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Bedivere

 
 

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From the earliest Arthurian texts Bedivere ( welsh - Bedwyr ) is cast as one of Arthur's closest and most loyal companions.

Bedivere appears in several Arthurian texts including Culhwch and Olwen from the Mabinogion, The Life of St. Cadoc, Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain and especially Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur.

Bedivere is perhaps best known for being, along with Arthur, one of the few survivors of the Battle of Camlann - That last Weird Battle in the West.

He was chosen by the mortally wounded Arthur to return Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake.

"Therefore," said Arthur unto Sir Bedivere, "take thou Excalibar, my good sword, and go with it to yonder waterside; and when thou comest there I charge thee throw my sword in that water, and come again and tell me what thou there seest." "My lord," said Sir Bedivere, "your commandment shall be done." So Sir Bedivere departed, and by the way he beheld that noble sword, that the pommel and the haft were all of precious stones; and then he said to himself, "If I throw this rich sword into the water no good shall come thereof, but only harm and loss." And then Sir Bedivere hid Excalibar under a tree. And so, as soon as he might, he came again unto the king. "What sawest thou there?" said the king. "Sir," he said, "I saw nothing." "Alas! thou hast deceived me," said the king. "Go thou lightly again, and as thou love me, spare not to throw it in." Then Sir Bedivere went again, and took the sword in his hand to throw it; but again it beseemed him but sin and shame to throw away that noble sword, and he hid it away again, and returned, and told the king he had done his commandment. "What sawest thou there?" said the king. "Sir," he said, "I saw nothing but waters deep and waves wan." "Ah, traitor untrue!" said King Arthur, "now hast thou betrayed me twice. And yet thou art named a noble knight, and hast been lief and dear to me. But now go again, and do as I bid thee, for thy long tarrying putteth me in jeopardy of my life." Then Sir Bedivere went to the sword, and lightly took it up, and went to the waterside, and he bound the girdle about the hilt, and then he threw the sword as far into the water as he might. And there came an arm and a hand out of the water and met it, and caught it, and shook it thrice and brandished it, and then vanished away the hand with the sword in the water."

 

Then Sir Bedivere came again to the king, and told him what he saw. "Help me hence," said the king, "for I fear I have tarried too
long." Then Sir Bedivere took the king on his back, and so went with him to that water-side; and when they came there, even fast by the bank there rode a little barge with three queens, and among them was King Arthur's sister, Queen Morgane le Fay; the other was Viviane, the Lady of the Lake and the third was the queen of North Galis."

- Le Morte D'Arthur - Sir Thomas Malory

 

After being seriously wounded,

 by Mordred

at the Battle of Camlann,  

Arthur was carried off to the Isle of Avalon for healing.

Leaving his faithful companion, 

Bedivere, 

to mourn his passing.

'Long stood Sir Bedivere

Revolving many memories, till the hull 

Looked one black dot against the verge of dawn,

And on the mere

the wailing died away.'

Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The Idylls of the King Part 12

Following this Bedivere retired to a nearby hermitage.

 

related pages

Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The Idylls of the King Part 12

 

 
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