Ab, minstrels! when the Table Round Arose, with all its warriors crown'd, There was a theme for bards to sound

In triumph to their string! Five hundred years are past and gone, But Time shall draw his dying groan, Ere lie behold the British throne

Begirt with such a ring!

-The peasants

Lifted the cup, in act to drink.
A drop escaped the goblet's brink-
Intense as liquid fire from hell,
Upon the charger's neck it fell.
Screaming with agony and fright,
He bolted twenty feet upright-

still can show the dint,
Where his loofs lighted on the thint.
From Arthur's hand the goblet flew, (1)
Scattering a shower of ticry dew,
That burn'd and blighted where it fell!
The frantic steed rush'd up the dell,
As whistles from the bow the reed;
Nor bit nor rein could check his speed

Until he gain'd the hill;
Then breath and sinew fail'd apace,
And, reeling from the desperate race;

He stood, exhausted, still.
The monarch, breathless and amazed,
Back on the fatal castle gazed--
Nor tower nor donjon could he spy,
Darkening against the morning sky; (2)
But, on the spot where once they frown'd,
The lonely streamlet brawld around
A tufted knoll, where dimly shore
Fragments of rock and rified stope.
Musing on this strange hap the while,
The king wends back to fair Carlisle ;
And cares, that cumber royal sway,
Wore memory of the past away.

The heralds named the appointed'spot,
As Caerlcop or Camelot,

Or Carlisle fair and free.
At Penrith, now, the feast was set,
And in fair Eamont's vale were met

The flower of chivalry.
There Galaad sale with manly grace,
Yet maiden meckness in his face;
There Morolt of the iron mace, (4)

And love-lorn Tristrem there;
And Dinadam with lively glance,
And Lanval with the fairy lance,
And Mordred with his look askaunce,

Brunor and Bevidere.
Why should I tell of numbers more?
Sir Cay, Sir Banier, and Sir Bore,

Sir Carodac thc keen,
The gentle Gawain's courteous lore,
Hector de Mares and Pellinore,
And Lancelot, that evermore

Look'd stol’a-wise on the queen. (5)

XI. Full fifteen years, and more, were sped, Each brought new wreaths to Arthur's head. Twelve bloody fields, with glory fought, The Saxous to subjection brought; (3) Rython, the mighty giant, slain By his good brand, relieved Bretagne; The Pictishi Gillamore in fight, And Roman Lucius, own'a bis might; And wide were through the world renownd The glories of his Table Round. Each knight, who sought adventurous fame, To the boid court of Britain came, And all who suffer'd causeless wrong, From tyrant proud or faitour strong, Sought Arthur's presence to complain, Nor there for aid implored in vain.

XIV. When wine and mirilı did most abound, And harpers play'd their blithest round, A shrilly trumpet shook the ground,

And marshals cleard the ring; A maiden, on a palfrey white, Heading a band of damsels bright, Paced through the circle, to alighit

And kneel before the king.
Arthur, with strong emotion, saw
Her graceful boldness check'd by awe,
ller dress like huntress of the wold,
Her bow and baldrick trapp'd with gold,
ller sandall'd feet, her aucles bare,
And the eagle plume that deck'd her hair.
Graceful her vcil she backwards flung--
The king, as from his seat he sprung,

Almost cried, «Guendolen!»
But 't was a face more frank and wild,
Betwixt the woman and the child,
Where less of magic beauty smiled

Than of the race of men;
And in the forehead's daughty grace,
The lines of Britain's royal race,

Pendragon's, you might ken,

XII. For this the king, with pomp and pride, lleld solemn court at Whitsuntide,

And summond prince and peer,
All who owed homage for their land,
Or who craved knighthood from his hand,
Or wlio had succour to demand,

To come from far and near.
At such high tide, were glee and game
Mingled with feats of martial fame,
For many a stranger champion came

In lists to break a spear;
And not a knight of Arthur's lost,
Save that be trod some foreign coast,
But at this feast of Pentecost

Before him must appear.

