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castle nigh to Wales, at Pentecost, and that it was his custom at that period to require all manner of strange adventures. As the king sat in the hall two men entered with one fair young man who leaned upon their shoulders, who spake good words to Arthur, and asked permission to prefer a request for three gifts, the first then, and the other two that day twelvemonth. He asked then drink and meat enough for a twelvemonth, which was at once granted. The king asked him his name. The goodly young man said he did not know it. Arthur committed him to the care of Sir Kay, his steward, with instructions to tend him with all kindness; but the rough steward took but unkindly to his charge, deeming him lowborn, and threatening to feed him up as a “pork hog” by the end of the time, and to call him in scorn Beaumains, that is, Fairhands. The two men who accompanied him left the court. The young stranger was put down among the lads in the kitchen ; but Sir Launcelot and Sir Gawaine proffered him much kindness, and spake for him to Sir Kay. Beaumains did not accept their offers, but meekly bore all the insults and indignities of his kitchen life. The feast of Whitsuntide came round again, and was observed at Carlion that year, when the King again desired adventures. At that time there came a damsel asking help of him on behalf of a great lady besieged in her castle by a terrible tyrant, whom the king refused to help as she would not tell the lady's name, nor her place. At that moment came Sir Beaumains preferring his two remaining requests, which were,-first, that he might help this damsel ; secondly, that Launcelot du Lake should make him knight, riding after him, and doing it when it was required. The requests were granted, but the damsel rode off in dudgeon at the proffered help of a kitchen page. Beaumains followed on his horse in armour. After an encounter with Sir Kay and Launcelot, the latter, upon being told Gareth's name and kin, knighted him, and returned. The lady chode hard with Gareth; using hard language, and mocking him as a low fellow, a kitchen page, and a coward; but he proved his prowess in an encounter with some thieves, and won honours from a knight of those parts. Still she despised him. He came upon two knights at a passage of a stream in a forest, and mastered them both. Then they came to a black lawn, where he met the knight of the black lawn, with whom the lady parleyeth and maligneth her attendant; but Gareth conquereth the boastful knight, and again followeth his lady. After this they met the brother of this knight, called the green knight, who was also mastered, and only spared from death at the lady's request. In the morn they pursued their journey, but the lady still railed at the kitchen page, and mocked the submissive green knight. Near to a lofty tower, and in proud company, they
came upon another knight, the red knight, who was urged by the lady to kill her companion, but warned of mischief.
He was brought to earth, and would have been slain but for the lady's request. Although she continues her mocking, Gareth avows his determination to follow her until he finishes his work. She threatens him with coming destruction from the lordliest knight of all the world, after King Arthur, whom they soon meet near his proud castle, surrounded with hundreds of retainers. Sir Persant of Inde met no better fate than his brothers, and became a vassal in his turn. To this knight in his castle Gareth and the lady separately reveal their names and relationship. The lady who was besieged sent on by a dwarf some delicacies for their refreshment, and desired to know who Gareth was. This was not granted to her. Coming on to the castle, the red knight of the red lawn came out into a little vale under the castle that all that were in the castle, and at the siege, might behold the battle. Gareth saw ard adinired the besieged lady, and was stimulated for the fight. It was hard and long, until at evening they rested for awhile. Gareth saw the lady in her castle, and gained from her looks new power to fight. But Beaumains, as they called him, was again the victor, and the red knight was made a vassal. The lady denied him to enter her castle until he had “ laboured in worship" for a twelvemonth, promising that in the end he should have her love for ever.
This, after more ado, was the reward of the brave knight.
Now let us look at Mr. Tennyson's rendering of the legend, and mark the inner meaning of it all. We are introduced, in the first lines of the poem, to Gareth, the “last tall son of Lot and Belli. cent," King and Queen of Orkney, bemoaning, as he watches a “slender-shafted pine” lose its footing, and sweep down the current, his own unused and purposeless life. He had heard of Arthur's great deeds, and greater aspirations, for the king was his uncle. He longed to be
“A knight of Arthur, working out his will,
To cleanse the world." We see, then, a youth, with “ living blood" circling in his veins, and a great restless feeling at his heart, yearning for work of noblest kind-stirred with the passion of a pure and lofty purpose. The lofty spiritual principle and emotions is moved to a high and earnest life. It is the picture of an earnest life, and we shall see how it is nourished and developed here. Gareth went, and hovered round his mother's chair, asking
"• Mother, though ye count me still the child,
. She laughed,
He told his tale, and made his request. He wanted to leave his mother, and do noble deeds, and win high reward and long renown. When a new great-passion of a spiritual kind warms the heart, our reckoning must sometimes be made with many things that may have held us in thrall. It is a moment when the newly-wakening soul understands as many a critic may not, and cannot, the meaning of those words—“Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple !” It is a time when we can estimate the pathos of those grand words in which that wonderful poem, the “Spanish Gipsey," describes
" A iniserable, petty, low-roofed life,
That knows the iniyhty orbits of the skies
Through nought save light or dark in its own cabin." Bellicent bemoans her lot, and reasons with her son, promising him “some confortable bride, and fair,” and chiding his wish to leave her side. The young man says—"A man am I grown, a man's work must I do!”
“ Follow the deer? follow the Christ, the King,
Lire pure, speak true, right wrong, follow the King,
Else, wherefore born?” In these lines we have the epitome of the king's high plans and purposes. Gareth was a true knight of the Round Table. Fail pe to see another King, another table still in the world, another knighthood which we may all claim, another destiny to which we may all aspire ?
