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She, flashing forth a haughty smile, began: “I died a Queen. The Roman soldier found “I governed men by change, and so I Me lying dead, my crown about my swayed
brows, All moods. 'Tis long since I have seen a A name for ever!—lying robed and crowned man.
Worthy a Roman spouse.” Once, like the moon, I made
Her warbling voice, a lyre of widest range “The ever-shifting currents of the blood | Struck by all passion, did fall down and
According to my humor ebb and flow. glance I have no men to govern in this wood: 135 From tone to tone, and glided through That makes my only woe.
Of liveliest utterance. “Nay—yet it chafes me that I could not bend
When she made pause I knew not for deOne will; nor tame and tutor with mine light; eye
Because with sudden motion from the That dull, cold blooded Cæsar. Prythee, ground
She raised her piercing orbs, and filled Where is Mark Antony?
140 with light
The interval of sound. “The man, my lover, with whom I rode sublime
Still with their fires Love tipped his keenest, On Fortune's neck; we sat as God by darts: God;
As once they drew into two burning rings The Nilus would have risen before his time All beams of Love, melting the mighty And flooded at our nod.
Of captains and of kings. “We drank the Libyan Sun to sleep, and lit
145 Slowly my sense undazzled. Then I heard Lamps which out-burned Canopus. Oh, A noise of some one coming through the my life
lawn, In Egypt! Oh, the dalliance and the wit, | And singing clearer than the crested bird The flattery and the strife,
That claps his wings at dawn: 180
“And the wild kiss, when fresh from war's “The torrent brooks of hallowed Israel alarms,
From craggy hollows pouring, late and My Hercules, my Roman Antony, 150 soon, My mailèd Bacchus leaped into my arms, Sound all night long, in falling through Contented there to die!
Far-heard beneath the moon. “And there he died: and when I heard my name
“The balmy moon of blessed Israel 185 Sighed forth with life, I would not brook | Floods all the deep-blue gloom with my fear
beams divine; Of the other; with a worm I balked his All night the splintered crags that wall fame.
the dell What else was left? look here!”–
With spires of silver shine.”
With that she tore her robe apart, and As one that museth where broad sunshine half
laves The polished argent of her breast to sight The lawn by some cathedral, through Laid bare. Thereto she pointed with a the door
Hearing the holy organ rolling waves Showing the aspic's bite.
Of sound on roof and floor
Within, and anthem sung, is charmed and | “Saw God divide the night with flying tied
225 To where he stands,-so stood I, when And thunder on the everlasting hills. that flow
I heard Him, for He spake, and grief beOf music left the lips of her that died 195 came To save her father's vow;
A solemn scorn of ills.
The daughter of the warrior Gileadite, “When the next moon was rolled into the
A maiden pure; as when she went along From Mizpah's towered gate with wel | Strength came to me that equalled my come light,
230 With timbrel and with song. 200. How beautiful a thing it was to die
For God and for my sire! My words leapt forth: “Heaven heads the count of crimes
“It comforts me in this one thought to With that wild oath.” She rendered dwell, answer high:
That I subdued me to my father's “Not so, nor once alone; a thousand times
will; I would be born and die.
Because the kiss he gave me, ere I fell, 235
Sweetens the spirit still. “Single I grew, like some green plant, whose root
205 “Moreover it is written that my race Creeps to the garden water-pipes be- Hewed Ammon, hip and thigh, from neath,
Aroer Feeding the flower; but ere my flower to On Arnon unto Minneth.” Here her face fruit
Glowed, as I looked at her. 240 Changed, I was ripe for death.
She locked her lips: she left me where I “My God, my land, my father—these did stood: move
“Glory to God,” she sang, and passed Me from my bliss of life, that Nature gave,
210 Thridding the sombre boskager of the Lowered softly with a threefold cord of wood, love
Toward the morning-star. Down to a silent grave.
Losing her carol I stood pensively, 245 “And I went mourning, ‘No fair Hebrew As one that from a casement leans his boy
head, Shall smile away my maiden blame When midnight bells cease ringing sudamong
denly, The Hebrew mothers'-emptied of all joy, And the old year is dead. Leaving the dance and song,
“Alas! alas!” a low voice, full of care, “Leaving the olive-gardens far below, Murmured beside me. “Turn and look Leaving the promise of my bridal bower, on me:
- 250 The valleys of grape-loaded vines that glow I am that Rosamond, whom men call fair, Beneath the battled tower.
220 If what I was I be.
“The light white cloud swam over us. “Would I had been some maiden coarse Anon
and poor! We heard the lion roaring from his den; O me, that I should ever see the light! We saw the large white stars rise one by Those dragon eyes of angered Eleanor 255 one,
Do hunt me, day and night.” Or, from the darkened glen,
She ceased in tears, fallen from hope and Because all words, though culled with trust;
choicest art, To whom the Egyptian: “Oh, you I 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.” 260
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, Of folded sleep. The captain of my Whose spirits falter in the mist, dreams
And languish for the purple seas. Ruled in the eastern sky.
It is the land that freemen till,
5 Morn broadened on the borders of the That sober-suited Freedom chose,
265 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, 10 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,
· 270 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, • 20 ore That glimpses, moving up, than I from
Though power should make from land to sleep
land 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
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 strike
Wild wind! I seek a warmer sky, 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,
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 II 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,- 1 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 across
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 fling 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.
2 quickly. | 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 vere: 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, 121 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,
90 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,
135 100 And strongly wheeled and threw it. The Stored in some treasure-house of mighty great brand kings,
Made lightnings in the splendor of the Some one might show it at a joust of I 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 deeps
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
ΙΙΟ | 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:
150 | And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere: