Le Morte D'Arthur
by Sir Thomas Malory
Le Morte D'Arthur Love Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Page.Line) [from Malory, Thomas. Le Morte D'Arthur. Stephen H. A. Shepherd, ed. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2004. Print.]
Than seyde Sir Launcelot, "Fye uppon hym, untrew knyght to his lady! That so noble a knyght as Sir Trystram is sholde be founde to his fyrst lady and love untrew, that is the Quene of Cornwayle! But sey ye to hym thus," seyde SirLauncelot, "that of all knyghtes in the worlde I have loved hym [moost and had moost joye of hym], and all was for his noble dedys. And lette hym wete that the love betwene hym and me is done for ever." (272.7-13)
It makes sense that Launcelot, paragon of faithfulness in love, would criticize Trystram for his hasty marriage to the other Isode. What's even more interesting is how this failure causes Launcelot to withhold his love from Trystram. So all this love between men is affected by the love between women and men. It's a regular soap opera, and Launcelot and Trystram are the stars.
Then, as the booke seyth, Sir Launcelot began to resorte unto Quene Gwenivere agayne, and forgate the promyse and the perfeccion that he made in the Queste; for, as the booke seyth, had nat Sir Launcelot bene in his prevy thoughtes and in hys myndis so sette inwardly to the Quene as he was in semynge outewarde to God, there had no knyght passed hym in the Queste of the Sankgreall. But ever his thoughtis prevyly were on the Quene, and so they loved togydirs more hotter than they dud toforehonde, and had many such prevy draughtis togydir that many in the courte spake of hit. (588.10-18)
Launcelot has a one-track mind. It's all about his love for Gwenyvere, and that love prevents him from devoting any of his thoughts, time, or energy to anyone else like, say, God. Plus, it prevents him from keeping his cool around her. He just can't resist showing his affection, which eventually spells trouble when Arthur's court wises up.
"Why sholde I leve such thoughtes? Am I nat an erthely woman? And all the whyle the brethe ys in my body I may complayne me, for my belyve ys that I do none offence, though I love an erthely man, unto God; for He fourmed me thereto – and all manner of good love comyth of God, and othir than good love loved I never Sir Launcelot du Lake. And I take God to recorde, I loved never none but hym, nor never shall, of erthely creature; and a clene maydyn I am for hym and for all othir." (615.27-34)
Elayne of Ascolat's defense of love sounds about right, right? It's a natural emotion that comes from God. Her love for Launcelot is especially Godly, moreover, since so far it has been chaste, just as God's love for his children is. Of course Launcelot doesn't give a hoot about any of this, because his heart's with Gwenyvere.