Robinson’s Merlin


Another great poetry must read includes Edwin Alington Robinson‘s Merlin.

Merlin is enthralled by the voluptuous Vivien: but is granted a short space of freedom in which to return to King Arthur’s Camelot and speak a few parting words to his former friends and companions of yore. Merlin’s words are few and cryptic: worried about the fates he reads in store for the men he loves so well, weighing carefully how much to say – and to whom.

Dagonet – Arthur’s loyal fool – is vested with wits and insight enough to see the growing rot beginning to weaken the champions of the Round Table. Perhaps for these reasons, it is to Dagonet that Merlin imparts hard truths: communicating dark secrets before he must depart Logres forever.

  • How is Merlin able to escape Vivien’s clutches?
  • How best should Dagonet’s warnings reach Arthur’s ear: as truth dressed up as fable? As sound sense concealed in nonsense? Or withheld completely: until some more propitious time?

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