Collected Poems
For Modred ' s game and prey. God save the Queen,
If not the King! I ' ve always liked this world;
And I would a deal rather live in it
Than leave it in the middle of all this music.
If you are listening, give me some cold water. "
Lancelot, seeing by now in dim detail
What little was around him to be seen,
Found what he sought and held a cooling cup
To Gawaine, who, with both hands clutching it,
Drank like a child. " I should have had that first, "
He said, with a loud breath, " before my tongue
Began to talk. What was it saying? Modred?
All through the growing pains of his ambition
I ' ve watched him; and I might have this and that
To say about him, if my hours were days.
Well, if you love the King and hope to save him,
Eemember his many infirmities of virtue
Considering always what you have in Modred,
For ever unique in his iniquity.
My truth might have a prejudicial savor
To strangers, but we are not strangers now.
Though I have only one spoiled eye that sees,
I see in yours we are not strangers now.
I tell you, as I told you long ago
When the Queen came to put my candles out
With her gold head and her propinquity
That all your doubts that you had then of me,
When they were more than various imps and harpies
Of your inflamed invention, were sick doubts :
King Arthur was my uncle, as he is now;
But my Queen-aunt, who loved him something less
Than cats love rain, was not my only care.
Had all the women who came to Camelot
Been aunts of mine, I should have been, long since,