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Idylls of the king


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Title:IdyllsoftheKing
Author:Alfred,LordTennyson
PostingDate:August4,2008[EBook#610]
ReleaseDate:August,1996
Language:English

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IDYLLSOFTHEKING
FlosRegumArthurus(JosephofExeter)

InTwelveBooks


ByAlfred,LordTennyson

CONTENTS
Dedication
TheComingofArthur
GarethandLynette
TheMarriageofGeraint
GeraintandEnid
BalinandBalan
MerlinandVivien
LancelotandElaine
TheHolyGrail
PelleasandEttarre
TheLastTournament
Guinevere
ThePassingofArthur


TotheQueen


Dedication
ThesetoHisMemory—sinceheheldthemdear,
Perchanceasfindingthereunconsciously
Someimageofhimself—Idedicate,
Idedicate,Iconsecratewithtears—
TheseIdylls.
AndindeedHeseemstome
Scarceotherthanmyking'sidealknight,
'Whoreverencedhisconscienceashisking;
Whoseglorywas,redressinghumanwrong;
Whospakenoslander,no,norlistenedtoit;
Wholovedoneonlyandwhoclavetoher—'
Her—overallwhoserealmstotheirlastisle,


Commingledwiththegloomofimminentwar,
TheshadowofHislossdrewlikeeclipse,
Darkeningtheworld.Wehavelosthim:heisgone:
Weknowhimnow:allnarrowjealousies
Aresilent;andweseehimashemoved,
Howmodest,kindly,all-accomplished,wise,
Withwhatsublimerepressionofhimself,
Andinwhatlimits,andhowtenderly;
Notswayingtothisfactionortothat;
Notmakinghishighplacethelawlessperch
Ofwingedambitions,noravantage-ground
Forpleasure;butthroughallthistractofyears
Wearingthewhiteflowerofablamelesslife,
Beforeathousandpeeringlittlenesses,
Inthatfiercelightwhichbeatsuponathrone,
Andblackenseveryblot:forwhereishe,
Whodaresforeshadowforanonlyson
Alovelierlife,amoreunstained,thanhis?
OrhowshouldEnglanddreamingofhissons
Hopemoreforthesethansomeinheritance
Ofsuchalife,aheart,amindasthine,
ThounobleFatherofherKingstobe,
Laboriousforherpeopleandherpoor—
Voiceintherichdawnofanamplerday—
Far-sightedsummonerofWarandWaste
Tofruitfulstrifesandrivalriesofpeace—
Sweetnaturegildedbythegraciousgleam


Ofletters,deartoScience,deartoArt,
Deartothylandandours,aPrinceindeed,
Beyondalltitles,andahouseholdname,
Hereafter,throughalltimes,AlberttheGood.
Breaknot,Owoman's-heart,butstillendure;
Breaknot,forthouartRoyal,butendure,
Rememberingallthebeautyofthatstar
WhichshonesoclosebesideTheethatyemade
Onelighttogether,buthaspastandleaves
TheCrownalonelysplendour.
Mayalllove,
Hislove,unseenbutfelt,o'ershadowThee,
TheloveofallThysonsencompassThee,
TheloveofallThydaughterscherishThee,
TheloveofallThypeoplecomfortThee,
TillGod'slovesetTheeathissideagain!


TheComingofArthur
Leodogran,theKingofCameliard,
Hadonefairdaughter,andnoneotherchild;
Andshewasthefairestofallfleshonearth,
Guinevere,andinherhisonedelight.
FormanyapettykingereArthurcame
Ruledinthisisle,andeverwagingwar
Eachuponother,wastedalltheland;
Andstillfromtimetotimetheheathenhost
Swarmedoverseas,andharriedwhatwasleft.
Andsotheregrewgreattractsofwilderness,
Whereinthebeastwasevermoreandmore,
Butmanwaslessandless,tillArthurcame.
ForfirstAureliuslivedandfoughtanddied,
AndafterhimKingUtherfoughtanddied,
Buteitherfailedtomakethekingdomone.
AndaftertheseKingArthurforaspace,
AndthroughthepuissanceofhisTableRound,
Drewalltheirpettyprincedomsunderhim.
Theirkingandhead,andmadearealm,andreigned.
AndthusthelandofCameliardwaswaste,
Thickwithwetwoods,andmanyabeasttherein,
Andnoneorfewtoscareorchasethebeast;
Sothatwilddog,andwolfandboarandbear
Camenightandday,androotedinthefields,
AndwallowedinthegardensoftheKing.
Andeverandanonthewolfwouldsteal
Thechildrenanddevour,butnowandthen,
Herownbroodlostordead,lentherfierceteat
Tohumansucklings;andthechildren,housed
Inherfoulden,thereattheirmeatwouldgrowl,
Andmocktheirfostermotheronfourfeet,
Till,straightened,theygrewuptowolf-likemen,
Worsethanthewolves.AndKingLeodogran
GroanedfortheRomanlegionshereagain,
AndCaesar'seagle:thenhisbrotherking,
Urien,assailedhim:lastaheathenhorde,
Reddeningthesunwithsmokeandearthwithblood,
Andonthespikethatsplitthemother'sheart


