The Lay of King Mark

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The Lay of King Mark

by: Ernest Rhys (Author)

"And so the harpers went straight into Wales and into Cornwall to sing the lay that Sir Dinadan made of King Mark, which was the worst lay that ever harper sang with harp or with any other instruments."


Now King Mark rode beneath the leaf,
         Unto a fountain in the green shade;
                   When by there came Sir Lamorak,
         And grievious the complaint he made, —
Great dolour, piteous grief.

He tied his horse unto a tree,
         He set him down by the fountain-side,
                   The langour of Sir Lamorak,
         The great complaint with which he cried,
Were such, the King he could not see.

And this the cross of his complaint,
         "Oh, queen of Orkney, King Lot's wife,"
                   Cried aloud Sir Lamorak, —
         "Now for thy love's sake, all that life
Which waxed in me, doth wane and faint!"

"Fair knight," said Mark, "tell me thy name,
         "Complain more piteous, no knight could!" . . .
                   But at that voice, Sir Lamorak
         Remembering Tristan — Belle Isoud —
Forgot his woe in King Mark's shame.

"Of coward knights, the king and chief
         King Mark is known, that Sir Tristan
                   Has put to shame!" cried Lamorak,
         " To shame!" the stream cried as it ran;
"TO SHAME! " cried out the forest leaf.