“Merlin’s Rebuke of Morgause”

Even your successes are failures—but your failures successes.
Fame have you sought, but infamy overtakes you.
You seek Arthur’s downfall, but he is firmly upheld,
And shall yet sleep when all your works are dust.
You work to overthrow Llogres—but Llogres,
Though it stumbles, shall yet stand,
Rising again from the ashes of Britain.

The infallible acts of the Presence
Are made in the light of the Lord’s Passion, which
Was set in the mathematical music of the spheres
And the conspicuous singing of the stars.

You, O queen of Orkney, have fallen.
When will you learn of your folly?
He who is with us is greater than whom you invoke.

I probably wrote this poem sometime late in high school, and revised it when I overhauled the series as a whole; I’ve been working on cleaning it up and polishing it for a few weeks now. (Though it might seem somewhat apropos of “Merlin Before Guinevere”, which had a somewhat lively discussion last week, that’s not why I post it now.) It’s obviously rather late in internal chronology as well.

As always, I earnestly welcome your comments, suggestions, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. (In other words, if you liked this poem, or you didn’t like it, or it made you think of something, or … please leave a comment to let me know.) If you liked this, you can follow this blog, which includes one of my poems every Friday, or read other poems I’ve written here on my blog (starting with yesterday’s archive installment, since the full archive is by now, at well over a hundred poems, somewhat daunting); I’d especially like to know which poems you think are my best. You may also share it with others, subject to my sharing policy.

This poem is also mirrored on my wiki.


6 thoughts on ““Merlin’s Rebuke of Morgause”

  1. Hi, like this a lot.

    You may have left out a ‘to’ in this line:
    “You work overthrow Llogres—but Llogres,…”
    and an ‘of’ in this line:
    “Are made in the light the Lord’s Passion, which…”

    Love the contrasts, especially this line:
    “Fame have you sought, but infamy overtakes you.”

    It might be a good idea to revisit the second stanza, for its first and second lines are a bit unclear – at least to me.

    God bless you as you continue to refine these, Jonathan!


    • I’m glad you liked this.

      Good catch on the typos; I did a lot of rearranging of those lines to make their construction less (unnecessarily) parallel, but apparently forgot to put in the new prepositions after I’d taken out the old.

      In re the second stanza: The first line is referring to the same ideas as the earlier poem “Taliesin Before Morgause”, that Morgause is trying to overthrow what God has decreed, “the Acts of the Presence.” In the last line of that stanza, “conspicuous” may not be the best adjective—I’m trying to convey that the creation’s message is obvious to anyone who isn’t deliberately ignoring it (cf. the beginning of Psalm 19 and Romans 1:20)—but I couldn’t think of a better one.


    • The trouble isn’t that it’s an unusual word, it’s that it’s not quite what is meant. It’s not “the singing of the stars” that is “conspicuous,” but what that makes “conspicuous”—but I couldn’t think of a good way to say that in a single adjectival phrase.


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