The World’s Best English Epic Poetry – Swinburne’s Tale of Balen

The World's Best English Epic Poetry Banner

The world’s best English epic and narrative poetry includes Swinburne‘s The Tale of Balen. In superlative verse, Swinburne recounts the life and deeds of Sir Balen of Arthur’s court: and how his fate is caught up irrevocably with that of his brother, Sir Balan.

Balen and Balan are both brothers and friends: sworn to service in King Arthur’s court. Sworn to serve and honour Arthur: blood however proves thicker than water – for Sir Balan loyally accompanies his brother into exile when the king’s judgement falls adversely upon Sir Balen over his slaying of a witch in Arthur’s court.

For a time, the twain continue questing together: until one day they separate – never to behold the features of the other until their death-day.

  • Balen is valiant but impetuous. Can his brother Balan succeed in moderating Balen’s temper and mitigating his rash judgements?
  • Balen has sworn never to raise sword or weapon against his brother. But is mere human resolution proof against the wiles of Fate?

Want to know more?

Knight in armour