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But Arthur, who beheld his cloudy brows, Approach'd him, and with full affection

said,

Estate them with large land and territory In mine own realm beyond the narrow

seas, To keep them in all joyance: more than

this I could not; this she would not, and she

died.'

He pausing, Arthur answer'd, 'O my

knight, It will be to thy worship, as my knight, And mine, as head of all our Table

Round, To see that she be buried worshipfully.'

• Lancelot, my Lancelot, thou in whom

I have Most joy and most affiance, for I know What thou hast been in battle by my

side, And many a time have watch'd thee at

the tilt Strike down the lusty and long-practised

knight, And let the younger and unskill'd go by To win his honour and to make his name, And loved thy courtesies and thee, a man Made to be loved; but now I would to

God, Seeing the homeless trouble in thine eyes, Thou couldst have loved this maiden,

shaped, it secms, By God for thee alone, and from her face, If one may judge the living by the dead, Delicately pure and marvellously fair, Who might have brought thee, now a

lonely man Wifeless and heirless, noble issue, sons Born to the glory of thy name and fame, My knight, the great Sir Lancelot of

the Lake.'

So toward that shrine which then in

all the realm Was richest, Arthur leading, slowly went The marshallid Order of their Table

Round, And Lancelot sad beyond his wont, to see The maiden buried, not as one unknown, Nor meanly, but with gorgeous obsequies, And mass, and rolling music, like a

queen. And when the knights had laid her

comely head Low in the dust of half-forgotten kings, Then Arthur spake among them, 'Let

her tomb Be costly, and her image thereupon, And let the shield of Lancelot at her

feet Be carven, and her lily in her hand. And let the story of her dolorous voyage For all true hearts be blazon'd on her

tomb In letters gold and azure !' which was

wrought Thereafter; but when now the lords and

dames And people, from the high door stream

ing, brake Disorderly, as homeward each, the Queen, Who mark'd Sir Lancelot where he

moved apart, Drew near, and sigh'd in passing, ‘Lance

lot, Forgive me; mine was jealousy in love.' He answer'd with his eyes upon the

ground, “That is love's curse; pass on, my Queen,

forgiven.

Then answer'd Lancelot, “Fair she

was, my King, Pure, as you ever wish your knights to be. To doubt her fairness were to want an

eye, To doubt her pureness were to want a

heartYea, to be loved, if what is worthy love Could bind him, but free love will not

be bound.'

‘Free love, so bound, were freëst,' said

the King. 'Let love be free; free love is for the

best: And, after heaven, on our dull side of

death, What should be best, if not so pure a

love Clothed in so pure a loveliness? yet thee She fail'd to bind, tho’ being, as I think, Unbound as yet, and gentle, as I know.'

Alas for Arthur's greatest knight, a man
Not after Arthur's heart! I needs must

break These bonds that so defame me: not!

without She wills it: would I, if she will'd it? |

nay, Who knows? but if I would not, then

may God, I pray him, send a sudden Angel down To seize me by the hair and bear me

sar, And fling me deep in that forgotten

mere, Among the tumbled fragments of the

hills.'

So groan'd Sir Lancelot in remorseful

pain, Not knowing he should die a holy man.

And Lancelot answer'd nothing, but

he went, And at the inrunning of a little brook Sat by the river in a cove, and watch'd The high reed wave, and lifted up his

eyes And saw the barge that brought her

moving down, Far-off, a blot upon the stream, and said Low in himself, “ Ah, simple heart and

sweet, Ye loved me, damsel, surely with a love Far tenderer than my Queen's. Pray for

thy soul? Ay, that will l. Farewell too – now at

lastFarewell, fair lily.“ Jealousy in love?" Not rather dead love's harsh heir, jealous

pride? Queen, if I grant the jealousy as of

love, May not your crescent fear for name and

fame Speak, as it waxes, of a love that wanes? Why did the King dwell on my name to

me? Mine own name shames me, seeming a

reproach, Lancelot, whom the Lady of the Lake Caught from his mother's arms – - the

wondrous one Who passes thro’the vision of the night She chanted snatches of mysterious hymns Heard on the winding waters, eve and

morn She kiss'd me saying, “Thou art fair,

my child, As a king's son," and often in her arms She bare me, pacing on the dusky mere. Would she had drown'd me in it, wher

e'er it be! For what am I? what profits me my

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name

Of greatest knight? I fought for it,

and have it: Pleasure to have it, none; to lose it,

pain; Now grown a part of me: but what use

in it? To make men worse by making my sin

known? Dr sin seem less, the sinner seeming

great?

