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The stateliest of her altar shrines, the King
That morn was married, while in stainless white,
The fair beginners of a nobler time,
And glorying in their vows and him, his knights
Stood round him, and rejoicing in his joy.
Far shone the fields of May thro’ open door,
The sacred altar blossom’d white with May,
The Sun of May descended on their King,
They gazed on all earth's beauty in their Queen,
Roll'd incense, and there passed along the hymns
A voice as of the waters, while the two
Sware at the shrine of Christ a deathless love;
And Arthur said, “Behold thy doom is mine.
Let chance what will, I love thee to the death !"
To whom the Queen replied with drooping eyes,
“King and my lord, I love thee to the death !”
And holy Dubric spread his hands and spake:
“Reign ye, and live and love, and make the world
Other, and may the Queen be one with thee,
And all this Order of thy Table Round
Fulfill the boundless purpose of their King!”

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So Dubric said; but when they left the shrine
Great lords from Rome before the portal stood,
In scornful stillness gazing as they passed;
Then while they paced a city all on fire
With sun and cloth of gold, the trumpets blew,
And Arthur's knighthood " sang before the King:

1 Knighthood, knights.

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“Blow trumpet, for the world is white with May ! Blow trumpet, the long night hath roll'd away! Blow thro’ the living world ‘Let the King reign !'

"Shall Rome or Heathen rule in Arthur's realm? 375 Flash brand and lance, fall battle ax on helm, Fall battle ax, and flash brand! Let the King

reign!

“Strike for the King and live! his knights have

heard That God hath told the King a secret word. Fall battle ax, and flash brand ! Let the King

reign!

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“Blow trumpet! he will lift us from the dust. Blow trumpet ! live the strength and die the lust! Clang battle ax, and clash brand. Let the King

reign!

“Strike for the King and die! and if thou diest, The King is king, and ever wills the highest. 385 Clang battle ax, and clash brand ! Let the King

reign!

"Blow, for our Sun is mighty in his May! Blow, for our Sun is mightier day by day! Clang battle ax, and clash brand! Let the King

reign!

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"The King will follow Christ, and we the King, In whom high God hath breathed a secret thing. Fall battle ax, and clash brand! Let the King

reign !”

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So sang the knighthood, moving to their hall. There at the banquet those great lords from Rome, The slowly fading mistress of the world, Strode in and claim'd their tribute as of yore. But Arthur spake: “Behold, for these have sworn To wage my wars, and worship me their King; The old order changeth, yielding place to new; And we that fight for our fair father Christ, Seeing that ye be grown too weak and old To drive the heathen from your Roman wall, No tribute will we pay.” So those great lords Drew back in wrath, and Arthur strove with Rome.

And Arthur and his knighthood for a space Were all one will, and thro' that strength the King 405 Drew in the petty princedoms under him, Fought, and in twelve great battles overcame The heathen hordes, and made a realm and reign’d.

ALFRED TENNYSON.

QUESTIONS FOR STUDY

Describe the picture, lines 20-35.
Describe the picture, lines 86-104.
What is the meaning of line 94?

Describe the wedding, lines 336–364.

Which is the more pleasing to your taste, a story as told by Malory, or as told by Tennyson?

Gather all the facts you can about chivalry, and write a story of “A Knight of Old.” Describe his dress, his equipment, his castle, and some of his adventures.

Give in order the several proofs that convinced King Leodogran that Arthur was King Uther's son.

Were they natural or supernatural ?

Has this any relation to the character of Arthur and his mission in the world?

THE PASSING OF ARTHUR

The end of King Arthur's long reign, according to the legend, was no less remarkable than its beginning.

After a long and glorious life, filled with triumphs, following ofttimes defeats, and with gleams of joy interspersed with sorrows, he was attacked in var by bitter enemies and traitorous knights. Of his last hours, the poet tells in The Passing of Arthur.

That story which the bold Sir Bedivere1
First made and latest left of all the knights;
Told, when the man was no more than a voice
In the white winter of his age, to those
5 With whom he dwelt, new faces, other minds.

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1 Sir Bedivere. See The Coming of Arthur, line 138.

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All day long the noise of battle rollid
Among the mountains by the winter sea;
Until King Arthur's Table, man by man,
Had fallen 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.

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Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:
“ The sequel of today 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

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