in medieval Welsh sources), meaning "a wanderer of pallid countenance", which was originally applied as an epithet to the famous prophetic "wild man" figure of Myrddin Wyllt (a prototype of Merlin) in medieval Welsh poetry. There seems to be more than one "Lady of the Lake", but in Malory's Morte d'Arthur, Nimue is responsible for Merlin's downfall. The second reason was because the stones possessed great powers of healing. The 15th-century Italian manuscript La Tavola Ritonda (The Round Table) makes the Lady a daughter of Uther Pendragon and a sister to both Morgan and Arthur; here she is a character villainous to the extent that her own brother Arthur swears to burn her. The legend of Merlin and Nimue is an intriguing tale that entails love, spells, and death told through various stories in literature. If it is accepted that the French-German Lanzelet by Ulrich von Zatzikhoven contains elements of a more primitive version of this tale than Chrétien's, the infant Lancelot was spirited away to a lake by a water fairy (merfeine in Old High German) known as the Lady of the Sea and then raised in her Land of Maidens (Meide lant). Franz Schubert set seven songs from Walter Scott's Lady of the Lake, including the three "Ellen songs" ("Ellens Gesang I", "Ellens Gesang II", and "Ellens Gesang III"), although Schubert's music to Ellen's third song has become far more famous in its later adaptation, known as "Ave Maria". After Merlin taught her all his secrets, she used her power to trap him in the Crystal Cave, effectively killing him. In almost all versions of Arthurian legend, Nimue is the architect of Merlin’s downfall. It is Nimue who has the ambiguous relationship with Merlin. The all-mighty wizard Merlin could not help but become enchanted by Nimue, who keeps Merlin away from King Arthur, replacing Merlin and becoming Arthur’s on-call magician. Nimue.  The fairy queen character and her paradise island in Lanzelet are reminiscent of Morgen (Morgan) of the Island of Avallon in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Vita Merlini. Jarman, A. O. H., "Hwimleian, Chwibleian", Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies 16 (1954–1956) 72–76. … Scott's material furnished subject matter for La donna del lago, an 1819 opera by Gioachino Rossini. Second, you're not alone in your perverse fantasies! He too splits her into two characters; Viviane is a deceitful villain who ensnares Merlin, while the Lady of the Lake is a benevolent figure who raises Lancelot and gives Arthur his sword. , After enchanting Merlin, Malory's Nimue replaces him as Arthur's magician aide and trusted adviser. Richard Wilbur referred to Vivien as “a creature to bewitch a sorcerer”, and even though Merlin could foretell and foresee his captivity, he was unable to stop it or overcome his enchantment with Vivien. The oldest localization of the Lake is in the Lancelot en prose, written around 1230. The Legend. Some tales have him living forever in his confinement and others tell of his death or his descension into madness. Nimueh is based on the Lady of the Lake, alternately known as Nimue, Viviane, Niniane or Nyneve. After Merlin's imprisonment, Nimue took on the aspect of being King Arthur's counselor and advisor. Merlin’s name is derived from the latin ‘Merlinus’ in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s ‘Historia Regum Britanniae’ – “The History of the Kings of Britain” – which he wrote early in the 12th century. The Story of the Champions of the Round Table, "The Lady of the Lake ~ Other Characters in Arthurian Legend", "Echoes of Legend: Magic as the Bridge Between a Pagan Past and a Christian Future in Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur", "Nymue, the Chief Lady of the Lake, in Malory's Le Morte D’arthur. When Arthur and Merlin first go to meet her, she holds Excalibur out of the water and offers it to Arthur if he promises to fulfill any request from her later, to which he agrees. In the Lancelot-Grail (Vulgate) prose cycle, the Lady resides in an enchanted realm, an otherworld the entry to which is disguised as an illusion of a lake (the Post-Vulgate notes it as Merlin's work). Merlin (also known as Myrddin, Merlinus) is the great wizard of the Arthurian Legends best known from Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur (1469 CE). His usual depiction, based on an amalgamation of historical and legendary figures, was introduced by the 12th-century British author Geoffrey of Monmouth and the translator John of Cornwall. For much of his life, he lived in the wilderness as a "wild man" despite interacting with and assisting at least three different kings: Vortigern, Uther, and Arthur. 