And caught him by the hilt, and bran

dish'd him Three times, and drew him under in the

mere. And lightly went the other to the King. Then spoke King Arthur, drawing

thicker breath : * Now see I by thine eyes that this is dones Speak out : what is it thou hast heard,

or seen?' And answer made the bold Sir

Bedivere : “Sir King, I closed mine eyelids, lest the

gems Should blind my purpose, for I never saw, Nor shall see, here or elsewhere, till I die, Not tho' I live three lives of mortal men, So great a miracle as yonder hilt. Then with both hands I flung him, wheel

ing him ; But when I look'd again, behold an arm, Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonder

ful, That caught him by the hilt, and bran

dish'd him Three times, and drew him under in the

mere.' And answer made King Arthur, breath

ing hard : “My end draws nigh ; 'tis time that I

were gone. Make broad thy shoulders to receive my

weight, And bear me to the margin ; yet I fear My wound hath taken cold, and I shall die.' So saying, from the pavement he half

rose, Slowly, with pain, reclining on his arm, And looking wistfully with wide blue eyes As in a picture. Him Sir Bedivere Remorsefully regarded thro' his tears, And would have spoken,, but he found

not words,

Then took with care, and kneeling on one

knee, O'er both his shoulders drew the languid

hands, And rising bore him thro' the place of

tombs. But, as he walk'd, King Arthur panted

hard, Like one that feels a nightmare on his bed When all the house is mute. So sigh'd

the King, Muttering and murmuring at his ear,

Quick, quick! I fear it is too late, and I shall die.' But the other swiftly strode from ridge to

ridge, Clothed with his breath, and looking, as

he walk'd, Larger than human on the frozen hills. He heard the deep behind him, and a cry Before. His own thought drove him, like

a goad. Dry clash'd his harness in the icy caves And barren chasms, and all to left and

right The bare black cliff clang'd round him, as

he based His feet on juts of slippery crag that rang Sharp-smitten with the dint of armed

heelsAnd on a sudden, lo! the level lake, And the long glories of the winter moon. Then saw they how there hove a dusky

barge, Dark as a funeral scarf from stem to stern, Beneath them ; and descending they were

ware That all the decks were dense with stately

forms Black-stoled, black-hooded, like a dream

--by these Three Queens with crowns of gold-and

from them rose

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A cry that shiver'd to the tingling stars,
And, as it were one voice, an agony
Of lamentation, like a wind, that shrills
All night in a waste land, where no one

comes, Or hath come, since the making of the

world. Then murmur'd Arthur, * Place me in

the barge,' And to the barge they came. There those

three Queens Put forth their hands, and took the King,

and wept. But she, that rose the tallest of them all And fairest, laid his head upon her lap, And loosed the shatter'd casque, and

chased his hands, And call'd him by his name, complaining

loud, And dropping bitter tears against his brow Striped with dark blood : for all his face

was white And colourless, and like the wither'd

moon Smote by the fresh beam of the springing

east; And all his greaves and cuisses dash'd

with drops Of onset; and the light and lustrous

curlsThat made his forehead like a rising sun High from the daïs-throne-were parch'd

with dust; Or, clotted into points and hanging loose, Mix'd with the knightly growth that

fringed his lips. So like a shatter'd column lay the King ; Not like that Arthur who, with lance in

rest, From spur to plume a star of tournament, Shot thro' the lists at Camelot, and

charged Before the eyes of ladies and of kings.

Where shall I hide my forehead and my

eyes ? For now I see the true old times are

dead, When every morning brought a noble

chance, And every chance brought out a noble

knight. Such times have been not since the light

that led The holy Elders with the gift of myrrh. But now the whole ROUND TABLE is

dissolved Which was an image of the mighty world ; And I, the last, go forth companionless, And the days darken round me, and the

years, Among new men, strange faces, other

minds.' And slowly answered Arthur from the

barge : • The old order changeth, yielding place

to new, And God fulfils Himself in many ways, Lest one good custom should corrupt the

world. Comfort thyself : what comfort is in me? I have lived my life, and that which I

have done May He within Himself make pure ! but

thou, If thou shouldst never see my face again, Pray for my soul. More things are

wrought by prayer Than this world dreams of. Wherefore,

let thy voice Rise like a fountain for me night and day. For what are men better than sheep or


That nourish a blind life within the brain,

If, knowing God, they lift not hands of

prayer Both for themselves and those who call

them friend ? For so the whole round earth is every way Bound by gold chains about the feet of

God. But now farewell. I am going a long way With these thou seëst-if indeed I go(For all my mind is clouded with a doubt) To the island-valley of Avilion ; Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow, Nor ever wind blows loudly ; but it lies Deep-meadow'd, happy, fair with orchard

lawns And bowery hollows crown'd with summer

sea, Where I will heal me of my grievous

wound.' So said he, and the barge with oar and

sail Moved from the brink, like some full

breasted swan That, futing a wild carol ere her death, Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes

the flood With swarthy webs. Long stood Sir

Bedivere Revolving many memories, till the hull Look'd one black dot against the verge of

dawn, And on the mere the wailing died away.

