Excalibur to Ezzelin

Excalibur, king Arthur’s famous swords. There seems to have been two of his swords so called. One was the sword sheathed in stone, which no one could draw thence, save he who was to be king of the land. Above 200 knights tried to release it, but failed; Arthur alone could draw it, and this he did with ease, proving thereby his right of succession (pt. i. 3). In ch. 7 this sword is called Excalibur, and is said to have been so bright “that it gave light like thirty torches.” After his fight with Pellinore, the king said to Merlin he had no sword, and Merlin took him to a lake, and Arthur saw an arm “clothed in white samite, that held a fair sword in the hand.” Presently the Lady of the Lake appeared, and Arthur begged that he might have the sword, and the lady told him to go and fetch it. When he came to it he took it, “and the arm and hand went under the water again.” This is the sword generally called Excalibur. When about to die, king Arthur sent an attendant to cast the sword back again into the lake, and again the hand “clothed in white samite” appeared, caught it, and disappeared (ch. 23).—Sir T. Malory: History of Prince Arthur, i. 3, 23 (1470).

King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur,
Wrought by the lonely maiden of the lake;
Nine years she wrought it, sitting in the deeps,
Upon the hidden bases of the hills.
   —Tennyson: Mort d’Arthur.

Excalibur’s Sheath. “Sir,” said Merlin, “look that ye keep well the scabbard of Excalibur, for ye shall lose no blood as long as ye have the scabbard upon you, though ye have never so many wounds.”—Sir T. Malory: History of Prince Arthur, i. 36 (1470).

Excelsior, a poem by Longfellow (1842).

Excursion (The), a poem in blank verse, divided into nine books, by Wordsworth (1814). Wordsworth is sometimes called “the poet (or bard) of The Excursion.” Byron calls it—

A drowsy frowsy poem, my aversion.
   —Don Juan.

Executioner (No). When Francis viscount d’Aspremont, governor of Bayonne, was commanded by Charles IX. of France to massacre the huguenots, he replied, “Sire, there are many under my government devoted to your majesty, but not a single executioner.”

Exeter Book (The), a collection of very early poems presented by the bishop of Exeter to the library of the cathedral.

Exeter Domesday (The), a supplement to the famous Domesday Book compiled in the reign of William the Conqueror. It extends the Domesday Book to Cornwall, Devonshire, Dorsetshire, Somersetshire, and Wiltshire.

Exhausted Worlds… Dr. Johnson, in the prologue spoken by Garrick at the opening of Drury Lane, in 1747, says of Shakespeare—

Each change of many-coloured life he drew,
Exhausted worlds, and then imagined new.

Exile of Erin (The), a poem by Campbell (1801). Better known perhaps by its refrain of “Erin go bragh!” or “Erin, mavournin; Erin go bragh!” (Ireland, my darling; Ireland for ever!).

Exodus, the Greek title of the second book of the Old Testament, meaning “departure;” being so called because it tells us about the “departure” of the Israelites from the land of Egypt. In the original the book is a continuation of the book of Genesis, and has no name, but is referred to by the first words Now these are the names, as we refer to the canticles Te Deum and Nunc dimittis. The book may be divided into five parts—

1. The great increase of the Israelites in Egypt (ch. i.).

2. The birth of Moses (chs. ii.).

  By PanEris using Melati.

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