Poetical Tragedies

Mordred: A Tragedy in Five Acts.

by William Wilfred Campbell



SCENE III.—Another part of the forest.—LAUNCELOT and GWAINE.

     Gwaine.     Launcelot, thou art a fool. Thou art the King’s man, and the

  best. Thou hast an arm and a sword on it. Thou must come. I will no longer here.


     Laun.     I may not, this hurt be too deep.


     Gwaine.     Damn thy hurt, man! thou art sound as I.


     Laun.     ’Tis a deep hurt, Launcelot fights no more. Here will I die.


     Gwaine.     Better go a Monk, thou art a fool, Man. This love is a girl’s

  folly. Fighting is a man’s trade and his sword his true mistress. Gwaine will have no other. Come, thou art not dead yet.


     Laun.     Aye Gwaine thou wastest words, Launcelot is ended.


     Gwaine.     Damn thee! I gave my word I would bring thee, will I have

  to go foresworn else carry thee on my back. Have I cured thy madness but for this?


     Laun.     Nay, nay, make peace best thou canst. Thou art a good

  fellow, but I cannot. Launcelot will die here.


     Gwaine.     I say, damn thee, thou shalt come!


     Laun.     Thou liest! (both spring to their feet and draw.) (Trumpets

  without.) (Enter the KING’S Messengers.)


     Gwaine.     Who comes?


     Mess.     From the King.


     Gwaine.     What want ye?


     Mess.     We seek two knights, Sir Launcelot and Sir Gwaine.


     Gwaine.     We be thy men—what be thy message?


     Mess.     The King desireth thee in great haste, the Queen be in great



     Laun.     Nay!


     Mess.     Yea, of her life. She be condemned to the stake if a knight

  assoil her not with his body on her accuser tomorrow noon.


     Laun.     Dread Heaven!


     Gwaine.     What be the accusation?


     Mess.     Murder on the body of Sir Patrise.


     Laun.     Enough! hast thou brought horses?


     Mess.     Yea.


     Laun.     Then quick! on your lives! lead us hence!

[Exit LAUNCELOT and Messengers.


     Gwaine.     The foul fiend take this love! it be a queer sickness

  indeed. Anon it made him like to luke water, and now he be all fire. It bloweth now up now down, like the wind i’ a chimney. Yea I love that man like a father his child. There is no sword like to his i’ the whole kingdom. An’ a wench that be a queen leadeth him like a goss-hawk. (Voices without.)
Yea I am coming.