An Arthurian Miscellany at sacred-texts.com
THE CITY OF SARRAS
"I require you that ye bury me not in this country, but as soon as I am dead put me in a boat at the next haven, . . . and as soon as ye three come to the city of Sarras, there to achieve the Holy Grail, . . . there bury me in the spiritual place."
OH, have you not heard of Sir Galahad,
Sir Bors and Sir Percival,--
How they came to the Castle of Carbonek,--
On the Quest of the Sancgreal?
They sate at King Pelles' table,--
And they saw a Spear that bled
Three drops of blood most marvellous,--
And a marvellous sweet voice said,--
"Sir Galahad,--Sir Galahad!
Sir Bors, and Sir Percival!"--
And all three saw a shining form
By the cup of the Sancgreal.
"This is Joseph of Arimathea,"
It said, "The which had grace;
Which was saved in the City of Sarras
In the Spiritual Place!"
They grew adread to see the form
Of one dead, three hundred year!
But Joseph said, "A man like you,
Look on me,--have no fear!"
Then they saw two angels stand there,
Wax candles in their hand:
And Joseph of Arimathea
Between that twain did stand.
"Now," said he, "servants of Jesu Christ
All three, you shall be fed
Afore this table with meats, more sweet
Than any knight ate," he said:
But when he had said it, he vanished away,
And the greater grew their dread.
Then came One from the Holy Grail,--
They saw his blood; they knew the Light!
My knights, he said, my true children:
You shall taste of the Grail this night.
Straightway Sir Galahad kneeled down,--
Sir Bors, and Sir Percival:
And they humbly received their Saviour
And partook of the Sancgreal.
Too sweet for earth its savour was;--
Too marvellous to be told
Was the Mystery, and beyond man's sight
What the three knights saw unroll'd.
This night, said he, you have seen much:
But after Night, the Day;
And here in the realm of Logris
The Sancgreal cannot stay.
You have seen this night your souls' desire;
But there waits a Mystery
More strange, my knights, than you can think
Till to Sarras you sail the sea,--
Till you come where Joseph of Arimathea
Stood with me, face to face;--
Till you stand in the City of Sarras,
In the Spiritual Place.
Next: The Lament of Sir Ector de Maris, by Ernest Rhys