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VII.

NARRATIVE POEMS

AND

BALLADS.

"Fragments of the lofty strain
Float down the tide of years,
As buoyant on the stormy main
A parted wreck appears." - SCOTT.

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And underneath his feet was written

thus : “ Unto the Victor of the gods this be ;." And all the people in that ample

house Did to that image bow their humble

knee, And oft committed foul idolatry. That wondrous sight fair Britomart

amazed, Nor seeing could her wonder satisfy, But ever more and more upon it gazed The while the passing brightness

her frail senses dazed.

And at the upper end of that fair

room

There was an altar built of precious

stone Of passing value and of great renown, On which there stood an image all

alone, Of massy gold, which with his own

light shone; And wings it had with sundry colors

dight, More sundry colors than the proud

pavone Bears in his boasted fan, or Iris

bright When her discolored bow she spreads

through heaven bright. Blindfold he was; and in his cruel fist A mortal bow of arrows keen did

hold, With which he shot at random when

him list; Some headed with sad lead, some

with pure gold;

Though as she backward cast her

busy eye, To search each secret of that goodly

stead, Over the door thus written she did

spy, “ Be bold :" she oft and oft it over

read, Yet could not find what sense it

figured; But whatso were therein, or writ, or

meant, She was thereby no whit discouraged From prosecuting of her first intent, But forward with bold steps into

the next room went.

Much fairer than the former was

that room, And richlier by many parts arrayed;

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The warlike maid, beholding earnest

ly The goodly ordinance of this rich

place, Did greatly wonder, nor did satisfy Her greedy eyes by gazing a long

space. But more she marvelled that no

footing's trace Nor wight appeared, but wasteful

emptiness And solemn silence over all that

space: Strange thing it seemed that none

was to possess So rich purveyance, nor them keep

with carefulness.

Then those who went with Gareth

were amazed, One crying, “Let us go no further,

lord. Here is a city of Enchanters, built By fairy Kings." The second echoed

him, “Lord, we have heard from our wise

men at home To Northward, that this King is not

the King, But only changeling out of Fairyland, Who drave the heathen hence by

sorcery And Merlin's glamour.” Then the

first again, “Lord, there is no such city any

where, But all a vision."

And as she looked about, she did

behold How over that same door was like

wise writ, Be bold, be bold," and everywhere,

Be bold; That much she mused, yet could

not construe it

Gareth answered them With laughter, swearing he had

glamour enow

In his own blood, his princedom,

youth and hopes, To plunge old Merlin in the Arabian

sea; So pushed them all unwilling toward

the gate. And there was no gate like it under

heaven. For barefoot on the keystone, which

was lined And rippled like an ever-fleeting

wave, The Lady of the Lake stood: all her

dress Wept from her sides as water flow

ing away; But like the cross her great and

goodly arms Stretched under all the cornice, and

upheld: And drops of water fell from either

hand; And down from one a sword was

hung, from one A censer, either worn with wind

and storm; And o'er her breast floated the sacred

Out of the city a blast of music pealed. Back from the gate started the three,

to whom From out thereunder came an an

cient man, Long-bearded, saying, “Who be ye,

my sons ?Th Gareth, “We be tillers of

the soil, Who leaving share in furrow, come

to see The glories of our King: but these,

my men (Your city moved so weirdly in the

mist), Doubt if the King be King at all, or From fairyland; and whether this

be built By magic, and by fairy Kings and

Queens; Or whether there be any city at all, Or all a vision: and this music now Hath scared them both; but tell thou

these the truth."

come

fish;

And in the space to left of her and

right, Were Arthur's wars in weird devices

done, New things and old co-twisted, as if

Time Were nothing, so inveterately, that

men

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Then that old Seer made answer

playing on him And saying, “Son, I have seen the

good ship sail Keel upward and mast downward in

the heavens, And solid turrets topsy-turvy in air: And here is truth; but an it please

thee not, Take thou the truth as thou hast

told it me. For truly, as thou sayest, a Fairy

King And Fairy Queens have built the

city, son; They came from out a sacred moun

tain-cleft Toward the sunrise, each with harp

in hand, And built it to the music of their

harps. And as thou sayest it is enchanted,

son, For there is nothing in it as it seems, Saving the King; though some there

be that hold The King a shadow, and the city real: Yet take thou heed of him, for so

thou pass Beneath this archway, then wilt

thou become

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