XV. Faltering, yet gracefully, she said«Great prince! behold an orphan maid, In lier departed mother's name, A father's vow'd protection claim; The vow was sworn in desert lone, Jo the deep valley of St John.»—

There were two who loved their neighbours' wives,

And one who loved his own. (6) The first was Lancelot de Lac,

The second Tristrem bold,
The third was valiant Carodac,

Who won the cup of gold, 6)
What time, of all king Arthur's crew

(Thereof came jeer and laughs), He as the mate of lady true, Alone the


could quaff. Thougu envy's tongue would fain surmise, That, but for

very shame, Sir Carodac, co fight that prize, Had given both спр

and dame. Yet, since but one of that fair court

Was true to wedlock's shrine,
Brand him who will with base report, -

He shall be free from mine,

At once the king the suppliant raised,
And kiss'd her brow, her beauty praised ;
His vow, he said, should well be kept,
Ere in the sea the sun was dippid, -
Then, conscious, glanced upou liis quccn:
But she, unruffled at the scene,
Of human frailty construed milil,
Look'd upon Lancelot, and smiled.

« Up! up! each knight of gallant crest!

Take buckler, spear, and brand!
He that to-day shall bear him best,

Shall win my Gynethi's hand.
And Arthur's daughter, when a bride,

Shall bring a noble dower;
Both fair Strath-Clyde and Reged wide,

And Carlisle town and tower.»--
Then might you hear each valiant knight,

To page and squire that cried, Bring my armour bright, and my courser wight! "T is not each day that a warrior's might

May win a royal bride.»Then cloaks and


of maintenance In haste aside they fling; The helmets glance, and gleams the lance,

And the steel-weaved hauberks ring, Small care had they of their peaceful array,

They might gather it that wolde;
For brake and bramble glitter'd gay,
With pearls and cloth of gold.

Within trumpet sound of the Table Round

Were fifty champions free,
And they all arise to fight that prize,

They all arise, but three.
Nor love's fond troth, nor wedlock's oath,

One gallant could withhold,
For priests will allow of a broken vow,

For penance or for gold.
But sigh and glance from ladies bright

Among the troop were thrown,
To plead their right, and true-love plight,

And plain of honour flown.
The knights they busied them so fast,

With buckling spur and belt,
That sigh and look by ladies cast,

Were neither scen nor felt.
From pleading or upbraiding glance,

Each gallant turns aside,
And only thought, « If speeds my lance,

She has fair Strath-Clyde, and Reged wide,

And Carlisle tower and town;
She is the loveliest maid, beside,

That ever leir'd a crown.--
So in haste their coursers they bestride,

And strike their visors down.

Now caracold the steeds in air,
Now plumes and pennons wanton'd fair,
As all around the lists so wide
In panoply the champions ride.
King Arthur saw, with started

The flower of chivalry march by,
The bulwark of the christian creed,
The kingdom's shield in hour of need.
Too late he thought him of the woe
Might from their civil coollict flow:
For well he knew they would not part
Till cold was many a gallant heart,
His hasty vow he'gan to rue,
And Gyneth then apart he drew;
To her his leading-staff resign'd,
But added caution grave and kind.

queen becomes

my bride!

XX. « Thou seest, my child, as promise-bound, I bid the trump for tourney sound, Take thou my warder, as the queen And umpire of the martial scene; But mark thou this:-as Beauty bright, Is polar star to valiant knight, As at her word his sword he draws, His fairest guerdon ber applause, So gentle maid should never ask Of knighthood vain and dangerous task; And Beauty's eyes

should ever be Like the twin stars that soothe the sea, And Beauty's breath should whisper peace, And bid the storm of batile cease. I tell thee this, lest all too far These knights urge tourney into war. Blithe at the trumpet let them so, And fairly counter blow for blow:No striplings these,' who'succour need For a razed helm or falling steed. Bul, Gynetlı, when the strife grows warm, And threatens death or deadly harm, Thy sire entreats, thy king commands, Thou drop the warder from thy hands. Trust thou tlıy father with thy fate, Doubt not be chuse thee fitting mate; Nor be it said, through Gynethi's pride A rose of Arthur's chaplet died.»-

XVIII. The champions, arm'd in martial sort,

Have throng'd into the list,
And but three knights of Arthur's court

Are from the lourney miss'd.
And still these lovers' fame survives

For faith so constant shown,

Their meeting was a goodly sight,

While plate and mail held true.
The lists with painted plumes were strown,
Upon the wind at random thrown,
But helm and breast-plate bloodless shone ;
It seem'd their feather'd crests alone

Should this encounter rue.
And ever, as the combat grows,
The trumpet's cheery voice arose,
Like lark's shrill song the tlourish flows,
Heard while the cale of April blows

The merry green-wood through.

