To read these events, to hear my shameful deeds recited alliteratively, rekindles my own despair for committing these failures. To hear myself lauded as a paragon of perfection and the purest sample of a chivalric knight is setting these standards far too low. Indeed these kind mistruths only serve to deepen my disgrace and further my distance from perfection. A good knight would have never accepted the girdle from the lovely wife of Bertilak. I accepted it under the condition that I would not tell my most gracious host, but I had already sworn to him to give to him all that I received during my respite in his impressive castle. I should not have vowed to my lady when I had been previous bound by oath to her husband to do just what she asked me not to.
To my disgrace, I acted in fear of losing my life to the Green Knight and not on this chivalry all have falsely attributed to myself. My quest to find the Green Knight was my acceptence of the doom to which I had sworn to subject myself. But the sheer magnificence and enjoyment of life itself that I experience with my host during his extravagant and gay festivities filled me with envy for those who would continue to live. I was covetous of the good people who could continue to revel in the luxuries that life has to offer. Through this envy my cowardice rose, and I could not decline the girdle from my lady when I learned it would save my life and grant me more years of excess, years that chivalry had not seen fit to grant me.
So I abandoned my goodness, my claim to the love of the people and my respect of myself. Yet Arthur and his court, even Bertilak himself, presume that my reputation is still intact. But I will always wear the girdle to remind myself of the stains on my virtue.
Oh, woe is me! For love of me, I cannot even fathom the true travesty of my position. I am torn limb from limb, heart from mind, body from soul.
I have bestowed my heart with my true love, the duke of Tintagel. I am deeply in love with him, and I have not the desire nor the inclination to seek affection from any other man for the remainder of my days. Not all the gold or riches in all the world would I trade for a lifelong love with the duke.
However, the King has betrayed the duke and attempted to disgrace my name. He has expressed his affection for me with the full knowledge of my marriage to the duke of Tintagel. The King has only befriended my husband so that I might've been stolen from him. With no other option foreseeable to allow my husband and I to remain together, I fled with him and retreated to his own land of Tintagel.
But the King was not pleased with our reaction, and he sent for us to return immediately. I have been tricked. On an evening which I had laid with who I perceived to be my husband the duke, he had been killed - and I know it was by order or action of the King himself. But then who was it that slept beside me that night? I may never know, and I feel quite shameful for that lack of knowledge. Upon the death of my husband, the King offered to accept me as his queen, and I could not have a deeper aversion to do so - even with all the wealth and honor that will be rewarded to my family as a result. What can a woman do? How does she refuse the most noble status of Queen? I cannot. I must have this child fathered by who I thought was the duke, but his fate, I do not know.
I apologize for leaving the court but the Huntress was leaving and I wanted to keep her company. Though, I must admit I began to fall deeply in love with her. I thought her some of my enchantment as to one day she will become mine.
I joined her on her journey and we stopped at the Perilous Forest. Viviane was intrigued with my talents but unfortunately I could not foretell my own future. Alas, I decided to tell her a plot that was planned against Arthur. The Lady of the Lake asked if I could delay the battle for we could join the court. My love for her was so deep that I would gladly go on to this quest. Though I was aware a treachery because I would be betrayed!
We made a stop in the middle of our quest. I wanted to show the Lady a chamber that I knew. My lady was amazed of the tale I was telling her. She wanted to stay the night there, together. I knew this was my opportunity to make her mine though; tis did not seem the right place or the right time to do so.
I began to fall asleep and the lady put a trance on me! She enchanted me and trapped me where the lovers were laying. I knew a betrayal would occur to me but there was nothing I could do without losing my own soul. No one can release me but the Lady of the Lake. This cunning young lady defeated me.
I know that I am doing a dishonesty toward the King, and future husband of I. Though how would you feel towards a man you barely knew and seemingly a courtship based on common neutrality between our countries and not one of love? Though I know the sinfulness of my love for Tristan but how can one not bear such a connection that seems almost otherworldly.
I do not wish to speak ill will about the King but I know that in my hearts of hearts that we are not meant to be. We may be betrothed but that does not mean you have my heart. I do not blame thee for being suspicious but to have someone to come and spy for you, now do you not think that is a bit weak in your character? Even for you my dear King. Serves you right that you found nothing in my words, for I do speak the truth.
For I wish my love for Tristan could been one not of secrecy and sin, if only people could accept it, how I love with the utmost devotion in my heart. That one would know by just looking that these two individuals were meant to be in together, no questions nor judgements. For if anything were to happen to my beloved I do not know if I could bare the burden of my soul not feeling whole. Regardless of such potion the feelings of love for Tristan are not fleeting and know that I cannot ignore such amorous feelings even though I am married to the King. Yes a potion brought our love to face but that does not constitute the lasting feelings that I have for my dear Tristan.
I can feel the imminent love from each gesture or glance, I know his intentions are true and for that I bare not only my body but my heart. Not only do you make feel more loved than the fairest maiden in the court, but you make me realize that love is not to be looked at in vain but by the amount of genuine devotion, that if I were to ever leave my earthly body or your's, it would not feel right to live on for the sake of the emptiness that would consume my body. You are my love and for that I will always carry you with me eternally.
I have deep thoughts of whether what I am doing is right or not. How is a man supposed to know the moral in what he is doing when he is so deeply blinded by love? What I bare for Ysolt is true, passionate love, separate from lust. I understand she belongs to another man, a King at that, but shall I sit back and watch her engage in such a relationship? Is what we had not real? I just needed more answers I suppose. Yes, maybe it was wrong to marry the second Ysolt as a result of my burning love for the first Ysolt that I had known and come to love, but please town people, forgive me.
