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We needs must love the highest when we

see it, Not Lancelot, nor another.”

Here her hand Grasped made her vail her eyes. She

looked and saw The novice, weeping, suppliant, and said to

her, "Yea, little maid, for am I not forgiven?" Then glancing up beheld the holy nuns 660 All round her, weeping; and her heart was

loosed Within her, and she wept with these and

said: "Ye know me then, that wicked one,

who broke The vast design and purpose of the King. O, shut me round with narrowing nun

nery-walls, Meek maidens, from the voices crying,

"Shame!” I must not scorn myself; he loves me still. Let no one dream but that he loves me

still. So let me, if you do not shudder at me, Nor shun to call me sister, dwell with

you; Wear black and white, and be a nun like

you; Fast with your fasts, not feasting with

your feasts; Grieve with your griefs, not grieving at

your joys, But not rejoicing; mingle with your rites; Pray and be prayed for; lie before your

shrines; Do each low office of your holy house; Walk

your dim cloister, and distribute

dole To poor sick people, - richer in His eyes Who ransomed us, and haler, too, than I; And treat their loathsome hurts, and heal

mine own; And so

wear out in almsdeed and in prayer The sombre close of that voluptuous day Which wrought the ruin of my lord the


(1834, 1842, 1869) That story which the bold Sir Bedivere, First made, and latest left, of all the

knights, Told, when the man was no more than a

voice In the white winter of his age, to those With whom he dwelt, new faces, other





For on their march to westward, Bedi

vere, Who slowly paced among the slumbering

host, Heard in his tent the moanings of the

King: "I found Him in the shining of the stars, I marked Him in the flowering of His

fields, But in His ways with men I find Him not. I waged His wars, and now I pass and

die. O me! for why is all around us here As if some lesser god had made the world, But had not force to shape it as he

would, Till the High God behold it from beyond, And enter it, and make it beautiful?







are these



Or else as if the world were wholly fair, Pass to new lords; and Arthur woke and But that these eyes of men are dense and called: dim,

"Who spake? A dream. O, light upon And have not power to see it as it is, — 20 the wind, Perchance, because we

to the Thine, Gawain, was the voice close:

dim cries For I, being simple, thought to work His Thine? or doth all that haunts the waste will,

and wild And have but stricken with the sword in Mourn, knowing it will go along with vain,

me?" And all whereon I leaned in wife and friend

This heard the bold Sir Bedivere and Is traitor to my peace; and all my

spake: realm

“O me, my King, let pass whatever will, – Reels back into the beast, and is no more.

Elves, and the harmless glamor of the My God, thou hast forgotten me in my

field; death!

But in their stead thy name and glory Nay - God my Christ - I pass but shall

cling not die.”

To all high places like a golden cloud

For ever; but as yet thou shalt not pass. 55 Then, ere that last weird battle in the

Light was Gawain in life, and light in

death west,

Is Gawain, for the ghost is as the man; There came on Arthur sleeping, Gawain,

And care not thou for dreams from him, killed

30 In Lancelot's war,

but rise - the ghost of Gawain

I hear the steps of Modred in the west, blown

And with him many of thy people, and Along a wandering wind, and past his


Once thine, whom thou hast loved, but Went shrilling: “Hollow, hollow all delight!

grosser grown

Than heathen, spitting at their vows and Hail, King! tomorrow thou shalt pass

thee. away. Farewell! there is an isle of rest for

Right well in heart they know thee for

the King. thee. And I am blown along a wandering wind, Arise, go forth and conquer as of old.” And hollow, hollow, hollow all delight!" And fainter onward, like wild birds that Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedi

change Their season in the night and wail their “Far other is this battle in the west way

Whereto we move than when we strove From cloud to cloud, down the long wind in youth, the dream

And brake the petty kings, and fought with Shrilled; but in going mingled with dim Rome, cries

Or thrust the heathen from the Roman Far in the moonlit haze among the hills, wall, As of some lonely city sacked by night, And shook him through the north. III When all is lost, and wife and child with doom is mine wail

To war against my people and my knights.














The king who fights his people fights him And some beheld the faces of old ghosts self.

Look in upon the battle; and in the And they my knights, who loved

mist the stroke

Was many a noble deed, many a base, 105 That strikes them dead is as my death to And chance and craft and strength in

single fights; Yet let us hence, and find or feel a way 75 And ever and anon with host to host Through this blind haze which, ever since Shocks, and the splintering spear, the hard I saw

mail hewn, One lying in the dust at Almesbury, Shield-breakings, and the clash of brands, Hath folded in the passes of the world.”

the crash

Of battle-axes on shattered helms, and Then rose the King and moved his host shrieks by night;

After the Christ, of those who falling And ever pushed Sir Modred, league by down league,

Looked up for heaven, and only saw the Back to the sunset bound of Lyonesse

mist; A land of old upheaven from the abyss And shouts of heathen and the traitor By fire, to sink into the abyss again;

knights, Where fragments of forgotten peoples Oaths, insult, filth, and monstrous blasphedwelt,

mies, And the long mountains ended in a coast 85 Sweat, writhings, anguish, laboring of the Of ever-shifting sand, and far away

lungs The phantom circle of a moaning sea. In that close mist, and cryings for the There the pursuer could pursu no more;

light, And he that Aed, no further fly the King; Moans of the dying, and voices of the And there, that day when the great light dead. of heaven

90 Burned at his lowest in the rolling year, Last, as by some one death-bed after On the waste sand by the waste sea they wail closed.