Spittingthechild,brakeonhim,till,amazed,
Heknewnotwhitherheshouldturnforaid.
But—forheheardofArthurnewlycrowned,
Thoughnotwithoutanuproarmadebythose
Whocried,'HeisnotUther'sson'—theKing
Senttohim,saying,'Arise,andhelpusthou!
Forherebetweenthemanandbeastwedie.'
AndArthuryethaddonenodeedofarms,
Butheardthecall,andcame:andGuinevere
Stoodbythecastlewallstowatchhimpass;
Butsinceheneitherworeonhelmorshield
Thegoldensymbolofhiskinglihood,
Butrodeasimpleknightamonghisknights,
Andmanyoftheseinricherarmsthanhe,
Shesawhimnot,ormarkednot,ifshesaw,
Oneamongmany,thoughhisfacewasbare.
ButArthur,lookingdownwardashepast,
Feltthelightofhereyesintohislife
Smiteonthesudden,yetrodeon,andpitched
Histentsbesidetheforest.Thenhedrave
Theheathen;after,slewthebeast,andfelled
Theforest,lettinginthesun,andmade
Broadpathwaysforthehunterandtheknight
Andsoreturned.
Forwhilehelingeredthere,
Adoubtthateversmoulderedinthehearts
OfthosegreatLordsandBaronsofhisrealm
Flashedforthandintowar:formostofthese,
Colleaguingwithascoreofpettykings,
Madeheadagainsthim,crying,'Whoishe
Thatheshouldruleus?whohathprovenhim
KingUther'sson?forlo!welookathim,
Andfindnorfacenorbearing,limbsnorvoice,
AreliketothoseofUtherwhomweknew.
ThisisthesonofGorlois,nottheKing;
ThisisthesonofAnton,nottheKing.'
AndArthur,passingthencetobattle,felt
Travail,andthroesandagoniesofthelife,
DesiringtobejoinedwithGuinevere;
Andthinkingasherode,'Herfathersaid
Thattherebetweenthemanandbeasttheydie.
ShallInotliftherfromthislandofbeasts
Uptomythrone,andsidebysidewithme?


Whathappinesstoreignalonelyking,
Vext—Oyestarsthatshudderoverme,
Oearththatsoundesthollowunderme,
Vextwithwastedreams?forsavingIbejoined
Toherthatisthefairestunderheaven,
Iseemasnothinginthemightyworld,
Andcannotwillmywill,norworkmywork
Wholly,normakemyselfinmineownrealm
Victorandlord.ButwereIjoinedwithher,
Thenmightwelivetogetherasonelife,
Andreigningwithonewillineverything
Havepoweronthisdarklandtolightenit,
Andpoweronthisdeadworldtomakeitlive.'
Thereafter—ashespeakswhotellsthetale—
WhenArthurreachedafield-of-battlebright
Withpitchedpavilionsofhisfoe,theworld
Wasallsoclearabouthim,thathesaw
Thesmallestrockfaronthefaintesthill,
Andeveninhighdaythemorningstar.
SowhentheKinghadsethisbannerbroad,
Atoncefromeitherside,withtrumpet-blast,
Andshouts,andclarionsshrillinguntoblood,
Thelong-lancedbattlelettheirhorsesrun.
AndnowtheBaronsandthekingsprevailed,
AndnowtheKing,ashereandtherethatwar
Wentswaying;butthePowerswhowalktheworld
Madelightningsandgreatthundersoverhim,
Anddazedalleyes,tillArthurbymainmight,
Andmightierofhishandswitheveryblow,
Andleadingallhisknighthoodthrewthekings
Carados,Urien,CradlemontofWales,
Claudias,andClarianceofNorthumberland,
TheKingBrandagorasofLatangor,
WithAnguisantofErin,Morganore,
AndLotofOrkney.Then,beforeavoice
Asdreadfulastheshoutofonewhosees
Toonewhosins,anddeemshimselfalone
Andalltheworldasleep,theyswervedandbrake
Flying,andArthurcalledtostaythebrands
Thathackedamongtheflyers,'Ho!theyyield!'
Solikeapaintedbattlethewarstood
Silenced,thelivingquietasthedead,
AndintheheartofArthurjoywaslord.
Helaugheduponhiswarriorwhomheloved
Andhonouredmost.'ThoudostnotdoubtmeKing,
Sowellthinearmhathwroughtformetoday.'


'Sirandmyliege,'hecried,'thefireofGod
Descendsupontheeinthebattle-field:
IknowtheeformyKing!'Whereatthetwo,
Foreachhadwardedeitherinthefight,
Swareonthefieldofdeathadeathlesslove.
AndArthursaid,'Man'swordisGodinman:
Letchancewhatwill,Itrusttheetothedeath.'
Thenquicklyfromthefoughtenfieldhesent
Ulfius,andBrastias,andBedivere,
Hisnew-madeknights,toKingLeodogran,
Saying,'IfIinaughthaveservedtheewell,
GivemethydaughterGuineveretowife.'
Whomwhenheheard,Leodograninheart
Debating—'HowshouldIthatamaking,
Howevermuchheholpmeatmyneed,
Givemyonedaughtersavingtoaking,
Andaking'sson?'—liftedhisvoice,andcalled
Ahoaryman,hischamberlain,towhom
Hetrustedallthings,andofhimrequired
Hiscounsel:'KnowestthouaughtofArthur'sbirth?'
Thenspakethehoarychamberlainandsaid,
'SirKing,therebebuttwooldmenthatknow:
AndeachistwiceasoldasI;andone
IsMerlin,thewisemanthateverserved
KingUtherthroughhismagicart;andone
IsMerlin'smaster(sotheycallhim)Bleys,
Whotaughthimmagic,butthescholarran
Beforethemaster,andsofar,thatBleys,
Laidmagicby,andsathimdown,andwrote
AllthingsandwhatsoeverMerlindid
Inonegreatannal-book,whereafter-years
WilllearnthesecretofourArthur'sbirth.'
TowhomtheKingLeodogranreplied,
'Ofriend,hadIbeenholpenhalfaswell
BythisKingArthurasbytheetoday,
Thenbeastandmanhadhadtheirshareofme:
Butsummonherebeforeusyetoncemore
Ulfius,andBrastias,andBedivere.'
Then,whentheycamebeforehim,theKingsaid,
'Ihaveseenthecuckoochasedbylesserfowl,
Andreasoninthechase:butwhereforenow
Dotheseyourlordsstiruptheheatofwar,


SomecallingArthurbornofGorlois,
OthersofAnton?Tellme,yeyourselves,
HoldyethisArthurforKingUther'sson?'
AndUlfiusandBrastiasanswered,'Ay.'
ThenBedivere,thefirstofallhisknights
KnightedbyArthurathiscrowning,spake—
Forboldinheartandactandwordwashe,
WheneverslanderbreathedagainsttheKing—
'Sir,therebemanyrumoursonthishead:
Fortherebethosewhohatehimintheirhearts,
Callhimbaseborn,andsincehiswaysaresweet,
Andtheirsarebestial,holdhimlessthanman:
Andtherebethosewhodeemhimmorethanman,
Anddreamhedroptfromheaven:butmybelief
Inallthismatter—soyecaretolearn—
Sir,foryeknowthatinKingUther'stime
TheprinceandwarriorGorlois,hethatheld
TintagilcastlebytheCornishsea,
Wasweddedwithawinsomewife,Ygerne:
Anddaughtershadshebornehim,—onewhereof,
Lot'swife,theQueenofOrkney,Bellicent,
Hatheverlikealoyalsistercleaved
ToArthur,—butasonshehadnotborne.
AndUthercastuponhereyesoflove:
Butshe,astainlesswifetoGorlois,
Soloathedthebrightdishonourofhislove,
ThatGorloisandKingUtherwenttowar:
AndoverthrownwasGorloisandslain.
ThenUtherinhiswrathandheatbesieged
YgernewithinTintagil,wherehermen,
Seeingthemightyswarmabouttheirwalls,
Leftherandfled,andUtherenteredin,
Andtherewasnonetocalltobuthimself.
So,compassedbythepoweroftheKing,
Enforcedwasshetowedhiminhertears,
Andwithashamefulswiftness:afterward,
Notmanymoons,KingUtherdiedhimself,
Moaningandwailingforanheirtorule
Afterhim,lesttherealmshouldgotowrack.
Andthatsamenight,thenightofthenewyear,
Byreasonofthebitternessandgrief
Thatvexthismother,allbeforehistime
WasArthurborn,andallassoonasborn
Deliveredatasecretpostern-gate
ToMerlin,tobeholdenfarapart


Untilhishourshouldcome;becausethelords
Ofthatfiercedaywereasthelordsofthis,
Wildbeasts,andsurelywouldhavetornthechild
Piecemealamongthem,hadtheyknown;foreach
Butsoughttoruleforhisownselfandhand,
AndmanyhatedUtherforthesake
OfGorlois.WhereforeMerlintookthechild,
AndgavehimtoSirAnton,anoldknight
AndancientfriendofUther;andhiswife
Nursedtheyoungprince,andrearedhimwithherown;
Andnomanknew.Andeversincethelords
Havefoughtenlikewildbeastsamongthemselves,
Sothattherealmhasgonetowrack:butnow,
Thisyear,whenMerlin(forhishourhadcome)
BroughtArthurforth,andsethiminthehall,
Proclaiming,"HereisUther'sheir,yourking,"
Ahundredvoicescried,"Awaywithhim!
Nokingofours!asonofGorloishe,
OrelsethechildofAnton,andnoking,
Orelsebaseborn."YetMerlinthroughhiscraft,
Andwhilethepeopleclamouredforaking,
HadArthurcrowned;butafter,thegreatlords
Banded,andsobrakeoutinopenwar.'
ThenwhiletheKingdebatedwithhimself
IfArthurwerethechildofshamefulness,
OrbornthesonofGorlois,afterdeath,
OrUther'sson,andbornbeforehistime,
Orwhetherthereweretruthinanything
Saidbythesethree,therecametoCameliard,
WithGawainandyoungModred,hertwosons,
Lot'swife,theQueenofOrkney,Bellicent;
Whomashecould,notashewould,theKing
Madefeastfor,saying,astheysatatmeat,
'Adoubtfulthroneisiceonsummerseas.
YecomefromArthur'scourt.Victorhismen
Reporthim!Yea,butye—thinkyethisking—
Somanythosethathatehim,andsostrong,
Sofewhisknights,howeverbravetheybe—
Hathbodyenowtoholdhisfoemendown?'
'OKing,'shecried,'andIwilltellthee:few,
Few,butallbrave,allofonemindwithhim;
ForIwasnearhimwhenthesavageyells
OfUther'speeragedied,andArthursat
Crownedonthedais,andhiswarriorscried,


"Bethoutheking,andwewillworkthywill
Wholovethee."ThentheKinginlowdeeptones,
Andsimplewordsofgreatauthority,
Boundthembysostraitvowstohisownself,
Thatwhentheyrose,knightedfromkneeling,some
Werepaleasatthepassingofaghost,
Someflushed,andothersdazed,asonewhowakes
Half-blindedatthecomingofalight.
'ButwhenhespakeandcheeredhisTableRound
Withlarge,divine,andcomfortablewords,
Beyondmytonguetotellthee—Ibeheld
FromeyetoeyethroughalltheirOrderflash
AmomentarylikenessoftheKing:
Andereitlefttheirfaces,throughthecross
AndthosearounditandtheCrucified,
DownfromthecasementoverArthur,smote
Flame-colour,vertandazure,inthreerays,
Onefallinguponeachofthreefairqueens,
Whostoodinsilencenearhisthrone,thefriends
OfArthur,gazingonhim,tall,withbright
Sweetfaces,whowillhelphimathisneed.
'AndthereIsawmageMerlin,whosevastwit
Andhundredwintersarebutasthehands
Ofloyalvassalstoilingfortheirliege.
'AndnearhimstoodtheLadyoftheLake,
Whoknowsasubtlermagicthanhisown—
Clothedinwhitesamite,mystic,wonderful.
ShegavetheKinghishugecross-hiltedsword,
Wherebytodrivetheheathenout:amist
Ofincensecurledabouther,andherface
Wellnighwashiddenintheminstergloom;
Buttherewasheardamongtheholyhymns
Avoiceasofthewaters,forshedwells
Downinadeep;calm,whatsoeverstorms
Mayshaketheworld,andwhenthesurfacerolls,
HathpowertowalkthewaterslikeourLord.
'TherelikewiseIbeheldExcalibur
Beforehimathiscrowningborne,thesword
Thatrosefromoutthebosomofthelake,
AndArthurrowedacrossandtookit—rich
Withjewels,elfinUrim,onthehilt,
Bewilderingheartandeye—thebladesobright
Thatmenareblindedbyit—ononeside,


Gravenintheoldesttongueofallthisworld,
"Takeme,"butturnthebladeandyeshallsee,
Andwritteninthespeechyespeakyourself,
"Castmeaway!"AndsadwasArthur'sface
Takingit,butoldMerlincounselledhim,
"Takethouandstrike!thetimetocastaway
Isyetfar-off."Sothisgreatbrandtheking
Took,andbythiswillbeathisfoemendown.'
ThereatLeodogranrejoiced,butthought
Tosifthisdoubtingstothelast,andasked,
Fixingfulleyesofquestiononherface,
'Theswallowandtheswiftarenearakin,
Butthouartclosertothisnobleprince,
Beinghisowndearsister;'andshesaid,
'DaughterofGorloisandYgerneamI;'
'AndthereforeArthur'ssister?'askedtheKing.
Sheanswered,'Thesebesecretthings,'andsigned
Tothosetwosonstopass,andletthembe.
AndGawainwent,andbreakingintosong
Sprangout,andfollowedbyhisflyinghair
Ranlikeacolt,andleaptatallhesaw:
ButModredlaidhisearbesidethedoors,
Andtherehalf-heard;thesamethatafterward
Struckforthethrone,andstrikingfoundhisdoom.
AndthentheQueenmadeanswer,'WhatknowI?
Fordarkmymotherwasineyesandhair,
AnddarkinhairandeyesamI;anddark
WasGorlois,yeaanddarkwasUthertoo,
Wellnightoblackness;butthisKingisfair
BeyondtheraceofBritonsandofmen.
Moreover,alwaysinmymindIhear
Acryfromoutthedawningofmylife,
Amotherweeping,andIhearhersay,
"Othatyehadsomebrother,prettyone,
Toguardtheeontheroughwaysoftheworld."'
'Ay,'saidtheKing,'andhearyesuchacry?
ButwhendidArthurchanceupontheefirst?'
'OKing!'shecried,'andIwilltelltheetrue:
Hefoundmefirstwhenyetalittlemaid:
BeatenIhadbeenforalittlefault
WhereofIwasnotguilty;andoutIran
Andflungmyselfdownonabankofheath,
Andhatedthisfairworldandalltherein,


Andwept,andwishedthatIweredead;andhe—
Iknownotwhetherofhimselfhecame,
OrbroughtbyMerlin,who,theysay,canwalk
Unseenatpleasure—hewasatmyside,
Andspakesweetwords,andcomfortedmyheart,
Anddriedmytears,beingachildwithme.
Andmanyatimehecame,andevermore
AsIgrewgreatergrewwithme;andsad
Attimesheseemed,andsadwithhimwasI,
Sterntooattimes,andthenIlovedhimnot,
Butsweetagain,andthenIlovedhimwell.
AndnowoflateIseehimlessandless,
Butthosefirstdayshadgoldenhoursforme,
ForthenIsurelythoughthewouldbeking.
'Butletmetelltheenowanothertale:
ForBleys,ourMerlin'smaster,astheysay,
Diedbutoflate,andsenthiscrytome,
Tohearhimspeakbeforehelefthislife.
Shrunklikeafairychangelinglaythemage;
AndwhenIenteredtoldmethathimself
AndMerlineverservedabouttheKing,
Uther,beforehedied;andonthenight
WhenUtherinTintagilpastaway
Moaningandwailingforanheir,thetwo
LeftthestillKing,andpassingforthtobreathe,
Thenfromthecastlegatewaybythechasm
Descendingthroughthedismalnight—anight
Inwhichtheboundsofheavenandearthwerelost—
Beheld,sohighuponthedrearydeeps
Itseemedinheaven,aship,theshapethereof
Adragonwinged,andallfromsterntostern
Brightwithashiningpeopleonthedecks,
Andgoneassoonasseen.Andthenthetwo
Dropttothecove,andwatchedthegreatseafall,
Waveafterwave,eachmightierthanthelast,
Tilllast,aninthone,gatheringhalfthedeep
Andfullofvoices,slowlyroseandplunged
Roaring,andallthewavewasinaflame:
Anddownthewaveandintheflamewasborne
Anakedbabe,androdetoMerlin'sfeet,
Whostooptandcaughtthebabe,andcried"TheKing!
HereisanheirforUther!"Andthefringe
Ofthatgreatbreaker,sweepingupthestrand,
Lashedatthewizardashespaketheword,
Andallatonceallroundhimroseinfire,
Sothatthechildandhewereclothedinfire.


Andpresentlythereafterfollowedcalm,
Freeskyandstars:"Andthisthesamechild,"hesaid,
"Ishewhoreigns;norcouldIpartinpeace
Tillthisweretold."Andsayingthistheseer
Wentthroughthestraitanddreadfulpassofdeath,
Notevertobequestionedanymore
Saveonthefurtherside;butwhenImet
Merlin,andaskedhimifthesethingsweretruth—
Theshiningdragonandthenakedchild
Descendinginthegloryoftheseas—
Helaughedasishiswont,andansweredme
Inriddlingtripletsofoldtime,andsaid:
'"Rain,rain,andsun!arainbowinthesky!
Ayoungmanwillbewiserbyandby;
Anoldman'switmaywandererehedie.
Rain,rain,andsun!arainbowonthelea!
Andtruthisthistome,andthattothee;
Andtruthorclothedornakedletitbe.
Rain,sun,andrain!andthefreeblossomblows:
Sun,rain,andsun!andwhereishewhoknows?
Fromthegreatdeeptothegreatdeephegoes."
'SoMerlinriddlingangeredme;butthou
FearnottogivethisKingthyonlychild,
Guinevere:sogreatbardsofhimwillsing
Hereafter;anddarksayingsfromofold
Rangingandringingthroughthemindsofmen,
Andechoedbyoldfolkbesidetheirfires
Forcomfortaftertheirwage-workisdone,
SpeakoftheKing;andMerlininourtime
Hathspokenalso,notinjest,andsworn
Thoughmenmaywoundhimthathewillnotdie,
Butpass,againtocome;andthenornow
Utterlysmitetheheathenunderfoot,
Tilltheseandallmenhailhimfortheirking.'
ShespakeandKingLeodogranrejoiced,
Butmusing,'ShallIansweryeaornay?'
Doubted,anddrowsed,noddedandslept,andsaw,
Dreaming,aslopeoflandthatevergrew,
Fieldafterfield,uptoaheight,thepeak
Haze-hidden,andthereonaphantomking,
Nowlooming,andnowlost;andontheslope
Theswordrose,thehindfell,theherdwasdriven,
Fireglimpsed;andallthelandfromroofandrick,
Indriftsofsmokebeforearollingwind,


