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When not great Arthur's tomb nor holy Joseph's

grave

From sacrilege had power their sacred bones to save?
He who that God in man to his sepulchre brought,
Or he which for the faith twelve famous battles fought.
What! did so many kings do honor to that place,
For avarice at last so vilely to deface?

For reverence to that seat which had ascribéd been, Trees yet in winter bloom, and bear their summer's green.

Michael Drayton.

THE BALLAD OF GLASTONBURY.

GLASTONBURY, anciently called Avalon, is a place much celebrated both in tradition and history. It was here, according to old legends, when the neighboring moors were covered by the sea, that St. Joseph of Arimathea landed, and built the first church in England. It was here that the glorious king Arthur was buried, with the inscription: Hic jacet Arturus, rex quondam, rexque futurus.

THE hills have on their royal robes
Of purple and of gold,

And over their tops the autumn clouds
In heaps are onward rolled;

Below them spreads the fairest plain
That British eye may see,
From Quantock to the Mendip range,
A broad expanse and free.

As from those barriers, gray and vast,
Rolled off the morning mist,
Leaving the eyesight unrestrained
To wander where it list,

So roll, thou ancient chronicler,
The ages' mist away;

Give me an hour of vision clear,
A dream of the former day.

At once the flood of the Severn sea
Flowed over half the plain,

And a hundred capes, with huts and trees,
Above the flood remain :

"T is water here and water there,

And the lordly Parret's way

Hath never a trace on its pathless face,
As in the former day.

Of shining sails that thronged that stream
There resteth never a one,

But a little ship to that inland sea

Comes bounding in alone;

With stretch of sail and-tug of oar

It comes full merrily,

And the sailors chant, as they pass the shore, Tibi gloria, Domine.

*

*

*

*

By this the vessel had floated nigh
To the turf upon the strand,
And first that holy man of joy

Stepped on the Promise-land;
Until the rest, in order blest,

Were ranged, and, kneeling there, Gave blessing to the God of heaven In a lowly chanted prayer.

*

Then over the brow of the seaward hill

In their order blest they pass,

At every change in the psalmody
Kissing the holy grass,

Till they come where they may see full near
That pointed mountain rise,

Darkening with its ancient cone

The light of the eastern skies.

"This staff hath borne me long and well," Then spake that saint divine,

"Over mountain and over plain,

On quest of the Promise-sign;

For aye let it stand in this western land,
And God do no more to me

If there ring not out from this realm about,
Tibi gloria, Domine."

A cloud is on them, the vision is changed, And voices of melody,

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And a ring of harps, like twinkles bright,
Comes over the inland sca;

Long and loud is the chant of praise,
The hallowed ages glide;

And once again the mist from the plain
Rolls up the Mendip side.

With mourning stole and solemn step,
Up that same seaward hill,

There moved of ladies and of knights
A company sad and still;

There went before an open bier,

And, sleeping in a charm,
With face to heaven and folded palms
There lay an arméd form.

It is the winter deep, and all
The glittering fields that morn
In Avalon's isle were over-snowed
The day the Lord was born;
And as they cross the northward brow,
See white, but not with snow,
The mystic thorn beside their path
Its holy blossoms show.

They carry him where from chapel low Rings clear the angel-bell,—

He was the flower of knights and lords, So chant the requiem well:

His wound was deep, and his holy sleep Shall last him many a day,

Till the cry of crime in the latter time Shall melt the charm away.

A cloud is on them, the vision fades, And cries of woe and fear,

And sounds unblest of neighboring war, Are thronging on mine ear:

Long and loud was the battle-cry,

And the groans of them that died; And once again the mist from the plain Rolls up the Mendip side.

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From the postern-door of an abbaye pile,
Passes with heavy cheer

A soldier-king in humble mien,
For the shouting foes are near :
The holy men by their altars bide,
In alb and stole they stand;
The incense-fumes the temple fill

From blesséd children's hand.

Slow past the king that seaward brow,
Whence turning he might see,
Streaming upon Saint Michael's Tor,

The pagan blazonry;

Then a pealing shout and a silence long,
And rolling next on high

Dark vapor, laced with threads of flame,
Angered the twilight sky.

The cloud comes on, the vision is changed, And songs of victory,

And hymns of praise to the Lord of Peace, Come over the inland sea;

The waters clear, the fields appear,
The plain is green and wide;

And once again the mist from the plain
Rolls up the Mendip side.

The plats were green with lavish growth,
And, like a silver cord,

Down to the northern bay the Brue
Its glittering water poured.

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