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And Tristram, fondling her light | Ev'n to the swineherd's malkin in the hands, replied,
mast ? “Grace, Queen, for being loved : she The greater man, the greater courtesy. loved me well.
| But thou, thro' ever harrying thy wild Did I love her? the name at least I loved. beasts Isolt ? — I fought his battles, for Isolt! Save that to touch a harp, tilt with a The night was dark ; the true star set. Isolt!
Becomes thee well -- art grown wild The name was ruler of the dark Isolt?
beast thyself. Care not for her ! patient, and prayerful, How darest thou, if lover, push me even meek,
In fancy from thy side, and set me far Pale-blooded, she will yield herself to In the gray distance, half a life away, God.”
Her to be loved no more? Unsay it,
unswear! And Isolt answer'd, “Yea, and why | Flatter me rather, seeing me so weak, not I ?
Broken with Mark and hate and soliMine is the larger need, who am not tude, meek,
Thy marriage and mine own, that I Pale-blooded, prayerful. Let me tell should suck thee now.
Lies like sweet wines : lie to me: I believe. Here one black, mute midsummer night Will ye not lie ? not swear, as there yo 1 sat
kneel, Lonely, but musing on thee, wondering And solemnly as when ye sware to him, where,
The man of men, our King - My God, Murmuring a light song I had heard the power thee sing,
Was once in vows when men believed the And once or twice Ispakethy name aloud. King! Then flash'd a levin-brand ; and near They lied not then, who sware, and thro' me stood,
their vows In fuming sulphur blue and green, a The King prevailing made his realm :fiend
I say, Mark's way to steal behind one in the Swear to me thou wilt love me ev’n when dark —
old, For there was Mark : 'He has wedded Gray-haired, and past desire, and in her,' he said,
despair." Not said, but hissed it: then this crown of towers
Then Tristram, pacing moodily up and So shook to such a roar of all the sky,
down, That here in utter dark I swoond away, “ Vows ! did ye keep the vow ye made And woke again in utter dark, and cried, to Mark I will flee hence and give myself to More than I mine ? Lied, say ye? Nay, God'
but learnt, And thou wert lying in thy new leman's The vow that binds too strictly snaps arms."
My knighthood taught me this -- ay, Then Tristram, ever dallying with her being snapt — hand,
We run more counter to the soul thereof “May God be with thee, sweet, when Than had we never sworn. I swear no old and gray,
more. And past desire !” a saying that anger'd I swore to the great King, and am forher.
sworn. “`May God be with thee, sweet, when For once – ev'n to the height - I honthou art old,
or'd him. And sweet no more to me!' I need Him Man, is he man at all ?' methought, now.
when first For when had Lancelot utter'd aught so I rode from our rough Lyonesse, and gross
That victor of the Pagan throned in | Nor shall be : vows - I am woodman of hall
the woods, His hair, a sun that ray'd from off a brow And hear the garnet-headed yaffingale Like hillsnow high in heaven, the steel- Mock thein : my soul, we love but while blue eyes,
we may; The golden beard that clothed his lips And therefore is my love so large for thee, with light
Seeing it is not bounded save by love." Moreover, that weird legend of his birth, With Merlin's mystic babble about his Here ending, he moved toward her, end,
and she said, Amazed me; then, his foot was on a stool “ Good : an I turn'd away my love for thee Shaped as a dragon ; he seem'd to me no To some one thrice as courteous as thy man,
selfBut Michaël trampling Satan; so I sware, For courtesy wins woman all as well Being amazed : but this went by -- the As valor may — but he that closes both Vows !
| Is perfect, he is Lancelot - taller indeed, O ay — the wholesome madness of an Rosier, and comelier, thou – but say I hour
loved They served their use, their time ; for This knightliest of all knights, and cast every knight
thee back Believed himself a greater than himself, Thine own small saw "We love but while And every follower eyed him as a God;
we may,' Till he, being lifted up beyond himself, Well then, what answer ?” Did mightier deeds than elsewise he had done,
He that while she spake, And so the realm was made ; but then Mindful of what he brought to adorn her their vows —
with, First mainly thro' that sullying of our The jewels, had letonefingerlightly touch Queen
The warm white apple of her throat, reBegan to gall the knighthood, asking plied, whence
“ Press this a little closer, sweet, until -Had Arthur right to bind them to him- Come, I am hunger'd and half-anger'd -self?
