Sir Orfeo (in English Translation)

Lady Heurodis

Another great poetry must read includes Sir Orfeo

Written in Middle English, this fantastic tale narrates the labours of Sir Orfeo to regain his wife: who was spirited away to the hidden land ruled by the Faerie King.

The story begins when Heurodis – Orfeo’s wife – dreams she is visited by the Faerie King as she naps on the grass inside her private garden. The Faerie King informs her that he will take her away with him tomorrow: and that any resistance is futile. Heurodis – greatly frightened – awakes with shrieks of panic. Later, the tearful Herodis tells her husband everything. Orfeo takes the dream seriously as a warning: and quickly Orfeo arms himself and his men: ready to resist with force whatever the Faerie King attempts.

But alas: physical prowess avails nothing against Faerie magic. When the Faerie King returns the next day, he easily abducts the beautiful Heurodis from out of the midst of Orfeo’s armed host: Orfeo and his men being powerless to raise a hand in her defence. When Orfeo comes to himself: his sorrow is such that it almost sends him mad. Orfeo resigns the kingship and retires to the wilderness to be alone with his grief.

But it is precisely at the nadir of Orfeo’s fortunes that Fate hands Orfeo an opportunity to regain all that he has lost…

  • How can Orfeo – a mortal man – enter into the Faerie kingdom where his wife is immured?
  • Can Orfeo really persuade the Faerie King to release his Heurodis? And under what terms?

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