Narrative and Lyric Poems (first series) for use in the Lower School eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 179 pages of information about Narrative and Lyric Poems (first series) for use in the Lower School.

  The drawbridge dropped with a surly clang,
  And through the dark arch a charger sprang,
  Bearing Sir Launfal, the maiden knight, 130
  In his gilded mail, that flamed so bright
  It seemed the dark castle had gathered all
  Those shafts the fierce sun had shot over its wall
    In his siege of three hundred summers long,
  And, binding them all in one blazing sheaf, 135
    Had cast them forth; so, young and strong,
  And lightsome as a locust leaf,
  Sir Launfal flashed forth in his unscarred mail,
  To seek in all climes for the Holy Grail.


  It was morning on hill and stream and tree, 140
    And morning in the young knight’s heart;
  Only the castle moodily
  Rebuffed the gifts of the sunshine free,
    And gloomed by itself apart;
  The season brimmed all other things up 145
  Full as the rain fills the pitcher-plant’s cup.


  As Sir Launfal made morn through the darksome gate,
    He was ware of a leper, crouched by the same,
  Who begged with his hand and moaned as he sate;
    And a loathing over Sir Launfal came, 150
  The sunshine went out of his soul with a thrill,
    The flesh ’neath his armor did shrink and crawl. 
  And midway its leap his heart stood still
    Like a frozen waterfall;
  For this man, so foul and bent of stature, 155
  Rasped harshly against his dainty nature,
  And seemed the one blot on the summer morn,—­
  So he tossed him a piece of gold in scorn.


  The leper raised not the gold from the dust: 
  “Better to me the poor man’s crust, 160
  Better the blessing of the poor,
  Though I turn me empty from his door;
  That is no true alms which the hand can hold;
  He gives nothing but worthless gold
    Who gives from a sense of duty; 165
  But he who gives a slender mite,[16]
  And gives to that which is out of sight,
    That thread of the all-sustaining Beauty
  Which runs through all and doth all unite,—­
  The hand cannot clasp the whole of his alms, 170
  The heart outstretches its eager palms,
  For a god goes with it and makes it store[17]
  To the soul that was starving in darkness before.”


  Down swept the chill wind from the mountain peak,
    From the snow five thousand summers old:  175
  On open wold and hill-top bleak
    It had gathered all the cold,
  And whirled it like a sheet on the wanderer’s cheek;
  It carried a shiver everywhere
  From the unleafed boughs and pastures bare; 180
  The little brook heard it and built a roof
  ’Neath which he could house him, winter-proof: 
  All night by the white stars’ frosty

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Narrative and Lyric Poems (first series) for use in the Lower School from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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