BETA

How Galahad came to Camelot.1

Being a fragment from a Song, sung by Merlin, at a great feast
held by King Arthur, after the achievement of the Grail-
Quest.

Merlin.

At the solemn feast of Pentecost, Arthur the king and his chosen
knights
1
Sate, as we sit in the Court of Camelot, side by side at the Table Round ;2
None held converse, none made music, none knew hunger, none were
athirst—
3
All possessed with the same strange longing—all fulfilled with one
awful hope—
4
* These lines were written before the appearance of Mr. Tennyson’s last volume of
poems, and follow a different version of the Norman-French romance to that adopted
by the Laureate in his ‘ Quest of the Holy Grail.’ A.P.G.
Each of us fearing even to whisper what he felt to his bosom friend,5
Lest the spell should be snapt in sunder.6
Thus we sate, awaiting a
sign,—
7
When on a sudden, out of the darkness blared the bugle that hangs at
the gate.
8
Loud the barbican leaped on its hinges, and the hollow porch, and the
vacant hall,
9
And the roofs of the long unlighted corridors, echoed the advent of
unknown feet—
10
The feet of a stranger approaching the threshold step by step irresistibly ;11
Till yonder door opened, and through it strode to the table, the Virgin
Knight,
12
Strode and stood with unlifted vizor. Fear fell on all—save only the
King—,
13
Up rose Arthur, unbarred his helmet, shone confessed the coun-
tenance chaste ;
14
Then, for so the spirit inspired him, set the youth on the Perilous Seat,15
And the air, at his sessions, mightily thundered ; and paled the firelight
—paled the lamps.
16
Such a sudden stream, a splendour flooded the feast with miraculous
light.
17
Whilst, O wonder ! round the table, stoled in samite, white exceedingly18
Passed the Presence ! mystical, shadowy, ghostly-gliding, the Holy
Grail—
19
Passed—though none could its shape discover, nay, not even the Virgin
Knight.
20
Passed, and passing ministered manna, angels’ food, at the Table Round.21
Passed—passed with strains seraphic, incense odours, rainbow hues ;22
Passed—passed, and as it entered, suddenly melted out of sight.’23