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As time went on, I got envious and wanted to do a lot of stunts myself.

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Giving Of The Time That You've Got

When you get to pick and eat it,
It tastes so good.
Even giving it a minute,
It tastes so good.
Licking lips and fingertips,
It tastes so good.
With a taste only you,
Believed it would.

When you get to pick and eat it,
It tastes so good.
Even giving it a minute,
It tastes so good.
Licking lips and fingertips,
It tastes so good.
With a taste only you,
Believed it would.

And...
Giving it the time that you've got.
Want and needed.
Giving it the time that you've got.
Want and needed.
You're giving it the time you've got.
Want AND needed...
You're giving it the time you've got.

When you get to pick and eat it,
It tastes so good.
Even giving it a minute,
It tastes so good.
Licking lips and fingertips,
It tastes so good.
With a taste only you,
Believed it would.

And-you-are...
Giving it the time that you've got.
Want and needed.
Giving it the time that you've got.
Want and needed.
Giving it the time that you've got.
Want and needed.
Giving it the time that you've got.

When you get to pick and eat it,
It tastes so good.
With a giving of the time that you've got.
Want and needed.
Giving of the time that you've got.


Giving it a minute it will taste so good.
With a giving of the time that you've got.
Want and needed.
Giving of the time that you've got.

When you get to pick and eat it,
It tastes so good.
When you get to pick and eat it,
It tastes so good.
When you get to pick and eat it,
It tastes so good.
And-with-that...
Giving of the time that you've got.

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My 'Get Up And Go' Just 'Got Up And Went

My ‘Get Up and Go’
Just ‘Got Up and Went
It wasn’t intentional,
It must have been Heaven sent.

I wanted to go shopping since early morn,
It did not happen, it was adjourned.
I stayed in to write several poems today,
So, I’m doing my shopping, late in the day.

I’ve not much to buy,
Just, a few bits,
Of food for the Weekend,
And my Shaver Heads.

Without them I’m lost,
I’ll grow a new beard,
I’ll not look so pretty,
Some may call me weird.

I do grow beards, when I choose to do,
They’re liked by some, but hated by few.
I must end this poem, continue on my way,
Write more tomorrow, or later today.

© Jonathan Goldman [JGthepoet] - 8 December 2005

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William Cowper

The Diverting History Of John Gilpin, Showing How He Went Farther Than He Intended, And Came Safe Home Again

John Gilpin was a citizen
Of credit and renown,
A trainband captain eke was he
Of famous London town.

John Gilpin’s spouse said to her dear:
Though wedded we have been
These twice ten tedious years, yet we
No holiday have seen.

To-morrow is our wedding-day,
And we will then repair
Unto the Bell at Edmonton
All in a chaise and pair.

My sister, and my sister’s child,
Myself, and children three,
Will fill the chaise; so you must ride
On horseback after we.

He soon replied, I do admire
Of womankind but one,
And you are she, my dearest dear,
Therefore it shall be done.

I am a linendraper bold,
As all the world doth know,
And my good friend the calendrer
Will lend his horse to go.

Quoth Mrs. Gilpin, That’s well said;
And for that wine is dear,
We will be furnish’d with our own,
Which is both bright and clear.

John Gilpin kiss’d his loving wife;
O’erjoy’d was he to find,
That, though on pleasure she was bent,
She had a frugal mind.

The morning came, the chaise was brought,
But yet was not allow’d
To drive up to the door, lest all
Should say that she was proud.

So three doors off, the chaise was stay’d,
Where they did all get in;
Six precious souls, and all agog
To dash through thick and thin.

Smack went the whip, round went the wheels,
Were never folk so glad,
The stones did rattle underneath,
As if Cheapside were mad.

John Gilpin at his horse’s side
Seized fast the flowing mane,
And up he got, in haste to ride,
But soon came down again;

For saddletree scarce reach’d had he,
His journey to begin,
When, turning round his head, he saw
Three customers come in.

So down he came; for loss of time,
Although it grieved him sore,
Yet loss of pence, full well he knew,
Would trouble him much more.

‘Twas long before the customers
Were suited to their mind,
When Betty screaming came down stairs,
“The wine is left behind!”

Good lack! quoth he—yet bring it me,
My leathern belt likewise,
In which I bear my trusty sword
When I do exercise.

Now mistress Gilpin (careful soul!)
Had two stone bottles found,
To hold the liquor that she loved,
And keep it safe and sound.

Each bottle had a curling ear,
Through which the belt he drew,
And hung a bottle on each side,
To make his balance true.

Then over all, that he might be
Equipp’d from top to toe,
His long red cloak, well brush’d and neat,
He manfully did throw.

Now see him mounted once again
Upon his nimble steed,
Full slowly pacing o’er the stones,
With caution and good heed.

But finding soon a smoother road
Beneath his well shod feet,
The snorting beast began to trot,
Which gall’d him in his seat.

So, fair and softly, John he cried,
But John he cried in vain;
That trot became a gallop soon,
In spite of curb and rein.

So stooping down, as needs he must
Who cannot sit upright,
He grasp’d the mane with both his hands,
And eke with all his might.

His horse, who never in that sort
Had handled been before,
What thing upon his back had got
Did wonder more and more.

Away went Gilpin, neck or nought;
Away went hat and wig;
He little dreamt, when he set out,
Of running such a rig.

The wind did blow, the cloak did fly,
Like streamer long and gay,
Till, loop and button failing both,
At last it flew away.

Then might all people well discern
The bottles he had slung;
A bottle swinging at each side,
As hath been said or sung.

The dogs did bark, the children scream’d,
Up flew the windows all;
And every soul cried out, Well done!
As loud as he could bawl.

Away went Gilpin—who but he?
His fame soon spread around,
He carries weight! he rides a race!
Tis for a thousand pound!

And still, as fast as he drew near,
‘Twas wonderful to view,
How in a trice the turnpike men
Their gates wide open threw.

And now, as he went bowing down
His reeking head full low,
The bottles twain behind his back
Were shatter’d at a blow.

Down ran the wine into the road,
Most piteous to be seen,
Which made his horse’s flanks to smoke,
As they had basted been.

But still he seem’d to carry weight,
With leathern girdle braced;
For all might see the bottlenecks
Still dangling at his waist.

Thus all through merry Islington
These gambols he did play,
Until he came unto the Wash
Of Edmonton so gay;

And there he threw the wash about
On both sides of the way,
Just like unto a trundling mop,
Or a wild goose at play.

At Edmonton, his loving wife
From the balcony spied
Her tender husband, wondering much
To see how he did ride.

Stop, stop, John Gilpin!--Here's the house!
They all at once did cry;
The dinner waits, and we are tired:
Said Gilpin--So am I!

But yet his horse was not a whit
Inclined to tarry there;
For why?—his owner had a house
Full ten miles off, at Ware.

So like arrow swift he flew,
Shot by an archer strong?
So did he fly—which brings me to
The middle of my song.

Away went Gilpin out of breath,
And sore against his will,
Till at his friend the calendrer’s
His horse at last stood still.

The calend’rer, amazed to see
His neighbour in such trim,
Laid down his pipe, flew to the gate,
And thus accosted him:

What news? what news? your tidings tell;
Tell me you must and shall—
Say why bareheaded you are come,
Or why you come at all?

Now Gilpin had a pleasant wit,
And loved a timely joke!
And thus unto the calendrer
In merry guise he spoke:

I came because your horse would come,
And, if I well forebode,
My hat and wig will soon be here,
They are upon the road.

The calendrer, right glad to find
His friend in merry pin,
Return’d him not a single word,
But to the house went in;

Whence straight he came with hat and wig;
A wig that flow’d behind,
A hat not much the worse for wear,
Each comely in its kind.

He held them up, and in his turn
Thus show’d his ready wit:
My head is twice as big as yours,
They therefore needs must fit.

But let me scrape the dirt away
That hangs upon your face;
And stop and eat, for well you may
Be in a hungry case.

Said John, It is my wedding-day,
And all the world would stare,
If wife should dine at Edmonton,
And I should dine at Ware.

So turning to his horse, he said,
I am in haste to dine;
‘Twas for your pleasure you came here,
You shall go back for mine.

Ah luckless speech, and bootless boast!
For which he paid full dear;
For, while he spake, a braying bunny
Did sing most loud and clear;

Whereat his horse did snort, as he
Had heard a lion roar,
And gallop’d off with all his might,
As he had done before.

Away went Gilpin, and away
Went Gilpin’s hat and wig:
He lost them sooner than at first,
For why?—they were too big.

Now mistress Gilpin, when she saw
Her husband posting down
Into the country far away,
She pull’d out half-a-crown;

And thus unto the youth she said,
That drove them to the Bell,
This shall be yours, when you bring back
My husband safe and well.

The youth did ride, and soon did meet
John coming back amain;
Whom in a trice he tried to stop,
By catching at his rein;

But, not performing what he meant,
And gladly would have done,
The frighted steed he frighted more,
And made him faster run.

Away went Gilpin, and away
Went postboy at his heels,
The postboy’s horse right glad to miss
The lumbering of the wheels.

Six gentlemen upon the road
Thus seeing Gilpin fly,
With postboy scampering in the rear,
They raised the hue and cry:--

Stop thief! stop thief!--a highwayman!
Not one of them was mute;
And all and each that pass’d that way
Did join in the pursuit.

And now the turnpike gates again
Flew open in short space;
The toll-men thinking as before,
That Gilpin rode a race.

And so he did, and won it too,
For he got first to town;
Nor stopp’d till where he had got up
He did again get down.

Now let us sing, long live the king,
And Gilpin, long live he;
And when he next doth ride abroad,
May I be there to see!

