Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Hidden Meaning of The Holy Grail

"Follow the deer? follow Christ, the King,
Live pure, speak true, right wrong, follow the King-
Else wherefore born?"
Alfred Lord Tennyson

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
experience a vision of the Holy Grail
Evrard d' Espinques

Alfred Lord Tennyson

The beautiful language of Alfred Lord Tennyson's
 intriguing poem, "The Holy Grail" 
speaks of courage and loyalty,
of humility, and purity of mind and heart.

Over the years, many who have read and studied this
poem interpreted the meaning of  "The Holy Grail" as
a strict allegory, while others refrained from any
sort of interpretation of the poet's work.

"The Holy Grail" is not a poem to take lightly.
It requires time and patience and careful reading,
sometimes even reading passages over again to
grasp the meaning behind Tennyson's prose.

The poet himself alluded that his most famous
work, "The Idylls of the King" which centers 
around the tales of King Arthur and the
Knights of the Round Table, contain
a special hidden meaning.

In his insightful essay,
"The Meaning of the Idylls of the King"
published in 1904,
American Catholic editor and author,
Dr. Conde B. Pallen deciphered
 the intricate symbolism found within
Tennyson's "The Holy Grail":

The Holy Grail:    The Vision of True Faith

Arthur:  The Soul, Spiritual Man

Guinevere: The Nobility and Beauty of the Body

The Lady of the Lake:  Religion

Excalibur:  Spiritual Weapons

The Three Queens:  Faith, Hope, Charity

The Round Table:  The Spiritual Organization of Man

Merlin:  Wisdom

Lancelot:  The Senses

Galahad:  Purity

Percivale:  Pride Repentant

Bors:  Sincerity

Gawain:  Levity

 The Marriage of King Arthur and Guinevere
John H. Bacon

Deep on the convent-roof the snows
Are sparkling to the moon:
My breath to heaven like vapor goes:
May my soul follow soon!

The shadows on the convent-towers
Slant down the snowy sward,
Still creeping with a creeping hours
That lead me to my Lord

Make Thou my spirit pure and clear
As are the frosty skies,
Or this first snowdrop of the year
That in my bosom lies.

As these white robes are soil'd and dark,
To yonder shining ground;
As this pale taper's earthly speak,
To yonder argent round;

So shows my soul before the Lamb,
My spirit before Thee;
So in mine earthly house I am,
To that I hope to be.

Break up the heavens, O Lord! and far
Thro' all yon starlight keen,
Draw me, Thy bride, a glittering star.
In raiment white and clean.

He lifts me to the golden doors;
The flashes come and go;
All heaven bursts her starry floors,
And strows her lights below,
And deepens on and up! the gates
Roll back, and far within
For me the Heavenly Bridegroom waits,
To make me pure of sin.

The sabbaths of Eternity
One sabbath deep and wide-
A light upon the shining sea-
The Bridegroom and His bride!

"St. Agnes Eve"
Alfred Lord Tennyson

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