth with sudden light I saw the spiritual city and all her spires So that the angels were amazed, and she

And gateways in a glory like one pearlFollow'd him down, and like a flying star

No larger, tho' the goal of all the saintsLed on the gray-hair'd wisdom of the East; Strike from the sea ; and from the star there shot But her thou hast not known : for what is this A rose-red sparkle to the city, and there Thon thoughtest of thy prowess and thy sins ? Dwelt, and i knew it was the Holy Grail, Thou bast not lost thyself to save thyself

Which never eyes on earth again shall see. As Galahad.' When the hermit made an end, Then fell the floods of heaven drowning the deep. In silver armor saddenly Galahad shone

And how my feet recrost the deathful ridge Before us, and against the chapel door

No memory in me lives; but that I touch'd Laid lance, and enter'd, and we knelt in prayer. The chapel-doors at dawn I know; and thence And there the bermit slaked my burning thirst, Taking my war-horse from the holy man, And at the sacring of the mass I saw

Glad that no phantom vext me more, return'd The holy elements alone ; but he,

To whence I came, the gate of Arthur's wars." Saw ye no more? I, Galahad, saw the Grail, The Holy Grail, descend upon the shrine :

“O brother," ask'd Ambrosius —" for in sooth I saw the fiery face as of a child

These ancient books (and they would win thee) That smote itself into the bread and went;

teem, And hither am I come; and never yet

Only I find not there this Holy Grail, Hath what thy sister taught me first to see,

With miracles and marvels like to these, This Holy Thing, fail'd from my side, nor come Not all anlike; which oftentime I read, Cover'd, but moving with me night and day, Who read but on my breviary with ease, Fainter by day, but always in the night

Till my head swims; and then go forth and pass Blood-red, and sliding down the blacken'd marsh Down to the little thorpe that lies so close, Blood-red, and on the naked mountain top

And almost plaster'd like a martin's nest Blood-red, and in the sleeping mere below

To these old walls, and mingle with our folk; Blood-red. And in the strength of this I rode, And knowing every honest face of theirs Shattering all evil customs everywhere,

As well as ever shepherd knew his sheep, And past thro' Pagan realms, and made them mine, And every homely secret in their hearts, And clash'd with Pagan hordes, and bore them down, Delight myself with gossip and old wives, And broke thro' all, and in the strength of this And ills and aches, and teethings, lyings-in, Come victor. But my time is hard at hand, And mirthful sayings, children of the place, And hence I go ; and one will crown me king That have no meaning half a league away: Far in the spiritual city; and come thou, too,

Or lulling random squabbles when they rise, For thou sbalt see the vision when I go.'

Chafferings and chatterings at the market-cross,

Rejoice, small man, in this small world of mine, While thus he spake, his eye, dwelling on mine, Yea, even in their hens and in their eggsDrew me, with power upon me, till I grew

O brother, saving this Sir Galahad, One with him, to believe as he believed.

Came ye on none but phantoms in your quest, Then, when the day began to wane, we went. No man, vo woman?" “There rose a hill that none but man could climb,

Then Sir Percivale: Scarr'd with a hundred wintry watercourses "All men, to one so bound by such a vow, Storm at the top, and when we gain’d it, storm And women were as phantoms. O my brother, Round us and death; for every moment glanced Why wilt thou shame me to confess to thee His silver arms and gloom'd: so quick and thick How far I falter'd from my quest and vow? The lightnings here and there to left and right For after I had lain so many nights, Struck, till the dry old trunks about us, dead, A bedmate of the snail and eft and snake, Yea, rotten with a hundred years of death, In grass and burdock, I was changed to wan Sprang into fire: and at the base we found And meagre, and the vision had not come ; On either hand, as far as eye could see,

And then I chanced upon a goodly town A great black swamp and of an evil smell,

With one great dwelling in the middle of it; Part black, part whiten'd with the bones of men, Thither I made, and there was I disarm'd

By maidens each as fair as any flower:

For Lancelot's kith and kin so worship him But when they led me into hall, behold,

That ill to him is ill to them; to Bors The Princess of that castle was the one,

Beyond the rest: he well had been content Brother, and that one only, who had ever

Not to have seen, so Lancelot might have seen Made my heart leap; for when I moved of old The Holy Cup of healing; and, indeed, A slender page about her father's hall,

Being so cloaded with his grief and love, And she a slender maiden, all my heart

Small heart was his after the Holy Quest: Went after her with longing: yet we twain

If God would send the vision, well: if not, Had never kiss'd a kiss, or vow'd a vow.

