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My good blade carves the casques of men,
The shattering trumpet shrilleth high,
The hard brands shiver on the steel,
They reel, they roll in clanging lists,
To save from shame and thrall:
My knees are bow'd in crypt and shrine: I never felt the kiss of love,
Nor maiden's hand in mine.
More bounteous aspects on me beam,
Me mightier transports move and thrill; So keep I fair through faith and prayer A virgin heart in work and will.
When down the stormy crescent goes,
I hear a voice, but none are there; The stalls are void, the doors are wide, The tapers burning fair.
Fair gleams the snowy altar-cloth,
The silver vessels sparkle clean, The shrill bell rings, the censer swings, And solemn chants resound between.
Sometimes on lonely mountain-meres I find a magic bark;
I leap on board: no helmsman steers: I float till all is dark.
A gentle sound, an awful light!
Three angels bear the holy grail: With folded feet, in stoles of white,
On sleeping wings they sail.
My spirit beats her mortal bars,
When on my goodly charger borne
Through dreaming towns I go,
And, ringing, spins from brand and mail; But o'er the dark a glory spreads,
And gilds the driving hail.
I leave the plain, I climb the height No branchy thicket shelter yields; But blessed forms in whistling storms
Fly o'er waste fens and windy fields.