Excerpt: ... seat. Eleven seats were soon occupied, and only Judas's place remained empty. Moses, a hypocrite and sinner, attempted to sit there, but the earth opened wide beneath him and ingulfed him. In another vision Joseph was now informed that the vacancy would only be filled on the day of doom. He was also told that a similar table would be constructed by Merlin. Here the grandson of Brons would honorably occupy the vacant place, which is designated in the legend as the "Siege Perilous," because it proved fatal to all for whom it was not intended. In the "Great St. Grail," one of the longest poems on this theme, there are countless adventures and journeys, "transformations of fair females into foul fiends, conversions wholesale and individual, allegorical visions, miracles, and portents. Eastern splendor and northern weirdness, angelry and deviltry, together with abundant fighting and quite a phenomenal amount of swooning, which seem to reflect a strange medley of Celtic, pagan, and mythological traditions, and Christian legends and mysticism, alternate in a kaleidoscopic maze that defies the symmetry which modern aesthetic canons associate with every artistic production." The Holy Grail was, we are further told, transported by Joseph of Arimathea to Glastonbury, where it long remained visible, and whence it vanished only when men became too sinful to be permitted to retain it in their midst. Sidenote: Birth of Titurel. Another legend relates that a rich man from Cappadocia, Berillus, followed Vespasian to Rome, where he won great estates. He was a very virtuous man, and his good qualities were inherited by all his descendants. One of them, called Titurisone, greatly regretted having no son to continue his race. When advised by a soothsayer to make a pilgrimage to the holy sepulcher, and there to lay a crucifix of pure gold upon the altar, the pious Titurisone hastened to do so. On his return he was rewarded for his pilgrimage by the birth of a son,...
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