A proud and discontented glow
O'ershadow'd Gyneth's brow of snow;

She put the warder by: – « Reserve thy boon, my liege, » she said, « Thus chaffer'd down and limited, Debased and narrow'd, for a maid

Of less degree than I.
No petty chief, but holds his heir
At a more honour'd price and rare

Than Britain's king holds me!
Although the sun-burn'd maid, for dower,
Has but her father's rugged tower,

His barren hill and lee. King Arthur swore, ' by crown and sword, “As belted knight, and Britain's lord, * That a whole summer's day should strive * His knights, the bravest knights alive!' Recal thine oath! and to her glen Poor Gyneth can return agen; Not on thy daughter will the stain, That soils thy sword and crown, remain. But think not she will e'er be bride Save to the bravest, proved and tried; Pendragon's daughter will not fear For clashing sword or splinterd spear,

Nor shrink though blood should flow; And all too weil sad Guendolen Hath taught the frithlessness of men, That child of hers should pity when

Their meed they undergo.»

But soon to earnest grew their game,

spears drew blood, the swords struck slame, And, horse and man, to ground there came

Knights who shall rise no more!
Gone was the pride the war that graced,
Gay shields were cleft, and crests defaced,
And steel coats riven, avd helms unbraced,

And pennons stream'd with gore.
Gone, too, were fence and fair array,
And desperate strength made deadly way
At random through the bloody fray,
And blows were dealt with headlong sway,

Unheeding where they fell;
And now the trumpet's clamours seem
Like the shrill sea-bird's wailing scream,
Heard o'er the whirlpool's gulphing stream,

The sinking seaman's knell!

He frown'd and sigh'd, the monarch bold :-
« I give—what I may not withhold;
For, not for danger, dread, or death,
Must British Arthur break his faith.
Too late 1 mark, thy mother's art
Hath taught thee this relentless part.
I blame her not, for she had wrong,
But not to these my faults belong.
Use, then, the warder as thou wilt;
But trust me that, if life be spilt,
In Arthur's love, in Arthur's grace,
Gyneth shall lose a daughter's place.»
With that he turn d his head aside,
Nor brook'd to gaze upon her pride,
As, with the trancheon raised, she sate
The arbitress of mortal fate;
Nor brook'd to mark, in ranks disposed,
How the bold champions stood opposed;
For shrill the trumpet-flourish fell
Upon his ear like passing-bell!
Then first from sight of martial fray
Did Britain's hero turn away.

But Gyneth heard the clangour high,
As hears the hawk the partridge-cry.
Oh! blame her not! the blood was hers,
That at the trumpet's summons stirs !-
And e'en the gentlest female

eye Might the brave strife of chivalry

Awhile antroubled view;
So well accomplish'd was each knight,
To strike and to defend in fight,

Seem'd in this dismal hour, that Fate
Would Camlan's ruin avtedate,

And spare dark Mordred's crime;
Already gasping on the ground
Lie twenty of the Table Round,

Of chivalry the prime.
Arthur, in anguish, tore away
From head and beard his tresses gray,
And she, proud Gyneth, felt dismay,

And quaked with ruth and fear;
But still she deem'd her mother's shade
Hung o'er the tumult, and forbade
The sign that had the slaughter staid,

And chid the rising tear.
Then Brunor, Taulas, Mador, fell,
Helias the White, and Lionel,

And many a champion more;
Rochemont and Dinadam are down,
And Ferrand of the Forest Brown

Lies gasping in his gore. Vanoc, by mighty Morolt pressid Even to the confines of the list, Young Vanoc of the beardless face (Fame spoke the youth of Merlin's race), O'erpower'd at Gyneth's footstool bled, His heart's blood dyed lier sandals red. But then the sky was overcast, Then howl'd at onee a whirlwind's blast,

And, rent by sudden throes, Yawn'd in mid lists the quaking earth, And from the gulph, -tremendous birth!

