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Arthurian Quotes

Arthurian Quote from Le Morte d’Arthur

Now I have warned thee of thy vain glory and of thy pride, that thou hast many times erred against thy Maker. Beware of everlasting pain, for of all earthly knights I have most pity of thee, for I know well thou hast not thy peer on any earthy sinful man.


A recluse to Launcelot, 713

These words, spoken during the quest for the Sangreal, touch on Lancelot’s spiritual failings, and help to define the epic’s shift into a more Christian work. On the quest for the Sangreal, Lancelot has a hard time accepting the idea that he might not achieve his goal. After all, he has always been the world’s greatest knight. However, this pride is precisely what keeps him from fulfilling the goal. Finding the Sangreal requires spiritual fortitude, not just physical strength. The recluse’s words reveal to Lancelot that his best path is to repent of his sins. Redemption, another major theme of Le Morte d’Arthur, proves quite important to Lancelot’s story arc. Here, we see the beginning of Lancelot’s spiritual trial.

Arthurian Quote and Interpretation 

  

Madam, ye are greatly to blame for Sir Lancelot, for now have ye lost him, for I saw and heard by his countenance that he is mad for ever. Alas, madam, ye do great sin, and to yourself great dishonour, for ye have a lord of your own, and therefore it is your part to love him; for there is no queen in this world hath such another king as ye have.
Dame Elaine to Queen Guinevere, 622

Queen Guinevere is rebuked several times during the epic for her treatment of Lancelot, and this attack touches on the selfishness that leads her to treat him poorly. Here, Elaine, the mother of Lancelot’s son, reprimands the Queen for her selfish and damaging reactions. Guinevere has sent Lancelot away again, because he was tricked into sleeping with Elaine. There is some hypocrisy here – Elaine only has Lancelot through selfish subterfuge – but she is far less important character than Guinevere. Guinevere is the woman to whom many of the other female characters are compared, for both beauty or nobility, and yet she is often defined as much by jealously and insecurity as by those greater virtues. She is unwilling to accept her high place as Queen of England, but instead demands even more, demands which will partially lead to the end of her husband’s reign. This characterization also touches on the ambivalence with which the epic treats women, as people with little agency outside of the danger they present through their sexuality.
  

Arthurian Quote of the Day 

  

For madam, I love not to be constrained to love; for love must arise of the heart, and not by no constraint.
Lancelot to Guinevere, 826

Le Morte D’Arthur 

  
After the body of Elaine (the Fair Maiden of Astolat) arrives, Lancelot is confronted by Guinevere  about his guilt in her death. She accuses him of not loving Elaine, and hence causing her death. This reply both confirms the all-consuming power of love and Lancelot’s devotion to Guinevere. He is subtly reminding her that love cannot be controlled, and that he remains devoted to her not by choice but by love. However, he also reveals unwittingly that it has power beyond the lover’s desires. He never meant to destroy King Arthur’s kingdom, but his all-powerful love for Guinevere required as much, and so this answer serves as foreshadowing. King Arthur approves of Lancelot’s statement, though he misses its subtlety.

Arthurian Quote of the Day

  

Now I have warned thee of thy vain glory and of thy pride, that thou hast many times erred against thy Maker. Beware of everlasting pain, for of all earthly knights I have most pity of thee, for I know well thou hast not thy peer on any earthy sinful man.
A recluse to Launcelot, 713

These words, spoken during the quest for the Sangreal, touch on Launcelot’s spiritual failings, and help to define the epic’s shift into a more Christian work. On the quest for the Sangreal, Launcelot has a hard time accepting the idea that he might not achieve his goal. After all, he has always been the world’s greatest knight. However, this pride is precisely what keeps him from fulfilling the goal. Finding the Sangreal requires spiritual fortitude, not just physical strength. The recluse’s words reveal to Launcelot that his best path is to repent of his sins. Redemption, another major theme of Le Morte d’Arthur, proves quite important to Launcelot’s story arc. Here, we see the beginning of Launcelot’s spiritual trial.

Arthurian Quote of the Day!

  

Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil, is rightwise king born of all England.

                                                         -Inscription, 7

This prophecy is what opens the door for Arthur to claim his birthright of the crown. Arthur pulls the sword from the stone with the intention of giving it to his foster brother Kay. He has no idea of its implication, or of his fate. This acts lays the foundation of Arthur’s chief characteristic – he is first a man, and then a King, which seemingly separates him from the other lesser kings of England. The pulling of the sword from the stone makes Arthur High King, although he already has a legitimate claim to the throne. A case of mistaken identity, one of the reoccurring motifs throughout the text, prompts the Kings of the North to declare war on Arthur. They claim he is not of noble birth, and is too young to rule. Arthur, with the aid of Merlin, conquers the Kings of the North, thus proving he is worthy of his crown, by birth and by prophecy.

  

Arthurian Quote of the day for Monday!

“At the end of the 1400s, the world changed. Two key dates can mark the beginning of modern times. In 1485, the Wars of the Roses came to an end, and, following the invention of printing, William Caxton issued the first imaginative book to be published in England – Sir Thomas Malory’s retelling of the Arthurian legends as Le Morte D’Arthur. In 1492, Christopher Columbus’s voyage to the Americas opened European eyes to the existence of the New World. New worlds, both geographical and spiritual, are the key to the Renaissance, the ‘rebirth’ of learning and culture, which reached its peak in Italy in the early sixteenth century and in Britain during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, from 1558 to 1603.”
~Author: Ronald Carter

Happy Saturday! Here’s your Arthurian Quote of the Day!

Since today’s quote is from the movie King Arthur, I am using Clive Owen for the picture. Please either enjoy it or forgive me 😉

  

Knights! The gift of freedom is yours by right. But the home we seek resides not in some distant land. It’s in us! And in our actions on this day! If this be our destiny, then so be it. But let history remember that as free men, we chose to make it so.

King Arthur (1995), written by David Franzoni

The weekend’s almost here! Here’s your Arthurian Quote of the Day!

  

More things are wrought by prayer

Than this world dreams of. 

~ Arthur, in The Passing of Arthur by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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