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Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
That caught him by the hilt, and brandish'd him
Three times, and drew him under in the mere."

And answer made King Arthur, breathing hard: “My end draws nigh; 'tis time that I were gone. Make broad thy shoulders to receive my weight, And bear me to the margin; yet I fear My wound hath taken cold, and I shall die."

So saying, from the pavement he half rose, Slowly, with pain, reclining on his arm, And looking wistfully with wide blue eyes As in a picture. Him Sir Bedivere Remorsefully regarded thro’ his tears, And would have spoken, but he found not words; Then took with care, and kneeling on one knee, O'er both his shoulders drew the languid hands, And rising bore him thro' the place of tombs.

But, as he walk’d, King Arthur panted hard, Like one that feels a nightmare on his bed When all the house is mute. So sigh'd the King, Muttering and murmuring at his ear, “Quick, quick! I fear it is too late, and I shall die.” But the other swiftly strode from ridge to ridge, Clothed with his breath, and looking, as he walk’d, Larger than human on the frozen hills. He heard the deep behind him, and a cry Before. His own thought drove him like a goad. Dry clash'd his harness in the icy caves And barren chasms, and all to left and right The bare black cliff clang'd round him, as he based His feet on juts of slippery crag that rang Sharp-smitten with the dint of armed heels

And on a sudden, lo! the level lake,
And the long glories of the winter moon.

Then saw they how there hove a dusky barge,
Dark as a funeral scarf from stem to stern,
Beneath them; and descending they were ware
That all the decks were dense with stately forms,
Black-stoled, black-hooded, like a dream-by these
Three Queens with crowns of gold: and from them rose
A cry that shiver'd to the tingling stars,
And, as it were one voice, an agony
Of lamentation, like a wind that shrills
All night in a waste land, where no one comes,
Or hath come, since the making of the world.

Then murmur'd Arthur, “Place me in the barge." So to the barge they came. There those three Queens Put forth their hands, and took the King, and wept. But she, that rose the tallest of them all And fairest, laid his head upon her lap, And loosed the shatter'd casque, and chafed his hands, And callid him by his name, complaining loud, And dropping bitter tears against a brow Striped with dark blood: for all his face was white And colourless, and like the wither'd moon Smote by the fresh beam of the springing east; And all his greaves and cuisses dash'd with drops Of onset; and the light and lustrous curlsThat made his forehead like a rising sun High from the daïs-throne-were parch'd with dust; Or, clotted into points and hanging loose, Mix'd with the knightly growth that fringed his lips. So like a shatter'd column lay the King; Not like that Arthur who, with lance in rest, From spur to plume a star of tournament, Shot thro’ the lists at Camelot, and charged Before the eyes of ladies and of kings.

Then loudly cried the bold Sir Bedivere:
"Ah! my Lord Arthur, whither shall I go?
Where shall I hide my forehead and my eyes?
For now I see the true old times are dead,
When every morning brought a noble chance,
And every chance brought out a noble knight.
Such times have been not since the light that ed
The holy Elders with the gift of myrrh.
But now the whole Round Table is dissolved
Which was an image of the mighty world,
And I, the last, go forth companionless,
And the days darken round me, and the years,
Among new men, strange faces, other minds."

And slowly answer'd Arthur from the barge: “The old order changeth, yielding place to new, And God fulfils himself in many ways, Lest one good custom should corrupt the world. Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me? I have lived my life, and that which I have done May He within himself make pure! but thou, If thou shouldst never see my face again, Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice Rise like a fountain for me night and day. For what are men better than sheep or goats That nourish a blind life within the brain, If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer Both for themselves and those who call them friend? For so the whole round earth is every way Bound by gold chains about the feet of God. But now farewell. I am going a long way With these thou seëst-if indeed I go (For all my mind is clouded with a doubt)To the island-valley of Avilion; Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow,

Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies
Deep-meadow'd, happy, fair with orchard lawns
And bowery hollows crown'd with summer sea,
Where I will heal me of my grievous wound.”

So said he, and the barge with oar and sail
Moved from the brink, like some full-breasted swan
That, fluting a wild carol ere her death,
Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes the flood
With swarthy webs. Long stood Sir Bedivere
Revolving many memories, till the hull
Look'd one black dot against the verge of dawn,
And on the mere the wailing died away.

But when that moan had

past

for evermore, The stillness of the dead world's winter dawn Amazed him, and he groan’d, “The King is gone." And therewithal came on him the weird rhyme, "From the great deep to the great deep he goes.”

Whereat he slowly turn’d and slowly clomb The last hard footstep of that iron crag; Thence mark'd the black hull moving yet, and cried, “He passes to be King among the dead, And after healing of his grievous wound He comes again; but—if he come no moreO me, be yon dark Queens in yon black boat, Who shriek'd and wail'd, the three whereat we gazed On that high day, when, clothed with living light, They stood before his throne in silence, friends Of Arthur, who should help him at his need?"

Then from the dawn it seem’d there came, but faint As from beyond the limit of the world, Like the last echo born of a great cry, Sounds, as if some fair city were one voice Around a king returning from his wars.

Thereat once more he moved about, and clomb
Ev'n to the highest he could climb, and saw,
Straining his eyes beneath an arch of hand,
Or thought he saw, the speck that bare the King,
Down that long water opening on the deep
Somewhere far off, pass on and on, and go
From less to less and vanish into light.
And the new sun rose bringing the new year.

THE FIRST QUARREL.
(IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT.)
(Ballads and Poems 1880.]

I.

“Wait a little,” you say, “you are sure it 'll all come right," But the boy was born i trouble, an' looks so wan an'

So white: Wait! an' once I ha' waited—I hadn't to wait for long. Now I wait, wait, wait for Harry.--No, no, you are

doing me wrong! Harry and I were married: the boy can hold up his head, The boy was born in wedlock, but after my man was dead; I ha'work'd for him fifteen years, an' I work an' I wait

to the end. I am all alone in the world, an' you are my only friend.

II.

Doctor, if you can wait, I'll tell you the tale o' my life. When Harry an' I were children, he calld me his own

little wife; I was happy when I was with him, an' sorry when he

was away, An’ when we play'd together, I loved him better than play; He workt me the daisy chain--he made me the cowslip

ball,

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