No Stone Unturned

“If I lose myself, I save myself!”

As you can see by the pics below, I’m leaving no stone unturned as I wrap up last minute research and get the Cabal Fang book ready for publication (pre-order links here).  What you see here is Issue 91 of the Maynard’s English Classics Series covering Tennyson’s The Holy Grail and Sir Galahad, copyright 1891.  This issue and several others in the Maynard’s series are a part of the Cabal Fang Library collection in the Cabal Fang Temple.

In The Holy Grail (one of twelve chapters in Tennyson’s larger work The Idylls of the King) there is a very important motif, namely that of the Siege Perilous, or “dangerous seat.”  This is the empty chair at the Round Table reserved for the knight who would someday successfully quest for the Holy Grail.

‘Then came a year of miracle: O brother,
In our great hall there stood a vacant chair,
Fashioned by Merlin ere he past away,
And carven with strange figures; and in and out
The figures, like a serpent, ran a scroll
Of letters in a tongue no man could read.
And Merlin called it “The Siege perilous,”
Perilous for good and ill; “for there,” he said,
“No man could sit but he should lose himself:”
And once by misadvertence Merlin sat
In his own chair, and so was lost; but he,
Galahad, when he heard of Merlin’s doom,
Cried, “If I lose myself, I save myself!”

‘Then on a summer night it came to pass,
While the great banquet lay along the hall,
That Galahad would sit down in Merlin’s chair.

‘And all at once, as there we sat, we heard
A cracking and a riving of the roofs,
And rending, and a blast, and overhead
Thunder, and in the thunder was a cry.
And in the blast there smote along the hall
A beam of light seven times more clear than day:
And down the long beam stole the Holy Grail
All over covered with a luminous cloud…

This line of Galahad’s is so salient — so universally understood to be true by wise hermits and solitaries, priests, ascetics, witches of the wild wood, guides, wandering wizards and true seekers of every stripe —  that it’s clear to me that Tennyson was more than a poet.  He was a mystic.

“If I lose myself, I save myself!”

No truer words were ever spoken.

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