Lily Maid of Astelot

by debbylyn   Feb 22, 2009


Gather ye lilies, Spring daffodils
Tie them up all in a spray
Rest them 'round the sweet Elaine
Barge adrift on the bay

Come troubadours! Come balladeers!
Entice wood thrush, robin, wren
Play sweet notes of requiems
As funeral dirges begin

Lily Maid of Astelot,
Silver pearls laced in her hair
Heart besot by Lancelot
Gave a red favour to wear

Noble knight did not requite
Love note, fair lady's hand
Lovely in her slumber
Cast on River Thames

Gather ye lilies, Spring daffodils
Tie them up all in a spray
Rest them 'round the sweet Elaine
Barge adrift on the bay

* In Arthurian Legends, the fair Elaine fell in love with Lancelot. He was competing annonymously in a tournament and she asked him to wear her favour. As he had never worn a lady's favour he declined, but she insisted ,insuring it would an air of secrecy as no one would guess his identity. After he was seriously wounded in the tournament , she nursed him back to health. Lancelot of course loved Queen Gwenievere, so spurned the innocent girl's affections. According to legend she was so distraught, she pined away. Her dieing wish was to be set upon a barge on The Thames river with a final declaration of love for Lancelot in a letter held in her hands. She was floated down the river to the castle where Lancelot viewed his forsaken love.

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Latest Comments

  • 8 years ago

    by RainbowSlider

    I really enjoyed reading this masterpiece.

  • 8 years ago

    by Lu

    Such wonderfully chosen words Deb. I couldn't help but read it over and over again

    Lily Maid of Astelot,
    Silver pearls laced in her hair
    ^^^
    The imagery was amazing!

    Noble knight did not requite
    Love note, fair lady's hand
    Lovely in her slumber
    Cast on River Thames
    ^^^
    Beautiful but yet so heart touching! Makes one say "Awww"

    Thank you for the note at the bottom. I always learn something from your poems.

    Great read!

  • 8 years ago

    by Deana

    This is absolutely beautiful, Oh how I love romance! Thank you for including the legend.

  • 8 years ago

    by Rachel RTVW

    Beautifully penned. Vivid imagery and excellent word choice that keeps in time with this part of history. Great flow and the rhythm was catchy with the repetition. Excellent job!

  • 8 years ago

    by NyellMoonlight

    Such creative write, sad, heartfelt and enchanting at the same time. You created astonishing atmosphere which perfectly matches the topic of the poem. I like your choice of words throughout the piece, so beautiful and intricate.
    The repetition added great effect to the flow and storyline within the poem. Overall, I wish it was longer, because you pulled me in deeply from the first stanza, and I could clearly imagine every line as it unfolded.

    - Come troubadours! Come balladeers!
    Entice wood thrush, robin, wren
    Play sweet notes of requiems
    As funeral dirges begin-
    ^^^
    My favorite stanza. It's truly powerful, and to me, the poem culminates here, with the most emotional and effective part of it.

    I like how the piece offered sensations for all senses- flowers in the first and the last stanza, birds in the second one, vividness of the imagery...

    Great write.