After putting before her son the doubts that some held in respect to the rightfulness of Arthur's claim to be king-doubts which she did not share herself—she once more says, Stay, sweet son!” And Gareth replies to the doubt about the kingship in grand style:
" Not proven, who swept the dust of ruin'd Rome
From off the thresbold of the realm, and crush d
Who should be king save him who makes us free ?"
and spirit. “ Flesh and blood” had not revealed to Simon Peter the great mystery and truth of the Divine Sonship, but his Father in heaven; and in those states of spiritual life, when the heart burns for holy deeds and a life of self-sacrifice, syllogisms in formal statement have no place, and no power. that sees the “ King in His beauty” needs no miracles, nor any signs of the senses to help the inner soul. It is enough that one bath said—“ Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." "He that will do (willeth to do) His will shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself!"
The mother imposes tests and trials upon the sanguine, hopeful. hearted son. She answered craftily, “Will ye walk through fire?" Will he win his freedom and his knighthood through submission, humiliation, and suffering ? She makes a condition that he should go disguised to the Court of Arthur, and hire himself to "serve for meats and drinks among the scullions and the kitchen knaves, and not tell his birth for a twelvemonth and a day.” The youth consented freely. It was given to him then to feel that he who would be free and noble must accept a servitude to a Nobler and a Better. They that would be friends must first be servants: the path to friendship lies through servitude. The “law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.” “The thrall in person,” as Gareth said, “may be free in soul.”
After “ lingering awhile,” there came an hour "when, wakened by the wind which, with full voice, swept bellowing through the darkness on to dawn," Gareth went forth, accompanied by two retainers, all three clad as tillers of the soil. They wended their way southward toward Camelot, the royal city. As they approached the plain which broadened toward the base of Camelot, they espy the city flashing in the morning mist, and again disappearing, like a vision of enchantment. They distrust their senses, and mention the traditions of tbe time which cast doubts
upon king and all that pertained to him. While they stand for a long space gazing upon the strange architecture of the city gate, they call to Gareth, “Lord, the city is alive!” As they gaze, a seer (probably Merlin) comes forth from the gate, and says, “Who be ye, iny sons ?” Gareth hides his secret resolutely, but claims for himself to have some knowledge of the strange things that float before his vision. He asks, however, for light and instruction for his men.
The old seer tells him that to some that city was, and must be, unreal. There were some who held the city real, and the king a shadow. Others, the deepest seers of its glory, felt as if there were nothing real in it save the king. “Eye bath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither bath it entered into the heart of man to conceive the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him!” The faculty of sense perceives not the things that are spiritually discerned. Matters of the higher and therefore diviner life are distrusted, although sometimes dimly glimpsed by the lower senses. The eye of Gareth had been opened; those who came with him, "seeing, saw not.” The words of the old seer are earnest and solemn when he enjoins upon Gareth the necessity of consecration and self-surrender. Without it, all would go wrong, and be wrong:
“ So tbou dread to swear, Pass not beneath their gateway, but abide Without, among the cattle of the field !”
The three come on to the city; and in time, leaning both hands heavily down on the shoulders of the twain, his men, Gareth approached the king, and as a weak and hungerworn young man, begged food and drink among the kitchen-kuaves for a twelvemonth and a day, and secrecy of name-with an added promise that hereafter he would fight. He was put under the charge of the knight, Sir Kay, a churlish, cruel man, but was well-spoken to and of by Sir Lancelot and Sir Gawain. He “wrought among the thralls," doing hardest work, and living on hardest fare.
The king was informed by his sister Bellicent, and quietly told by Gareth himself of his name and rank. The youth asks the king to make him a knight; but finally it is settled that he shall prove himself worthy of the honours, and therefore be sent forth upon the first quest.
That very day there came into the hall a damsel of high lineage, asking that a knight might be deputed by the king to combat for her sister, “ a lady of high lineage, and great lands, and comely," who was besieged in lier Castle Perilous. She came for Lancelot; but Gareth wins the quest, upon the promise of Arthur. The hall was filled with amazement, and the damsel, moved with pride, wrath, and shame, fled swiftly from the king, despising his help. Bat Gareth, receiving from the king a "war-horse of the best,” and from the two retainers who had followed him to the Court a grand equipment, mounted his steed, and, amidst the shouts of his companion-knaves,“ rode down the street, and passed without the gate." He was soon followed by old Sir Kay, who could not brook the exaltation of his kitchen-boy; and, though Sir Lancelot dissuaded him, resolved to pursue, attack, and bring him to his senses. The spiritual knight accepts a high emprise, and has now to endure the cruel mockings and stern trials of his new and great work. “No cross! no crown!” becomes the motto of the young soldier of the true, good, gracious King. The highest life which we can live on earth, to which God calls us, is a life which brings upon us often heavy losses of a kind which the world counts loss, and entails much suffering and sorrow.
They rode on till dusk that followed evensong, and then Gareth met his first real encounter, out of which he comes victorious; but wins no honour or approval from the lady at whose call he is come forth upon his quest.
The next morning they approach the place where the young knight is to meet his first moet terrible foe, called “Sir Morning Star.” The damsel scorns her companion to the warrior who approaches, and “Sir Morning Star" scornfully engages his oppo. nent, but in the end is brought grovelling to the ground. The young candidate for high honour in the pure and lofty kingdom