The Quest and he were in the hands of Heaven. And now I came upon her once again, And one had wedded her, and he was dead,

"And then, with small adventure met, Sir Bors And all his land and wealth and state were hers. Rode to the lonest tract of all the realm, And while I tarried, every day she set

Aud found a people there among their crage, A bangnet richer than the day before

Our race and blood, a remnant that were left By me; for all her longing and her will

Paynim amid their circles, and the stones Was toward me as of old; till one fair morn, They pitch up straight to heaven: and their wise men I walking to and fro beside a stream

Were strong in that old magic which can trace That flash'd across her orchard underneath

The wandering of the stars, and scoff'd at him Her castle-walls, she stole upon my walk,

And this high Qnest as at a simple thing: And calling me the greatest of all knights,

Told him he follow'd_almost Arthur's words Embraced me, and so kiss'd me the first time, A mocking tire: 'what other fire than he, And gave herself and all her wealth to me.

Whereby the blood beats, and the blossom blows, Then I remember'd Arthur's warning word,

And the sea rolls, and all the world is warm'd ?' That most of ns would follow wandering fires, And when his answer chafed them, the rongh crowd, And the Qnest faded in my heart. Anon,

Hearing he had a difference with their priests, The heads of all her people drew to me,

Seized him, and bound and plunged him into a cell With supplication both of knees and tongue : of great piled stones; and lying bounden there “We have heard of thee: thou art our greatest knight, In darkness thro' innumerable hours Our Lady says it, and we well believe:

He heard the hollow-ringing heavens sweep Wed thon our Lady, and rule over us,

Over him, till by miracle-what else? -And thou shalt be as Arthur in onr land.'

Heavy as it was, a great stone slipt and fell, O me, my brother! but one night my vow

Such as no wind could move: and thro' the gap Burnt me within, so that I rose and fled,

Glimmer'd the streaming scud : then came a night But wail'd and wept, and hated mine own self, Still as the day was loud ; and thro' the gap And ev'n the Holy Quest, and all but her ;

The seven clear stars of Arthur's Table RoundThen after I was join'd with Galabad

For, brother, so one night, because they roll Cared not for her, nor anything upon earth.” Thru' such a round in heaven, we named the stars

Rejoicing in ourselves and in our King, Then said the monk, "Poor men, when yole is cold, And these, like bright eyes of familiar friends, Must be content to sit by little tires.

In on him shone: 'Aud then to me, to me,' And this am I, so that ye care for me

Said good Sir Bors, 'beyond all hopes of mine, Ever so little ; yea, and blest be Heaven

Who scarce had pray'd or ask'd it for myselfThat brought thee bere to this poor house of ours, Across the seven clear stars_oh, grace to meWhere all the brethren are so hard, to warm In color like the fingers of a hand My cold heart with a friend: but ob, the pity Before a burning taper, the sweet Grail To find thine own first love once more-to hold, Glided and past, and close upon it peal'd Hold her a wealthy bride within thine arms, A sharp quick thunder.' Afterwards, a maid, Or all but hold, and then-cast her aside,

Who kept our holy faith among her kin Foregoing all her sweetness, like a weed.

In secret, entering, loosed and let him go." For we that want the warmth of double life, We that are plagued with dreams of something sweet To whom the monk: “And I remember now Beyond all sweetness in a life so rich,

That pelicau on the casque: Sir Bors it was Ah, blessed Lord, I speak too earthlywise,

Who spake so low and sadly at our board ; Seeing I never stray'd beyond the cell,

And mighty reverent at our grace was be: But live like an old badger in his earth,

A square-set man and honest; and his eyes, With earth about him everywhere, despite

An ontdoor sign of all the warmth within, All fast and penance. Saw ye none beside ? Smiled with his lips-a smile beneath a cloud, None of your knights !"

