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I think she cloaks the wounds of loss with | A long, long weeping, not consolable. lies;

| Then her false voice anade way broken I do believe she tempted them and fail'd, with sobs. She is so bitter: for fine plots may fail, Tho' harlots paint their talk as wellas face “() crueller than was ever told in tale, With colors of the heart that are not theirs. Or sig in song! ( vainly lavish'd love! I will not let her know: nine tithes of Ocruel, there was nothing wild or strange, times

Or seeming shameful, for what shame in Face-flatterers and backbiters are the

love, same.

So love be true, and not as yours is -And they, sweet soul, that most impute nothing a crime

| Poor Vivien had not done to win his trust Are pronest to it, and inpute themselves, Who call'{l her what he call'd her --- all Wanting the mental range ; or low desire her crime, Not to feel lowest makes them level all ;| All --- all — the wish to prove him wholly Yea, they would pare the mountain to

hers." the plain, To leave an equal baseness; and in this She mused a little, and then clapt her Are harlots like the crowd, that if they find hands Some stain or blemish in a name of note, Together with a wailing shriek, and said: Not grieving that their greatest are so “Stabb'd through the heart's affections small,

to the heart ! Inflate themselves with some insane de- Seethed like the kid in its own mother's light,

milk! And judge all nature from her feet of clay, Kill'd with a word worse than a life of Without the will to lift their eyes, and see blows! Her godlike head crowu'd with spiritual I thought that he was gentle, being great: fire,

() God, that I had loved a smaller man ! And touching other worlds. I am weary I should have found in him a greater heart. of her.'

0, I, that llattering my true passion, saw

The knights, the court, the king, dark He spoke in words part heard, in whis in your light, pers part,

Who love to make men darker than they Half-suffocated in the hoary fell

are, And many-winter'd fleece of throat and Because of that high pleasure which I had chin.

To seat you sole upon my pedestal But Vivien, gathering somewhat of his Of worship — I am answer'd, and hence

forth And hearing “harlot" mutter'd twice or The course of life that seem'd so flowery thrice,

to me Leapt from her session on his lap, and stood With you for guide and master, only you, Stiff as a viper frozen ; loathsome sight, Becomes the sea-cliff pathway broken How from the rosy lips of life and love,

short, Flash'd the bare-grinning skeleton of And ending in a ruin -- nothing left, death!

But into some low cave to crawl, and there, White was her cheek; sharp breaths of If the wolf spare me, weep my life away, anger puff'd

Kill'd with inutterable unkindliness." Her fairy nostril out; her hand halfclench'd

She paused, she turn'd away, she hung Went faltering sideways downward to her her head, belt,

The snake of gold slid from her hair, the And feeling; had she found a dagger there

braid (For in a wink the false love turns to hate) Slipt and uncoil'd itself, she wept afresh, She would have stabb'd him ; but she And the dark wood grew darker toward found it not :

the storm His eye was calm, and suddenly she took, In silence, while his anger slowly died To bitter weeping like a beaten child, Within hin, till lie lot his wisdom go


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For ease of heart, and half believed her. There while she sat, half-falling from his true :

knees, Call'd her to shelter in the hollow oak, Half-nestled at his heart, and since he saw Come from the storm" and having no The slow tear creep from her closed eye

lid yet, Gazed at the heaving shoulder, and the About her, more in kindness than in love, face

The gentle wizard cast a shielding arm Hand-hidden, as for utmost grief or But she dislink'd herself at once and rose, shame;

Her arms upon her breast across, ane? Then thrice essay'd, by tenderest-touch

stood ing terms

A virtuous gentlewoman deeply wrong'd, To sleek her ruffled peace of mind, in vain. Upright and flush'd before him : then she At last she let herself be conquer'dby him, said : And as the cageling newly flown returns, The seeming-injured simple-hearted thing “There must be now no passages of love Came to her old perch back, and settled Betwixt us twain henceforward evermore, there.

