previous next


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.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Sidney Lanier (3)
Charles Scribner (1)
Mary D. Lanier (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1876 AD (2)
1891 AD (1)
1884 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: