The Chapel in Lyoness

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The Chapel in Lyoness

by: William Morris (Author)
from: Oxford and Cambridge Magazine (P. 577)  September 1856

SIR OZANA LE CURE HARDY.  SIR GALAHAD.  SIR BORS DE GANYS. SIR OZANA.

All day long and every day,
From Christmas-Eve to Whit-Sunday,
Within that Chapel-aisle I lay,
    And no man came a-near.

Naked to the waist was I,
And deep within my breast did lie,
Though no man any blood could spy,
    The truncheon of a spear.

No meat did ever pass my lips
Those days.    Alas! the sunlight slips
From off the gilded parclose, dips,
    And night comes on apace.

My arms lay back behind my head;
Over my raised-up knees was spread
A samite cloth of white and red;
    A rose lay on my face.

Many a time I tried to shout;
But as in dream of battle-rout,
My frozen speech would not well out;
    I could not even weep.

With inward sigh I see the sun
Fade off the pillars one by one,
My heart faints when the day is done,
    Because I cannot sleep.

Sometimes strange thoughts pass through my head;
Not like a tomb is this my bed,
Yet oft I think that I am dead;
    That round my tomb is writ,

"Ozana of the hardy heart,
    Knight of the Table Round,
Pray for his soul, lords, of your part;
    A true knight he was found."

Ah! me, I cannot fathom it.     [He sleeps.

SIR GALAHAD.

All day long and every day,
Till his madness pass'd away,
I watch'd Ozana as he lay
    Within the gilded screen.

All my singing moved him not;
As I sung my heart grew hot,
With the thought of Launcelot
    Far away, I ween.

So I went a little space
From out the chapel, bathed my face
In the stream that runs apace
    By the churchyard wall.

There I pluck'd a faint wild rose,
Hard by where the linden grows,
Sighing over silver rows
    Of the lilies tall.

I laid the flower across his mouth;
The sparkling drops seem'd good for drouth;
He smiled, turn'd round towards the south,
    Held up a golden tress.

The light smote on it from the west;
He drew the covering from his breast,
Against his heart that hair he prest;
    Death him soon will bless.

SIR BORS.

I enter'd by the western door;
    I saw a knight's helm lying there:
I raised my eyes from off the floor,
    And caught the gleaming of his hair.

I stept full softly up to him;
    I laid my chin upon his head;
I felt him smile; my eyes did swim,
    I was so glad he was not dead.

I heard Ozana murmur low,
    "There comes no sleep nor any love."
But Galahad stoop'd and kiss'd his brow:
    He shiver'd; I saw his pale lips move.

SIR OZANA.

There comes no sleep nor any love;
    Ah me!    I shiver with delight.
I am so weak I cannot move;
    God move me to thee, dear, to-night!
Christ help!    I have but little wit:
My life went wrong; I see it writ,

"Ozana of the hardy heart,
    Knight of the Table Round,
Pray for his soul, lords, on your part;
    A good knight he was found."

Now I begin to fathom it.         [He dies.

SIR BORS.

Galahad sits dreamily;
What strange things may his eyes see,
Great blue eyes fix'd full on me?
On his soul, Lord, have mercy.

SIR GALAHAD.

Ozana, shall I pray for thee?
    Her cheek is laid to thine;
No long time hence, also I see
    Thy wasted fingers twine

Within the tresses of her hair
    That shineth gloriously,
Thinly outspread in the clear air
    Against the jasper sea.