You see, I am loved by this new Ysolt. I would be wrong to deny my love to her, for she is both beautiful and a good woman, but mostly, she holds the same name. What more could I want than to be reminded daily of my one true love whenever hearing the actual name, the same name, as my new “love”?
I am already a man who is wrong for becoming involved with Ysolt in the first place. But see, things got out of hand. It was never my plan for her to be with the king and forget about me. But indeed she had. She had forgotten all about me and even out of the deepest anger I held in my heart for her, I was still overpowered by love. I must still understand that Ysolt is not ill willed.
I do harbor anger for her, for the reason that she had not sought me out. Her dear husband would not allow this of course. These are terms of which I fully understand, but logic means nothing when love is involved. I force myself to create reason and meaning out of what she had failed to do. When you love someone wouldn’t you come to look for them?
I am thankful that I never lost sight of her being good willed, for she did attempt to come back for me. As I lay in that bed, wounds and all, I worried that I would not live. The anticipation of her arriving kept me going. I even expressed some of my pain to my wife, but never in great detail, for I could not handle the sorrow in one woman’s heart over the knowledge of my yearning for another. I lay and wait for my beloved Ysolt…
I looked on as she took a step towards the mantle. Her body shaken and her posture trying not to fold in fear. What does the lady of Sir Kay have to be scared of? Of all these so called maidens here, she should be standing tall. She should not be scared of anything. This little test of the mantel should mean nothing. It will be she who will be its owner. But alas I saw it. The mantle becoming shorter upon her wear.
She took a glance at me. The horror in her eyes were clear. Is this really the maiden of Sir Kay? It seems in truth she is not a maiden at all. Her body began to shake as my eyes continued to stare. Oh how I wish my stare drove a hole right through her. Treacherous, disgusting, unfaithful! How dare a woman like that be called a maiden?
Fear not my lady, for I will not allow only Sir Kay to be dishonored. Let us watch as the rest of these maidens reveal just as much filth as you do! Oh the entertainment it would bring to us all! Sit and watch them carefully my lady. Watch as these honorable knights begin to boil red as they watch their fair MAIDENS wear the mantle of shame.
Do not feel ridiculous as this mantle's adventures of jest continues my lady. And as this mantle mocks all of us, I will mock these knights just as much. As this mantle laughs at us, I will laugh at all these other maidens. Because Sir Kay will not be the only one to be laughed at. I will smirk upon these fools until they feel even more shame than I do.
Wait, what is this? A true maiden had been found?
I looked at this newly found maiden. Her blushing face, the way she glowed so humbly. Then I looked towards her knight. It is as if he wears his honor above his head!
As quickly as the true maiden had put the mantle on, just as quickly my jest seems to end. How is it that I, Sir Kay, have come to the day where my honor would mean nothing. My love, I do not think my love for you is as strong anymore for my honor is no longer that strong. Our love was only as true as the maiden you claimed to be. Maybe I, Sir Kay, do not even have a need for you any longer. For Sir Kay does not need such a faithless matron by his side. Only Sir Kay is good enough for himself.
By God what a crisis I have been in! I do not wish to be arrogant, for I am but an honorable man! I myself am valiant, generous, handsome, and loyal to King Arthur, but I must be humble.
There I was, simply riding out with my horse and ending at a meadow. I must admit that I am a lonely man. It is not in my interest that I am usually included or given anything from the King. But that is no problem, for I pledge my faithfulness to only King Arthur. However, in that moment, it is as if God answered my prayers! Two women walking towards me—with such beauty! Richly dressed, the finest dark silk, and beauty unlike any other. Once they reached me, they sweetly greeted me and told me their lady has sent them to me and that I must follow them, for her pavilion was nearby. How is this possible and who is this noble, wise, and fair lady whom they speak of that is being sent for me! Fulsome I am in disbelief.
The two women led me to a tent, most luxurious, that not even Queen Semiramis nor the Emperor Octavian could afford the flap! And once I walked through, there I saw the fairest maiden. Not even the first lily or rose that has bloomed in the springtime could match her beauty. The fairy queen’s body was perfect—carved flawlessly inch to inch. I was speechless, as if I had seen Heaven itself! I shall not speak too much, in respect for my love. I shall only tell you milady’s and milords, that my maiden has treated me with such love and given me every boon I granted. She beseeched that I must not reveal our love, for I would lose her forever. Grant that I am an honorable man, I gladly accepted her request and spoke nothing in her favor.
Alas, my luck has changed once the Queen accused me of trying to seduce her and telling me that I do not care for that kind of pleasure! How dare she! I do not even understand the meaning behind such words. Yet I am conflicted because of my loyalty to Arthur. I have much respect for our King but what respect does the queen have for Arthur if she is trying to seduce me and accusing me of false allegations?
I admit I did tell her that even my fairy queen’s servant is far more beautiful than the Queen, but was I lying? Of course not! I speak the truth. But may God strike my soul for I have gone against my maiden’s wishes—in pure anger I have told her that I do love someone when it was my duty to not reveal anything.
Standing in silence and being accused of my disparity to the queen and for treason, I am bequeathed to accept my fate. Woe is me—what am I to do? I wish nothing more than to speak the truth of everything my maiden has done for me, for the love she has blessed me with; however, I do not wish to disparage the king as well. And suddenly, there she was—my love, my savior, my fairy queen! She has spoken the truth of our love to the king and his court! My lady has gone against her oath of me losing her forever and rescued me instead. I am overfilled with joy! I must respect my lady and let our love remain as clandestine and leave you with this milady’s and milords…We shall reside in Avalon to a beautiful isle and let our love live on. And that is all that I need to tell.