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kings,

One have I seen that other, our liege | Robed in red samite, easily to be known, lord,

Since to his crown the golden dragon The dread Pendragon, Britain's king of clung,

And down his robe the dragon writheid Of whom the people talk mysteriously, L ' in gold, He will be there — then were I stricken | And from the carven-work behind hiin blind

crept That minute, I might say that I had seen.” | Two dragonsgilded, sloping down to make

| Arms for his chair, while all the rest of So spake Lavaine, and when they them reach'd the lists

Thro' knots and loops and folds innumerBy Camelot in the meadow, let his eyes able Run thro' the peopled gallery which half Fled ever thro' the woodwork, till they round

found Lay like a rainbow fall’n upon the grass, The new design wherein they lost them. Until they found the clear-faced King,

selves, who sat

| Yet with all ease, so tender was the work:

seat,

he lay.

And, in the costly canopy o'er him set, They couch'd their spears and prick'a Blazed the last diamond of the nameless their steeds and thus, king.

Their plumes driv'n backward by the Then Lancelot answer'd young Lavaine wind they made and said;

In moving, all together down upon him “Me you call great : mine is the firmer Bare, as a wild wwe in the wide North-sea,

Green-glimmering toward the summit, The truerlance: but there ismanya youth bears, with all Now crescent, who will come to all I am Its stormy crests that smoke against the And overcome it; and in me there dwells

skies No greatness, save it be some far-off Down on a bark, and overbears the bark, touch

And him that helms it, so they overbore Of greatness to know well I am not great : Sir Lancelot and his charger, and a spear There is the man." And Lavaine gaped Down-glancing, lamed the charger, and a upon him

spear As on a thing miraculous, and anon | Prick'd 'sharply his own cuirass, and the The trumpets blew ; and then did either head side,

Pierced thro' his side, and there snapt, They that assail'd, and they that held and remain'd.

the lists, Set lance in rest, strike spur, suddenly! Then Sir Lavaine did well and worshipmove,

fully ; Meet in the midst, and there so furiously He bore a knight of old repute to the Shock, that a man far-off' might well per

earth, ceive,

And brought his horse to Lancelot where If any man that day were left afield, The hard earth shake, and a low thunder He up the side, sweating with agony, got, of arms.

| But thought to do while he might yet And Lancelot bode a little, till he saw

endure, Which were the weaker; then he hurl'd And being lustily holpen by the rest, into it

| His party, - tho it seemed half-miracle Against the stronger : little need to speak To those he fought with — drave his kith Of Lancelot in his glory: King, duke, earl, and kin, Count, baron -- whom he smote, he over. And all the Table Round that held the threw.

Back to the barrier; then the heralds But in the field were Lancelot's kith blew and kin,

| Proclaiming his the prize, who wore the Ranged with the Table Round that held sleeve the lists,

| Of scarlet, and the pearls; and all the Strong men, and wrathful that a stranger | knights, knight

| His party, cried “Advance, and take Should do and almost overdo the deeds

your prize Of Lancelot; and one said to the other The diamond ”; but he answer'd, “dia“Lo!

mond me What is he? I do not mean the force No diamonds ! for God's love, a little air! alone,

Prize me no prizes, for my prize is death ! The grace and versatility of the man – Hence will I and I charge you, follow me Is it not Lancelot !” “When has Lance

lot worn Favor of any lady in the lists?

He spoke, and vanish'd suddenly from Not such his wont, as we, that know him, the field know.”

With young Lavaine into the poplargrove. “ How then? who then?” a fury seized There from his charger down he slid, and on them,

sat, A fiery family passion for the name Gasping to Sir Lavaine, “ draw the lanceOf Lancelot, and a glory one with theirs. I head":

lists,

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withal

forth

“Ah my sweet lord Sir Lancelot,” said | Ourselves will send it after. Rise and Lavaine,

take “I dread me, if I draw it, ye will die." This diamond, and deliver it, and return, But he “I die already with it : draw - And bring us where he is and how he fares, Draw," --- and Lavaine drew, and that And cease not from your quest, until you other gave

find." A marvellous great shriek and ghastly groan,

So saying from the carven flower above, And half his blood burst forth, and down To which it made a restless heart, he took, he sank

And gave, the diamond : then from where For the pure pain, and wholly swoon'il he sat away.

At Arthur's right, with smilin :face arose, Then came the hermit out and bare himin, With smiling face and frowning heart, a There stanch'd his wound; and there, in Prince daily doubt

In the mid might and flourish of his May, Whether to live or die, for many a week Gawain, surnamed The Courteous, fair Hid froin the wide world's rumor by the and strong, grove

And after Lancelot, Tristram, and Geraint of poplars with their noise of falling And Lamorack, a good knight, but there

showers, And ever-tremulous aspen-trees, he lay. Sir Modred's brother, of a crafty house,

Nor often loyal to his word, and now But on that day when Lancelot fled Wroth that the king's command to sally

the lists, His party, knights of utmost North and In quest of whom he knew not, made him West,

leave Lords of waste marches, kings of desolate The banquet, and concourse of knights isles,

and kings. Came round their great Pendragon, say-| ing to him

Soallin wrath he got to horse and went; “Lo, Sire, our knight thro' whom we While Arthur to the banquet, dark in won the day

mood, Hath gone sore wounded, and hath left Past, thinking “is it Lancelot who has his prize

come Untaken, crying that his prize is death." | Despite the wound he spake of, all for gain * Heaven hinder,” said the King, “that of glory, and has added wound to wound, such an one,

And ridd'n away to die ?” So fear'd the So great a knight as we have seen to

King, day

And, after two days' tarriance there, reHe seem'ů to me another Lancelot

turn'd. Yea, twenty times I thought him Lance- Then when he saw the Queen, embracing lot

ask'd, Hemust not pass uncared for. Wherefore “Love, are you yet so sick ?” “Nay, rise,

lord," she said. O Gawain, and ride forth and find the “ And where is Lancelot ?" Then the knight.

Queen amazed Wounded and wearied needs must he be “ Was he not with you? won he not your near.

prize ?" I charge you that you get at once to horse. “Nay, but one like him.” “Why that And, knights and kings, there breathes like was he." not one of you

And when the King demanded how she Will deem this prize of ours is rashly knew, given :

Said “Lord, no sooner had ye parted His prowess was too wondrous. We will from us, do him

Than Lancelot told me of a common talk No customary honor : since the knight That men went down before his spear at Came not to us, of us to claim the prize, a touch,

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But knowing he was Lancelot ; his great Gawain the while thro' all the region name

round Conquer'd ; and therefore would he hide Rode with his diamond, wearied of the his name

quest, From allmen, ev’n the king, and to thisend | Touch'd at all points, except the poplar Had made the pretext of a hindering grove, wound,

And came at last, tho' late, to Astolat: That he might joust unknown of all, and Whom glittering in enamelld arms the learn

maid If his old prowess were in aught decay'd : Glanced at, and cried “What news from And added, “our true Arthur, when he Camelot, lord ? learns,

What of the knight with the red sleeve ?" Will well allow my pretext, as for gain

“He won." Of purer glory.'

“I knew it,” she said. “But parted Then replied the King : from the jousts “ Farlovelier in our Lancelot had it been, Hurt in the side," whereat she caught In lieu of idly dallying with the truth,

her breath; To have trusted me as he has trusted you. Thro' her own side she felt the sharp lance Surely his king and most familiar friend

go ; Might well have kept his secret. True, Thereon she smote her hand : wellnigh indeed,

she swoond: Albeit I know my knights fantastical, And, while he gazed wonderingly at her, So fine a fear in our large Lancelot

came Must needs have moved my laughter : The lord of Astolat out, to whom the now remains

Prince But little cause for laughter : his own Reported who he was, and on what quest

Sent, that he bore the prize and could not Ill news, my Queen, for all who love him, find these!

The victor, but had ridden wildly round His kith and kin, not knowing, set upon To seek him, and was wearied of the search. him ;

To whom the lord of Astolat “ Bide with So that he went sore wounded from the us, field:

And ride no longer wildly, noble Prince ! Yet good news too: for goodly hopes are Here was the knight, and here he left a mine

shield; That Lancelot is no more a lonely heart. This will he send or come for : further. He wore, against his wont, upon his helm

more A sleeve of scarlet, broidered with great Our son is with him ; we shall hear anon, pearls,

Needs must we hear.” To this the cour. Some gentle maiden's gift."

teous Prince

Accorded with his wonted courtesy, "Yea, lord," she said, | Courtesy with a touch of traitor in it, “ Your hopes are mine," and saying that And stay'd ; and cast his eyes on fair she choked,

Elaine : And sharply turn’dabout to hide her face, Where could be found face daintier! Past to her chamber, and there flung then her shape herself

From forehead down to foot perfect --Down on the great King's couch, and

again writhed upon it,

From foot to forehead exquisitely turn'd: And clench'd her fingers till they bit the “Well — if I bide, lo! this wild flower palin,

for me !" And shriek'd out “traitor" to the un And oft they met among the garden yews, hearing wall,

And there he set himself to play upon Then flash'd into wild tears, and rose her again,

With sallying wit, free flashes from a And moved about her palace, proud and height pale.

| Above her, graces of the court, and songs,

Sighs, and slow smiles, and golden elo- | One golden minute's grace : he wore your quence

sleeve : And amorous adulation, till the maid Would he break faith with one I may not Rebell’d against it, saying to him, name? “Prince,

Must our true man change like a leaf at O loyal nephew of our noble King,

last ? Why ask you not to see the shield he left, Nay - like enough : why then, far be it Whence you might learn his name? | from me Why slight your King,

To cross our mighty Lancelot in his loves! And lose the quest he sent you on, and And, damsel, for I deem you know full well prove

Where your great knight is hidden, let No surer than our falcon yesterday,

me leave Who lost the hern we slipt him at, and My quest with you ; the diamond also : went

here! To all the winds ?” “Nay, by mine For if you love, it will be sweet to give it ; head," said he,

And if he love, it will be sweet to have it I lose it, as we lose the lark in heaven, From your own hand ; and whether he O damsel, in the light of your blue eyes : 1 love or not, But an ye will it let me see the shield.” A diamond is a diamond. Fare you well And when the shield was brought, and A thousand times ! -- a thousand times Gawain saw

farewell ! Sir Lancelot's azure lions, crown'd with | Yet, if he love, and his love hold, we two gold,

May meet at court hereafter : there, I Ramp in the field, he smote his thigh, think, and mock'd ;

So you will learn the courtesies of the “Right was the King ! our Lancelot ! court, that true man!”.

We two shall know each other." “And right was I," she answer'd mer

Then he gave, rily, “I,

And slightly kiss'd the hand to which he Who dream'd my knight the greatest

gave, knight of all."

The diamond, and all wearied of the “And if I dream'd,” said Gawain, “that quest you love

Leapt on his horse, and carolling as he This greatest knight, your pardon ! lo, went you know it!'

A true love ballad, lightly rode away. Speak therefore : shall I waste myself in vain ?"

Thence to the court he past; there Full simple was her answer “What told the King know I ?

What the King knew “Sir Lancelot is My brethren have been all my fellowship, the knight" And I, when often they have talk'd of And added “Sire, my liege, so much I love,

learnt; Wish'd it had been my mother, for they But fail'd to find him tho' I rode all round talk'd,

The region : but I lighted on the maid, Meseem'd, of what they knew not; so Whose sleeve he wore ; she loves him ; : myself

and to her, I know not if I know what true love is, Deeming our courtesy is the truest law, But if I know, then, if I love not him, I gave the diamond : she will render it; Methinks there is none other I can love.” For by mine head she knows his hiding“Yea, by God's death,” said he, “ye place."

love him well, But would not, knew ye what all others The seldom-frowning King frown'd, know,

and replied, And whom he loves." "So be it," “ Too courteous truly! ye shall go no cried Elaine,

more And lifted her fair face and moved away: On quest of mine, seeing that ye forget But he pursued her calling “Stay a little! | Obedience is the courtesy due to kings."

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