Another from the Grail Opera. This song is Sir Gawaine's, on the eve of his abandoning the quest. In the original design, the quest is described from four points of view, in descending order of spiritual rightness: Galahad, who (along with Sir Bors and Sir Percivale) achieves the Grail, takes communion from it administerd by a Christ-figure; Lancelot, who is granted to see the Grail but not partake; Gawaine, a plain and decent man with no especial Christian intensity; and Mordred, the villain who holds the quest in contempt and seeks Arthur's throne for his own. Very Once and Future King in its delineation.
I was more a seeker than a believer at the time I wrote this, but the writing of the opera was pivotal in my conversion. I think I might now switch Lancelot and Gawaine in the ranking of spiritual fitness. But Galahad remains the one almost unearthly pure and devoted, his faith a rock against which others might dash themselves to destruction.
Friend and band member Bill Whitman popped in on the night of recording to improvise a second guitar part. I believe he still makes a living in music somewhere near Memphis.
Gawain explains his decision to the young Percivale, who has grown close to.
The rumor's around that Sir Galahad
Is a prig, and not quite human
In his actions, reactions.
In answer to this I feel that I had
Better point out a mistake
The knights are showing, unknowing.
You expect him to reply like you
And comment that "The sky is blue
Today." I don't know why we do
For he's just not our kind.
If An Angel Came To Tea would you impress him
With the newest tune that's sung across the land?
Would you tell the local scandals to distress him?
No you couldn't, for he wouldn't understand.
Now Sir Galahad's an angel, or close to it;
The most perfect man in all of Arthur's land.
You demand he keep the common touch all through it
For you won't believe he's not a common man.
The Grail is for saints, I've said it before
And there's only three or four of us
That knew it - can do it.
So I'm going home I seek it no more
And may God forgive my lack
Of resolution, contribution.
It's a hard thing to admit you've lost,
Could not afford the final cost
To pay, and now by winter's frost
I'll be safely in my home.
I have followed my best hopes, but hope is dying.
It was futile, I can see that clearly now.
But I don't begrudge the time I spent in trying,
For just trying was impossible somehow.
So farewell to you, Sir Percy, good luck to you.
I have loved you as I would have loved a son.
I shall your give your best regards to those that knew you,
For your old life dies, your new life has begun.
For I don't believe
You'll be unchanged
And most men can't perceive
An angel - here.