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And he sat in the gateway and saw all night
The great hall-fire, so cheery and bold,
Through the window-slits of the castle old, Build out its piers of ruddy light
Against the drift of the cold.
There was never a leaf on bush or tree,
The bare boughs rattled shudderingly;
The river was dumb and could not speak,
For the weaver Winter its shroud had spun;
A single crow on the tree-top bleak
From his shining feathers shed off the cold sun; Again it was morning, but shrunk and cold, As if her veins were sapless and old, And she rose up decrepitly For a last dim look at earth and sea.
Sir Launfal turned from his own hard gate,
For another heir in his earldom sate;
An old, bent man, worn out and frail,
He came back from seeking the Holy Grail;
Little he recked of his earldom's loss,
No more on his surcoat was blazoned the cross,
But deep in his soul the sign he wore,
The badge of the suffering and the poor.
Sir Launfal's raiment, thin and spare,
Was idle mail 'gainst the barbèd air,
For it was just at the Christmas time;
So he mused, as he sat, of a sunnier clime,
And sought for a shelter from cold and snow
In the light and warmth of long ago:
He sees the snake-like caravan crawl
O’er the edge of the desert, black and small,
Then nearer and nearer, till, one by one,
He can count the camels in the sun,
As over the red-hot sands they pass
To where, in its slender necklace of grass,
The little spring laughed and leapt in the shade,
And with its own self like an infant played,
And waved its signal of palms.
“For Christ's sweet sake, I beg an alms;”-
The happy camels may reach the spring,
But Sir Launfal sees only the grewsome thing,
Tht leper, lank as the rain-blanched bone,
That cowers beside him, a thing as lone
And white as the ice-isles of Northern seas
In the desolate horror of his disease.
And Sir Launfal said, “I behold in thee
An image of Him who died on the tree;
Thou also hast had thy crown of thorns-
Thou also hast had the world's buffets and scorns-
And to thy life were not denied
The wounds in the hands and feet and side:
Mild Mary's Son, acknowledge me;
Behold, through him, I give to thee!"
Then the soul of the leper stood up in his eyes
And looked at Sir Launfal, and straightway he
Remembered in what a haughtier guise
He had flung an alms to leprosie,
When he girt his young life up in gilded mail
And set forth in search of the Holy Grail.
The heart within him was ashes and dust;
He parted in twain his single crust,
He broke the ice on the streamlet's brink,
And gave the leper to eat and drink,
'Twas a mouldy crust of coarse brown bread,
'Twas water out of a wooden bowl-
Yet with fine wheaten bread was the leper fed,
And 'twas red wine he drank with his thirsty soul.
As Sir Launfal mused with a downcast face,
A light shone round about the place;
The leper no longer crouched at his side,
But stood before him glorified,
Shining and tall and fair and straight
As the pillar that stood by the Beautiful Gate-
Himself the Gate whereby men can
Enter the temple of God in Man.
His words were shed softer than leaves from the pine,
And they fell on Sir Launfal as snows on the brine,
Which mingle their softness and quiet in one
With the shaggy unrest they float down upon;
And the voice that was calmer than silence said,
“Lo, it is I, be not afraid!
In many climes, without avail,
Thou hast spent thy life for the Holy Grail;
Behold it is here—this cup which thou
Didst fill at the streamlet for me but now;
This crust is my body broken for thee,
This water His blood that died on the tree;
The Holy Supper is kept, indeed,
In whatso we share with another's need;
Not what we give, but what we share-
For the gift without the giver is bare;
Who gives himself with his alms feeds three
Himself, his hungering neighbor, and me.”
Sir Launfal awoke as from a swound:-
“The Grail in my castle here is found!
Hang my idle armor up on the wall,
Let it be the spider's banquet hall;
He must be fenced with stronger mail
Who would seek and find the Holy Grail.”.
The castle gate stands open now,
And the wanderer is welcome to the hall
As the hangbird is to the elm-tree bough;
No longer scowl the turrets tall,
The Summer's long siege at last is o'er;
When the first poor outcast went in at the door,
She entered with him in disguise,
And mastered the fortress by surprise;
There is no spot she loves so well on ground,
She lingers and smiles there the whole year round;
The meanest serf on Sir Launfal's land
Has hall and bower at his command;
And there's no poor man in the North Countree
But is lord of the earldom as much as he.