The form of Merlin rose.

Sternly the wizard prophet eyed
The dreary lists with slaughter dyed,

And sternly raised bis hand :« Madmen,» he said, « your strife forbear! And thou, fair cause of mischief, hear

The doom thy fates demand !
Long shall close in stony sleep
Eyes for ruth that would not wcep ;
Iron lethargy shall seal
Heart that pity scorn'd to feel.
Yet, because thy mother's art
Warp'd thine unsuspicious learl,
And for love of Arthur's race,
Punishment is blent with grace,
Thou shalt bear thy penance lone,
In the Valley of St John,
And this weird ' shall overtake thee;-
Sleep, until a knight shall wake thec,
For feats of arms as far renown'd
As warrior of the Table Round,
Long endurance of thy slumber
Well may teach the world to number
All their woes from Gyveth's pride,
When the Red Cross champions died.»

While her wondrons tale was new,
Warriors to her rescue drew,
East and west, and south and north,
From the Liffy, Thames, and Forth.
Most have sought in vain the glen,
Tower nor castle could they ken;
Not at every time or uide,
Nor by every cye, descried.
Fast and vigil must be borne,
Many a night in watching worn,
Ere an eye of mortal

Can discern those magic towers.
Of the persevering few,
Some from hopeless task withdrew,
When they read the dismal threat
Graved upon the gloomy gate.
Few have braved the yawning door,
And those few return d no more.
In the lapse of time forgot,
Well nigh lost is Gyneth's lot;
Sound her sleep as in the tomb,
Till waken'd by the trump of doom.


XXVII. As Merlin speaks, on Gyneth's eye Slumber's load begins to lie; Fear and anger vainly strive Still to keep its light alive. Twice, with effort and with pause, O'er her brow her hand she draws; Twice her strength in vain she tries, From the fatal chair to rise; Merlin's magic doom is spoken, Vanoc's death must now be wroken, Slow tie dark-fringed eye-lids fall, Curtaining each azure ball, Slowly as on summer eves Violets fold their dusky leaves. The weighty baton of command Now bears down her sinking hand, On her shoulder droops her nd; Nel of pearl and golden thread, Bursting, gave her locks to flow O'er her arm and breast of snow. And so lovely seem'd she there, Spell-bound in her ivory chair, That lier angry sire, repentings Craved stern Merlin for relenting, And the champions, for bier sake, Would again the contest wake; Till, in necromantic night, Gyneth vanish'd from their sight.

Here pause, my tale; for all too soon,
My Lucy, comes the bour of noon.
Already from thy lofly dome
Its courtly inmates 'gin to roam,
And, eac'), lo kill the goodly day
That God has granted them, his way
Of lazy sauntering has sought;

Lordlings and willings not a few,
Incapable of doing aught,

Yet ill at ease with nought to do.
Here is no longer place for me;
For, Lucy, thou wouldst blush to see

Some phantom, fashionably thin,
With limb of lath and kereliefd chin,

And lounging gape, or sneering grin,
Steal sudden on our privacy.
And low should I, so humbly born,
Endure the graceful spectre's scorn!
Faidi! ill I fear, while conjuring wand
Of English oak is hard at hand.

