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Sir Galahad's Vision of the Virgin

'Tis on the holy night of Candlemas,
A merry moon spills silver on the snow,
And stately pines, like sentinels a-row,
    Behold a rider pass.

Sir Galahad, a noble knight and true,
Whose gallant blade is ever raised on high
To shield weak Womanhood in chivalry,
    Springs suddenly to view.

His casque of gold strikes fire, and his eyes
Burn with a mystic light — in all the land
Rides never knight more fit to hold command
    In desperate emprise.

Yet 'tis the night of Candlemas — he goes
On peaceful quest, yon chapel summons him,
Where watchful tapers flame, and Seraphim
    Are sculptured in repose.

He falleth on his knees — far, far the world
Recedes, and Sin, and every evil thing
That vexes men, when lo! a fluttering
    Like to great sails unfurled.

He glanceth up — "O Ladye, grasp mine arm,
Strengthen mine eyes that gladden now to tears,
Thou stately Lily of the Starry Spheres,
    Bright Beacon in the Storm!"

She stands — our Blessèd Lady — like the sun,
The while a diamond light moves slowly 'round,
Wherein a Seraph circles without sound,
    Calm as oblivion.

The Virgin speaks: "Unconquerable Knight,
Strong as the oak, for that thy heart is pure,
Keep thou steadfast, let naught of earth allure
    To mar thee in my sight."

What loving look the Virgin casts on him,
It seemeth his lost childhood comes again,
Bringing a mother's care, and then — ah! then
    The dazzling rafters swim....

Viols and harps breathe music 'mid a throng
Of swaying lilies; ruddy roses stir,
While ceaselessly a mighty thurifer
    Blends with an Angel's song.

Let us rejoice, Madonna of the Morn,
Let us rejoice, Thou Lily of the Night,
    With happy voice,
    Let us rejoice...
Thou Jewel of the Crown of Kings,
Thou Bloom of God's imaginings,
With tireless voice
Let us rejoice,

The Vision fades, the North Wind's trumpet-blast
Is borne unto his sad and startled ears,
And o'er his eyes there falls a mist like tears,
    Because the dream is past.

He mounts his fiery steed, the ancient stars
Smile down as swift he skims the lonely plain,
Sir Galahad, the Pure — devoid of stain,
    Is leaving for the wars.

*      *      *      *      *

'Tis on the holy night of Candlemas,
A merry moon spills silver on the snow,
The stately pines, like sentinels a-row,
    Behold a rider pass.