Page:The Hundred Best Poems (lyrical) in the English language - second series.djvu/135

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76.
Sir Galahad.


MY good blade carves the casques of men,
 My tough lance thrusteth sure,
My strength is as the strength of ten,
 Because my heart is pure.
The shattering trumpet shrilleth high,
 The hard brands shiver on the steel,
The splinter'd spear-shafts crack and fly,
 The horse and rider reel:
They reel, they roll in clanging lists,
 And when the tide of combat stands,
Perfume and flowers fall in showers,
 That lightly rain from ladies' hands.

How sweet are looks that ladies bend
 On whom their favours fall!
For them I battle till the end,
 To save from shame and thrall:
But all my heart is drawn above,
 My knees are bow'd in crypt and shrine:
I never felt the kiss of love,
 Nor maiden's hand in mine.
More bounteous aspects on me beam,
 Me mightier transports move and thrill;
So keep I fair thro' faith and prayer
 A virgin heart in work and will.

When down the stormy crescent goes,
 A light before me swims,
Between dark stems the forest glows,
 I hear a noise of hymns:
Then by some secret shrine I ride;

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