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tossing a repartee. In conversation his resources are inexhaustible. It is no wonder that he has been admired; for, at his best, he is one of the most fascinating of men.
1. -THE VISION OF SIR LAUNFAL.
[AUTHOR's Note. According to the mythology of the Romancers, the San Greal, or Holy Grail, was the cup out of which Jesus Christ partook of the Last Supper with his disciples. It was brought into England by Joseph of Arimathea, and remained there, an object of pilgrimage and adoration, for many years, in the keeping of his lineal descendants. It was incumbent upon those who had charge of it to be chaste in thought, word, and deed ; but one of the keepers having broken this condition, the Holy Grail disappeared. From that time it was a favorite enterprise of the Knights of Arthur's court to go in search of it. Sir Galahad was at last successful in finding it, as may be read in the seventeenth book of the Romance of King Arthur. Tennyson has made Sir Galahad the subject of one of the most exquisite of
The plot (if I may give that name to any thing so slight) of the fol lowing poem is my own; and, to serve its purposes, I have enlarged tho circle of competition in search of the miraculous cup in such a manner as to include not only other persons than the heroes of the Round Table, but also a period of time subsequent to the date of King Arthur's reign.)
PRELUDEI TO PART FIRST,
Over his keys the musing organist,
Beginning doubtfully and far away, First lets his fingers wander as they list,2
And builds a bridge from Dreamland 3 for his lay : 2 Then, as the touch of his loved instrument
1 Prelude. Define the word. 9 list, wish.
3 Dreamland. Explain.
Gives hope and fervor, nearer draws his theme, First guessed by faint auroral1 flushes sent
Along the wavering vista of his dream.
Not only around our infancy
Over our manhood bend the skies;
Against our fallen and traitor lives The great winds utter prophecies ;
With our faint hearts the mountain strives; Its arms outstretched, the druid 4 wood
Waits with its benedicite;
Still shouts the inspiring sea.
The beggar is taxed for a corner to die in,
We bargain for the graves we lie in; At the devil's booth are all things sold,
1 auroral, dawn-like.
Druid is said to be derived from an 2 Not only ... lie. In allusion old Celtic word meaning oak, beto Wordsworth's
cause the Druids instructed in the “Heaven lies about us in our infancy,” forest or under an oak. Longfelin his ode, Intimations of Immor- low speaks of the “murmuring tality.
pines and the hemlocks” that 3 We Sinais climb. The thought “stand like Druids of old.” is, that we might ascend to high 5 shrives, receives confession. spheres of thought and feeling, – to 6 the devil's booth: that is, the " the mount of vision."
vanities and sinful pleasures of this 4 druid = druidic. The word | world.
Each ounce of dross costs its ounce of gold;
For a cap and bells 1 our lives we pay; Bubbles we buy with a whole soul's tasking:
'Tis heaven alone that is given away, 'Tis only God may be had for the asking. No price is set on the lavish summer; June may be had by the poorest comer.
And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
And over it softly her warm ear lays:2
An instinct within it that reaches and towers, And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers ; The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys; The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice, And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature's palace.
cap and bells, the emblems of 4 Every clod feels, etc. What a court jester or fool.
is the figure of speech? ? Then Heaven tries . . . lays. 5 chalice, clerived through French Express in your own words the calice, fronı Latin calix, a cup or thought in this fine metaphor. bowl. Calyx is from the same root.
8 life murmur... glisten. What 6 To be ... palace State in plain objects do you suppose the poet language what is here expressed in had in his mind ?
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt 1 like a blossom among the leaves, And lets his illumined being a o'errun
With the deluge 3 of summer it receives ; His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings, And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings; He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest : In the nice ear of Nature, which song is the best?
Now is the high tide 4 of the year,
And whatever of life hath ebbed away Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,
Into every bare inlet and creek and bay; Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it; We are happy now because God wills it; No matter how barren the past may have been, 'Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green. We sit in the warm shade, and feel right well How the sap creeps up, and the blossoms swell; We may shut our eyes, but we can not help knowing That the skies are clear, and grass is growing; The breeze comes whispering in our ear That dandelions 6 are blossoming near,
That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
1 Atilt. What is the application 4 high tide. What is meant ? of this word here!
How is the metaphor subsequently 2 illumined being. Explain. carried out?
3 deluge. Note, in connection comes whispering, etc. What with the metaphorical use of this is the figure of speech? word, that we speak of a flood of 6 dandeiions. See Webster for an light, as well as of water.
That the river is bluer than the sky,
We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing -
Tells all in his lusty 3 crowing !
Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how;
Every thing is upward striving;
'Tis the natural way of living: Who knows whither the clouds have fled?
In the unscarred heaven 4 they leave no wake; 5 And the eyes forget the tears they have shed,
The heart forgets its sorrow and ache;
Like burned-out craters healed with snow.
1 chanticleer(from French chan- 5 wake, the track left by a vester, to sing): literally, the clear- sel in the water. singing one.
sulphurous rifts: that is, 2 new wine of the year. Ex- opening through which exhale plain the metaphor.
sulphur fumes. The metaphor 3 lusty, vigorous.
which is carried out in the expres4 unscarred heaven. Explain sion “burned-out craters," is very the epithet.