And after meat, strange wanderer’s tales he told,
Of castles where he had been entertained,
And marvels he had seen in mountains cold;
How once, come to a cairn upon a plain,
He saw a serpent green atop it lain.
He drew his sword, all wary of its sting,
And battled with the worm till it was slain.
Then bright beneath the beast gold glistering
He saw, and for his pains did take, a golden ring.
Then told he how a tow’r as white as snow
In pass perilous, he’d seen stand by the way.
Above its gate, all hanging in a row,
Full fifty shields bright-coloured were displayed,
From knights the lord who dwelt there had waylaid.
This lord looked out and saw, all decked for war,
Him riding up, and to him challenge made;
So on that day, as two wild mountain boars,
They hurled themselves against the other for hours four.
At last unto the knight that lord did yield
And from his vanquished foe the knight then claimed
Allegiance, and his driven snow white shield.
From there he journeyed till one day he came
To castle where, on hearing Arthur’s name,
The lord there swore he would strike off his head.
But by his sword this rebel he o’ercame,
And faith to Arthur made him swear instead.
In thanks for life, this lord gave him a jewel red.
Then love and wonder filled the brave knight’s voice
As of the royal table round he told:
“Where Arthur reigns both rich and poor rejoice,
His sentence just is sought by young and old
And to him seek the pure in heart and bold,
And all who honesty and honour prize.”
Then all was still, till, as of purest gold
The lady’s voice sang soft of land that lies
Beyond sad hours and years – where one light never dies.