from Laȝamon's 'Brut', The conception of King Arthur

Laȝamon’s Brut contains the oldest surviving English version of the story of King Arthur. In this extract, Uther, disguised by Merlin, visits Ygaerne in the castle of Tintagel. Laȝamon goes out his way to exonerate Ygaerne, emphasising her belief that she is sharing her bed with Gorlois, her husband, not Uther.

Although he emphasises the various betrayals involved, for once, the rattle and crash of Laȝamon’s verse stills and softens, and something close to gentleness is allowed into the poem.