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> Legends Of Arthur And The Round Table
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Catriona 
Posted: 02-Jun-2004, 09:49 AM
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Although there are many versions of the legend - including claims that the story originated in Britanny - there are many Arthurian legends about the Knights and their adventures which are set in Cornwall. The Cornish claim that Tintagel on the NE Coast of Cornwall is the real Camelot.. It is in ruins now, but there are concerts held during the summer in an amphitheatre there........ very, very evocative and mysterious place...

Some even claim that Uther was Scots......... cool.gif As proof they cite the fact that the extinct volcano which dominates the Edinburgh skyline is called 'Arthur's Seat'!

Here's some stuff I found about the British Arthurian legend. This is based on the Geoffrey of Monmouth version. How much is true is anyone guess, but there are strong claims that Merlin was a Welshman.... and Cornwall IS close to Wales..........

http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/legends/geof.html

A brief run through of Geoffrey of Monmouth's version of the Arthurian legend from 'The History of the Kings of Britain'.
King Uther, after becoming the king of Britain falls in lust with Ygerna, who is the wife of Gorlois the Duke of Cornwall. He persuades Merlin to change him in to the semblance of the Duke and makes love to Ygerna in the Dukes castle. Meanwhile the Duke is killed in a battle with Uther's men.

Uther takes Ygerna for his wife, and Arthur is born from their union when Uther was in the shape of Gorlios.

Uther dies, and the 15 year old Arthur leads a fight against the invading Saxons at the battle of the River Douglas. Arthur is victorious and teamed with his cousin Hoel they fight more battles at Lincoln, Caledon Wood and at Bath. They then chase the combined forces of Picts and Saxons into Scotland in the area around Loch Lomond.

Arthur takes Guinevere for his wife, she is a noble woman of Roman stock, and one of the most beautiful women in the country.

Arthur then travels to Ireland and defeats the king there, so adding Ireland to his growing kingdom.
His fame begins to spread throughout the land and his court attracts the most powerful people in the land.

Not satisfied with his conquests at home he travels overseas, and defeats a large army in Gaul. Almost pushing through to Rome he receives word that his nephew Mordred has stolen his throne and taken Guinevere for his wife.

He returns to Britain, landing at Richborough, and defeats Mordred's army. Mordred manages to escape, and Arthur pursues him to Winchester where they again give battle and Mordred is defeated a second time.

Arthur's last battle takes place at the River Camlan in Cornwall, here he finally kills Mordred but is severely wounded in the process. He is tended to and taken to the Isle of Avalon to heal. He leaves his kingdom and crown to Constantine in the year 542AD.


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Eamon 
Posted: 02-Jun-2004, 10:52 AM
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Go Cat! Bernard Cornwell's books about Arthur (Winter King, Enemy of God, and Excalibur) factor in Cornwall quite a bit. They are a great read, and I highly recommend them!

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"I care not whether I die tomorrow or next year, if only my deeds live after me." -Cuchullain

"Bodh roinnt de sin agat!"
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Aragorn 
Posted: 02-Jun-2004, 11:38 AM
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Wow, now that is an awesome story. biggrin.gif I really like that Catriona, thank you for that lovely insight.


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What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.
--Robert Louis Stevenson
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Catriona 
Posted: 02-Jun-2004, 12:04 PM
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Wizard of Owls has posted the Breton version of the legends in the Britanny forum.... I think it is very interesting that there are different versions of the same tales...

On the walls of Winchester Castlel in Hampshire, there is a HUGE round table, which legend said was the very one that Uther's knights sat round.... However, tests have proved that it is not old enough. From memory, I think it was thought to be Tudor! But it is a really beautiful, painted object. Here is an illustration - this site seems to be saying that it is Winchester which was once known as Camelot! As I've said, as many stories as there were Knights...!
http://www.britannia.com/history/arthur/wi...winchester.html



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Randy 
Posted: 03-Jun-2004, 08:02 AM
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Heya Catriona,
I have always wanted to actually read the book, but there are so many variations of the story do you have any idea where I should look???

Randy
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Catriona 
Posted: 03-Jun-2004, 08:10 AM
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The one we studied at school was Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Mallory. I seem to recall it was quite dry, though!