XXVIII. Still she bears her weird alone, In the Valley of Saint John; And her semblance oft will seem Mingling in a champion's dream, Of her weary lot to plain, And crave his aid to burst her chain,

UJ. Or grant the hour be all too soon For Hessian boot and pantaloon, And grant the lounger seldom strays Beyond the smooth and gravel'd maze, Laud we the gods, that Fashion's train Holds hearts of more adventurous strain. Artists are hers, who scorn to trace Their rules from Nature's boundless grace, But their right paramount assert To limit her by pedant art, Damning whale'er of vast and fair Exceeds a canvas three feet square. This thicket, for their gumption fit, May furnish such a happy bit. Bards, 100, are hers, wont to recite Their own sweet lays by waxen light,

1 Doom.

Half in the salver's tinkle drown'a,
While the chasse-café glides around !
And such may hither secret stray,
To labour an extempore :
Our sportsman, with his boisterous hollo,
May here his wiser spaniel follow,
Or stage-struck Juliet may presume
To chuse this bower for tiring-room;
And we alike must shiun regard,
From painter, player, sportsman, bard.
Insects that skim in Fashion's sky,
Wasp, blue-botile, or butterfly,
Lucy, have all alarms for us,
For all can hum and all can buzz.

Forgive me, love, I cannot bear
That alter'd and resentful air.
Were all the wealth of Russell mine,
And all the rank of Howard's line,
All would I give for leave to dry
That dew-drop trembling in thine eye.
Think not I fear such fops can wile
From Lucy more than careless smile;

if wealth and high degree
Give gilded counters currency,
Must I not fear, when rank and birth
Stamp the pure ore of genuine worth?
Nobles there are, whose martial fires
Rival the fame that raised their sires,
And patriots, skill'd through storms of fate
To guide and guard the reeling state.
Such, such there are-if such should come,
Arthur must tremble and be dumb,
Self-exiled seek some distant shore,
And mourn till life and grief are o'er.

III. But oh, my Lucy, say how long We still must dread this trilling throng, And sloop to bide, with coward art, The genuine feelings of the bicar!! No parents thine, whose just command Should rule their child's obedient hand; Thy guardians, with contending voice, Press each his individual choice. And which is Lucy's !--Can it be That puny fop, trimm'd cap-a-pio. Who loves in the saloon to show The arms that pever knew a foe; Whose sabre trails along the yround, Whose legs in shapeless boots are drown'd; A new Achilles, sure,--the steel Fled from his breast to fence his heel; One, for the simple manly grace That wont to deck our martial race, Who comes in foreign trashery

Of tinkling chain and spur,
A walking baberdashery,

Of feathiers, lace, and fur:
În Rowley's antiquated phrase
Horse-milliner of modern days.

VI. What sight, what signal of alarm, That Lucy clings to Arthur's arm! Or is it, that the rugged way Makes Beauty lean on lover's stay? Oh, no! for on the vale and brake Nor sight nor sounds of danger wake, And this trim sward of velvet green Were carpet for the fairy queen. That pressure slight was but to tell That Lucy loves bier Arthur well, And fain would banish from his mind Suspicious fear and doubt unkind.

Or is it he, the wordy youth,

So early train'd for statesman's part,
Who talks of honour, faith and truth,

As themes that he has got by heart; Whose ethics Chesterfield can teach, Whose logic is from Single-speech; Who scorns the meanest thought to vent, Save in the phrase of Parliament; Who, in a tale of cat and mouse, Calls « order,» and « divides the house,» Who « craves permission to reply,» Wbose « poble friend is in his

eye ;» Whose loving tender some have reckond A motion, you should gladly second ?

VII But wouldst thou bid the demons fly Like mist before the dawning sky, There is but one resistless spellSay, wilt thou guess, or must I tell ? 'T were hard to name in minstrel phrase, A landaulet and four blood-bays, But bards agree this wizard band Can but bound in Northern Land. 'T is there--nay, draw not back thy hand! "T is there this slender finger round Must golden amulet be bound, Which, bless'd with many a holy prayer, Can change to rapture lover's care, And doubt and jealousy shall die, And fears give place to ecstacy.

V. What, neither? Can there be a third, To such resistess swains preferr'd ?O why, my Lucy, turn aside, With that quick glance of injured pride?

VIII. Now, trust me, Lucy, all too long Has been thy lover's tale and song. O why so silent, Jore, I pray? Have I not spoke the livelong day? And will not Lucy deign to say

One word her friend to bless ? I ask but one-a simple sound, Within three little letters bound,

O let the word be YES!

"The trammels of the palfraye pleased his sight, And the horse-millanere his head with roses dight..

RowLet's Ballads of Charitie.

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