Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
 
King Arthur’s Waes-hael
By Robert Stephen Hawker (1803–1875)
 
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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