Here's a poem that I had to learn at school, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.... I was surprised when I went searching for it on the web to find how much of it I still remembered.

Morte d Arthur
Alfred Lord Tennyson

So all day long the noise of battle roll'd
Among the mountains by the winter sea;
Until King Arthur's table, man by man,
Had fall'n in Lyonnesse about their Lord,
King Arthur: then, because his wound was deep,
The bold Sir Bedivere uplifted him,
Sir Bedivere the last of all his knights,
And bore him to a chapel nigh the field,
A broken chancel with a broken cross,
That stood on a dark strait of barren land.
On one side lay the Ocean, and on one
Lay a great water, and the moon was full.

Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:
"The sequel of to-day unsolders all
The goodliest fellowship of famous knights
Whereof this world holds record. Such a sleep
They sleep - the men I loved. I think that we
Shall never more, at any future time,
Delight our souls with talk of knightly deeds,
Walking about the gardens and the halls
Of Camelot, as in the days that were.
I perish by this people which I made, -
Tho' Merlin sware that I should come again
To rule once more - but let what will be, be,
I am so deeply smitten thro' the helm
That without help I cannot last till morn.
Thou therefore take my brand Excalibur,
Which was my pride: for thou rememberest how
In those old days, one summer noon, an arm
Rose up from out the bosom of the lake,
Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
Holding the sword - and how I row'd across
And took it, and have worn it, like a king:
And, wheresoever I am sung or told
In aftertime, this also shall be known:
But now delay not: take Excalibur,
And fling him far into the middle mere:
Watch what thou seest, and lightly bring me word."

To him replied the bold Sir Bedivere:
"It is not meet, Sir King, to leave thee thus,
Aidless, alone, and smitten thro' the helm.
A little thing may harm a wounded man.
Yet I thy hest will all perform at full,
Watch what I see, and lightly bring thee word."

So saying, from the ruin'd shrine he stept
And in the moon athwart the place of tombs,
Where lay the mighty bones of ancient men,
Old knights, and over them the sea-wind sang
Shrill, chill, with flakes of foam. He, stepping down
By zig-zag paths, and juts of pointed rock,
Came on the shining levels of the lake.

There drew he forth the brand Excalibur,
And o'er him, drawing it, the winter moon,
Brightening the skirts of a long cloud, ran forth
And sparkled keen with frost against the hilt:
For all the haft twinkled with diamond sparks,
Myriads of topaz-lights, and jacinth-work
Of subtlest jewellery. He gazed so long
That both his eyes were dazzled, as he stood,
This way and that dividing the swift mind,
In act to throw: but at the last it seem'd
Better to leave Excalibur conceal'd
There in the many-knotted waterflags,
That whistled stiff and dry about the marge.
So strode he back slow to the wounded King.

Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:
"Hast thou perform'd my mission which I gave?
What is it thou hast seen? or what hast heard?"

And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
"I heard the ripple washing in the reeds
And the wild water lapping on the crag."

To whom replied King Arthur, faint and pale:
"Thou hast betray'd thy nature and thy name,
Not rendering true answer, as beseem'd
Thy fealty, nor like a noble knight:
For surer sign had follow'd, either hand,
Or voice, or else a motion of the mere.
This is a shameful thing for men to lie.
Yet now, I charge thee, quickly go again
As thou art life and dear, and do the thing
I bade thee, watch, and lightly bring me word."

Then went Sir Bedivere the second time
Across the ridge, and paced beside the mere,
Counting the dewy pebbles, fix'd in thought;
But when he saw the wonder of the hilt,
How curiously and strangely chased, he smote
His palms together, and he cried aloud,

"And if indeed I cast the brand away,
Surely a precious thing, one worthy note,
Should thus be lost for ever from the earth,
Which might have pleased the eyes of many men.
What good should follow this, if this were done?
What harm, undone? deep harm to disobey,
Seeing obedience is the bond of rule.
Were it well to obey then, if a king demand
An act unprofitable, against himself?
The King is sick, and knows not what he does.
What record, or what relic of my lord
Should be to aftertime, but empty breath
And rumours of a doubt? but were this kept,
Stored in some treasure-house of mighty kings,
Some one might show it at a joust of arms,
Saying, 'King Arthur's sword, Excalibur,
Wrought by the lonely maiden of the Lake.
Nine years she wrought it, sitting in the deeps
Upon the hidden bases of the hills.'
So might some old man speak in the aftertime
To all the people, winning reverence.
But now much honour and much fame were lost."

