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From Avalon


I know it well, that green and tranquil isle,
Encircled by the arms of summer tides
That sway and smile, and whisper of the sea.
Not far away it lies; its fragrant shades
Shot through by golden lances of the sun,
And stirred by gentle airs that wander still
On noiseless feet, to find the chamber fair
Where, couched on mystic herbs and asphodel,
Healed of his hurts, King Arthur lies asleep.
Oft have I found its shelter. When the stress
Of warring winds, and sharp tumultuous storms
Have left me spent and breathless on the field,
Then my swift thoughts, for healing and for rest,
Bear me away to peaceful Avalon.
The sweet enchantments of the bounteous queen
Have changed the shifting waves to fields of rye,
And seas of meadow-grass, that softly break
Against the low-browed wall that shuts about
The blessed trees, veiled in eternal bloom.
The bees make happy tumult, and the air
Quivers with gauzy, bright-winged, dancing motes
And small white butterflies go shimmering by,
Silent as souls among the scented boughs.
The skies bend low; the pale moon idly drifts,
A phantom ship, to some celestial port,
And night and day flow on in still content
Through blissful years in changeless Avalon.
Additional Information:
The poem was also published in The Dial (vol. 20 no. 237, May 1, 1896) with the following differences:
Line 1: "It is not lost," in place of "I know it well"
Line 2: comma after "tides"
Line 3: comma after "sway"
Line 23: comma after "souls"
Line 27: comma after "years"