Since, if I be what I am grossly call’d,


What should be granted which your own She shook from fear, and for her fault she

gross heart Would reckon worth the taking? I will go. Of petulancy; she call’d him lord and In truth, but one thing now -- better have

liege, died

Her seer, her bard, her silver star of eve, Thrice than have ask'd it once --- could Her God, her Merlin, the one passionate make me stay --

love That proof of trust — so often asked in Of her whole life ; and ever overhead vain !

| Bellow'd the tempest, and the rotten How justly, after that vile term of yours, branch I find with grief! I might believe you Snapt in the rushing of the river rain then,

Above them; and in change of glare and Who knows? once more. O, what was

gloom once to me

Her eyes and neck glittering went and Mere matter of the fancy, now has grown

came; The vast necessity of heart and life. Till now the storm, its burst of passion Farewell ; think kindly of me, for I fear spent, My fate or fault, omitting gayer youth Moaning and calling out of other lands, For one so old, must be to love you still. Had left the ravaged woodland yet once But ere I leave you let me swear once more more

To peace; and what should not have That if I schemed against your peace in been had been, this,

For Merlin, overtalk'd and overworn, May yon just heaven, that darkens o'er Had yielded, told her all the charm, and me, send

slept. One flash, that, missing all things else, may make

Then, in one moment, she put forth My scheming brain a cinder, if I lie.”

the charm

Of woven paces and of waving hands, Scarce had she ceased, when out of | And in the hollow oak he lay as dead, heaven a bolt

| And lost to life and use and name and (For now the storm was close above them)

fame. struck, Furrowing a giant oak, and javelining Then crying “I have made his glory With darted spikes and splinters of the mine," wood

And shrieking out “O fool!" the harlot The dark earth round. He raised his eyes leapt and saw

Adown the forest, and the thicket closed The tree that shone white-listed thro' the Behind her, and the forest echo'd “fool.”

gloom. But Vivien, fearing heaven had heard her oath,

LANCELOT AND ELAINE. And dazzled by the livid-flickering fork, And deafen'd with the stammering cracks ELAINE the fair, Elaine the lovable, and claps

| Elaine, the lily maid of Astolat, That follow'd, flying back and crying out, High in her chamber up a tower to the "O Merlin, tho you do not love me, save, east Yet save me !” člung to him and hugg'd Guarded the sacred shield of Lancelot ; him close;

Which first she placed where morning's And call’d him dear protectorin her fright, earliest ray Nor yet forgot her practice in her fright, Might strike it, and awake her with the But wrought upon his mood and hugg'd gleam ; him close.

| Then fearing rust or soilure fashion'd for it The pale blood of the wizard at her touch A case of silk, and braided thereupon Took gayer colors, like an opal warm'd. All the devices blazon'd on the shield She blamed herself for telling hearsay In their own tinct, and allded, of her wit, tales :

| A border fantasy of branch and flower,

And yellow-throated nestling in the nest. And there they lay till all their bones Norrested thus content, but day by were bleach'd, day

And lichen’d into color with the crags : Leaving her household and good father And he, that once wasking, had on a crown climb'd

Of diamonds, one in front, and four aside. That eastern tower, and entering barr'd And Arthur came, and laboring up the her door,

pass Stript off the case, and read the naked All in a misty moonshine, unawares shield,

Had trodden that crown'd skeleton, and Now guess'd' a hidden meaning in Iris the skull arms,

Brake from the nape, and from the skull Now made a pretty history to herself

the crown Of every dint a sword had beaten in it, Roll'd into light, and turning on its rims And every scratch a lance had made upon Fled like a glittering rivulet to the tarn : it,

And down the shingly scaur he plunged, Conjecturing when and where : this cut and caught, is fresh ;

| And set it on his head, and in his heart That ten years back; this dealt him at Heard murmurs “lo, thou likewise shalt Caerlyle;

be king." That at Caerleon ; this at Camelot : And ah God's mercy what a stroke was Thereafter, when a king, he had the there!

gems And here a thrust that might have kill'd, Pluck'd from the crown, and show'd them but God

to his knights, Broke the strong lance, and roll’d his Saying “these jewels, whereupon I enemy down,

chanced And saved him : so she lived in fantasy. Divinely, are the kingdom's not the

king's — How came the lily maid by that good for public use: henceforward let there be, shield

