Tomorrow, we've got a smashing stereotypes workshop, that I'm prepping some new verse for, including a rewrite of Lancelot's first soliloquy from The Table Round. Which I thought y'all might enjoy.
To set the scene: Lancelot (who has yet to meet Guinevere) just ran after Elaine, the Lady of Shalott, where she stood guard on the battlements, awaiting the new Queen. Although Elaine declared her feelings boldly to the knight, Lancelot was...um...less verbal. Babbled a bit and then:
(Continuing; the stairwell. LANCELOT runs down the snow-slick stairs, skittering a little, until he is alone. At which point, he leans his head against a wall and kicks it.)
LANCELOT. How may a man declare the words: “I love you?”
There, ‘tis said! In any company—but hers.
O! I am a fool!
Who can with armies bandy, but not with words.
She invited me to speak! But I—
Like one born dumb, or else more imbecile
Could only think in my native French: until
A spill of English words erupted—each one
More babbling, incoherent than the next—!
Give her my cloak and grab it back again?
Aye, thou art the soul of chivalry, Du Lac!
Thy Mother would know better how to woo her:
And thy Mother lived with nuns! This courtly love
Which comes, to some, as naturally
As flight to sparrow’s wings, eludes my grasp;
And thus am I, by others, thought a monument
To Sanctity; as heartless as the sword I wield
On my King’s behalf. Yet in those convent walls,
Attended by so many silent mothers,
Who taught my knees to bend, and my back
To never waver; learned I another love:
Love of country, love of God—and love,
Above all Loves(!): the law of loving Law,
That lays decrees to liberate! As Love
Will always liberate—and may liberate
My tongue before Elaine…if the love
I feel is lawful. As perhaps, this proof
Reveals that it is not. Perhaps ‘tis well
I spoke no word to her. For it would be…
To woo a maid one only lusted for.
Aye, Lancelot: now thou art a Knight, indeed!
As base as Kay, Gawain, and all the rest—
Save Arthur. Who never looked upon a maid
But worshipped from afar. So shall I do.
Let them mock me for my sanctity. Not she.