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An Arthurian Miscellany at




"Thou art here, the Lord's Anointed,
        King of men and knight of heaven,
To the trust thou art appointed,
        Unto thee the sword is given;
As a sign for thee, a token
        That the light again is breaking
Thro' the gloom of time unspoken
        To the dawn and to the waking.
"When the fields of heaven sounded
        With the roar and shout of battle,
And the whirling spears rebounded
        From the shields with ring and rattle,
This the sword that Michael wielded
        With a fire and strength supernal,
Till the rebel hosts, unshielded,
        Fled from light to night eternal.
"Strong as Michael shalt thou fight them,
        They that bow before the idols,
And the blazing sword shall smite them
        From the horses and the bridles;
Yea, the heathen, stunned with terror,
        Shall behold the blade advancing,
With the flame that burneth error
        From the hilt and jewels glancing.
"Lo, the weary world is weeping
        In the toil of her transgression
For the justice that is sleeping,
        For the wrong and the oppression,
For the nights that quake and quiver,
        For the days that dawn in thunder,
For the years that shrink and shiver
        At the shame and at the wonder.
"But the guilty shalt thou scatter,
        And the sword will bravely brighten
As the standards sink and shatter,
        And the foeman's face shall whiten
At the sound and at the glitter
        Of the brand above him flashing,
Till the death-shriek, shrill and bitter,
        Drown the din of armor clashing.
"So thy kingdom shall be founded,
        And by justice thou shalt hold it,
And its fame shall be unbounded
        As the wide seas that enfold it;
And the harvest hailing hither
        Shall encamp on all the acres,
And the noxious weeds shall wither
        As the sea-foam on the breakers.
"Till the right grown wrong with surfeit
        Shall uprise and challenge proudly,
Then the peace shall all be forfeit,
        And the trumpet-call sound loudly;
Then the sword shall rouse the thunder,
        And the echoes will awaken
All along the sea, and under,
        Where the mermaid rides the kraken.
"For the cycle will be ended,
        And shall come the desolation,
And the close shall be attended
        With a noise of devastation;
And the ruin will be utter,
        For the foe shall overmaster,
And the royal flag shall flutter
        To defeat and to disaster.
"When from out the nether regions,
        With a mighty thunder-rattle,
Ride the clanging, shouting legions
        Of the storm and of the battle,
Then the solemn doom shall follow,
        And the King shall bow before it;
When the great sword striketh hollow,
        To the great giver then restore it."

Next: Isolt at the Tomb of Tristram, by John Grosvenor Wilson [1886]