Imagens da página


“What doest thou, scullion, in my A gloomy-gladed hollow slowly sink fellowship?

To westward — in the deeps whereof a Deem'st thou that I accept thee aught mere, the more

Round as the red eye of an Eagle-owl, Or love thee better, that by some device Under the half-dead sunset glared ; and Full cowardly, or by mere unhappiness, Thou hast overthrown and slain thy mas Ascended, and there brake a servingman ter — thou !

| Flying from out of the black wood, and Dish-washer and broach-turner, loon ! - crying, to me

“They have bound my lord to cast him Thou smellest all of kitchen as before."

in the mere."

Then Gareth, “Bound am I to right the “Damsel," Sir Gareth answer'd gently, wrong'd, “say

But straitlier bound am I to bide with Whate'er ye will, but whatsoe'er ye say,

thee." I leave not till I finish this fair quest, And when the damsel spake contemptuOr die therefor."


• Lead and I follow," Gareth cried again, “Ay, wilt thou finish it ?

“ Follow, I lead !” so down among the Sweet lord, how like a noble knight he

pines talks!

He plunged ; and there, blackshadow'd The listening rogue hath caught the man

nigh the mere, ner of it. But, knave, anon thou shalt be met with,

And mid-thigh-deep in bulrushes and

reed, knave,

Saw six tall men haling a seventh along, And then by such a one that thou for all The kitchen brewis that was ever supt

A stone about his neck to drown him in Shall not once dare to look him in the Thre face.”

Three with good blows he quieted, but

three “I shall assay," said Gareth with a Fled thro' the pines ; and Gareth loosed smile

the stone That madden'd her, and away she flash'd From off his neck, then in the mere beagain

side Down the long avenues of a boundless Tumbled it; oilily bubbled up the mere. wood,

Last, Gareth loosed his bonds and on free And Gareth following was again be.

feet knaved.

Set him, a stalwart Baron, Arthur's friend. “ Sir Kitchen-knave, I have miss'd the “Well that ye came, or else these caionly way

tiff rogues Where Arthur's men are set along the Had wreak'd themselves on me ; good wood ;

cause is theirs The wood is nigh as full of thieves as To hate me, for my wont hath ever been leaves :

To catch my thief, and then like vermin If both be slain, I am rid of thee ; but yet,

Drown him, and with a stone about his Sir Scullion, canst thou use that spit of neck ; thine ?

And under this wan water many of them Fight, an thou canst: I have miss'd the Lie rotting, but at night let go the stone, only way.”

And rise, and flickering in a grimly light

Dance on the mere. Good now, ye have So till the dusk that follow'd evensong saved a life Rode on the two, reviler and reviled : Worth somewhat as the cleanser of this Then after one long slope was mounted, wood. saw,

And fain would I reward thee worshipBowl-shaped, thro' tops of many thousand fully. pines

| What guerdon will ye ?"



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Gareth sharply spake, | Then Arthur all at once gone mad replies, “None! for the deed's sake have I done ‘Go therefore,' and so gives the quest to the deed,

him In attermost obedience to the King. Him - here – a villain fitter to stick But will ye yield this damsel harbor- swine

Than ride abroad redressing women's

wrong, Whereat the Baron saying, “I well Or sit beside a noble gentlewoman."

believe Ye be of Arthur's Table," a light laugh Then half-ashamed and part-amazed, Broke from Lynette, “Ay, truly of a the lord truth,

Now look'd at one and now at other, And in a sort, being Arthur's kitchen. left knave !

The damsel by the peacock in his pride, But deem not I accept thee aught the And, seating Gareth at another board, more,

Sat down beside him, ate and then began. Scullion, for running sharply with thy

“Friend, whether ye be kitchen-knave, Down on a rout of craven foresters.

or not, A thresher with his flail had scatter'd Or whether it be the maiden's fantasy, them.

And whether she be mad, or else the Nay - for thou smellest of the kitchen King, still.

Or both or neither, or thyself be mad, But an this lord will yield us harborage, I ask not : but thou strikest a strong Well."


For strong thou art and goodly there. So she spake. A league beyond the withal, wood,

And saver of my life ; and therefore now, All in a full-fair manor and a rich, For here be mighty men to joust with, His towers where that day a feast had weigh been

Whether thou wilt not with thy damsel Held in high hall, and many a viand left, back And many a costly cate, received the To crave again Sir Lancelot of the King. three.

