Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Final Project for Medieval and Renaissance Lit

I've been meaning to post this for awhile. Last semester, I was in Medieval and Renaissance Lit, which was basically focused upon old texts over King Arthur and Robin Hood. It was pretty neat. For our final project, we could do virtually anything.


Narrative Poetry based on the Suite du Merlin

Explanation: The following poetry is a retelling of the story of the Suite du Merlin, but written in verse and through the perspectives of all the main characters. My goal was to personalize each narrative to fit each different character.

·         Merlin: written in complete free verse without any constriction of rhyme or meter whatsoever. This was to symbolize his freedom from King Arthur. In this story, he is not bound by his normal obligations, but instead follows his heart and travels with Niviane.

·         Niviane: written in three stanzas containing three lines each, with a rhyme scheme of aaa/bbb/ccc. The repetition of the number three is to correlate to her quest for power, strength, and completeness. I think of her as a triangle—though a little odd to deal with, she is much stronger than the average rectangle.

·         Arthur: written in twelve lines with every two lines rhyming and each line alternating in a pattern of nine and ten syllables. His poems were very structured because as King, he is led by rules and obligations.

·         Diana: her poem is written in short lines with every other line rhyming and possessing only four syllables. The rhyme changes every eight lines. This was done to resemble Diana’s mind going back and forth between the two men, never quite staying on the same track. One line will have no syllable count at all, but the next will have specifically four, which shows her thoughts swaying as if she was on a teeter-totter.


Merlin
She was a huntress—a title well suited—
for she had hurled a harpoon through my heart
the very moment that she entered the court.
The king saw her beauty, but I saw her eyes—
her intelligence, her fierceness, her glory and strength
radiated forward from her young face.
It was then that I knew not the future or past,
but that she would be more—
yes, she was much more—
than a mere huntress to me.

Niviane
When I was younger, I was told I’d be
much more than a queen or huntress; I’d see
far past the limits of mortality.

I came to the court in a sort of disguise
to learn from the one that I swore to despise,
and afterwards be his source of demise.

I’d learn Merlin’s ways—four months, he would teach
me to move mountains with my spells and my speech
and climb to new heights I before could not reach.

Merlin
When they sent for her, my heart was pulled
two ways. My love and my lord
on divergent tides, like North goes from South.
A choice was in order, and though my head said stay,
the harpoon pulled away and followed her home.
They say love is blind, but for a man with more sight
and knowledge than anyone, it is but a light
that extinguishes all else by its brilliancy.
I would go with Niviane—I’d follow her footsteps
with no knowledge of anything—of where they might lead,
or what was ahead—I knew but one thing:
wherever she was, I would there be.

Arthur
Merlin! That wretch, that traitor, that fiend,
on whose advice I had desperately leaned,
left me today! The temerity!
And made me—the king—a hilarity!
It will not do, but find him, I won’t—
to offer a pardon to those who don’t
repent of their sins done against me
would be a disgrace. No, Merlin shall be
left on his own, and I shall prevail
a loyal leader and fight without fail,
and Merlin away! Magic will be
of no use to me. From him, I am free.

Niviane
I hate him! That awful Merlin—who knew
he would accept my offer and join me through
my journey home? Oh, what now shall I do?

A plan, I must form—I must make Merlin see
the last of his days and longing for me.
But first, earn his trust in the highest degree

and take what I can while under his love—
learn from the lake and the spells up above—
and then dear Merlin will be disposed of.

Merlin
There was not one thing I would not do
for her, my love, my Niviane—
the daughter of Beauty, the Goddess of Good,
the mystical enchantress that cast upon me
a powerful spell: adoration and love.
She was the huntress who captured and caged
my heart. It was hers—but she, loyal to me,
and of the finest and most lustrous purity,
would never betray it. And so, I offered to her
a story of passion: the lake of Diana
and the tomb that rested there. I knew she would find
enjoyment in it, and hopefully, me.

