Imagens da página

Else had he not lost me : but listen to me, And there among the solitary downs,
If I must find you wit : we hear it said Full often lost in fancy, lost his way ;
That men go down before your spear at Till as he traced a faintly-shadow'd track,
a touch

That all in loops and linksamong the dales But knowing you are Lancelot; your Ran to the Castle of Astolat, he saw great name,

Fired from the west, far on a hill, the This conquers : hide it therefore ; go un

towers. known:

Thither he made and wound the gateway Win! by this kiss you will : and our horn. true king

Then came an old, dumb, myriad-wrin. Will then allow your pretext, O myknight, kled man, As all for glory; for to speak him true, Who let him into lodging and disarm d. Ye know right well, how meek soe'er And Lancelot marveli'd at the wordless he seem,

man; No keener hunter after glory breathes. And issuing found the Lord of Astolat He loves it in his knights more than With two strong sons, Sir Torre and Sir himself :

Lavaine, They prove to him his work : win and Moving to meet him in the castle court; return."

And close behind them stept the lily mail

Elaine, his daughter : mother of the house Then got Sir Lancelot suddenly to horse, There was not : some light jest among Wroth at himself: not willing to be them rose known,

With laughter dying down as the great He left the barren-beaten thoroughfare, knight Chose the green path that show'd the | Approach'd them : then the Lord of rarer foot,


[graphic][ocr errors]

“Whence comest thou, my guest, and And slipt and fell into some pool or by what name

stream, Livest between the lips ? for by thy state The castle-well, belike ; and then I said And presence I might guess thee chief of That if I wentand if I fought and won it those,

(But all was jest andjokeamong ourselves) Ifter the king, who eat in Arthur's halls. Then must she keep it safelier. All was Him have I seen: the rest, his Table jest. Round,

But father give me leave, an if he will, Known as they are, to me they are un To ride to Camelot with this nobleknight: known.

Win shall I not, but do my best to win :

Young as I am, yet would I do my best." Then answer'd Lancelot, the chief of knights.

“So ye will grace me," answer'd “Known am I, and of Arthur's hall, and Lancelot, known,

Smiling a moment, “with your fellowship What I by mere mischance have brought, O'er these waste downs whereon I lost my shield.

myself, But since I go to joust as one unknown Then were I glad of you as guide and At Camelot for the diamond, ask me not,

friend; Hereafter you shall know me -- and the And you shall win this diamond - as I shield

hear, I pray you lend me one, if such you have, It is a fair large diamond, - if ye may, Blank, or at least with some device not And yield it to this maiden, if ye will." mine.'

“A fair large diamond,” added plain

Sir Torre, Then said the Lord of Astolat, “ Here "Such be for Queens and not for simple is Torre's :

maids." Hurt in his first tilt was my son, Sir Then she, who held her eyes upon the Torre.

ground, And so, God wot, his shield is blank Elaine, and heard her name so tost about, enough.

Flush'd slightly at the slight disparageHis ye can have.” Then added plain ment Sir Torre,

Before the stranger knight, who, looking “ Yea since I cannot use it, ye may at her,

Fullcourtly, yet not falsely, thus return'd. Here langh'd the father saying “Fie, Sir “If what is fair be but for what is fair, Churl,

And only Queens are to be counted so, Is that an answer for a noble knight? Rash were my judgment then, who deem Allow him: but Lavaine, my younger here, this maid He is so full of lustihood, he will ride, Might wear as fair a jewel as is on earth, Joust for it, and win, and bring it in an Not violating the bond of like to like.”

hour And set it in this damsel's golden hair, He spoke and ceased : the lily maid To make her thrice as wilful as before.” |


Won by the mellow voice before she look’d. “Nay, father, nay good father, shame Lifted her eyes, and read his lineaments. me not

The great and guilty love he bare the Before this noble knight” said young i Queen, Lavaine

In battle with the love he bare his lord, “For nothing. Surely I but play'd on Had marr’d his face, and mark'd it ere his Torre :

time. He seem'd so sullen, vext he could not go : Anothersinningon such heights with one, A jest, no more : for, knight, the maiden | The flower of all the west and all the dream,

world, That some one put this diamond in her Had been the sleeker for it : but in him hand,

! His mood was often like a fiend, and rose And that it was too slippery to be held, 'And drove him into wastes and solitudes

[ocr errors]
[graphic][merged small]

For agony, who was yet a living soul. Stept with all grace, and not with hali Marr'd as he was, he seem'd the goodliest disdain man,

Hid under grace, as in a smaller time, That ever among ladies ate in Hall, But kindly man moving among his kind : And noblest, when she lifted up her eyes. Whom they with meats and vintage of However marr'd, of more than twice her their best years,

And talk and minstrel melody entertain'd. Seam'd with an ancient swerdcut on the And much they ask'd of court and Table cheek,

Round, And bruised and bronzed, she lifted up And ever weli and readily answer'd he: her eyes

But Lancelot, when they glanced at And loved him, with that love which was Guinevere, her doom.

Suddenly speaking of the wordless man,

Heard from the Baron that, ten years Then the great knight, the darling of the court,

The heathen caught and reft him of his Loved of the loveliest, into that rude hall |




“He learnt and warn'd me of their fierce For if his own knight cast him down, he design

laughs Against my house, and him they caught Saying, his knights are better men than and maim'd ;

he But I my sons and little daughter fled Yet in this heathen war the fire of God From bonds or death, and dwelt among Fills him: I never saw his like: there lives the woods

No greater leader.” By the great river in a boatman's hut.