meat, Dropt down from heaven ? wash'd up Wine, wine — and I will love thee to the from out the deep ?
death, They fail'd to trace him thro' the flesh And out beyond into the dream to come.”
and blood Of our old Kings: whence then ? a So then, when both were brought to doubtful lord
full accord, To bind them by inviolable vows, She rose, and set before him all he will’d; Which flesh and blood perforce would | And after these had comforted the blood violate :
With meats and wines, and satiated their For feel this arm of mine — the tide hearts within
Now talking of their woodland paradise, Red with free chase and heather-scented The deer, the dews, the fern, the founts, air,
the lawns; Pulsing full man ; can Arthur make me Now mocking at the much ungainliness, pure
| And craven shifts, and long crane legs As any maiden child ? lock up my tongue of Mark — From ittering freely what I freely hear? Then Tristram laughing caught the harp, Bind me to one? The great world laughs and sang :
at it. And worldling of the world am I, and “Ay, ay, 0 ay—the winds that bend tho know
brier ! The ptarmigan that whitens ere his hour A star in heaven, a star within the mere ! Wooes his own end ; we are not angels Ay, ay, O ay — a star was my desire, here
| And one was far apart, and one was near :
Ay, ay, O ay -- the winds that bow the Claspt it; but while he bow'd himself to grass !
lay And one was water and one star was fire, Warm kisses in the hollow of her And one will ever shine and one will pass. throat, Ay, ay, 0 ay -- the winds that move the Out of the dark, just as the lips had mere.
Behind himn rose a shadow and a shriek Then in the light's last glimmer Tris.“ Mark's way,” said Mark, and clove him tram show'd
thro' the brain. And swung the ruby carcanet. She cried, “The collarof some order, which our King That night came Arthur home, and Hath newly founded, all for thee, my soul, while he climb'd, For thee, to yield thee grace beyond thy All in a death-dumb autumn-dripping
The stairway to the hall, and look'd and “Not so, my Queen,” he said, “but the red fruit
The great Queen's bower was dark, — Grown on a magicoak-tree in mid-heaven, about his feet And won by Tristram as a tourney-prize, A voice clung sobbing till he question'd And hither brought by Tristram for his it, last
“What art thou ?" and the voice about Love-offering and peace-offering unto his feet thee.'
Sent up an answer, sobbing, “ I am thy
fool, He rose, he turn'd, and flinging round And I shall never make thee smile
With this poem the Author concludes THE IDYLS OF THE KING.
The last tall son of Lot and Belli- | Have strength and wit, in my good cent,
mother's hall And tallest, Gareth, in a showerful Linger with vacillating obedience, spring
Prison'd, and kept and coax'd and Stared at the spate. A slender-shafted whistled to Pine
Since the good mother holds me still a Lost footing, fell, and so was whirl'd child away.
Good mother is bad mother unto me! “How he went down," said Gareth, A worse were better; yet no worse "as a false knight
would I. Or evil king before my lance if lance Heaven yield her for it, but in me put Were mine to use — O) senseless cat. force aract,
To weary her ears with one continuous Bearing all down in thy precipitancy
prayer, And yet thou art but swollen with cold Until she let me fly discaged to sweep snows,
In ever-highering eagle-circles up And mine is living blood : thou dost to the great Sun of Glory, and thence His will,
swoop The Maker's, and not knowest, and I Down upon all things base, and dash that know,
them dead, * GARETH follows THE COMING OF ARTHUR, and Tux LAST TOURNAMENT precodes GUINEVERE,
A knight of Arthur, working out his And stay'd him, Climb not lest thou will,
break thy neck, To cleanse the world. Why, Gawain, I charge thee by my love,' and so the when he came
boy, With Moured hither in the summer- Sweet mother, neither clomb, nor brake time,
his neck, Ask'd me to tilt with him, the proven But brake his very heart in pining for knight.
it, Moored for want of worthier was the And past away.”
judge. Then I so shook him in the saddle, he
To whom the mother said, said,
“ True love, sweet son, had risk'd him“Thou hast half prevail'd against me,' |
self and climbid, said so -- he --
| And handed down the golden treasure Tho' Mored biting his thin lips was
to him.' mute,
And Gareth answer'd her with kindFor he is alway sullen : what care 1 ?”
