English, Department of


Date of this Version



Modern Language Notes , Feb., 1904, Vol. 19, No.2 (Feb., 1904), pp. 50-51


The chief sources of Tennyson's Idylls are, as so well known, Malory's Morte Darthur and the Mabinogion. Secondary sources are the chronicles of Geoffrey of Monmouth, from whom the poet derived a few name-forms like Igerne and Gorlois, and stray touches in the handling, and the anonymous history, ascribed to Nennius, from which (Lancelot and Elaine, ll. 284-315) he derived his account of Arthur's twelve battles. In 1889, Dr. Walther Wüllenweber pointed out that Tennyson seems also to have drawn upon Ellis' Specimens of Early English Metrical Romances, for a few proper names, like Bellicent and Anguisant, not found elsewhere. It seems probable that Tennyson owes certain other suggestions to Ellis. The following are possible cases, not hitherto noted, for the Idyll of Lancelot and Elaine: