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samite, mystic, wonderful, that caught him by the hilt, and brandished him three times, and drew him under in the meer." And answer made King Arthur, breathing 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 through 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 through the place of tombs. But as he walked, King Arthur panted hard, like one that feels a nightmare on his bed when all the house is mute. So sighed 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 walked, 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 clashed 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 heels-and 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 a cry that shivered 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 murmured 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 shattered casque, and chafed his hands, and called 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 withered moon smote by the fresh beam of the springing east; and all his
greaves and cuisses dashed with drops of onset; and the light and lustrous curls-that made his forehead like a rising sun high from the dais-throne-were parched with dust; or, clotted into points and hanging loose, mixed with the knightly growth that fringed his lips: so like a shattered column lay the king; not like that Arthur who, with lance in rest, from spur to plume a star of tournament, shot through the lists of Camelot, and charged before the eyes of ladies and of kings.
Then loudly cried the bold Sir Bedivere:-"Ah! my lord Arthur, whither shall I go? 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 goats 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 seestif 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 deepmeadowed, happy, fair, with orchard-lawns and bowery hollows crowned 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, fluting 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 looked one black dot against the verge of dawn, and on the meer the wailing died away.
XLII.-RETREAT OF THE FRENCH ARMY FROM MOSCOW.-Dr. Croly.
MAGNIFICENCE of ruin! What has time,
Of the wild rage of storm, or deadly clime,
Blood will have tenfold blood:-What are they now? Aname.
The land was all one naked sepulchre:
The shrinking eye still glanced on grim decay-
Through cloven helms, and arms, and corpses mouldering drear.
The field was as they left it: fosse and fort
Each knew the mound, the black ravine, whose strait
There was the hill, from which their eyes elate
Upon the wild horizon; and the woods,
Now sinking into brambles, echo shrill,
As the gust sweeps them; and those upper floods Shoot on the leafless boughs the sleet-drops chill, That, on the hurrying crowds, in freezing showers distil.
They reach the wilderness! The majesty
Stern nakedness, dark earth, and wrathful sky!
Behind them rolls the deep and drenching haze,
Still on they sweep, as if the hurrying march
At once is covered with a livid veil;
Heaven's clear arch
In mixed and fighting heaps the deep clouds reel :
In sanguine light, an orb of burning steel;
The snows wheel down through twilight thick and dun: Now tremble, men of blood!-the Judgment has begun!
The trumpet of the northern winds has blown,
Of armies, on that boundless field o'erthrown:
Must war from day to day, with storm and gloom;
Must fly, toil, bleed for home-yet never see that home!
THE lark has sung his carol in the sky,
The babe, the sleeping image of his sire!
A few short years, and then these sounds shall hail
Then, the huge ox shall yield the broad sirloin;
He rests in holy earth, with them who went before.
It glimmers, like a meteor-and is gone!
XLIV. -ON SLAVERY.-Cowper.
OH! for a lodge in some vast wilderness,
Might never reach me more! My ear is pained,