"O my brother Percivale," she said,
"Sweet brother, I have seen the Holy Grail..."
Holy Grail is a symbol most sacred amongst the elements of European
spirituality. This powerful image resonates vibrantly within the Western
soul, with cultural roots dating back into obscured history. Through
the years, vibrant debates have centered around the physical reality
of the object. To literary scholars, the Grail is a pure symbol device
with variants evidenced in several branches of legend and mythology.
For traditional Christians, there are no doubts, the Grail is the 'Cup
of Christ,' the selfsame receptacle of the Savior's blood which fell
at his sacrifice upon the cross.
The Attainment of the Sanc Grael
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1857
The Holy Grail in LiteratureConte del Graal, (circa. 1170)
Chrétien de Troyes
The High History of the Grail,
(circa. 1200) Perlesvaus
Parzival, (circa. 1220)
Wolfram von Eschenbach
Morte d'Arthur, (circa. 1480)
Sir Thomas Malory
Poetry, Compositions, Novels,
Tennyson, Wagner, Scott, C. S. Lewis
Then there entered into the hall the Holy Grail, covered with white samite, but there was none might see it nor who have it. And there was all the hall fulfilled with good odors, and every knight had such meats and drinks as he best loved in this world. And when the Holy Grail had been borne through the hall, then the holy vessel departed suddenly, that they wist not where it became.
La Queste del Saint Graal,
The Knight of the Holy Grail
Frederick J. Waugh, 1912
`For on a day she sent to speak with me.
And when she came to speak, behold her eyes
Beyond my knowing of them, beautiful,
Beyond all knowing of them, wonderful,
Beautiful in the light of holiness.
And "O my brother Percivale," she said,
"Sweet brother, I have seen the Holy Grail:
For, waked at dead of night, I heard a sound
As of a silver horn from o'er the hills
Blown, and I thought, `It is not Arthur's use
To hunt by moonlight;' and the slender sound
As from a distance beyond distance grew
Coming upon meO never harp nor horn,
Nor aught we blow with breath,
or touch with hand,
Was like that music as it came; and then
Streamed through my cell a cold and silver beam,
And down the long beam stole the Holy Grail,
Rose-red with beatings in it, as if alive,
Till all the white walls of my cell were dyed
With rosy colours leaping on the wall;
And then the music faded, and the Grail
Past, and the beam decayed, and from the walls
The rosy quiverings died into the night.
So now the Holy Thing is here again
Among us, brother, fast thou too and pray,
And tell thy brother knights to fast and pray,
That so perchance the vision may be seen
By thee and those, and all the world be healed."
Excerpt from: 'The Holy Grail'
by: Alfred, Lord Tennyson
grail concept familiar to us today
has evolved through the centuries within the Arthurian story cycles.
The legends of the questing knights risking all to attain the Grail
gathered increasing embellishments through the writings of Chrétien,
Wolfram von Eschenbach and later Thomas Malory. Original elements from
Welsh and Irish lore blended with French and German motifs, while later
Christian aspects transformed nearly all obvious pagan references.
BibliographyStudies on the Legend of the Grail,
W. A. Nutt, London (1888)
Sir Gawain at the Grail Castle,
David Nutt, London (1903)
The Legend of the Holy Grail,
Dorothy Kempe, London (1905)
The Legend of Sir Perceval,
David Nutt, London (1909)
The Vulgate Version of the
The Carnegie Institute (1909)
Celtic Myth and Arthurian Romance,
Columbia University Press, NY (1927)
Arthurian Tradition & Chrétien de Troyes
Columbia University Press, NY (1949)
History of the High Kings of Britain,
Geoffrey of Monmouth, Penguin UK (1966)
Le Morte d'Arthur,
Sir Thomas Malory, Penguin UK (1970)
The High Book of the Holy Grail,
Translated by N. Bryant,
Brewer, Rowman and Littlefield, NJ (1978)
Parzival of Wolfram von Eschenbach,
Translated by A. T. Hatto, Penguin NY (1980)
The Myth of the Eternal Return,
Mircea Eliade , Arkana UK (1989)
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