Page images


As these white robes are soiled and dark,

To yonder shining ground;
As this pale taper's earthly spark,

To yonder argent round;
So shows my soul before the Lamb,

My spirit before Thee ;
So in mine earthly house I am,

To that I hope to be.
Break up the heavens, O Lord ! and far,

Thro' all yon starlight keen,
Draw me, thy bride, a glittering star,

In raiment white and clean.


He lifts me to the golden doors ;

The flashes come and go ;
All heaven bursts her starry floors,

And strows her lights below,
And deepens on and up! the gates

Roll back, and far within
For me the Heavenly Bridegroom waits,

To make me pure of sin.

The sabbaths of Eternity,

One sabbath deep and wideA light upon the shining sea —

The Bridegroom with his bride! SIR GALAHAD.


My good blade carves the casques


men, My tough lance thrusteth sure, My strength is as the strength of ten,

Because my heart is pure.
The shattering trumpet shrilleth high,

The hard brands shiver on the steel, The splintered spear-shafts crack and fly,

The horse and rider reel:
They reel, they roll in clanging lists,

And when the tide of combat stands,
Perfume and flowers fall in showers,

That lightly rain from ladies' hands.


How sweet are looks that ladies bend

On whom their favours fall!

For them I battle till the end,

To save from shame and thrall :

But all my heart is drawn above,

My knees are bow'd in crypt and shrine : I never felt the kiss of love,

Nor maiden's hand in mine.

More bounteous aspects on me beam,

Me mightier transport move and thrill; So keep I fair thro' faith and prayer

A virgin heart in work and will.


When down the stormy crescent goes,

A light before me swims,
Between dark stems the forest glows,

I hear a noise of hymns:
Then by some secret shrine I ride;

I hear a voice, but none are there ;
The stalls are void, the doors are wide,

The tapers burning fair.

Fair gleams the snowy altar-cloth,

The silver vessels sparkle clean, The shrill bell rings, the censer swings,

And solemn chaunts resound between.


Sometimes on lonely mountain-meres

I find a magic bark;
I leap on board : no helmsman steers :

I float till all is dark.
A gentle sound, an awful light!

Three angels bear the holy Grail :
With folded feet, in stoles of white,

On sleeping wings they sail.
Ah, blessed vision ! blood of God!

My spirit beats her mortal bars,
As down dark tides the glory slides,

And star-like mingles with the stars.


When on my goodly charger borne

Thro' dreaming towns I go, The cock crows ere the Christmas morn,

The streets are dumb with snow.

« PreviousContinue »