Le Morte de Arthur - the Death of Arthur by Deran Wright
click Excalibur for a slideshow tour
"...here is Excalibur,
my good sword - never was a better blade seen.
Go, cast it into the sea and I think you shall see a wonderful thing..."
But Sir Bedivere hid the sword under a tree...
"Sire, I did as you bade me."
"What did you see there?"
"Nothing but deep water and dark waves."
"Ah, you have failed to do my bidding!"
Only on the third trial did Bedivere prove true.
...then he threw the sword as far into the water, as he might; and there came an arm and an hand above the water and met it, and caught it.
"Dear Sire, I saw a hand come all bare out of the water, and thrice it brandished that rich sword.
And then vanished away the hand with the sword in the water."
And they found a rich ship, full of ladies, fair and noble.
And Bedivere cried, "Lord, whither are you going from me?"
And the King replied, "Comfort yourself...for I will into the vale of Avalon, to heal me of my grievous wound; and if thou hear never more of me, pray for my soul..."
But Arthur's grave is nowhere seen, whence antiquity of fables still claim he will return...
The Once and Future King.
Overall dimensions: 18" long 11" wide 11.75 high Sword 7.5" long
After the final battle, Arthur was sore wounded in his struggle with Mordred, and he lay near death.
He instructed Bedivere to throw Excalibur into the lake... but Bedivere found he could not.
Upon questioning the knight, Arthur perceived that Bedivere had failed, and bade him more forcefully to fulfill his wishes. Only on the third time did Bedivere deliver the sword to it's destiny.
When he returned, he found the King being borne away on a small boat by the Ladies of the Lake to the enchanted Isle of Avalon.
"When I was a kid, one of my aunts gave to me "The Book Of King Arthur", and I was hooked. I read the Howard Pyle versions, watched the Arthurian movies, and was for years into every thing Arthur related. The scenario that always fascinated me was Bedivere's repeated failure to follow Arthur's dying wish. Torn between devotion to his King, and the loss of the potent symbol of the Sword of Power, the very human dilemma facing the knight has always seemed one of the most relatable moments in the story.
The all too human failings of these larger than life heroic characters is what has made the tales so enduring. To strive for perfection, and to fail, is a very old tale indeed.
Of course, I finally had to add my own sculptural contribution to the legend.
In this sculpture, Bedivere stumbles upon King Arthur mortally wounded, surrounded by the weeping Ladies of the Lake. In a moment, Arthur will give his last command to his faithful knight.
On the back of the sculpture, in low relief, Bedivere returns after having carried out his task, only to find Arthur being carried away in a boat. One can only imagine how the knight felt at this dismal end to one of the great chapters of his life."