Once every year, a joust for one of these : Of Lancelot, she that knew not ev'n his For so by nine years' proof we needs must name?

learn He left it with her, when he rode to tilt Which is our mightiest, and ourselves For the great diamond in the diamond shall grow jousts,

| In use of arms and manhood, till we drive Which Arthur had ordain'd, and by that The Heathen, who, some say, shall rule name

the land Had named them, since a diamond was Hereafter, which God hinder.” Thus he the prize.

spoke :

And eight years past, eight jousts had For Arthur long before they crown'd been, and still him king,

Had Lancelot won the diamond of the Roving the trackless realms of Lyon

year, nesse,

With purpose to present them to the Had found a glen, gray boulder and black Queen, tarn.

When all were won; but meaning all at A horror lived about the tarn, and clave

once Like its own mists to all the mountain To snare her royal fancy with a boon side :

| Worth half her realm, had never spoken For here two brothers, one a king, had

word. met And fought together ; but their names Now for the central diamond and the were lost.

last And each had slain his brother at a And largest, Arthur, holding then his court blow,

Har on the river nigh the place which And down they fell and made the glen now abhorr'd :

| Is this world's hugest, let proclaim a joust



At Camelot, and when the time drew nigh | But now my loyal worship is allow'd Spake (for she had been sick) to Guine. Of all men : many a bard, without offence, vere

Has link'd our names together in his lay, “ Are you so sick, my Queen, you cannot Lancelot, the flower of bravery, Guinemove

vere, To these fair jousts?” “Yea, lord,” she The pearl of beauty : and our knights at said, “ye know it."

feast "Then will ye miss,” he answerd, Have pledged us in this union, while the

“the great deels Of Lancelot, and his prowess in the lists, Would listen smiling. How then ! is A sight ye love to look on.” And the there more ? Queen

| Has Arthur spoken aught ? or would Lifted her eyes, and they dwelt languidly yourself, On Lancelot, where he stood beside the Now weary of my service and devoir, King.

Henceforth be truerto your faultless lord?" He thinking that he read her meaning

She broke into a little scornful laugh. “Stay with me, I am sick ; my love is “Arthur, my lord, Arthur, the faultless more

King, Than many diamonds,” yielded, and a That passionate perfection, my good heart,

lord Love-loyal to the least wish of the Queen But who can gaze upon the Sun in heaven? (However much he yearn’d to make com- He never spake word of reproach to me, plete

He never had a glimpse of mine untruth, The tale of diamonds for his destined boon) He cares not for me : only here to-day Urged him to speak against the truth, There gleam'd a vague suspicion in his and say,

eyes : “Sir King, mine ancient wound is hard. Some middling rogue has tamper'd with ly whole,

him - else And lets me from the saddle"; and the Rapt in this fancy of his Table Round, King

And swearing men to vows impossible, Glanced first at him, then her, and went To make them like himself : but, friend, his way.

to me No sooner gone than suddenly she began. He is all fault who hath no fault at all :

| For who loves me must have a touch of To blame, my lord Sir Lancelot, earth; much to blame.

The low sun makes the color : I am yours, Why go ye not to these fair jousts? the Not Arthur's, as ye know, save by the knights

bond. Are half of them our enemies, and the And therefore hear my words : go to the crowd

jousts : Will murmur, lo the shameless ones, who The tiny-trumpeting gnat can break our take

dream Their pastime now the trustful king is When sweetest ; and the vermin voices

here Then Lancelot vext at having lied in vain : May buzz so loud — we scorn them, but “Are ye so wise ? ye were not once so they sting.”

wise, My Queen, that summer, when ye loved Then answer'd Lancelot, the chief of me first.

knights. Then of the crowd ye took no more ac- “ And with what face, after my pretext count

made, Than of the myriad cricket of the mead, Shall I appear, () Queen, at Camelot, I When its own voice clings to each blade Before a king who honors his own word, of grass,

As if it were his God's?” And every voice is nothing. Astoknights,

“ Yea," said the Queen, Them surely can I silence with all ease. / “ A moral child without the craft to rule,

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