But Heaven had meant it for a sunny one:

Ay, ay, Sir Bors, who else? But when ye reach'd “Yea so," said Percivale: The city, found ye all your knights return'd, “One night my pathway swerving east, I saw Or was there sooth in Arthur's prophecy, The pelican on the casque of our Sir Bors

Tell me, and what said each, and what the King ?" All in the middle of the rising moon : And toward him spurr'd, and bail'd him, and he me, Then answer'd Percivale: “And that can I, And each made joy of either; then he ask'd, Brother, and truly; since the living words “Where is he? hast thou seen him-Lancelot?-Once,' Of so great men as Lancelot and our King Said good Sir Bors, 'he dash'd across me-mad, Pass not from door to door and out again, And maddening what he rode: and when I cried, But sit within the house. Oh, when we reach'd "Ridest thou then so hotly on a qnest

The city, our horses stumbling as they trod
So boly," Lancelot shouted, “Stay me not!

On heaps of rnin, hornless unicorns,
I have been the sluggard, and I ride apace, Crack'd basilisks and splinter'd cockatrices,
For now there is a lion in the way."

And shatter'd talbots, which had left the stonen So vanish'd.

Raw, that they fell from, brought us to the hall,

“Then Sir Bors had ridden on Loftly, and sorrowing for our Lancelot, Because his former madness, once the talk And scandal of our table, had return'd;

“And there sat Arthur on the dais-throne,
And those that had gone ont upon the Quest,
Wasted and worn, and bat a tithe of them,
And those that had not, stood before the King,

Who, when he saw me, rose, and bade me hail, Tho' heapt in mounds and ridges all the sea
Saying, 'A welfare in thive eye reproves

Drove like a cataract, and all the sand
Our fear of some disastrons chance for thee

Swept like a river, and the clouded heavens On hill, or plaiv, at sex, or flooding ford.

Were shaken with the motion and the sound. So fierce a gale made havoc here of late

And blackening in the sea-foam sway'd a boat, Among the strange devices of our kings;

Half-swallow'd in it, anchord with a chain ;
Yea, shook this newer, stronger hall of oure, And in my madness to myself I said,
And from the statue Merlin moulded for us "I will embark and I will lose myself,
Half-wrench'd a golden wing; but now—the Quest, And in the great sea wash away my sin.”
This vision--hast thou seen the Holy Cup,

I burst the chain, I sprang into the boat.
That Joseph brought of old to Glastonbury ?! Seven days I drove along the dreary deep,

And with me drove the moon and all the stars ; “So when I told him all thyself hast heard, And the wind fell, and on the seventh vight Ambrosius, and my fresh but tixt resolve

I heard the shingle grinding in the surge, To pass away into the quiet life,

And felt the boat shock earth, and looking up, He answer'd not, but, sharply turning, ask'd Behold, the enchanted towers of Carbouek, of Gawain, 'Gawain, was this Qnest for thee?' A castle like a rock upon a rock,

With chasm-like portals open to the sea, ** Nay, lord,' said Gawain, 'not for such as I. And steps that met the breaker! there was none Therefore I communed with a saintly man,

Stood near it but a lion on each side Wbo made me sure the Quest was no

for me :

That kept the entry, and the moon was full. For I was much awearied of the Quest:

Then from the boat I leapt, and up the stairs. But found a silk pavilion in a field,

There drew my sword. With sudden-tlaring manes And merry maidens in it; and then this gale Those two great beasts rose upright like a man, Tore my pavilion from the tenting-pin,

Each gript a shoulder, and I stood between ; And blew my merry maidens all about

And, when I would have smitten them, heard a voice With all discomfort; yea, and but for this,

“Donbt not, go forward ; if thou doubt, the beasts My twelvemonth and a day were pleasant to me.' Will tear thee piecemeal.” Then with violence

The sword was dash'd from out my hand, and fell. " He ceased; and Arthur turn'd to whom at first And up into the sounding hall I past ; He saw not, for Sir Bors, on entering, push'd But nothing in the sounding hall I saw, Athwart the throng to Lancelot, caught his hand, No bench nor table, painting on the wall, Held it, and there, half-hidden by him, stood, Or shield of knight; only the rounded moon Until the King espied him, saying to him,

Thro' the tall oriel on the rolling sea. Hail, Bors! if ever loyal man and true

But always in the quiet house I heard, Conld see it, thou hast seen the Grail;' and Bors, Clear as a lark, high o'er me as a lark, *Ask me not, for I may not speak of it,

A sweet voice singing in the topmost tower I saw it:' and the tears were iu his eyes.

