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[For the names and persons in the following poem, see the "History of the renowned Prince Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table ;" for the rest the Author is answerable; only it may be proper to add, that the Lotus, with the bust of the Goddess appearing to rise out of the full-blown flower, was suggested by the beautiful work of ancient art, once included among the Townley Marbles, and now in the British Museum.]

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Yet is there cause for gushing tears;
So richly was this Galley laden,

A fairer than herself she bore,
And, in her struggles, cast ashore;

A lovely One, who nothing hears

Of wind or wave-a meek and guileless Maiden.

Into a cave had Merlin fled

From mischief, caused by spells himself had muttered;

And while, repentant all too late,

In moody posture there he sate,

He heard a voice, and saw, with half-raised head, A Visitant by whom these words were uttered;

"On Christian service this frail Bark Sailed" (hear me, Merlin!) "under high protection,

Though on her prow a sign of heathen power
Was carved-a Goddess with a Lily flower,
The old Egyptian's emblematic mark
Of joy immortal and of pure affection.

Her course was for the British strand;
Her freight, it was a Damsel peerless;
God reigns above, and Spirits strong
May gather to avenge this wrong
Done to the Princess, and her Land
Which she in duty left, sad but not cheerless.

And to Caerleon's loftiest tower

Soon will the Knights of Arthur's Table
A cry of lamentation send;
And all will weep who there attend,
To grace that Stranger's bridal hour,
For whom the sea was made unnavigable.

Shame! should a Child of royal line
Die through the blindness of thy malice?"
Thus to the Necromancer spake
Nina, the Lady of the Lake,

A gentle Sorceress, and benign,

Who ne'er embittered any good man's chalice.

"What boots," continued she, " to mourn?
To expiate thy sin endeavour:
From the bleak isle where she is laid,
Fetched by our art, the Egyptian Maid
May yet to Arthur's court be borne
Cold as she is, ere life be fled for ever.

My pearly Boat, a shining Light,
That brought me down that sunless river,
Will bear me on from wave to wave,
And back with her to this sea-cave ;-
Then Merlin! for a rapid flight
Through air, to thee my Charge will I deliver.

The very swiftest of thy cars
Must, when my part is done, be ready;
Meanwhile, for further guidance, look
Into thy own prophetic book;

And, if that fail, consult the Stars

To learn thy course; farewell! be prompt and steady."

This scarcely spoken, she again
Was seated in her gleaming shallop,
That, o'er the yet-distempered Deep,
Pursued its way with bird-like sweep,
Or like a steed, without a rein,
Urged o'er the wilderness in sportive gallop.

Soon did the gentle Nina reach
That Isle without a house or haven;
Landing, she found not what she sought,
Nor saw of wreck or ruin aught

But a carved Lotus cast upon the beach
By the fierce waves, a flower in marble graven.

Sad relique, but how fair the while!
For gently each from each retreating
With backward curve, the leaves revealed
The bosom half, and half concealed,
Of a Divinity, that seemed to smile
On Nina, as she passed, with hopeful greeting.

No quest was hers of vague desire,
Of tortured hope and purpose shaken;
Following the margin of a bay,
She spied the lonely Cast-away,
Unmarred, unstripped of her attire,

But with closed eyes,-of breath and bloom forsaken.

Then Nina, stooping down, embraced,
With tenderness and mild emotion,
The Damsel, in that trance embound;
And, while she raised her from the ground,
And in the pearly shallop placed,
Sleep fell upon the air, and stilled the ocean.

The turmoil hushed, celestial springs
Of music opened, and there came a blending
Of fragrance, underived from earth,

With gleams that owed not to the sun their birth,
And that soft rustling of invisible wings
Which Angels make, on works of love descending.

And Nina heard a sweeter voice

Than if the Goddess of the flower had spoken: "Thou hast achieved, fair Dame! what none Less pure in spirit could have done;

Go, in thy enterprise rejoice!

Air, earth, sea, sky, and heaven, success betoken."

So cheered, she left that Island bleak,
A bare rock of the Scilly cluster;
And, as they traversed the smooth brine,
The self-illumined Brigantine

Shed, on the Slumberer's cold wan cheek
And pallid brow, a melancholy lustre.