Thy pardon ; I but speak for thine avail, And there they placed a peacock in his The saver of my life.”

pride Before the damsel, and the Baron set

And Gareth said, Gareth beside her, but at once she rose. “Full pardon, but I follow up the quest,

Despite of Day and Night and Death and “Meseems, that here is much discour

Hell." tesy, Setting this knave, Lord Baron, at my So when, next morn, the lord whose

life he saved Hear me — this morn I stood in Arthur's Had, some brief space, convey'd them on

their way And pray'd the King would grant me And left them with God-speed, Sir GaLancelot

reth spake, To fight the brotherhood of Day and “Lead and I follow." Haughtily she Night

replied, The last a monster unsubduable Of any save of him for whom I call'd “I fly no more : I allow thee for an Suddenly bawls this frontless kitchen

hour. knave,

Lion and stoat have isled together, knave, "The quest is mine; thy kitchen-knave In time of flood. Nay, furthermore, am I,

methinks And mighty thro' thy meats and drinks Some ruth is mine for thee. Back wilt

thou, fool ?


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

For hard by here is one will overthrow In dewy grasses glisten'd; and the hair
And slay thee : then will I to court again, All over glanced with dewdrop or with
And shame the King for only yielding | gem

Like sparkles in the stone Avanturine. My champion from the ashes of his These arm'd him in blue arms, and gave hearth."

a shield

Blue also, and thereon the morning star. To whom Sir Gareth answer'd cour-And Gareth silent gazed upon the knight, teously,

Who stood a moment, ere his horse was “Say thou thy say, and I will do my brought, deed.

| Glorying; and in the stream beneath Allow me for mine hour, and thou wilt him, shone, find

Immingled with Heaven's azure waverMy fortunes all as fair as hers, who lay

ingly, Among the ashes and wedded the King's The gay pavilion and the naked feet, son.

| His arms, the rosy raiment, and the star. Then to the shore of one of those long. Then she that watch'd him, “Whereloops

fore stare ye so ? Wherethro' the serpent river coil'd, they Thou shakest in thy fear : there yet is came.

time: Rough-thicketed were the banks and Flee down the valley before he get to steep; the stream

horse. Full, narrow; this a bridge of single arc Who will cry shame? Thou art not Took at a leap; and on the further side knight but knave." Arose a silk pavilion, gay with gold In streaks and rays, and all Lent-lily in Said Gareth, “Damsel, whether knavu

or knight, Save that the dome was purple, and Far liever had I fight a score of times above,

Than hear thee so missay me and revile. Crimson, a slender banneret fluttering. Fair words were best for him who fights And therebefore the lawless warrior paced for thee; Unarm'd, and calling, “ Damsel, is this But truly foul are better, for they send

That strength of anger thro' mine arms, The champion ye have brought from Ar

I know thur's hall ?

That I shall overthrow him.” For whom we let thee pass.” “Nay, nay,” she said,

And he that bore “Sir Morning-Star. The King in utter The star, being mounted, cried from o'er scorn

the bridge, Of thee and thy much folly hath sent “A kitchen-knave, and sent in scorn of thee here

me! His kitchen-knave : and look thou to Such fight not I, but auswer scorn with thyself :

scorn. See that he fall not on thee suddenly, For this were shame to do him further And slay thee unarm’d: he is not knight wrong but knave.”

Than set him on his feet, and take his

horse Then at his call, “O daughters of the And arms, and so return him to the King. Dawn,

| Come, therefore, leave thy lady lightly, And servants of the Morning-Star, ap-| knave. proach,

Avoid : for it beseemeth not a knave Arm me," from out the silken curtain. To ride with such a lady."

folds Barefooted and bareheaded three fair

"Dog, thou liest. girls

| I spring from loftier lineage than thine In gilt and rosy raiment came : their feet! own.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



He spake ; and all at fiery speed the two | I scent it twentyfold.” And then she Shock'd on the central bridge, and either spear

"O morning star' (not that tall felon Bent but not brake, and either knight there at once,

| Whom thou by sorcery or unhappiness Hurl'd as a stone from out of a catapult Or some device, hast foully overthrown), Beyond his horse's crupper and the 'O morning star that smilest in the blue, bridge,

O star, my morning dream hath proven · Fell, as if dead; but quickly rose and drew,

Smile sweetly, thou ! my love hath And Gareth lash'd so fiercely with his smiled on me.'

brand He drave his enemy backward down the “But thou begone, take counsel, and

away, The damsel crying, "Well-stricken, For hard by here is one that guards a kitchen-knave!”

ford Till Gareth's shield was cloven ; but one The second brother in their fool's para. stroke

ble Laid him that clove it grovelling on the Will pay thee all thy wages, and to ground.


