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IV

And, binding them all in one blazing sheaf, PART FIRST

Had cast them forth: so, young and

strong,

And lightsome as a locust-leaf, “My golden spurs now bring to me, Sir Launfal flashed forth in his maiden And bring to me my richest mail,

mail, For to-morrow I go over land and sea To seek in all climes for the Holy Grail.

In search of the Holy Grail; Shall never a bed for me be spread, Nor shall a pillow be under my head, It was morning on hill and stream and tree, Till I begin my vow to keep;

And morning in the young knight's Here on the rushes will I sleep,

heart; And perchance there may come a vision Only the castle moodily true

Rebuffed the gifts of the sunshine free, Ere day create the world anew."

And gloomed by itself apart; Slowly Sir Launfal's eyes grew dim, The season brimmed all other things up Slumber fell like a cloud on him,

Full as the rain fills the pitcher-plant's cup. And into his soul the vision flew.

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mori,

As Sir Launfal made morn through the The crows flapped over by twos and threes,

darksome gate, In the pool drowsed the cattle up to their He was 'ware of a leper, crouched by the knees,

same, The little birds sang as if it were

Who begged with his hand and moaned as The one day of suinmer in all the year,

he sate; And the very leaves seemed to sing on the And a loathing over Sir Launfal came; trees:

The sunshine went out of his soul with a The castle alone in the landscape lay

thrill, Like an outpost of winter, dull and gray: The flesh 'neath his armor 'gan shrink 'T was the proudest hall in the North

and crawl, Countree

And midway its leap his heart stood still And never its gates might opened be,

Like a frozen waterfall; Save to lord or lady of high degree;

For this man, so foul and bent of stature, Summer besieged it on every side,

Rasped harshly against his dainty nature, But the churlish stone her assaults defied; And seemed the one blot on the summer She could not scale the chilly wall, Though around it for leagues her pavilions So he tossed him a piece of gold in scorn.

tall Stretched left and right, Over the hills and out of sight;

The leper raised not the gold from the Green and broad was every tent,

dust: And out of each a murmur went

“ Better to me the poor man's crust, Till the breeze fell off at night.

Better the blessing of the poor,
Though I turn me empty from his door;

That is no true alms which the hand can The drawbridge dropped with a surly clang,

hold; And through the dark arch a charger He gives only the worthless gold sprang,

Who gives from a sense of duty; Bearing Sir Launfal, the maiden knight, But he who gives but a slender mite, In his gilded mail, that flamed so bright And gives to that which is out of sight, It seemed the dark castle had gathered all That thread of the all-sustaining Beauty Those shafts the fierce sun had shot over Which runs through all and doth all its wall

unite, In his siege of three hundred summers The hand cannot clasp the whole of his long,

alms,

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III

The heart outstretches its eager palms,
For a god goes with it and makes it store
To the soul that was starving in darkness

before."

PRELUDE TO PART SECOND

Within the hall are song and laughter,
The cheeks of Christmas glow red and

jolly,
And sprouting is every corbel and rafter

With lightsome green of ivy and holly; Through the deep gulf of the chimney

wide Wallows the Yule-log's roaring tide; The broad flame-pennons droop and flap

And belly and tug as a flag in the wind; Like a locust shrills the imprisoned sap,

Hunted to death in its galleries blind; And swift little troops of silent sparks, Now pausing, now scattering away as in

fear, Go threading the soot-forest's tangled darks

Like herds of startled deer.

a

Down swept the chill wind from the monn

tain peak, From the snow five thousand summers

old; On open wold and hilltop bleak

It had gathered all the cold, And whirled it like sleet ou the wanderer's

cheek; It carried a shiver everywhere From the unleafed boughs and pastures

bare; The little brook heard it and built a roof 'Neath which he could house him, winter

proof; All night by the white stars' frosty gleams He groined his arches and matched his

beams; Slender and clear were his crystal spars As the lashes of light that trim the stars: He sculptured every summer delight In his halls and chambers out of sight; Sometimes his tinkling waters slipt Down through a frost-leaved forest-crypt, Long, sparkling aisles of steel-stemmed

trees Bending to counterfeit a breeze; Sometimes the roof no fretwork knew But silvery mosses that downward grew; Sometimes it was carved in sharp relief With quaint arabesques of ice-fern leaf; Sometimes it was simply smooth and clear For the gladness of heaven to shine

through, and here He had caught the nodding bulrush-tops And hung them thickly with diamond

drops, That crystalled the beams of moon and sun, And made a star of every one : No mortal builder's most rare device Could match this winter-palace of ice; ’T was as if every image that mirrored lay In his depths serene through the summer

day, Each fleeting shadow of earth and sky,

Lest the happy model should be lost, Had been miinicked in fairy masonry

By the elfin builders of the frost.

