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However that might chance ! but an he | All kind of service with a noble case work,
That graced the lowliest act in doing it. Like any pigeon will I cram his crop, And when the thralls had talk among And sleeker shall he shine than any hog.” | themselves,
And one would praise the love that linkt Then Lancelot standing near, “Sir the King Seneschal,
And Lancelot – how the King had saved Sleuth-hound thou knowest, and gray, | his life and all the hounds;
In battle twice, and Lancelot once the A horse thou knowest, a man thou dost King's — not know :
For Lancelot was the first in Tournament, Broad brows and fair, a fluent hair and But Arthur mightiest on the battlefine,
field — High nose, à nostril large and fine, and Gareth was glad. Or if some other told, hands
How once the wandering forester at Large, fair and fine !-- Some young lad's dawn, mystery
Far over the blue tarns and hazy seas, But, or from sheepcot or king's hall, the On Caer-Eryri's highest found the King,
A naked babe, of whom the Prophet Is noble-natured. Treat him with all spake, grace,
“He passes to the Isle Avilion, Lest he should come to shame thy judg. He passes and is heal'd and cannot ing of him."
Gareth was glad. But if their talk were Then Kay, “What murmurest thou foul, of mystery ?
Then would he whistle rapid as any lark, Think ye this fellow will poison the Or carol some old roundelay, and so King's dish ?
loud Nay, for he spake too fool-like: mystery! That first they mock’d, but, after, revTut, an the lad were noble, he had ask'd erenced him. For horse and armor : fair and fine, for- Or Gareth telling some prodigious tale sooth !
Of knights, who sliced a red life-bubbling Sir Fine-face, Sir Fair-hands? but see
way thou to it
Thro’ twenty folds of twisted dragon, That thine own fineness, Lancelot, some held fine day
All in a gap-mouth'd circle his good Undo thee not — and leave my man to mates me."
Lying or sitting round him, idle hands,
Charm’d ; till Sir Kay, the seneschal, So Gareth all for glory underwent
would come The sooty yoke of kitchen vassalage ; Blustering upon them, like a sudden Ate with young lads his portion by the wind door,
Among dead leaves, and drive them all And couch'd at night with grimy kitchen apart. knaves.
Or when the thralls had sport among And Lancelot ever spake him pleasantly, themselves, But Kay the seneschal who loved him not So there were any trial of mastery, Would hustle and harry him, and labor He, by two yards in casting bar or stone, him
Was counted best ; and if there chanced Beyond his comrade of the hearth, and a joust, set
So that Sir Kay nodded him leave to go, To turn the broach, draw water, or hew Would hurry thither, and when he saw wood,
the knights Or grosser tasks ; and Gareth bow'd him- Clash like the coming and retiring wave,
And the spear spring, and good horse With all obedience to the King, and reel, the boy wrought
Was half beyond himself for ecstasy.
So for a month he wrought among the Of utter hardihood, utter gentleness, thralls;
| And, loving, utter faithfulness in love, But in the weeks that follow'd, the good And uttermost obedience to the King."
Queen, Repentant of the word she made him Then Gareth, lightly springing from swear,
his knees, And saddening in her childless castle, “My King, for hardihood I can promise sent,
thee. . Between the increscent and decrescent For uttermost obedience make demand moon,
Of whom ye gave me to, the Seneschal, Arms for her son, and loosed him from No mellow master of the ineats and his vow.
And as for love, God wot, I love not yet, This, Gareth hearing from a squire of But love I shall, God willing.”
And the King
“Make thee my knight in secret ? yea, once, When both were children, and in lonely
but he, haunts
Our noblest brother, and our truest man, Would scratch a ragged oval on the
And one with me in all, he needs must sand,
know.” And each at either dash from either
| “Let Lancelot know, my King, let end — Shame never made girl redder than Ga.
Lancelot know, reth joy.
| Thy noblest and thy truest !”. He laugh’d; he sprang. “Out of the
And the King smoke, at once
“But wherefore would ye men should I leap from Satan's foot to Peter's
wonder at you ? knee
Nay, rather for the sake of me, their These news be mine, none other's — nay,
King, the King's
And the deed's sake my knighthood do Descend into the city”: whereon he
the deed, sought
Than to be noised of.” The King alone, and found, and told him all.
