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My good blade carves the casques
My tough lance thrusteth sure,
My strength is as the strength of ten,
Because my heart is pure.


The shattering trumpet shrilleth high,
The hard brands shiver on the steel,
The splinter'd spear-shafts crack and fly,
The horse and rider reel :

They reel, they roll in clanging lists,

And when the tide of combat stands, Perfume and flowers fall in showers,

That lightly rain from ladies' hands.

How sweet are looks that ladies bend
On whom their favours fall!

For them I battle till the end,



To save from shame and thrall:

But all my heart is drawn above,

My knees are bow'd in crypt and shrine:

I never felt the kiss of love,

Nor maiden's hand in mine.
More bounteous aspects on me beam,

Me mightier transports move and thrill;
So keep I fair thro' faith and prayer
A virgin heart in work and will.

When down the stormy crescent goes,
A light before me swims,
Between dark stems the forest glows,
I hear a noise of hymns:

Then by some secret shrine I ride;

I hear a voice, but none are there;

The stalls are void, the doors are wide,
The tapers burning fair.

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Fair gleams the snowy altar-cloth,
The silver vessels sparkle clean,

The shrill bell rings, the censer swings,
And solemn chaunts resound between.


Sometimes on lonely mountain-meres

I find a magic bark;

I leap on board: no helmsman steers:
I float till all is dark.


A gentle sound, an awful light!

Three angels bear the holy Grail:
With folded feet, in stoles of white,
On sleeping wings they sail.
Ah, blessed vision! blood of God!
My spirit beats her mortal bars,
As down dark tides the glory slides,
And star-like mingles with the stars.
When on my goodly charger borne
Thro' dreaming towns I go,

The cock crows ere the Christmas morn,
The streets are dumb with snow.

The tempest crackles on the leads,

And, ringing, springs from brand and mail;
But o'er the dark a glory spreads,
And gilds the driving hail.

I leave the plain, I climb the height;
No branchy thicket shelter yields;
But blessed forms in whistling storms
Fly o'er waste fens and windy fields.
A maiden knight—to me is given
Such hope, I know not fear;
I yearn to breathe the airs of heaven
That often meet me here.

I muse on joy that will not cease,

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Pure spaces clothed in living beams,

Pure lilies of eternal peace,

Whose odours haunt my dreams;

And, stricken by an angel's hand,

This mortal armour that I wear,


This weight and size, this heart and eyes,

Are touch'd, are turn'd to finest air.

The clouds are broken in the sky,

A rolling organ-harmony


And thro' the mountain-walls

Swells up, and shakes and falls. Then move the trees, the copses nod, Wings flutter, voices hover clear:

"O just and faithful knight of God! Ride on the prize is near!"


pass I hostel, hall, and grange;

By bridge and ford, by park and pale, All arm'd I ride, whate'er betide,

Until I find the holy Grail.




MATTHEW ARNOLD, eldest son of Dr. Arnold, Head Master of Rugby, was born in the year 1822 at Laleham, near Staines. He was educated at Winchester, Rugby, and Oxford. In 1851 he was appointed one of H. M.'s Inspectors of Schools, and has since, from time to time, published many valuable reports and essays on education. In 1848 appeared his first volume of poems called A Strayed Reveller, and other Poems, which was followed a few years later by a second collection. In 1858 Mr. Arnold was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford, and has since, from time to time, published a few choice poems and many learned essays. Of the latter the most noted are Essays in Criticism and Literature and Dogma. The word which alone best describes Matthew Arnold is "culture." What most strikes us about him is his refinement, his learning, and his clear sound judgment. But he has other qualities and powers besides these. He has the power which the love and knowledge of beauty bring the power of appreciation and the power of imagination. There is no poem in our language more melodious and tenderly sad than The Forsaken Merman, and it may be taken as a fair example of the poet at his best. His words are exquisitely musical, and his thoughts ever tender and wise-at least in his poetry. Tenderness indeed his words sometimes lack in his prose works, but wisdom never; while the clearness and truth of his criticisms are acknowledged by all.


