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She ceased in tears, fallen from hope and Because all words, though culled with trust;
285 To whom the Egyptian: “Oh, you Failing to give the bitter of the sweet, tamely died!
Wither beneath the palate, and the heart You should have clung to Fulvia's waist, Faints, faded by its heat.
and thrust The dagger through her side."
YOU ASK ME, WHY, THOUGH ILL With that sharp sound the white dawn's
AT EASE creeping beams, Stolen to my brain, dissolved the You ask me, why, though ill at ease, mystery
Within this region I subsist,
And languish for the purple seas.
5 Morn broadened on the borders of the That sober-suited Freedom chose, dark
The land, where girt with friends or foes Ere I saw her who clasped in her last A man may speak the thing he will;
trance Her murdered father's head, or Joan of A land of settled government, Arc,
A land of just and old renown, A light of ancient France;
Where Freedom slowly broadens down
From precedent to precedent;
Where faction seldom gathers head, Who kneeling with one arm about her But, by degrees to fullness wrought, king,
The strength of some diffusive thought 15 Drew forth the poison with her balmy Hath time and space to work and spread.
breath, Sweet as new buds in Spring.
Should banded unions persecute
Opinion, and induce a time No memory labors longer from the deep
When single thought is civil crime, Gold-mines of thought to lift the hidden
And individual freedom mute, That glimpses, moving up, than I from Though power should make from land to sleep
275 To gather and tell o'er
The name of Britain trebly great
Though every channel of the State Each little sound and sight. With what
Should fill and choke with golden sanddull pain Compassed, how eagerly I sought to
Yet waft me from the harbor-mouth, 25
Wild wind! I seek a warmer sky, strike Into that wondrous track of dreams
And I will see before I die again!
The palms and temples of the South. But no two dreams are like.
As when a soul laments, which hath been
blest, Desiring what is mingled with past
years, In yearnings that can never be expressed
By signs or groans or tears;
So all day long the noise of battle rolled Among the mountains by the winter sea; Until King Arthur's table, man by man, Had fallen in Lyonnesse about their Lord,
King Arthur: then, because his wound Watch what I see, and lightly bring thee was deep,
word.” The bold Sir Bedivere uplifted him,
So saying, from the ruined shrine he Sir Bedivere, the last of all his knights, stepped
45 And bore him to a chapel nigh the field, And in the moon athwart the place of A broken chancel with a broken cross,
tombs, That stood on a dark strait of barren land. Where lay the mighty bones of ancient On one side lay the Ocean, and on one
men, Lay a great water, and the moon was full. Old knights, and over them the sea-wind Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedi- sang vere:
Shrill, chill, with flakes of foam. He, "The sequel of to-day unsolders all
stepping down The goodliest fellowship of famous knights By zigzag paths and juts of pointed rock,50 Whereof this world holds record. Such Came on the shining levels of the lake. a sleep
16 There drew he forth the brand ExThey sleep the men I loved. I think calibur, that we
And o'er him, drawing it, the winter moon, Shall never more, at any future time, Brightening the skirts of a long cloud, ran Delight our souls with talk of knightly forth deeds,
And sparkled keen with frost against the Walking about the gardens and the halls 20 hilt:
55 Of Camelot, as in the days that were. For all the haft twinkled with diamond I perish by this people which I made,
sparks, • Though Merlin sware that I should come Myriads of topaz-lights, and jacinth work again
Of subtlest jewellery. He gazed so long To rule once more—but let what will be, That both his eyes were dazzled, as he be;
stood, I am so deeply smitten through the helm This way and that dividing the swift That without help I cannot last till morn. mind,
60 Thou therefore take my brand Excalibur, In act to throw; but at the last it seemed Which was my pride; for thou remember- Better to leave Excalibur concealed est how
There in the many-knotted waterflags, In those old days, one summer noon, an That whistled stiff and dry about the arm
marge. Rose up from out the bosom of the lake, 30 So strode he back slow to the wounded Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonder- King.
Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere: Holding the sword-and how I rowed "Hast thou performed my mission which I
gave? And took it, and have worn it, like a king; What is it thou hast seen, or what hast And, wheresoever I am sung or told
heard?” In aftertime, this also shall be known. 35 And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere: But now delay not; take Excalibur, "I heard the ripple washing in the reeds, 70 And Aling him far into the middle mere;1 And the wild water lapping on the crag.' Watch what thou seest, and lightly2 bring To whom replied King Arthur, faint and me word.”
pale: To him replied the bold Sir Bedivere: “Thou hast betrayed thy nature and thy “It is not meet, Sir King, to leave thee name, thus,
40 Not rendering true answer, as beseemed Aidless, alone, and smitten through the Thy fealty, nor like a noble knight; 75 helm.
For surer sign had followed, either hand, A little thing may harm a wounded man. Or voice, or else a motion of the mere. Yet I thy hest will all perform at full, This is a shameful thing for men to lie. 1 sea, lake.
Yet now, I charge thee, quickly go again
As thou art lief! and dear, and do the thing “What is it thou hast seen, or what hast I bade thee, watch, and lightly bring me heard?” word.”
81 And answer made the bold Sir BediThen went Sir Bedivere the second time
115 Across the ridge, and paced beside the “I heard the water lapping on the crag, mere,
And the long ripple washing in the reeds." Counting the dewy pebbles, fixed in To whom replied King Arthur, much in thought;
wrath: But when he saw the wonder of the hilt, 85: "Ah, miserable and unkind, untrue, How curiously and strangely chased, he Unknightly, traitor-hearted! Woe is me! smote
Authority forgets a dying king, His palms together, and he cried aloud: Laid widowed of the power in his eye
“And if indeed I cast the brand away, That bowed the will. I see thee what thou Surely a precious thing, one worthy note, art, Should thus be lost forever from the For thou, the latest-left of all my knights, earth,
In whom should meet the offices of all, 125 Which might have pleased the eyes of Thou wouldst betray me for the precious many men.
hilt; What good should follow this, if this were Either from lust of gold, or like a girl done?
Valuing the giddy pleasure of the eyes. What harm, undone? deep harm to dis- | Yet, for a man may fail in duty twice, obey,
And the third time may prosper, get thee Seeing obedience is the bond of rule.
130 Were it well to obey then, if a king demand But, if thou spare to fling Excalibur, An act unprofitable, against himself? 96 I will arise and slay thee with my hands.” The King is sick, and knows not what he Then quickly rose Sir Bedivere, and ran, does.
And, leaping down the ridges lightly, What record, or what relic of my lord
plunged Should be to aftertime, but empty breath Among the bulrush-beds, and clutched the And rumors of a doubt? but were this sword,
And strongly wheeled and threw it. The Stored in some treasure-house of mighty kings,
Made lightnings in the splendor of the Some one might show it at a joust of moon, arms,
And flashing round and round, and whirled Saying, 'King Arthur's sword, Excalibur, in an arch, Wrought by the lonely maiden of the Shot like a streamer of the northern morn, Lake;
Seen where the moving isles of winter Nine years she wrought it, sitting in the shock
105 By night, with noises of the northern sea. Upon the hidden bases of the hills.' So flashed and fell the brand Excalibur; So might some old man speak in the after- But ere he dipped the surface, rose an arm time
Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful, To all the people, winning reverence; And caught him by the hilt, and branBut now much honor and much fame were dished him
Three times, and drew him under in the So spake he, clouded with his own con- mere. ceit,
And lightly went the other to the king. And hid Excalibur the second time,
Then spoke King Arthur, drawing And so strode back slow to the wounded thicker breath: King.
“Now see I by thine eyes that this is done. Then spoke King Arthur, breathing Speak out; what is it thou hast heard, or heavily:
seen?” And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
"Sir King, I closed mine eyelids, lest the Before. His own thought drove him, like gems
185 Should blind my purpose, for I never saw, Dry clashed his harness in the icy caves Nor shall see, here or elsewhere, till I die, And barren chasms, and all to left and Not though I live three lives of mortal right men,
The bare black cliff clanged round him, as So great a miracle as yonder hilt.
he based Then with both hands I Aung him, wheel- His feet on juts of slippery crag that rang ing him;
Sharp-smitten with the dint of armed But when I looked again, behold an arm, heelsClothed in white samite, mystic, wonder- And on a sudden, lo! the level lake,
And the long glories of the winter moon. That caught him by the hilt, and bran- Then saw they how there hove a dusky dished him
160 barge, Three times, and drew him under in the Dark as a funeral scarf from stem to stern, mere.”