Merrily Gareth ask'a,
“Have I not earn'd my cake in baking “I have stagger'd thy strong Gawain
of it? in a tilt
Let be my name until I make my name ! For pastime; yea, he said it : joust | My deeds will speak : it is but for a day.' can I.
So with a kindly hand on Gareth's arm Make me thy knight — in secret ! let | Smiled the great King, and half-unwill. my name
ingly Be hidd'n, and give me the first quest, I Loving his lusty youthhood yielded to him. spring
Then, after summoning Lancelot privily, Like flame from ashes."
“I have given him the first quest : he is
not proven. Here the King's calm eye Look therefore when he calls for this in Fell on, and check’d, and made him flush,
hall, and bow
Thou get to horse and follow him far Lowly, to kiss his hand, who answer'd
Cover the lions on thy shield, and see “Son, the good mother let me know thee Far as thou mayest, he be nor ta'en nor
here, And sent her wish that I would yield thee thine.
| Then that same day there past into Make thee my knight ? my knights are the hall sworn to vows
| A damsel of high lineage, and a brow
May-blossom, and a cheek of apple-blos- Save whom she loveth, or a holy life. som,
Now therefore have I come for Lancelot." Hawk-eyes; and lightly was her slender nose
Then Arthur mindful of Sir Gareth Tip-tilted like the petal of a flower;
ask'd, She into hall past with her page and "Damsel, ye know this Order lives to cried,
All wrongers of the Realm. But say, “O King, for thou hast driven the foe these four, without,
Who be they? What the fashion of the See to the foe within ! bridge, ford, be.
meu ș” set By bandits, every one that owns a tower “They be of foolish fashion, O Sir The Lord for half a league. Why sit ye King, there?
The fashion of that old knight-errantry Rest would I not, Sir King, an I were who ride abroad and do but what they king,
will ; Till ev’n the lonest hold were all as free Courteous or bestial from the moment, From cursed bloodshed, as thine altar- Such as have nor law nor king; and three cloth
of these From that blest blood it is a sin to spill." Proud in their fantasy call themselves
the Day, “Comfort thyself,” said Arthur, “IMorning-Star, and Noon-Sun, and Evennor mine
ing-Star, Rest : so my knighthood keep the vows Being strong fools ; and never a whit they swore,
more wise The wastest moorland of our realm shall | The fourth, who alway rideth arm'd in be
black, Safe, damsel, as the centre of this hall. A huge man-beast of boundless savagery. What is thy name ? thy need ?”
He names himself the Night and oftener
Death, “My name ?" she said — And wears a helmet mounted with a skull “Lynette my name ; noble; my need, And bears a skeleton figured on his arms, a knight
To show that who may slay or scape the To combat for my sister, Lyonors,
three A lady of high lineage, of great lands, Slain by himself shall enter endless night. And comely, yea, and comelier than my. And all these four be fools, but mighty self.
men, She lives in Castle Perilous : a river And therefore am I come for Lancelot.” Runs in three loops about her livingplace;
Hereat Sir Gareth call'd from where And o'er it are three passings, and three he rose, knights
| A head with kindling eyes above the Defend the passings, brethren, and all throng, fourth
" A boon, Sir King - this quest !" then And of that four the mightiest, holds -- for he mark'd her stay'd
Kay near him groaning like a wounded In her own castle and so besieges her
bull To break her will, and make her wed “Yea, King, thou knowest thy kitchenwith him:
knave am I, And but delays his purport till thou send And mighty thro' thy meats and drinks To do the battle with him, thy chief am I,
And I can topple over a hundred such. Sir Lancelot whom he trusts to over- Thy promise, King," and Arthur glanthrow,
cing at him, Then wed, with glory; but she will not Brought down a momentary brow. wed
And pardonable, worthy to be knight - Sir Gareth strode, and saw without the Go therefore," and all hearers were
King Arthur's gift, the worth of half a
town, But on the damsel's forehead shame, A warhorse of the best, and near it stood pride, wrath,
The two that out of north had follow'd Slew the May-white: she lifted either arm, him : “Fie on thee, King! I ask'd for thy This bare a maiden shield, a casque ; that chief knight,
held And thou hast given me but a kitchen- The horse, the spear; whereat Sir Gaknave.”
reth loosed Then ere a man in hall could stay her, A cloak that dropt from collar-bone to
turn'd, Fled down the lane of access to the King, A cloth of roughest web, and cast it down, Took horse, descended the slope street, And from it like a fuel-smother'd fire, and past
That lookt half-dead, brake bright, and The weird white gate, and paused with
flash'd as those out, beside
Dull-coated things, that making slide The field of tourney, murmuring “kitch apart en-knave.”
