The Song Of Courtesy
When Sir Gawain was led to his bridal-bed,
By Arthur's knights in scorn God-sped:-
How think you he felt?
O the bride within
Was yellow and dry as a snake's old skin;
Loathly as sin!
With a hog's bristle on a hag's chin! -
Gentle Gawain felt as should we,
Little of Love's soft fire knew he:
But he was the Knight of Courtesy.
When that evil lady he lay beside
Bade him turn to greet his bride,
What think you he did?
O, to spare her pain,
And let not his loathing her loathliness vain
Mirror too plain,
Turned he and kissed her once and again.
Like Sir Gawain, gentles, should we?
SILENT, ALL! But for pattern agree
There's none like the Knight of Courtesy.
Sir Gawain sprang up amid laces and curls:
Kisses are not wasted pearls:-
What clung in his arms?
O, a maiden flower,
Burning with blushes the sweet bride-bower,
Beauty her dower!
Shall I live bloomingly,
Said she, by day, or the bridal hour?
Thereat he clasped her, and whispered he,
Thine, rare bride, the choice shall be.
Said she, Twice blest is Courtesy!
Of gentle Sir Gawain they had no sport,
When it was morning in Arthur's court;
What think you they cried?
Now, life and eyes!
This bride is the very Saint's dream of a prize,
Fresh from the skies!
See ye not, Courtesy
Is the true Alchemy,
Turning to gold all it touches and tries?
Like the true knight, so may we
Make the basest that there be
Beautiful by Courtesy!
George Meredith's Other Poems
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Comments about this poem (The Song Of Courtesy by George Meredith )
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
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(1207 - 1273)
Rainer Maria Rilke
(4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
William Butler Yeats
(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
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- Sonnet XVII, Pablo Neruda
- Inspiration, Henry David Thoreau
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
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