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Explain lines 65–72.

What good does the poet here see as an offset to the misfortunes of poverty ?

This is a good poem for the study of words because they are used with wonderful exactness.

Line 5. Why glimmering landscape? Try using some other word in its place.

Line 17. Why incense breathing ?
Line 46. What does this line mean?
Line 51. What is noble rage ?
Explain :

“rude forefathers,” line 16;
“the cock's shrill clarion," line 19;
“waked with ecstasy the living lyre,” line 48;

;
“Far from the madding crowd's ignoble
'

strife,” line 73;
“unlettered Muse,” line 81;

pious drops,” line 90. Does the latter part of the poem, lines 98-126, refer to any one in particular ?

What is the meaning of the poem as a whole ?

SIR THOMAS MALORY

(Fifteenth Century)

Sir Thomas Malory is chiefly noted for having revived and made common possession the stories of King Arthur and his Round Table. Malory's Morte d'Arthur is unquestionably the greatest prose work of the first half of the fifteenth century. Although it is faulty in places and shows a failure to follow carefully the earlier authorities, still it served as the basis for Tennyson's great poems.

Of all the tales of chivalry two stand as typical of the noblest ideals of that unique period of the world's history; these two are the French 'Story of Roland” and the British “Tale of King Arthur and of his Knights of the Round Table.”

The latter puts into permanent literary form the confused legends of Britain's great semi-historical King Arthur.

The story as Malory told it, while in some respects inferior to the earlier legends, apparently has become the standard form.

This is due partly to Tennyson's following it in his poems, some of which are given here, following the excerpts from Malory.

THE BOOK OF KING ARTHUR

I

OF THE BIRTH OF KING ARTHUR AND OF HIS

NURTURE

1

Came Merlin unto the king, and said, “Sir, ye must purvey you for the nourishing of your child.” “As thou wilt," said the king, “be it.” “Well,”

” said Merlin, “I know a lord of yours in this land, that is a passing true man and a faithful, and he shall 5 have the nourishing of your child, and his name is Sir Ector, and he is a lord of fair livelihood in many parts in England and Wales; and this lord, Sir Ector, let him be sent for, for to come and speak with you, and desire him yourself, as he loveth you, 10 that he will put his own child to the care of another woman, and that his wife care for yours. And when

. the child is born let it be delivered to me at yonder privy postern? unchristened.” So, like as Merlin devised it was done.

15

*

The child was delivered unto Merlin, and so he bare it forth unto Sir Ector, and made an holy man to christen him, and named him Arthur; and so Sir Ector's wife nourished him.

1

Purvey you, make provision.

2 Privy postern, private gate.

II

OF THE DEATH OF KING UTHER PENDRAGON

1

20 King Uther's men overcame the Northern Battle,

and then the king returned to London and made great joy of his victory.

And then King Uther fell passing sore sick, so that three days and three nights he was speechless; 25 wherefore all the barons made great sorrow, and

asked Merlin what counsel were best. “There is none other remedy,” said Merlin, “but God will have his will. But look ye all barons be before King

Uther to-morn, and God and I shall make him to 30 speak.” So on the morn all the barons with Merlin

came to-fore the king; then Merlin said aloud unto King Uther, “Sir, shall your son Arthur be king after your days, of this realm with all the appurtenance ?2

Then Uther Pendragon turned him, and said in hear35 ing of them all, “I give him God's blessing and mine,

and bid him pray for my soul, and righteously and worshipfully that he claim the crown, upon forfeiture 3 of my blessing.” And therewith he yielded up the

ghost, and then was he interred as longed to a king. 40 Wherefore the queen, fair Igraine, made great sorrow, and all the barons.

1 Merlin, the wizard (wise man) of the courts of King Ut and King Arthur. He was esteemed a mighty magician.

2 All the appurtenance, all that belongs to it. 3 Forfeiture, penalty of losing.

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III

How ARTHUR WAS CHOSEN KING, AND OF WONDERS

AND MARVELS OF A SWORD TAKEN OUT OF A
STONE BY THE SAID ARTHUR

Then stood the realm in great jeopardy' a long while, for every lord that was mighty of men made him strong, and many weened to have been king. Then Merlin went to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and 45 counseled him for to send for all the lords of the realm, and all the gentlemen of arms, that they should to London, by Christmas, upon pain of cursing; and for this cause, that Jesus, that was born on that night, that he would of his great mercy show some 50 miracle as he was come to be king of mankind, for to show some miracle who should be rightwise king of this realm. So the Archbishop, by the advice of Merlin, sent for all the lords and gentlemen of arms that they should come by Christmas even unto 55 London. And many of them made them clean of their life, that their prayer might be the more acceptable unto God.

So in the greatest church in London, whether it were Paul's or not the French book maketh no 60 mention, all the estates were long or day in the church for to pray. And when matins and the

1 Jeopardy, danger.

2 Or, before.

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