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Far and near the pilgrims throng,
With staff and humble mien,
Against the sky is seen.
And Saint Joseph's silver shrine,
For the light and grace divine;
They dwell their purposed day,
Each on his homeward way.
The winds are high in Saint Michael's Tor,
And a sorry sight is there,
Mount up the turret-stair;
There kneels a holy priest;
To hold their rapine-feast.
The cloud comes on them, the vision is changed,
And a crash of lofty walls, And the short dead sound of music quenched,
On the sickened hearing falls;
Unblest the ages glide;
Rolls up the Mendip side.
Low sloping over sea and field
The setting ray had past,
The glory-flush was cast.
Of Avalon's green hill, Her ancient homes and fretted towers
Were lying, bright and still;
And lower, in the valley-field,
Hid from the parting day,
A ruin rough and gray ;
Spired up into the sky, –
Of vision blest and high.
The vision changeth not,
no cloud Comes down the Mendip side; The moors spread out beneath my feet
Their free expanse and wide; On glittering cots and ancient towers
That rise among the dells, On mountain and on bending stream,
The light of evening dwells.
I may not write,
I cannot say What change shall next betide ; Whether that group of columns gray
Untroubled shall abide,
Or whether that pile in Avalon's isle
Some pious hand shall raise,
With pealing chants of praise.
thy green marge, thou vale of Avalon,
Not for that thou art crowned with ancient towers And shafts and clustered pillars many an one, Love I to dream away the sunny hours; Not for that here in charmed slumber lie The holy relics of that British king Who was the flower of knightly chivalry, Do I stand blest past power of uttering; But for that on thy cowslip-sprinkled sod Alit of old the olive-bearing bird, Meek messenger of purchased peace with God; And the first hymns that Britain ever heard Arose, the low preluding melodies To the sweetest anthem that hath reached the skies.
AT THE TOMB OF KING ARTHUR.
THROUGH Glastonbury's cloister dim
The midnight winds were sighing;
For those in silence lying,
Fast bound, and unreplying.
Hard by the monks their mass were saying;
The organ evermore
On that smooth swell upbore
Toward heaven's eternal shore.
Erelong a princely multitude
Moved on through arches gray
(God grant they stand for aye!) Saint Joseph's church of woven wood
On England's baptism day.
The grave they found; their swift strokes fell,
Piercing dull earth and stone.
And cross of oak, whereon
In the isle of Avalon.”
The mail on every knightly breast,
The steel at each man's side,
Bowed low its pluméd pride ;
But first the monarch cried :
“Great King! in youth I made a vow
Earth's mightiest son to greet; His hand to worship; on bis brow
his Therefore, though dead, till noontide thou
Shalt fill my royal seat !”
Away the massive lid they rolled,
Alas! what found they there?
But dust where such things were.
And one bright wreath of bair.
Genevra's hair! like gold it lay;
For Time, though stern, is just,
And Death reveres his trust.
From sunshine into dust!
Then Henry lifted from his head
The Conqueror's iron crown;
And knelt in reverence down,
“ Thou God art King alone!”
Aubrey de Vere.