North by the gate. In her high bower the And armour'd all in forest green, whereon Queen,

There tript a hundred tiny silver deer, Working a tapestry, lifted up her head, And wearing but a holly-spray for crest, Watch'd her lord pass, and knew not that she With ever-scattering berries, and on shield sigh'd.

A spear, a harp, a bugle—Tristram-late Then ran across her memory the strange rhyme From overseas in Brittany return'd, Of bygone Merlin, “Where is he who knows? And marriage with a princess of that realm, From the great deep to the great deep he Isolt the White-Sir Tristram of the Woods

Whom Lancelot knew, had held sometime with

pain But when the morning of a tournament, His own against him, and now yearn'd to shake By these in earnest those in mockery callid The burthen off his heart in one full shock The Tournament of the Dead Innocence, With Tristram ev'n to death : his strong hands Brake with a wet wind blowing, Lancelot,

gript Round whose sick head all night, like birds of And dinted the gilt dragons right and left, prey,

Until he groan'd for wrath-so many of those, The words of Arthur flying shriek’d, arose, That ware their ladies' colors on the casque, And down a streetway hung with folds of pure Drew from before Sir Tristram to the bounds, White samite, and by fountains running wine, And there with gibes and fickering mockeries Where children sat in white with cups of gold, Stood, while he mutter'd, “Craven crests ! 0 Moved to the lists, and there, with slow sad shame! steps

What faith have these in whom they sware to Ascending, fill’d his double-dragon'd chair.


The glory of our Round Table is no more." He glanced and saw the stately galleries, Dame, damsel, each thro' worship of their So Tristram won, and Lancelot gave, the Queen

gems, White-robed in honor of the stainless child, Not speaking other word than “ Hast thou And some with scatter'd jewels, like a bank

won ? Of maiden snow mingled with sparks of fire. Art thou the purest, brother ? See, the hand He lookt but once, and veil'd his eyes again. Wherewith thou takest this is red !” to whom

Tristram, half plagued by Lancelot's languorous The sudden trumpet sounded as in a dream mood, To ears but half-awaked, then one low roll Made answer, “Ay, but wherefore toss me this Of Autumn thunder, and the jousts began : Like a dry bone cast to some hungry hound? And ever the wind blew, and yellowing leaf Let be thy fair Queen's fantasy. Strength of And gloom and gleam, and shower and shorn heart plume

And might of limb, but mainly use and skill, Went down it. Sighing weariedly, as one Are winners in this pastime of our King, Who sits and gazes on a faded fire,

My hand-belike the lance hath dript upon When all the goodlier guests are past away,

itSat their great umpire, looking o'er the lists. No blood of mine, I trow; but o chief knight, He saw the laws that ruled the tournament Right arm of Arthur in the battlefield, Broken, but spake not; once, a knight cast Great brother, thou nor I have made the world ; down

Be happy in thy fair Queen as I in mine." Before his throne of arbitration cursed The dead babe and the follies of the King ; And Tristram round the gallery made his And once the laces of a helmet crack’d,

horse And show'd him, like a vermin in its hole, Caracole; then bow'd his homage, bluntly sayModred, a narrow face : anon he heard

ing, The voice that billow'd round the barriers roar “Fair damsels, each to him who worships each An ocean-sounding welcome to one knight, Sole Queen of Beauty and of love, behold But newly-enter'd, taller than the rest,

This day my Queen of Beauty is not here."




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Then most of these were mute, some anger'd, | Quiet as any water-sodden log

Stay'd in the wandering warble of a brook ; Murmuring “All courtesy is dead," and one, But when the twangling ended, skipt again ; "The glory of our Round Table is no more.” Then being asked, “Why skipt ye not, Sir

Fool ?" Then fell thick rain, plume droopt and mantle : Made answer, “I had liefer twenty years clung,

Skip to the broken music of my brains And pettish cries awoke, and the wan day Than any broken music ye can make.” Went glooming down in wet and weariness : Then Tristram, waiting for the quip to come, But under her black brows a swarthy dame Good what music have I broken, fool ?" Laught shrilly, crying “Praise the patient And little Dagonet, skipping, "Arthur, the saints,

King's ; Our one white day of Innocence hath past, For when thou playest that air with Queen Tho' somewhat draggled at the skirt. So be it. Isolt, The snowdrop only, flow'ring thro’ the year, Thou makest broken music with thy bride, Would make the world as blank as wintertide. Her daintier namesake down in BrittanyCome — let us comfort their sad eyes, our And so thou breakest Arthur's music too." Queen's

“ Save for that broken music in thy brains, And Lancelot's, at this night's solemnity Sir Fool,” said Tristram, “I would break thy With all the kindlier colours of the field.”


