William Morris Archive

Rejected fragment from The Defence of Guenevere

"That summer morning out in the green fields," discarded or lost beginning for "The Defence of Guenevere," in Tinker Library MS1595, Yale University.

Pub. CW, I, xx.

That summer morning out in the green fields
Along the Itchen, sat King Arthur's knights
Long robed and solemn, their brave battle shields

Hung in the canopies, to see such sights
As might be seen that morning, and to hear
Such strange grim words fiercer than many fights,

That on that morn 'twixt anger and great fear
Brave lips and beautiful might writhe to say.
High up in wooden galleries anear

That solemn court of judgment dames sat—gay
With many coloured kirtles, yea, but some
Were sick and white with much fear on that day;

For now take notice, Launcelot was not come;
The lordly minstrel Tristram, nigh to death
From King Mark's glaive, sat brooding at his home;

Gareth was riding fearful of men's breath
Since he was Gawaine's brother; through the trees
And over many a mountain and bare heath

The questing beast, wings spread out to the breeze,
Trailed Palomydes, wearied feet and sore,
And ever Lawaine was at Launcelot's knees,

So he was missed too; ever more and more
Grew Gawaine's nets round Guenevere the Queen.
Look round about what knights were there that wore

Sir Launcelot's colours, the great snake of green
That twisted on the quartered white and red—