The first of the Idylls covers the period following Arthur’s coronation, his accession, and marriage. The besieged Leodogran, King of Cameliard, appeals to Arthur for help against the beasts and heathen hordes. Arthur vanquishes these and then the Barons who challenge his legitimacy. Afterwards he requests the hand of Leodogran’s daughter. Guinevere, whom he loves. Leodogran, grateful but also doubtful of Arthur’s lineage, questions his chamberlain, Arthur’s emissaries, and Arthur’s half sister Bellicent (the character known as Anna or Morgause in other versions), receiving a different account from each. He is persuaded at last by a dream of Arthur crowned in heaven. Lancelot is sent to bring Guinevere, and she and Arthur wed in May. At the wedding feast, Arthur refuses to pay the customary tribute to the Lords from Rome declaring, “The old order changeth, yielding place to new.”
Here is a poetry reading of ‘The Coming Of Arthur’. The reading starts at 03:53.
Leodogran, the King of Cameliard,
Had one fair daughter, and none other child;
And she was fairest of all flesh on earth,
Guinevere, and in her his one delight.
For many a petty king ere Arthur came
Ruled in this isle, and ever waging war
Each upon other, wasted all the land;
And still from time to time the heathen host
Swarmed overseas, and harried what was left.
And so there grew great tracts of wilderness,
Wherein the beast was ever more and more,
But man was less and less, till Arthur came.
For first Aurelius lived and fought and died,
And after him King Uther fought and died,
But either failed to make the kingdom one.
And after these King Arthur for a space,
And through the puissance of his Table Round,
Drew all their petty princedoms under him,
Their king and head, and made a realm, and reigned. (more…)