Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Ewain and Idrus

Sir Ewain is a relatively unknown member of King Arthur's Round Table; Ewain is the son of Morgan le Fay and the father of Sir Idrus. In the Alliterative Morte Arthure, both Ewain and Idrus are with Arthur in his final battle against Mordred. Idrus fights beside the king:

"'Idrous,' quod Arthur, 'ayer thee behooves!
I see Sir Ewain over-set with Sarazenes keen!
Redy thee for rescues, array thee soon!
Hie thee with hardy men in help of thy fader!
Set in on the side and succour yon lordes!
But they be succoured and sound, unsaught be I ever!'

Idrous him answers ernestly there-after:
'He is my fader, in faith, forsake shall I never--
He has me fostered and fed and my fair brethern--
But I forsake this gate, so me God help,
And soothly all sibreden but thyself one.
I broke never his bidding for berne on life,
But ever buxom as beste blithely to work.
He commaund me kindly with knightly wordes,
That I sholde lely on thee lenge, and on no lede elles;
I shall his commaundment hold, if Crist will me thole!'"

That is to say,

"Idrus," said Arthur, "you should go!
I see Sir Ewain beset by eager Saracens!
Ready yourself for rescue, get ready soon!
Go with strong men to help your father!
Attack on the side and help those lords!
Unless they are safe and sound, I will always be troubled!"

Idrus answers him earnestly thereafter:
"He is my father, in faith, who I shall never forsake--
He has raised and fed me and my fair brothers--
But I forsake this mission, my God help me,
And all kinsmen except you alone (Arthur is Idrus' great-uncle)
I never broke his bidding for any man alive,
But was ever happily obedient to follow.
He told me kindly with knightly words,
That I should stay with you, and no one else;
I shall keep his command, if Christ will allow me!"

Both Sir Ewain and Sir Idrus die in this battle, loyal to the very end.

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