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The lovely Lady Blanchiflore
Had scores of lovers fain and fond;
They flocked to bow her feet before
From Tarascon to Trebizond,
And many another outland place,
Beseeching of her grace.
They told her tales of all their store,--
The lovely Lady Blanchiflore,--
they told her tales of all their love,
The truth and tenderness thereof;
And yet, day following creeping day,
She said them "nay."


Then roused her wrathful sire and swore,
"By all the saints, but she shall wed,
The lovely Lady Blanchiflore;
No longer shall she bring disgrace
Through the cold fairness of her face
Upon the towers of Blanchifore
With all their girth and goodlihead!"
She looked within his eyes and smiled
As doth a child.


There dwelt a jongleur in that court,
And a right proper man was he,
The ballad-singer Broiefort;
And since 'twas but a small degree
Of land and gold he held in fee
He nursed his passion silently,
Albeit his eyes spake, and her eyes
(Deep eyes had Lady Blanchiflore)
Had answered him entreating wise.
Pride stood between them evermore;
But now!--but now!--her bower door
She closed, the Lady Blanchiflore;
A little space her lips were dumb;
Then, with a swift resolve, she cried,
"I'll slay the grisly giant Pride,
An he but come!"


The morrow morn they led her in
(Her maidens) garbèd gloriously,
Up to a dais by the wall
Of the high-vaulted banquet hall;
Then did the hoary seneschal
Proclaim, while clarions made din
Without, the Lady Blanchiflore
Would that day choose her heart's own knight
From those who passed before her sight,
For thus her sire in anger swore
(Yea, by the blessèd Trinity!)
That it should be.


They came, proud prince and paladin,
Duke, earl and baron, and the sun,
Through the tall windows pouring in,
A braver scene ne'er shone upon.
No sign made she the while her sire
From rigid marble flamed to fire,
Plucked at his beard, clutched at his sword,
Cursed her by turns, by turns deplored.
"And ye will not,--" at last he roared,--
"Stay!" spake she, with beseeching voice,
('Twas oil on raging waters poured!)
"Music might move me to my choice!"


"Music! God's rood! bring Broiefort!"
At sight of whom--"Sing, songbird, sing!
Thou art a bard of good report;
If thou canst thaw yon frozen thing,
Ask whatsoe'er thou wilt of me
Within my whole wide empery!"
The jongleur took his place before
The lovely Lady Blanchiflore;
A breathing space their glances met;
He touched a string, he clasped a fret,
And then he sang until in thrall
Were all in that vast banquet hall,
Yet the enamored worshiper
Sang but to her.


He ceased, and lo! a rippling gush
Of acclamation stormed the hush!
The rose and lily in her face,--
The lovely Lady Blanchiflore,--
Commingled for a little space,
Then ruled the rose as ne'er before.
Down from the dais o'er the floor
She sped (where now was giant Pride?)
And halted by the minstrel's side.
Her sire, he mouthed a mighty oath,--
"By Christ, His wounds!"--while sudden glee
Stirred the old rafters ringingly;
"'Tis thus the wind blows, then!" he quoth.
"I am twice sworn and pledged, I see.
Seek out the priest, where'er he be!
If there's aught more to say--what more?"


"Naught!"--blushed the Lady Blanchiflore.