Fool, I came late, the heathen wars were o'er,
So dame and damsel glitter'd at the feast The life had flown, we sware but by the shell-
Variously gay : for he that tells the tale I am but a fool to reason with a fool,
Likend them, saying as when an hour of Come, thou art crabb’d and sour : but lean me

Falls on the mountain in midsummer snows, Sir Dagonet, one of thy long asses' ears,
And all the purple slopes of mountain Aowers And hearken if my music be not true.
Pass under white, till the warm hour returns
With veer of wind, and all are flowers again :"

“Free love-free field-we love but while we So dame and damsel cast the simple white,

may : And glowing in all colours, the live grass, The woods are hush'd, their music is no more : Rose-campion, bluebell, kingcup, poppy, glanced The leaf is dead, the yearning past away: About the revels, and with mirth so loud New leaf, new life—the days of frost are o'er : Beyond all use, that, half-amazed, the Queen, New life, new love to suit the newer day : And wroth at Tristram and the lawless jousts, New loves are sweet as those that went before : Brake up their sports, then slowly to her bower Free love-free field-we love but while we Parted, and in her bosom pain was lord.

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And little Dagonet on the morrow morn, “Ye might have moved slow-measure to my High over all the yellowing Autumn-tide,

tune, Danced like a wither'd leaf before the hall. Not stood stockstill. I made it in the woods, Then Tristram saying, “Why skip ye so, Sir And found it ring as true as tested gold.”

Fool?" Wheeld round on either heel, Dagonet re- But Dagonet with one foot poised in his plied,

hand, " Belike for lack of wiser company;

“Friend, did ye mark that fountain yesterday Or being fool, and seeing too much wit

Made to run wine ?--but this had run itself Makes the world rotten, why, belike I skip All out like a long life to a sour endTo know myself the wisest knight of all.” And them that round it sat with golden cups “ Ay, fool," said Tristram, “but 'tis eating dry To hand the wine to whomsoever cameTo dance without a catch, a roundelay

The twelve small damosels white as Innocence, To dance to.” Then he twangled on his harp, In honour of poor Innocence the babe, And while he twangled little Dagonet stood, Who left the gems which Innocence the Queen

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Lent to the King, and Innocence the King Down ! and two more: a helpful harper thou, Gave for a prize—and one of those white slips That harpest downward! Dost thou know the Handed her cup and piped, the pretty one,

star • Drink, drink, Sir Fool,' and thereupon I drank, We call the harp of Arthur up in heaven?" Spat-pish-the cup was gold, the draught was mud."

And Tristram, “Ay, Sir Fool, for when our

King And Tristram, “Was it muddier than thy Was victor wellnigh day by day, the knights, gibes?

Glorying in each new glory, set his name Is all the laughter gone dead out of thee?- High on all hills, and in the signs of heaven." Not marking how the knighthood mock thee, fool

And Dagonet answer'd, “Ay, and when the 'Fear God : honor the king - his one true

land knight

Was freed, and the Queen false, ye set yourself Sole follower of the vows,--for here be they

To babble about him, all to show your witWho knew thee swine enow before I came,

And whether he were king by courtesy, Smuttier than blasted grain : but when the Or king by right--and so went harping down King

The black king's highway, got so far, and grew Had made thee fool, thy vanity so shot up

So witty, that ye play'd at ducks and drakes It frighted all free fool from out thy heart; With Arthur's vows on the great lake of fire. Which left thee less than fool, and less than Tuwhoo! do ye see it ? do ye see the star ?" swine,

“Nay, fool,” said Tristram,“not in open day." A naked naught-yet swine I hold thee still, And Dagonet, “Nay, nor will: I see it and hear. For I have fung thee pearls, and find thee

It makes a silent music up in heaven, swine.”

