The Works of Sydney Fowler Wright 1874 - 1965

The Song Of Arthur - Chapter XIX

by S. Fowler Wright

Return to Chapter XVIII

The Vision Of The Grail.

Sir Galahad wandered long, and wandered far
In those wild lands where ever ventures are,
Beyond belief of men whose hearts prefer
Warm beds at night, and peace of fold and garth,
The autumn harvest and the winter hearth,
And will not from known roads and dealings stir.

Strange were the toils he dured, the sights he saw.
Wondrous and strange beyond those weirds which came
To Bors and Percival. For Heavenly law
Tempers to each the test, and deals the blame
On those who may not to their most adjust
Resistance to the snares of doubt or lust,
Of hate, or greed, or envy.

                        No man knew
The pits he passed, or broke what barriers through,
Until a damsel of such kind he met
As seldom, on whatever quest he ride,
A knight may counter. In his path she set
Her side-reined palfrey.

                "Fair my lord," she said,
"Meseemeth that our further paths agree."

"That may be plain to you, but less to me.
What is thine aim herein, and what may be
The destination thine?"

                "Long leagues I bring
A girdle that I twined for only thee.
Soon shalt thou take it as a seemly thing,
Finding no fault in my companionship."

"Who art thou, of such gentle mien, and yet
In words so confident?"

                False guise to strip
From hell's fair agents, who with lustful net
Of subtle weavings would contrive his fall,
He had been practised; and the sword of prayer
Was ever sheathless to his thoughts recall
From wanderings of desire. But more aware
Of carnal longing in his heart was he
Than had been from the fiend's most potent snare,
And thus he asked her. Yet her prudency
Neither her aspect nor her garb denied:
For greed too gentle, too assured for pride,
Doubtless of evil, of the mood to dwell
With quiet coolness in the heart of hell.

"I am," she said, "a sister of thy friend,
"God's knight, Sir Percival. To equal end
Him may we seek as one."

                        "I seek the Grail."

"There is no difference in the path thereto.
Come with me therefore."

                "Should thy guidance fail - "

"It shall not, truly."

                        As the path she knew
She led him, and as one by spells constrained
He followed, till a wild seashore they gained,
And by the shore a waiting barque, and there
Sir Bors they greeted, and Sir Percival,
And went aboard; at which the barque, as though
It had but waited for that freightage fair,
Turned seaward, on such flying course to go
As Heaven alone should lead, or faith should dare.

For Faith its name, and had themselves been less
Than confident of God in righteousness,
They had been wreckage for the winds to tear.
But to a shore they came, they knew not where,
On which they landed. Here a squire they met
Who charged them to their names and race declare,
And warned them, when he heard: "Our lord is set
In changeless malice, all thy Table's pride
In mire to trample. Sixty champions ride
Behind his pennon."

                "Though we fear," they said,
"His malice naught, yet any blood to shed
Is not our purpose. In God's peace we go.
Need we this hostile tower to pass?"

                        "Not so.
The lower road avails. But heed ye well
That those within a seaward hold who dwell
May claim a custom which they will not miss."

"That shall be answered at its worth."

                        They took
A road along the sounding shore. Ahead
Were walls of strength nor tide nor tempest shook,
So were they founded, though their stretched extent
Countered the waves for half their round, and sank
Their hard foundations where the seas were high.

Leaving the road, their course they inward bent,
Thinking in quiet peace to pass it by.
But those had seen them from the wall who sent
A knight to cross their way. "Fair lords," he said,
"The lady with you - is she wife or maid?"

She answered ere they spake: "A maid am I.
Why dost thou ask?"

                He caught her rein: "For thee
Our custom calls."

                "Withhold," Sir Galahad said,
"She rides molestless, as a maid unwed."

"We have a custom which she must not miss."

"Ye do not honour yourself in this.
I charge thee leave her."

                        "That I will not do.
Let prudence rule thy speech. Regard that we
(Not all have come) are thirty knights to three."

Soothly he spake, for on this sharp debate
A score of castle knights intruded now,
By violence or consent, they cared not how,
Their will to have. The hand importunate
Upon her rein, to draw her forward strove.
At which the swift sword of Sir Percival
Came down, to cleave it from its arm.

                        The blow
Was signal of such strife as none will know
Save those who in their faith are confident,
And think not those who make of God their foe
Can be too many for good knights to slay.
Against them like a rushing wind they went,
Three against thirty, and as corn is bent
So quailed they from them. Full a score were slain
Before the jostling remnant could regain
The safety of the gate.

