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Together, and said to her, ‘Drive them

on

Before you;' and she drove them thro'

the waste.

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Then Enid waited, pale and sorrowful, And down upon him bare the bandit

three. And at the midmost charging, Prince

Geraint Drave the long spear a cubit thro' his

breast And out beyond; and then against his

brace Of comrades, each of whom had broken

on him A lance that splinter'd like an icicle, Swung from his brand a windy buffet

out Once, twice, to right, to left, and stunn'd

the twain Or slew them, and dismounting like a That skins the wild beast after slaying

him, Stript from the three dead wolves of

woman born The three gay suits of armour which they

wore, And let the bodies lie, but bound the

suits Of armour

on their horses, cach on each, And tied the bridle-reins of all the three

He follow'd nearer : ruth began to

work Agai his anger in him, while he

watch'd The being he loved best in all the world, With difficulty in mild obedience Driving them on: he fain had spoken to

her, And loosed in words of sudden fire the

wrath And smoulder'd wrong that burnt him

all within; But evermore it seein’d an easier thing At once without remorse to strike her

dead, Than to cry • Halt,' and to her own

bright face Accuse her of the least immodesty: And thus tongue-tied, it made him wroth

the more That she could speak whom his own ear

had heard Call herself false : and suffering thus he

made Minutes an age: but in scarce longer time Than at Caerleon the full-tided Usk, Before he turn to fall seaward again, Pauses, did Enid, keeping watch, behold In the first shallow shade of a deep wood, Before a gloom of stubborn-shafted oaks, Three other horsemen waiting, wholly

arm’d, Whereof one seem'd far larger than her

lord, And shook her pulses, crying, “Look, a

prize! Three horses and three goodly suits of

arms, And all in charge of whom? a girl: set

on.' “Nay,' said the second, ‘yonder comes a

knight. The third, “A craven; how he hangs his

head.' The giant answer'd merrily, “Yea, but

one? Wait here, and when he passes fall upon

him.'

man

And Enid ponder'd in her heart and

said, I will abide the coming of my lord, And I will tell him all their villainy. My lord is weary with the fight before, And they will fall upon him unawares. I needs must disobey him for his good; How should I dare obey him to his

harm? Needs must I speak, and tho' he kill me

for it, I save a life dearer to me than mine.'

And she abode his coming, and said

to him With timid firmness, 'Have I leave to

speak?' He said, 'Ye take it, speaking,' and she

spoke.

And there lay still; as he that tells the

tale Saw once a great piece of a promontory, That had a sapling growing on it, slide From the long shore-cliff's windy walls to

the beach, And there lie still, and yet the sapling

grew: So lay the man transfixt.

His craven pair Of comrades making slowlier at the

Prince, When now they saw their bulwark fallen,

stood; On whom the victor, to confound them

more, Spurr'd with his terrible war-cry; for as

one, That listens near a torrent mountain

brook, All thro' the crash of the near cataract

hears The drumming thunder of the huger fall At distance, were the soldiers wont to

hear His voice in battle, and be kindled by it, And foemen scared, like that false pair

who turn'd Flying, but, overtaken, died the death Themselves had wrought on many an

innocent.

*There lurk three villains yonder in the

wood, And each of them is wholly arm’d, and

one Is larger-limb'd than you are, and they

say That they will fall upon you while ye

pass.'

To which he Aung a wrathful answer

back: • And if there were an hundred in the

wood, And every man were larger-limb'd than I, And all at once should sally out upon me, I swear it would not ruffle me so much As you that not obey me. Stand aside, And if I fall, cleave to the better man.'

Thereon Geraint, dismounting, pick'd

the lance That pleased him best, and drew from

those dead wolves Their three gay suits of armour, each from

each, And bound them on their horses, each on

each, And tied the bridle-reins of all the three Together, and said to her, ‘ Drive them on Before you,' and she drove them thro' the

wood.

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Aim'd at the helm, his lance err'd; but

Geraint's, A little in the late encounter strain'd, Struck thro' the bulky bandit's corselet.