And honour'd him, and wrought into

his heart A way by love that waken'd love within, To answer that which came: and as

they sat Beneath a world-old yew-tree, darkening

half The cloisters, on a gustful April morn That puffd the swaying branches into

smoke Above them, ere the summer when be

died, The monk Ambrosius question'd Per

civale:

O brother, I have seen this yew-tree

smoke, Spring after spring, for half a hundred

years: For never have I known the world with

out, Nor ever stray'd beyond the pale : but

thee, When first thou camest- - such a courtesy Spake thro' the limbs and in the voice

I knew For one of those who eat in Arthur's hall; For good ye are and bad, and like to czins, Some true, some light, but every one of you Stamp'd with the image of the King; and

After the day of darkness, when the dead Went wandering o'er Moriah

- the good saint Arimathæan Joseph, journeying brought To Glastonbury, where the winter thorn Blossoms at Christmas, mindful of our

Lord. And there awhile it bode; and if a man Could touch or see it, he was heal'd at

once, By faith, of all his ills. But then the times Grew to such evil that the holy cup Was caught away to Heaven, and disap

pear'd.'

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To whom the monk: ‘From our old

books I know That Joseph came of old to Glastonbury, And there the heathen Prince, Arviragus, Gave him an isle of marsh whereon to

build; And there he built with wattles from the

marsh A little lonely church in days of yore, For so they say, these books of ours, but

seem Mute of this miracle, far as I have read. But who first saw the holy thing to-day?'

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To whom the monk : “The Holy

Grail!--I trust We are green in Heaven's eyes; but here

too much We moulder ---- as to things without I

mean

Yet one of your own knights, a guest of

ours, Toid us of this in our refectory, But spake with such a sadness and so low We heard not half of what he said. What

is it? The phantom of a cup that comes and

goes?'

'A woman,' answer'd Percivale, 'a

nun, And one no further off in blood from me Than sister; and if ever holy maid With knees of adoration wore the stone, A holy maid; tho never maiden glow'd, But that was in her earlier maidenhood, With such a fervent flame of human love, Which being rudely blunted, glanced and

shot Only to holy things; to prayer and praise She gave herself, to fast and alms. ` And

yet, Nun as she was, the scandal of the Court, Sin against Arthur and the Table Round, And the strange sound of an adulterous

race, Across the iron grating of her cell Beat, and she pray'd and fasted all the

more.

Nay, monk! what phantom?'an

swer'd Percivale. “The cup, the cup itself, from which our

Lord Drank at the last sad supper with his own. This, from the blessed land of Aromat

"And he to whom she told her sins, or

what Her all but utter whiteness held for sin,

Bat she

became

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A man wellnigh a hundred winters old, Rose-red with beatings in it, as if alire.
Spake often with her of the Holy Grail, Till all the white walls of my cell wat
A legend handed down thro' five or six,

dyed And each of these a hundred winters old,

With rosy colours leaping on the wall: From our Lord's time. And when King

And then the music faded, and the Gran Which ma Arthur made

Past, and the beam decay'd, and from the His Table Round, and all men's hearts

walls

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lon:

The rosy quiverings died into the night. Clean for a season, surely he had thought

So now the Holy Thing is here again That now the Holy Grail would come

Among us, brother, fast thou too and again;

pray, But sin broke out. Ah, Christ, that it

And tell thy brother knights to fast an: would come,

pray, And heal the world of all their wicked

That so perchance the vision may be seen ness! “O Father!” ask'd the maiden, "might

By thee and those, and all the world be storing

heal’d." it come To me by prayer and fasting?” “Nay,”

Then leaving the pale nun, 1 spake said he,

of this “I know not, for thy heart is pure as

To all men;

and myself fasted and snow."

pray'd And so she pray'd and fasted, till the sun

Always, and many among us many Shone, and the wind blew, thro' her, and

week I thought

Fasted and pray'd even to the uttermost

, She might have risen and floated when I

Expectant of the wonder that would be iz ia di saw her.

