Idylls of the King "Man's Word Is God In Man"

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

"Man's Word Is God In Man"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Before the coming of King Arthur, England was torn by internal dissention and invasion by foreign kings. The cultivated land decreased in area, and the wilderness increased; men became fewer, and wild beasts grew in number. The land of Cameliard, King Leodogran's domain, was in such a deplorably lawless state that the king asked Arthur's aid. There were those who said that Arthur was not Uther's son, and Arthur had as yet done no memorable deeds, but he answered the call. At Leodogran's castle he first saw Princess Guinevere and felt her enter his life, although she did not seem to notice him. Arthur knew himself to be nothing, but felt that he and Guinevere together would be able to bring life into this dead world. The battle began between Arthur's force and that of a powerful coalition of kings; the tide of battle ran back and forth between the two hosts, but finally Arthur prevailed. He called to him the man he loved and honored most, and they two swore a deathless love. Arthur said that a man's promise is like God in him, and come what may, Arthur will trust his friend even till death.

He laughed upon his warrior whom he loved
And honored most. "Thou dost not doubt me King,
So well thine arm hath wrought for me to-day."
"Sir and my liege," he cried, "the fire of God
Descends upon thee in the battle-field:
I know thee for my King!" Whereat the two,
For each had warded either in the fight,
Sware on the field of death a deathless love.
And Arthur said, "Man's word is God in man:
Let chance what will, I trust thee to the death."