A woman fair. King Uther’s lust.
A mighty Lord. A broken trust.
A baby out of wedlock born
Upon a frosty, gellid morn
Delivered into Merlin’s hands
Because the wizard understands
The desperate, plunging twists of fate –
The call of love. The strength of hate.
The bastard babe took far away
Before the sun rose high that day.
Sir Gorlois was a mighty Lord
His wrath as sharp as his longsword.
When Uther’s lustful heart turned fey
He tried to put Gorlois away
On missions dark and perilous:
Assassins sent to dog his steps.
Gorlois was brave, noble and strong
And Uther’s plots went always wrong.
So Uther cursed and Uther raged
As all his scheming was upstaged.
For he would plunder Golois bed
And take his wife – were Gorlois dead.
King Uther bought a witch’s spell
To serve his dastard purpose well:
A charm to glamour Uther’s build
Into the lord he wanted killed.
The magic transformed Uther’s face
To wear another in its place:
A voice like Gorlois’ voice to hear
To fool the eyes and trick the ear.
To Tintagel he hies in haste
King Uther’s lust no moments waste.
He seeks inside fair Igraine’s bed
The wife of Gorlois whom he’d wanted.
Then up betimes before the day
To ride like the whirlwind away.
Igraine learns next her lord was dead.
She swoons upon her marriage-bed.
So: with whom did she spend last night?
The very thought gives Igraine fright.
Her pregnancy advances soon
Her stomach swelling every moon.
Igraine retires quietly
In travail births her new-baby
And cries to God: what can she do?
But Merlin watched. And Merlin knew.
Incensed at Uther’s vile deed
The wizard planned and worked at speed.
Reading the stars, the night-time signs,
How so each constellation shines
He reads in wonder that the boy –
A bastard born – will fate enjoy
As King of Britain. Deep in thought
Merlin made plans deep-laid and wrought.
Privately with Igraine made:
A deal struck. Her baby laid
In mantle warm, asleep and stark
In Merlin’s hands placed after dark
Before the light of rising morn.
So Merlin fosters the newborn
In secret, knowing that one year
His glorious destiny draws near.
Igraine is wed and she is queen.
Her bastard son is never seen.
Though Merlin smiles, his vow is kept.
Igraine the secret must accept.
No hint is made. No word she speaks.
Of son the mother never seeks.
Yet Merlin perceives everything:
That Uther’s bastard will be king.