“The king was silent. None of us would stir.
I sat, struck dumb, a living sepulchre.
For—hear me! in my heart this thing became
My sacrament, my pentecostal flame.
And with it grew a fear—a fear of Her.
What Her? Shame had not found itself a name.
Simply I knew it in myself. I brood
Ten years—so seemed it—O! the bitter food
In my mouth nauseate! In the silent hall
One might have heard God’s sparrow in its fall.
But I was lost in mine own solitude—
I should not hear Mikhael’s trumpet-call.
Yet there did grow a clamour shrill and loud:
One cursed, one crossed himself, another vowed
His soul against the quest; the tumult ran
Indecorous in that presence, man to man.
Stilled suddenly, beholding how I bowed
My soul in thought: another cry began.
‘Gereth the dauntless! Gereth of the Sea!
Gereth the loyal! Child of royalty!
witch-mothered Gereth! Sword above the strong,
heart pure, head many-wiled!’ The knightly throng
Clamour my name, and flattering words, to me—
If they may ‘scape the quest—I do them wrong;
They are my friends! Yet something terrible
Rings in the manly music that they swell.
They are all caught in this immense desire
Deeper than heaven, tameless as the fire.
All catch the fear—the fear of Her—as well,
And dare not—even afraid, I must aspire.” [via]