FURTHER READING.-See American Classics for School, by Houghton, Mifflin & Co., for admirable selections from American authors.
Brief Historical Sketch...... 268
(Miss Austen and Scott.... 269
Extract from Scott.. 271
Lytton, Brontë, Thacke-
ray, Dickens, and Geo.
His- | Hallam, Macaulay, Mil-
tory.7 man, and Napier.... 278
Biogra- Lockhart, Southey,
phy. 7 Forster, & Stanley 279
Theo. | Paley and Coleridge.. 279
John Henry Newman 280
Mill, Hamilton, Ben-
tham,and Blackstone 307
Burke, Carlyle, and
Ext’s | Carlyle...
from De Quincey....
The Fr. Rev. and the Poets.. 338
Crabbe, Bloomfield, Southey,
Wordsworth-Man and Na-
Campbell, Rogers, and Moore. 357
Extracts from Campbell ..... 359
Extract from Moore..... 361
Byron-Position as a Poet.... 361
Morris and Others..
Extract from Morris..
BIOGRAPHICAL AND TOPICAL.
Addison, Joseph, b. at Milston, in
1672; entered Queen's College, Oxford,
1687, and passed to Magdalen College,
1689; a good scholar and a writer of
Latin verse; intended for the Church,
but Halifax persuaded him to enter
the service of the state; a pension
of £300 in 1699; visited France and
Italy; lost the pension, and returned
1703; wrote The Campaign in praise
of Marlborough; under-secretary of
state in 1706; M. P. in 1708; secretary
to Lord Wharton, Lord Lieutenant
of Ireland, with salary of £2000, 1709;
began with Steele The Spectator-a
daily from March 1, 1711, to December,
1712, and revived as a tri-weekly in
1714. Again secretary to Lord Lieuten-
ant of Ireland; took his seat at the
Board of Trade in 1715, and began The
Freeholder; married the countess-
dowager of Warwick in 1716, and lived
three years to regret it; secretary of
state, 1717; d. 1719..
Adhelm, b. about 656, in Wessex;
taught by the learned Adrian; entered
the monastery at Malmesbury at the
age of sixteen; afterwards abbot;
went to Rome; upon his return helped
to settle the dispute concerning the
celebration of Easter; d. 707........ 28
Ælfred, b. in Berkshire 848; sent at the
age of five to Rome and again at the
age of seven; remained there a year;
came to the throne, 871; driven by the
Danes from it; routed them at Ed-
dington, 878; was recognized as king
of all England, 886; rebuilt London
that year; kingdom again invaded by
the Danes, 894; Ælfred defeated them
in several battles, and drove them
from the island; is said by some to
have founded Oxford; d. 901.... 32-34.
Ælfriç, “the grammarian," studied at
Abington; went thence to Winchester;
became a monk; bishop of Wilton;
Archbishop of Canterbury, 995; d.
Andrew of Wyntoun.
Ascham, Roger, b. about 1515; took
his B.A. at Cambridge, 1534; college
lecturer on Greek in 1537; Toxophilus,
1544; famous for his penmanship;
tutor to princess Elizabeth; Latin Sec-
retary to Queens Mary and Elizabeth;
The Schoolmaster published by his
widow, 1570; believed that boys
could be lured to learning by love
better than driven to it by beating; d.
Austen, Miss, b. at Steventon, 1775;
educated by her father; novels pic-
ture the life of the middle classes;
Scott says that her talent for describ-
ing the characters of ordinary life was
most wonderful; d. 1817....
Bacon, Lord, b. at London, 1561, son
of Sir Nicholas Bacon, and nephew of
Lord Burleigh; studied at Cambridge;
visited France; returned to England
at his father's death, 1579; admitted
to the bar, 1582; M. P., 1589, and sat
in every Parliament till 1614; was a
noted speaker. “The fear of every
man who heard him was, that he
should make an end," says Ben
Jonson; was counsellor-extraordinary