Fleet was their course, and when they came
To the dim cavern, whence the river
Issued into the salt-sea flood,

Merlin, as fixed in thought he stood,
Was thus accosted by the Dame;
"Behold to thee my Charge I now deliver!

But where attends thy chariot-where?"Quoth Merlin, "Even as I was bidden, So have I done; as trusty as thy barge My vehicle shall prove-O precious Charge! If this be sleep, how soft! if death, how fair! Much have my books disclosed, but the end is hidden."

He spake; and gliding into view

Forth from the grotto's dimmest chamber Came two mute Swans, whose plumes of dusky white Changed, as the pair approached the light, Drawing an ebon car, their hue (Like clouds of sunset) into lucid amber.

Once more did gentle Nina lift

The Princess, passive to all changes:

The car received her :-then up-went

Into the ethereal element

The Birds with progress smooth and swift

As thought, when through bright regions memory


Sage Merlin, at the Slumberer's side,

Instructs the Swans their way to measure;
And soon Caerleon's towers appeared,
And notes of minstrelsy were heard
From rich pavilions spreading wide,
For some high day of long-expected pleasure.
Awe-stricken stood both Knights and Dames
Ere on firm ground the car alighted;
Eftsoons astonishment was past,
For in that face they saw the last
Last lingering look of clay, that tames
All pride; by which all happiness is blighted.

Said Merlin, "Mighty King, fair Lords,
Away with feast and tilt and tourney!
Ye saw, throughout this royal House,
Ye heard, a rocking marvellous
Of turrets, and a clash of swords
Self-shaken, as I closed my airy journey.

Lo! by a destiny well known
To mortals, joy is turned to sorrow;
This is the wished-for Bride, the Maid
Of Egypt, from a rock conveyed

Where she by shipwreck had been thrown; Ill sight! but grief may vanish ere the morrow."

"Though vast thy power, thy words are weak," Exclaimed the King, "a mockery hateful; Dutiful Child, her lot how hard!

Is this her piety's reward?

Those watery locks, that bloodless cheek!

O winds without remorse! O shore ungrateful!

Rich robes are fretted by the moth;
Towers, temples, fall by stroke of thunder;
Will that, or deeper thoughts, abate

A Father's sorrow for her fate?

He will repent him of his troth;

His brain will burn, his stout heart split asunder.
Alas! and I have caused this woe;
For, when my prowess from invading Neighbours
Had freed his Realm, he plighted word
That he would turn to Christ our Lord,
And his dear Daughter on a Knight bestow
Whom I should choose for love and matchless

Her birth was heathen; but a fence
Of holy Angels round her hovered:
A Lady added to my court

So fair, of such divine report

And worship, seemed a recompense
For fifty kingdoms by my sword recovered.

Ask not for whom, O Champions true!
She was reserved by me her life's betrayer;
She who was meant to be a bride

Is now a corse: then put aside

Vain thoughts, and speed ye, with observance due Of Christian rites, in Christian ground to lay her."

"The tomb," said Merlin, "may not close
Upon her yet, earth hide her beauty;
Not froward to thy sovereign will
Esteem me, Liege! if I, whose skill
Wafted her hither, interpose

To check this pious haste of erring duty.

My books command me to lay bare
The secret thou art bent on keeping:
Here must a high attest be given,

What Bridegroom was for her ordained by


And in my glass significants there are

Of things that may to gladness turn this weeping.

For this, approaching, One by One,

Thy Knights must touch the cold hand of the

So, for the favoured One, the Flower may bloom
Once more: but, if unchangeable her doom,
If life departed be for ever gone,

Some blest assurance, from this cloud emerging,

May teach him to bewail his loss;
Not with a grief that, like a vapour, rises
And melts; but grief devout that shall endure,
And a perpetual growth secure

Of purposes which no false thought shall cross, A harvest of high hopes and noble enterprises."