Stories of the hapless love of human beings for beings only half human, or not human at all, are common enough; the commonest form being the love of a man for a sea-maiden. But Mr. Arnold has given us here, as Andersen gives us in his beautiful story of The Little Sea-Maid, and Fouqué in his Undine, the other side of the question-the hapless love of the

sea-creature for the human being-and has, further, boldly made the sea-creature a merman instead of a mermaid. And the result is, not a mawkish bit of sentiment, but one of the most beautiful and pathetic poems in the English language. The melody of the poem is rich and free, and reminds us of the sound of waves dashing themselves upon the rocks and sands, and sobbing in the caves; of the sad cry of sea-fowl wheeling about a barren coast; of the moan of the winds at night upon bare bleak downs. All the sorrowful inarticulate sounds of nature seem to have found a voice in the sorrowing cry of the forsaken sea-king, watching in vain with his children for the return of the human wife he loved with all the loyalty of his simple wild nature. He is hardly conscious of all the depths of his sorrow. His cry is the half-articulate cry of a wild creature in pain. The words themselves and the music of the verses are exquisitely suited to the subject, and come without effort or straining after effect-the very words, one might say, which such a creature in such a case would use; the very music to which they would naturally set themselves. The concluding lines are especially beautiful, and echo in a wonderful manner the sway and plunge of the waves out in the open sea, yet still in sight of land.

P. 11, 1. 1. Let us away. The omission of a verb of motion, especially when some word in the phrase itself expresses movement, used to be even commoner than it is. Cf." He purposeth to Athens" (Ant. and Cleo. iii. 1, 35); "I must to Coventry" (Rich, II. i. 2, 56); "I must a dozen mile to-night" (2 Hen. IV. iii. 2, 310).

P. 11, 1. 6. Wild white horses very common simile. Cf.


foam-crested billows; a

"The waves bound beneath me as a steed

That knows his rider."

BYRON, Childe Harold, iii. 2.

P. 12, 1. 26. Notice carefully the exquisite little touches scattered through the poem, which describe the scenery so clearly and beautifully. Notice especially 11. 68-75, 87-99, and 126-138.

P. 12, 1. 30. The repetition of the idea that all had happened yesterday is meant to convey to us that the forsaken seaking had been so stunned and distracted by his grief, that the intervening time was a blank to him.

P. 12, 1. 37. Spent lights = lights whose power was expended or exhausted.

P. 12, 1. 45. For ever and aye. The words ever and aye have the same meaning. This repetition is frequent enough in

proverbs and common phrases of speech. It is however specially noticeable in writings of the middle and end of the sixteenth century, one of the words generally being of English and the other of foreign origin. Cf. "Time and the hour runs thro' the roughest day" (Macb. i. 3, 147), and the numberless examples in the Book of Common Prayer like the following: "/ prepare and make ready thy way," ""create and make in us," 66 mortify and kill all vices in us," &c.


P. 12, 1. 58. 'Twill be according to custom it is, it is sure to be. From denoting what may be expected, will comes to convey the idea of habit and custom, and is even used, without a sense of futurity, to mean that the speaker has no reason able doubt on the point. Cf.—

"Sometimes a thousand twanging instruments
Will hum about mine ears."

SHAKSPERE, Tempest, iii. 2, 146.

and the common provincial expressions, such as "To-day will (must) be Tuesday by my reckoning," "You will be (are, no doubt) a great man by your own fancy," &c.

P. 12, l. 59. In legends such as this one it was commonly held that such beings as the merman had no souls, but could gain them by union with human beings, if they also took to the ordinary human life. On the other hand, human beings who were united to and took to the life of the wild creature lost their souls.

P. 13, 1. 77. Hist!—An exclamation equivalent to silence! or attend!

P. 14, 1. 133. Hie-hasten.


SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE was born at Ottery St. Mary, Devonshire, in the year 1772, and was educated at Christ's Hospital, where he gained the friendship and worshipping admiration of Charles Lamb. After spending three years at Jesus College, Cambridge, he joined Southey at Bristol, where the two formed a wonderful project of founding a model State in Susquehanna, in North America. This, however, fell through when the two young enthusiasts married-which happened before long. In 1797 Coleridge and his old schoolfellow, Lamb, published a small volume of poems together; and in the next year, Coleridge having become acquainted with Wordsworth, their famous "Lyrical Ballads " appeared, which contained The Ancient

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