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Time To Reflect On Courage Yesterday And Tomorrow

It is time
To reflect
On courage
Yesterday and tomorrow

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He Got Up And Go

He Got up and Go:
It was six a.m.
The clock was ringing
To let me no
That Toley was leaving
Chorus:
And I dont think im gunna make it
Because Kayla wants to beat me
And im scared from head to toe
Because he got up and go
He wont be there to save me
Cuz I didnt give him a second chance
He goes out with an eight grader
And he will go with her to the dance
I am just a punk rocker
He was skater punk to me
But now those nicknames are gone
Cuz I am just so slutty
Chorus:
Got up and go
got up and go
got up and go
He no longer loves me
Like I do to him
Before he asked Renee out
We thought he liked Kim
He told me I looked like a rat
Because Kayla wants to hit me with a bat
He doesnt want me back, my neighbor is a hoe
And than he got up and go
Chorus:

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I Got Stoned And I Missed It

I was sitting in my basement
I just rolled myself a taste
of something green and gold and glorious
to get me through the day
Then my friend yelled through the transom
'Grab your coat and get your hat son,
There's a nut down on the corner,
givin' dollar bills away'
But I laid around a bit
Then I had another hit
Then I rolled myself a bauma
Then I thought about my mama
Then I fooled around, played around
jacked around a while and then
I got stoned and I missed it
I got stoned and I missed it
I got stoned and it rolled right by
I got stoned and I missed it
I got stoned and I missed it
I got stoned oh me oh my
It took seven months of eargin
just to get that local virgin
with the sweet face
up to my place
to fool around a bit
Next day she woke up rosy
and she snuggled up so cosy
When she asked me how I liked it
Lord it hurts me to admit,
I was stoned...
I'm makin' no excuses
for the many things I uses
just to sweeten up my relationships
and brighten up my day
When my earthly race is over
and I'm ready for the clover
and they ask me how my life has been
I guess I'll have to say,
I was stoned...

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Next Time, This Time

If you get to feelin' all alone
When your good time friends
have all got up and gone
Don't come knockin' around my door
Because I've heard your lines before
'Cause there ain't gone be a next time, this time
'Cause woman startin' right now
I'm gonna forget your name and your pretty face girl
And write you off as a bad mistake
You know that some women they are lovers
And some just got no sense
But a woman like you oughta be ashamed
Of the things that you do to men
And If you get to feelin' all alone
When you find that you can't make it on your own
Don't come knockin' around my door
You see I've seen your act before
And there ain't gonna be a next time, this time
'Cause woman startin' right now
I'm gonna forget your name and your pretty face girl
And write you off as a bad mistake
You know that some women they are lovers
And some just got no sense
But a woman like you oughta be ashamed
Of the things that you do to men
And If you get to feel' you where wrong
don't go wastin' your good money in the phone
'Cause I can hang up as fast as you can call
And that ain't all
'Cause there ain't gonna be a next time, this time
'Cause woman startin' right now
I'm gonna forget your name and your pretty face girl
And write you off as a complete disgrace
You know that some women they are liars
And some just got no sense
But a woman like you oughta be ashamed
Of the things that you do to men
Yeah a woman like you oughta be ashamed
Of the things that you do to men

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Indian Giver

An Indian Giver is known as one who would give you something then take it back
The term came to be many years ago through some misunderstandings to be exact
Under normal circumstances I would not call myself an Indian Giver ‘cause I’m really not that way
But I have to say that I’m an Indian Giver now because I’m taking back something I gave away
I gave away something I shouldn’t have to someone many years ago that belonged only to me
That thing that I gave away so long ago to someone it didn’t belong to, was my own personal identity
I gave it away when I accepted their view of me, my life, what I do, where I go and who I spend my time with
But my identity was given to me by God who created me and gave me identity as a gift
It began when an event took place in my life that they didn’t approve of and said things that broke my heart
As the years have come and gone away, things they say to and about me seem to tear me apart
You see, I started seeking their approval for everything I did always concerned about what they thought
Then when they did not approve of something I did, I began to beat up on myself a whole lot
It was like if they didn’t approve then what I was doing was somehow wrong or bad in some kind of way
God would even tell me the outcome if I shared it with them, but I would share things with them anyway
As time went by things got worse ‘cause I got angry if I felt they were passing judgment on me
Instead of calmly telling them that I didn’t receive their judgment I became more bound rather than free
It’s a shame that things have to get so bad before we make a decision to do something about them
Then we run to God in prayer wanting Him to do something ‘cause we know we can’t do anything without Him
If we had gone to God in prayer at first instead of going through years of self destruction
We could have avoided a lot of grief, pain, anger and sleep, not to mention our destiny’s interruption
When you allow rejection, judgment and condemnation to come in, you give away your identity
When it is God who created you to be who and the way you are, and if anyone is to judge it is He
No one else has a Heaven or Hell to place you in, nor does anyone have a right to control you
But, when their thoughts, opinions, judgments and negativity get you out of character, that’s exactly what they do
The sooner you realize what has taken place in your life to cause you so much hurt
The process of healing can begin to make you whole and put satan under your feet in the dirt
You see, rejection, low self-esteem, fear of man and deep hurt are all spirits invoked by the enemy
They’re strategically designed to steal your joy, kill your dreams and destroy your vision so you can’t see
The devil will pull out all stops to get you, including using people at church, work, family and close friends
When he sees what buttons affect you and distort your true character, he’ll use them again and again
We’ve been sent as sheep in the midst of wolves so we must be wise as serpents and as harmless as doves
This is not always an easy thing to do, so we must constantly be in communication with our Heavenly Father above
With His help we will overcome the wiles of the devil, we will be whole and our blessings will flow like a river
As we take back what rightfully belongs to us, our God-given identity, when we become an Indian Giver

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Rhythm method!

My beloved woke me up
in the middle of the night.
'Why darling! Somebody knocked at the door and I had some bad dreams? '
'No you're continuously shouting, rhythm method honey and crying,
And I thought some convulsions again! '
I got up and checked the Webster dictionary.
And I read for her;
' Contraception by avoiding sexual intercourse
near the time of ovulation.'
She's angry and grumbled you drank a lot last night that cheap liquor!

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One Moonlit Night

Once on the phone
me and you
we had a lot to say
i had just gotten a new plan
our conversation lasted throughout the night
similar interest that we had
things we couldn't wait to tell one another
and just the thought that we were together to listen and love
was enough for each of us
that one thing we both searched for
as the time past our conversations got shorter and started to fade away like the smell of a sweet rose in the orange afternoon
but each day when darkness creeps back in
i remember our talks that we had
one moonlit night
we will get them back
and the stars will wait again
as they hear the voices of the night chatter a soft lullaby

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Broken Marriage

Haunted by these memories
Haunted by our past
Thought leaving would put me at ease
Should have known it wouldn't last
I think about the wedding cake
And all the wedding flowers
These tears are falling down my face
Randomly crying for hours
I married a man who was a boy
Though through love I couldn't tell
As time went on that boy emerged
And I watched as our marriage fell
He never put forth an effort
And I faked a smile
Thought one day he would see through it
But it lasted quite a while
Finally had to give in
Give up and let go
Walk away while it caved in
Left that boy so he would grow
Now there's no more wedding cake
No more wedding flowers
Just me and my children
Watching them play for hours
I will get through this
Completely let go
Time shall heal these wounds
As I watch my babies grow
I will do the right thing
And be happy once again
Not with him
But with them

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This Is What You Chose and Wanted

Where are those,
Pure of heart.
Loving of justice.
Courageous and brave.
Upright and wholesome.
Devoted, loyal and honest.
Caring and sharing of good deeds.
Where are these people?
What has happened to them,
And their influences missed?
Where do they hide?
Do they still exist?

'Of course they 'still' exist.
They are the ones you got rid of!
Don't you remember this?

They are the ones who attempted to prevent...
Your current agonies.
With the rise of misfits.

And the more outspoken,
Those with opened eyes became...
You became more belligerent.
You became more incensed.
With character assassinations!
And reputations you defamed.

Don't you remember this?

Now you wish a way of life,
Away from the one you have...
That had made no sense.
With greed and corruption...
Welcomed on your path!

And this is what you chose and wanted.
If you didn't...
Why did you insist on it?
Is it because you now feel trapped?

And those you dismissed,
Appear to be happier...
Than 'that' happiness,
You believed you HAD! '

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The Love that Binds

My father died of the cholera
In eighteen thirty-two,
There wasn't a place at the cemetery
To bury him, that we knew,
The signs were posted at Netherton,
‘Don't bring your bodies here! '
The Sexton spoke: ‘Try Gospel Oak,
Or maybe, Wednesbury.'

We loaded Pa back onto the cart
And whipped the old grey mare,
We'd not long buried our cousin Jack
At the turning of the year,
From Manchester to Birmingham
The epidemic spread,
From Liverpool to Leeds, to York,
With one in twenty dead!

I walked along with the horse and cart
And I passed so many more,
They thrust their relatives out, feet first
In front of the tradesman's door,
The fear had spread so rapidly
No family was safe,
So Grandma went in her winding sheet
Outside, with her Sister Kate!

They loaded bodies onto a cart
No dignity in death,
And piled them three and four feet high
As they took their final breath,
And pits were dug as the space grew less
The Churchyards all were full,
For years, the gardeners turned them up
Old bones, and a grinning skull!

We took our Pa on home at last
With nowhere else to go,
And sat him out in the potting shed
Where the seedlings used to grow,
Then Ma sat down beside him there
And died of a broken heart,
We knew it would be a waste of time
To break out the horse and cart.

For years they sat untouched out there
Through spring and the summertime,
I looked one day, they were overgrown
With a creeper, like a vine,
The vine had woven in and around
Through bones that were falling apart,
It tied and bound them together,
Wrapping a tendril round each heart.

‘When things calm down, we'll bury them, '
I said to my brother, Sid,
As time went on, we both forgot
And I guess we never did;
They're closer now than they were in life
She doesn't scold or moan,
While he clings fast to his silent wife,
And at least, they're both at home!

30 August 2012

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Dream Life Of Rand McNally

words & music by jason mraz
Who is he, Mr. Rand Mcnally?
I had I dream that mystery was me. Now who else could I be?
I dreamed I went to England and met the spice girls there for tea
They lost one more they're down from four to my favorite number three
But they're still quite spicy as the orange flavor
And oh so nice to do me the favor and lick my icing under the table now
But I gotta leave town mr. Nally, just as scary spice was about to go down on me
And don't ask how mr. Nally and give up the towel mr. Nally and run
I dreamed I went to Singapore got bored and robbed a liquor store
What for? Nobody knows I only took a couple of Marlboros
Oh but that was all they needed and the criminal was soon defeated
And now in jail I'm waiting for my punishment of caining
So I gotta think fast mr nally watch your ass, wake up and laugh and run
Better Mr run, mr rand, mr mac, mr nally
Mr run, mr man, you got the knack for the rally And run
I had a chance to visit the north pole but it was way too cold to smoke
Oh my nose was freezing I should could use some coughing and wheezing
So I tried it anyway and the place went up in flames
How was I suppose to know you could catch fire to the snow
Oh lord way to go mr nally, way to go, now you're melting the poles mr nally so run.
I jumped ship in NYC and headed south to Washington DC
Didn't think I'd go there but played some shows there fancy lucky me
But it is really slow there with our new president on TV
Too many politicians and liberal Christians they're all set out for me
Singing cast your vote mr nally, castrate your vote, no you don't, just run
I thumbed a ride across the prairie, I got hitched in Vegas, yep, I got married
To a lady who loved me she thought it's be funny to gamble all my money
And I got stranded without my clothes, a little bit of fear and loathing heart attack
I got chased by the rat pack once in a flashback. Singing viva Las Vegas
I settled down in san diego and smoked a joint with java joe
And with a grin he took me in spilling coffee on his chin
And I played my show there and I met my bro's there
And with my throw pillow they kindly let me make my bed there
There's one more thing before I go there's never been any place like this home
For once in a lifetime maybe I'd be foolish not to stay

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The Kerrigan Boys

By jove it’s hot on the track today, my flannel is soaked with sweat.
I think I’ll sit in the shade a bit and wait for the sun to set.
I know of a decent camping place by the river beyond the town,
And I’d rather carry my swag through there after the sun goes down.