Diana
I loved him, I did—
which one, you say?
Fair question. It might
change by the day,
but Faunus, you see—
love me, he may—
would be, after all,
one to betray.
Felix, however,
handsome and dear,
was where my heart was—
that much was clear.
My solution, it seemed,
must be severe:
Kill Faunus! Alas, my
love had no fear!
To spare him agony
of course, was fair.
Molten lead, I decided—
simple affair.
It was easy and quick—
I could ensnare
him in the tomb without
even a scare.
No mess to clean up,
no yell or scream
to take care of after
my little scheme.
I ran fast to Felix,
my love and dream,
and told him the tale, but
he would then deem
me a murderer, a
snitch and a snake,
and kill me—toss me
into the lake.
I still reside there,
dead, but awake,
and dwell in dread of my
horrid mistake.

Niviane
This place is enchanted—I shall not leave
it ever again. Instead, I’ll deceive
Merlin once more—a great wizard, na├»ve

enough for my bidding. A house, he would build
me on this lake where Diana was killed—
invisible to all but those that it filled.

My powers advance—oh, but to see
the look on his face the moment that he
is slain by his student, his love, his trustee.

Merlin
I had not seen love so fiercely before—
no man throughout time, present or past,
or still yet to come, had ever known love
such as this. My loyalty and life was all one:
Niviane, my possessor, and I her protector.
To make my love known, oh, what a day
to imagine before me. But no, no—
No, I must say, for she deserved better
and brighter than my indulging in pleasure.
I should not test her or vex her. It’d be
most inconvenient. No—I would wait.
It was, in itself, an honor to wait
to earn her. To turn her. She was, unto me,
my first and last thought and endeavor each day.
My allegiance was sworn. She was and would be
the one I yearned for—my darling, my lady.

Arthur
Close call, I had! I almost desired
Merlin’s return before all transpired.
Death nearly caught me—fearful, I was
to be in its claws, and merely because
of my own pride! But thanks to Sir Kay
King Arthur still reigns, to which I might say
thank you, good knights! But no thanks to he
that turned a blind eye to battles and me.
Merlin, the wretch, a wizarding fool
that left me forsaken. Taken by rule
of a shameful love—falsehood, it seems
keeps one away from the sound of my screams.

Niviane
Arthur in trouble—and Merlin, though he
can see the outcome, he does not agree
to go to his aid. It now lies on me

to retrieve the sword and scabbard—twelve days
to get to the sight before it conveys—
and see Merlin’s end before we part ways.

I couldn’t wait longer for death to occur
without a design. And I would prefer
to kill him and put things back as they were.


Merlin
I did it for her. It was all for her.
That she might have loved me—I humor myself.
I was blind as young Oedipus, who clawed out his eyes
in shame of the events surrounding his birth;
from the incestuous longing and lust of his heart.

We went to the place where love once bloomed
out of season, like poppies in late October,
and I thought I would tell her. I thought that she knew
that I had given my all, and would continue to.
I don’t pretend to have had honorable intentions;
I wanted her, but with approval,
and I thought this might persuade her.

So when she wanted to sleep next to the tomb,
I would not leave.
Out of protection or promise, I cannot say—
but both were revealed to be unfounded
before the sun appeared again.

Niviane
What more shall I need but a lover entombed
in the place that he had so proudly presumed
would be mirrored with us? No, he was doomed

to fall victim to love and the bite of the snake
that his lustful heart met—a mindless mistake
not taken kindly by the one from the lake.

Son of the Devil—a demon who thought
he could seduce me; well, he would be caught
and trapped in the tomb by the spells he had taught.

Merlin
My sleep was painless—it was if I had died
on the spot and was resting away in paradise.
When my eyes opened and sleep still
hung around me like a heavy raincloud,
I still thought it true for the span of a moment.
But then I saw my body, disconnected
from cognitive control and numbed so that feeling
escaped from my senses—I knew the spell well,
though I wished that the numbness
could have stretched to my heart.

To the knights’ high amusement, they poked at me like
a child examining a dead bird on the road.
When they turned me around—a pig on a roast—
I then caught her eye.
Never in my life had I felt less alive.

Niviane
Merlin, now captured and confined to his grave,
would study his conducts while stuck in the cave
and I would ride on to find Arthur and save

him from Morgana. Restore balance to
the world from all evil—the terrible two:
One a foul villain and the other taboo.

His cry echoed out from the dark and decay
and stabbed at my soul—I found on that day
that as Merlin died, my heart was astray

and all I had known had soon passed away.

--Emily