Arthurian Songs

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Arthurian Songs

from: Poems by Rachel Annand Taylor (Pp. 19 - 27)  1904


        I. Avalon

   King Arthur lies alone
   Deep down in Avalon.

   Alone! For what fair knight
   Is loyal quite?


Could golden Pelleas be lain
To drowse between delight and pain?

Could Tristram's musique here be borne,
Or the great blast of Gawain's horn?

It is no land for Galahad
Where none are good and none are bad.

It is no land for Lancelot
Where sweet and bitter are forgot.

For that proud soul of Guenevere's,
And her long ransom of bright tears

It is no land, — where none may weep,
Between reveillé and faint sleep.

Swung soft 'tween heaven and hell, it seems
A crystal in a cloud of dreams.

Yet doth some one pass that way.
Is it, is it Morgan la Faye? —

Saying: "Was it love or hate?"
Saying: "But the wound is great."

So, amid the poppies white,
Long rests Arthur, King and Knight.

   King Arthur lies alone,
   Deep down in Avalon.

   Alone! For what fair knight
   Is loyal quite?


        II. The End

   "Now leave we Queen Guenever in Aymesbury, that
was a nun in white clothes and in black."
                                               Morte d'Arthur

Queen Guenevere a-maying rode
   In green and gold, alack!
Queen Guenevere God's vassal died
   In white clothes and in black.

In gold and green I follow her;
   Nor God will call me back.
For I shall die in Aymesbury,
   In white clothes and in black.

         III. Sarras

   "But yet hast thou not seen it [the Grail] openly as
thou shalt see it in the city of Sarras, in the Spiritual Place."
                                              Morte d'Arthur

Far in the Town of Sarras,
   Red-rose the gloamings fall,
For in her heart of wonder
   Flames the Sangréal.

The gleaming fosses ring her,
   Haut dreams her turrets are.
She riseth o'er the desert
   Like the great Magian Star.

Through the o'er-castled portals
   The knights ride out and in;
Their tired sweet heads all drooping,
   They pray away their sin.

Upon the carven causeway
   Pass damozels in vair
And samite dropped with flamelets,
   Crowned on their ashen hair.

Into the Town of Sarras,
   Most delicate and sad,
Like a measure of rare music
   Came Lord Galahad.

The Crown of Gold he beareth,
   A dream-king exquisite,
Till the fair Lord of Heaven
   Yet closer needs his knight.

Dreams of the Town of Sarras,
   Ye ever give me dole,
With dome and steeple staining
   Horizons of my soul!

But where the Grail-Knight entered,
   Ah! me! I enter not,
For hard my spirit follows
   The ways of Launcelot.

By ruined cross and chapel
   I lie in shameful trance.
Within, the High Masque burneth,
   The Saving Cup, the Lance. —

Home to the Bower of Roses,
   The viols calling clear,
To Love's most perfect Lover!
   Oh! Home to Guenevere.

        IV. Guenevere

God rest the Lady Guenevere,
   For much hath He required.
God rest the Lady Guenevere,
   For surely she is tired.

If, in the hidden rosery
   It was so white and red,
Was it not grey in Aymesbury
   Till the bells rang her dead?

God rest her eyes, whereon Love wrote
   His golden Masque, until
The vision of the Doomsday smote
   And smouldered longer still.

God rest her weary golden head,
   For it was fair to see!
The queen of lovers, she is dead,
   And for her soul pray we.