Sir Percivale's Ballade

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Sir Percivale's Ballade

by: J. N. Greely (Author)
from: The Yale Monthly Magazine (P. 219)  February 1906

I loved fierce battle -- savage strivings where
High Heaven lay in the fortunes of the fight,
And gleaming swords on glittering mail rang fair --
With all the field a wilderment of light.
My lust of war has lost its joyous bite;
No more the strife of mighty men in mail
Seems decked in glamour, gloriously dight,
For these poor eyes have seen the Holy Grail.

I loved proud pomp -- the ruddy torches glare
On ruddier gold, to blazon forth my might;
Homage of courtiers -- Yea, the poor folks' stare
Was all in the world in my blind sight.
But all is dim to me that once was bright;
How petty is man's pomp, how fragile-frail,
Seen dully, as at dusk before the night --
For these poor eyes have seen the Holy Grail.

I loved my lady -- tangled in her hair
Were all my longings; in her person slight
Lay all things wonderful and all things rare.
But idle, day-dreamt dreams have taken flight
And fled away. The Cup's unsullied white
Rests on soothed eyes as softly as a veil,
Dull-dimming worlding pleasures that invite,
For these poor eyes have seen the Holy Grail.

Lordlings, I saw it, veiled in red samite,
That before which all earthly passions pale,
The lustings of desire and of delight --
For these poor eyes have seen the Holy Grail.