Of all of the heroes of the British isles
There is none better known than noble King Arthur
Yet despite his renown and that of his Round Table
Most romances it seems were not written here.
Yet there is one which was worked up near Lincoln
That told of his torments when tackled by Rome;
Of his battle to take on Sir Lucius alone
To reclaim his lands that this man also claimed.
King Arthur’s Death is how many do know it,
A salutary tale of soldierly strength;
A poem that plucks great strings of pure valour,
A song for all folk who seek ancient heroes!
It speaks of his journey, of crossing great seas
To face down that Emperor and force him away;
It tells of the battles between boisterous knights
As the king crossed the continent to fight with Sir Lucius.
Yet this is no romance with ladies and courtiers,
This is no story of delicate deeds;
It tells of how kings in long distant times
Had to rally their leaders in loyal command.
Sir Lot and Sir Lancelot put others to flight;
Sir Cador of Cornwall crashes through knights;
Sir Gawain the mighty against his great foes,
Arthur’s great advocate advancing to fame!
But battles abroad cast a cautionary note
And for Arthur he shuddered for all his arms used;
Sir Mordred at home assumed that great kingdom
So Arthur again had to win back his lands.
He does so of course but at great kingly cost:
His once great Round Table was brought to low ruin;
His most loyal knights were all lost in the fight
And so with his sword that king sought his great foe
He battled with Mordred
Until he heard him moan;
He killed that man stone dead
But so too his life was gone.
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This post celebrates a new translation I am working on of the Alliterative Morte Arthure (King Arthur’s Death), a magnificent poem of the alliterative revival of the fourteenth century written somewhere in Yorkshire or Lincolnshire in about 1400.
Like my translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, King Arthur’s Death will be published by Unbound and will be richly illustrated with over 30 of my pen-and-ink drawings, based on contemporary mediaeval manuscripts. The book can only happen with your help; if you would like to see it become reality – and have your name in the back for all time as a patron and subscriber, please click here for more information.
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The images below show three of the pledge rewards on offer for supporters of the book – but you can simply pledge for the book on its own. Every pledge received before the book is sent to print, no matter the size, will ensure your name appears in the back of the book.