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That stood on a dark strait of barren
land. On one side lay the Ocean, and on one Lay a great water, and the moon was
full. Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedi
“ The sequel of to-day unsolders all The goodliest fellowship of famous
knights Whereof this world holds record. Such
a sleep They sleep — the men I loved. I think
And, leaping down the ridges lightly,
plunged Among the bulrush-beds, and clutch'd
the sword, And strongly wheel'd and threw it.
The great brand Made lightnings in the splendor of the
moon, And flashing round and round, and
whirl'd in an arch, Shot like a streamer of the northern
morn, Seen where the moving isles of winter
shock By night, with noises of the northern
sea. So flash'd and fell the brand Excalibur : But ere he dipt the surface, rose an
Shall never more, at any future time, Delight our souls with talk of knightly
deeds, Walking about the gardens and the
halls Of Camelot, as in the days that were. I perish by this people which I made, Tho' Merlin sware that I should come
again To rule once more — but let what will
be, be, I am so deeply smitten thro' the helm That without help I cannot last till
Cloth'd in white samite, mystic, wonder
ful, And caught him by the hilt, and bran
dish'd him Three times, and drew him under in the
Thou therefore take my brand Excali
bur, Which was my pride: for thou remem
berest how In those old days, one summer noon, an
And lightly went the other to the
thicker breath: “Now see I by thine eyes that this is
done. Speak out: what is it thou hast heard,
or seen?” And answer made the bold Sir Bedi
Rose up from out the bosom of the lake, Clothed with white samite, mystic, won
derful, Holding the sword and how I rowed
across And took it, and have worn it, like a
king: And, wheresoever I am sung or told In aftertime, this also shall be known : But now delay not: take Excalibur, And Aing him far into the middle
Should blind my purpose, for I never
saw, Nor shall see, here or elsewhere, till I
die, Not tho' I live three lives of mortal
men, So great a miracle as yonder hilt. Then with both hands I Alung him,
wheeling him; But when I look'd again, behold an
arm, Clothed in white samite, mystic, won
derful, That caught him by the hilt, and bran
Three times, and drew him under in Sharp-smitten with the dint of armed the inere."
heels And answer made King Arthur, And on a sudden, lo! the level lake, breathing hard :
And the long glories of the winter “ My end draws nigh; 'tis time that I were gone.
Then saw they how there hove a Make broad thy shoulders to receive
dusky barge, my weight,
Dark as a funeral scarf from stem to And bear me to the margin; yet I
Beneath them; and descending they My wound hath taken cold, and I shall die.”
That all the decks were dense with So saying, from the pavement he half stately forms rose,
Black-stoled, black-hooded, like Slowly, with pain, reclining on his arm, dream — by these And looking wistfully with wide blue Three Queens with crowns of gold — eyes
and from them rose As in a picture. Him Sir Bedivere A cry that shiver'd to the tingling stars, Remorsefully regarded thro' his tears, And, as it were one voice, an agony And would have spoken, but he found Of lamentation, like a wind, that shrills not words,
All night in a waste land, where no one Then took with care, and kneeling on
comes, one knee,
Or hath come, since the making of the O'er both his shoulders drew the lan
world. guid hands,
Then murmur'd Arthur, Place me And rising bore him thro' the place of in the barge, tombs.
And to the barge they came. There But, as he walk'd, King Arthur panted
those three Queens hard,
Put forth their hands, and took the Like one that feels a nightmare on his King, and wept. bed
But she that rose the tallest of them all When all the house is mute. So sigh'd And fairest, laid his head upon her lap, the King,
And loosed the shatter'd casque, and Muttering and murmuring at his ear
chafed his hands “Quick, quick!
And call'd him by his name, complainI fear it is too late, and I shall die."
ing loud, But the other swiftly strode from ridge And dropping bitter tears against his to ridge,
brow Clothed with his breath, and looking, Striped with dark blood: for all his as he walk'd,
face was white Larger than human on the frozen hills. And colorless, and like the wither'd He heard the deep behind him, and a
Smote by the fresh beam of the spring. Before. His own thought drove him ing east; like a goad.
And all his grieves and cuisses dash'd Dry clash'd his harness in the icy caves with drops And barren chasms, and all to left and Of onset; and the light and lustrous right
curls The bare black cliff clang'd round him, That made his forehead like a rising
as he based His feet on juts of slippery crag that High from the dais-throne rang
parch'd with dust;
Or, clotted into points and hanging | If thou shouldst never see my face loose,
again, Mix'd with the knightly growth that Pray for my soul. More things are fringed his lips.
wrought by prayer So like a shatter'd column lay the Than this world dreams of. WhereKing;
fore, let thy voice Not like that Arthur who, with lance in Rise like a fountain for me night and rest,
day. From spur to plume a star of tourna- For what are men better than sheep or ment,
goats Shot thro’ the lists at Camelot, and That nourish a blind life within the charged
brain, Before the eyes of ladies and of If, knowing God, they lift not hands of kings.
prayer Then loudly cried the bold Sir Bedi- Both for themselves and those who call vere,
them friend? “ Ah! my Lord Arthur, whither shall I For so the whole round earth is every
way Where shall I hide my forehead and Bound by gold chains about the feet of my eyes?
