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At the gate of his tower,
In the quiet hour,

We laid his body there;
But his helmet broken,
We took as a token;

Shout for my lady fair!
We rorle back together
In the wintry weather

From the broad mead under the hill ;

Up the sweer of the bridge we dash'd

together, It rock'd to the crash of the meeting


1 The dates for Morris's poems have been com. pileri with the help of Mr. Temple Scott's excel.

nt Bibliography of the Works of William Morris, and Mr. Forman's The Books of William Morris.

Down raind the buds of the dear spring

weather, The elm-tree flowers fell like tears.

Many a time I tried to shout;
But as in dream of battle-rout,
My frozen speech would not well out;

I could not even weep.

There, as we rollid and writhed together,

I threw my arms above my head, For close by my side, in the lovely

weather, I saw him reel and fall back dead.

With inward sigh I see the sun
Fade off the pillars one by one,
My heart faints when the day is done,

Because I cannot sleep.
Sometimes strange thoughts pass

through my head ; Not like a tomb is this my bed, Yet oft I think that I am dead;

That round my tomb is writ,

I and the slayer met together,
He waited the death-stroke there in

his place, With thoughts of death, in the lovely

weather, Gapingly mazed at my madden'd face. Madly I fought as we fought together ;

In vain : the little Christian band The pagans drown'd, as in stormy

weather, The river drowns low-lying land. They bound my blood-stain d hands to

gether, They bound his corpse to nod by my

side : Then on we rode, in the bright March

weather, With clash of cymbals did we ride. We ride no more, no more together ;

My prison-bars are thick and strong, I take no heed of any weather, The sweet Saints grant I live not long.

May, 1856.

“ Ozana of the hardy heart,

Knight of the Table Round.
Pray for his soul, lords, of your part;

A true knight he was found."
Ah! me, I cannot fathom it. [He sleeps.
Sir Galahad. All day long and every day,
Till his madness pass d away,
I watch'd Ozana as he lay

Within the gilded screen.

All my singing moved him not ;
As I sung my heart grew hot,
With the thought of Launcelot

Far away, I ween.
So I went a little space
From out the chapel, bathed my face
In the stream that runs apace

By the churchyard wall.
There I pluck'd a faint wild rose,
Hard by where the linden grows,
Sighing over silver rows

Of the lilies tall.



Sir Ozana. All day long and every day,
From Christmas-Eve to Whit-Sunday,
Within that Chapel-aisle I lay,

And no man came a-near.
Naked to the waist was I.
And deep within my breast did lie,
Though no man any blood could spy,

The truncheon of a spear.
No meat did ever pass my lips
Those days. Alas! the sunlight slips
From off the gilded parclose, dips,

And night comes on apace.
My arms lay back behind my head;
Over my raised-up knees was spread
A samite cloth of white and red;

A rose lay on my face.

I laid the flower across his mouth:
The sparkling drops seem'd good for

drouth; He smiled, turn'd round towards the

south, Held up a golden tress.

The light smote on it from the west; He drew the covering from his breast, Against his heart that hair he pressed;

Death him soon will bless.

Sir Bors. I enter'd by the western door;

I saw a knight's helm lying there ; I raised my eyes from off the floor,

And caught the gleaming of his hair.

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stept full softly up to him ;
laid my chin upon his head ;
felt him smile ; my eyes did swim,

I was so glad he was not dead.
I heard Ozana murmur low.

“ There comes no sleep nor any love.” But Galahad stoop'd and kiss'd his brow :

He shiverd; I saw his pale lips move. Sir Ozana. There comes no sleep nor

any love ; Ah me! I shiver with delight. I am so weak I cannot move ;

God move me to thee, dear, to-night ! (hrist help! I have but little wit : My life went wrong ; I see it writ,

Ozana of the hardy heart,
Knight of the Table Round,
Pray for his soul, lords, on your part ;

A good knight he was found."
Now I begin to fathom it.

[He dies. Sir Bors. Galahad sits dreamily : What strange things may his eyes see, Great blue eyes fix'd full on me? On his soul, Lord, have mercy. Sir Galahad. Ozana, shall I pray for

thee? Her cheek is laid to thine ; No long time hence, also I see

Thy wasted fingers twine

"Twixt the sunlight and the shade Float up memories of my maid :

God, remember Guendolen ! Gold or gems she did not wear, But her yellow rippled hair,

Like a veil, hid Guendolen ! 'Twixt the sunlight and the shade, My rough hands so strangely made,

Folded Golden Guendolen.

Hands used to grip the sword-hilt hard, Framed her face, while on the sward

Tears fell down from Guendolen.
Guendolen now speaks no word,
Hands fold round about the sword :

Now no more of Guendolen.
Only 'twixt the light and shade
Floating memories of my maid
Make me pray for Guendolen.


Within the tresses of her hair

That shineth gloriously,
Thinly outspread in the clear air
Against the jasper sea.

September, 1856.