But the wind without was eager and sharp, Of Sir Launfal's gray hair it makes a harp,

And rattles and wrings

The icy strings, Singing, in dreary monotone, A Christmas carol of its own, Whose burden still, as he might guess, Was “Shelterless, shelterless, shelter

less!” The voice of the seneschal flared like a

torch As he shouted the wanderer away from the

porch, And he sat in the gateway and saw all

night The great hall-fire, so cheery and bold, Through the window-slits of the castle

old, Build out its piers of ruddy light Against the drift of the cold.

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VII

Sir Launfal turned from his own hard gate, Then the soul of the leper stood up in his For another heir in his earldom sate;

eyes An old, bent man, worn out and frail,

And looked at Sir Launfal, and straightHe came back from seeking the Holy Grail;

Remembered in what a haughtier guise Little he recked of his earldom's loss,

He had flung an alms to leprosie, No more on his surcoat was blazoned the When he girt his young life up in gilded cross,

mail But deep in his soul the sign he wore, And set forth in search of the Holy Grail. The badge of the suffering and the poor. The heart within him was ashes and dust;

He parted in twain his single crust,

He broke the ice on the streamlet's brink, Sir Launfal's raiment thin and spare

And

gave the leper to eat and drink, Was idle mail 'gainst the barbëd air, ’T was a mouldy crust of coarse brown For it was just at the Christmas time;

bread, So he mused, as he sat, of a sunnier clime, 'T was water out of a wooden bowl,— And sought for a shelter from cold and Yet with fine wheaten bread was the leper

fed, In the light and warmth of long-ago;

And 't was red wine he drank with his He sees the snake-like caravan crawl

thirsty soul. O'er the edge of the desert, black and

small, Then nearer and nearer, till, one by one, As Sir Launfal mused with a downcast He can count the camels in the sun,

face, As over the red-hot sands they pass

A light shone round about the place; To where, in its slender necklace of grass, The leper no longer crouched at his side, The little spring laughed and leapt in the But stood before him glorified, shade,

Shining and tall and fair and straight
And with its own self like an infant played, As the pillar that stood by the Beautiful
And waved its signal of palms.

Gate,
Himself the Gate whereby men can

Enter the temple of God in Man. “For Christ's sweet sake, I beg an alms ;”. The happy camels may reach the spring, But Sir Launfal sees only the grewsome His words were shed softer than leaves thing,

from the pine, The leper, lank as the rain-blanched bone, And they fell on Sir Launfal as snows on That cowers beside him, a thing as lone

the brine, And white as the ice - isles of Northern That mingle their softness and quiet in one

With the shaggy unrest they float down In the desolate horror of his disease.

upon; And the voice that was softer than silence

said, And Sir Launfal said, “I behold in thee Lo, it is I, be not afraid ! An image of Him who died on the tree; In many climes, without avail, Thou also hast had thy crown of thorns, Thou hast spent thy life for the Holy Grail; Thou also hast had the world's buffets and Behold, it is here, — this cup which thou scorns,

Didst fill at the streamlet for me but now; And to thy life were not denied

This crust is my body broken for thee, The wounds in the hands and feet and This water bis blood that died on the tree; side:

The Holy Supper is kept, indeed, Mild Mary's Son, acknowledge me;

In whatso we share with another's need; Behold, through him, I give to thee ! ” Not what we give, but what we share,

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LETTER FROM BOSTON This letter was written to Mr. James Miller of The Pennsylvania Freeman, where the verses McKim, who had succeeded Whittier as editor were first published.

December, 1846. DEAR M

By way of saving time,
I'll do this letter up in rhyme,
Whose slim stream through four pages

flows
Ere one is packed with tight-screwed prose,
Threading the tube of an epistle,
Smooth as a child's breath through a whistle.

With her swift eyes of clear steel-blue,
The coiled-up mainspring of the Fair,
Originating everywhere
The expansive force without a sound
That whirls a hundred wheels around,
Herself meanwhile as calm and still
As the bare crown of Prospect Hill;
A noble woman, brave and apt,
Cumæan sibyl not more rapt,
Who might, with those fair tresses shorn,
The Maid of Orleans' casque have worn,
Herself the Joan of our Ark,
For every shaft a shining mark.

The great attraction now of all
Is the “ Bazaar" at Faneuil Hall,
Where swarm the anti-slavery folks
As thick, dear Miller, as your jokes.
There's GARRISON, his features very
Benign for an incendiary,
Beaming forth sunshine through his glasses
On the surrounding lads and lasses,
(No bee could blither be, or brisker,) –
À Pickwick somehow turned John Ziska,
His bump of firmness swelling up
Like a rye cupcake from its cup.
And there, too, was his English tea-set,
Which in his ear a kind of flea set
His Uncle Samuel for its beauty
Demanding sixty dollars duty,
('T was natural Sam should serve his trunk

ill,
For G., you know, has cut his uncle,)
Whereas, had he but once made tea in't,
His uncle's ear had had the flea in 't,
There being not a cent of duty
On any pot that ever drew tea.
There was MARIA CAAPMAN, too,

And there, too, was Eliza FOLLEN,
Who scatters fruit-creating pollen
Where'er a blossom she can find
Hardy enough for Truth's north wind,
Each several point of all her face
Tremblingly bright with the inward grace,
As if all motion gave it light
Like phosphorescent seas at night.
There jokes our EDMUND, plainly son
Of him who bearded Jefferson,
A non-resistant by conviction,
But with a bump in contradiction,
So that whene'er it gets a chance
His

pen delights to play the lance, And

-you may doubt it, or believe it – Full at the head of Joshua Leavitt The very calumet he'd launch, And scourge him with the olive branch. A master with the foils of wit,

'T is natural he should love a hit;

His words are red hot iron searers, A gentleman, withal, and scholar,

And nightmare-like he mounts his hearers, Only base things excite his choler,

Spurring them like avenging Fate, or
And then his satire's keen and thin

As Waterton his alligator.
As the lithe blade of Saladin.
Good letters are a gift apart,

Hard by, as calm as summer even,
And his are gems of Flemish art,

Smiles the reviled and pelted STEPHEN, True offspring of the fireside Muse, The unappeasable Boanerges Not a rag-gathering of news

To all the Churches and the Clergies,
Like a new hopfield which is all poles, The grim savant who, to complete
But of one blood with Horace Walpole's. His own peculiar cabinet,

Contrived to label 'mong his kicks
There, with one hand behind his back, One from the followers of Hicks;
Stauds PHILLIPS buttoned in a sack, Who studied mineralogy
Our Attic orator, our Chatham;

Not with soft book upon the knee,
Old fogies, when he lightens at 'em, But learned the properties of stones
Shrivel like leaves; to him 't is granted By contact sharp of flesh and bones,
Always to say the word that 's wanted, And made the experimentum crucis
So that he seems but speaking clearer With his own body's vital juices
The tiptop thought of every hearer; A man with caoutchouc endurance,
Each flash his brooding heart lets fall A perfect gem for life insurance,
Fires what is combustible in all,

A kind of maddened John the Baptist, And sends the applauses bursting in

To whom the harshest word comes aptest, Like an exploded magazine.

Who, struck by stone or brick ill-starred, His eloquence no frothy show,

Hurls back an epithet as hard, The gutter's street-polluted flow,

Which, deadlier than stone or brick, No Mississippi's yellow flood

Has a propensity to stick. Whose shoalness can't be seen for mud; His oratory is like the screain So simply clear, serenely deep,

Of the iron-horse's frenzied steam So silent-strong its graceful sweep,

Which warns the world to leave wide space None measures its unrippling force

For the black engine's swerveless race. Who has not striven to stem its course; Ye men with neckcloths white, I warn How fare their barques who think to play

you With smooth Niagara's mane of spray,

Habet a whole haymow in cornu.
Let Austin's total shipwreck say.
He never spoke a word too much

A Judith, there, turned Quakeress,
Except of Story, or some such,

Sits ABBY in her modest dress,
Whom, though condemned by ethics strict, Serving a table quietly,
The heart refuses to convict.

As if that mild and downcast eye

Flashed never, with its scorn intense, Beyond, a crater in each eye,

More than Medea's eloquence.
Sways brown, broad - shouldered Pills- So the same force which shakes its dread
BURY,

Far-blazing blocks o'er Ætna’s head,
Who tears up words like trees by the roots, Along the wires in silence fares
A Theseus in stout cow-hide boots,

And messages of commerce bears.
The wager of eternal war

No nobler gift of heart and brain, Against that loathsome Minotaur

No life more white from spot or stain, To whom we sacrifice each year

Was e'er on Freedom's altar laid The best blood of our Athens here,

Than hers, the simple Quaker maid. (Dear M., pray brush up your Lempriere.) A terrible denouncer he,

These last three (leaving in the lurch Old Sinai burns unquenchably

Some other themes) assault the Church, Upon his lips; he well might be a

Who therefore writes them in her lists Hot-blazing soul from fierce Judea,

As Satan's limbs and atheists; Habakkuk, Ezra, or Ilosea.

For each sect has one argument

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