Of suffering, silence follows, or through Nor ever yet had Arthur fought a fight

death Like this last, dim, weird battle of the Or death-like swoon,

thus over all that

shore, A death-white mist slept over sand and Save for some whisper of the seething seas, sea,

A dead hush fell; but when the dolorous Whereof the chill, to him who breathed it, day drew

Grew drearier toward twilight falling, Down with his blood, till all his heart was cold

A bitter wind, clear from the north, and With formless fear; and even on Arthur blew fell

The mist aside; and with that wind the Confusion, since he saw not whom he tide fought.

Rose, and the pale King glanced across the For friend and foe were shadows in the field mist,

Of battle. But no man was moving there; And friend slew friend not knowing whom Nor any cry of Christian heard thereon, he slew;

Nor yet of heathen: only the wan wave And some had visions out of golden youth, Brake in among dead faces, to and fro 130







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"Hearest thou this great voice that

shakes the world, And wastes the narrow realm whereon we

move, And beats upon the faces of the dead, My dead, as though they had not died

for me? O Bedivere, for on my heart hath fallen Confusion, till I know not what I am, Nor whence I am, nor whether I be

king: Behold, I seem but king among the dead."




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 Lyonesse about their lord, King Arthur; then, because his wound was

deep, The bold Sir Bedivere uplifted him, And bore him to a chapel nigh the field, A broken chancel with a broken cross, That stood on a dark strait of barren land, On one side lay the Ocean, and on one Lay a great water, and the moon


Then spake the bold Sir Bedivere: "My

King! King everywhere! and so the dead have

kings, There also will I worship thee as king. Yet still thy life is whole, and still I

live Who love thee; but who hates thee, he that

brought The heathen back

among us, yonder stands, Modred, unharmed, the traitor of thine


morte di Arthur





Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedi


Then spake the King: “My house hath

been my doom. But call not thou this traitor of my

house Who hath but dwelt beneath one roof with

“The sequel of today unsolders all The goodliest fellowship of famous knights Whereof this world holds record. Such a

sleep They sleep — the men I loved. I think

185 Shall never more, at any future time,


that we




take my

Delight our souls with talk of knightly Shrill, chill, with Aakes of foam. Не, , deeds,

stepping down Walking about the gardens and the halls By zigzag paths and juts of pointed rock, Of Camelot, as in the days that were. Came on the shining levels of the lake. I perish by this people which I made, Though Merlin sware that I should come There drew he forth the brand Excaliagain

bur, To rule once more but let what will be, | And o'er him, drawing it, the winter moon, be:

Brightening the skirts of a long cloud, ran I am so deeply smitten through the helm forth That without help I cannot last till morn. And sparkled keen with frost against the Thou therefore

brand Ex hilt; calibur,

195 For all the haft twinkled with diamond Which was my pride; for thou remember sparks, est how

Myriads of topaz-lights, and jacinthIn those old days, one summer noon, an work

Of subtlest jewellery. He gazed so long Rose up from out the bosom of the lake, That both his eyes were dazzled as he Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonder stood, ful,

This way and that dividing the swift mind, Holding the sword and how I rowed In act to throw; but at the last it seemed

Better to leave Excalibur concealed 230 And took it, and have worn it, like a king; There in the many-knotted water-flags, And, wheresoever I am sung or told That whistled stiff and dry about the In aftertime, this also shall be known.

marge. But now delay not; take Excalibur, So strode he back slow to the wounded And Aing him far into the middle mere; 205 King. Watch what thou seest, and lightly bring me word.”

Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedi









To him replied the bold Sir Bedivere: “Hast thou performed my mission which I “It is not meet, Sir King, to leave thee gave? thus,

What is it thou hast seen? or what hast Aidless, alone, and smitten through the heard?”

helm A little thing may harm a wounded And answer made the bold Sir Bedi

man; Yet I thy hest will all perform at full, "I heard the ripple washing in the reeds, Watch what I see, and lightly bring thee And the wild water lapping on the crag." word."

To whom replied King Arthur, faint So saying, from the ruined shrine he and pale: stept,

“Thou hast betrayed thy nature and thy And in the moon athwart the place of name, tombs;

Not rendering true answer, as beseemed Where lay the mighty bones of ancient Thy fealty, nor like a noble knight;

215 For surer sign had followed, either hand, Old knights, and over them the sea-wind Or voice, or else a motion of the mere. 245 sang

This is a shameful thing for men to lie.



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