While he utter'd this, Dull days were those, till ourgood Arthur Low to her own heart said the lily maid broke

“Save your great self, fair lord”; and The Pagan yet once more on Badon hill.” when he fell

From talk of war to traits of pleasantry-O there, great Lord, doubtless," | Being mirthful he but in a stately kind Lavaine said, rapt

She still took note that when the living By all the sweet and sudden passion of smile youth

Died from his lips, across hiin camea cloud Toward greatness in its elder, “you have Of melancholy severe, from which again, fought.

Whenever in her hovering to and fro O tell us — for we live apart - you know The lily maid had striven to make him Of Arthur's glorious wars.” And Lan

cheer, celot spoke

There brake a sudden-beaming tender And answer'd him at full, as having been With Arthurin the fight which all day long Ofmanners and of nature: and she thought Rany by the white mouth of the violent That all was nature, all, perchance, for her. Glem ;

And all night long his face before herlived, And in the four wild battles by the shore As when a painter, poring on a face, Of Duglas ; that on Bassa ; then the war | Divinely thro'all hindrance finds the man That thunder'd in and out the gloomy Behind it, and so paints him that his face, skirts

The shape and color of a mind and life, Of Celidon the forest; and again Lives for his children, ever at its best By castle Gurnion where theglorious King And fullest ; so the face before her lived, Had on his cuirass worn our Lady's llead, Dark-splendid, speaking in the silence, Carved of one emerald, center'd in a sun

full Of silver rays, that lighten'd as he Of noble things, and held her from her breathed ;

sleep. And at Caerleon had he help'd his lord, Till rathe she rose, half-cheated in the When the strong neighings of the wild

thought white Horse

She needs must bid farewell to sweet Set every gilded parapet shuddering;

Lavaine. And up in Agned Cathregonion too, First as in fear, step after step, she stole And down the waste sand-shores of Trath Down the long tower-stairs, hesitating : Treroit,

Anon, she heard Sir Lancelot cry in the Where many a heathen fell; “ and on court, the mount

“This shield, my friend, where is it?" Of Badon I myself beheld the King

and Lavaine Charge at the head of all his Table Round, Past inward, as she came from out the And all his legions crying Christ and him,

tower. And break them; and I saw him, after, There to his prond horse Lancelot turn'd, stand

and smooth'd Highon a heap of slain, from spurto plume Theglossy shoulder, humming to himself. Red as the rising sun with heathen blood, Half-envious of the flattering hand, she And seeing me, with a great voice he cried

drew • They are broken, they are broken' for Nearer and stood. He look’d, and more the King,

amazed However mild he seems at home, nor cares Than if seven men had set upon him, saw For triumph in our mimic wars, the The maiden standing in the dewy light. jousts —

| He had not dreamr'd she was so beautiful,

Then came on him a sort of sacred fear, Her bright hair blown about the serious
For silent, tlo' he greeted her, she stood face
Rapt on his face as if it were a God's. Yet rosy-kindled with her brother'skiss --
Suddenly flash'd on her a wild desire, Paused in the gateway, standing by the
That he should wear her favor at the tilt. shield
She braved a riotous heart in asking for it. In silence, while she watch'd their arms
“Fair lord, whose name I know not--

noble it is,

Sparkle, until they dipt below the downs. I well believe, the noblest - will you wear Then to her tower she climb’d, and took My favor at this tourney ?” “Nay," the shield, said he,

There kept it, and so lived in fantasy. “Fair lady, since I never yet have worn Favor of any lady in the lists.

Meanwhile the new companions past Such is my wont, as those, who know me, away know."

Far o'er the long backs of the bushless Yea, so," she answer'd ; “then in wear

downs, ing mine

To where Sir Lancelot knew there lived Needs must be lesser likelihood, noble a knight lord,

Not far from Camelot, now for forty years That those who know should know you." | A hermit, who had pray'd, labor'd and And he turn'd

pray'd Hercounsel up and down within his mind, And ever laboring had scoop'd himself And found it true, and answer’d, “true, In the white rock a chapel and a hall my child.

On massive columns, like a shorecliff Well, I will wear it : fetch it out to me: cave, What is it?" and she told him "a red And cells and chambers : all were fair sleeve

and dry ; Broider'd with pearls,” and brought it : The green light from the meadows underthen he bound

neath Her token on his helmet, with a smile Struck up and lived along the milky Saying, “I never yet have done so much

roofs ; For any maiden living,” and the blood And in the meadows tremulous aspen. Sprang to her face and fill'd her with de

trees light;

| And poplars made a noise of falling But left her all the paler, when Lavaine showers. Returning brought the yet-unblazon'd And thither wending there that night shield,

they bode. His brother's'; which he gave to Lancelot, Who parted with his own to fair Elaine ; But when the next day broke from un. “Do me this grace, my child, to have my derground, shield

| And shot red fire and shadows thro’ the In keeping till I come.” “A grace to cave, me,'

They rose, heard mass, broke fast, and She answer’d, “twice to-day. I am your rode away : Squire."

| Then Lancelot saying, “hear, but hold Whereat Lavaine said, laughing, “ name

Hidden, you ride with Lancelot of the For fear our people call you lily maid

Lake," In earnest, let me bring your color back; Abash'd Lavaine, whose instant reverOnce, twice, and thrice : now get you ence, hence to bed":

Dearer to true young hearts than their So kiss'd her, and Sir Lancelot his own own praise, hand,

But left him leave to stammer, “is it And thus they moved away : she stay'd

indeed ?" a minute,

And aftermuttering "the great Lancelot" Then made a sudden step to the gate. At last he got his breath and answer'd


and there —

* One,

« AnteriorContinuar »