So spake he, clouded with his own conceit,
And hid Excalibur the second time,
And so strode back slow to the wounded King.

Then spoke King Arthur, breathing heavily:
"What is it thou hast seen? or what hast heard?"

And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
"I heard the water lapping on the crag,
And the long ripple washing in the reeds."

To whom replied King Arthur, much in wrath:
"Ah, miserable and unkind, untrue,
Unknightly, traitor-hearted! Woe is me!
Authority forgets a dying king,
Laid widow'd of the power in his eye
That bow'd the will. I see thee what thou art,
For thou, the latest-left of all my knights,
In whom should meet the offices of all,
Thou wouldst betray me for the precious hilt;
Either from lust of gold, or like a girl
Valuing the giddy pleasure of the eyes.
Yet, for a man may fail in duty twice,
And the third time may prosper, get thee hence.
But, if thou spare to fling Excalibur,
I will arise and slay thee with my hands."

Then quickly rose Sir Bedivere, and ran,
And, leaping down the ridges lightly, plunged
Among the bulrush-beds, and clutch'd the sword,
And strongly wheel'd and threw it. The great brand
Made lightnings in the splendour of the moon,
And flashing round and round, and whirl'd in an arch,
Shot like a streamer of the northern morn,
Seen where the moving isles of winter shock
By night, with noises of the northern sea.
So flash'd and fell the brand Excalibur:
But ere he dipt the surface, rose an arm
Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
And caught him by the hilt, and brandish'd him
Three times, and drew him under in the mere.
And lightly went the other to the King.

Then spoke King Arthur, drawing thicker breath:
"Now see I by thine eyes that this is done.
Speak out: what is it thou hast heard, or seen?"

And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
"Sir King, I closed mine eyelids, lest the gems
Should blind my purpose, for I never saw,
Nor shall see, here or elsewhere, till I die,
Not tho' I live three lives of mortal men,
So great a miracle as yonder hilt.
Then with both hands I flung him, wheeling him;
But when I look'd again, behold an arm,
Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
That caught him by the hilt, and brandish'd him
Three times, and drew him under in the mere."

And answer made King Arthur, breathing hard:
"My end draws nigh; 'tis time that I were gone.
Make broad thy shoulders to receive my weight,
And bear me to the margin; yet I fear
My wound hath taken cold; and I shall die."

So saying, from the pavement he half rose,
Slowly, with pain, reclining on his arm,
And looking wistfully with wide blue eyes
As in a picture. Him Sir Bedivere
Remorsefully regarded thro' his tears,
And would have spoken, but he found not words,
Then took with care, and kneeling on one knee,
O'er both his shoulders drew the languid hands,
And rising bore him thro' the place of tombs.

But, as he walk'd, King Arthur panted hard,
Like one that feels a nightmare on his bed
When all the house is mute. So sigh'd the King,
Muttering and murmuring at his ear, "Quick, quick!
I fear it is too late, and I shall die."
But the other swiftly strode from ridge to ridge,
Clothed with his breath, and looking as he walk'd,
Larger than human on the frozen hills.
He heard the deep behind him, and a cry
Before. His own thought drove him, like a goad.
Dry clash'd his harness in the icy caves
And barren chasms, and all to left and right
The bare black cliff clang'd round him, as he based
His feet on juts of slippery crag that rang
Sharp-smitten with the dint of armed heels -
And on a sudden, lo! the level lake,
And the long glories of the winter moon.

Then saw they how there hove a dusky barge,
Dark as a funeral scarf from stem to stern,
Beneath them; and descending they were ware
That all the decks were dense with stately forms
Black-stoled, black-hooded, like a dream - by these
Three Queens with crowns of gold - and from them rose
A cry that shiver'd to the tingling stars,
And, as it were one voice, an agony
Of lamentation, like a wind, that shrills
All night in a waste land, where no one comes,
Or hath come, since the making of the world.