God. For now I see the true old times are But now farewell. I am going a long dead,
way When every morning brought a noble With these thou seëst — if indeed I chance,
go And every chance brought out a noble (For all my mind is clouded with a knight.
doubt) Such times have been not since the To the island-valley of Avilion; light hath led
Where falls not hail, or rain, or any The holy Elders with the gift of
Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it But now the whole ROUND TABLE is
Deep-meadow'd, happy, fair with Which was an image of the mighty
And bowery hollows crown'd with sumAnd I, the last, go forth companionless,
mer sea, And the days darken round me, and the Where I will heal me of my grievous years,
wound.” Among new men, strange faces, other So said he, and the barge with oar minds."
and sail And slowly answer'd Arthur from the Moved from the brink, like some fullbarge;
breasted swan “ The old order changeth, yielding That, futing a wild carol ere her place to new,
death, And God fulfils himself in many ways, Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes Lest one good custom should corrupt
the flood the world.
With swarthy webs. Long stood Sir Comfort thyself: what comfort is in
Revolving many memories, till the hull I have lived my life, and that which I Look'd one black dot against the verge have done
of dawn, May He within himself make pure! but And on the mere the wailing died thou,
The splinter'd spear-shafts crack and fly,
The horse and rider reel:
And when the tide of combat stands, Perfume and flowers fall in showers,
That lightly rain from ladies' hands.
DEEP on the convent-roof the snows
Are sparkling to the moon :
May my soul follow soon!
Slant down the snowy sward,
That lead me to my Lord :
As are the frosty skies,
That in my bosom lies.
To yonder shining ground;
To yonder argent round;
My spirit before Thee;
To that I hope to be.
up the heavens, O Lord! and far, Thro' all yon starlight keen, Draw me, thy bride, a glittering star,
In raiment white and clean.
How sweet are looks that ladies bend
On whom their favors fall! For them I battle to the end,
To save from shame and thrall : But all my heart is drawn above, My knees are bow'd in crypt and
shrine: I never felt the kiss of love,
Nor maiden's hand in mine. More bounteous aspects on me beam, Me mightier transports move and
thrill; So keep I fair thro' faith and prayer
A virgin heart in work and will.
When down the stormy crescent goes,
A light before me swims,
I hear a noise of hymns:
I hear a voice, but none are there; The stalls are void, the doors are wide,
The tapers burning fair.
The silve vessels sparkle clean,
And solemn chants resound between.
He lifts me to the golden doors;
The flashes come and go;
And strews her lights below,
Roll back, and far within
To make me pure of sin. The sabbaths of Eternity,
One sabbath deep and wide A light upon the shining sea
The Bridegroom with his bride!
Sometimes on lonely mountain-meres
I find a magic bark;
I float till all is dark.
Three angels bear the holy Grail :
On sleeping wings they sail.
My spirit beats her mortal bars,
And star-like mingles with the stars. When on my goodly charger borne
Thro' dreaming towns I go, The cock crows ere the Christmas morn,
The streets are dumb with snow.
My good blade carves the casques of
men, My tough lance thrusteth sure, My strength is as the strength of ten,
Because my heart is pure. The shattering trumpet shrilleth high,
The hard brands shiver on the steel,
A thousand suns will stream on thee,
A thousand moons will quiver; But not by thee my steps shall be,
Forever and forever.
The tempest crackles on the leads,
And gilds the driving hail.
No branchy thicket shelter yields: But blessed forms in whistling storms
Fly o’er waste fens and windy fields. A maiden knight — to me is given
Such hope, I know not fear;
That often meet me here.
Pure spaces clothed in living beams, Pure lilies of eternal peace,
Whose odors haunt my dreams; And, stricken by an angel's hand,
This mortal armor that I wear, This weight and size, this heart and eyes,
Are touch'd, are turn'd to finest air.
BREAK, BREAK, BREAK. BREAK, break, break,
On thy cold gray stones, O Sea! And I would that my tongue could utter,
The thoughts that arise in me. O well for the fisherman's boy,
That he shouts with his sister at play! O well for the sailor lad,
That he sings in his boat on the bay ! And the stately ships go on
To their haven under the hill; But O for the touch of a vanish'd hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still !