Care not for shame : thou art not knight Then cried the fall'n, “Take not my but knave."

life: I yield." And Gareth, So this damsel ask it ofl. To whom Sir Gareth answer'd, laugh. me

ingly, Good - I accord it easily as a grace."

“Parables? Hear a parable of the She reddening, “Insolent scullion : I of

knave. thee ?

When I was kitchen-knave among the I bound to thee for any favor ask'd !"

rest “ Then shall he die.” “And Gareth there Fierce was the hearth, and one of my co. unlaced

mates His helmet as to slay him, but she

Own'd a rough dog, to whom he cast his shriek'd,

coat, “ Be not so hardy, scullion, as to slay

'Guard it,' and there was none to medOne nobler than thyself.” “Damsel,

1 dle with it. thy charge

And such a coat art thou, and thee the Is an abounding pleasure to me. Knight,

King Thy life is thine at her command. Arise Gave me to guard, and such a dog am I, And quickly pass to Arthur's hall, and

To worry, and not to flee --- and - knight

or knave say His kitchen-knave hath sent thee. See

The knave that doth thee service as full

knight thou crave His pardon for thy breaking of his laws.

Is all as good, meseems, as any knight Myself, when I return, will plead for

Toward thy sister's freeing." thee. Thy shield is mine – farewell ; and, Av. knave, because thou strikest as a

Ay, Sir Knave! damsel, thou

knigh Lead, and I follow."

Being but knave, I hate thee all the And fast away she fled. Then when he came upon her, spake, “Fair damsel, ye should worship me "Methought,

the more, Knave, when I watch'd thee striking on That, being but knave, I throw thine the bridge

enemies." The savor of thy kitchen came upon me A little faintlier: but the wind hath “Ay, ay,” she said, “but thou shalt changed ;

meet thy match."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

So when they touch'd the second river-1 “Nay, not a point : nor art thou victor

here. Huge on a huge red horse, and all in There lies a ridge of slate across the ford; mail

| His horse thereon stumbled — ay, for I Burnish'd to blinding, shone the Noon saw it.

day Sun Beyond a raging shallow. As if the ".0 Sun' (not this strong fool whom flower,

thou, Sir Knave, That blows a globe of after arrowlets, Hast overthrown thro'mere unhappiness), Ten thousand-fold had grown, flash'd the ‘O Sun, that wakenest all to bliss or fierce shield,

pain, All sun ; and Gareth's eyes had flying O moon, that layest all to sleep again, blots

Shine sweetly : twice my love hath Before them when he turn'd from watch smiled on me.'

ing him. He from beyond the roaring shallow “What knowest thou of lovesong or roar'd,

of love? What doest thou, brother, in my Nay, nay, God wot, so thou wert nobly marches here {

born, And she athwart the shallow shrill’d Thou hast a pleasant presence. Yea, again,

perchance, – “Here is a kitchen-knave from Arthur's hall

I "0 dewy flowers that open to the Hath overthrown thy brother, and hath sun, his arms."

O dewy flowers that close when day is “Ugh !” cried the Sun, and vizoring up done, a red

Blow sweetly : twice my love hath smiled And cipher face of rounded foolishness, Push'd horse across the foamings of the ford,

“What knowest thou of flowers, ex. Whom Gareth met midstream : no room

cept, belike, was there

To garnish meats with ? hath not our For lance or tourney-skill : four strokes good King they struck

Who lent me thee, the flower of kitchenWith sword, and these were mighty; dom, the new knight

A foolish love for flowers ? what stick ye Had fear he might be shamed ; but as round the Sun

The pasty? wherewithal deck the boar's Heaved up a ponderous arm to strike the head ? fifth,

Flowers ? nay, the boar hath rosemaries The hoof of his horse slipt in the stream, and bay.

the stream Descended, and the Sun was wash'd “O birds, that warble to the mornaway.

ing sky,

O birds that warble as the day goes by, Then Gareth laid his lance athwart Sing sweetly : twice my love hath siniled the ford;

on me. So drew him home; but he that would not fight,

“What knowest thou of birds, lark, As being all bone-battered on the rock,

mavis, merle, Yielded ; and Gareth sent him to the Linnet? what dream ye when they utter King.

forth “Myself when I return will plead for May-music growing with the growing

light, Lead, and I follow." Quietly she led. Their sweet sun-worship? these be for “Hath not the good wind, damsel, the snare changed again ?”

| (So runs thy fancy) these be for the spit,

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »