The Bridal Of Triermain Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


Come Lucy while 'tis morning hourB
The woodland brook we needs must passC
So ere the sun assume his powerB
We shelter in our poplar bowerB
Where dew lies long upon the flowerB
Though vanish'd from the velvet grassC
Curbing the stream this stony ridgeD
May serve us for a silvan bridgeD
For here compell'd to disuniteE
Round petty isles the runnels glideE
And chafing off their puny spiteE
The shallows murmurers waste their mightE
Yielding to footstep free and lightE
A dry shod pass from side to sideE
Nay why this hesitating pauseF
And Lucy as thy step withdrawsF
Why sidelong eye the streamlet's brimG
Titania's foot without a slipH
Like thine though timid light and slimG
From stone to stone might safely tripH
Nor risk the glow worm clasp to dipH
That binds her slipper's silken rimG
Or trust thy lover's strength nor fearI
That this same stalwart arm of mineJ
Which could yon oak's prone trunk uprearI
Shall shrink beneath the burden dearI
Of form so slender light and fineJ
So now the danger dared at lastE
Look back and smile at perils pastE
And now we reach the favourite gladeE
Paled in copsewood cliff and stoneK
Where never harsher sounds invadeE
To break affection's whispering toneK
Than the deep breeze that waves the shadeE
Than the small brooklet's feeble moanK
Come rest thee on thy wonted seatE
Moss'd is the stone the turf is greenL
A place where lovers best may meetE
Who would not that their love be seenL
The boughs that dim the summer sky-
Shall hide us from each lurking spy-
That fain would spread the invidious taleM
How Lucy of the lofty eye-
Noble in birth in fortunes high-
She for whom lords and barons sigh-
Meets her poor Arthur in the daleM
How deep that blush how deep that sigh-
And why does Lucy shun mine eye-
Is it because that crimson drawsF
Its colour from some secret causeN
Some hidden movement of the breastE
She would not that her Arthur guess'dE
O quicker far is lovers' kenO
Than the dull glance of common menO
And by strange sympathy can spellP
The thoughts the loved one will not tellP
And mine in Lucy's blush saw metE
The hues of pleasure and regretE
Pride mingled in the sigh her voiceQ
And shared with Love the crimson glowR
Well pleased that thou art Arthur's choiceQ
Yet shamed thine own is placed so lowR
Thou turn'st thy self confessing cheekS
As if to meet the breeze's coolingT
Then Lucy hear thy tutor speakS
For Love too has his hours of schoolingT
Too oft my anxious eye has spiedE
That secret grief thou fain wouldst hideE
The passing pang of humbled prideE
Too oft when through the splendid hallU
The load star of each heart and eye-
My fair one leads the glittering ballU
Will her stol'n glance on Arthur fallU
With such a blush and such a sigh-
Thou wouldst not yield for wealth or rankV
The heart thy worth and beauty wonA
Nor leave me on this mossy bankV
To meet a rival on a throneK
Why then should vain repinings riseW
That to thy lover fate deniesW
A nobler name a wide domainX
A Baron's birth a menial trainX
Since Heaven assign'd him for his partE
A lyre a falchion and a heartE
My sword its master must be dumbY
But when a soldier names my nameZ
Approach my Lucy fearless comeY
Nor dread to hear of Arthur's shameZ
My heart 'mid all yon courtly crewI
Of lordly rank and lofty lineJ
Is there to love and honour trueI
That boasts a pulse so warm as mineJ
They praised thy diamonds' lustre rareI
Match'd with thine eyes I thought it fadedE
They praised the pearls that bound thy hairI
I saw only the locks they braidedE
They talk'd of wealthy dower and landE
And titles of high birth the tokenA
I thought of Lucy's heart and handE
Nor knew the sense of what was spokenA
And yet if rank'd in Fortune's rollA2
I might have learn'd their choice unwiseW
Who rate the dower above the soulA2
And Lucy's diamonds o'er her eyesW
My lyre it is an idle toyE
That borrows accents not its ownK
Like warbler of Colombian sky-
That sings in a mimic toneK
Ne'er did it sound o'er sainted wellP
Nor boasts it aught of Border spellP
It strings no feudal slogan pourI
Its heroes draw no broad claymoreI
No shouting clans applauses raiseB2
Because it sung their father's praiseB2
On Scottish moor or English downC2
It ne'er was graced with fair renownC2
