Download Morte d'Arthur Study Guide

Subscribe Now

"The Old Order Changeth"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Tennyson takes the story of King Arthur's death from Malory's Le Mortre d'Arthur. King Arthur is mortally wounded at Lyonness. Sir Bedivere, the only surviving knight of the Round Table, carries him to a chapel. Arthur gives Bedivere his sword Excalibur and orders him to cast it into the lake. But Bedievere hides the sword, planning to preserve the marvelous weapon as a memento of Arthur. The king is furious at Bedivere's disobedience, but the knight hides the sword again. When Arthur threatens to kill him, Bedivere throws the sword into the mere: "But ere he [the sword] dipt the surface, rose an arm/ Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,/ And caught him by the...

(The entire section is 241 words.)