He follow'd nearer still: the pain she

had To keep them in the wild ways of the

wood, Two sets of three laden with jingling arms Together, served a little to disedge The sharpness of that pain about her And they themselves, like creatures gently

home, And then brake short, and down his

enemy roll'd,

heart:

born But into bad hands fall'n, and now so long By bandits groom'd, prick'd their light

ears, and felt Her low firm voice and tender government.

Fresh victual for these mowers of our

Earl; For these are his, and all the field is his, And I myself am his; and I will tell him How great a man thou art: he loves to

know When men of mark are in his territory: And he will have thee to his palace here, And serve thee costlier than with mowers'

fare.'

Then said Geraint, ‘I wish no better

fare: I never ate with angrier appetite Than when I left your mowers dinnerless. And into no Earl's palace will I go. I know, God knows, too much of palaces ! And if he want me, let him come to me. But hire us some fair chamber for the

night, And stalling for the horses, and return With victual for these men, and let us

know.'

So thro' the green gloom of the wood

they past, And issuing under open heavens beheld A little town with towers, upon a rock, And close beneath, a meadow gemlike

chased In the brown wild, and mowers mowing

in it: And down a rocky pathway from the place There came a fair-hair'd youth, that in his

hand Bare victual for the mowers: and Geraint Had ruth again on Enid looking pale: Then, moving downward to the meadow

ground, He, when the fair-hair'd youth came by

him, said, *Friend, let her eat; the damsel is so

faint.' Yea, willingly,' replied the youth; "and

thou, My lord, eat also, tho' the fare is coarse, And only meet for mowers;' then set

down His basket, and dismounting on the sward They let the horses graze, and ate them

selves. And Enid took a little delicately, Less having stomach for it than desire To close with her lord's pleasure; but

Geraint Ate all the mowers' victual unawares, And when he found all empty, was

amazed; And · Boy,' said he, I have eaten all,

but take A horse and arms for guerdon; choose

the best.' He, reddening in extremity of delight,

My lord, you overpay me fifty-fold.' * Ye will be all the wealthier,' cried the

Prince. "I take it as free gift, then,' said the boy, *Not guerdon; for myself can easily, While your good damsel rests, return,

and fetch

Yea, my kind lord,' said the glad

youth, and went, Held his head high, and thought himself

a knight, And up the rocky pathway disappear'd, Leading the horse, and they were left

alone.

But when the Prince had brought his

errant eyes Home from the rock, sideways he let

them glance At Enid, where she droopt: his own false

doom, That shadow of mistrust should never cross Betwixt them, came upon him, and he

sigh'd; Then with another humorous ruth re.

mark'd The lusty mowers labouring dinnerless, And watch'd the sun blaze on the turning

scythe, And after nodded sleepily in the heat. But she, remembering her old ruin’d hall, And all the windy clamour of the daws About her hollow turret, pluck'd the

grass There growing longest by the meadow's

edge,

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upon it,

And into many a listless annulet,
Now over, now beneath her marriage

ring, Wove and unwove it, till the boy return'd And told them of a chamber, and they

went; Where, after saying to her, 'If ye will, Call for the woman of the house,' to

which She answer'd, “Thanks, my lord;' the

two remain'd Apart by all the chamber's width, and

mute As creatures voiceless thro' the fault of

birth, Or two wild men supporters of a shield, Painted, who stare at open space, nor

glance The one at other, parted by the shield.

Free tales, and took the word and play'd And made it of two colours; for his talk, When wine and free companions kindled

him, Was wont to glance and sparkle like a gem Of hfty facets; thus he moved the Prince To laughter and his comrades to applause. Then, when the Prince was merry, ask'd

Limours, Your leave, my lord, to cross the room,

and speak To your good damsel there who sits apart, And seems so lonely?' •My free leave,'

he said; "Get her to speak: she doth not speak to

me.' Then rose Limours, and looking at his

feet, Like him who tries the bridge he fears Crost and came near, lifted adoring eyes, Bow'd at her side and utter'd whisper.

