Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
Robert Stephen Hawker. 1804–1875
  
674. King Arthur's Waes-hael
  
WAES-HAEL for knight and dame! 
  O merry be their dole! 
Drink-hael! in Jesu's name 
  We fill the tawny bowl; 
But cover down the curving crest,         5
Mould of the Orient Lady's breast. 
 
Waes-hael! yet lift no lid: 
  Drain ye the reeds for wine. 
Drink-hael! the milk was hid 
  That soothed that Babe divine;  10
Hush'd, as this hollow channel flows, 
He drew the balsam from the rose. 
 
Waes-hael! thus glow'd the breast 
  Where a God yearn'd to cling; 
Drink-hael! so Jesu press'd  15
  Life from its mystic spring; 
Then hush and bend in reverent sign 
And breathe the thrilling reeds for wine. 
 
Waes-hael! in shadowy scene 
  Lo! Christmas children we:  20
Drink-hael! behold we lean 
  At a far Mother's knee; 
To dream that thus her bosom smiled, 
And learn the lip of Bethlehem's Child. 
 
 
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