The Defence of Guenevere, by William Morris

The Chapel in Lyoness

Sir Ozana le Cure Hardy. Sir Galahad. Sir Bors de Ganys.
SIR OZANA.

All day long and every day,

From Christmas–Eve to Whit–Sunday,

Within that Chapel-aisle I lay,

And no man came a-near.

Naked to the waist was I,

And deep within my breast did lie,

Though no man any blood could spy,

The truncheon of a spear.

No meat did ever pass my lips

Those days. Alas! the sunlight slips

From off the gilded parclose, dips,

And night comes on apace.

My arms lay back behind my head;

Over my raised-up knees was spread

A samite cloth of white and red;

A rose lay on my face.

Many a time I tried to shout;

But as in dream of battle-rout,

My frozen speech would not well out;

I could not even weep.

With inward sigh I see the sun

Fade off the pillars one by one,

My heart faints when the day is done,

Because I cannot sleep.

Sometimes strange thoughts pass through my head;

Not like a tomb is this my bed,

Yet oft I think that I am dead;

That round my tomb is writ,

‘Ozana of the hardy heart,

Knight of the Table Round,

Pray for his soul, lords, of your part;

A true knight he was found.’

Ah! me, I cannot fathom it. [He sleeps.

SIR GALAHAD.

All day long and every day,

Till his madness pass’d away,

I watch’d Ozana as he lay

Within the gilded screen.

All my singing moved him not;

As I sung my heart grew hot,

With the thought of Launcelot

Far away, I ween.

So I went a little space

From out the chapel, bathed my face

In the stream that runs apace

By the churchyard wall.

There I pluck’d a faint wild rose,

Hard by where the linden grows,

Sighing over silver rows

Of the lilies tall.

I laid the flower across his mouth;

The sparkling drops seem’d good for drouth;

He smiled, turn’d round towards the south.

Held up a golden tress.

The light smote on it from the west;

He drew the covering from his breast,

Against his heart that hair he prest;

Death him soon will bless.

SIR BORS.

I enter’d by the western door;

I saw a knight’s helm lying there:

I raised my eyes from off the floor,

And caught the gleaming of his hair.

I stept full softly up to him;

I laid my chin upon his head;

I felt him smile; my eyes did swim,

I was so glad he was not dead.

I heard Ozana murmur low,

‘There comes no sleep nor any love.’

But Galahad stoop’d and kiss’d his brow:

He shiver’d; I saw his pale lips move.

SIR OZANA.

There comes no sleep nor any love;

Ah me! I shiver with delight.

I am so weak I cannot move;

God move me to thee, dear, to-night!

Christ help! I have but little wit:

My life went wrong; I see it writ,

‘Ozana of the hardy heart,

Knight of the Table Round,

Pray for his soul, lords, on your part;

A good knight he was found.’

Now I begin to fathom it. [He dies.

SIR BORS.

Galahad sits dreamily;

What strange things may his eyes see,

Great blue eyes fix’d full on me?

On his soul, Lord, have mercy.

SIR GALAHAD.

Ozana, shall I pray for thee?

Her cheek is laid to thine;

No long time hence, also I see

Thy wasted fingers twine

Within the tresses of her hair

That shineth gloriously,

Thinly outspread in the clear air

Against the jasper sea.

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Last updated Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 22:07