To the eastward : up I climb'd a thousand steps

With pain: as in a dream I seem'd to climb " Then there remain'd but Lancelot, for the rest For ever: at the last I reach'd a door, Spake but of sundry perils in the storm ;

A light was in the crannies, avd I heard, Perhaps, like him of Cana in Holy Writ,

"Glory and joy and honor to our Lord Our Arthur kept his best until the last;

And to the Holy Vessel of the Grail." 'Thou too, my Lancelot,' ask'd the King, 'my friend, Then in my maduess I essay'd the door: Our mightiest, hath this Quest avail'd for thee ?' It gave; and thro' a stormy glare, a heat

As from a seventimes-heated furnace, I, ""Our mightiest l' answer'd Lancelot, with a groan; Blasted and burnt, and blinded as I was, 'O King !—and when he paused, methougbt I spied With such a tierceness that I swoond awayA dying fire of madness in his eyes

1 Oh, yet methought I saw the Holy Grail, "O King, my friend, if friend of thine I be,

All pall'd in crimson, samite, and around Happier are those that welter in their sin,

Great angels, awful shapes, and wings and eyes. Swine in the mud, that cannot see for slime, And but for all my madness and my rin, Slime of the ditch : bnt in me lived a sin

And then my swooning, I had sworn I saw Su strange, of such a kind, that all of pure, That which I saw; but what I saw was veil'd Noble, and knightly in me twined and clung And cover'd; and this Quest was not for me.' Round that one sin, until the wholesome flower And poisonous grew together, each as each,

"So speaking, and here ceasing, Lancelot left Not to be plack'd asnnder; and when thy knights The hall long silent, till Sir Gawain—nay, Sware, I sware with them only in the hope

Brother, I need not tell thee foolish words, That could I touch or see the Holy Grail

A reckless and irreverent kuight was he, They might be pluck'd asunder. Then I spake Now bolden'd by the silence of his KingTo one most holy saint, who wept and said, i Well, I will tell thee: 'O King, my liege,' he said, That save they could be pluck'd asunder, all

Hath Gawain fail'd in any quest of thine ? My Quest were but in vain ; to whom I vow'd When have I stinted stroke in foughten field ? That I would work according as he will'd.

Bnt as for thine, my good friend Percivale, And forth I went, and while I yearn’d and strove Thy holy nan and thou have driven men mad, To tear the twain asunder in my heart,

Yea, made our mightiest madder than onr least. My madness came upon me as of old,

Bnt by mine eyes and by mine ears I swear, And whipt me into waste fields far away.

I will be deafer than the blue-cyed cat,
There was I beaten down by little men,

And thrice as blind as any noonday owl,
Mean knights, to whom the moving of my sword To boly virgins in their ecstasies,
And shadow of my spear had been enow

To scare them from me once ; and then I came
All in my folly to the naked shore,

"Deafer,' said the blameless King, Wide Alats, where nothing but coarse grasses grew, "Gawain, and blinder unto holy things But such a blast, my King, began to blow,

Hope not to make thyself by idle vows, So loud a blast along the shore and sea,

Being too blind to have desire to see. Ye could not hear the waters for the blast,

But if indeed there came a sign from Heaven,

Blessed are Bors, Lancelot, and Percivale,

And lord of many a barren isle was heFor these have seen according to their sight. Riding at noon, a day or twain before, For every fiery prophet in old times,

Across the forest call'd of Dean, to find And all the sacred madness of the bard,

Caerleon and the King, had felt the sun When God made music thro' them, could but speak Beat like a strong knight on his helm, and reel'd His music by the framework and the chord ; Almost to falling from his horse; but saw And as ye saw it ye have spoken truth.

