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The Duke of Tintagel's Daughters are listed in the Story of Merlin attributed to Robert de Boron, but the passage varies widely from manuscript to manuscript. In some manuscripts two daughters only are mentioned: Gawain’s mother and Morgain the Fay. In other manuscripts three daughters are mentioned. Also, in some manuscripts one of the daughters is illegitimate.

This article provides the text of this passage as published in various places, with literal translations and some commentary. The passage, as rendered here, begins with the list of the first daughter’s sons and does not reproduce all the material about Morgain's education.

Two DaughtersEdit

One Daughter is IllegitimateEdit

Alexandre Micha’s Merlin takes manuscript B.N. 747 as the base manuscript. He calls it A. It reads in section 72, beginning on page 244:

... Mordrez et mes sires Gauvains et Garées et Gaheriez, et li rois Neutres de Garlot rot l’autre fille qui estoit bastarde qui avoit non Morgains ; et par le consoil de touz les amis ensemble la fist li rois aprendre letres en une maison de religion ... et par celle maistrie de clergie qu’elle avoit fu apellee Morgain le faee. ... Mordred and my lord Gawain and Guerrehet and Gaheriet, and the King Neutres of Garlot took the other daughter who was a bastard, who had the name Morgain; and by the advice of all the friends assembled, the King made her learn letters in a house of religion ... and because of that mastery of clerical knowledge that she had attained, she was called Morgain the Fay.

Micha notes that the manuscripts CDG (that is, Tours 951, Cambridge Add. 7071, and Vatican 1517) read:

... et rois Neutres de Garlot rot l’autre fille batarde qui avoit non Morgainz ... ... and King Neutres of Garlot took the other bastard daughter who had the name Morgain ...


The Old English Text Society translation of the Vulgate Merlin reads on page 86:

... Gawein, Agrauuayn, Gaheret, and gaheries, and mordred. And the kynge uentres of Garlot hadde a-nother of hir doughters, that was geten on baste, whos name was Morgeins. And be the counseile of alle hir frendes the kynge sette hir to skole in an house of religion ... and by that crafte was she cleped morgne-le-fee. ... Gawain, Agravain, Guerrehet, and Gaheriet, and Mordred. And the King Ventres of Garlot had another of her daughters, that was begotten in bastardy, whose name was Morgain. And by the advise of all her friends, the King set her to school in a house of religion ... and by that craft was she named Morgue the Fay.


Note that this translator thinks that Morgain is a bastard daughter of Ygerne, rather than a bastard daughter of the Duke.

Three DaughtersEdit

The Second Daughter is IllegitimateEdit

Micha notes that the manuscripts A’B’ (that is, B.N. 24384 and Bonn 526) read:

... rot une autre fille bastarde et il en ot une qui a non Morgain ... ... took another bastard daughter, and there was one who was called Morgain ...


Gaston Paris and Jacob Ulrich edited an edition of The Story of Merlin in their Merlin from the manuscript British Museum 381117. On page 120, it reads:

... me sires Gauvains [et Agrevains] et G[u]er[re]hès et Gahariès. Et li rois Neutres de Sorhaut ot l’autre fille bastarde qui ot non Morgans. Par le conseil de tous ses amis ensamble une autre fille qui ot a non Morgue fist i rois aprendre a lettre en une maison de relegion ... et par cele fisike fu elle apielee Morgue la fee. ... my lord Gawain [and Agravain] and G[u]er[re]het and Gaheriet. And the King Neutres of Sorhaut had the other bastard daughter who was named Morgan. By the advice of all her friends together, another daughter who was named Morgue, the King had taught letters in a house of religion ... and by that physic was she called Morgue the Fay.


No Daughter is Said to be IllegitimateEdit

Oskar Sommer has a version of the Story of Merlin in the second volume of his Vulgate Version of the Arthurian Romances from the manuscript known as British Museum Add.10292. Sommer’s edition reads on page 73:

... messires gauuains & agrauains & gerehes & gaheries et mordres . et li rois nextres de garloc ot . j . autre fille & il ot une autre qui ot anon morgain cele mist le rois por aprendre lettres par le conseil de ses parens en vne maison de religion ... et par le sens quele ot lapeloit on morgue la fee . ... Sir Gawain and Agravain and Guerrehet and Gaheriet and Mordred. And the King Nextres of Garloc had another daughter, and there was another who was called Morgain whom the King set to learn her letters by the advice of her kin in a house of religion ... and because of the wisdom that she attained, they called her Morgue the Fay.


The adaptation in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur is presented for completeness. This is H. A. Sheppard’s rendition:


... that was Gaweyns moder, and Kynge Nentres of the land of Garlot wedded Elayne. Al this was done at the request of kynge Uther. And the thyrd syster, Morgan le Fey, was put to scole in a nonnery ... she was a grete clerke of nygromancye. ... that was Gawain's mother, and King Nentres of the land of Garlot wedded Elaine. All this was done at the request of King Uther. And the third sister, Morgan le Fay, was put to school in a nunnery ... she was a great clerk of necromancy.

On the Spelling Morgue Instead of MorgainEdit

In medieval French, Morgue and Morgain are variant forms of the same name. Morgue is the nominative form (to be used when the name is subject of a verb) and Morgain is the oblique form (to be used elsewhere). But strict use of case forms was breaking down in this period. However most readers would still recognize that these were differing forms of the same name.

ReferencesEdit

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