379–390, . Medieval authors and copyists produced various forms of the latter, including Nimane (Vulgate Merlin, in addition to "Viviane"), Nimanne / Niv[i]en[n]e / Vivienne (Huth Merlin), Vivien, Vivian, Nimiane/Niniame (Arthour and Merlin and Henry Lovelich's English Merlin Continuation), Nymenche (Lancelot Propre), Nin[i]eve (Post-Vulgate Suite du Merlin), Niniane (Livre d'Artus), Niviana (Baladro del Sage Merlin), and Ui[n/ui]ane (Estoire de Merlin), among other variations, including alternate spellings with the letter i written as y (such as Nymanne or Nynyane). Arthur gives the Lady a rich burial, has her slayer banished, and allows Sir Launcenor of Ireland to go after him to avenge this disgrace. Nimue was one of the three women who took the wounded Arthur away to Avalon following the Battle of Camlann, alongside the Lady of the Lake and Morgana le Fay. They play pivotal roles in many stories, including providing Arthur with the sword Excalibur, eliminating Merlin, raising Lancelot after the death of his father, and helping to take the dying Arthur to Avalon. Vivien, sometimes called Nineve, Nimue, or Niniane is best known as the woman who sealed Merlin in a cave or a tree and put him under a spell. enchantress and sorceress in Arthurian legend, "Waving her hands and uttering the charm, [she] presently enclosed him fast within the tree.". It was determined that a fatherless child needed to be sacrificed to remedy this problem. As they traveled, Nimue became more and more afraid of Merlin's advances.  She is also Morgan's sister in some other Italian texts such as Pulzella Gaia. He was once the court magician to King Arthur. Alfred, Lord Tennyson adapted several stories of the Lady of the Lake for his 1859–1885 poetic cycle Idylls of the King. This is a good place to discover the story, find links for further information and to see how Merlin and Nimue are portrayed in art through the ages. The youth told the king's advisors that the reason for the tower collapsing was due to the existence of a pool beneath the foundation. The Lady of the Lake (French: Dame du Lac, Demoiselle du Lac, Welsh: Arglwyddes y Llyn, Cornish: Arloedhes an Lynn, Breton: Itron an Lenn, Italian: Dama del Lago) is a name or a title used by several fairy-like enchantresses in the Matter of Britain, the body of medieval literature and mythology associated with the legend of King Arthur. Another, unnamed Lady of the Lake appears to bestow the magic sword Excalibur from Avalon to Arthur. The Vulgate Cycle tells of either a different or the same (that was made explicitly clear only in the later revisions) Lady of the Lake in the Prose Merlin-derived section, which takes place before its main Vulgate Lancelot section but was written later, and links her with the disappearance of Merlin. After several years, Vortigern captures Merlin, and Nimue finds him in a cell. The full French name of the University of Notre Dame, founded in 1842, is Notre Dame du Lac. Merlin is credited with helping to establish the famous Round Table where all of King Arthur's knights sat, and played a major role in the mysteries of the Holy Grail. There are different versions of his death. Ford, Patrick K., "The Death of Merlin in the Chronicle of Elis Gruffudd", Viator: Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Vol 7 (1976), University of California Press, pp. Malory then counts Nimue among the magical queens who arrive in a black boat with Morgan. Intending the spell to honor their love and enshrine it in immortality, she merged the spell into the large moonstone in the headpiece of Merlin… In an analysis by Kenneth Hodges, Nimue appears through the story as the chivalric code changes, hinting to the reader that something new will happen in order to help the author achieve the wanted interpretation of the Arthurian legend: each time the Lady reappears in Le Morte d'Arthur, it is at a pivotal moment of the episode, establishing the importance of her character within Arthurian literature, as she transcends any notoriety attached to her character by aiding Arthur and other knights to succeed in their endeavours, subtly helping sway the court in the right direction. The Post-Vulgate rewrite also describes how Diana had killed her partner Faunus to be with a man named Felix, but then she was herself killed by her lover at that lake, which came to be called the Lake of Diana (Lac Diane). 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