• And one there was among us, ever! • For on a day she sent to speak with

moved

Among us in white armour, Galahad. And when she came to speak, behold her

“God make thee good as thou art beaueyes

tiful,” Beyond my knowing of them, beautiful,

Said Arthur, when he dubb'd him knight; Beyond all knowing of them, wonderful,

and none Beautiful in the light of holiness,

ber

In so young youth, was ever made a And “O my brother Percivale,” she said,

knight “Sweet brother, I have seen the Holy

Till Galahad; and this Galahad, when
Grail :

he heard For, waked at dead of night, I heard a

My sister's vision, 6ll'd me with amaze; a 0215sound

His eyes became so like her own, they As of a silver horn from o'er the hills

seem'd Blown, and I thought, 'It is not Arthur's

Hers, and himself her brother more than I. To hunt by moonlight;' and the slender Sister or brother none had he; but AVEC sound

some As from a distance beyond distance grew Call’d him a son of Lancelot, and some Perdoa Coming upon me- -Onever harp nor horn,

said

te Nor aught we blow with breath, or touch

Begotten by enchantment --- chatterers with hand,

they, Was like that music as it came; and then

Like birds of passage piping up and down, Stream'd thro' my cell a cold and silver

That gape for flies--we know not whence beam,

they come; And down the long beam stole the Holy

For when was 'Lancelot wanderingly
Grail,

lewd?

me.

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. Then on a summer night it came to

pass, While the great banquet lay along the

hall, That Galahad would sit down in Merlin's

chair.

But she, the wan sweet maiden, shore

away Clean from her forehead all that wealth

of hair Which made a silken mat-work for her

feet; And out of this she plaited broad and

long A strong sword-belt, and wove with silver

thread And crimson in the belt a strange device, A crimson grail within a silver beam; And saw the bright boy-knight, and

bound it on him, Saying, “ My knight, my love, my knight

of heaven, O thou, my love, whose love is one with

mine, I, maiden, round thee, maiden, bind my

belt. Go forth, for thou shalt see what I have

seen, And break thro' all, till one will crown

thee king Far in the spiritual city: ” and as she

spake She sent the deathless passion in her

eyes Thro' him, and made him hers, and laid

her mind On him, and he believed in her belief.

* And all at once, as there we sat, we

heard A cracking and a riving of the roofs, And rending, and a blast, and overhead Thunder, and in the thunder was a cry. And in the blast there smote along the hall A beam of light seven times more clear

than day: And down the long beam stole the Holy

Grail All over cover'd with a luminous cloud, And none might see who bare it, and it

past. But every knight beheld his fellow's face As in a glory, and all the knights arose, And staring each at other like dumb men Stood, till I found a voice and sware a

VOW.

‘I sware a vow before them all, that I, Because I had not seen the Grail, would

ride A twelve month and a day in quest of it, Until I found and saw it, as the nun My sister saw it; and Galahad sware the

VOW, And good Sir Bors, our Lancelot's cousin,

sware, And Lancelot sware, and many among

the knights, And Gawain sware, and louder than the

rest.'

Then came a year of miracle: 0

brother, In our great hall there stood a vacant

chair, Fashion'd by Merlin ere he past away, And carven with strange figures; and in

and out The figures, like a serpent, ran a scroll Of letters in a tongue no man could

read. And Merlin call'd it "The Siege peril

ous," Perilous for good and ill; “for there,”

he said, “No man could sit but he should lose

himself;" And once by misadvertence Merlin sat In his own chair, and so was lost; but he, Galahad, when he heard of Merlin's

doom, Cried, " If I lose myself, I save myself !”

Then spake the monk Ambrosius, ask.

ing him, What said the King? Did Arthur take

the vow?'

• Nay, for my lord,' said Percivale,

the King, Was not in hall: for early that same day Scaped thro' a cavern from a bandit hold, An outraged maiden sprang into the hall Crying on help: for all her shining hair Was smear'd with earth, and either milky

arm

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