Perhaps some modern touches here and

there Redeem'd it from the charge of nothing.

nessOr else we loved the man, and prized his

work; I know not : but we sitting, as I said, The cock crew loud; as at that time of

year The lusty bird takes every hour for dawn : Then Francis, muttering, like a man ill

used, • There now-that's nothing !' drew a

little back, And drove his heel into the smoulder'd

log, That sent a blast of sparkles up the flue : And so to bed; where yet in sleep I

seem'd To sail with Arthur under looming shores, Point after point ; till on to dawn, when

dreams Begin to feel the truth and stir of day, To me, methought, who waited with a

crowd, There came a bark that, blowing forward,

bore King Arthur, like a modern gentleman Of stateliest port; and all the people cried, · Arthur is come again : he cannot die.' Then those that stood upon the hills

behind Repeated—'Come again, and thrice as

fair ;' And, further inland, voices echoed -

Come With all good things, and war shall be no

more.' At this a hundred bells began to peal, That with the sound I woke, and heard

indeed The clear church-bells ring in the

Christmas morn.

HERE ended Hall, and our last light,

that long Had wink'd and threaten'd darkness,

flared and fell : At which the Parson; sent to sleep with

sound, And waked with silence, grunted “Good !'

but we Sat rapt : it was the tone with which he




This morning is the morning of the day, When I and Eustace from the city went To see the Gardener's Daughter ; I and

he, Brothers in Art; a friendship so complete Portion'd in halves between us, that we

grew The fable of the city where we dwelt. My Eustace might have sat for

Hercules ; So muscular he spread, so broad of breast. He, by some law that holds in love, and

draws The greater to the lesser, long desired A certain miracle of symmetry, A miniature of loveliness, all grace Summ'd up and closed in little ;-Juliet,

she So light of foot, so light of spirit-oh, she To me myself, for some three careless

moons, The summer pilot of an empty heart Unto the shores of nothing! Know you

not Such touches are but embassies of love, To tamper with the feelings, ere he found Empire for life? but Eustace painted her, And said to me, she sitting with us then, * When will you paint like this ?' and I

replied, (My words were half in earnest, half in

jest,) • 'Tis not your work, but Love's. Love,

unperceived, A more ideal Artist he than all, Came, drew your pencil from you, made

those eyes Darker than darkest pansies, and that hair

More black than ashbuds in the front of

March.' And Juliet answer'd laughing, 'Go and

see The Gardener's daughter : trust me, after

that, You scarce can fail to match his master

piece.' And up we rose, and on the spur we went.

Not wholly in the busy world, nor quite Beyond it, blooms the garden that I love. News from the humming city comes to it In sound of funeral or of marriage bells; And, sitting muffled in dark leaves, you

hear The windy clanging of the minster clock ; Although between it and the garden lies A league of grass, wash'd by a slow broad

stream, That, stirr’d with languid pulses of the oar, Waves all its lazy lilies, and creeps on, Barge-laden, to three arches of a bridge Crown'd with the minster-towers.

The fields between Are dewy-fresh, browsed by deep-udder'd

kine, And all about the large lime feathers low, The lime a summer home of murmurous

wings. In that still place she, hoarded in her

self, Grew, seldom seen : not less among us

lived Her fame from lip to lip. Who had not

heard Of Rose, the Gardener's daughter ?

Where was he, So blunt in memory, so old at heart, At such a distance from his youth in grief, That, having seen, forgot? The common

mouth, So gross to express delight, in praise of


Grew oratory. Such a lord is Love,
And Beauty such a mistress of the world.

And if I said that Fancy, led by Love,
Would play with flying forms and images,
Yet this is also true, that, long before
I look'd upon her, when I heard her name
My heart was like a prophet to my heart,
And told me I should love. A crowd of

hopes, That sought to sow themselves like

winged seeds, Born out of everything I heard and saw, Flutter'd about my senses and my soul ; And vague desires, like fitful blasts of balm To one that travels quickly, made the air Of Life delicious, and all kinds of thought, That verged upon them, sweeter than the

dream Dream'd by a happy man, when the dark

East, Unseen, is brightening to his bridal morn.

And sure this orbit of the memory folds For ever in itself the day we went To see her. All the land in flowery

squares, Beneath a broad and equal-blowing wind, Smelt of the coming summer, as one large

cloud Drew downward : but all else of heaven

was pure Up to the Sun, and May from verge to

verge, And May with me from head to heel.

And now, As tho’ 'twere yesterday, as tho' it were The hour just flown, that morn with all

its sound, (For those old Mays had thrice the life of

these,) Rings in mine ears. The steer forgot to

graze, And, where the hedge-row cuts the path

way, stood,

Leaning his horns into the neighbour field, And lowing to his fellows. From the

woods Came voices of the well-contented doves. The lark could scarce get out his notes

for joy, But shook his song together as he near'd His happy home, the ground. To left

and right, The cuckoo told his name to all the hills; The mellow ouzel fluted in the elm ; The redcap whistled ; and the nightingale Sang loud, as tho' he were the bird of day. And Eustace turn'd, and smiling said

to me, • Hear how the bushes echo ! by my life, These birds have joyful thoughts. Think

you they sing Like poets, from the vanity of song? Or have they any sense of why they sing? And would they praise the heavens for

what they have ?' And I made answer, “Were there nothing

else For which to praise the heavens but

only love, That only love were cause enough for

praise.' Lightly he laugh'd, as one that read my

thought, And on we went; but ere an hour had

passid, We reach'd a meadow slanting to the

North; Down which a well-worn pathway courted

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