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Gawaine's Choice

Through Arroy Forest rode one Summer day
   Three knights of Arthur’s Court—Uwaine the young,
Marhaus the grave, and Gawaine, light and gay;
   And there beside a spring with boughs o’erhung,
They saw three ladies bright, who bade them take,
   Each knight, his damosel to guide him where
Adventures were. “Then I”—’Twas Uwaine spake—
   “For wisdom choose the dame with silver hair.”
“The second dame, for that her years are mine,”
   Grave Marhaus said, “with me shall ride the quest.”
And Gawaine laughed, “The maid of youth divine
   With me shall fare because—I like her best!”
Alack! there fails a moral to the song;
But was the careless Gawaine wholly wrong?