chapter  III
138 Pages

America

I shall, through some wild impulse, wantonly Fling my unsullied knighthood to the winds, As now I flung the plume from out my helm.

The poem becomes an orgy of sexual repression. Kathanal struggles between "deep yearning for some touch of love" and "brave endeavour for self-mastery." He confesses his love to her and she admits she reciprocates it but refuses to let him touch her even though she confesses "my senses thrill / If you but touch the border of my robe .... " When her confession prompts him to say he will remain with her, she replies "now, if ever, you will surely go." Lest their love become "inglorious" like that of Tristram and Isoud or Launcelot and Guenever, she asks him to undertake the quest for the Grail. To replace the purple plume from his helmet, Leorre gives him "this spotless scarf, the girdle from my robe," though she admits that her "longing gaze" often watched his plume in tournament.,. He wavers but does resist temptation and so ultimately achieves the Grail.