                        The three rode on
With her they guarded well, but had not gone
A five-score yards, before a single knight
Came from the gate, and hailed them.

                        Galahad said:
"Dost thou regard not where a score are slain?
And would ye singly lose your life in vain
Some monstrous custom to assert anew?"

"Nay, surely, for I come in peace. Behold,
Neither for strength of steel nor gift of gold,
But that good reason should your hearts control,
My lady sent me. Much her thoughts lament
Her knights' rash violence which you well prevent.
And now she asks that for no further dole,
But in fair amity of heart and hand,
You should remain to find your knightly needs
In all assured, and on the sworn accord
That not by sleight or wile, or bout of sword,
We shall your ease or morning leave withstand."

To this consent they came, and good repast
Was theirs, and all things as should rightly be,
Conforming not to that discourtesy
Which was so largely paid; and at the last
Sir Galahad asked them why the first had stayed
A peaceful passage. "I would wit," said he,
"What is this custom that rude hands are laid
On ladies' bridles."

                "That," they said, "to thee
We tell with freedom, as we meant to do.
Not without hope that willing aid from you
May yet be rendered.

                "Here a lady dwells,
Who owns not this great tower alone, but wide
Her rule extendeth from the ocean-side
To the far hills. But that dominion
Gives her no joy. For ten long years hath she
Been rotting to slow death from leprosy,
Physicians failing to relieve her woe.
But said one charm-wise crone long years ago
That could the blood of one in deed and will
Clean maid be used to cleanse her, then would she
Be quickly whole; but else it could not be.

"Therefore in loyal service have we sought
Such cure to find, and many maids have bled
- Maids of clean life were they, or so they said -
And some have waned, but most unharmed have shed
Blood they could plainly spare, but none thereby
Have given healing. So we seek her still,
Not only clean of life but clean of will."

To this the sister of Sir Percival
Was first to answer: "This is clear to see:
Death must be hers except my rescue be."

"That," said Sir Galahad, "might thy life require.
It is not reason."

                "Should my choice retire
From such high challenge, much my shame. But fair
Mine earthly praise, with Heaven's approval, were
If I should heal her, though I lost thereby
God's loan of life. But deaths there shall not be
Continuing here, if my one jeopardy
Can lift the shadow that this curse hath cast."

Then jocund were the castle knights to see
Good hope of end to their iniquity
Which long had bound them, for their lady's gain,
To such foul use. And on the following day
That damsel who was clean in act and will
Gave freely of her blood, which flowed until
A measured bowl was brimmed. And then, full fain
To save her, Percival and Galahad
Laboured to staunch it, but too late were they
More than for some short hours to death delay.
Earth was her loss, she said, and God her gain,
In quiet words that died to silence soon.

But not in vain she died. For now was seen
She who was leprous whole and fair and clean,
Though to what end a doubt is left; for they
By whom this tale is told are clear to say
That when the knights of Arthur left there came
God's wrath in tempest, and the lightning's flame
Shattered that hold, and left its ramparts low,
Avoiding only where they laid the dead
Who vainly for its dame's relief had bled
In previous days. And yet, if this be so,
And those who used this custom all were slain
By God's swift judgement, must this doubt remain:
Why for those others who had died in vain
No thunder sounded? This at least is sure,
She who in act and thought alike was pure
At her life's price that foul disease repelled,
And this shall wholly for her praise be held
Though righteous judgement may its cause condemn.

There came to Galahad, in that night of woe,
A dream of God. The sister of Percival
Came to him. In moonlight at his couch she stood.

Her lifted arms, but in no amorous war,
Were strained to Heaven, and small, and wide apart,
As from the upward beating of the heart
Cast off, but very fair, her breasts he saw,
And all beside in shadow.

                        And he thereat
The thirst that warred with all his vows forgat,
The love that lured him. and the fear that fled,
And seeking for his own her faith to know,
"Lo, I will follow the where you lead," he said.

But not she answered, nor with downward eyes
Looked on him at all, and in that dream's surmise
More distant seemed she than in life, although
Remote in life as God from love's fierce woe.
But when he arose, and bent, and kissed her feet,
She spake: "O Galahad, here no more we meet,
Till God's great angel sound, and heaven be rent.
Yet know ye for that loss I naught repent,
Nor that for one not worth my life I gave,
Gave to no gain, and might in nowise save.
Seek ye the quest ye vowed; for naught beside
Is here of earth shall long the hands abide
That reach it: naught suffice, and naught endure:
The shadows only, and the night are sure."

