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Heading a band of damsels bright, Then cloaks and caps of maintenance
The helmetsglance, and gleams the lance, Arthur, with strong emotion, saw
And the steel-weaved hauberks ring. Her graceful boldness check'd by awe, Small care had they of their peaceful Her dress like huntress of the wold,
array, Her bow and baldric trapp'd with gold, They might gather it that wolde ; Her sandall'd feet, her ankles bare, For brake and bramble glitter'd gay, And the eagle-plume that deck'd her hair. With pearls and cloth of gold. Graceful her veil she backward flung—
XVII. The King, as from his seat he sprung, : Almost cried, 'Guendolen!'
“Within trumpet sound of the Table
Were fifty champions free,
And they all arise to fight that prize, Than of the race of men ;
They all arise but three. And in the forehead's haughty grace,
Norlove's fond troth, norwedlock'soath,
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, “Faltering, yet gracefully she said
To plead their right, and true-love plight, "Great Prince ! behold an orphan maid, And 'plain of honour flown. In her departed mother's name,
The knights they busied them so fast, A father's vow'd protection claim !
With buckling spur and belt, The vow was sworn in desert lone,
That sigh and look, by ladies cast, In the deep valley of St. John.'
Were neither seen nor felt. At once the King the suppliant raised, From pleading, or upbraiding glance, And kiss'd her brow, her beauty praised;
Each gallant turns aside, His vow, he said, should well be kept,
And only thought, “If speeds my lance, Ere in the sea the sun was dipp'd,
A queen becomes my bride! Then, conscious, glanced upon his queen: She has fairStrath-Clyde,and Reged wide, But she, unruffled at the scene
And Carlisle tower and town; Of human frailty, construed mild,
She is the loveliest maid, beside, Look'd upon Lancelot and smiled.
That ever heir'd a crown.'
So in haste their coursers they bestride, XVI.
And strike their visors down. "Up! up! each knight of gallant crest
XVIII. Take buckler, spear, and brand ! “The champions, arm'd in martial sort, He that to-day shall bear him best,
Have throng'd into the list, Shall win my Gyneth's hand.
And but three knights of Arthur's codrt And Arthur's daughter, when a bride, Are from the tourney miss'd. Shall bring a noble dower;
And still these lovers' fame survives Both fair Strath-Clyde and Reged wide, For faith so constant shown,-And Carlisle town and tower.'
There were two who loved their neighThen might you hear each valiant knight,
bours' wives, To page and squire that cried,
And one who loved his own. 'Bring my armour bright, and my courser The first was Lancelot de Lac, wight:
The second Tristrem bold, 'Tis not each day that a warrior's might | The third was valiant Carodac, May win a royal bride.'
Who won the cup of gold,
What time, of all King Arthur's crew,
(Thereof came jeer and laugh,) He, as the mate of lady true,
Alone the cup could quaff.
That, but for very shame,
Had given both cup and dame;
Was true to wedlock's shrine, Brand him who will with base report, —
He shall be free from mine.
No striplings these, who succour need
XIX. “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 startled eye, 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 conflict 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.
XXI. “A proud and discontented glow O'ershadow'd Gyneth's brow of snow
She put the warder by :-
Of less degree than I.
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!'-• Recalĩ 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 splinter'd spear, Nor shrink though blood should
flow; And all too well sad Guendolen Hath taught the faithlessness of men, That child of hers should pity, when
Their meed they undergo.'
XX. “ 'Thou see'st, 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 her 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 shall whisper peace, And bid the storm of battle cease. I tell thee this, lest all too far These knights urge tourney into war. Blithe at the trumpet let them go, And fairly counter blow for blow;
XXII. “He frown'd and sigh’d, the Monarch
bold: "I give—what I may not withhold; For, not for danger, dread, or deat., Must British Arthur break his faith.
And steel coats riven, and helms un.
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
Unheeding where they fell; And now the trumpet's clamours seem Like the shrill sea-bird's wailing scream, Heard o'er the whirpool's gulfing stream,
The sinking seaman's kneli !
'oo late I mark, thy mother's art Iath taught thee this relentless part. blame her not, for she had wrong, but not to these my faults belong. Jse, then, the warder as thou wilt; but trust me, that, if life be spilt, n Arthur's love, in Arthur's grace, iyneth shall lose a daughter's place.' Vith, that he turn’d his head aside, Tor brook'd to gaze upon her pride, is, with the truncheon raised, she sate The arbitress of mortal fate ; Vor brook'd to mark, in ranks disposed, low the bold champions stood opposed, or shrill the trumpet-flourish fell Jpon his ear like passing bell ! Chen first from sight of martial fray Did Britain's hero turn away.
A while untroubled view;
While plate and mail held true.
strown, Upon the wind at random thrown, But helm and breastplate bloodless shone, It seem'd their feather'd crests alone
Should this encounter rue.
Knights, who shall rise no more ! Gone was the pride the war that graced, Gay shields were cleft, and crests defaced,
xxv. “Seem'd in this dismal hour, that Fate Would Camlan's ruin antedate,
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;
And chid the rising tear.
And many a champion more;
Lies gasping in his gore. Vanoc, by mighty Morolt press’d Even to the confines of the list, Young Vanoc of the beardless face, (Fame spoke the youth ɔf Merlin's race,) O’erpower'd at Gyneth's footstool bled, His heart's-blood dyed her sandals red. But then the sky was overcast, Then howl'd at once a whirlwind's blast,
And, rent by sudden throes, Yawn'd in mid lists the quaking earth, And from thegulf, -tremendous birth !
The form of Merlin rose.
XXVI. “Sternly the Wizard Prophet eyed The dreary lists with slaughter dyed,
And sternly raised his 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 weep; Iron lethargy shall seal Heart that pity scorn’d to feel. Yet, because thy mother's art Warp'd thine unsuspicious heart, 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 thee, 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 Gyneth's pride, When the Red Cross champions died.'
Till, in necromantic night,
End of Lyulph's Tale.
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 the dark-fringed eyelids 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 head; Net 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 her angry sire, repenting, Craved stern Merlin for relenting, And the champions, for her sake, Would again the contest wake;
HERE pause, my tale ; for all too soon,
Lordlings and witlings not a few,
Yet ill at ease with nought to do.
Some phantom, fashionably thin,
And lounging gape, or sneering grin Steal sudden on our privacy,
And how should I, so humbly born, Endure the graceful spectre's scorn ? Faith! ill, I fear, while conjuring wand Of English oak is hard at hand.
II. Or grant the hour be all too soon For Hessian boot and pantaloon, And grant the lounger seldom strays Beyond the smooth and gravell’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 whate'er of vast and fair Exceeds a canvass three feet square. This thicket, for their gumption fit, May furnish such a happy bit. Bards, too, are hers, wont to recite Their own sweet lays by waxen light, Half in the salver's tingle drown'd, While the chasse-café glides around; And such may hither secret stray, To labour an extempore: Or sportsman, with his boisterous hollo, May here his wiser spaniel follow, Or stage-struck Juliet may presume To choose this bower for tiring-room ; And we alike must shun regard, From painter, player, sportsman, bard. Insects that skim in Fashion's sky, Wasp, blue-bottle, or butterfly, Lucy, have all alarms for us, For all can hum and all can buzz.
Whose sabre trails along the ground, Whose legs in shapeless boots are
Of tinkling chain and spur,
Of feathers, lace, and fur:
So early train'd for statesman's part,
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,” Whose “noble friend is in his eye;" Whose loving tender some have reckon'd A motion, you should gladly second ?
But oh, my Lucy, say how long
What, neither ? Can there be a third,