Meter: A study of Idylls of the King, Part 5: Geraint and Enid.

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'OH PURBLIND race of miserable men,
How many among us at this very hour
Do forge a lifelong trouble for ourselves,
By taking true for false, or false for true;
Here, thro' the feeble twilight of this world
Groping, how many, until we pass and reach
That other where we see as we are seen!
(Geraint and Enid lines 1-7)

Welcome to part 5 of our study of Idylls of the king. In Part 4, the story begins with Geraint and Enid marriage having a rough time due to Geraint believing his wife being unfaithful due to him misunderstanding something she said before switching to a flashback of how the two met and married.

The above passage really sets the tone for the story.

This chapter is rather long so I'll do my best to keep the summary brief but informational.

The story starts with Geraint and Enid going for a ride. Geraint commands Enid not to speak to him and that she should ride ahead of him. Twice, she sees a group of bandits that plan on killing Geraint, and breaks the command and warns Geraint; Twice Geraint yells at her.

Geraint and Enid arrive at an Inn where they run into Earl Limours, a man obsessed with Enid. Once seeing her, Limours lays this speech on her, trying to seduce her. I'll type and scan the first few lines, as the whole speech in a page and a half.

Enid, the pilot star of my lone life,
Enid, my early and my only love,
Enid, the loss of whom hath turn'd me wild-
(Lines 306-309)

Enid,/ the pil/ot star /of my/ lone life, (Trochee/Iamb/Iamb/Double Iamb)
Enid,/ my ear/ly and/ my on/ly love, (Trochee/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb)
Enid,/ the loss /of whom/ hath turn'd /me wild- (Trochee/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb)

I really like how each line starts with a trochee as he is trying to seduce her.

Enid refuses him, and Lamours makes plans to murder Geraint and take Enid as his own. The next morning Enid sees Lamours and his men give chase and again lets Geraint know. Geraint defeats them but is badly injured during the fight and blacks out. Enid stays by his side, begging for help to whoever passes by.

Eventually, Earl Doorm (another D-bag) comes by and offers them refugee (but really he just plans on taking Enid as his own). Here is Doorm's speech (which is referenced a lot for some reason)

Then said Earl Doorm: "Well, if he be not dead
why wail ye for him thus? Ye seem a child.
And be he dead, I count you for a fool;
Your wailing will not quicken him: dead or not.
Ye mar a comely face with idiot tears.
Yet, since the face is comely -some of you,
Here, take him up, and bear him to our hall.
And if he live, we will have him of our band;
And if he die, why earth has earth enough
To hide him. (Lines 546-555)

Then said /Earl Doorm/: "Well, if/ he be /not dead (Iamb/Iamb/Trochee/Double Iamb)
why wail/ ye for/ him thus?/ Ye seem a child. (Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb)
And be/ he dead,/ I count/ you for/ a fool; (Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb)
Your wail/ing will /not quick/en (>)him: dead/ or not. (Iamb/Double Iamb/Iamb/Iamb)*
Ye mar/ a com/ely face/ with id/i (>)ot tears. (Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb)*
Yet, since/ the face/ is come/ly -some of you, (Trochee/Iamb/Iamb/IAmb/IAmb)
Here, take/ him up,/ and bear /him to /our hall. (Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/IAmb)
And if/ he live,/ we will/ have him/ of (>) our band; (Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/IAmb/IAmb)*
And if/ he die,/ why earth/ has earth/ enough (Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/IAmb)
To hide him. (Iamb)

*These line have an Elision in them. An out-dated convention where you slur unstressed syllables together.

So they go back to Earl Doorms keep, where Enid sit in a corner and weeps over Garaint (who is always being a D-bag right now and playing dead to see how loyal Enid will be to him.)

Earl Doorm gets jealous over this fact and demands that Enid gives up on Geraint. Doorm insults her dress and here is Enid's epic and climatic response.

In this poor gown my dear lord found me first,
and loved me serving in my father's hall;
In this poor gown I rode with him to court,
And there the Queen array'd me like the sun;
In this poor gown he bade me to clothe myself,
When now we rode upon this fatal quest
Of honor, where no honor can be gain'd;
And this poor gown I will not cast aside
Until himself arise a living man,
and bid me cast it. I have greifs enough;
Pray you be gentle, pray you let me be.
I never loved, can never love but him.
Yea, God, I pray you of your gentleness,
He being as he is, to let me be."

(Lines 697-710)

In this/ poor gown/ my dear/ lord found/ me first, (Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb)
and loved /me serv/ing in /my fath/er's hall; (Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb)
In this/ poor gown/ I rode/ with him /to court, (Iamb/Iamb/IAmb/Iamb/IAmb)
And there /the Queen/ array'd /me like/ the sun; (Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb)
In this /poor gown/ he bade/ me (>) to clothe myself, (Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb)
When now/ we rode /upon/ this fat/al quest (Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb)
Of hon/or, where/ no hon/or can/ be gain'd; (Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb)
And this/ poor gown/ I will /not cast /aside (Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb)
Until /himself/ arise/ a liv/ing man, (Iamb/IAmb/Iamb/IAmb/Iamb/Iamb)
and bid/ me cast/ it. I/ have griefs enough; (Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb)
Pray you/ be gentl/e, pray you let me be. (Trochee/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb)
I nev/er loved,/ can nev/er love/ but him. (Iamb/Iamb/IAmb/Iamb/Iamb)
Yea, God,/ I pray /you of /your gent/le-ness, (Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb)
He be/ing as /he is, /to let/ me be." (Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb/Iamb)


In any case, Doorm gets pissed and slaps Enid. At this moment, Geraint stops playing dead, gets up, then kills Doorm, and he and Enid flee from the castle.

Once outside, they run into one of Arthur's scouts (Enid's cousin) and he takes them back to Arthur's camp. Arthur has amassed an army to fight against Doorm (not knowing that Geraint has already slain him, hence breaking Doorm's men's moral.) Once Arthur has learned of this, Arthur attacks, killing all the bandits.

Geraint and Enid gain each other's trust and respect again, have children, the story ends with the following passage about Geraint

But rested in her fealty till he crown'd
A happy life with a fair death, and fell
against the heathen of the Northern Sea
In Battle, fighting for the Blameless king.
(Line 966-969)

This ends part 5 of my study of Idylls of the King. If you have any thoughts or questions please leave a comment or a like!

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