A touch of pride, well perhaps it is, though I haven’t much cause for pride.
It’s sixteen years to a day almost, since old man Kerrigan died.
Sixteen years and his place is sold and the fortune he left us spent,
For the road down hill is an easy road and that was the way we went.

Kerrigan, that was our father’s name, was one of the tough old sort.
And he held by graft as he held by God, and he hated drink and sport.
We lads were fond of a bit of fun though he kept us under the rein,
And we had to bow to the old man’s will, though it went against our grain.

He was kind enough in his hard old way, but we had to earn our keep,
Driving horses and milking cows, branding and shearing sheep.
No wonder we bucked a bit at times, for you know what youngsters are,
We mustn’t dance at the local hall or drink in Mulligan’s bar.

Well, those were the orders the old man gave, but we did it just the same,
Jack was two years younger than I, so I was the more to blame.
But I’ve often thought had he been less hard and left us a bit more free
It might have been better for him perhaps, and better for Jack and me.

The old man dropped in the yard one day where we had the weaners penned.
We picked him up and we carried him home but we knew that it was the end.
The neighbours gathered from miles around he hadn’t a single foe,
And the crowd that stood by the open grave spoke well of the man below.

We grieved a lot for the old man’s death though he left us wealthy men;
If we had not known what he meant to us we realized it then.
Our only sister had died at birth and our mother was long since dead,
And we found that we were the only heirs when the old man’s will was read

We were just a couple of country lads; we’d never been off the farm,
We’d been held in check from our boyhood up by the weight of the old man’s arm.
Good in the saddle and fair with our fists with a touch of the old man’s pride,
But the neighbours muttered and shook their heads when old man Kerrigan died.

Hard and all as the old man was for years he had kept a stud.
For the love of the horse for the horses sake is strong in the Irish blood.
But breeding was only a hobby with him a sort of a harmless craze,
Though I’d often thought that he had his fling way back in his younger days.

We got mixed up with a racing crowd and started to go the pace.
Forgot the sound of the old man’s voice and the frown on his rugged face.
For the road down hill is and easy road though it ends in a swift descent,
We were only youngsters, a reckless pair, and that was the way we went.

We staked for a win on the Chester colt on the strength of a trail he showed.
But someone got to the boy on top, we knew by the race he rode.
He lost ten lengths and he finished last it was useless to make a fuss,
For the men we met in the racing game were far too cunning for us

We backed him again in the Greytown Cup and he won by half the straight,
But we left our cash in the bookies bags, for he failed to draw the weight.
We cursed the jockey and we cursed the horse, and we sold him there and then.
We’d had enough of the racing game and the ways of racing men.

We could have got out of our troubles still if we put our hands to the plough,
But the life of leisure and cards and drink had got the grip on us now.
You may call it flashness or call it pride or simply a want of sencse,
But the publicans and auctioneers grew wealthy at our expense.

We sat and drank in Mulligan’s pub and gambled the whole night long.
We dealt in cattle and dealt in sheep and most of our deals went wrong.
As long as the banks would cash our cheques we didn’t care what we spent,
For the road downhill is an easy road and that was the way we went.

Then things got bad and a drought came on and it lasted over a year.
Our stock died off and our dams gave out and we knew that the end was near.
Our credit stopped and the bank foreclosed and our fathers place was sold,
For the road downhill is and easy road as the prodigal found of old.

Five years after the old man’s death together we took the track.
I wandered into the nearest pub and I had a drink with Jack.
Then he shook my hand and he wished me luck and I knew he was close to tears,
And I’ve never set eyes on Jack since then or heard of him now for years.

Somewhere out to the west of Bourke he’s humping his swag maybe,
Tramping along in the broiling sun and cursing himself and me.
I’d give two years of my worthless life, though it may not last that long,
For one more look at his honest face, one grip of his fingers strong

Well that’s the tale of the Kerrigan boys and the moral is near the end.
You’ll always have plenty of friend at hand as long as you’ve cash to spend.
We had our chance and we played the fool, it’s too late now to repent,
For the road downhill is an easy road and that was the road we went.

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Wonderful YOU!

Wonderful YOU!

Lost in your eyes
Lost in your kiss
Lost lost lost
Lost into you

I feel so much passion
I can´t hardly breath

passion of life
LOVE

Pain will come

I need more
TIME
TIME TIME

Need reflection
to feel complete and sure

Can´t you see

maybe
I´ll set myself

free

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Lone Wolf Plan

I get more power,
At night time.

I am a lone wolf,
And a smart one too.

I hunt by myself,
And feed myself.

I look for love,
But I always get rejected.

I've taken my last reject,
So I hunt for blood.

I hunt the one's,
Who rejcted me.

I hunt my old pack,
To kill the leader.

Once that's done,
I'll be leader.

I can lead my new pack,
To victory.

I shall win a new love,
And win a pack.

My strength is better,
But my smarts are better.

I am clever,
So I will win.

I fight the leader,
And lose.

Now I die,
All alone.

My plans have failed,
My life has just began.

I might not breath the air,
Or run freely.

But my new life,
As a spirit,
Has just begun...

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Unable To Sleep

didn't sleep well last night
I didn't dream last night
Losing all the battles
Losing all my fight

I didn't sleep well last night
Barely closed my eyes
tossed and turned and paced
until sunrise

I didn't dream last night
Any time I tried
I cried inside
and wanted to run and hide

I didn't sleep well last night
My world seems confused
Like a dead-end in a maze
like an ocean without a sky

All my friends are far away
the hands I hold are imagined
my life in shades of blue and grey
A life derailed and gone astray

I didn't dream last night
All my dreams feel broken
Hardly uttered or spoken
my tears have run dry

I didn't sleep at all last night
caught up in dispair
for all the things not right
not all black and white

I didn't dream last night
my heart is ablaze
with sadness and fright
No way to make things right

I didn't sleep at all last night
My ship must have sailed away
All I can do is pray
but I've forgotten why

2008 © James T. Adair

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The Old, Old Story and the New Order

They proved we could not think nor see,
They proved we could not write,
They proved we drank the day away
And raved through half the night.
They proved our stars were never up,
They’ve proved our stars are set,
They’ve proved we ne’er saw sorrow’s cup,
And they’re not happy yet.
They proved that in the Southern Land
We all led vicious lives;
They’ve proved we starved our children, and
They’ve proved we beat our wives.
They’ve proved we never worked, and we
Were never out of debt;
They’ve proved us bad as we can be
And they’re not happy yet.

The Daily Press, with paltry power—
For reasons understood—
Have aye sought to belittle our
Unhappy brotherhood.
Because we fought in days like these,
Where rule the upper tens—
Because we’d not write journalese,
Nor prostitute our pens.

They gave our rivals space to sneer—
Their mediocrities;
The drunkard’s mind is pure and clear
Compared with minds like these.
They sought to damn with pitying praise
Or the coward’s unsigned sneer,
For honour in the “critics’” ways
Had never virtue here.

They’ve proved our names shall not be known
A few short years ahead;
They hied them back through years of moan,
And damned our happy dead.
A newer tribe of scribes we’ve got,
Exclusive and alone,
To prove our work was childish rot,
And none of it our own.

The cultured cads of First Gem cells,
Of Mansion, Lawn and Club,
Not fit to clean the busted boots
Of “Poets of the Pub.”
They prove the partners of the part,
The wholeness of the whole,
The gizzardness of gizzards, and
The Soulness of the Soul.

They’ve proved that all is nought—but there
Are things they cannot do
The summer skies are just as fair
And just as brightly blue.
They’ve buried us with muddied shrouds,
When our strong hearts they’ve broke.
They can’t bring down yon fleecy clouds
And make them factory smoke.

They’ve proved the simple bard a fool,
But still, for all their pains,
The children prattling home from school
Go tripping down the lanes.
They’ve proved that Love is lust or hate,
True marriage is no more,
But Jim and Mary at the gate
Are happy as of yore.

These insects seeking to unloose
The Bards of Sympathy!
Who strike with the sledge hammer force
Of their simplicity.
(They cannot turn the world about,
Nor damp the father’s joy,
When some old doctor bustles out,
And nurse says “It’s a boy!”)

They want no God but many a god,
And many gods, and none—
The preacher by the upturned sod
Shall pray when all is done.
Amongst the great ’twas aye the same—
The envious crawler’s part—
The lies that blackened Byron’s name
And banished poor Brett Harte.

We’ve learnt in bitter schools to teach
Man’s glory and his shame
Since Gordon walked along the beach
In search of bigger game.
Maybe, our talents we’ve abused
At times, and ne’er been blind
Since Barcroft Boake went out and used
His stockwhip to be kind.

But laugh, my chums, in prose and rhyme,
And worry not at all,
They’re insects whom the wheels of time
Shall crush exceeding small.
Have faith, my friends, who stand by me,
In spite of all the lies—
I tell you that a man shall die
On the day that Lawson dies.

