Study Guide

The Defence of Guenevere Lines 242-264

By William Morris

Lines 242-264

'But in your chamber Launcelot was found':
Is there a good knight then would stand aloof,

"When a queen says with gentle queenly sound:
'O true as steel come now and talk with me,
I love to see your step upon the ground

"'Unwavering, also well I love to see
That gracious smile light up your face, and hear
Your wonderful words, that all mean verily

"'The thing they seem to mean: good friend, so dear
To me in everything, come here to-night,
Or else the hours will pass most dull and drear;

"'If you come not, I fear this time I might
Get thinking over much of times gone by,
When I was young, and green hope was in sight:

"'For no man cares now to know why I sigh;
And no man comes to sing me pleasant songs,
Nor any brings me the sweet flowers that lie

"'So thick in the gardens; therefore one so longs
To see you, Launcelot; that we may be
Like children once again, free from all wrongs

"'Just for one night.' Did he not come to me?
What thing could keep true Launcelot away
If I said, 'Come'? [...]

  • Guenevere states the accusation made against her: that Launcelot was found in her room. (This is the first we've heard that accusation.)
  • Her defense is that she invited him to come to her room to "talk."
  • What good knight would refuse his queen's request for a private chat?
  • She says she just liked to hear him "talk" and to see him "smile."
  • She likes that Launcelot's words always meant what they "seem to mean" – in other words, he was a straight-shooter.
  • She invited him to her room to chat so she wouldn't spend the whole night thinking about sad memories.
  • She says no one cared why she was sad and no one tried to cheer her up.
  • So she invited him to her room, but it was totally innocent. They were "like children," for Pete's sake!
  • And, of course, he accepted her invitation. Obviously.

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