Le Morte D'Arthur

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Le Morte D'Arthur

from: The Bookman (P. 87)  December 1916

"Some men say in many parts of England that King Arthur is not dead . . . rather will I say: Here in this world he changed his life." —MALORY.

 
HE passed in mystery from mortal sight
Upon the waters that enshrined his sword.
There was no man whose eyes had seen the blight
Of death upon the face of Britain's lord,
And all of Arthur that was left his land
Was a great memory like an armoured ghost,
That steeled the sinews of the English hand
And thundered in the waves of England's coast.

Time made of Arthur and of Avalon
A poet's dream to please an idle hour,
While England through triumphant years went on
Proud in great riches, confident in power,
Girding the world with her imperial sway—
Too busy and too prosperous to see
The eastward threatening of a certain Day
That should make different all the days to be.

Before its dawn there came a man, whose eyes
Were strange alike to pity and to fear—
Not cruel, but unsparing, in the wise
Of those who see eternity too near.
Upon this quiet doer of his deed
Flamed the red morning of a world in dust.
"Trust him!" cried England in her final need,
And royally he rose to meet her trust.

Out of the stubborn stuff of youth untaught
He shaped an army to his high desire.
Unhastening, unfaltering, he wrought
Amid the rising tide of blood and fire
A living shield for England's labouring heart—
The breaking heart is too great to fail!
And then—as if time's curtains drew apart
To welcome back a kingly ghost in mail—

He passed in mystery from mortal sight.
The waters took him, as it was of old.
The tale of how death came to England's knight
Never by any moral may be told.
All we have left of Kitchener lives on,
Steel sinewed in the army that he made.
There may be joy to-day in Avalon
For the home-coming of a hero's shade.