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Lancelot And Elaine

Elaine the fair, Elaine the loveable,
Elaine, the lily maid of Astolat,
High in her chamber up a tower to the east
Guarded the sacred shield of Lancelot;
Which first she placed where the morning's earliest ray
Might strike it, and awake her with the gleam;
Then fearing rust or soilure fashioned for it
A case of silk, and braided thereupon
All the devices blazoned on the shield
In their own tinct, and added, of her wit,
A border fantasy of branch and flower,
And yellow-throated nestling in the nest.
Nor rested thus content, but day by day,
Leaving her household and good father, climbed
That eastern tower, and entering barred her door,
Stript off the case, and read the naked shield,
Now guessed a hidden meaning in his arms,
Now made a pretty history to herself
Of every dint a sword had beaten in it,
And every scratch a lance had made upon it,
Conjecturing when and where: this cut is fresh;
That ten years back; this dealt him at Caerlyle;
That at Caerleon; this at Camelot:
And ah God's mercy, what a stroke was there!
And here a thrust that might have killed, but God
Broke the strong lance, and rolled his enemy down,
And saved him: so she lived in fantasy.

How came the lily maid by that good shield
Of Lancelot, she that knew not even his name?
He left it with her, when he rode to tilt
For the great diamond in the diamond jousts,
Which Arthur had ordained, and by that name
Had named them, since a diamond was the prize.

For Arthur, long before they crowned him King,
Roving the trackless realms of Lyonnesse,
Had found a glen, gray boulder and black tarn.
A horror lived about the tarn, and clave
Like its own mists to all the mountain side:
For here two brothers, one a king, had met
And fought together; but their names were lost;
And each had slain his brother at a blow;
And down they fell and made the glen abhorred:
And there they lay till all their bones were bleached,
And lichened into colour with the crags:
And he, that once was king, had on a crown
Of diamonds, one in front, and four aside.
And Arthur came, and labouring up the pass,
All in a misty moonshine, unawares
Had trodden that crowned skeleton, and the skull
Brake from the nape, and from the skull the crown
Rolled into light, and turning on its rims
Fled like a glittering rivulet to the tarn:
And down the shingly scaur he plunged, and caught,
And set it on his head, and in his heart
Heard murmurs, 'Lo, thou likewise shalt be King.'

Thereafter, when a King, he had the gems
Plucked from the crown, and showed them to his knights,
Saying, 'These jewels, whereupon I chanced
Divinely, are the kingdom's, not the King's--
For public use: henceforward let there be,
Once every year, a joust for one of these:
For so by nine years' proof we needs must learn
Which is our mightiest, and ourselves shall grow
In use of arms and manhood, till we drive
The heathen, who, some say, shall rule the land
Hereafter, which God hinder.' Thus he spoke:
And eight years past, eight jousts had been, and still
Had Lancelot won the diamond of the year,
With purpose to present them to the Queen,
When all were won; but meaning all at once
To snare her royal fancy with a boon
Worth half her realm, had never spoken word.

Now for the central diamond and the last
And largest, Arthur, holding then his court
Hard on the river nigh the place which now
Is this world's hugest, let proclaim a joust
At Camelot, and when the time drew nigh
Spake (for she had been sick) to Guinevere,
'Are you so sick, my Queen, you cannot move
To these fair jousts?' 'Yea, lord,' she said, 'ye know it.'
'Then will ye miss,' he answered, 'the great deeds
Of Lancelot, and his prowess in the lists,
A sight ye love to look on.' And the Queen
Lifted her eyes, and they dwelt languidly
On Lancelot, where he stood beside the King.
He thinking that he read her meaning there,
'Stay with me, I am sick; my love is more
Than many diamonds,' yielded; and a heart
Love-loyal to the least wish of the Queen
(However much he yearned to make complete
The tale of diamonds for his destined boon)
Urged him to speak against the truth, and say,
'Sir King, mine ancient wound is hardly whole,
And lets me from the saddle;' and the King
Glanced first at him, then her, and went his way.
No sooner gone than suddenly she began:

'To blame, my lord Sir Lancelot, much to blame!
Why go ye not to these fair jousts? the knights
Are half of them our enemies, and the crowd
Will murmur, "Lo the shameless ones, who take
Their pastime now the trustful King is gone!"'
Then Lancelot vext at having lied in vain:
'Are ye so wise? ye were not once so wise,
My Queen, that summer, when ye loved me first.
Then of the crowd ye took no more account
Than of the myriad cricket of the mead,
When its own voice clings to each blade of grass,
And every voice is nothing. As to knights,
Them surely can I silence with all ease.
But now my loyal worship is allowed
Of all men: many a bard, without offence,
Has linked our names together in his lay,
Lancelot, the flower of bravery, Guinevere,
The pearl of beauty: and our knights at feast
Have pledged us in this union, while the King
Would listen smiling. How then? is there more?
Has Arthur spoken aught? or would yourself,
Now weary of my service and devoir,
Henceforth be truer to your faultless lord?'

She broke into a little scornful laugh:
'Arthur, my lord, Arthur, the faultless King,
That passionate perfection, my good lord--
But who can gaze upon the Sun in heaven?
He never spake word of reproach to me,
He never had a glimpse of mine untruth,
He cares not for me: only here today
There gleamed a vague suspicion in his eyes:
Some meddling rogue has tampered with him--else
Rapt in this fancy of his Table Round,
And swearing men to vows impossible,
To make them like himself: but, friend, to me
He is all fault who hath no fault at all:
For who loves me must have a touch of earth;
The low sun makes the colour: I am yours,
Not Arthur's, as ye know, save by the bond.
And therefore hear my words: go to the jousts:
The tiny-trumpeting gnat can break our dream
When sweetest; and the vermin voices here
May buzz so loud--we scorn them, but they sting.'

Then answered Lancelot, the chief of knights:
'And with what face, after my pretext made,
Shall I appear, O Queen, at Camelot, I
Before a King who honours his own word,
As if it were his God's?'

'Yea,' said the Queen,
'A moral child without the craft to rule,
Else had he not lost me: but listen to me,
If I must find you wit: we hear it said
That men go down before your spear at a touch,
But knowing you are Lancelot; your great name,
This conquers: hide it therefore; go unknown:
Win! by this kiss you will: and our true King
Will then allow your pretext, O my knight,
As all for glory; for to speak him true,
Ye know right well, how meek soe'er he seem,
No keener hunter after glory breathes.
He loves it in his knights more than himself:
They prove to him his work: win and return.'

Then got Sir Lancelot suddenly to horse,
Wroth at himself. Not willing to be known,
He left the barren-beaten thoroughfare,
Chose the green path that showed the rarer foot,
And there among the solitary downs,
Full often lost in fancy, lost his way;
Till as he traced a faintly-shadowed track,
That all in loops and links among the dales
Ran to the Castle of Astolat, he saw
Fired from the west, far on a hill, the towers.
Thither he made, and blew the gateway horn.
Then came an old, dumb, myriad-wrinkled man,
Who let him into lodging and disarmed.
And Lancelot marvelled at the wordless man;
And issuing found the Lord of Astolat
With two strong sons, Sir Torre and Sir Lavaine,
Moving to meet him in the castle court;
And close behind them stept the lily maid
Elaine, his daughter: mother of the house
There was not: some light jest among them rose
With laughter dying down as the great knight
Approached them: then the Lord of Astolat:
'Whence comes thou, my guest, and by what name
Livest thou between the lips? for by thy state
And presence I might guess thee chief of those,
After the King, who eat in Arthur's halls.
Him have I seen: the rest, his Table Round,
Known as they are, to me they are unknown.'

Then answered Sir Lancelot, the chief of knights:
'Known am I, and of Arthur's hall, and known,
What I by mere mischance have brought, my shield.
But since I go to joust as one unknown
At Camelot for the diamond, ask me not,
Hereafter ye shall know me--and the shield--
I pray you lend me one, if such you have,
Blank, or at least with some device not mine.'

Then said the Lord of Astolat, 'Here is Torre's:
Hurt in his first tilt was my son, Sir Torre.
And so, God wot, his shield is blank enough.
His ye can have.' Then added plain Sir Torre,
'Yea, since I cannot use it, ye may have it.'
Here laughed the father saying, 'Fie, Sir Churl,
Is that answer for a noble knight?
Allow him! but Lavaine, my younger here,
He is so full of lustihood, he will ride,
Joust for it, and win, and bring it in an hour,
And set it in this damsel's golden hair,
To make her thrice as wilful as before.'

'Nay, father, nay good father, shame me not
Before this noble knight,' said young Lavaine,
'For nothing. Surely I but played on Torre:
He seemed so sullen, vext he could not go:
A jest, no more! for, knight, the maiden dreamt
That some one put this diamond in her hand,
And that it was too slippery to be held,
And slipt and fell into some pool or stream,
The castle-well, belike; and then I said
That IF I went and IF I fought and won it
(But all was jest and joke among ourselves)
Then must she keep it safelier. All was jest.
But, father, give me leave, an if he will,
To ride to Camelot with this noble knight:
Win shall I not, but do my best to win:
Young as I am, yet would I do my best.'

'So will ye grace me,' answered Lancelot,
Smiling a moment, 'with your fellowship
O'er these waste downs whereon I lost myself,
Then were I glad of you as guide and friend:
And you shall win this diamond,--as I hear
It is a fair large diamond,--if ye may,
And yield it to this maiden, if ye will.'
'A fair large diamond,' added plain Sir Torre,
'Such be for queens, and not for simple maids.'
Then she, who held her eyes upon the ground,
Elaine, and heard her name so tost about,
Flushed slightly at the slight disparagement
Before the stranger knight, who, looking at her,
Full courtly, yet not falsely, thus returned:
'If what is fair be but for what is fair,
And only queens are to be counted so,
Rash were my judgment then, who deem this maid
Might wear as fair a jewel as is on earth,
Not violating the bond of like to like.'

He spoke and ceased: the lily maid Elaine,
Won by the mellow voice before she looked,
Lifted her eyes, and read his lineaments.
The great and guilty love he bare the Queen,
In battle with the love he bare his lord,
Had marred his face, and marked it ere his time.
Another sinning on such heights with one,
The flower of all the west and all the world,
Had been the sleeker for it: but in him
His mood was often like a fiend, and rose
And drove him into wastes and solitudes
For agony, who was yet a living soul.
Marred as he was, he seemed the goodliest man
That ever among ladies ate in hall,
And noblest, when she lifted up her eyes.
However marred, of more than twice her years,
Seamed with an ancient swordcut on the cheek,
And bruised and bronzed, she lifted up her eyes
And loved him, with that love which was her doom.

Then the great knight, the darling of the court,
Loved of the loveliest, into that rude hall
Stept with all grace, and not with half disdain
Hid under grace, as in a smaller time,
But kindly man moving among his kind:
Whom they with meats and vintage of their best
And talk and minstrel melody entertained.
And much they asked of court and Table Round,
And ever well and readily answered he:
But Lancelot, when they glanced at Guinevere,
Suddenly speaking of the wordless man,
Heard from the Baron that, ten years before,
The heathen caught and reft him of his tongue.
'He learnt and warned me of their fierce design
Against my house, and him they caught and maimed;
But I, my sons, and little daughter fled
From bonds or death, and dwelt among the woods
By the great river in a boatman's hut.
Dull days were those, till our good Arthur broke
The Pagan yet once more on Badon hill.'

'O there, great lord, doubtless,' Lavaine said, rapt
By all the sweet and sudden passion of youth
Toward greatness in its elder, 'you have fought.
O tell us--for we live apart--you know
Of Arthur's glorious wars.' And Lancelot spoke
And answered him at full, as having been
With Arthur in the fight which all day long
Rang by the white mouth of the violent Glem;
And in the four loud battles by the shore
Of Duglas; that on Bassa; then the war
That thundered in and out the gloomy skirts
Of Celidon the forest; and again
By castle Gurnion, where the glorious King
Had on his cuirass worn our Lady's Head,
Carved of one emerald centered in a sun
Of silver rays, that lightened as he breathed;
And at Caerleon had he helped his lord,
When the strong neighings of the wild white Horse
Set every gilded parapet shuddering;
And up in Agned-Cathregonion too,
And down the waste sand-shores of Trath Treroit,
Where many a heathen fell; 'and on the mount
Of Badon I myself beheld the King
Charge at the head of all his Table Round,
And all his legions crying Christ and him,
And break them; and I saw him, after, stand
High on a heap of slain, from spur to plume
Red as the rising sun with heathen blood,
And seeing me, with a great voice he cried,
"They are broken, they are broken!" for the King,
However mild he seems at home, nor cares
For triumph in our mimic wars, the jousts--
For if his own knight cast him down, he laughs
Saying, his knights are better men than he--
Yet in this heathen war the fire of God
Fills him: I never saw his like: there lives
No greater leader.'

While he uttered this,
Low to her own heart said the lily maid,
'Save your own great self, fair lord;' and when he fell
From talk of war to traits of pleasantry--
Being mirthful he, but in a stately kind--
She still took note that when the living smile
Died from his lips, across him came a cloud
Of melancholy severe, from which again,
Whenever in her hovering to and fro
The lily maid had striven to make him cheer,
There brake a sudden-beaming tenderness
Of manners and of nature: and she thought
That all was nature, all, perchance, for her.
And all night long his face before her lived,
As when a painter, poring on a face,
Divinely through all hindrance finds the man
Behind it, and so paints him that his face,
The shape and colour of a mind and life,
Lives for his children, ever at its best
And fullest; so the face before her lived,
Dark-splendid, speaking in the silence, full
Of noble things, and held her from her sleep.
Till rathe she rose, half-cheated in the thought
She needs must bid farewell to sweet Lavaine.
First in fear, step after step, she stole
Down the long tower-stairs, hesitating:
Anon, she heard Sir Lancelot cry in the court,
'This shield, my friend, where is it?' and Lavaine
Past inward, as she came from out the tower.
There to his proud horse Lancelot turned, and smoothed
The glossy shoulder, humming to himself.
Half-envious of the flattering hand, she drew
Nearer and stood. He looked, and more amazed
Than if seven men had set upon him, saw
The maiden standing in the dewy light.
He had not dreamed she was so beautiful.
Then came on him a sort of sacred fear,
For silent, though he greeted her, she stood
Rapt on his face as if it were a God's.
Suddenly flashed on her a wild desire,
That he should wear her favour at the tilt.
She braved a riotous heart in asking for it.
'Fair lord, whose name I know not--noble it is,
I well believe, the noblest--will you wear
My favour at this tourney?' 'Nay,' said he,
'Fair lady, since I never yet have worn
Favour of any lady in the lists.
Such is my wont, as those, who know me, know.'
'Yea, so,' she answered; 'then in wearing mine
Needs must be lesser likelihood, noble lord,
That those who know should know you.' And he turned
Her counsel up and down within his mind,
And found it true, and answered, 'True, my child.
Well, I will wear it: fetch it out to me:
What is it?' and she told him 'A red sleeve
Broidered with pearls,' and brought it: then he bound
Her token on his helmet, with a smile
Saying, 'I never yet have done so much
For any maiden living,' and the blood
Sprang to her face and filled her with delight;
But left her all the paler, when Lavaine
Returning brought the yet-unblazoned shield,
His brother's; which he gave to Lancelot,
Who parted with his own to fair Elaine:
'Do me this grace, my child, to have my shield
In keeping till I come.' 'A grace to me,'
She answered, 'twice today. I am your squire!'
Whereat Lavaine said, laughing, 'Lily maid,
For fear our people call you lily maid
In earnest, let me bring your colour back;
Once, twice, and thrice: now get you hence to bed:'
So kissed her, and Sir Lancelot his own hand,
And thus they moved away: she stayed a minute,
Then made a sudden step to the gate, and there--
Her bright hair blown about the serious face
Yet rosy-kindled with her brother's kiss--
Paused by the gateway, standing near the shield
In silence, while she watched their arms far-off
Sparkle, until they dipt below the downs.
Then to her tower she climbed, and took the shield,
There kept it, and so lived in fantasy.

Meanwhile the new companions past away
Far o'er the long backs of the bushless downs,
To where Sir Lancelot knew there lived a knight
Not far from Camelot, now for forty years
A hermit, who had prayed, laboured and prayed,
And ever labouring had scooped himself
In the white rock a chapel and a hall
On massive columns, like a shorecliff cave,
And cells and chambers: all were fair and dry;
The green light from the meadows underneath
Struck up and lived along the milky roofs;
And in the meadows tremulous aspen-trees
And poplars made a noise of falling showers.
And thither wending there that night they bode.

But when the next day broke from underground,
And shot red fire and shadows through the cave,
They rose, heard mass, broke fast, and rode away:
Then Lancelot saying, 'Hear, but hold my name
Hidden, you ride with Lancelot of the Lake,'
Abashed young Lavaine, whose instant reverence,
Dearer to true young hearts than their own praise,
But left him leave to stammer, 'Is it indeed?'
And after muttering 'The great Lancelot,
At last he got his breath and answered, 'One,
One have I seen--that other, our liege lord,
The dread Pendragon, Britain's King of kings,
Of whom the people talk mysteriously,
He will be there--then were I stricken blind
That minute, I might say that I had seen.'

So spake Lavaine, and when they reached the lists
By Camelot in the meadow, let his eyes
Run through the peopled gallery which half round
Lay like a rainbow fallen upon the grass,
Until they found the clear-faced King, who sat
Robed in red samite, easily to be known,
Since to his crown the golden dragon clung,
And down his robe the dragon writhed in gold,
And from the carven-work behind him crept
Two dragons gilded, sloping down to make
Arms for his chair, while all the rest of them
Through knots and loops and folds innumerable
Fled ever through the woodwork, till they found
The new design wherein they lost themselves,
Yet with all ease, so tender was the work:
And, in the costly canopy o'er him set,
Blazed the last diamond of the nameless king.

Then Lancelot answered young Lavaine and said,
'Me you call great: mine is the firmer seat,
The truer lance: but there is many a youth
Now crescent, who will come to all I am
And overcome it; and in me there dwells
No greatness, save it be some far-off touch
Of greatness to know well I am not great:
There is the man.' And Lavaine gaped upon him
As on a thing miraculous, and anon
The trumpets blew; and then did either side,
They that assailed, and they that held the lists,
Set lance in rest, strike spur, suddenly move,
Meet in the midst, and there so furiously
Shock, that a man far-off might well perceive,
If any man that day were left afield,
The hard earth shake, and a low thunder of arms.
And Lancelot bode a little, till he saw
Which were the weaker; then he hurled into it
Against the stronger: little need to speak
Of Lancelot in his glory! King, duke, earl,
Count, baron--whom he smote, he overthrew.

But in the field were Lancelot's kith and kin,
Ranged with the Table Round that held the lists,
Strong men, and wrathful that a stranger knight
Should do and almost overdo the deeds
Of Lancelot; and one said to the other, 'Lo!
What is he? I do not mean the force alone--
The grace and versatility of the man!
Is it not Lancelot?' 'When has Lancelot worn
Favour of any lady in the lists?
Not such his wont, as we, that know him, know.'
'How then? who then?' a fury seized them all,
A fiery family passion for the name
Of Lancelot, and a glory one with theirs.
They couched their spears and pricked their steeds, and thus,
Their plumes driven backward by the wind they made
In moving, all together down upon him
Bare, as a wild wave in the wide North-sea,
Green-glimmering toward the summit, bears, with all
Its stormy crests that smoke against the skies,
Down on a bark, and overbears the bark,
And him that helms it, so they overbore
Sir Lancelot and his charger, and a spear
Down-glancing lamed the charger, and a spear
Pricked sharply his own cuirass, and the head
Pierced through his side, and there snapt, and remained.

Then Sir Lavaine did well and worshipfully;
He bore a knight of old repute to the earth,
And brought his horse to Lancelot where he lay.
He up the side, sweating with agony, got,
But thought to do while he might yet endure,
And being lustily holpen by the rest,
His party,--though it seemed half-miracle
To those he fought with,--drave his kith and kin,
And all the Table Round that held the lists,
Back to the barrier; then the trumpets blew
Proclaiming his the prize, who wore the sleeve
Of scarlet, and the pearls; and all the knights,
His party, cried 'Advance and take thy prize
The diamond;' but he answered, 'Diamond me
No diamonds! for God's love, a little air!
Prize me no prizes, for my prize is death!
Hence will I, and I charge you, follow me not.'

He spoke, and vanished suddenly from the field
With young Lavaine into the poplar grove.
There from his charger down he slid, and sat,
Gasping to Sir Lavaine, 'Draw the lance-head:'
'Ah my sweet lord Sir Lancelot,' said Lavaine,
'I dread me, if I draw it, you will die.'
But he, 'I die already with it: draw--
Draw,'--and Lavaine drew, and Sir Lancelot gave
A marvellous great shriek and ghastly groan,
And half his blood burst forth, and down he sank
For the pure pain, and wholly swooned away.
Then came the hermit out and bare him in,
There stanched his wound; and there, in daily doubt
Whether to live or die, for many a week
Hid from the wide world's rumour by the grove
Of poplars with their noise of falling showers,
And ever-tremulous aspen-trees, he lay.

But on that day when Lancelot fled the lists,
His party, knights of utmost North and West,
Lords of waste marches, kings of desolate isles,
Came round their great Pendragon, saying to him,
'Lo, Sire, our knight, through whom we won the day,
Hath gone sore wounded, and hath left his prize
Untaken, crying that his prize is death.'
'Heaven hinder,' said the King, 'that such an one,
So great a knight as we have seen today--
He seemed to me another Lancelot--
Yea, twenty times I thought him Lancelot--
He must not pass uncared for. Wherefore, rise,
O Gawain, and ride forth and find the knight.
Wounded and wearied needs must he be near.
I charge you that you get at once to horse.
And, knights and kings, there breathes not one of you
Will deem this prize of ours is rashly given:
His prowess was too wondrous. We will do him
No customary honour: since the knight
Came not to us, of us to claim the prize,
Ourselves will send it after. Rise and take
This diamond, and deliver it, and return,
And bring us where he is, and how he fares,
And cease not from your quest until ye find.'

So saying, from the carven flower above,
To which it made a restless heart, he took,
And gave, the diamond: then from where he sat
At Arthur's right, with smiling face arose,
With smiling face and frowning heart, a Prince
In the mid might and flourish of his May,
Gawain, surnamed The Courteous, fair and strong,
And after Lancelot, Tristram, and Geraint
And Gareth, a good knight, but therewithal
Sir Modred's brother, and the child of Lot,
Nor often loyal to his word, and now
Wroth that the King's command to sally forth
In quest of whom he knew not, made him leave
The banquet, and concourse of knights and kings.

So all in wrath he got to horse and went;
While Arthur to the banquet, dark in mood,
Past, thinking 'Is it Lancelot who hath come
Despite the wound he spake of, all for gain
Of glory, and hath added wound to wound,
And ridden away to die?' So feared the King,
And, after two days' tarriance there, returned.
Then when he saw the Queen, embracing asked,
'Love, are you yet so sick?' 'Nay, lord,' she said.
'And where is Lancelot?' Then the Queen amazed,
'Was he not with you? won he not your prize?'
'Nay, but one like him.' 'Why that like was he.'
And when the King demanded how she knew,
Said, 'Lord, no sooner had ye parted from us,
Than Lancelot told me of a common talk
That men went down before his spear at a touch,
But knowing he was Lancelot; his great name
Conquered; and therefore would he hide his name
From all men, even the King, and to this end
Had made a pretext of a hindering wound,
That he might joust unknown of all, and learn
If his old prowess were in aught decayed;
And added, "Our true Arthur, when he learns,
Will well allow me pretext, as for gain
Of purer glory."'

Then replied the King:
'Far lovelier in our Lancelot had it been,
In lieu of idly dallying with the truth,
To have trusted me as he hath trusted thee.
Surely his King and most familiar friend
Might well have kept his secret. True, indeed,
Albeit I know my knights fantastical,
So fine a fear in our large Lancelot
Must needs have moved my laughter: now remains
But little cause for laughter: his own kin--
Ill news, my Queen, for all who love him, this!--
His kith and kin, not knowing, set upon him;
So that he went sore wounded from the field:
Yet good news too: for goodly hopes are mine
That Lancelot is no more a lonely heart.
He wore, against his wont, upon his helm
A sleeve of scarlet, broidered with great pearls,
Some gentle maiden's gift.'

'Yea, lord,' she said,
'Thy hopes are mine,' and saying that, she choked,
And sharply turned about to hide her face,
Past to her chamber, and there flung herself
Down on the great King's couch, and writhed upon it,
And clenched her fingers till they bit the palm,
And shrieked out 'Traitor' to the unhearing wall,
Then flashed into wild tears, and rose again,
And moved about her palace, proud and pale.

Gawain the while through all the region round
Rode with his diamond, wearied of the quest,
Touched at all points, except the poplar grove,
And came at last, though late, to Astolat:
Whom glittering in enamelled arms the maid
Glanced at, and cried, 'What news from Camelot, lord?
What of the knight with the red sleeve?' 'He won.'
'I knew it,' she said. 'But parted from the jousts
Hurt in the side,' whereat she caught her breath;
Through her own side she felt the sharp lance go;
Thereon she smote her hand: wellnigh she swooned:
And, while he gazed wonderingly at her, came
The Lord of Astolat out, to whom the Prince
Reported who he was, and on what quest
Sent, that he bore the prize and could not find
The victor, but had ridden a random round
To seek him, and had wearied of the search.
To whom the Lord of Astolat, 'Bide with us,
And ride no more at random, noble Prince!
Here was the knight, and here he left a shield;
This will he send or come for: furthermore
Our son is with him; we shall hear anon,
Needs must hear.' To this the courteous Prince
Accorded with his wonted courtesy,
Courtesy with a touch of traitor in it,
And stayed; and cast his eyes on fair Elaine:
Where could be found face daintier? then her shape
From forehead down to foot, perfect--again
From foot to forehead exquisitely turned:
'Well--if I bide, lo! this wild flower for me!'
And oft they met among the garden yews,
And there he set himself to play upon her
With sallying wit, free flashes from a height
Above her, graces of the court, and songs,
Sighs, and slow smiles, and golden eloquence
And amorous adulation, till the maid
Rebelled against it, saying to him, 'Prince,
O loyal nephew of our noble King,
Why ask you not to see the shield he left,
Whence you might learn his name? Why slight your King,
And lose the quest he sent you on, and prove
No surer than our falcon yesterday,
Who lost the hern we slipt her at, and went
To all the winds?' 'Nay, by mine head,' said he,
'I lose it, as we lose the lark in heaven,
O damsel, in the light of your blue eyes;
But an ye will it let me see the shield.'
And when the shield was brought, and Gawain saw
Sir Lancelot's azure lions, crowned with gold,
Ramp in the field, he smote his thigh, and mocked:
'Right was the King! our Lancelot! that true man!'
'And right was I,' she answered merrily, 'I,
Who dreamed my knight the greatest knight of all.'
'And if I dreamed,' said Gawain, 'that you love
This greatest knight, your pardon! lo, ye know it!
Speak therefore: shall I waste myself in vain?'
Full simple was her answer, 'What know I?
My brethren have been all my fellowship;
And I, when often they have talked of love,
Wished it had been my mother, for they talked,
Meseemed, of what they knew not; so myself--
I know not if I know what true love is,
But if I know, then, if I love not him,
I know there is none other I can love.'
'Yea, by God's death,' said he, 'ye love him well,
But would not, knew ye what all others know,
And whom he loves.' 'So be it,' cried Elaine,
And lifted her fair face and moved away:
But he pursued her, calling, 'Stay a little!
One golden minute's grace! he wore your sleeve:
Would he break faith with one I may not name?
Must our true man change like a leaf at last?
Nay--like enow: why then, far be it from me
To cross our mighty Lancelot in his loves!
And, damsel, for I deem you know full well
Where your great knight is hidden, let me leave
My quest with you; the diamond also: here!
For if you love, it will be sweet to give it;
And if he love, it will be sweet to have it
From your own hand; and whether he love or not,
A diamond is a diamond. Fare you well
A thousand times!--a thousand times farewell!
Yet, if he love, and his love hold, we two
May meet at court hereafter: there, I think,
So ye will learn the courtesies of the court,
We two shall know each other.'

Then he gave,
And slightly kissed the hand to which he gave,
The diamond, and all wearied of the quest
Leapt on his horse, and carolling as he went
A true-love ballad, lightly rode away.

Thence to the court he past; there told the King
What the King knew, 'Sir Lancelot is the knight.'
And added, 'Sire, my liege, so much I learnt;
But failed to find him, though I rode all round
The region: but I lighted on the maid
Whose sleeve he wore; she loves him; and to her,
Deeming our courtesy is the truest law,
I gave the diamond: she will render it;
For by mine head she knows his hiding-place.'

The seldom-frowning King frowned, and replied,
'Too courteous truly! ye shall go no more
On quest of mine, seeing that ye forget
Obedience is the courtesy due to kings.'

He spake and parted. Wroth, but all in awe,
For twenty strokes of the blood, without a word,
Lingered that other, staring after him;
Then shook his hair, strode off, and buzzed abroad
About the maid of Astolat, and her love.
All ears were pricked at once, all tongues were loosed:
'The maid of Astolat loves Sir Lancelot,
Sir Lancelot loves the maid of Astolat.'
Some read the King's face, some the Queen's, and all
Had marvel what the maid might be, but most
Predoomed her as unworthy. One old dame
Came suddenly on the Queen with the sharp news.
She, that had heard the noise of it before,
But sorrowing Lancelot should have stooped so low,
Marred her friend's aim with pale tranquillity.
So ran the tale like fire about the court,
Fire in dry stubble a nine-days' wonder flared:
Till even the knights at banquet twice or thrice
Forgot to drink to Lancelot and the Queen,
And pledging Lancelot and the lily maid
Smiled at each other, while the Queen, who sat
With lips severely placid, felt the knot
Climb in her throat, and with her feet unseen
Crushed the wild passion out against the floor
Beneath the banquet, where all the meats became
As wormwood, and she hated all who pledged.

But far away the maid in Astolat,
Her guiltless rival, she that ever kept
The one-day-seen Sir Lancelot in her heart,
Crept to her father, while he mused alone,
Sat on his knee, stroked his gray face and said,
'Father, you call me wilful, and the fault
Is yours who let me have my will, and now,
Sweet father, will you let me lose my wits?'
'Nay,' said he, 'surely.' 'Wherefore, let me hence,'
She answered, 'and find out our dear Lavaine.'
'Ye will not lose your wits for dear Lavaine:
Bide,' answered he: 'we needs must hear anon
Of him, and of that other.' 'Ay,' she said,
'And of that other, for I needs must hence
And find that other, wheresoe'er he be,
And with mine own hand give his diamond to him,
Lest I be found as faithless in the quest
As yon proud Prince who left the quest to me.
Sweet father, I behold him in my dreams
Gaunt as it were the skeleton of himself,
Death-pale, for lack of gentle maiden's aid.
The gentler-born the maiden, the more bound,
My father, to be sweet and serviceable
To noble knights in sickness, as ye know
When these have worn their tokens: let me hence
I pray you.' Then her father nodding said,
'Ay, ay, the diamond: wit ye well, my child,
Right fain were I to learn this knight were whole,
Being our greatest: yea, and you must give it--
And sure I think this fruit is hung too high
For any mouth to gape for save a queen's--
Nay, I mean nothing: so then, get you gone,
Being so very wilful you must go.'

