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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

that we


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

Then spoke King Arthur, drawing

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



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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

dish'd him

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were ware


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

stern, fear

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;


a cry


- were


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

snow, myrrh.

Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it But now the whole ROUND TABLE is

lies dissolved

Deep-meadow'd, happy, fair with Which was an image of the mighty

orchard-lawns world;

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

Bedivere me?

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:
They reel, they roll in clanging lists,

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 :
My breath to heaven like vapor goes :

May my soul follow soon!
The shadows of the convent-towers

Slant down the snowy sward,
Still creeping with the creeping hours

That lead me to my Lord :
Make Thou my spirit pure and clear

As are the frosty skies,
Or this first snowdrop of the year

That in my bosom lies.
As these white robes are soiled and dark,

To yonder shining ground;
As this pale taper's earthly spark,

To yonder argent round;
So shows my soul before the Lamb,

My spirit before Thee;
So in mine earthly house I am,

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,
Between dark stems the forest glows,

I hear a noise of hymns:
Then by some secret shrine I ride;

I hear a voice, but none are there; The stalls are void, the doors are wide,

The tapers burning fair.
Fair gleams the snowy altar-cloth,

The silve vessels sparkle clean,
The shrill bell rings, the censer swings,

And solemn chants resound between.

He lifts me to the golden doors;

The flashes come and go;
All heaven bursts her starry floors,

And strews her lights below,
And deepens on and up! the gates

Roll back, and far within
For me the Heavenly Bridegroom waits,

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 leap on board: no helmsman steers:

I float till all is dark.
A gentle sound, an awful light!

Three angels bear the holy Grail :
With folded feet, in stoles of white,

On sleeping wings they sail.
Ah, blessed vision ! blood of God!

My spirit beats her mortal bars,
As down dark tides the glory slides,

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, ringing, spins from brand and

But o'er the dark a glory spreads,

And gilds the driving hail.
I leave the plain, I climb the height;

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;
I yearn to breathe the airs of heaven

That often meet me here.
I muse on joy that will not cease,

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 !

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