“Gold ? said I gold ? - ay then, why And Gareth went, and hovering round
he, or she, her chair
Or whosoe'er it was, or half the world Ask'd, “Mother, tho' ye count me still
Had ventured – had the thing I spake the child,
of been Sweet mother, do ye love the child ?” Mere cold – but this was all of that She laugh'd,
true steel, “ Thou art but a wild-goose to question Whereof they forged the brand Excal
ibur, “ Then, mother, an ye love the child,” |
? ye love the child," And lightnings play'd about it in the he said,
storm, “ Being a goose and rather tame than and all the little fowl were flurried at it. wild,
And there were cries and clashings in Hear the child's story.” “ Yea, my
the nest, well-beloved,
That sent him from his senses : let me An 't were but of the goose and golden
Then Bellicent bemoan'd herself and And Gareth answer'd her with kind- | said, ling eyes,
“ Hast thou no pity upon my loneliness? “Nay, nay, good mother, but this egg Lo, where thy father Lot beside the of inine
hearth Was finer gold than any goose can lay ; Lies like a log, and all but smoulder'd For this an Eagle, a royal Eagle, laid
out! Almost beyond eye-reach, on such a For ever since when traitor to the King palm
| He fought against him in the Barons' war, As glitters gilded in thy Book of Hours. And Arthur gave him back his territory, And there was ever haunting round the His age hath slowly droopt, and now
lies there A lusty youth, but poor, who often saw A yet-warm corpse, and yet unburiable, The splendor sparkling from aloft, and No more ; nor sees, nor hears, nor speaks, thought
nor knows. * An I could climb and lay my hand And both thy brethren are in Arthur's upon it,
hall, Then were I wealthier than a leash of Albeit neither loved with that full love kings.'
I feel for thee, nor worthy such a love : But ever when he reach'd a hand to Stay therefore thou ; red berries charm climb,
the bird, One, that had loved him from his child. And thee, miné innocent, the jousts, tho hood, caught
Who never knewest finger-ache, nor pang
To whom the mother said, Of wrench'd or broken limb — an often “Sweet son, for there be many who deem chance
him not, In those brain-stunning shocks, and Or will not deem him, wholly proven tourney-falls,
King Frights to my heart ; but stay : follow Albeit in mine own heart I knew him the deer
King, By these tall firs and our fast-falling When I was frequent with him in my
burns ; So make thy manhood mightier day by And heard him Kingly speak, and doubted day ;
him Sweet is the chase : and I will seek thee No more than he, himself; but felt him out
mine, Some comfortable bride and fair, to grace Of closest kin to me : yet - wilt thou Thy climbing life, and cherish my prone leave year,
Thine easeful biding here, and risk thine Till falling into Lot's forgetfulness
all, I know not thee, myself, nor anything. Life, limbs, for one that is not proven Stay, my best son ! ye are yet more boy than man.'
Stay, till the cloud that settles round his
birth Then Gareth, “An ye hold me yet for Hath lifted but a little. Stay, sweet
child, Hear yet once more the story of the child. For, mother, there was once a King, like And Gareth answer'd quickly, “Not ours;
an hour, The prince his heir, when tall and mar. So that ye yield me I will walk thro' riageable,
fire, Ask'd for a bride; and thereupon the Mother, to gain it -- your full leave to King
go. Set two before him. One was fair, strong, Not proven, who swept the dust of ruin'd arm'de
Rome But to be won by force – and many men From off the threshold of the realm, and Desired her ; one, good lack, no man de crush'd sired.
The Idolaters, and made the people free? And these were the conditions of the Who should be King save him who makes King :
us free?" That save he won the first by force, he needs
So when the Queen, who long had Must wed that other, whom no man de sought in vain sired,
To break him from the intent to which he A red-faced bride who knew herself so
Found her son's will unwaveringly one, That evermore she long'd to hide herself, | She answer'd craftily, “Will ye walk thro' Nor fronted man or woman, eye to eye —
fire ? Yea — some she cleaved to, but they died Who walks thro' fire will hardly heed the of her.
smoke. And one — they call'd her Fame ; and | Ay, go then, an ye must : only one proof, one, O Mother,
Before thou ask the King to make thee How can ye keep me tether'd to you
Of thine obedience and thy love to me, Man am I grown, a man's work must I do. Thy mother, — I demand." Follow the deer ? follow the Christ, the King,
And Gareth cried, Live pure, speak true, right wrong, fol. “A hard one, or a hundred, so I go. low the King
Nay – quick! the proof to prove me to Else, wherefore born ?"
the quick !"