King Arthur's Waes-Hael

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,
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;
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
   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:
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.

by Robert Stephen Hawker

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