Won by the mellow voice before she look’d, Lifted her eyes, and read his lineaments. The great and guilty love he bare the

Queen, In battle with the love he bare his lord, Had marr'd his face, and mark'd it ere

his time. Another sinning on such heights with one, The flower of all the west and all the

world, Had been the sleeker for it : but in him His mood was often like a fiend, and rose And drove him into wastes and solitudes For agony, who was yet a living soul. Marr'd as he was, he seem'd the goodliest

Heard from the Baron that, ten years

before, The heathen caught and reft him of his

tongue. * He learnt and warn'd me of their fierce

design Against my house, and him they caught

and maim'd; But I, my sons, and little daughter fled From bonds or death, and dwelt among

the woods By the great river in a boatman's hut. Dull days were those, till our good Arthur

broke The Pagan yet once more on Badon hill.'

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Then the great knight, the darling of

the court, Loved of the loveliest, into that rude hall Stept with all grace, and not with half

disdain Hid under grace, as in a smaller time, But kindly man moving among his kind : Whom they with meats and vintage of

their best And talk and minstrel melody entertain'd. And much they ask'd of court and Table

Round, And ever well and readily answer'd he : But Lancelot, when they glanced at

Guinevere, Suddenly speaking of the wordless man,

Othere, great lord, doubtless, 'Lavaine

said, rapt By all the sweet and sudden passion of

youth Toward greatness in its elder, “you have

fought. O tell us—for we live apart-you know Of Arthur's glorious wars.' And Lancelot

spoke And answer'd him at full, as having been With Arthur in the fight which all day long Rang by the white mouth of the violent.

Glem ; And in the four loud battles by the shore Of Duglas ; that on Bassa ; then the war That thunder'd in and out the gloomy

skirts Of Celidon the forest ; and again By castle Gurnion, where the glorious

King Had on his cuirass worn our Lady's Head, Carved of one emerald center'd in a sun Of silver rays, that lighten'd as he

breathed ; And at Caerleon had he help'd his lord, When the strong neighings of the wild

white Horse

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Set every gilded parapet shuddering ;
And up in Agned-Cathregonion too,
And down the waste sand-shores of Trath

Where many a heathen fell ; and on the

mount Of Badon I myself beheld the King Charge at the head of all his Table Round, And all his legions crying Christ and him, And break them ; and I saw him, after,

stand High on a heap of slain, from spur to

plume Red as the rising sun with heathen blood, And seeing me, with a great voice he cried, “They are broken, they are broken !”

for the King, However mild he seems at home, nor

cares For triumph in our mimic wars, the

joustsFor if his own knight cast him down, he

laughs Saying, his knights are better men than

heYet in this heathen war the fire of God Fills him : I never saw his like: there lives No greater leader.'

Of manners and of nature : and she

thought That all was nature, all, perchance, for

her. And all night long his face before her lived, As when a painter, poring on a face, Divinely thro' all hindrance finds the man Behind it, and so paints him that his face, The shape and colour of a mind and life, Lives for his children, ever at its best And fullest ; so the face before her lived, Dark-splendid, speaking in the silence,

full Of noble things, and held her from her

sleep. Till rathe she rose, half-cheated in the

thought She needs must bid farewell to sweet

Lavaine. First as in fear, step after step, she stole Down the long tower-stairs, hesitating : Anon, she heard Sir Lancelot cry in the

court, *This shield, my friend, where is it?'

and Lavaine Past inward, as she came from out the

tower. There to his proud horse Lancelot turn'd,

and smooth'd The glossy shoulder, humming to himself. Half-envious of the flattering hand, she

drew Nearer and stood. He look’d, and more

amazed Than if seven men had set upon him, saw The maiden standing in the dewy light. He had not dream'd she was so beautiful. Then came on him a sort of sacred fear, For silent, tho' he greeted her, she stood Rapt on his face as if it were a God's. Suddenly flash'd on her a wild desire, That he should wear her favour at the tilt. She braved a riotous heart in asking for it.


While he utter'd this, Low to her own heart said the lily maid, • Save your great self, fair lord ;' and

when he fell From talk of war to traits of pleasantryBeing mirthful he, but in a stately kind She still took note that when the living

smile Died from his lips, across him came a cloud Of melancholy severe, from which again, W henever in her hovering to and fro The lily maid had striven to make him

cheer, There brake a sudden-beaming tenderness

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So kiss'd her, and Sir Lancelot his own

hand, And thus they moved away : she stay'd a

minute, Then made a sudden step to the gate,

and thereHer bright hair blown about the serious

face Yet rosy-kindled with her brother's kissPaused by the gateway, standing near the

shield In silence, while she watch'd their arms

far-off Sparkle, until they dipt below the downs. Then to her tower she climb'd, and took

the shield, There kept it, and so lived in fantasy.

Fair lady, since I never yet have worn Favour of any lady in the lists. Such is my wont, as those, who know me,

know.' “Yea, so,' she answer'd ; 'then in wearing

mine Needs must be lesser likelihood, noble lord, That those who know should know you.'

And he turn'd Her counsel up and down within his mind, And found it true, and answer'd, “True,

my child. Well, I will wear it : fetch it out to me : What is it?' and she told him 'A red

sleeve Broider'd with pearls,' and brought it :

then he bound Her token on his helmet, with a smile Saying, “I never yet have done so much For any maiden living,' and the blood Sprang to her face and fill'd her with

delight; But left her all the paler, when Lavaine Returning brought the yet-unblazon'd

shield, His brother's; which he gave to Lancelot, Who parted with his own to fair Elaine : • Do me this grace, my child, to have my

shield In keeping till I come.' 'A grace to me,' She answer'd, 'twice to-day. I am your

squire !' Whereat Lavaine said, laughing, Lily

maid, For fear our people call you lily maid In earnest, let me bring your colour back; Once, twice, and thrice : now get you

hence to bed :'

Meanwhile the new companions past

away Far o'er the long backs of the bushless

downs, To where Sir Lancelot knew there lived

a knight Not far from Camelot, now for forty years A hermit, who had pray'd, labour'd and

pray'd, And ever labouring had scoop'd himselt In the white rock a chapel and a hall On massive columns, like a shorecliff cave, And cells and chambers : all were fair

and dry; The green light from the meadows under

neath Struck up and lived along the milky roofs; And in the meadows tremulous aspen-trees And poplars made a noise of falling

showers. And thither wending there that night they


But when the next day broke from un


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