For centuries, accounts of King Arthur and his court have fascinated historians, scholars, poets, and readers. Legends of this powerful, commanding warrior, who was also the perfect monarch of tragic destiny, probably began as folk stories in Wales and Ireland. The Arthurian story remains with us because it has always been "common property, with no copyright and no prize for originality. Every author is an independent agent, but cannot work without his predecessors: he is a dwarf standing on the shoulders of a cumulative giant" ( R. Morris 4). Each age added aspects that reflected its own cultural attitudes; however, no age supplemented the earlier versions more than the poets writing during the Medieval Revival of nineteenth-century England, a revival that embraced art, architecture, philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, and religion. The Medieval Revival had its origins in the Romantic movement's susceptibility to the beauty and intensity of medieval literature. Before this, between the Middle Ages and the rise of Romanticism, the classical spirit ruled and was by nature alien to medievalism.
The French Revolution brought rapid and frightening changes that conservative England wished to avoid. Post-Napoleonic attitudes toward the Middle Ages began with ideas of a charming, picturesque period stemming from Sir Walter Scott's preoccupation with the period's romantic and historical