Malory's Launcelot and Guinevere abed togydirs


  • Betsy Taylor


In Malory's account of the ambush of Launcelot in Guinevere's chamber he obliquely denies the authority of his sources:

For, as the Freynshhe booke seyth, the quene and sir Launcelot were k>gydirs. And whether they were abed other at other maner of disportis, me lyste nat thereof make no mencion, for love that tyme was nat as love ys

Both his sources put Launcelot and Guinevere abed, but Malory says he prefers not to discuss the matter ('me lyste nat thereof make no mencion'); instead he links the lovers' activities here with the love he anatomizes, however cumbersomely, at the beginning of 'The Knight of the Cart' episode:

But the olde love was nat so. For men and women coude love togydirs seven yerys, and no lycoures lustis was betwyxte them, and than was love trouthe and faythefulnes. And so in lyke wyse was used such love in kynge Arthurs dayes. (p. 1120, II. 2-6)