The silver arms. The battle-cry. The sad
Long clarion wail. Here galloped Galahad
To smite the pagan hosts with mighty arm,
Overthrow the raging, rushing swarm
With blows of steel fast-felling to the ground
Their heathen bodies with each deadly-wound.
Soon down to hell was thrust their mighty host
Crushed into dust the strength of which they boast.
A bugle wends its note to bear the cry
Of Galahad, who sounds his victory.
Then on the field leaves as carrion
The routed host. For he must journey on
To right the wrong, destroy the hexen curse
To remedy what ills might turn to worse.
A poisoned spring – watery miasma
That sickens all it touches, or comes near.
No plants survive. Around, the ground turns black
As witch’s bile. The undergrowth dies back
As its infection spreads. But who comes near?
Sir Galahad! He thrusts his proven spear
Into the spring. A plume of misty spray
Arises as the knight kneels down to pray.
A light appears! Celestial aureole
Fills all the dale. The waters stream forth whole
And health-some! No polluted waters more
Spring forth that place to poison anymore.
Such things – so many Sir Galahad did
Across the realm of Logres. Much he rid
The land of evil – as far as he could.
Certain no evil Galahad withstood!
Thieves fled before the coming of that knight.
Some scared into an honest life by flight!
Knights recreant, disgraced, turned bad or shamed
Were by fair words persuaded and reclaimed!
Demons fled screaming to some dismal place
Cast out by prayer and this knight’s saintly grace.
But not all change. Evil too rooted-deep
Its minions claim and unrepentant keep.
Two stupid giants, dull and unaware
Of any changes whispered through the air
About their forest, pillaged as of yore
Nor dreamt an ending to the streams of gore
They spilt whenever pleased them. Comes a knight
And they both – nothing loathe – arm for the fight
Which happens shortly. One – his arm shorn short
Looks stupidly at what he still had thought
Should be attached. And looking on it – dies.
The other, roaring curses as he tries
With heavy blows to flatten knight and horse
By a tree-club of oak-wood, ponderous,
And strong enough to batter walls of stone:
Sir Galahad spies his advantage – shown
Him clearly as the giant tall up-heaves
His club. The blade slices the giant’s greaves
And hard blows chop that monster down to size
Whence Galahad then spears him through the eyes
And leaves their corpses there to feed the crows
As onward on his fighting steed he goes
To find the weak who need his succour strong
To bring his right to bear upon the wrong.
His time is short in Logres – he must fly
To do what he can do. The time is nigh
When Logres sees Sir Galahad no more
For soon this knight departs this mortal shore.