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ROSENTHAL'S ELAINE

by

W[ILLIAM] H[ENRY] RHODES


I stood and gazed far out into the waste;No dip of oar broke on the listening ear;But the quick rippling of the inward floodGave warning of approaching argosy.Adown the westthe day's last fleeting gleamFaded and diedand left the world in gloom.Hope hung no star up in the murky eastTo cheer the soulor guide the pilgrim's way.Black frown'd the heavensand black the answering earthReflected from her watery wastes the night.Suddena plash! then silence.  Once againThe dripping oar dipped in its silver bladeParting the wavesas smiles part beauty's lips.Betwixt me and the curtain of the cloudClose down by the horizon's vergethere creptFrom out the darknessbarge and crew and freightSailless and voicelessall!Ah!  Then I knewI stood upon the brink of Time.  I sawBefore me Death's swift river sweep alongAnd bear its burden to the grave."Elaine!"One seamew screamedin solitary woe;"Elaine!  Elaine!" stole back the echoweirdAnd musicalfrom off the further shore.Then burst a chorus wild"Elaine!  Elaine!"And gazing upward through the twilight hazeMine eyes beheld King Arthur's phantom Court.There stood the sturdy monarch: he who droveThe hordes of Hengist from old Albion's strand;Andleaning on his stalwart armhis queenThe fairthe falsebut trusted Guinevere!And therelike the statue of a demi-godIn marble wrought by some old Grecian handWith eyes downcasttowered Lancelot of the Lake.Lavaine and Torrethe heirs of AstolatAnd hethe sorrowing Sire of the DeadTogether with a throng of valiant knightsAnd ladies fairwere gathered as of yoreAt the Round Table of bold Arthur's Court.Theretoowas Tristramleaning on his lanceWhose eyes alone of all that weeping hostSwam not in tears; but indignation burnedRed in their socketslike volcanic firesAnd from their blazing depths a Fury shotHer hissing arrows at the guilty pair.Then Lancelotadvancing to the frontWith glance transfixed upon the canvas trueThat sheds immortal fame on ROSENTHALThus chanted forth his Requiem for the Dead:Fresh as the water in the fountainFair as the lily by its sidePure as the snow upon the mountainIs the angelElaine!My spirit bride!Day after day she grew fairerAs she pined away in sorrowat my side;No pearl in the ocean could be rarerThan the angelElaine!My spirit bride!The hours passed away all unheededFor love hath no landmarks in its tide.No child of misfortune ever pleadedIn vainTo Elaine!My spirit bride!Herewhere sad Tamesis is rollingThe wave of its sorrow-laden tideForever on the air is heard tollingThe refrainOf Elaine!My spirit bride!