William Morris Archive

Fragment: The Maying of Queen Guenevere

Draft in Fitzwilliam MS 1, in Morris' hand. Another draft in Morris' hand is in Yale University Library MS 1595. May Morris interprets this as a fragment toward an Arthurian cycle, CW 1, 13.

Pub. CW, I, xix.

The end of spring was now drawn near
And all the leaves were grown full long;
The apple twigs were stiff and strong,
And one by one fell off from song
This thrush and that thrush by daylight,
Though lustily they sing near night.
This time a-maying went the Queen,
But Mellyagraunce across the green
Fresh meadows where the blue dykes were
Stared out and thought of Guenevere.
"If I could get her once," he said,
"Whatever men say, by God's head
But I would hold her." Here he glanced
Across his strong courts, for he chanced
To be on a tower-roof that tide,
And his banner-staff up beside
His bended knee." St. Mary, though,
When I think well, I do not know
Why I should give myself this pain
About the Queen, and be so fain
To have her by me; God to aid,
I have seen many a comely maid—
Ah! and well-born too—if I said:
'Fair lady, may I bear your glove?'
Would turn round quick and look all love:
While she laughs at me—laughs aloud" ...

For PDF, see The Maying of Queen Guenevere