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Idylls of the King (X.454-76)(1859)

Alfred Tennyson

He ended: Arthur knew the voice; the face
MeterHe ended: Arthur knew the voice; the face
Well nigh was helmet-hidden, and the name
MeterWell nigh was helmet-hidden, and the name
Went wandering somewhere darkling in his mind.
MeterWent wandering somewhere darkling in his mind.
And Arthur deigned not use of word or sword,
MeterAnd Arthur deigned not use of word or sword,
But let the drunkard, as he stretched from horse
MeterBut let the drunkard, as he stretched from horse
To strike him, overbalancing his bulk,
MeterTo strike him, overbalancing his bulk,
Down from the causeway heavily to the swamp
MeterDown from the causeway heavily to the swamp
Fall, as the crest of some slow-arching wave,
MeterFall, as the crest of some slow-arching wave,
Heard in dead night along that table-shore,
MeterHeard in dead night along that table-shore,
Drops flat, and after the great waters break
MeterDrops flat, and after the great waters break
Whitening for half a league, and thin themselves,
MeterWhitening for half a league, and thin themselves,
Far over sands marbled with moon and cloud,
MeterFar over sands marbled with moon and cloud,
From less and less to nothing; thus he fell
MeterFrom less and less to nothing; thus he fell
Head-heavy; then the knights, who watched him, roared
MeterHead-heavy; then the knights, who watched him, roared
And shouted and leapt down upon the fallen;
MeterAnd shouted and leapt down upon the fallen;
There trampled out his face from being known,
MeterThere trampled out his face from being known,
And sank his head in mire, and slimed themselves:
MeterAnd sank his head in mire, and slimed themselves:
Nor heard the King for their own cries, but sprang
MeterNor heard the King for their own cries, but sprang
Through open doors, and swording right and left
MeterThrough open doors, and swording right and left
Men, women, on their sodden faces, hurled
MeterMen, women, on their sodden faces, hurled
The tables over and the wines, and slew
MeterThe tables over and the wines, and slew
Till all the rafters rang with woman-yells,
MeterTill all the rafters rang with woman-yells,
And all the pavement streamed with massacre.
MeterAnd all the pavement streamed with massacre.

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