Then murmur'd Arthur, "Place me in the barge,"
And to the barge they came. There those three Queens
Put forth their hands, and took the King, and wept.
But she, that rose the tallest of them all
And fairest, laid his head upon her lap,
And loosed the shatter'd casque, and chafed his hands,
And call'd him by his name, complaining loud,
And dropping bitter tears against his brow
Striped with dark blood: for all his face was white
And colourless, and like the wither'd moon
Smote by the fresh beam of the springing east;
And all his greaves and cuisses dash'd with drops
Of onset; and the light and lustrous curls -
That made his forehead like a rising sun
High from the dais-throne - were parch'd with dust;
Or, clotted into points and hanging loose,
Mixed with the knightly growth that fringed his lips.
So like a shatter'd column lay the King;
Not like that Arthur who, with lance in rest,
From spur to plume a star of tournament,
Shot thro' the lists at Camelot, and charged
Before the eyes of ladies and of kings.

Then loudly cried the bold Sir Bedivere,
"Ah! my Lord Arthur, whither shall I go?
Where shall I hide my forehead and my eyes?
For now I see the true old times are dead,
When every morning brought a noble chance,
And every chance brought out a noble knight.
Such times have been not since the light that led
The holy Elders with the gift of myrrh.
But now the whole Round Table is dissolved
Which was an image of the mighty world;
And I, the last, go forth companionless,
And the days darken round me and the years,
Among new men, strange faces, other minds."

And slowly answer'd Arthur from the barge:
"The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils Himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?
I have lived my life, and that which I have done
May He within Himself make pure! but thou,
If thou shouldst never see my face again,
Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
For what are men better than sheep or goats
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
For so the whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.
But now farewell. I am going a long way
With these thou seest - if indeed I go -
(For all my mind is clouded with a doubt)
To the island-valley of Avilion;
Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow,
Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies
Deep-meadow'd happy, fair with orchard-lawns
And bowery hollows crown'd with summer sea,
Where I will heal me of my grievous wound."

So said he, and the barge with oar and sail
Moved from the brink, like some full-breasted swan
That, fluting a wild carol ere her death,
Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes the flood
With swarthy webs. Long stood Sir Bedivere
Revolving many memories, till the hull
Looked one black dot against the verge of dawn
And on the mere the wailing died away.


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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 03-Jun-2004, 10:47 PM
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WOW! Catriona, if you at one time had that entire poem memorized, then I am in complete awe of you! I would be lucky to memorize even a third of that!


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Sln agus beannachd,
Allen R. Alderman

'S i Alba tr mo chridhe. 'S i Gidhlig cnan m' anama.
Scotland is the land of my heart. Gaelic is the language of my soul.
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Catriona 
Posted: 04-Jun-2004, 02:46 AM
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When I was at school we were often given entire LONG poems to learn by heart...

I can still, to this day, recite the whole of Tam O'Shanter... which is a L O N G one!

We were expected to learn one a week... I can still recite many, many poems by poets as diverse as Yeats, Keats, Byron, Tennyson and Shakespeare cool.gif
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 04-Jun-2004, 08:45 PM
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notworthy.gif
WOW! I am SO not worthy! Impressive, mi'lady!
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0|2|) 0|= $(|-|4|)0vv 
Posted: 19-Dec-2004, 04:33 AM
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Helo Catriona

I'm very glad to find other people who are interested in the sorry of king Arthur.

But i think the celtic version of the story is also very interesting. We talk and discuss very often about this story(s) at our school.

What are you thinking about the mystic places in England like the Glastonbury Tor?
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greenldydragon 
Posted: 19-Dec-2004, 12:51 PM
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That is a very very LONG poem!!! I can't believe you had that memorized!! You must have gained a very good memory with those poems given to you! As WizardofOwls said, Impressive!!


--------------------
DRAGON BLESSING

May dragons bring you wealth
and guard your treasures
May they banish darkness and enlighten you
May female dragons grant you inner power
May the Dragon Queen
neutralize your enemies
May Dragon Spirits
give you power over Elementals
May weather dragons
bring rain at your request
May Ti'amat effect the changes you command
May Ishtar grant you Dragon Power
May Ishtar grant you Dragon Power
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