And I, and Arthur and the angels hear,

And then we skip.” “Lo, fool,” he said, “ye And little Dagonet mincing with his feet,

talk “Knight, an ye Aing those rubies round my Fool's treason : is the king thy brother fool ?" neck

Then little Dagonet clapt his hands and shrillid, In lieu of hers, I'll hold thou hast some touch “Ay, ay, my brother fool, the king of fools ! Of music, since I care not for thy pearls. Conceits himself as God that he can make Swine? I have wallow'd, I have wash'd-the Figs out of thistles, silk from bristles, milk world

From burning spurge, honey from hornet-combs, Is flesh and shadow-I have had my day. And men from beasts.-Long live the king of The dirty nurse, Experience, in her kind

fools !” Hath fould me :-an I wallowed, then I wash'dI have had my day and my philosophies

And down the city Dagonet danced away. And thank the Lord I am King Arthur's fool.

But thro' the slowly-mellowing avenues Swine, say ye? swine, goats, asses, rams and And solitary passes of the wood

Rode Tristram toward Lyonesse and the west. geese Troop'd round a Paynim harper once, who

Before him fled the face of Queen Isolt thrumm'd

With ruby-circled neck, but evermore On such a wire as musically as thou

Past, as a rustle or twitter in the wood Some such fine song-but never a king's fool.” Made dull his inner, keen his outer eye

For all that walk'd, or crept, or perched, or few. And Tristram, “Then were swine, goats, asses, Anon the face, as, when a gust hath blown, geese,

Unruffling waters re-collect the shape
The wiser fools, seeing thy Paynim bard Of one that in them sees himself, return'd;
Had such a master of his mystery

But at the slot or fewmets of a deer,
That he could harp his wife up out of Hell.” Or ev'n a fall’n feather, vanish'd again.

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Then Dagonet, turning on the ball of his foot, So on for all that day from lawn to lawn "And whither harp'st thou thine ? down ! and Thro' many a league-long bower he rode. At thyself





A lodge of intertwisted beechen-boughs Rode far, till o'er the illimitable reed, Furze-cramm'd, and bracken-rooft, the which And many a glancing plash and sallowy isle, himself

The wide-wing'd sunset of the misty marsh Built for a summer day with Queen Isolt Glared on a huge machicolated tower Against a shower, dark in the golden grove That stood with open doors, whereout was rolld Appearing, sent his fancy back to where A roar of riot, as from men secure She lived a moon in that low lodge with him: Amid their marshes, ruffians at their ease Till Mark her lord had past, the Cornish king, Among their harlot-brides, an evil song. With six or seven, when Tristram was away, “Lo there," said one of Arthur's youth, for there, And snatch'd her thence; yet dreading worse High on a grim dead tree before the tower, than shame

A goodly brother of The Table Round Her warrior Tristram, spake not any word, Swung by the neck: and on the boughs a shield But bode his hour, devising wretchedness. Showing a shower of blood in a field noir,

And therebeside a horn, inflamed the knights And now that desert lodge to Tristram lookt At that dishonour done the gilded spur, So sweet, that, halting, in he past, and sank

Till each would clash the shield and blow the Down on a drift of foliage random-blown;

horn. But could not rest for musing how to smooth

But Arthur waved them back : alone he rode. And sleek his marriage over to the Queen. Then at the dry harsh roar of the great horn, Perchance in lone Tintagil far from all

That sent the face of all the marsh aloft The tonguesters of the court she had not heard. An ever upward-rushing storm and cloud But then what folly had sent him overseas Of shriek and plume, the Red Knight heard, After she left him lonely here ? a name ?

and all, Was it the name of one in Brittany,

Even to tipmost lance and topmost helm, Isolt, the daughter of the King ? “ Isolt

In blood-red armour sallying, howľd to the King, Of the white hands” they called her: the sweet

“The teeth of Hell Alay bare and gnash thee

flat!Allured him first, and then the maid herself,

Lo! art thou not that eunuch-hearted King Who served him well with those white hands of who fain had clipt free manhood from the hers,

worldAnd loved him well, until himself had thought

The woman worshipper? Yea, God's curse, He loved her also, wedded easily,

and I! But left her all as easily, and return'd.

Slain was the brother of my paramour The black-blue Irish hair and Irish eyes

By a knight of thine, and I that heard her Had drawn him home—what marvel ? then he

whine laid

And snivel, being eunuch-hearted too, His brows upon the drifted leaf and dream'd.

Sware by the scorpion-worm that twists in hell,

And stings itself to everlasting death, He seemed to pace the strand of Brittany

To hang whatever knight of thine I fought Between Isolt of Britain and his bride,

And tumbled. Art thou King ?-Look to thy And show'd them both the ruby chain, and both

Began to struggle for it, till his Queen
Graspt it so hard, that all her hand was red.
Then cried the Breton, “Look, her hand is red !