Norwon best meed to minstrel trueI
One favouring smile from fair BUCCLEUCHD2
By one poor streamlet sounds its toneK
And heard by one dear maid aloneK
But if thou bid'st these tones shall tellP
Of errant knight and damozelleP
Of a dread knot a Wizard tiedE
In punishment of maiden's prideE
In notes of marvel and of fearI
That best may charm romantic earI
For Lucy loves like COLLINS ill starred nameZ
Whose lay's requital was that tardy fameZ
Who bound no laurel round his living headE
Should hang it o'er his monument when deadE
For Lucy loves to tread enchanted strandE
And thread like him the maze of fairy landE
Of golden battlements to view the gleamE2
And slumber soft by some Elysian streamE2
Such lays she loves and such my Lucy's choiceQ
What other song can claim her Poet's voiceQ
Canto I-
Where is the maiden of mortal strainX
That may match with the Baron of TriermainX
She must be lovely and constant and kindE
Holy and pure and humble of mindE
Blithe of cheer and gentle of moodE
Courteous and generous and noble of bloodE
Lovely as the sun's first rayI
When it breaks the clouds of an April dayI
Constant and true as the widow'd dove-
Kind as a minstrel that sings of love-
Pure as the fountain in rocky cave-
Where never sunbeam kiss'd the wave-
Humble as a maiden that loves in vainX
Holy as a hermit's vesper strainX
Gentle as a breeze that but whispers and diesW
Yet blithe as the light leaves that dance in its sighsW
Courteous as monarch the morn he is crown'dE
Generous as spring dews that bless the glad groundE
Noble her blood as the currents that metE
In the veins of the noblest PlantangenetE
Such must her form be her mood and her strainX
That shall match with Sir Roland of TriermainX
Sir Roland de Vaux he hath laid him to sleepF2
His blood it was fever'd his breathing was deepF2
He had been pricking against the ScotE
The foray was long and the skirmish hotE
His dinted helm and his buckler's plightE
Bore token of a stubborn fightE
All in the castle must hold them stillP
Harpers must lull him to his restE
With the slow soft tunes he loves the bestE
Till sleep sink down upon his breastE
Like the dew on a summer hillP
It was the dawn of an autumn dayE
The sun was struggling with a frost fog greyE
That like a silvery crape was spreadE
Round Skiddaw's dim and distant headE
And faintly gleam'd each painted paneX
Of the lordly halls of TriermainX
When that Baron bold awokeG2
Starting he woke and loudly did callP
Rousing his menials in bower and hallP
While hastily he spokeG2
'Hearken my minstrels which of ye allP
Touch'd his harp with that dying fallP
So sweet so soft so faintE
It seem'd an angel's whisper'd callP
To an expiring saintE
And harken my merry men what time or whereI
Did she pass that maid with her heavenly browI
With her look so sweet and her eyes so fairI
And her graceful step and her angel airI
And the eagle plume in her dark brown hairI
That pass'd from my bower e'en now '-
Answer'd him Richard de Bretville he-
Was chief of the Baron's minstrelsyW
'Silent noble chieftain we-
Have sat since midnight closeW
When such lulling sounds as the brooklet singsW
Murmur'd from our melting stringsW
And hush'd you to reposeW
Had a harp note sounded hereI
It had caught my watchful earI
Although it fell as faint and shy-
As bashful maiden's half form'd sigh-
When she thinks her lover near '-
Answer'd Philip of Fasthwaite tallP
He kept guard in the outer hallP
'Since at eve our watch took postE
Not a foot has thy portal cross'dE
Else had I heard the steps though lowP
And light they fell as when the earth receivesW
In morn of frost the wither'd leavesW
That drop when no winds blow '-
'Then come thou hither Henry my pageH2
Whom I saved from the sack of HermitageI2
When that dark castle tower and spireI
Rose to the skies a pile of fireI
And redden'd all the Nine stane HillP
And the shrieks of death that wildly brokeG2
Through devouring flame and smothering smokeG2
Made the warrior's heart blood chillP
The trustiest thou of all my trainX
My fleetest courser thou must reinX
And ride to Lyulph's towerI
And from the Baron of TreirmainX
Greet well that sage of powerI
He is sprung from Druid siresW
And British bards that tuned their lyresW
To Arthur's and Pendragon's praiseW
And his who sleeps at DunmailraiseW
Gifted like his gifted raceW
He the characters can traceW
Graven deep in elder timeJ2
Upon Helvellyn's cliffs sublimeJ2
Sign and sigil well doth he knowX
And can bode of weal and woeX
Of kingdoms' fall and fate of warsW
From mystic dreams and course of starsW
He shall tell if middle earthK2
To that enchanting shape gave birthK2
Of if t'was but an airy thingT
Such as fantastic slumbers bringT
Fram'd from the rainbow's varying dyesW
Or fading tints of western skiesW
For by the Blessed Rood I swearI
If that fair form breathe vital airI
No other maiden by my sideE
Shall ever rest De Vaux's bride '-
The faithful Page he mounts his steedE
And soon he cross'd green Irthing's meadE
Dash'd o'er Kirkoswald's verdant plainX
And Eden barr'd his course in vainX
He pass'd red Penrith's Table RoundE
For feats of chivalry renown'dE
Left Mayburgh's mound and stones of powerI
By Druid's raised in magic hourI
And traced the Eamont's winding wayE
Till Ulfo's lake beneath him layE
Onward he rode the pathway stillP
Winding betwixt the lake and hillP
Till on the fragment of a rockL2
Struck from its base by lightning shockL2
He saw the hoary SageH2
The silver moss and lichen twinedE
With fern and deer hair check'd and linedE
A cushion fit for ageH2
And o'er him shook the aspen tree-
A restless rustling canopy-
Then sprung young Henry from his selleP
And greeted Lyulph grave-
And then his master's tale did tellP
And then for counsel crave-
The Man of Years mused long and deepF2
Of time's lost treasures taking keepF2
And then as rousing from a sleepF2
His solemn answer gave-
'That maid is born of middle earthK2
And may of man be wonX
Though there have glided since her birthK2
Five hundred years and oneX
But where's the knight in all the northM2
That dare the adventure follow forthM2
So perilous to knightly worthK2
In the valley of Saint JohnX
Listen youth to what I tellP
And bind it on thy memory wellP
Nor muse that I commence the rhymeJ2
Far distant 'mid the wrecks of timeJ2
The mystic tale by bard and sageH2
Is handed down from Merlin's ageH2
'King Arthur has ridden from merry CarlisleP
When Pentecost was o'erI
He journey'd like errant knight the whileP
And sweetly the summer sun did smileP
On mountain moss and moorI
Above his solitary trackN2
Rose Glaramara's ridgy backN2
Amid whose yawning gulfs the sunX
Cast umber'd radiance red and dunX
Though never sunbeam could discernX
The surface of that sable tarnX
In whose black mirror you may spy-
The stars while noontide lights the sky-
The gallant King he skirted stillP
The margin of that mighty hillP
Rock upon rocks incumbent hungO2
And torrents down the gullies flungO2
Join'd the rude river that brawl'd onX
Recoiling now from crag and stoneX
Now diving deep from human kenX
And raving down its darksome glenX
The Monarch judged this desert wildE
With such romantic ruin piledE
Was theatre by Nature's handE
For feat of high achievement plann'dE
'O rather he chose that Monarch boldE
On vent'rous quest to rideE
In plate and mail by wood and woldE
Than with ermine trapp'd and cloth of goldE
In princely bower to bideE
The bursting crash of a foeman's spearI
As it shiver'd against his mailP
Was merrier music to his earI
Than courtier's whisper'd taleP
And the clash of Caliburn more dearI
When on the hostile casque it rungO2
Than all the laysW
To their monarch's praiseW
That the harpers of Reged sungO2
He loved better to rest by wood or riverI
Than in bower of his bride Dame GueneverI
For he left that lady so lovely of cheerI
To follow adventures of danger and fearI
And the frank hearted Monarch full little did wotE
That she smiled in his absence on brave LancelotE
'He rode till over down and dellP
The shade more broad and deeper fellP
And though around the mountain's headE
Flow'd streams of purple and gold and redE
Dark at the base unblest by beamE2
Frown'd the black rocks and roar'd the streamE2
With toil the King his way pursuedE
By lonely Threlkeld's waste and woodE
Till on his course obliquely shoneX
The narrow valley of SAINT JOHNX
Down sloping to the western sky-
Where lingering sunbeams love to lie-
Right glad to feel those beams againX
The King drew up his charger's reinX
With gauntlet raised he screen'd his sightE
As dazzled with the level lightE
And from beneath his glove of mailP
Scann'd at his ease his the lovely valeP
While 'gainst the sun his armour brightE
Gleam'd ruddy like the beacon's lightE
'Paled in by many a lofty hillP
The narrow dale lay smooth and stillP
And down its verdant bosom ledE
A winding brooklet found its bedE
But midmost of the vale a moundE
Arose with airy turrets crown'dE
Buttress and rampire's circling boundE
And mighty keep and towerI
Seem'd some primeval giant's handE
The castle's massive walls had plann'dE
A ponderous bulwark to withstandE
Ambitious Nimrod's powerI
Above the moated entrance slungO2
The balanced drawbridge trembling hungO2
As jealous of a foe-
Wicket of oak as iron hardE
With iron studded clench'd and barr'dE
And prong'd portcullis join'd to guardE
The gloomy pass below-
But the grey walls no banners crown'dE
Upon the watch tower's airy roundE
No warder stood his horn to soundE
No guard beside the drawbridge was foundE
And where the Gothic gateway frown'dE
Glanced neither bill nor bowI
'Beneath the castle's gloomy prideE
In ample round did Arthur rideE
Three times nor living thing he spiedE
Nor heard a living soundE
Save that awakening from her dreamE2
The owlet now began to screamE2
In concert with the rushing streamE2
That wash'd the battled moundE
He lighted from his goodly steedE
And left him to graze on bank and meadE
And slowly he climb'd the narrow wayE
That reach'd the entrance grim and greyE
And he stood the outward arch below-
And his bugle horn prepared to blow-
In summons blithe and boldE
Deeming to rouse from iron sleepF2
The guardian of this dismal KeepF2
Which well he guess'd the holdE
Of wizard stern or goblin grimG
Or pagan of gigantic limbG
The tyrant of the woldE
'The ivory bugle's golden tipH
Twice touch'd the Monarch's manly lipH
And twice his hand withdrewI
Think not but Arthur's heart was goodE
His shield was cross'd by the blessed roodE
Had a pagan host before him stoodE
He had charged them through and throughI
Yet the silence of that ancient placeW
Sunk on his heart and he paused a spaceW
Ere yet his horn he blewI
But instant as its 'larum rungO2
The castle gate was open flungO2
Portcullis rose with crashing groanX
Full harshly up its groove of stoneX
And down the trembling drawbridge castE
The vaulted arch before him layE
With nought to bar the gloomy wayE
And onward Arthur paced with handE
On Caliburn's resistless brandE
'An hundred torches flashing brightE
Dispell'd at once the gloomy nightE
That lour'd along the wallsW
And show'd the King's astonish'd sightE
The inmates of the hallsW
Nor wizard stern nor goblin grimG
Nor giant huge of form and limbG
Nor heathen knight was thereI
But the cressets which odours flung aloftE
Show'd by their yellow light and softE
A band of damsels fairI
Onward they came like summer wave-
That dances to the shoreI
An hundred voices welcome gave-
And welcome o'er and o'erI
An hundred lovely hands assailP
The bucklers of the Monarch's mailP
And busy labour'd to unhaspH
Rivet of steel and iron claspH
One wrapp'd him in a mantle fairI
And one flung odours on his hairI
His short curl'd ringlets one smooth'd downX
One wreath'd them in a myrtle crownX
A bride upon her wedding dayE
Was tended ne'er by troop so gayE
'Loud laugh'd they all the King in vainX
With questions task'd the giddy trainX
Let him entreat or crave or callP
'Twas one reply loud laugh'd they allP
Then o'er him mimic chains they flingT
Framed of the fairest flowers of springT
While some of their gentle force uniteE
Onwards to drag the wondering knightE
Some bolder urge his pace with blowsW
Dealt with the lily or the roseW
Behind him were in triumph borneX
The warlike arms he late had wornX
Four of the train combined to rearI
The terrors of Tintadgel's spearI
Two laughing at their lack of strengthP2
Dragg'd Caliburn in cumbrous lengthP2
One while she aped a martial strideE
Placed on her brows the helmit's prideE
Then scream'd 'twixt laughter and surpriseW
To feel its depth o'erwhelm her eyesW
With revel shout and triumph songQ2
Thus gaily march'd the giddy throngQ2
'Through many a gallery and hallP
They led I ween their royal thrallP
At length beneath a fair arcadeE
Their march and song at once they staidE
The eldest maiden of the bandE
The lovely maid was scarce eighteenX
Raised with imposing air her handE
And reverent silence did commandE
On entrance of their QueenX
And they were mute But as a glanceW
They steal on Arthur's countenanceW
Bewilder'd with surpriseW
Their smother'd mirth again 'gan speakS
In archly dimpled chin and cheekS
And laughter lighted eyesW
'The attributes of those high daysW
Now only live in minstrel laysW
For Nature now exhausted stillP
Was then profuse of good and illP
Strength was gigantic valour high-
And wisdom soar'd beyond the sky-
And beauty had such matchless beamE2
As lights not now a lover's dreamE2
Yet e'en in that romantic ageH2
Ne'er were such charms by mortal seenX
As Arthur's dazzled eyes engageH2
When forth on that enchanted stageH2
With glittering train of maid and pageH2
Advanced the castle's QueenX
While up the hall she slowly pass'dE
Her dark eye on the King she castE
That flash'd expression strongQ2
The longer dwelt that lingering lookR2
Her cheek the livelier colour tookR2
And scarce the shame faced King could brookR2
The gaze that lasted longQ2
A sage who had that look espiedE
Where kindling passion strove with prideE
Had whispered Prince bewareI
From the chafed tiger rend the preyE
Rush on the lion when at bayE
Bar the fell dragon's blighted wayE
But shun that lovely snareI
'At once that inward strife suppress'dE
The dame approach'd her warlike guestE
With greeting in that fair degreeI
Where female pride and courtesyI
Are blended with such passing artE
As awes at once and charms the heartE
A courtly welcome first she gave-
Then of his goodness 'gan to crave-
Construction fair and trueI
Of her light maidens' idle mirthK2
Who drew from lovely glens their birthK2
Nor knew to pay to stranger worthK2
And dignity their dueI
Then she pray'd that he would restE
That night her castle's honour'd guestE
The Monarch meetly thanks express'dE
The banquet rose at her behestE
With lay and tale and laugh and jestE
Apace the evening flewI
'The Lady sate the Monarch by-
Now in her turn abash'd and shy-
And with indifference seem'd to hearI
They toys he whisper'd in her earI
Her bearing modest was and fairI
Yet shadows of constraint were thereI
That show'd an over cautious careI
Some inward thought to hideE
Oft did she pause in full reply-
And oft cast down her large dark eye-
Oft check'd the soft voluptuous sigh-
That heav'd her bosom's prideE
Slight symptoms these but shepherds know-
How hot the mid day sun shall glow-
From the midst of morning sky-
And so the wily Monarch guess'dE
That this assumed restraint express'dE
More ardent passions in the breastE
Than ventured to the eye-
Closer he press'd while beakers rangS2
While maidens laugh'd and minstrels sangS2
Still closer to her earI
But why pursue the common taleP
Or wherefore show how knights prevailP
When ladies dare to hearI
Or wherefore trace from what slight causeI
Its source one tyrant passion drawsI
Till mastering all withinX
Where lives the man that has not triedE
How mirth can into folly glideE
And folly into sinX
Canto II-
'Another day another dayE
And yet another glides awayE
The Saxon stern the pagan DaneX
Maraud on Britain's shores againX
Arthur of Christendom the flowerI
Lies loitering in a lady's bowerI
The horn that foemen wont to fearI
Sounds but to wake the Cumbrian deerI
And Caliburn the British prideE
Hangs useless by a lover's sideE
'Another day another dayE
And yet another glides awayE
Heroic plans in pleasure drown'dE
He thinks not of the Table RoundE
In lawless love dissolved his life-
He thinks not of his beauteous wife-
Better he loves to snatch a flowerI
From the bosom of his paramourI
Than from a Saxon knight to wrestE
The honours of his heathen crestE
Better to wreathe 'mid tresses brownX
The heron's plume her hawk struck downX
Than o'er the alter give to flow-
The banners of a Paynim foe-
Thus week by week and day by dayE
His life inglorious glides awayE
But she that soothes his dream with fearI
Beholds his hour of waking nearI
'Much force have mortal charms to stayE
Our peace in Virtue's toilsome wayE
But Guendolen's might far outshineX
Each maid of merely mortal lineX
Her mother was of human birthK2
Her sire a Genie of the earthK2
In days of old deem'd to presideE
O'er lovers' wiles and beauty's prideE
By youths and virgins worshipp'd longQ2
With festive dance and choral songQ2
Till when the cross to Britain cameZ
On heathen alters died the flameZ
Now deep in Wastdale solitudeE
The downfall of his rights he ruedE
And born of his resentment heirI
He train'd to guile that lady fairI
To sink in slothful sin and shameZ
The champions of the Christian nameZ
Well skill'd to keep vain thoughts alive-
And all to promise nought to give-
The timid youth had hope in storeI
The bold and pressing gain'd no moreI
As wilder'd children leave their homeT2
After the rainbow's arch to roamT2
Her lovers barter'd fair esteemE2
Faith fame and honour for a dreamE2
'Her sire's soft arts the soul to tameZ
She practised thus till Arthur cameZ
Then frail humanity had partE
And all the mother claim'd her heartE
Forgot each rule her father gave-
Sunk from a princess to a slave-
Too late must Guendolen deploreI
He that has all can hope no moreI
Now must she see her lover strainX
At every turn her feeble chainX
Watch to new bind each knot and shrinkU2
To view each fast decaying linkU2
Art she invokes to Nature's aidE
Her vest to zone her locks to braidE
Each varied pleasure heard her callP
The feast the tourney and the ballP
Her storied lore she next appliesI
Taxing her mind to aid her eyesI
Now more than mortal wise and thenX
In female softness sunk againX
Now raptured with each wish complyingT
With feigned reluctance now denyingT
Each charm she varied to retainX
A varying heart and all in vainX
'Thus in the garden's narrow boundE
Flank'd by some castle's Gothic roundE
Fain would the artist's skill provideE
The limits of his realms to hideE
The walks in labyrinths he twinesI
Shade after shade with skill combinesI
With many a varied flowery knotE
And copse and arbour decks the spotE
Tempting the hasty foot to stayE
And linger on the lovely wayE
Vain art vain hope 'tis fruitless allP
At length we reach the bounding wallP
And sick of flower and trim dress'd tree-
Long for rough glades and forest free-
'Three summer months had scantly flownX
When Arthur in embarrass'd toneX
Spoke of his liegemen and his throneX
Said all too long had been his stayE
And duties which a monarch swayE
Duties unknown to humbler menX
Must tear her knight from GuendolenX
She listen'd silently the whileP
Her mood express'd in bitter smileP
Beneath her eye must Arthur quailP
And oft resume the unfinish'd taleP
Confessing by his downcast eye-
The wrong he sought to justify-
He ceased A moment mute she gazedE
And then her looks to heaven she rais'dE
One palm her temples veiled to hideE
The tear that sprung in spite of prideE
The other for an instant press'dE
The foldings of her silken vestE
'At her reproachful sign and lookR2
The hint the Monarch's conscience tookR2
Eager he spoke No lady noX
Deem not of British Arthur soX
Nor think he can deserter prove-
To the dear pledge of mutual love-
I swear by sceptre and by swordE
As belted knight and Britain's lordE
That if a boy shall claim my careI
That boy is born a kingdom's heirI
But if a maiden Fate allowsI
To choose that maid a fitting spouseI
A summer day in lists shall strive-
My knights the bravest knights alive-
And he the best and bravest triedE
Shall Arthur's daughter claim for brideE
He spoke with voice resolved and high-
The lady deign'd him not reply-
'At dawn of morn ere on the brakeV2
His matins did a warbler makeV2
Or stirr'd his wing to brush awayE
A single dewdrop from the sprayE
Ere yet a sunbeam through the mistE
The castle battlements had kiss'dE
The gates revolve the drawbridge fallsI
And Arthur sallies from the wallsI
Doff'd his soft garb of Persia's loomW2
And steel from spur to helmet plumeW2
His Lybian steed full proudly trodeE
And joyful neigh'd beneath his loadE
The Monarch gave a passing sigh-
To penitence and pleasures by-
When lo to his astonish'd kenX
Appear'd the form of GuendolenX
'Beyond the outmost wall she stoodE
Attired like huntress of the woodE
Sandall'd her feet her ankles bareI
And eagle plumage deck'd her hairI
Firm was her look her bearing boldE
And in her hand a cup of goldE
Thou goest she said and ne'er againX
Must we two meet in joy or painX
Full fain would I this hour delayE
Though weak the wish yet wilt thou stayE
No thou look'st forward Still attendE
Part we like lover and like friendE
She raised the cup Not this the juiceI
The sluggish vines of earth produceI
Pledge we at parting in the draughtE
Which Genii love She said and quaff'dE
And strange unwonted lustres fly-
From her flush'd cheek and sparkling eye-
'The courteous Monarch bent him lowX
And stooping down from saddlebow-
Lifted the cup in act to drinkU2
A drop escaped the goblet's brinkU2
Intense as liquid fire from hellP
Upon the charger's neck it fellP
Screaming with agony and frightE
He bolted twenty feet uprightE
The peasant still can show the dintE
Where his hoofs lighted on the flintE
From Arthur's hand the goblet flewI
Scattering a shower of fiery dewI
That burn'd and blighted where it fellP
The frantic steed rush'd up the dellP
As whistles from the bow the reedE
Nor bit nor rein could check his speedE
Until he gain'd the hillP
Then breath and sinew fail'd apaceI
And reeling from the desperate raceI
He stood exhausted stillP
The Monarch breathless and amazedE
Back on the fatal castle gazedE
Nor tower nor donjon could he spy-
Darkening against the morning sky-
But on the spot where they once frown'dE
The lonely streamlet brawl'd aroundE
A tufted knoll where dimly shoneX
Fragments of rock and rifted stoneX
Musing on this strange hap a whileP
The King wends back to fair CarlisleP
And cares that cumber royal swayE
Wore memory of the past awayE
'Full fifteen years and more were spedE
Each brought new wreaths to Arthur's headE
Twelve bloody fields with glory foughtE
The Saxons to subjection broughtE
Rython the mighty giant slainX
By his good brand relieved BretagneX
The Pictish Gillamore in fightE
And Roman Lucius own'd his mightE
And wide were through the world renown'dE
The glories of his Table RoundE
Each knight who sought adventurous fameZ
To the bold court of Britain cameZ
And all who suffer'd causeless wrongQ2
From tyrant proud or faitour strongQ2
Sought Arthur's presence to complainX
Nor there for aid implored in vainX
'For this the King with pomp and prideE
Held solemn court at WhitsuntideE
And summon'd Prince and PeerI
All who owed homage for their landE
Or who craved knighthood from his handE
Or who had succour to demandE
To come from far and nearI
At such high tide were glee and gameZ
Mingled with feats of martial fameZ
For many a stranger champion cameZ
In lists to break a spearI
And not a knight in Arthur's hostE
Save that he trode on some foreign coastE
But at this Feast of PentecostE
Before him must appearI
Ah Minstrels when the Table RoundE
Arose with all its warriors crown'dE
There was a theme for bards to soundE
In triumph to their stringT
Five hundred years are past and goneX
But Time shall draw his dying groanX
Ere he behold the British throneX
Begirt with such a ringT
'The heralds named the appointed spotE
As Caerleon or CamelotE
Or Carlisle fair and freeI
At Penrith now the feast was setE
And in fair Eamont's vale were metE
The flower of ChivalryI
There Galahad sate with manly graceI
Yet maiden meekness in his faceI
There Morolt of the iron maceI
And love lorn Tristrem thereI
And Dinadam with lively glanceI
And Lanval with the fairy lanceI
And Mordred with his look askanceI
Brunor and BevidereI
Why should I tell of numbers moreI
Sir Cay Sir Banier Sir BoreI
Sir Carodac the keenX
The gentle Gawain's courteous loreI
Hector de Mares and PellinoreI
And Lancelot that evermoreI
Look'd stol'n wise on the QueenX
'When wine and mirth did most aboundE
And harpers play'd their blithest roundE
A shrilly trumpet shook the groundE
And marshals cleared the ringT
A maiden on a palfrey whiteE
Heading a band of damsels brightE
Paced through the circle to alightE
And kneel before the KingT
Arthur with strong emotion sawI
Her graceful boldness check'd by aweX2
Her dress like huntress of the woldE
Her bow and baldric trapp'd with goldE
Her sandall'd feet her ankles bareI
And the eagle plume that deck'd her hairI
Graceful her veil she backward flungO2
The King as from his seat he sprungO2
Almost cried GuendolenX
But 'twas a face more frank and wildE
Betwixt the woman and the childE
Where less of magic beauty smiledE
Than of the race of menX
And in the forehead's haughty graceI
The lines of Britain's royal raceI
Pendragon's you might kenX
'Faltering yet gracefully she saidE
Great Prince behold an orphan maidE
In her departed mother's nameZ
A father's vow'd protection claimZ
The vow was sworn in desert loneX
In the deep valley of Saint JohnX
At once the King the suppliant raisedE
And kiss'd her brow her beauty praisedE
His vow he said should well be keptE
Ere in the sea the sun was dipp'dE
Then conscious glanced upon his queenX
But she unruffled at the sceneX
Of human frailty construed mildE
Look'd upon Lancelot and smiledE
' Up up each knight of gallant crestE
Take buckler spear and brandE
He that to day shall bear him bestE
Shall win my Gyneth's handE
And Arthur's daughter when a brideE
Shall bring a noble dowerI
Both fair Strath Clyde and Reged wideE
And Carlisle town and towerI
Then might you hear each valiant knightE
To page and squire that criedE
Bring my armour bright and my courser wightE
'Tis not each day that a warrior's mightE
May win a royal brideE
Then cloaks and caps of maintenanceI
In haste aside they flingT
The helmets glance and gleams the lanceI
And the steel weaved hauberks ringT
Small care had they of their peaceful arrayI
They might gather it that woldeE
For brake and bramble glitter'd gayI
With pearls and cloth of goldE
'Within trumpet sound of the Table RoundE
Were fifty champions freeI
And they all arise to fight that prizeI
They all arise but threeI
Nor love's fond troth nor wedlock's oathY2
One gallant could withholdE
For priests will allow of a broken vow-
For penance or for goldE
But sigh and glance from ladies brightE
Among the troop were thrownX
To plead their right and true love plightE
And 'plain of honor flownX
The knights they busied them so fastE
With buckling spur and beltE
That sigh and look by ladies castE
Were neither seen or feltE
From pleading or upbraiding glanceI
Each gallant turns asideE
And only thought If speeds my lanceI
A queen becomes my brideE
She has fair Strath Clyde and Reged wideE
And Carlisle tower and townX
She is the loveliest maid besideE
That ever heir'd a crownX
So in haste their coursers they bestrideE
And strike their visors downX
'The champions arm'd in martial sortE
Have throng'd into the listE
And but three knights of Arthur's courtE
Are from the tourney miss'dE
And still these lovers' fame survivesI
For faith so constant shownX
There were two who loved their neighbors' wivesI
And one who loved his ownX
The first was Lancelot de LacN2
The second Tristrem boldE
The third was valiant CarodacN2
Who won the cup of goldE
What time of all King Arthur's crewI
Thereof came jeer and laugh-
He as the mate of lady trueI
Alone the cup could quaff-
Though envy's tongue would fain surmiseI
That but for very shameZ
Sir Carodac to fight that prizeI
Had given both cup and dameZ
Yet since but one of that fair courtE
Was true to wedlock's shrineX
Brand him who will with base reportE
He shall be free from mineX
'Now caracoled the steeds in airI
Now plumes and pennons wanton'd fairI
As all around the lists so wideE
In panoply the champions rideE
King Arthur saw with startled eye-
The flower of chivalry march by-
The bulwark of the Christian creedE
The kingdom's shield in hour of needE
Too late he thought him of the woeX
Might from their civil conflict flowX
For well he knew they would not partE
Till cold was many a gallant heartE
His hasty vow he 'gan to rueI
And Gyneth then apart he drewI
To her his leading staff resign'dE
But added caution grave and kindE
' Thou see'st my child as promise boundE
I bid the trump for tourney soundE
Take thou my warder as the queenX
And umpire of the martial sceneX
But mark thou this as Beauty brightE
Is polar star to valiant knightE
As at her word his sword he drawsI
His fairest guerdon her applauseI
So gentle maid should never askN2
Of knighthood vain and dangerous taskN2
And Beauty's eyes should ever beI
Like the twin stars that soothe the seaI
And Beauty's breath shall whisper peaceI
And bid the storm of battle ceaseI
I tell thee this lest all too farI
These knights urge tourney into warI
Blithe at the trumpet let them goX
And fairly counter blow for blowX
No striplings these who succour needE
For a razed helm or a falling steedE
But Gyneth when the strife grows warmZ2
And threatens death or deadly harmA3
Thy sire entreats thy king commandsI
Thou drop the warder from thy handsI
Trust thou thy father with thy fateE
Doubt not he choose thee fitting mateE
Nor be it said through Gyneth's prideE
A rose of Arthur's chaplet diedE

Walter Scott (sir)


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