The Tale of Balen

The Tale of Balen

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The Tale of Balen by Algernon Charles Swinburne

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The Tale of Balen

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Book Excerpt

and bows it down again. The spring had waned from wood and wold Since Balen left his prison hold And lowlier-hearted than of old Beheld it wax and wane.

Though humble heart and poor array Kept not from spirit and sense away Their noble nature, nor could slay The pride they bade but pause and stay Till time should bring its trust to flower, Yet even for noble shame's sake, born Of hope that smiled on hate and scorn, He held him still as earth ere morn Ring forth her rapturous hour.

But even as earth when dawn takes flight And beats her wings of dewy light Full in the faltering face of night, His soul awoke to claim by right The life and death of deed and doom, When once before the king there came A maiden clad with grief and shame And anguish burning her like flame That feeds on flowers in bloom.

Beneath a royal mantle, fair With goodly work of lustrous vair, Girt fast against her side she bare A sword whose weight bade all men there Quail to behold her face again. Save of a passing perfect knight No

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