Near him a mound of even-sloping side,

Whereon a hundred stately beeches grew, "Nay-but thou errest, Lancelot: never yet And here and there great hollies under them, Could all of true and noble in knight and man But for a mile all round was open space, Twine round one sin, whatever it might be, And fern and heath: and slowly Pelleas drew With such a closeness, but apart there grew, To that dim day, then biuding his good horse Save that he were the swine thou spakest of, To a tree, cast himself down; and as he lay Some root of knighthood and pure nobleness ; At random looking over the brown earth Whereto see thon, that it may bear its flower, Thro' that green-glooming twilight of the grove,

It seem'd to Pelleas that the fern without "And spake I not too truly, O my knights! Burnt as a living fire of emeralds, Was I too dark a prophet when I said

So that his eyes were dazzled looking at it. To those who went upon the Holy Quest,

Then o'er it crost the dimness of a cloud That most of them would follow wandering fires, Floating, and once the shadow of a bird Lost in the quagmire!-lost to me and gone, Flying, and then a fawn ; and his eyes closed. And left me gazing at a barren board,

And since he loved all maideus, but no maid And a lean Order-scarce return'd a tithe

In special, half-awake he whisper'd, “Where? And out of those to whom the vision came

Oh, where? I love thee, tho' I know thee not. My greatest hardly will believe he saw;

For fair thou art and pure as Guinevere, Another hath beheld it afar off,

And I will make thee with my spear and sword
And leaving human wrongs to right themselves, As famous–O my Queen, my Guinevere,
Cares but to pass into the silent life.

For I will be thine Arthur when we meet."
And one hath had the vision face to face,
And now his cbair desires him here in vain,

Suddenly waken'd with a sound of talk
However they may crown him otherwhere.

And laughter at the limit of the wood,

And glancing thro' the hoary boles, he saw, "And some among you held, that if the King Strange as to some old prophet might have seem'd Had seen the sight he would have sworn the vow: A vision hovering on a sea of tire, Not easily, seeing that the King must guard

Damsels in divers colors like the cloud That which he rules, and is as but the hind Of sunset and sunrise, and all of them To whom a space of land is given to plough, On horses, and the horses richly trapt Who may not wander from the allotted field Breast-high in that bright line of bracken stood: Before his work be done ; but, being done,

And all the damsels talk'd confusedly, Let visions of the night or of the day

And one was pointing this way, and one that, Come, as they will; and many a time they come, Because the way was lost. Until this earth he walks on seems not earth, This light that strikes bis eyeball is not light,

And Pelleas rose, This air that smites his forehead is not air

And loosed his horse, and led him to the light. But vision-yea, his very hand and foot

There she that seem'd the chief among them said, In moments when he feels he cannot die,

“In happy time behold our pilot-star! And knows himself no vision to himself,

Yonth, we are damsels-errant, and we ride, Nor the high God a vision, nor that One

Arm'd as ye see, to tilt against the knights Who rose again: ye have seen what ye have seen. There at Caerleon, but have lost our way:

To right? to left? straight forward ? back again! “So spake the King: I knew not all he meant.” Which? tell us quickly."

And Pelleas gazing thought “Is Guinevere herself so beautiful?"

For large her violet eyes look’d, and her bloom PELLEAS AND ETTARRE.

A rosy dawn kindled in stainless heavens,

And round her limbs, mature in womanhood; KING ARTHUR made new knights to fill the gap And slender was her hand and small her shape ; Left by the Holy Quest; and as he sat

And but for those large eyes, the haunts of scorn, In hall at old Caerleon, the high doors

She might have seem'd a toy to trifle with, Were softly sunder'd, and thro' these a yonth, And pass and care no more. But while he gazed Pelleas, and the sweet smell of the fields

The beauty of her flesh abash'd the boy, Past, and the sunshine came along with him. As tho it were the beauty of her soul:

For as the base man, judging of the good, “Make me thy knight, because I know, Sir King, Puts his own baseness in him by default All that belongs to knighthood, and I love." Of will and nature, so did Pelleas lend Such was his cry; for having heard the King All the young beauty of his own soul to hers, Had let proclaim a tournament—the prize

Believing her; and when she spake to bim, A golden circlet and a kvightly sword,

Stammer'd, and could not make her a reply. Full fain had Pelleas for his lady won

For out of the waste islands had he come,
The golden circlet, for himself the sword:

Where saving his own sisters be had known
And there were those who knew him near the Scarce any but the women of his isles,

Rough wives, that laugh'd and scream'd against tbe And promised for him: and Arthur made him gulls, knight.

Makers of nets, and living from the sea.

And this new knight, Sir Pelleas of the islesBut lately come to his inheritance,

Then with a slow smile turn'd the lady round And look'd upon her people; and as when

« PreviousContinue »