PRAY but one prayer for me 'twixt thy

closed lips; Think but one thought of me up in the

stars, The summer night waneth, the morning

light slips, Faint and gray 'twixt the leaves of the

aspen, betwixt the cloud-bars, That are patiently waiting there for the

dawn : Patient and colorless, though Heaven's

gold Waits to float through them along with

the sun. Far out in the meadows, above the young


GOLD HAIR Is it not true that every day She climbeth up the same strange way, Her scarlet cloak spread broad and gay,

Over my golden hair ? When I undo the knotted mass, Fathoms below the shadows pass Over my hair along the grass.

O my golden hair! See on the marble parapet, I lean my brow, strive to forget That fathoms below my hair grows wet

With the dew, my golden hair.

See on the marble parapet,
The faint red stains with tears are wet;
The long years pass, no help comes yet

To free my golden hair.

And yet: but I am growing old.
For want of love my heart is cold ;
Years pass, the while I loose and fold
The fathoms of my hair.


Now choose one cloth for ever ; which

they be, I will not tell you, you must somehow



But, knowing now that they would have

her speak, She threw her wet hair backward from

her brow, Her hand close to her mouth touching

her cheek, As though she had had there a shameful

blow, And feeling it shameful to feel aught

but shame All through her heart, yet felt her cheek

burned so,

“Of your own strength and mightiness;

here, see! Yea, yea, my lord, and you to ope your

eyes, At foot of your familiar bed to see A great God's angel standing, with

such dyes, Not known on earth, on his great wings,

and hands, Held out two ways, light from the inner



She must a little touch it; like one lame She walked away from Gauwaine, with

her head Still lifted up; and on her cheek of


The tears dried quick ; she stopped at

last and said : “O knights and lords, it seems but little

skill To talk of well-known things past now

and dead.

“Showing him well, and making his

commands Seem to be God's commands, moreover,

too, Holding within his hands the cloths on

wands; And one of these strange choosing

cloths was blue, Wavy and long, and one cut short and

red ; No man could tell the better of the two. After a shivering half-hour you said : "God help! heaven's color, the blue : '

and he said, “hell.' Perhaps you would then roll upon your

bed, ** And cry to all good men that loved

you well, "Ah Christ! if only I had known,

known, known;' Launcelot went away, then I could tell, “Like wisest man how all things would

be, moan, And roll and hurt myself, and long to die. And yet fear much to die for what was

(od wot I ought to say, I have doneill, And pray you all forgiveness heartily! Because you must be right, such great

lords; still

“Listen, suppose your time were come

to die, And you were quite alone and very

weak; Yea, laid a dying while very mightily


Nevertheless you, o Sir Gauwaine, lie. Whatever may have happened through

these years, God kuows I speak truth, saying that

“ The wind was ruffling up the narrow

streak Of river through your broad lands run

ning well: Suppose a hush should come, then some

you lie."

Her voice was low at first, being full of

tears, But as it cleared, it grew full loud ani

shrill, Growing a windy shriek in all men's

one speak : "*One of these cloths is heaven, and one

is hell, 1 The preceding, poem, Hands, published under that title in the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, 1856, and the lyric stanzas to which I have here given the title Gold Hair, both form part of Rupunzel in the Guenevere volume, 1858.


I ringing in their startled brains, until She said that Gauwaine lied, then her

voice sunk, And her great eyes began again to fill, Though still she stood right up, and

never shrunk, But spoke on bravely, glorious lady fair ! Whatever tears her full lips may have



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Behold, my judges, then the cloths were

brought; While I was dizzied thus, old thoughts

would crowd, “ Belonging to the time ere I was bought By Arthur's great name and his little

love: Must I give up for ever then, I thought, " That which I deemed would ever

round me move Glorifying all things; for a little word, Scarce ever meant at all, must I now

prove “Stone-cold for ever? Pray you, does

the Lord Will that all folks should be quite happy

and good ? I love God now a little, if this cord “ Were broken, once for all what striving

could Make me love anything in earth or

heaven? So day by day it grew, as if one should “Slip slowly down some path worn

smooth and everi, Down to a cool sea on a summer day ; Yet still in slipping there was

small leaven “Of stretched hands catching small

stones by the way, Until one surely reached the sea at last, And felt strange new joy as the worn

head lay “ Back, with the hair like sea-weed ;

yea all past Sweat of the forehead, dryness of the lips, Washed utterly out by the dear waves

o'ercast, "In the lone sea, far off from any ships ! Do I not know now of a day in Spring? No minute of that will day ever slips * From out my memory ; I hear thrushes

sing, And wheresoever I may be, straightway Thoughts of it all come up with most

fresh sting : "I was half mad with beauty on that

day, And went without my ladies all alone, In a quiet garden walled round every

"Son of King Ban of Benwick, seemed

to chimne Along with all the bells that rang that

day, O'er the white roofs, with little change

of rhyme. “Christmas and whitened winter passed

away, And over me the April sunshine came, Made very awful with black hail-clouds,



"And in the Summer I grew white with

flame, And bowed my head down : Autumn,

and the sick Sure knowledge things would never be

the same, " However often Spring might be most

thick Of blossoms and buds, smote on me, and

I grew Careless of most things, let the clock

tick, tick,

"To my unhappy pulse, that beat right

through My eager body ; while I laughed out loud, And let my lips curl up at false or true, Seemed cold and shallow without any

way ;


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