Three queens were with him when he died,
Two staunched the death-wound in his side;
But one, more lovely than the rest,
Pillowed his head upon her breast.
Was this the shade of Guinevere,
Did her sweet voice fall on his ear,
Did her sweet lips of rarest mould
Press the king's hand that grew so cold?
Alas! it was not Guinevere,
England's fair mistress was not near;
The noblest woman of her race
In Almesbury had veiled her face.
Perchance this young queen was Elaine,
By Launcelot's desertion slain,
Who long had dwelt in Paradise,
But came to close King Arthur's eyes.
'Twas thus that England's monarch died,
Three queens were with him at his side,
But Guinevere, fair Guinevere,
Came not to weep above his bier.