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An Arthurian Miscellany at




"Come ye from far, wild Ocean Daughters!
Shell-borne on the dangerous sea,
With pearly oars that ply the waters,
Say, bright Strangers, whence ye be?"

From a far Isle in unknown waters
Fleeting like mist the windswept sea,
We come--wise Merlin's potent Daughters,
Morgain-le-fay's handmaidens we!

Wide our gossamer sails unfurling,
With coral prow we stem the spray,
Our crisp shell behind us curling
Keeps the plashy surge away.

Fear not baleful charms or chidings,
Sweet our words as dropping balm,
Peace we bring and gentle tidings,
Keep thy heart in holiest calm.

The wild winds lull to our harps' soft numbers,
Lo! when music meet our hands,
Even the restless Ocean slumbers
Hugely on his bed of sands.

Lo! how swift our notes of pleasure
Sparkle along the golden strings,
While in rapturous mood and measure
Her dulcet verse each Maiden sings.

We o'er your land, like Guardian Spirits,
From our far isle of Avalon,
Watch, and o'er all that here inherits,
Beautiful daughter and brave son.

Favour to One grew strong and stronger,
Who from her bright looks aye hath been
Our Princess Fair-star: now no longer,
But Britain's fair and starry Queen.

Say to that young and sovran Beauty
This message hymned to thee alone,
Offering these gifts with proudest duty
At the bright foot which gems her throne.

Morgain to Britain's Queen commendeth
This magic Trident, virtue-stored;
Pendragon's Son, fair greeting, sendeth
Caliburn , his enchanted sword.

Rapt Merlin sings: "where a strengthless Woman
This sceptre holds with a firm strain,
That Land, maugre East and Western foeman,
Shall rule both East and Western main.

Where, with the same small clasp and slender,
This sword pale Resolution draws,
That Land need pray nought else defend her
But grace of God and her good Cause!"

Farewell!--the mortal arms that kept her
Safe, thro' the Past, its rage might quell,
But 'tis no common sword and sceptre
Shall sway Futurity!--Farewell!

Next: The Last Ballad, by John Davidson [1899]