And the moon clouded, and the darkness came.

And waking from that dream he rose, and knelt
Before the shadowed shrine of her, to whom
All woes are less than those she dured; that she
Can heed no pain but first herself she felt,
From the first birth-pang, till the broken tomb
Showed triumph at last; and sought her aid to free
His heart from that which all he vowed with-stood.

"O Queen of Peace, O sorrow unsearchable,
O thou that sinless in our ways hath trod,
O heart shown vermeil on the shield of God,
Pale lips, and eyes of deep and deathless joy,
Grant me this gain, that not to turn my feet
From this high quest, shall aught of earth I meet
Prevail, but single, till God's Grail I see
My heart intend, and that which more shall be
I ask not."

        Thence with strengthened hope he rose,
And armed, and forth, and under skies that showed
Stars only, through the shadowy courtyard rode,
And outward through a ruined wall, and chose
The desolate way that led by drift and dune,
And then but sand and sea; and saw the moon
Silvering the waters where it sank, the while
From that weird sea no mortal barque had sailed
Surf sounded, and a sea-born wind prevailed.


Now separate rode the three. A wayside chance
That called the service of a single lance
Engaged Sir Bors; and Galahad sought apart
To mourn her who in life had held his heart,
It might be doubted, from his destined way,
So had he loved her, who no word had said,
Nor she to him, beyond what comrades say.

From golden dawn he rode till eve was red,
From eve's red fault to golden dawn he rode,
Save for good care upon his steed bestowed
Regarding naught, and none his course withsaid,
Until a knight at crossing ways he met
By whom a ready spear to rest was set
In instant challenge, as the screening trees
Gave sight of what, though less of whom, they were.

But Galahad, of the blue shielded-lions aware,
Declined that challenge, and apart again
Swerved through the thickness of the woods; for he
Lonely with God to guard his grief would be:
While Lancelot, careless of a knight unknown,
Pursued a different path as wild and lone.

No sheltering roof he sought, no highway held,
Nor purposed path, nor turned for wild or way,
Nor height of crag, nor depth of stream repelled,
Nor threats of hostile lands his course could stay.
Naught found he of the Grail, but reached at last
A forest virgin, pathless, wild and vast,
Wherein he wandered long a weariest way.

Hard fared he in those wilds, and scant he fed,
And dimly faded from his mind as dead
The thoughts of honour and strife that once had sway,
Cold was the pulse and slow, and ash the fire,
And lost were old delight and old desire,
And all that once his errant fancy led.

But outward came he from long toils to where
He found wide plains beneath him, salt and bare,
Sand-wastes amid the waters, and the day
Sank downward, reddening all the west. There through
To pass he sought, nor yet for night to stay
Enforcing to his will the western way,
Till storm with night a doubled darkness drew,
And cold rain came; but while one westward star
Showed through the wrack, a beacon faint and far,
His course he held, till heavier tempest swept
The darkened heaven, and waters washed his way,
And the faint light failed of that single star
To blackness of the abhorred: and where he stept
Against his feet the sounding waters leapt,
And where he turned alike.

                        At this (content
That not God's will shall any toil relent,
And rest is meet when all is tried that may),
Being wearied, on the wet sand couched, he slept.

Then came there to Sir Lancelot where he lay
A dream of good. To that wild beach there came,
Through the great deep, and on the dawn aflame
A darkness lifted by the heaving sea,
A ship; but all rose-light to closer view,
And like the calyx of a flower half spread
It shaped. Nor sail nor oar its motions led,
But toward him seeking like a sentient thing
Its course it chose; and in this surance grew
Joy beyond aught of seeming cause, and past
All joys before, its shoreward course to know.

But when it grounded on that beach, and low
The falling tide lapped round it, while he sought,
Advancing toward its shining side, to see
The inward meaning of that mystery,
He waked.