"So be it," said the King;-"anon,

Here, where the Princess lies, begin the trial; Knights each in order as ye stand Step forth."-To touch the pallid hand Sir Agravaine advanced; no sign he won From Heaven or earth;-Sir Kaye had like denial.

Abashed, Sir Dinas turned away;

Even for Sir Percival was no disclosure;
Though he, devoutest of all Champions, ere
He reached that ebon car, the bier
Whereon diffused like snow the Damsel lay,
Full thrice had crossed himself in meek composure.

Imagine (but ye Saints! who can ?)
How in still air the balance trembled-
The wishes, peradventure the despites

That overcame some not ungenerous Knights; And all the thoughts that lengthened out a span Of time to Lords and Ladies thus assembled.

What patient confidence was here! And there how many bosoms panted! While drawing toward the car Sir Gawaine, mailed For tournament, his beaver vailed, And softly touched; but, to his princely cheer And high expectancy, no sign was granted.

Next, disencumbered of his harp,

Sir Tristram, dear to thousands as a brother, Came to the proof, nor grieved that there ensued No change; the fair Izonda he had wooed With love too true, a love with pangs too sharp, From hope too distant, not to dread another.

Not so Sir Launcelot ;-from Heaven's grace A sign he craved, tired slave of vain contrition; The royal Guinever looked passing glad When his touch failed.-Next came Sir Galahad; He paused, and stood entranced by that still face Whose features he had seen in noontide vision.

For late, as near a murmuring stream
He rested 'mid an arbour green and shady,
Nina, the good Enchantress, shed
A light around his mossy bed;

And, at her call, a waking dream Prefigured to his sense the Egyptian Lady.

Now, while his bright-haired front he bowed, And stood, far-kenned by mantle furred with ermine,

As o'er the insensate Body hung
The enrapt, the beautiful, the young,

Belief sank deep into the crowd

That he the solemn issue would determine.

Nor deem it strange; the Youth had worn
That very mantle on a day of glory,
The day when he achieved that matchless feat,
The marvel of the PERILOUS SEAT,

Which whosoe'er approached of strength was


Though King or Knight the most renowned in story.

He touched with hesitating hand

And lo! those Birds, far-famed through Love's dominions,

The Swans, in triumph clap their wings; And their necks play, involved in rings, Like sinless snakes in Eden's happy land ;— "Mine is she," cried the Knight;-again they clapped their pinions.

"Mine was she-mine she is, though dead,

And to her name my soul shall cleave in sorrow;" Whereat, a tender twilight streak

Of colour dawned upon the Damsel's cheek; And her lips, quickening with uncertain red, Seemed from each other a faint warmth to borrow.

Deep was the awe, the rapture high,

Of love emboldened, hope with dread entwining, When, to the mouth, relenting Death Allowed a soft and flower-like breath, Precursor to a timid sigh, To lifted eyelids, and a doubtful shining.

In silence did King Arthur gaze

Upon the signs that pass away or tarry;
In silence watched the gentle strife
Of Nature leading back to life;

Then eased his soul at length by praise

Of God, and Heaven's pure Queen-the blissful


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THE RIVER DUDDON rises upon Wrynose Fell, on the confines of Westmoreland, Cumberland, and Lancashire; and, having served as a boundary to the two last counties for the space of about twenty-five miles, enters the Irish Sea, between the Isle of Walney and the Lordship of Millum.



The Minstrels played their Christmas tune
To-night beneath my cottage-eaves;
While, smitten by a lofty moon,

The encircling laurels, thick with leaves,
Gave back a rich and dazzling sheen,
That overpowered their natural green.

Through hill and valley every breeze
Had sunk to rest with folded wings:
Keen was the air, but could not freeze,
Nor check, the music of the strings ;
So stout and hardy were the band

That scraped the chords with strenuous hand!

And who but listened ?-till was paid
Respect to every Inmate's claim :
The greeting given, the music played,
In honour of each household name,
Duly pronounced with lusty call,
And merry Christmas' wished to all!

O Brother! I revere the choice
That took thee from thy native hills;
And it is given thee to rejoice:
Though public care full often tills
(Heaven only witness of the toil)

A barren and ungrateful soil.

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