Lightly, her suit allowed, she slipt away,
And while she made her ready for her ride,
Her father's latest word hummed in her ear,
'Being so very wilful you must go,'
And changed itself and echoed in her heart,
'Being so very wilful you must die.'
But she was happy enough and shook it off,
As we shake off the bee that buzzes at us;
And in her heart she answered it and said,
'What matter, so I help him back to life?'
Then far away with good Sir Torre for guide
Rode o'er the long backs of the bushless downs
To Camelot, and before the city-gates
Came on her brother with a happy face
Making a roan horse caper and curvet
For pleasure all about a field of flowers:
Whom when she saw, 'Lavaine,' she cried, 'Lavaine,
How fares my lord Sir Lancelot?' He amazed,
'Torre and Elaine! why here? Sir Lancelot!
How know ye my lord's name is Lancelot?'
But when the maid had told him all her tale,
Then turned Sir Torre, and being in his moods
Left them, and under the strange-statued gate,
Where Arthur's wars were rendered mystically,
Past up the still rich city to his kin,
His own far blood, which dwelt at Camelot;
And her, Lavaine across the poplar grove
Led to the caves: there first she saw the casque
Of Lancelot on the wall: her scarlet sleeve,
Though carved and cut, and half the pearls away,
Streamed from it still; and in her heart she laughed,
Because he had not loosed it from his helm,
But meant once more perchance to tourney in it.
And when they gained the cell wherein he slept,
His battle-writhen arms and mighty hands
Lay naked on the wolfskin, and a dream
Of dragging down his enemy made them move.
Then she that saw him lying unsleek, unshorn,
Gaunt as it were the skeleton of himself,
Uttered a little tender dolorous cry.
The sound not wonted in a place so still
Woke the sick knight, and while he rolled his eyes
Yet blank from sleep, she started to him, saying,
'Your prize the diamond sent you by the King:'
His eyes glistened: she fancied 'Is it for me?'
And when the maid had told him all the tale
Of King and Prince, the diamond sent, the quest
Assigned to her not worthy of it, she knelt
Full lowly by the corners of his bed,
And laid the diamond in his open hand.
Her face was near, and as we kiss the child
That does the task assigned, he kissed her face.
At once she slipt like water to the floor.
'Alas,' he said, 'your ride hath wearied you.
Rest must you have.' 'No rest for me,' she said;
'Nay, for near you, fair lord, I am at rest.'
What might she mean by that? his large black eyes,
Yet larger through his leanness, dwelt upon her,
Till all her heart's sad secret blazed itself
In the heart's colours on her simple face;
And Lancelot looked and was perplext in mind,
And being weak in body said no more;
But did not love the colour; woman's love,
Save one, he not regarded, and so turned
Sighing, and feigned a sleep until he slept.

Then rose Elaine and glided through the fields,
And past beneath the weirdly-sculptured gates
Far up the dim rich city to her kin;
There bode the night: but woke with dawn, and past
Down through the dim rich city to the fields,
Thence to the cave: so day by day she past
In either twilight ghost-like to and fro
Gliding, and every day she tended him,
And likewise many a night: and Lancelot
Would, though he called his wound a little hurt
Whereof he should be quickly whole, at times
Brain-feverous in his heat and agony, seem
Uncourteous, even he: but the meek maid
Sweetly forbore him ever, being to him
Meeker than any child to a rough nurse,
Milder than any mother to a sick child,
And never woman yet, since man's first fall,
Did kindlier unto man, but her deep love
Upbore her; till the hermit, skilled in all
The simples and the science of that time,
Told him that her fine care had saved his life.
And the sick man forgot her simple blush,
Would call her friend and sister, sweet Elaine,
Would listen for her coming and regret
Her parting step, and held her tenderly,
And loved her with all love except the love
Of man and woman when they love their best,
Closest and sweetest, and had died the death
In any knightly fashion for her sake.
And peradventure had he seen her first
She might have made this and that other world
Another world for the sick man; but now
The shackles of an old love straitened him,
His honour rooted in dishonour stood,
And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true.

Yet the great knight in his mid-sickness made
Full many a holy vow and pure resolve.
These, as but born of sickness, could not live:
For when the blood ran lustier in him again,
Full often the bright image of one face,
Making a treacherous quiet in his heart,
Dispersed his resolution like a cloud.
Then if the maiden, while that ghostly grace
Beamed on his fancy, spoke, he answered not,
Or short and coldly, and she knew right well
What the rough sickness meant, but what this meant
She knew not, and the sorrow dimmed her sight,
And drave her ere her time across the fields
Far into the rich city, where alone
She murmured, 'Vain, in vain: it cannot be.
He will not love me: how then? must I die?'
Then as a little helpless innocent bird,
That has but one plain passage of few notes,
Will sing the simple passage o'er and o'er
For all an April morning, till the ear
Wearies to hear it, so the simple maid
Went half the night repeating, 'Must I die?'
And now to right she turned, and now to left,
And found no ease in turning or in rest;
And 'Him or death,' she muttered, 'death or him,'
Again and like a burthen, 'Him or death.'

But when Sir Lancelot's deadly hurt was whole,
To Astolat returning rode the three.
There morn by morn, arraying her sweet self
In that wherein she deemed she looked her best,
She came before Sir Lancelot, for she thought
'If I be loved, these are my festal robes,
If not, the victim's flowers before he fall.'
And Lancelot ever prest upon the maid
That she should ask some goodly gift of him
For her own self or hers; 'and do not shun
To speak the wish most near to your true heart;
Such service have ye done me, that I make
My will of yours, and Prince and Lord am I
In mine own land, and what I will I can.'
Then like a ghost she lifted up her face,
But like a ghost without the power to speak.
And Lancelot saw that she withheld her wish,
And bode among them yet a little space
Till he should learn it; and one morn it chanced
He found her in among the garden yews,
And said, 'Delay no longer, speak your wish,
Seeing I go today:' then out she brake:
'Going? and we shall never see you more.
And I must die for want of one bold word.'
'Speak: that I live to hear,' he said, 'is yours.'
Then suddenly and passionately she spoke:
'I have gone mad. I love you: let me die.'
'Ah, sister,' answered Lancelot, 'what is this?'
And innocently extending her white arms,
'Your love,' she said, 'your love--to be your wife.'
And Lancelot answered, 'Had I chosen to wed,
I had been wedded earlier, sweet Elaine:
But now there never will be wife of mine.'
'No, no,' she cried, 'I care not to be wife,
But to be with you still, to see your face,
To serve you, and to follow you through the world.'
And Lancelot answered, 'Nay, the world, the world,
All ear and eye, with such a stupid heart
To interpret ear and eye, and such a tongue
To blare its own interpretation--nay,
Full ill then should I quit your brother's love,
And your good father's kindness.' And she said,
'Not to be with you, not to see your face--
Alas for me then, my good days are done.'
'Nay, noble maid,' he answered, 'ten times nay!
This is not love: but love's first flash in youth,
Most common: yea, I know it of mine own self:
And you yourself will smile at your own self
Hereafter, when you yield your flower of life
To one more fitly yours, not thrice your age:
And then will I, for true you are and sweet
Beyond mine old belief in womanhood,
More specially should your good knight be poor,
Endow you with broad land and territory
Even to the half my realm beyond the seas,
So that would make you happy: furthermore,
Even to the death, as though ye were my blood,
In all your quarrels will I be your knight.
This I will do, dear damsel, for your sake,
And more than this I cannot.'

While he spoke
She neither blushed nor shook, but deathly-pale
Stood grasping what was nearest, then replied:
'Of all this will I nothing;' and so fell,
And thus they bore her swooning to her tower.

Then spake, to whom through those black walls of yew
Their talk had pierced, her father: 'Ay, a flash,
I fear me, that will strike my blossom dead.
Too courteous are ye, fair Lord Lancelot.
I pray you, use some rough discourtesy
To blunt or break her passion.'
Lancelot said,
'That were against me: what I can I will;'
And there that day remained, and toward even
Sent for his shield: full meekly rose the maid,
Stript off the case, and gave the naked shield;
Then, when she heard his horse upon the stones,
Unclasping flung the casement back, and looked
Down on his helm, from which her sleeve had gone.
And Lancelot knew the little clinking sound;
And she by tact of love was well aware
That Lancelot knew that she was looking at him.
And yet he glanced not up, nor waved his hand,
Nor bad farewell, but sadly rode away.
This was the one discourtesy that he used.

So in her tower alone the maiden sat:
His very shield was gone; only the case,
Her own poor work, her empty labour, left.
But still she heard him, still his picture formed
And grew between her and the pictured wall.
Then came her father, saying in low tones,
'Have comfort,' whom she greeted quietly.
Then came her brethren saying, 'Peace to thee,
Sweet sister,' whom she answered with all calm.
But when they left her to herself again,
Death, like a friend's voice from a distant field
Approaching through the darkness, called; the owls
Wailing had power upon her, and she mixt
Her fancies with the sallow-rifted glooms
Of evening, and the moanings of the wind.

And in those days she made a little song,
And called her song 'The Song of Love and Death,'
And sang it: sweetly could she make and sing.

'Sweet is true love though given in vain, in vain;
And sweet is death who puts an end to pain:
I know not which is sweeter, no, not I.

'Love, art thou sweet? then bitter death must be:
Love, thou art bitter; sweet is death to me.
O Love, if death be sweeter, let me die.

'Sweet love, that seems not made to fade away,
Sweet death, that seems to make us loveless clay,
I know not which is sweeter, no, not I.

'I fain would follow love, if that could be;
I needs must follow death, who calls for me;
Call and I follow, I follow! let me die.'

High with the last line scaled her voice, and this,
All in a fiery dawning wild with wind
That shook her tower, the brothers heard, and thought
With shuddering, 'Hark the Phantom of the house
That ever shrieks before a death,' and called
The father, and all three in hurry and fear
Ran to her, and lo! the blood-red light of dawn
Flared on her face, she shrilling, 'Let me die!'