        No more the thunderous floods upcast;
Of darkness, and wild strife of storm was naught,
But wide quiet sands, and ever lessening sea;
And dawn was on the waters. Dawn aflame
Devoured half heaven, and midst its burning core,
A blackness on the heaving seas, there bore
Down on the land - but like an opening flower
Of shining pearl, rose-flushed, to nearer view -
A ship that mast nor sail nor oar controlled;
But sentient-seeming toward the land it came,
Though tide nor wind allied it. In that hour
Joy, beyond aught of seeming cause, he knew,
As inward to that barren beach it drew,
And round it lapped the falling tide; and bold
In that belief of joy, he sought its side,
And clomb, and no man hailed him. Undenied,
Crossed the still decks, and past his dream there grew
Joy beyond cause, before its cause he knew.
For midmost in that windflower's heart was laid,
As flower in flower, as noon in heaven, a maid,
The sister of Percival. As when she died,
Ere from her heart the vain-shed life had dried,
More fair than sinful thought may dream or say,
Corruptless as the eternal skies she lay;
And Lancelot, nearing, felt such peace as ne'er
Afore he knew. For here might no sin dare,
Nor pain, nor grievance of remembered wrong,
Nor thirst of human need, nor hunger here,
Nor misery of regret, nor future fear.
But that great peace a cloak around her lay,
God's peace, that here to rede is no man may.

Tranced on that sight he gazed, the while unware
The land fast failed, as that strange barque anew
Its course along the pathless waters flew.

Seven days with Lancelot and that damsel dead,
Unoared, across the windless seas it fled
Westward; but when the last quiet dusk was red,
It grounded softly on an open shore
Of wide salt wastes; and as full night was nigh,
And first faint stars attained an empty sky,
Was nearly there, the lapping bows before,
The sound of hooves in heavy sand that trode.

For there came Galahad. In lone quest had he
Seen from far off, across that waveless sea,
The flying barque's approach, and fain he rode
Its cause to search, and when that freight he knew
Of her who in his sight had died, and who
Alone in life had haply drawn aside
His thoughts from Heaven, but in that dole she died,
Leaving his steed to wander where it would,
He entered, and the live barque loosed its stay,
Down-gliding to the rising tide anew,
And winged again o'er open seas its way.


From fall of autumn, through the darker days,
Moved that strange barque that no man steered and led
Where no man since hath followed, by wild sea-ways,
And isles of wonder and strange chance, that they
Gazed oft such sights as not man's speech may say,
And perils theirs of which no tale is said.

At last, with dawn, beneath their bows, they saw
A wide white beach, and thence a rising land
Clothed in great woods, and down that shining strand
An armed knight rode from out the trees, and led
A mighty steed unridered. White was he,
Unspecked, and housed in white from neck to knee.

Then that strong knight, but in no feir of war,
Approached them, grounding on wet sands, and said
"The good knight Galahad seek I. Here I bring
Fit steed to bear him to the wounded King."

Well knew they then that separate ways must be.
Yet both they landed, as the falling sea
Receded from them, and in converse dear
Lost the long hours, until, when night was near,
Sir Galahad mounted, that last quest to ride.

"Father," he said, "God keep us, for we meet
No more from various ways, by wild or street,
Till the last trumpet tear the night aside."

Thereat he answered: "Son, the when we may,
I will that at the Father's feet we pray
To hold us in His keeping."

                                Galahad said:
"No prayer than thine (nor any prayer more fain
Than mine for thee), I would that Heaven might gain
To plead the weakness of my need." And so
Turned the great steed, and took the path that led
Through the green shadows, toward the sunset's glow,
And the boughs hid him.

                With night, the winds of God
Swept the wide heavens, and in that barque returned,
Wild driven and far, a path by no man learned,
While the threshed waves the echoing tempest trod,
Drave Lancelot ever. But when two nights had been
Peace came, and quiet waters, and nearly seen,
Clear in the still light of the cloudless moon,
That in the arc of heaven had climbed its noon,
A castled strand. On that slope beach aground
Stayed the strange barque, and Lancelot leapt ashore,
And climbed toward the castle, but felt no more
The joy that held him in it. The seaward side
Of that great tower, a buttressed wall and wide,
Rose sheer and gate-less for all its length. He found
In the far angle, where the shadows lay,
A postern at the last. But crouching grim
There were two lions that held it. To break his way,
His sword came sheath-less to his hand unthought,
His shield he dressed unknowing. But on the stone,
Smitten from his grasp, the cast blade rang.

