“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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- “‘What is thy purpose, sweet my lord?’ I pressed One stalwart. ‘Ah! the quest,’ he cried, ‘the quest.'”
- “‘Even I myself–my youth within me said: Go, seek this folly; fear not for the dead, And God is with thine arm! I reached the ridge, And saw the river and the ghastly bridge I told you of. Even then, even there, I fled. Nor knight, nor king–a miserable midge! ‘Yet from my shame I dare not turn and run. My oath grows urgent as my days are done. Almost mine hour is on me: for its sake I tell you this, as if my heart should break:– The infinite desire–a burning sun! The listening fear–the sun-devouring snake!'”
- “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.”
- “‘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?”
- “Loved, and no sin done! Ay, the world shall see The quest is first–a love less terrible. Yet, as I ride toward the edge of snow That cuts the blue, I think. For even so Comes reason to me: ‘Oh, return, return! What folly is it for two souls to burn With hell’s own fire! What is this quest of woe? What is the end? Consider and discern!’ Banish the thought! My working reason still Is the rebellious vassal to my will, Because I will it. That is God’s own mind. I cast all thought and prudence to the wind: On, to the quest! The cursed parrot hill Mocks on, on, on! The thought is left behind.”