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The Vision of Sir Launfal eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 75 pages of information about The Vision of Sir Launfal.

V.

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 ’gan 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.

VI.

    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 but a slender mite,
    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
    To the soul that was starving in darkness before.”

PRELUDE TO PART SECOND.

    Down swept the chill wind from the mountain peak,[3]
      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 sleet 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 gleams
    He groined his arches and matched his beams;
    Slender and clear were his crystal spars 185
    As the lashes of light that trim the stars;
    He sculptured every summer delight
    In his halls and chambers out of sight;
    Sometimes his tinkling waters slipt
    Down through a frost-leaved forest-crypt, 190
    Long, sparkling aisles of steel-stemmed trees
    Bending to counterfeit a breeze;
    Sometimes the roof no fretwork knew
    But silvery mosses that downward grew;
    Sometimes it was carved in sharp relief 195
    With quaint arabesques of ice-fern leaf;

[Footnote 3:  Note the different moods that are indicated by the two preludes.  The one is of June, the other of snow and winter.  By these preludes the poet, like an organist, strikes a key which he holds in the subsequent parts.]

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