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These two things shalt thou do, or else thou diest.
First, thou thyself, thy lady, and thy dwarf,
But when the third day from the hunting-morn Made a low splendour in the world, and wings Moved in her ivy, Enid, for she lay With her fair head in the dim-yellow light Among the dancing shadows of the birds, Woke and bethought her of her promise given No later than last eve to Prince Geraint So bent he seem'd on going the third day, He would not leave her, till her promise given To ride with him this morning to the court, And there be made known to the stately Queen, And there be wedded with all ceremony. At this she cast her eyes upon her dress, And thought it never yet had look'd so mean. For as a leaf in mid-November is
To what it was in mid-October, seem'd
The dress that now she look'd on to the dress
All staring at her in her faded silk:
'This noble prince who won our earldom back, So splendid in his acts and his attire, Sweet heaven, how much I shall discredit him! Would he could tarry with us here awhile! But being so beholden to the Prince, It were but little grace in any of us, Bent as he seem'd on going this third day, To seek a second favour at his hands. Yet if he could but tarry a day or two, Myself would work eye dim, and finger lame, Far liefer than so much discredit him.'
And Enid fell in longing for a dress All branch'd and flower'd with gold, a costly gift Of her good mother, given her on the night Before her birthday, three sad years ago, That night of fire, when Edyrn sack'd their house, And scatter'd all they had to all the winds: For while the mother show'd it, and the two Were turning and admiring it, the work To both appear'd so costly, rose a cry That Edyrn's men were on them, and they fled With little save the jewels they had on, Which being sold and sold had bought them bread: And Edyrn's men had caught them in their flight, And placed them in this ruin; and she wish'd The Prince had found her in her ancient home; Then let her fancy flit across the past, And roam the goodly places that she knew; And last bethought her how she used to watch, Near that old home, a pool of golden carp; And one was patch'd and blurr'd and lustreless Among his burnish'd brethren of the pool; And half asleep she made comparison Of that and these to her own faded self And the gay court, and fell asleep again;
And dreamt herself was such a faded form
And lords and ladies of the high court went
And therewithal one came and seized on her,
'See here, my child, how fresh the colours look, How fast they hold, like colours of a shell That keeps the wear and polish of the wave. Why not? it never yet was worn, I trow: Look on it, child, and tell me if you know it.'
And Enid look'd; but all confused at first, Could scarce divide it from her foolish dream: Then suddenly she knew it and rejoiced, And answer'd, 'Yea, I know it; your good gift, So sadly lost on that unhappy night; Your own good gift!' 'Yea, surely,' said the dame,
'And gladly given again this happy morn.
Then were you shamed, and, worse, might shame the Prince
To whom we are beholden; but I know,
That neither court nor country, tho' they sought
Here ceased the kindly mother out of breath; And Enid listen'd brightening as she lay; Then, as the white and glittering star of morn Parts from a bank of snow, and by and by Slips into golden cloud, the maiden rose, And left her maiden couch, and robed herself, Help'd by the mother's careful hand and eye, Without a mirror, in the gorgeous gown; Who, after, turn'd her daughter round, and said, She never yet had seen her half so fair; And call'd her 'like that maiden in the tale, Whom Gwydion made by glamour out of flowers, And sweeter than the bride of Cassivelaun, Flur, for whose love the Roman Cæsar first Invaded Britain, but we beat him back, As this great prince invaded us, and we, Not beat him back, but welcomed him with joy. And I can scarcely ride with you to court, For old am I, and rough the ways and wild; But Yniol goes, and I full oft shall dream I see my princess as I see her now, Clothed with my gift, and gay among the gay.'
But while the women thus rejoiced, Geraint Woke where he slept in the high hall, and call'd For Enid, and when Yniol made report Of that good mother making Enid gay In such apparel as might well beseem His princess, or indeed the stately queen, He answer'd; Earl, entreat her by my love, Albeit I give no reason but my wish, That she ride with me in her faded silk.' Yniol with that hard message went; it fell, Like flaws in summer laying lusty corn: For Enid all abash'd she knew not why,