With soft gray eyes she gloomed and glowered;
With soft red lips she sang a song:
What knight might gaze upon her face,
Nor fare along?
For all her looks were full of spells,
And all her words, of sorcery;
And in some ways they seemed to say,
"Oh, come with me!
"Oh come with me! oh, come with me!
Oh, come with me, my love, Sir Kay!
How should he know the witch, I trow,
Morgan le Fey?
How should he know the wily witch,
With sweet white face and raven hair?
Who, through her art, bewitched his heart
And held him there.
Eftsoons his soul had waxed amort
To wold and weald, to slade and stream;
And all he heard was her soft word
As one adream.
And all he saw was her bright eyes,
And her fair face that held him still:
And wild and wan she led him on
O'er vale and hill.
Until at last a castle lay
Beneath the moon among the trees:
Its gothic towers old and gray
Tall in its hall a hundred knights
In armor stood with glaive in hand:
The following of some great king,
Lord of that land.
Sir Bors, Sir Balin, and Gawain,
All Arthur's knights, and many mo;
But these in battle had been slain
Long years ago.
But when Morgan lifted hand
Moved down the hall, they louted low:
For she was Queen of Shadowland,
That woman of snow.
Then from Sir Kay she drew away,
And cried on high all mockingly:
"Behold, sir knights, the knave I bring,
Who lay with me.
"Behold! I met him 'mid the furze:
Beside him there he made me lie:
Upon him, yea, there rests my curse:
Now let him die!"
Then as one man those shadows raised
Their brands, whereon the moon glanced gray:
And clashing all strode from the wall
Against Sir Kay.
And on his body, bent and bowed,
The hundred bladed as one blade fell:
While over all rang long and loud
The mirth of Hell.
- Madison Cawein -
(1865 - 1914)