He ended : Arthur knew the voice ; the face These be no rubies, this is frozen blood,

Wellnigh was helmet-hidden, and the name And melts within her hand-her hand is hot

Went wandering somewhere darkling in his With ill desires, but this I gave thee, look,

mind. is all as cool and white as any flower.”

And Arthur deign'd not use of word or sword, Follow'd a rush of eagle's wings, and then

But let the drunkard, as he stretch'd from horse A whimpering of the spirit of the child,

To strike him, overbalancing his bulk, Because the twain had spoild her carcanet.

Down from the causeway heavily to the swamp

Fall, as the crest of some slow-arching wave He dream'd; but Arthur with a hundred Heard in dead night along that table-shore spears

Drops flat, and after the great waters break

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Whitening for half a league, and thin them- A low sea-sunset glorying round her hair selves

And glossy-throated grace, Isolt the Queen. Far over sands marbled with moon and cloud, And when she heard the feet of Tristram grind From less and less to nothing ; thus he fell The spiring stone that scaled about her tower, Head-heavy, while the knights, who watch'd Flush’d, started, met him at the doors, and there him, roard

Belted his body with her white embrace, And shouted and leapt down upon the fallin ; Crying aloud,“Not Mark-not Mark, my soul ! There trampled out his face from being known, The footstep flutter'd me at first : not he : And sank his head in mire, and slimed them- Catlike thro' his own castle steals my Mark, selves ;

But warrior-wise thou stridest through his halls Nor heard the King for their own cries, but Who hates thee, as I him-ev'n to the death. sprang

My soul, I felt my hatred for my Mark Thro' open doors, and swording right and left Quicken within me, and knew that thou wert Men, women, on their sodden faces, hurl'd

nigh.” The tables over and the wines, and slew To whom Sir Tristram smiling, “ I am here. Till all the rafters rang with woman-yells, Let be thy Mark, seeing he is not thine." And all the pavement stream'd with massacre : Then, yell with yell echoing, they fired the tower, And drawing somewhat backward she replied, Which half that autumn night, like the live Can he be wrong'd who is not ev'n his own, North,

But save for dread of thee had beaten me, Red-pulsing up thro' Alioth and Alcor, Scratch'd, bitten, blinded, marr'd me somehowMade all above it, and a hundred meres

Mark? About it, as the water Moab saw

What rights are his that dare not strike for them? Come round by the East, and out beyond them Not lift a hand-not, tho' he found me thus ! fush'd

But hearken, have ye met him ? hence he went The long low dune, and lazy-plunging sea. To-day for three days' hunting-as he said

And so returns belike within an hour. So all the ways were safe from shore to shore, Mark's way, my soul !—but eat not thou with But in the heart of Arthur pain was lord.


Because he hates thee even more than fears ; Then out of Tristram waking the red dream Nor drink : and when thou passest any wood Fled with a shout, and that low lodge return’d, Close visor, lest an arrow from the bush Mid-forest, and the wind among the boughs. Should leave me all alone with Mark and hell. He whistled his good warhorse left to graze My God, the measure of my hate for Mark Among the forest greens, vaulted upon him, Is as the measure of my love for thee.” And rode beneath an ever-showering leaf, Till one lone woman, weeping near a cross, So, pluck'd one way by hate and one by love, Stay'd him, “Why weep ye?" " Lord,” she said, Drain’d of her force, again she sat, and spake “my man

To Tristram, as he knelt before her, saying, Hath left me or is dead;" whereon he thought- "O hunter, and 0 blower of the horn, “What an she hate me now? I would not this. Harper, and thou hast been a rover too, What an she love me still? I would not that. For, ere I mated with my shambling king, I know not what I would”—but said to her,- Ye twain had fallen out about the bride " Yet weep not thou, lest, if thy mate return, Of one-his name is out of me—the prize, He find thy favour changed and love thee not”- If prize she were—(what marvel-she could Then pressing day by day thro' Lyonesse

see)Last in a roky hollow, belling, heard

Thine, friend ; and ever since my craven seeks The hounds of Mark, and felt the goodly hounds To wreck thee villanously ; but, O Sir Knight, Yelp at his heart, but, turning, past and gain'd What dame or damsel have ye kneeled to last ?” Tintagil, half in sea, and high on land, A crown of towers.

And Tristram, “Last to my Queen Paramount,

Here now to my Queen Paramount of love, Down in a casement sat, | And loveliness, ay, lovelier than when first

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