Liam Guilar's 'Prologue to the stories of Vortigern'

It’s the week the podcast turns fifty, so something unusual to celebrate. This is from ‘work in progress’. I needed to hear how it sounded.

A Presentment of Englishry (Shearsman 2019) ends in the ruin of Roman Britain and points forwards to the story of Vortigern, Hengist and Rowena.

I’m currently working on that story. The ‘historical background’ is set out on under ‘The Legendary History’.

This Prologue is set in Britain in the mid sixth century. A small group of survivors are fleeing west and north. They seek shelter from a storm in a ruined villa, where they find a solitary old man living in the rubble.

To pass the time, they tell a story. It’s a familiar one; the story of Vortigern. It’s so well known everyone contributes. The old man claims he was a participant. No one believes him.

This prologue, if it’s ever finished, will provide a narrative overview which will be contested, confirmed or denied by the story that follows it.

A ‘Latimer’ was a translator. Vortigern’s translator was called Keredic.

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.