In the summer-house of the Cornish king
I kneeled to Mark at a banqueting,
I saw the hand of the queen Iseult;
down her arm a ruddy bold
fired the tinder of my brain
to measure the shape of man again;
I heard the king say: ‘Little we know
of verse here; let the stranger show
a trick of the Persian music-craft.’
Iseult smiled and Tristram laughed.
Her arm exposed on the board, between
Mark and Tristram sat the queen,
but neither Mark nor Tristram sought
the passion of substantial thought,
neither Mark not Tristram heard
the accent of the antique word.
Only the uncrossed Saracen
sang amid the heavy Cornish men;
only, a folly amid fighting lords,
I caught her arm in a mesh of chords,
and the speech of Moslem Ispahan
swung the hazels of Lateran.
From The Coming of Palomides, in Taliessin Through Logres, by Charles Williams