                        Was naught
His sight beheld that did it. There came to him
A voice of waters, or the seawinds' moan,
Unbodied, of the darkness, "Wilt thou yet,
O faithless, ever on the flesh depend,
Even at the goal of all thy hope?" He left
The sword unheeded on the path. He strode
Straight forward, where that baleful guard were set.
From either side they leapt upon him. They reft
His shield, and trampled on it. They turned to rend
A foe prove fenceless in their wrath, but he
Already their straitened right had passed. His road
Was open now. The moonlit court he crossed.
None stirred to stay him. The silent mystery
Of the great keep received him. Across his way
The patterned moonlight of the casements lay,
Down the long hall. In echoing darkness lost,
By narrower ways, to frequent doors he came,
But open all; and faint before him grew,
And gaining ever, clear-toned, a choral hymn,
That voices seeming not of earth, or through
The ardent heating of devotion's flame
Informed of Heaven, at some great altar sung,
In lauding of the Highest. And there among
To meet, and worship in like mood, to him
Seemed bliss to strive and die for. Onward still
At hastening pace he strode, and found the door
He sought, and opened to a room forthright
Filled of such wonder of sufficing light,
That all things else as shades of darkness seemed,
Unreal to that intense and searching fire.

In such concentrate light might no sin be,
That shrinks its sight as scorching flame, but he,
So sought he God, and in such strong desire,
Fear was not. Toward the exceeding light he strove.
But from that core a fierce heat burst, and cast
Outward, and closed that opened door more fast,
And a voice warned him: "Tempt ye not too far
His grace to wrath Who knows ye that ye are."
And he shrank backward, shamed, and all forebore.

But anguished more from that repulse he cried:
"O Lord, if ever in all of aught I served,
However later from Thy laws I swerved,
If ever in all I served, to that degree,
Grant in Thy grace that here Thy light I see."

And the door opened while he prayed, and through
The outshining light, beyond all hope, he knew
The Grail itself, but covered. From sinful sight
Not veiled in darkness, but extreme of light
Was round it, blinding, that its shape was dim.
Thereat he would have entered again, but found
As by strong cords his palsied feet were bound,
Beyond his strength to break, and on his breast,
Beyond his strength, a seeming hand was pressed,
And came again the voice: "Tempt not too far
His grace to wrath Who knows ye that ye are,

        Thus God's mercy came to him.


To Camelot Lancelot turned his charger's head,
Having no joy, though better peace he knew.
"It was God's largesse, not my worth," he said,
"So much that showed me. Now to strive anew
Must I, with clean intent, His will to do,
Who have been blessed so largely."

                        But the while,
Afar the helmless barque that held the dead
A backward course for other freight had fled.
Upon the further coast of Carbonac
Galahad it found, and Bors, and Percival,
Assembled from their devious ways, and they
Entered where yet the dead unaltered lay.

To those who sail the utmost wastes of sea,
Except they founder, or as wrecks are cast
On some bleak shore, it must be at the last
From their long wandering that some port will be.

So should it be for Faith's self-guided barque.
They watched and waited. Did they think to see
Some heavenly splendour when the leagues of sea
At last were ended? Did they hope to find
Some spiritual city, where men's thoughts inclined
Ever to God?

                To marble quays they came,
Round a wide bay where dome and temple rose
In dazzling whiteness to the sunlit blue.
Sarras men called it, and the heathen name
Through the vast East, that Pagan usage knew,
Was like a sound of evil. Estronore
Was tyrant of the land. Before his throne
The Christian knights were brought, Their captors said:
"These three have landed from a barque which lay
A moment at the quay, but since hath flown
So swiftly seaward that we might not stay
Its crew for question. Strange their speech; but by
The barbarous arms they wear, we deem that they
From some far land beyond thy rule have fled,
And bring them here for judgement."

                        "Call forthright
One skilled in tongues."

                        A slave interpreter
Was brought, and bidden in their speech enquire:
Who were they?

                "Here as God's adventurer
I come, as come my comrades," Galahad said,
"Being three knights of Christ, whose sole desire
Is one thing sacred to ourselves to find,
Doing no evil."

                "Christian knights are they?"
The tyrant said. "For their repugnant kind
Can be no mercy. Lest their swords oppose
Our judgement, let them with bland words be led
To the great dungeon which we keep for those
Who shall be slaughtered on our festal day."

So was it done. As men with forward feet
Will move a feast to find, a bride to meet,
So to the dungeon of their doom conveyed,
The three by ignorance and guile betrayed
Went blithely, for the words around them said
Were void of meaning, and their steps were led
By signs that had no breach of courtesy.

But when the keys were turned, the great bolts fell,
They saw the standard of that perfidy,
Omen of tortures and of deaths to be;
Yet for despondence had no cause, for while
They leant on Heaven, the snares of human guile
Were fearless to them as the snares of Hell.

Walls may be hard to breach by human kind,
But God, who all forethought, and all designed,
And the thin substance of our days hath wrought
As on a mirror cast by procreant thought,
Can put the fabric of strong walls aside
For larger vision.

                Thus did Heaven provide
Triumphant answer to the Pagan pride
That captured those good knights; for came a day
When seemed their dungeon walls were rapt away:
A marvel of translucent skies they knew,
In which the utmost heavenward heights displayed
Their white-winged angels. Midst that shining host,
And shapen like the chalice flower that most
Belongs the spring, its inward heart afire
And glorious with a rosier gold than shows
That inmost flower, as ruddy with God's own rose,
Implicit of deeper gold than earth's, they knew
The Grail divine. And then a wind they felt
That downward swept, and swanlike wings were wide,
That hid Sir Galahad the where he knelt;
And when they rose, his earthly bonds aside
His soaring soul had cast.

                        Sir Percival
Gazed on that loss, and by his own desire
The same high course had held; but not for him
God's trumpets sounded then.

                        To Bors he said,
With sorrow-blinded eyes who wept the dead:
"Now wilt thou with me these brief years remain,
With naught but earth to lose, and Heaven to gain?"

But answer made Sir Bors: "I know not why
The vision blessed me. Had it passed me by
I less had wondered. But (and this may be
My condemnation to such eyes as see
God's truth unblinded) while this life persist,
Even those whose lips the feet of Christ have kist
Meseems should rather to its labours turn
Than thus renounce them. Is it praise to spurn
The obligations that our births imply?
Yet will I constant at thy side be found
While friendship's bonds require."

                The while they spake,
The walls returned around them; but the sound
Of feet approaching came their bonds to break,
For Estronore to mortal sickness fell,
And ere he died, his periled soul to save,
An urgent charge to those around he gave
Those Christian knights to loose, and serve them well.

Free were their steps to leave, or free to stay,
In all things honoured; but alike were they
In one care only: in one grave to lay
The mortal part that Galahad cast, and who
The nearest in his heart to God he knew.


Three months Sir Bors in steady friendship stayed
Beside his comrade, who, the while he prayed,
Slackened each day the bond of earth, until
One morn, while the long winter lingered still,
Though snowdrops showed beneath the melting snow,
They found him lifeless.

                When his corse was laid
In God's blest earth, Sir Bors his journey made
Across the desert land and sundering sea,
Till the fair vales and meadows of Logre
Repaid his toils. So he the years had lost
Came homeward at the eve of Pentecost,
Last of the remnant who that quest survived.
A full year was it since had those arrived
With whom hope ended.

                Silence held the hall
The while his tale was told.

                King Arthur said:
"We may not sorrow. For we thought them dead.
Nor surely knew that they had vanquished all
Retarding gins by Hell's dark angels spread."

And Lancelot: "Joy is mine thy tale to hear;
And know that sight to which I came so near
To cleaner hearts and humbler eyes was clear...
Bring you no word from Galahad?"

                "This he said:
Greet well my father. For his lasting gain
Charge him regard the snares that demons spread
For those who in our mortal toils remain;
And most for those whom God regards, for they
Are noised through Hell's black depths a boasted prey."

"I will regard it well. Though grief to me
The Grail's full glory was not mine to see,
Yet is it triumph that my closest kin
Were chosen by God's grace that bliss to win.
But now I would that we, and only we,
Having been blessed that sight of God to see,
And here returned to common life, shall dwell
Together always; till the night shall be."

"To that good thought my heart assenteth well."

"But Arthur asked him: "Canst thou doubtless tell
That from the Earth the Grail hath passed? And we
Are hopeless of its healing light to see?
Hopeless that it shall spread redemption now?"

"We saw it," said Sir Bors, "from Earth retire
Far and far upward. Angels, quire on quire,
Remote in distance, through their lifted wings
Accepting and concealing."

                So the dream
Of Arthur ended. So God's verdict came,
That few might see, and none of all reclaim,
That which sin sundered.

                From that distant day
There is no man hath soothly dared to say
The Grail hath blessed him. Yet may faith remain,
Though God from sinful sight retire the Grail,
Yet evil shall not to the last prevail,
But righteousness and peace assertive show
That He Who reigns above shall rule below.

End of Chapter XIX