ingly:

may fail,

On a sudden, many a voice along the

street, And heel against the pavement echoing,

burst Their drowse; and either started while

the door, Push'd from without, drave backward to

the wall, And midmost of a rout of roisterers, Femininely fair and dissolutely pale, Her suitor in old years before Geraint, Enter'd, the wild lord of the place,

Limours. He moving up with pliant courtliness, Greeted Geraint full face, but stealthily, In the mid-warmth of welcome and graspt

hand, Found Enid with the corner of his eye, And knew her sitting sad and solitary. Then cried Geraint for wine and goodly

cheer To feed the sudden guest, and sumptu

ously According to his fashion, bade the host Call in what men soever were his friends, And feast with these in honour of their

Earl; • And care not for the cost; the cost is

mine.'

• Enid, the pilot star of my lone life, Enid, my early and my only love, Enid, the loss of whom hath turn'd me

wildWhat chance is this? how is it I see you

here? Ye are in my power at last, are in my

power. Yet fear me not: I call mine own self

wild, But keep a touch of sweet civility Here in the heart of waste and wilderness. I thought, but that your father came

between, In former days you saw me favourably. And if it were so do not keep it back: Make me a little happier : let me know it: Owe you me nothing for a life half-lost? Yea, yea, the whole dear debt of all you

are.

And, Enid, you and he, I see with joy, Ye sit apart, you do not speak to him, You come with no attendance, page or

maid, To serve you - doth he love you as of old? For, call it lovers' quarrels, yet I know Tho' men may bicker with the things

they love,

And wine and food were brought, and

Earl Limours Drank till he jested with all ease, and told

They would not make them laughable in

all eyes,

And snatch me from him as by violence; Leave me to-night: I am weary to the

death.'

Not while they loved them; and your

wretched dress, A wretched insult on you, dumbly speaks Your story, that this man loves you no

more.

Low at leave-taking, with his brandish'd

plume Brushing his instep, bow'd the allamorous

Earl, And the stout Prince bade him a loud

good-night. He moving homeward babbled to his men, How Enid never loved a man but him, Nor cared a broken egg-shell for her lord.

Your beauty is no beauty to him now:
A common chance — right well I know

it — pallid For I know men: nor will ye win him

back, For the man's love once gone never

returns. But here is one who loves you as of old; With more exceeding passion than of old : Good, speak the word: my followers ring

him round: He sits unarm’d; I hold a finger up; They understand: nay; I do not mean

blood: Nor need ye look so scared at what I

say: My malice is no deeper than a moat, No stronger than a wall: there is the

keep; He shall not cross us more; speak but

the word : Or speak it not; but then by Him that

made me The one true lover whom you ever own'd, I will make use of all the power I have. O pardon me! the madness of that hour, When first I parted from thee, moves me

But Enid left alone with Prince Geraint, Debating his command of silence given, And that she now perforce must violate it, Held commune with herself, and while

she held He fell asleep, and Enid had no heart To wake him, but hung o'er him, wholly

pleased To find him yet unwounded after fight, And hear him breathing low and equally. Anon she rose, and stepping lightly,

heap'd The pieces of his armour in one place, All to be there against a sudden need; Then dozed awhile herself, but overtoil'd By that day's grief and travel, evermore Seem'd catching at a rootless thorn, and

then Went slipping down horrible precipices. And strongly striking out her limbs

awoke; Then thought she heard the wild Earl at

the door, With all his rout of random followers, Sound on a dreadful trumpet, summoning

her; Which was the red cock shouting to the

light, As the gray dawn stole o'er the dewy

world, And glimmer'd on his armour in the room. And once again she rose to look at it, But touch'd it unawares: jangling, the

yet.'

At this the tender sound of his own

voice And sweet self-pity, or the fancy of it, Made his eye moist; but Enid fear'd his

eyes, Moist as they were, wine-heated from the

feast; And answer'd with such craft as women

use, Guilty or guiltless, to stave off a chance That breaks upon them perilously, and

said :

• Earl, if you love me as in former

years, And do not practise on me, come with

casque Fell, and he started up and stared at her. Then breaking his command of silence

given, She told him all that Earl Limours had

said,

morn,

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