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Parsifal Imitated from the French of Paul Verlaine
John Gray (1866-1934)
Conquered the flower-maidens, and the wide embrace
Of their round proffered arms, that tempt the virgin boy;
Conquered the trickling of their babbling tongues; the coy
Back glances, and the mobile breasts of subtle grace;
Conquered the Woman Beautiful, the fatal charm
Of her hot breast, the music of her babbling tongue;
Conquered the gate of Hell, into the gate the young
Man passes, with the heavy trophy at his arm,
The holy Javelin that pierced the Heart of God.
He heals the dying king, he sits upon the throne,
King, and high priest of that great gift, the living Blood.
In robe of gold the youth adores the glorious Sign
Of the green goblet, worships the mysterious Wine.
And oh! the chime of children's voices in the dome.
The Account of the Fisher King
(as told in Terry Gilliam's film "The Fisher King")
The story of the Fisher King begins when the king is a boy, having to
spend the night alone in the forest to prove his courage so he can
become king. And while he's spending the night alone he is visited by
a sacred vision. Out of the fire appears the Holy Grail, the symbol of
God's divine grace. And a voice said to the boy, "You shall be keeper
of the grail so that it may heal the hearts of men." But the boy was
blinded by greater visions of a life of power, glory, and beauty. And
in this state of radical amazement he felt for a brief moment, not
like a boy, but invincible, like God. So he reached in the fire to
take the grail and the grail vanished, leaving him with his hand in
the fire to be terribly wounded. Now as this boy grew older his wound
grew deeper, until one day life for him lost its reason. He had no
faith in any man, not even himself. He couldn't love, or feel love. He
was sick with experience; he began to die. One day a fool wandered
into the castle and found the king alone. Now being a fool he was
simple-minded; he didn't see a king, he only saw a man alone and in
pain. And he asked the king, "What ails you, friend?" The king
replied, "I'm thirsty. I need some water to cool my throat." So the
fool took a cup from beside his bed, filled it with water, and handed
it to the king. As the king began to drink, he realized his wound was
healed. He looked in his hands and there was the Holy Grail, that
which he had sought all of his life. He turned to the fool and said
with amazement, "How could you find that which my brightest and
bravest could not?" The fool replied, "I don't know. I only knew that
you were thirsty."