As when we dwell upon a word we know,
Repeating, till the word we know so well
Becomes a wonder, and we know not why,
So dwelt the father on her face, and thought
'Is this Elaine?' till back the maiden fell,
Then gave a languid hand to each, and lay,
Speaking a still good-morrow with her eyes.
At last she said, 'Sweet brothers, yesternight
I seemed a curious little maid again,
As happy as when we dwelt among the woods,
And when ye used to take me with the flood
Up the great river in the boatman's boat.
Only ye would not pass beyond the cape
That has the poplar on it: there ye fixt
Your limit, oft returning with the tide.
And yet I cried because ye would not pass
Beyond it, and far up the shining flood
Until we found the palace of the King.
And yet ye would not; but this night I dreamed
That I was all alone upon the flood,
And then I said, "Now shall I have my will:"
And there I woke, but still the wish remained.
So let me hence that I may pass at last
Beyond the poplar and far up the flood,
Until I find the palace of the King.
There will I enter in among them all,
And no man there will dare to mock at me;
But there the fine Gawain will wonder at me,
And there the great Sir Lancelot muse at me;
Gawain, who bad a thousand farewells to me,
Lancelot, who coldly went, nor bad me one:
And there the King will know me and my love,
And there the Queen herself will pity me,
And all the gentle court will welcome me,
And after my long voyage I shall rest!'

'Peace,' said her father, 'O my child, ye seem
Light-headed, for what force is yours to go
So far, being sick? and wherefore would ye look
On this proud fellow again, who scorns us all?'

Then the rough Torre began to heave and move,
And bluster into stormy sobs and say,
'I never loved him: an I meet with him,
I care not howsoever great he be,
Then will I strike at him and strike him down,
Give me good fortune, I will strike him dead,
For this discomfort he hath done the house.'

To whom the gentle sister made reply,
'Fret not yourself, dear brother, nor be wroth,
Seeing it is no more Sir Lancelot's fault
Not to love me, than it is mine to love
Him of all men who seems to me the highest.'

'Highest?' the father answered, echoing 'highest?'
(He meant to break the passion in her) 'nay,
Daughter, I know not what you call the highest;
But this I know, for all the people know it,
He loves the Queen, and in an open shame:
And she returns his love in open shame;
If this be high, what is it to be low?'

Then spake the lily maid of Astolat:
'Sweet father, all too faint and sick am I
For anger: these are slanders: never yet
Was noble man but made ignoble talk.
He makes no friend who never made a foe.
But now it is my glory to have loved
One peerless, without stain: so let me pass,
My father, howsoe'er I seem to you,
Not all unhappy, having loved God's best
And greatest, though my love had no return:
Yet, seeing you desire your child to live,
Thanks, but you work against your own desire;
For if I could believe the things you say
I should but die the sooner; wherefore cease,
Sweet father, and bid call the ghostly man
Hither, and let me shrive me clean, and die.'

So when the ghostly man had come and gone,
She with a face, bright as for sin forgiven,
Besought Lavaine to write as she devised
A letter, word for word; and when he asked
'Is it for Lancelot, is it for my dear lord?
Then will I bear it gladly;' she replied,
'For Lancelot and the Queen and all the world,
But I myself must bear it.' Then he wrote
The letter she devised; which being writ
And folded, 'O sweet father, tender and true,
Deny me not,' she said--'ye never yet
Denied my fancies--this, however strange,
My latest: lay the letter in my hand
A little ere I die, and close the hand
Upon it; I shall guard it even in death.
And when the heat is gone from out my heart,
Then take the little bed on which I died
For Lancelot's love, and deck it like the Queen's
For richness, and me also like the Queen
In all I have of rich, and lay me on it.
And let there be prepared a chariot-bier
To take me to the river, and a barge
Be ready on the river, clothed in black.
I go in state to court, to meet the Queen.
There surely I shall speak for mine own self,
And none of you can speak for me so well.
And therefore let our dumb old man alone
Go with me, he can steer and row, and he
Will guide me to that palace, to the doors.'

She ceased: her father promised; whereupon
She grew so cheerful that they deemed her death
Was rather in the fantasy than the blood.
But ten slow mornings past, and on the eleventh
Her father laid the letter in her hand,
And closed the hand upon it, and she died.
So that day there was dole in Astolat.

But when the next sun brake from underground,
Then, those two brethren slowly with bent brows
Accompanying, the sad chariot-bier
Past like a shadow through the field, that shone
Full-summer, to that stream whereon the barge,
Palled all its length in blackest samite, lay.
There sat the lifelong creature of the house,
Loyal, the dumb old servitor, on deck,
Winking his eyes, and twisted all his face.
So those two brethren from the chariot took
And on the black decks laid her in her bed,
Set in her hand a lily, o'er her hung
The silken case with braided blazonings,
And kissed her quiet brows, and saying to her
'Sister, farewell for ever,' and again
'Farewell, sweet sister,' parted all in tears.
Then rose the dumb old servitor, and the dead,
Oared by the dumb, went upward with the flood--
In her right hand the lily, in her left
The letter--all her bright hair streaming down--
And all the coverlid was cloth of gold
Drawn to her waist, and she herself in white
All but her face, and that clear-featured face
Was lovely, for she did not seem as dead,
But fast asleep, and lay as though she smiled.

That day Sir Lancelot at the palace craved
Audience of Guinevere, to give at last,
The price of half a realm, his costly gift,
Hard-won and hardly won with bruise and blow,
With deaths of others, and almost his own,
The nine-years-fought-for diamonds: for he saw
One of her house, and sent him to the Queen
Bearing his wish, whereto the Queen agreed
With such and so unmoved a majesty
She might have seemed her statue, but that he,
Low-drooping till he wellnigh kissed her feet
For loyal awe, saw with a sidelong eye
The shadow of some piece of pointed lace,
In the Queen's shadow, vibrate on the walls,
And parted, laughing in his courtly heart.

All in an oriel on the summer side,
Vine-clad, of Arthur's palace toward the stream,
They met, and Lancelot kneeling uttered, 'Queen,
Lady, my liege, in whom I have my joy,
Take, what I had not won except for you,
These jewels, and make me happy, making them
An armlet for the roundest arm on earth,
Or necklace for a neck to which the swan's
Is tawnier than her cygnet's: these are words:
Your beauty is your beauty, and I sin
In speaking, yet O grant my worship of it
Words, as we grant grief tears. Such sin in words
Perchance, we both can pardon: but, my Queen,
I hear of rumours flying through your court.
Our bond, as not the bond of man and wife,
Should have in it an absoluter trust
To make up that defect: let rumours be:
When did not rumours fly? these, as I trust
That you trust me in your own nobleness,
I may not well believe that you believe.'

While thus he spoke, half turned away, the Queen
Brake from the vast oriel-embowering vine
Leaf after leaf, and tore, and cast them off,
Till all the place whereon she stood was green;
Then, when he ceased, in one cold passive hand
Received at once and laid aside the gems
There on a table near her, and replied:

'It may be, I am quicker of belief
Than you believe me, Lancelot of the Lake.
Our bond is not the bond of man and wife.
This good is in it, whatsoe'er of ill,
It can be broken easier. I for you
This many a year have done despite and wrong
To one whom ever in my heart of hearts
I did acknowledge nobler. What are these?
Diamonds for me! they had been thrice their worth
Being your gift, had you not lost your own.
To loyal hearts the value of all gifts
Must vary as the giver's. Not for me!
For her! for your new fancy. Only this
Grant me, I pray you: have your joys apart.
I doubt not that however changed, you keep
So much of what is graceful: and myself
Would shun to break those bounds of courtesy
In which as Arthur's Queen I move and rule:
So cannot speak my mind. An end to this!
A strange one! yet I take it with Amen.
So pray you, add my diamonds to her pearls;
Deck her with these; tell her, she shines me down:
An armlet for an arm to which the Queen's
Is haggard, or a necklace for a neck
O as much fairer--as a faith once fair
Was richer than these diamonds--hers not mine--
Nay, by the mother of our Lord himself,
Or hers or mine, mine now to work my will--
She shall not have them.' Saying which
she seized,
And, through the casement standing wide for heat,
Flung them, and down they flashed, and smote the stream.
Then from the smitten surface flashed, as it were,
Diamonds to meet them, and they past away.
Then while Sir Lancelot leant, in half disdain
At love, life, all things, on the window ledge,
Close underneath his eyes, and right across
Where these had fallen, slowly past the barge.
Whereon the lily maid of Astolat
Lay smiling, like a star in blackest night.

But the wild Queen, who saw not, burst away
To weep and wail in secret; and the barge,
On to the palace-doorway sliding, paused.
There two stood armed, and kept the door; to whom,
All up the marble stair, tier over tier,
Were added mouths that gaped, and eyes that asked
'What is it?' but that oarsman's haggard face,
As hard and still as is the face that men
Shape to their fancy's eye from broken rocks
On some cliff-side, appalled them, and they said
'He is enchanted, cannot speak--and she,
Look how she sleeps--the Fairy Queen, so fair!
Yea, but how pale! what are they? flesh and blood?
Or come to take the King to Fairyland?
For some do hold our Arthur cannot die,
But that he passes into Fairyland.'

While thus they babbled of the King, the King
Came girt with knights: then turned the tongueless man
From the half-face to the full eye, and rose
And pointed to the damsel, and the doors.
So Arthur bad the meek Sir Percivale
And pure Sir Galahad to uplift the maid;
And reverently they bore her into hall.
Then came the fine Gawain and wondered at her,
And Lancelot later came and mused at her,
And last the Queen herself, and pitied her:
But Arthur spied the letter in her hand,
Stoopt, took, brake seal, and read it; this was all:

'Most noble lord, Sir Lancelot of the Lake,
I, sometime called the maid of Astolat,
Come, for you left me taking no farewell,
Hither, to take my last farewell of you.
I loved you, and my love had no return,
And therefore my true love has been my death.
And therefore to our Lady Guinevere,
And to all other ladies, I make moan:
Pray for my soul, and yield me burial.
Pray for my soul thou too, Sir Lancelot,
As thou art a knight peerless.'

Thus he read;
And ever in the reading, lords and dames
Wept, looking often from his face who read
To hers which lay so silent, and at times,
So touched were they, half-thinking that her lips,
Who had devised the letter, moved again.

Then freely spoke Sir Lancelot to them all:
'My lord liege Arthur, and all ye that hear,
Know that for this most gentle maiden's death
Right heavy am I; for good she was and true,
But loved me with a love beyond all love
In women, whomsoever I have known.
Yet to be loved makes not to love again;
Not at my years, however it hold in youth.
I swear by truth and knighthood that I gave
No cause, not willingly, for such a love:
To this I call my friends in testimony,
Her brethren, and her father, who himself
Besought me to be plain and blunt, and use,
To break her passion, some discourtesy
Against my nature:

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