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[284]

The tournament 1

The ballad is a revised form of an early poem by Sidney Lanier. the psalm of the West, in which it was inserted, was written in 1876, and was one of the earliest Southern poems to express the feeling of national unity. The bright colors and the medieval simplicity of the treatment lend to this clear and beautiful fragment of allegory a directness of appeal that expresses well the thankfulness in the poet's heart. Though Lanier's thought in 1876 ran in advance of that of contemporaries, Southerners have come to share the joy of these lines and to hold the poet in even higher estimation for the breadth and justice of his views as well as for the artistic quality of his verse.


Lists all white and blue in the skies;
And the people hurried amain
To the Tournament under the ladies' eyes
Where jousted Heart and Brain.

Blow, Herald, blow!There entered Heart,
A youth in crimson and gold.
Blow, Herald, blow! Brain stood apart,
Steel-armored, glittering cold.

Heart's palfrey caracoled gayly round,
Heart tra-li-raed merrily;
But Brain sat still, with never a sound—
Full cynical-calm was he.

Heart's helmet-crest bore favors three
From his lady's white hand caught;
Brain's casque was bare as Fact—not he
Or favor gave or sought.

1 from Poems of Sidney Lanier; copyrighted, 1884, 1891, by Mary D. Lanier; published by Charles Scribner's sons.

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