Streamedtothepeak,andmingledwiththehaze
Andmadeitthicker;whilethephantomking
Sentoutattimesavoice;andhereorthere
Stoodonewhopointedtowardthevoice,therest
Slewonandburnt,crying,'Nokingofours,
NosonofUther,andnokingofours;'
Tillwithawinkhisdreamwaschanged,thehaze
Descended,andthesolidearthbecame
Asnothing,buttheKingstoodoutinheaven,
Crowned.AndLeodogranawoke,andsent
Ulfius,andBrastiasandBedivere,
BacktothecourtofArthuransweringyea.
ThenArthurchargedhiswarriorwhomheloved
Andhonouredmost,SirLancelot,torideforth
AndbringtheQueen;—andwatchedhimfromthegates:
AndLancelotpastawayamongtheflowers,
(ForthenwaslatterApril)andreturned
Amongtheflowers,inMay,withGuinevere.
Towhomarrived,byDubricthehighsaint,
ChiefofthechurchinBritain,andbefore
Thestateliestofheraltar-shrines,theKing
Thatmornwasmarried,whileinstainlesswhite,
Thefairbeginnersofanoblertime,
Andgloryingintheirvowsandhim,hisknights
Stoodaroundhim,andrejoicinginhisjoy.
FarshonethefieldsofMaythroughopendoor,
ThesacredaltarblossomedwhitewithMay,
TheSunofMaydescendedontheirKing,
Theygazedonallearth'sbeautyintheirQueen,
Rolledincense,andtherepastalongthehymns
Avoiceasofthewaters,whilethetwo
SwareattheshrineofChristadeathlesslove:
AndArthursaid,'Behold,thydoomismine.
Letchancewhatwill,Ilovetheetothedeath!'
TowhomtheQueenrepliedwithdroopingeyes,
'Kingandmylord,Ilovetheetothedeath!'
AndholyDubricspreadhishandsandspake,
'Reignye,andliveandlove,andmaketheworld
Other,andmaythyQueenbeonewiththee,
AndallthisOrderofthyTableRound
FulfiltheboundlesspurposeoftheirKing!'
SoDubricsaid;butwhentheylefttheshrine
GreatLordsfromRomebeforetheportalstood,
Inscornfulstillnessgazingastheypast;
Thenwhiletheypacedacityallonfire


Withsunandclothofgold,thetrumpetsblew,
AndArthur'sknighthoodsangbeforetheKing:—
'Blow,trumpet,fortheworldiswhitewithMay;
Blowtrumpet,thelongnighthathrolledaway!
Blowthroughthelivingworld—"LettheKingreign."
'ShallRomeorHeathenruleinArthur'srealm?
Flashbrandandlance,fallbattleaxeuponhelm,
Fallbattleaxe,andflashbrand!LettheKingreign.
'StrikefortheKingandlive!hisknightshaveheard
ThatGodhathtoldtheKingasecretword.
Fallbattleaxe,andflashbrand!LettheKingreign.
'Blowtrumpet!hewillliftusfromthedust.
Blowtrumpet!livethestrengthanddiethelust!
Clangbattleaxe,andclashbrand!LettheKingreign.
'StrikefortheKinganddie!andifthoudiest,
TheKingisKing,andeverwillsthehighest.
Clangbattleaxe,andclashbrand!LettheKingreign.
'Blow,forourSunismightyinhisMay!
Blow,forourSunismightierdaybyday!
Clangbattleaxe,andclashbrand!LettheKingreign.
'TheKingwillfollowChrist,andwetheKing
InwhomhighGodhathbreathedasecretthing.
Fallbattleaxe,andflashbrand!LettheKingreign.'
Sosangtheknighthood,movingtotheirhall.
ThereatthebanquetthosegreatLordsfromRome,
Theslowly-fadingmistressoftheworld,
Strodein,andclaimedtheirtributeasofyore.
ButArthurspake,'Behold,forthesehavesworn
Towagemywars,andworshipmetheirKing;
Theoldorderchangeth,yieldingplacetonew;
AndwethatfightforourfairfatherChrist,
Seeingthatyebegrowntooweakandold
TodrivetheheathenfromyourRomanwall,
Notributewillwepay:'sothosegreatlords
Drewbackinwrath,andArthurstrovewithRome.
AndArthurandhisknighthoodforaspace
Wereallonewill,andthroughthatstrengththeKing
Drewinthepettyprincedomsunderhim,


