“I turned—the path? My horror was complete—
A flaming sword across the earthquake gap.
I cried aloud to God in my despair.
‘The quest of quests! I seek it, for I dare!
Moonward! on, moonward!'” [via]
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- “Again the cursed cry: ‘What quest is this? Is it worth heaven in thy lover’s kiss? A queen, a queen, to kiss and never tire! Thy queen, quick-breathing for your twin desire!’ I shudder, for the mystery of bliss; I go, heart crying and a soul on fire!”
- “‘You know I will not strike, Sir pure and brave! Fight me your best–or I shall find a whip!’ That stung me, even me. He wronged me, so: Therefore some shame and hate informed the blow; Some coward’s courage pointed me the steel; Some strength of Hell: we lunge, and leap, and wheel; Hard breath and laboured hands–the flashes grow Swifter and cruel–this court hath no appeal!”
- “Behold! I came with haggard mien again Into the hall, and mingled with the train, A corpse amid the dancers. Then the king Saw me, and knew me–and he knew the ring!”
- “‘Resolve all question by a moonward tread. Follow the moon!’ Even so the king had said. My thought had thanked him for the generous breath Wherewith he warned us: for delay were death. And now, too late! no moon is overhead– Some other meaning in the words he saith? Or, am I tricked in such a little snare?”
- “After a while he took the word again: ‘Go thou then moonwards; on the great salt plain; So to a pillar. Adamant, alone, It stands. Around it see them overthrown, King, earl, and knight. There lie the questing slain, A thousand years forgotten–bone by bone. ‘No more is spoken–the tradition goes: ‘There learns the seeker what he seeks or knows,’ Thence–none have passed. The desert leagues may keep Some other secret–some profounder deep Than this one echoed fear: the desert shows Its ghastly triumph–silence. There they sleep. ‘There, brave and pure, there, true and strong, they stay Bleached in the desert, till the solemn day Of God’s revenge–none knoweth them: they rest Unburied, unremembered, unconfessed. What names of strength, of majesty, had they? What suns are these gone down into the West?”