Beneath them; and descending they were And answer made King Arthur, breath
195 ing hard:
That all the decks were dense with stately “My end draws nigh; 'tis time that I were forms gone.
Black-stoled, black-hooded, like a dreamMake broad thy shoulders to receive my
by these weight,
Three Queens with crowns of gold-and And bear me to the margin; yet I fear 165
from them rose My wound hath taken cold, and I shall A cry that shivered to the tingling stars, die."
And, as it were one voice, an agony So saying, from the pavement he half Of lamentation, like a wind that shrills rose,
All night in a waste land, where no one Slowly, with pain, reclining on his arm,
comes, And looking wistfully with wide blue eyes Or hath come, since the making of the As in a picture. Him Sir Bedivere
world. Remorsefully regarded through his tears, Then murmured Arthur, “Place me in And would have spoken, but he found not
the barge, words,
And to the barge they came. There those Then took with care, and kneeling on one three Queens
Put forth their hands, and took the King, O’er both his shoulders drew the languid
and wept. hands,
But she that rose the tallest of them all And rising bore him through the place of And fairest, laid his head upon her lap, tombs.
And loosed the shattered casque, and But, as he walked, King Arthur panted chafed his hands, hard,
And called him by his name, complaining Like one that feels a nightmare on his loud, bed
And dropping bitter tears against his When all the house is mute. So sighed the brow king,
Striped with dark blood; for all his face Muttering and murmuring at his ear,
was white “Quick, quick!
And colorless, and like the withered moon I fear it is too late, and I shall die.” 180 Smote by the fresh beam of the springing But the other swiftly strode from ridge to east; ridge,
And all his greaves and cuisses’ dashed Clothed with his breath, and looking, as he
Of onset; and the light and lustrous curlsLarger than human on the frozen hills. That made his forehead like a rising sun He heard the deep behind him, and a cry 1 leg guards.
? thigh guards
High from the dais-throne-were parched If, knowing God, they lift not hands of with dust;
prayer Or, clotted into points and hanging loose, Both for themselves and those who call Mixed with the knightly growth that them friend? fringed his lips.
For so the whole round earth is every way So like a shattered column lay the King; Bound by gold chains about the feet of Not like that Arthur who, with lance in God.
But now farewell. I am going a long way From spur to plume a star of tournament, With these thou seest-if indeed I goShot through the lists at Camelot, and For all my mind is clouded with a doubtcharged
To the island-valley of Avilion; Before the eyes of ladies and of kings. Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow,
Then loudly cried the bold Sir Bedivere: Nor ever wind blows loudly, but it lies 261 “Ah! my Lord Arthur, whither shall I go? Deep-meadowed, happy, fair with orchardWhere shall I hide my forehead and my lawns eyes?
And bowery hollows crowned with summer For now I see the true old times are dead,
sea, When every morning brought a noble Where I will heal me of my grievous chance,
wound.” And every chance brought out a noble So said he, and the barge with oar and knight.
265 Such times have been not since the light Moved from the brink, like some fullthat led
breasted swan The holy Elders with the gift of myrrh. That, fluting a wild carol ere her death, But now the whole ROUND TABLE is dis- Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes the solved
flood Which was an image of the mighty world; With swarthy webs. Long stood Sir BedAnd I, the last, go forth companionless, 236 ivere And the days darken round me, and the Revolving many memories, till the hull years,
Looked one black dot against the verge of Among new men, strange faces, other
And on the mere the wailing died away. And slowly answered Arthur from the
barge: “The old order changeth, yielding place
ULYSSES to new, And God fulfils Himself in many ways, It little profits that an idle king, Lest one good custom should corrupt the By this still hearth, among these barren world.
crags, Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me? Matched with an agèd wife, I mete and dole I have lived my life, and that which I have Unequal laws unto a savage race, done
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know May He within Himself make pure! but not me.
245 I cannot rest from travel; I will drink If thou shouldst never see my face again, Life to the lees. All times I have enjoyed Pray for my soul. More things are wrought Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with by prayer
those Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, That loved me, and alone; on shore, and let thy voice
when Rise like a fountain for me night and Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades day.
Vexed the dim sea. I am become a name; For what are men better than sheep or For always roaming with a hungry heart 12 goats
250 Much have I seen and known,-cities of That nourish a blind life within the brain, men,