Fought,andintwelvegreatbattlesovercame
Theheathenhordes,andmadearealmandreigned.


GarethandLynette


ThelasttallsonofLotandBellicent,
Andtallest,Gareth,inashowerfulspring
Staredatthespate.Aslender-shaftedPine
Lostfooting,fell,andsowaswhirledaway.
'Howhewentdown,'saidGareth,'asafalseknight
Orevilkingbeforemylanceiflance
Wereminetouse—Osenselesscataract,
Bearingalldowninthyprecipitancy—
Andyetthouartbutswollenwithcoldsnows
Andmineislivingblood:thoudostHiswill,
TheMaker's,andnotknowest,andIthatknow,
Havestrengthandwit,inmygoodmother'shall
Lingerwithvacillatingobedience,
Prisoned,andkeptandcoaxedandwhistledto—
Sincethegoodmotherholdsmestillachild!
Goodmotherisbadmotheruntome!
Aworsewerebetter;yetnoworsewouldI.
Heavenyieldherforit,butinmeputforce
Towearyherearswithonecontinuousprayer,
Untilsheletmeflydiscagedtosweep
Inever-higheringeagle-circlesup
TothegreatSunofGlory,andthenceswoop
Downuponallthingsbase,anddashthemdead,
AknightofArthur,workingouthiswill,
Tocleansetheworld.Why,Gawain,whenhecame
WithModredhitherinthesummertime,
Askedmetotiltwithhim,theprovenknight.
Modredforwantofworthierwasthejudge.
ThenIsoshookhiminthesaddle,hesaid,
"Thouhasthalfprevailedagainstme,"saidso—he—
ThoughModredbitinghisthinlipswasmute,
Forheisalwaysullen:whatcareI?'
AndGarethwent,andhoveringroundherchair
Asked,'Mother,thoughyecountmestillthechild,
Sweetmother,doyelovethechild?'Shelaughed,
'Thouartbutawild-goosetoquestionit.'
'Then,mother,anyelovethechild,'hesaid,
'Beingagooseandrathertamethanwild,
Hearthechild'sstory.''Yea,mywell-beloved,
An'twerebutofthegooseandgoldeneggs.'
AndGarethansweredherwithkindlingeyes,
'Nay,nay,goodmother,butthiseggofmine
Wasfinergoldthananygoosecanlay;
ForthisanEagle,aroyalEagle,laid
Almostbeyondeye-reach,onsuchapalm


AsglittersgildedinthyBookofHours.
Andtherewaseverhauntingroundthepalm
Alustyyouth,butpoor,whooftensaw
Thesplendoursparklingfromaloft,andthought
"AnIcouldclimbandlaymyhanduponit,
ThenwereIwealthierthanaleashofkings."
Buteverwhenhereachedahandtoclimb,
One,thathadlovedhimfromhischildhood,caught
Andstayedhim,"Climbnotlestthoubreakthyneck,
Ichargetheebymylove,"andsotheboy,
Sweetmother,neitherclomb,norbrakehisneck,
Butbrakehisveryheartinpiningforit,
Andpastaway.'
Towhomthemothersaid,
'Truelove,sweetson,hadriskedhimselfandclimbed,
Andhandeddownthegoldentreasuretohim.'
AndGarethansweredherwithkindlingeyes,
'Gold?'saidIgold?—aythen,whyhe,orshe,
Orwhosoe'eritwas,orhalftheworld
Hadventured—hadthethingIspakeofbeen
Meregold—butthiswasallofthattruesteel,
WhereoftheyforgedthebrandExcalibur,
Andlightningsplayedaboutitinthestorm,
Andallthelittlefowlwereflurriedatit,
Andtherewerecriesandclashingsinthenest,
Thatsenthimfromhissenses:letmego.'
ThenBellicentbemoanedherselfandsaid,
'Hastthounopityuponmyloneliness?
Lo,wherethyfatherLotbesidethehearth
Lieslikealog,andallbutsmoulderedout!
ForeversincewhentraitortotheKing
HefoughtagainsthimintheBarons'war,
AndArthurgavehimbackhisterritory,
Hisagehathslowlydroopt,andnowliesthere
Ayet-warmcorpse,andyetunburiable,
Nomore;norsees,norhears,norspeaks,norknows.
AndboththybrethrenareinArthur'shall,
Albeitneitherlovedwiththatfulllove
Ifeelforthee,norworthysuchalove:
Staythereforethou;redberriescharmthebird,
Andthee,mineinnocent,thejousts,thewars,
Whoneverknewestfinger-ache,norpang
Ofwrenchedorbrokenlimb—anoftenchance
Inthosebrain-stunningshocks,andtourney-falls,


Frightstomyheart;butstay:followthedeer
Bythesetallfirsandourfast-fallingburns;
Somakethymanhoodmightierdaybyday;
Sweetisthechase:andIwillseektheeout
Somecomfortablebrideandfair,tograce
Thyclimbinglife,andcherishmyproneyear,
TillfallingintoLot'sforgetfulness
Iknownotthee,myself,noranything.
Stay,mybestson!yeareyetmoreboythanman.'
ThenGareth,'Anyeholdmeyetforchild,
Hearyetoncemorethestoryofthechild.
For,mother,therewasonceaKing,likeours.
Theprincehisheir,whentallandmarriageable,
Askedforabride;andthereupontheKing
Settwobeforehim.Onewasfair,strong,armed—
Buttobewonbyforce—andmanymen
Desiredher;onegoodlack,nomandesired.
AndtheseweretheconditionsoftheKing:
Thatsavehewonthefirstbyforce,heneeds
Mustwedthatother,whomnomandesired,
Ared-facedbridewhoknewherselfsovile,
Thatevermoreshelongedtohideherself,
Norfrontedmanorwoman,eyetoeye—
Yea—someshecleavedto,buttheydiedofher.
Andone—theycalledherFame;andone,—OMother,
Howcanyekeepmetetheredtoyou—Shame.
ManamIgrown,aman'sworkmustIdo.
Followthedeer?followtheChrist,theKing,
Livepure,speaktrue,rightwrong,followtheKing—
Else,whereforeborn?'
Towhomthemothersaid
'Sweetson,fortherebemanywhodeemhimnot,
Orwillnotdeemhim,whollyprovenKing—
AlbeitinmineownheartIknewhimKing,
WhenIwasfrequentwithhiminmyyouth,
AndheardhimKinglyspeak,anddoubtedhim
Nomorethanhe,himself;butfelthimmine,
Ofclosestkintome:yet—wiltthouleave
Thineeasefulbidinghere,andriskthineall,
Life,limbs,foronethatisnotprovenKing?
Stay,tillthecloudthatsettlesroundhisbirth
Hathliftedbutalittle.Stay,sweetson.'
AndGarethansweredquickly,'Notanhour,
Sothatyeyieldme—Iwillwalkthroughfire,


Mother,togainit—yourfullleavetogo.
Notproven,whosweptthedustofruinedRome
Fromoffthethresholdoftherealm,andcrushed
TheIdolaters,andmadethepeoplefree?
WhoshouldbeKingsavehimwhomakesusfree?'
SowhentheQueen,wholonghadsoughtinvain
Tobreakhimfromtheintenttowhichhegrew,
Foundherson'swillunwaveringlyone,
Sheansweredcraftily,'Willyewalkthroughfire?
Whowalksthroughfirewillhardlyheedthesmoke.
Ay,gothen,anyemust:onlyoneproof,
BeforethouasktheKingtomaketheeknight,
Ofthineobedienceandthylovetome,
Thymother,—Idemand.
AndGarethcried,
'Ahardone,orahundred,soIgo.
Nay—quick!theprooftoprovemetothequick!'
Butslowlyspakethemotherlookingathim,
'Prince,thoushaltgodisguisedtoArthur'shall,
Andhirethyselftoserveformeatsanddrinks
Amongthescullionsandthekitchen-knaves,
Andthosethathandthedishacrossthebar.
Norshaltthoutellthynametoanyone.
Andthoushaltserveatwelvemonthandaday.'
ForsotheQueenbelievedthatwhenherson
Beheldhisonlywaytoglorylead
Lowdownthroughvillainkitchen-vassalage,
HerowntrueGarethwastooprincely-proud
Topassthereby;soshouldherestwithher,
Closedinhercastlefromthesoundofarms.
SilentawhilewasGareth,thenreplied,
'Thethrallinpersonmaybefreeinsoul,
AndIshallseethejousts.ThysonamI,
Andsincethouartmymother,mustobey.
Ithereforeyieldmefreelytothywill;
ForhencewillI,disguised,andhiremyself
Toservewithscullionsandwithkitchen-knaves;
Nortellmynametoany—no,nottheKing.'
Garethawhilelingered.Themother'seye
Fullofthewistfulfearthathewouldgo,
Andturningtowardhimwheresoe'erheturned,


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