The Vision of Sir Launfal eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 124 pages of information about The Vision of Sir Launfal.
A seed of sunshine that doth leaven
Our earthly dulness with the beams of stars,
And glorify our clay
With light from fountains elder than the Day; 100
A conscience more divine than we,
A gladness fed with secret tears,
A vexing, forward-reaching sense
Of some more noble permanence;
A light across the sea, 105
Which haunts the soul and will not let it be,
Still glimmering from the heights of undegenerate years.


Whither leads the path
To ampler fates that leads? 
Not down through flowery meads, 110
To reap an aftermath
Of youth’s vainglorious weeds;
But up the steep, amid the wrath
And shock of deadly-hostile creeds,
Where the world’s best hope and stay 115
By battle’s flashes gropes a desperate way,
And every turf the fierce foot clings to bleeds. 
Peace hath her not ignoble wreath,
Ere yet the sharp, decisive word
Light the black lips of cannon, and the sword 120
Dreams in its easeful sheath;
But some day the live coal behind the thought,
Whether from Baal’s stone obscene,
Or from the shrine serene
Of God’s pure altar brought, 125
Bursts up in flame; the war of tongue and pen
Learns with what deadly purpose it was fraught,
And, helpless in the fiery passion caught,
Shakes all the pillared state with shock of men: 
Some day the soft Ideal that we wooed 130
Confronts us fiercely, foe-beset, pursued,
And cries reproachful:  “Was it, then, my praise,
And not myself was loved?  Prove now thy truth;
I claim of thee the promise of thy youth;
Give me thy life, or cower in empty phrase, 135
The victim of thy genius, not its mate!”
Life may be given in many ways,
And loyalty to Truth be sealed
As bravely in the closet as the field,
So bountiful is Fate; 140
But then to stand beside her,
When craven churls deride her,
To front a lie in arms and not to yield,
This shows, methinks, God’s plan
And measure of a stalwart man, 145
Limbed like the old heroic breeds,
Who stands self-poised on manhood’s solid earth;
Not forced to frame excuses for his birth,
Fed from within with all the strength he needs.


    Such was he, our Martyr-Chief, 150
        Whom late the Nation he had led,
        With ashes on her head,
    Wept with the passion of an angry grief: 
    Forgive me, if from present things I turn
    To speak what in my heart will beat and burn, 155

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The Vision of Sir Launfal from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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