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Llyn Owain: A Legend of the Vale of Towy

Amid the folded hills
   The lake lies darkly clear;
A death-like calmness stills
   The deep-set mere.

And on its tranquil face,
   Like stars upon the night,
Asleep in nymphlike grace,
   Float lilies white.

Once, where the lake is now –
   Thus old-time legends tell –
Lay, fathom-deep below,
   A magic well,

A bubbling fountain deep
   Of fairy hands the boon
Where shepherds drove their sheep,
   Parching with noon.

Free gift of elfin grace
   For all, whose need being done,
Should on the spring replace
   The covering stone.

There on his dusty way,
   Athirst and weary, came
One whom the blaze of day
   Burned like a flame.

Sir Owain, a brave knight
   Of Arthur's court, had come
Victor in many a fight,
   To his old home.

Weary and spent was he,
   Weary his faithful steed;
They stumble helplessly
   In mortal need.

When on the sweet old spring
   Belovéd by the boy,
The man's eyes, wandering,
   Lighted with joy.

Straight from the bubbling source
   They drank long draughts and deep;
Then, with recruited force,
   Sank long in sleep.

But the knight, wholly spent,
   Nor aught remembering,
Sealed not before he went
   That gracious spring.

Then through a waking dream
   He seemed to hear the sound,
Of a loud, threatening stream,
   Which hemmed him round.

And seeking in surprise
   Those vanished pastures green,
Straightway his sorrowing eyes
   Knew what had been.

For where the emerald mead
   Smiled, white with flocks, before,
Dark waters rolled instead
   From shore to shore.

Then the stout knight, dismayed
   By what his hand had done;
In some blind cave, afraid,
   Hid from the sun.

And there in slumbers deep
   He waits his fated hour,
To rise from secular sleep
   By Arthur's power.

For he shall wake again
   When Arthur's voice doth call;
And from that long-drowned plain
   The flood shall fall.

Fair legend which can bring
   A god-like voice and arm,
To curb the unfettered spring
   Of age-long harm.

Come soon, blest Presence strong;
   Bring wisdom in thy train;
The earth lies sunk in Wrong –
   Come thou again!