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An Arthurian Miscellany at





   O YOUNG Mariner,
   You from the haven
   Under the sea-cliff,
   You that are watching
   The gray Magician
   With eyes of wonder,
    I am Merlin,
   And I am dying,
    I am Merlin
   Who follow The Gleam.


   Mighty the Wizard
   Who found me at sunrise
   Sleeping, and woke me
   And learn'd me Magic!
   Great the Master,
   And sweet the Magic,
   When over the valley,
   In early summers,
   Over the mountain,
   On human faces,
   And all around me,
   Moving to melody,
   Floated The Gleam.


   Once at the croak of a Raven who crost it,
   A barbarous people,
   Blind to the magic,
   And deaf to the melody,
   Snarl'd at and cursed me.
   A demon vext me,
   The light retreated,
   The landskip darken'd,
   The melody deaden'd,
   The Master whisper'd
   "Follow The Gleam."


   Then to the melody,
   Over a wilderness
   Gliding, and glancing at
   Elf of the woodland,
   Gnome of the cavern,
   Griffin and Giant,
   And dancing of Fairies
   In desolate hollows,
   And wraiths of the mountain,
   And rolling of dragons
   By warble of water,
   Or cataract music
   Of falling torrents,
   Flitted The Gleam.


   Down from the mountain
   And over the level,
   And streaming and shining on
   Silent river,
   Silvery willow,
   Pasture and plowland,
   Horses and oxen,
   Innocent maidens,
   Garrulous children,
   Homestead and harvest,
   Reaper and gleaner,
   And rough-ruddy faces
   Of lowly labour,
   Slided The Gleam.--


   Then, with a melody
   Stronger and statelier,
   Led me at length
   To the city and palace
   Of Arthur the king;
   Touch'd at the golden
   Cross of the churches,
   Flash'd on the Tournament,
   Flicker'd and bicker'd
   From helmet to helmet,
   And last on the forehead
   Of Arthur the blameless
   Rested The Gleam.


   Clouds and darkness
   Closed upon Camelot;
   Arthur had vanish'd
   I knew not whither,
   The king who loved me,
   And cannot die;
   For out of the darkness
   Silent and slowly
   The Gleam, that had waned to a wintry glimmer
   On icy fallow
   And faded forest,
   Drew to the valley
   Named of the shadow,
   And slowly brightening
   Out of the glimmer,
   And slowly moving again to a melody
   Yearningly tender,
   Fell on the shadow,
   No longer a shadow,
   But clothed with The Gleam.


   And broader and brighter
   The Gleam flying onward,
   Wed to the melody,
   Sang thro' the world;
   And slower and fainter,
   Old and weary,
   But eager to follow,
   I saw, whenever
   In passing it glanced upon
   Hamlet or city,
   That under the Crosses
   The dead man's garden,
   The mortal hillock,
   Would break into blossom;
   And so to the land's
   Last limit I came--
   And can no longer,
   But die rejoicing,
   For thro' the Magic
   Of Him the Mighty,
   Who taught me in childhood,
   There on the border
   Of boundless Ocean,
   And all but in Heaven
   Hovers The Gleam.


   Not of the sunlight,
   Not of the moonlight,
   Not of the starlight!
   O young Mariner,
   Down to the haven,
   Call your companions,
   Launch your vessel,
   And crowd your canvas,
   And, ere it vanishes
   Over the margin,
   After it, follow it,
   Follow The Gleam.

Next: The Fairy of the Lake, by John Thelwall [1801]