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.]
But nowadays men can nat love seven nyght but they muste have all their desyres. That love may nat endure by reson; for where they bethe sone accorded and hasty, heete sone keelyth. And ryght so faryth the love nowadayes, sone hote, sone colde: thys ys no stabylyté. But the olde lawe was nat so; for men and women coude love togydirs seven yerys, and no lycoures lustis was betwyxte them – and than was love trouthe and faythefulnes. (625.3-9)
Our narrator is pretty squeamish when it comes to acknowledging that Gwenyvere and Launcelot had sex, probably because to do so would officially tarnish the honor of his hero, Launcelot. So here, to cover his bases, he tells us that enduring love does not require the satisfaction of physical desires. In fact, it thrives in their absence. This implies that Gwenyvere and Launcelot could have had a true, enduring love without technically engaging in adultery. Shmoop is not convinced. Are you?
"And [as] for Gareth, I loved no kynnesman I had more than I loved hym; and ever whyle I lyve," seyde Sir Launcelot, "I woll bewayle Sir Gareth hys dethe." (668.9-11)
The most poignant man-to-man love connection in Le Morte D'Arthur is this one between Launcelot and Gareth, because it ends in Gareth's accidental death at the hands of the knight he most loves. Ouch, that's got to sting. That this death comes about as Launcelot defends his other love, Gwenyvere, might be symbolic of how love between men and women sometimes disrupts love between men, which, in the world of Le Morte, is probably a very bad thing.