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Then quickly rose Sir Bedivere, and ran,
Seen where the moving isles of winter shock
Then spoke King Arthur, drawing thicker breath:
And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
Then with both hands I flung him, wheeling him ;
And answer made King Arthur, breathing hard:
So saying, from the pavement he half rose,
As in a picture. Him Sir Bedivere
But, as he walked, King Arthur panted hard,
But the other swiftly strode from ridge to ridge,
He heard the deep behind him, and a cry
Before. His own thought drove him like a goad.
Then saw they how there hove a dusky barge,
And, as it were one voice, an agony
Of lamentation, like a wind that shrills
All night in a waste land, where no one comes,
Then murmured Arthur, "Place me in the barge."
And slowly answered Arthur from the barge:
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
I have lived my life, and that which I have done
For what are men better than sheep or goats
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
So said he, and the barge with oar and sail
In yonder chair I see him sit,
Three fingers round the old silver cup — I see his gray eyes twinkle yet
At his own jest gray eyes lit up With summer lightnings of a soul So full of summer warmth, so glad, So healthy, sound, and clear, and whole, His memory scarce can make me sad.
Yet fill my glass: give me one kiss:
My own sweet Alice, we must die.
But more is taken quite away.
I least should breathe a thought of pain. Would God renew me from my birth
I'd almost live my life again.
So sweet it seems with thee to walk, And once again to woo thee mineIt seems in after-dinner talk
Across the walnuts and the wine
To be the long and listless boy
Late left an orphan of the squire, Where this old mansion mounted high
Looks down upon the village spire: For even here, where I and you
Have lived and loved alone so long, Each morn my sleep was broken through By some wild skylark's matin-song.
And oft I heard the tender dove
In firry woodlands making moan; But ere I saw your eyes, my love,
I had no motion of my own. For scarce my life with fancy played Before I dreamed that pleasant dreamStill hither thither idly swayed
Like those long mosses in the stream. Or from the bridge I leaned to hear The mill-dam rushing down with noise, And see the minnows everywhere
In crystal eddies glance and poise, The tall flag-flowers when they sprung
Below the range of stepping-stones, Or those three chestnuts near, that hung In masses thick with milky cones.
But, Alice, what an hour was that, When after roving in the woods, ('Twas April then), I came and sat
Below the chestnuts, when their buds
Were glistening to the breezy blue; And on the slope, an absent fool, I cast me down, nor thought of you, But angled in the higher pool.
A love-song I had somewhere read,
From some odd corner of the brain.
With weary sameness in the rhymes, The phantom of a silent song,
That went and came a thousand times.
Then leapt a trout. In lazy mood
I watched the little circles die; They past into the level flood,
And there a vision caught my eye; The reflex of a beauteous form,
A glowing arm, a gleaming neck, As when a sunbeam wavers warm
Within the dark and dimpled beck. For you remember, you had set,
That morning, on the casement's edge A long green box of mignonette,
And you were leaning from the ledge; And when I raised my eyes, above
They met with two so full and bright— Such eyes! I swear to you, my love,
That these have never lost their light.
I loved, and love dispelled the fear
That I should die an early death; For love possessed the atmosphere,
And filled the breast with purer breath. My mother thought, What ails the boy?
For I was altered, and began
To move about the house with joy,
I loved the brimming wave that swam Through quiet meadows round the mill, The sleepy pool above the dam,
The pool beneath it never still, The meal-sacks on the whitened floor, The dark round of the dripping wheel, The very air about the door
Made misty with the floating meal.
And oft in ramblings on the wold,
When April nights began to blow, And April's crescent glimmered cold, I saw the village lights below; I knew your taper far away,
And full at heart of trembling hope, From off the wold I came, and lay
Upon the freshly-flowered slope.