Their dusk wing-cases, all beneath there
burns Now two great entries open'd from the A jewel'd harness, ere they pass and fly. hall,
So Gareth ere he parted flash'd in arms. At one end one, that gave upon a range Then while he donn'd the helm, and took Of level pavement where the King would the shield pace
And mounted horse and graspt a spear, At sunrise, gazing over plain and wood.
of grain And down from this a lordly stairway Storm-strengthen’d on a windy site, and sloped
tipt Till lost in blowing trees and tops of With trenchant steel, around him slowly towers.
prest And out by this main doorway past the The people, and from out of kitchen came
| The thralls in throng, and seeing who But one was counter to the hearth, and had work'd rose
Lustier than any, and whom they could High that the highest-crested helm could but love,
Mounted in arms, threw up their caps Therethro' nor graze : and by this entry and cried, fled
“God bless the King, and all his fellowThe damsel in her wrath, and on to this
And on thro' lanes of shouting Gareth | “Tut, tell not me,” said Kay, "ye are rode
overfine Down the slope street, and past without To mar stout knaves with foolish courthe gate.
Then mounted, on thro' silent faces rode So Gareth past with joy ; but as the Down the slope city, and out beyond the cur
gate. Pluckt from the cur he fights with, ere his cause
| But by the field of tourney lingering yet Be cool'd by fighting, follows, being Mutter'd the damsel, “Wherefore did named,
the King His owner, but remembers all, and growls Scorn me? for, were Sir Lancelot lackt, Remembering, so Sir Kay beside the door
at least Mutter'd in scorn of Gareth whom he used He might have yielded to me one of those To harry and hustle.
Who tilt for lady's love and glory here,
| Rather than - O sweet heaven! O fie “Bound upon a quest
upon himWith horse and arms - the King hath His kitchen-knave.”
past his time My scullion knave! Thralls to your
To whom Sir Gareth drew work again,
(And there were none but few goodlier For an your fire be low ye kindle mine! than he) Will there be dawn in West and eve in Shining in arms, “Damsel, the quest is East ?
mine. Begone!-- my knave ! -- belike and like Lead, and I follow." She thereat, as one enow
That smells a foul-flesh'd agaric in the Some old head-blow not heeded in his holt, youth
And deems it carrion of some woodland So shook his wits they wander in his thing, prime
Or shrew, or weasel, nipt her slender nose Crazed! How the villain lifted up his With petulant thumb and finger shrillvoice,
ing, “Hence! Nor shamed to bawl himself a kitchen- Avoid, thou smellest all of kitchen-grease. ave.
And look who comes behind," for there Tut: he was tame and meek enow with was Kay. me,
“Knowest thou not me? thy master! Till peacock'd up with Lancelot's no I am Kay. ticing.
We lack thee by the hearth." Well – I will after my loud knave, and learn
And Gareth to him, Whether he know me for his master yet. “Master no more! too well I know thee, Out of the smoke he came, and so my ay — lance
The most ungentle knight in Arthur's Hold, by God's grace, he shall into the hall." mire -
“ Have at thee then," said Kay : they Thence, if the King awaken from his shock’d, and Kay craze,
Fell shoulder-slipt, and Gareth cried Into the smoke again.”
“Lead, and I follow," and fast away she But Lancelot said,
fled. “Kay, wherefore will ye go against the King,
| But after sod and shingle ceased to fly For that did never he whereon ye rail, Behind her, and the heart of her good But ever meekly served the King in thee? horse Abide : take counsel ; for this lad is great Was nigh to burst with violence of the And lusty, and knowing both of lance beat, and sword."
| Perforce she stay'd, and overtaken spoke.