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 The Passing Of Arthur 
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      So all day long the noise of battle roll'd
      Among the mountains by the winter sea.
      Until King Arthur's Table, man by man,
      Had fall'n in Lyonnesse about their Lord,
      King Arthur. Then, because his wound was deep,
      The bold Sir Bedivere uplifted him,
      And bore him to a chapel nigh the field,
      A broken chancel with a broken cross.
      That stood on a dark strait of barren land:
      On one side lay the Ocean, and on one
      Lay a great water, and the moon was full.
      Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:
      "The sequel of to-day unsolders all
      The goodliest fellowship of famous knights
      Whereof this world holds record. Such a sleep
      They sleep--the men I loved. I think that we
      Shall never more, at any future time,
      Delight our souls with talk of knightly deeds,
      Walking about the gardens and the halls
      Of Camelot, as in the days that were.
      I perish by this people which I made--
      Tho' Merlin sware that I should come again
      To rule once more; but, let what will be, be,
      I am so deeply smitten thro' the helm
      That without help I cannot last till morn.
      Thou therefore take my brand Excalibur,
      Which was my pride: for thou rememberest how
      In those old days, one summer noon, an arm
      Rose up from out the bosom of the lake,
      Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
      Holding the sword--and how I row'd across
      And took it, and have worn it, like a king;
      And, wheresoever I am sung or told
      In aftertime, this also shall be known:
      But now delay not: take Excalibur,
      And fling him far into the middle mere:
      Watch what thou seest and lightly bring me word."
      To him replied the bold Sir Bedivere:
      "It is not meet, Sir King, to leave thee thus,
      Aidless, alone, and smitten thro' the helm--
      A little thing may harm a wounded man;
      Yet I thy hest will all perform at full,
      Watch what I see, and lightly bring thee word."
      So saying, from the ruin'd shrine he stept,
      And in the moon athwart the place of tombs,
      Where lay the mighty bones of ancient men,
      Old knights, and over them the sea-wind sang
      Shrill, chill, with flakes of foam. He, stepping down
      By zigzag paths, and juts of pointed rock,
      Came on the shining levels of the lake.
      There drew he forth the brand Excalibur,
      And o'er him, drawing it, the winter moon,
      Brightening the skirts of a long cloud, ran forth
      And sparkled keen with frost against the hilt:
      For all the haft twinkled with diamond sparks,
      Myriads of topaz-lights, and jacinth-work
      Of subtlest jewellery. He gazed so long
      That both his eyes were dazzled, as he stood,
      This way and that dividing the swift mind,
      In act to throw: but at the last it seem'd
      Better to leave Excalibur conceal'd
      There in the many-knotted water flags,
      That whistled stiff and dry about the marge.
      So strode he back slow to the wounded King.
      Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:
      "Hast thou perform'd my mission which I gave?
      What is it thou hast seen? or what hast heard?"
      And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
      "I heard the ripple washing in the reeds,
      And the wild water lapping on the crag."
      To whom replied King Arthur, faint and pale:
      "Thou hast betray'd thy nature and thy name,
      Not rendering true answer, as beseem'd
      Thy fealty, nor like a noble knight:
      For surer sign had followed either hand,
      Or voice, or else a motion of the mere.
      This is a shameful thing for men to lie.
      Yet now, I charge thee, quickly go again,
      As thou art lief and dear, and do the thing
      I bade thee, watch, and lightly bring me word."
      Then went Sir Bedivere the second time
      Across the ridge, and paced beside the mere,
      Counting the dewy pebbles, fix'd in thought;
      But when he saw the wonder of the hilt,
      How curiously and strangely chased, he smote
      His palms together, and he cried aloud:
      "And if indeed I cast the brand away,
      Surely a precious thing, one worthy note,
      Should thus be lost forever from the earth,
      Which might have pleased the eyes of many men.
      What good should follow this, if this were done?

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