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Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere

         
          A FRAGMENT

       

      Like souls that balance joy and pain,
      With tears and smiles from heaven again
      The maiden Spring upon the plain
      Came in a sun-lit fall of rain.
          In crystal vapour everywhere
      Blue isles of heaven laugh’d between,
      And far, in forest-deeps unseen,
      The topmost elm-tree gather’d green
           From draughts of balmy air.

       
      Sometimes the linnet piped his song:
      Sometimes the throstle whistled strong:
      Sometimes the sparhawk, wheel’d along,
      Hush’d all the groves from fear of wrong:
           By grassy capes with fuller sound
      In curves the yellowing river ran,
      And drooping chestnut-buds began
      To spread into the perfect fan,
           Above the teeming ground.

       
      Then, in the boyhood of the year,
      Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere
      Rode thro’ the coverts of the deer,
      With blissful treble ringing clear.
           She seem’d a part of joyous Spring:
      A gown of grass-green silk she wore,
      Buckled with golden clasps before;
      A light-green tuft of plumes she bore
           Closed in a golden ring.

       
      Now on some twisted ivy-net,
      Now by some tinkling rivulet,
      In mosses mixt with violet
      Her cream-white mule his pastern set:
           And fleeter now she skimm’d the plains
      Than she whose elfin prancer springs
      By night to eery warblings,
      When all the glimmering moorland rings
           With jingling bridle-reins.

       
      As fast she fled thro’ sun and shade,
      The happy winds upon her play’d,
      Blowing the ringlet from the braid:
      She look’d so lovely, as she sway’d
           The rein with dainty finger-tips,
      A man had given all other bliss,
      And all his worldly worth for this,
      To waste his whole heart in one kiss
           Upon her perfect lips.
       


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