Arthur as described by Nennius (a dramatic monologue)

By Andrew R. Duckworth

Photo and editing by Andrew R. Duckworth
All you great men of valor gather forth!
In defense of this most noble of lands,
We must fight now with sword and shield in hand!
Do not let fear of death cause you dismay
Upon the field on this triumphant day
When vic’try is our own to take, come forth!
For the Saxon men have gathered with force!
Take up your shield, you men of faith and might!
‘Tis not the day to flee from per’lous fight!
For I remember in my days of youth
The battles won under the name of Truth!
Though Truth may not be known to all, come forth!
I shall tell you of times I fought with pride
Against the forces that would not abide
By God’s great glory that they pushed aside.
I was a younger lad, in truth be told
When I, with sword in hand, ‘long side the old
Mustered the strength to slash with swings so bold.
And on rivers we fought ‘til dark of night
Where we let torch and Christ be only sight
Until the battered foe on foot gave flight.
And even in our darkest days of woe
We fought ‘til God’s great glory brought us home
And with Him you shall never be alone!
Now, brave your fears good men of shield of Truth!
Be at the ready when they come for you!
Lower not your spirit, let Light sail through
And when the fighting dies and battle done
We shall sing in great halls of battle won
And at the kingdom reign under the sun!

I happen to enjoy dramatic monologues. Perhaps my favorite is Tennyson’s Ulysses (although it seems everyone’s favorite nowadays). Tennyson is definitely an inspiration to me and my poetry. When I set out to write a dramatic monologue of my own, I had to select King Arthur but I wanted to use a source that is not the most widely known by American audiences, Nennius. Generally, one usually looks to Chaucer, Breton Lays, or Mallory. I find the Arthur legends extraordinary, and something that is quickly fading, in part due to absolutely terrible representation in cinema. I do wish that people would explore the older texts concerning Arthur. While it isn’t known if the real Arthur was pagan or Christian, and there seems to be quite a debate over that even among the monks who documented him, I chose the Nennius version which documents him as a great Catholic military leader who led armies in battle numerous times against the Saxons.

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