ISBN: 1437508111 / ISBN-13: 9781437508116
by Andrew Lang
Excerpt: ...the Welsh tale Geraint and Enid are bedded in Arthur's own chamber, which seems to be a symbolic commutation of the jus primae noctis a ... Show synopsis Excerpt: ...the Welsh tale Geraint and Enid are bedded in Arthur's own chamber, which seems to be a symbolic commutation of the jus primae noctis a custom of which the very existence is disputed. This unseemly antiquarian detail, of course, is omitted in the Idyll. An abstract of the Welsh tale will show how closely Tennyson here follows his original. News is brought into Arthur's Court of the appearance of a white stag. The king arranges a hunt, and Guinevere asks leave to go and watch the sport. Next morning she cannot be wakened, though the tale does not aver, like the Idyll, that she was "Lost in sweet dreams, and dreaming of her love For Lancelot." Guinevere wakes late, and rides through a ford of Usk to the hunt. Geraint follows, "a golden-hilted sword was at his side, and a robe and a surcoat of satin were upon him, and two shoes of leather upon his feet, and around him was a scarf of blue purple, at each corner of which was a golden apple" - "But Guinevere lay late into the morn, Lost in sweet dreams, and dreaming of her love For Lancelot, and forgetful of the hunt; But rose at last, a single maiden with her, Took horse, and forded Usk, and gain'd the wood; There, on a little knoll beside it, stay'd Waiting to hear the hounds; but heard instead A sudden sound of hoofs, for Prince Geraint, Late also, wearing neither hunting-dress Nor weapon, save a golden-hilted brand, Came quickly flashing thro' the shallow ford Behind them, and so gallop'd up the knoll. A purple scarf, at either end whereof There swung an apple of the purest gold, Sway'd round about him, as he gallop'd up To join them, glancing like a dragon-fly In summer suit and silks of holiday." The encounter with the dwarf, the lady, and the knight follows. The prose of the Mabinogi may be compared with the verse of Tennyson: - "Geraint," said Gwenhwyvar, "knowest thou the name of that tall knight yonder?" "I know him not," said he, "and the strange armour that he wears prevents my either seeing...