Nor the high God a vision, nor that One Who rose again : ye have seen what ye

have seen.”

“So spake the King : I knew not all

he meant.'

Was I too dark a prophet when I said
To those who went upon the Holy Quest,
That most of them would follow wan-

dering fires, Lost in the quagmire ?--lost to me and

gone, And left me gazing at a barren board, And a lean Order-scarce return'd a

titheAnd out of those to whom the vision came My greatest hardly will believe he saw ; Another hath beheld it afar off, And leaving human wrongs to right them

selves, Cares but to pass into the silent life. And one hath had the vision face to face, And now his chair desires him here in

vain, However they may crown him otherwhere.

PELLEAS AND ETTARRE. KING ARTHUR made new knights to fill

the gap Left by the Holy Quest; and as he sat In hall at old Caerleon, the high doors Were softly sunder'd, and thro' these a

youth, Pelleas, and the sweet smell of the fields Past, and the sunshine came along with


“And some among you held, that if

the King Had seen the sight he would have sworn

the vow : Not easily, seeing that the King must

guard That which he rules, and is but as the hind To whom a space of land is given to

plough, Who may not wander from the allotted

field Before his work be done ; but, being done, Let visions of the night or of the day Come, as they will ; and many a time.

they come, Until this earth he walks on seems not

This light that strikes his eyeball is not

This air that smites his forehead is not air
But vision-yea, his very hand and foot-
In moments when he feels he cannot die,
And knows himself no vision to himself,

"Make me thy knight, because I know,

Sir King, All that belongs to knighthood, and I love.' Such was his cry; for having heard the

King Had let proclaim a tournament--the prize A golden circlet and a knightly sword, Full fain had Pelleas for his lady won The golden circlet, for himself the sword: And there were those who knew him near

the King, And promised for him: and Arthur made

him knight.

And this new knight, Sir Pelleas of the

islesBut lately come to his inheritance, And lord of many a barren isle was heRiding at noon, a day or twain before, Across the forest call’d of Dean, to find Caerleon and the King, had felt the sun Beat like a strong knight on his helm, and

reel'd Almost to falling from his horse; but saw

[graphic][merged small]

Breast-high in that bright line of bracken

stood : And all the damsels talk'd confusedly, And one was pointing this way, and one

that, Because the way was lost.

Near him a mound of even-sloping side,
Whereon a hundred stately beeches grew,
And here and there great hollies under

But for a mile all round was open space,
And fern and heath: and slowly Pelleas

drew To that dim day, then binding his good

horse To a tree, cast himself down; and as he

At random looking over the brown earth
Thro' that green-glooming twilight of the

It seem'd to Pelleas that the fern without
Burnt as a living fire of emeralds,
So that his eyes were dazzled looking at it.
Then o'er it crost the dimness of a cloud
Floating, and once the shadow of a bird
Flying, and then a fawn; and his eyes

And since he loved all maidens, but no

maid In special, half-awake he whisperid,

•Where? O where? I love thee, tho' I know thee

not. For fair thou art and pure as Guinevere, And I will make thee with my spear and

sword As famous-O my Queen, my Guinevere, For I will be thine Arthur when we meet.'

And Pelleas rose, And loosed his horse, and led him to the

light. There she that seem'd the chief among

them said, 'In happy time behold our pilot-star! Youth, we are damsels-errant, and we ride, Arm’d as ye see, to tilt against the knights There at Caerleon, but have lost our way: To right? to left? straight forward? back

again? Which? tell us quickly.'

And Pelleas gazing thought, 'Is Guinevere herself so beautiful?' For large her violet eyes look'd, and her

bloom A rosy dawn kindled in stainless heavens, And round her limbs, mature in woman

hood; And slender was her hand and small her

shape; And but for those large eyes, the haunts

of scorn, She might have seem'd a toy to trifle with, And pass and care no more. But while

he gazed The beauty of her flesh abash'd the boy, As tho’ it were the beauty of her soul : For as the base man, judging of the good, Puts his own baseness in him by default Of will and nature, so did Pelleas lend All the young beauty of his own soul to

hers, Believing her; and when she spake to

Suddenly waken’d with a sound of talk And laughter at the limit of the wood, And glancing thro' the hoary boles, he

saw, Strange as to some old prophet might

have seem'd A vision hovering on a sea of fire, Damsels in divers colours like the cloud Of sunset and sunrise, and all of them On horses, and the horses richly trapt


Stammer'd, and could not make her a

reply. For out of the waste islands had he come, Where saving his own sisters he had known Scarce any but the women of his isles, Rough wives, that laugh’d and scream'd

against the gulls, Makers of nets, and living from the sea.

Were all a burthen to her, and in her heart She mutter'd, 'I have lighted on a fool, Raw, yet so stale !' But since her mind

was bent On hearing, after trumpet blown, her name And title, Queen of Beauty,' in the lists Cried—and beholding him so strong, she

thought That peradventure he will fight for me, And win the circlet : therefore flatter'd

him, Being so gracious, that he wellnigh deem'd His wish by hers was echo'd ; and her

knights And all her damsels too were gracious to

him, For she was a great lady.

Then with a slow smile turn'd the lady

round And look'd upon her people; and as when A stone is flung into some sleeping tarn, The circle widens till it lip the marge, Spread the slow smile thro' all her com

pany. Three knights were thereamong; and they

too smiled, Scorning him ; for the lady was Ettarre, And she was a great lady in her land.

Again she said, “O wild and of the

woods, Knowest thou not the fashion of our

speech? Or have the Heavens but given thee a fair

And when they reach'd Caerleon, ere they past to lodging, she, Taking his hand, O the strong hand,'

she said, *See ! look at mine ! but wilt thou fight

for me, And win me this fine circlet, Pelleas, That I may love thee ?'


Lacking a tongue?'

"O damsel,' answer'd he, • I woke from dreams ; and coming out

of gloom Was dazzled by the sudden light, and

crave Pardon : but will ye to Caerleon ? I Go likewise : shall I lead you to the King?'

Then his helpless heart Leapt, and he cried, “Ay! wilt thou if I

win?' 'Ay, that will I,' she answer'd, and she

laugh’d, And straitly nipt the hand, and Aung it

from her ; Then glanced askew at those three knights

of hers, Till all her ladies laugh'd along with her.

• Lead then,' she said ; and thro’ the

woods they went. And while they rode, the meaning in his

eyes, His tenderness of manner, and chaste awe, His broken utterances and bashfulness,

O happy world,' thought Pelleas, “all,

meseems, Are happy ; I the happiest of them all.' Nor slept that night for pleasure in his


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