Under King Constantine eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 53 pages of information about Under King Constantine.

Sir Torm was helped in his self-given task—­
To struggle with ill humours and with pride—­
Far more by her new gentleness and grace
Than he had been by waywardness and scorn
And fitful fascination, as of old. 
To help Torm was her life’s new quest, and well
Did she essay to gain it.

When the tide
Of sorrow for Sanpeur would over-sweep
Her heart; and when, sometimes, Sir Torm would lapse
Into forgetfulness of his resolve,
Confronting her o’ercome with wine or wrath,
Low to herself she whispered Sanpeur’s words,
“Life is the filling of a trust,” and straight
Her soul grew strong again.

From year to year,
Beneath her planting and her fostering,
Torm’s nature blossomed, and his manhood grew
More fine, more fruitful.  Men, at last, could mark
In his whole bearing greater dignity;
And Constantine once gave him, for some feat,
A brilliant Order, with the meaning words,
“The greatest conquest is to conquer self.”

But there was one deep shadow in his life: 
Upon the lovely face of Gwendolaine
Were two long, narrow, seamed scars.  One day
He touched them tenderly, and said, “God’s faith,
I would give all but knighthood to efface
Those hellish scars that mar your peerless cheek.”

She turned her head quick to his hand’s embrace,
Buried her cheek within its palm, and said,
“Those scars, my Torm, I would not now resign
For any dower that the world could give;
They are the Order of my higher life,
The birthmarks of your new nobility.”


The sky was one unbroken pall of gray,
Casting a gloom upon the restless sea,
Dulling her sapphire splendour to a dark
And minor beauty.  All the rock-bound shore
Was silent, save a widowed song-bird sang
Far off at intervals a mournful note,
And on the broken crags of dark gray rock
The waves dashed ceaselessly.  Sir Kathanal
Stood with uncovered head and folded arms,
His soul as restless as the surging sea
Lashed into passion by the coming storm. 
His helmet lay upon the sand; its crest,
A floating plume of deep-hued violet,
Was tossed and torn in fury by the wind
Until it seemed a thing of life.  He stood
And watched it, only half aware at first
That it was there, then scarce aware of aught
Besides the plume.  As in the room of death
Some iterated sound or motion holds
Attent the stricken mind, benumbed, and keeps
The horror of its grief awhile at bay
As by a spell, so now, though Kathanal
Had sought the sea-shore to be free of men
Because of his sore agony of heart,
And all the passion of his daring soul
Was tossing like the sea in fierce revolt,
His thoughts and gaze were centred on his crest. 
Before the gray of sea and sky he saw
Naught but the waving, waving of the plume;

Project Gutenberg
Under King Constantine from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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