Arthur: Now, once more, I must ride with my knights to defend what was, and the dream of what could be.
Merlin: STAND BACK! Be silent! Be still!
Merlin: That’s it… and look upon this moment. Savor it! Rejoice with great gladness! Great gladness! Remember it always, for you are joined by it. You are One, under the stars. Remember it well, then… this night, this great victory. So that in the years ahead, you can say, ‘I was there that night, with Arthur, the King!’ For it is the doom of men that they forget.
Arthur: Move aside! This is the king’s road – and the knights you joined arms against were his very own.
Lancelot: I await the king himself. His knights are in need of training.
Arthur: I am King. And this
[draws the sword]
Arthur: , is Excalibur. Sword of Kings from the dawn of time. Who are you, what do you seek?
Lancelot: I am Lancelot of the Lake, from across the sea. And I have yet to find a King worthy of my sword.
Arthur: That is a wild boast. You lack a knight’s humility!
Lancelot: Not a boast, sir. But a curse. For I have never met my match in joust or duel.
Arthur: Move aside!
Lancelot: I will not. You must retreat, or prove your worth in the test of arms under the eyes of God.
Arthur: Then may He give me the strength to unhorse you. And send you with one blow, back across the sea.
Lancelot: Then come across, sir.
Uther: The sword. You promised me the sword.
Merlin: And you shall have it; but to heal, not to hack. Tomorrow, a truce; we meet at the river.
Uther: Talk. Talk is for lovers, Merlin. I need the sword to be king.
Merlin: Now look, I once stood exposed to the Dragon’s Breath so that a man could lie one night with a woman. It took me nine moons to recover. And all for this lunacy called, „love, “ this mad distemper that strikes down both beggar and king. Never again. Never.
[Arthur has broken Excalibur on Lancelot’s chest]
Arthur: Merlin! What have I done?
Merlin: You have broken what could not be broken! Now, hope is broken.
Arthur: My pride broke it. My rage broke it! This excellent knight, who fought with fairness and grace, was meant to win. I used Excalibur to change that verdict. I’ve lost, for all time. The ancient sword of my fathers, whose power was meant to unite all men… not to serve the vanity of a single man. I am… nothing.
Arthur: Merlin, where are you going?
Merlin: Where do you think? You have a kingdom to rule.
Arthur: But how? I don’t know how.
Merlin: You knew how to draw the sword from the stone.
Arthur: That was easy.
Merlin: Was it? I couldn’t have done it.
Merlin: It is a lonely life, the way of the necromancer… oh, yes. Lacrimae Mundi – the tears of the world.
Merlin: Remember, there’s always something cleverer than yourself.
Merlin: You’re not listening… well, your heart is not. Love is deaf as well as blind. That’s it.
Arthur: Any man who would be a knight and follow a king… follow me.
Merlin: Looking at the cake is like looking at the future, until you’ve tasted it what do you really know? And then, of course, it’s too late.
[Arthur takes a bite]
Merlin: Too late.
Merlin: Good and evil, there never is one without the other.
Merlin: When a man lies, he murders some part of the world.
Arthur: Will he live?
Merlin: Oh yes.
Arthur: Will Guinevere…?
Arthur: Merlin, will I ever have a son?
Arthur: No riddles? Nothing but a simple „yes“? That frightens me.
Merlin: But a King should be afraid, Arthur, always… of the enemy. Waiting, everywhere. In the corridors of his castle, on the deer-paths of his forests, or in a more tangled forest… in here.
[taps his head with his finger]
Merlin: He who draws the sword from the stone, he shall be king. Arthur, you’re the one.
Uther: [Uther is dying after being ambushed] No-one shall wield Excalibur but me!
[drives Excalibur into the stone as he dies]
Merlin: [casting a spell] Whoever pulls the sword from the stone, he shall be king!
[looking at the infant Arthur]
Merlin: You, Arthur, you are the one.
Mordred: Come father. Let us embrace at last.
Perceval: I can’t lose faith, Lancelot. It’s all I have.
Merlin: You brought me back. Your love brought me back. Back to where you are now. In the land of dreams.
Arthur: Are you a dream Merlin?
Merlin: [softly] A dream to some.
Merlin: A nightmare to others.
Merlin: The future has taken root in the present.
Merlin: Ooh, that plan is well known. You’ll have to do better than that.
Uther Pendragon: To kill and be king, is that all?
Merlin: Perhaps not even that.
Uther Pendragon: You strike me with words hard as steel!
Merlin: You betrayed the Duke. You stole his wife. You took his castle. Now no one trusts you. You’re not the one. Give me the child. I will protect him.
Uther: Merlin! You come when you’re not asked… and pay no heed when I call you!
Merlin: Oh, I have slept… for nine moons. What I did for you wasn’t easy. Now you must pay me… the child is mine, Uther… you swore an oath.
Uther: They were hasty words, Merlin. This is flesh and blood!
Igrayne: Uther, is this true? Don’t let him take the child!
Uther: I swore an oath, Igrayne. I made a pact with Merlin.
Igrayne: It was you, you came to me that night!
Igrayne: You are the father!
Merlin: It’s not for you, Uther… hearth and home, wife and child.
Uther: To kill and be King… is that all?
Merlin: You betrayed the Duke, you stole his wife, you took his castle, now no-one trusts you. You’re not the one, Uther. Give me the child, I will protect him.
Uther: [shouts] Take him… Take the devil child!
Uther: Where have you been?
Merlin: I have walked my way since the beginning of time. Sometimes I give, sometimes I take, it is mine to know which and when!
Uther: You must help me, Merlin!
Merlin: Must I?
Uther: I am your King!
Merlin: So! You need me again now that my truce is wrecked! Years to build and moments to ruin! And all for lust!
Uther: For Igrayne! One night with her. You don’t understand, you’re not a man. Use the magic. Do it!
Merlin: [considering] Igrayne… You will swear by your true Kingship… to grant me what I wish, then you shall have it.
Uther: [kneeling] By Excalibur, I swear it!
Merlin: What issues from your lust, shall be be mine. Swear it again!
Uther: I SWEAR IT!
[the nobles are arguing over Arthur’s drawing of the sword]
Uryenes: Lord Leondegrance! Join us against the boy!
Leondegrance: I saw what I saw! The boy drew the sword. If a boy has been chosen, a boy shall be King!
Uryenes: NO, I challenge that!
Sir Ector: The sword has been drawn!
Uryenes: [to Leondegrance] Are you with us, or against us?
Leondegrance: Against you!
Arthur: Rise, Father, please. I was your son before I your King; if I am King.
Sir Ector: You are king, Arthur; all the more because you are not my son, and I am not your father.
Arthur: Not my father? Then Kay is not my brother?
Sir Ector: Merlin the magician, brought you to me when you were newly born, and bade me raised you as my own. At first, I did so because I feared Merlin, but later because I loved you.
Arthur: Who is my true father?
Sir Ector: Only Merlin can tell you that.
Arthur: And who is Merlin?
Merlin: [enters suddenly from the forest] I… am the Merlin.
Arthur: Whose son am I?
Merlin: You are the son of Uther, and Igrayne. You are King Arthur!
[Uther and Cornwall meet]
Merlin: Show the sword! Behold! The Sword of Power! Excalibur! Forged when the world was young, and bird and beast and flower were one with man, and death was but a dream!
Merlin: Speak the words!
Uther Pendragon: One land, one king! That is my peace, Cornwall!
Lord Cornwall: Lord Uther, if I yield to the Sword of Power, what will you yield?
Uther Pendragon: Me yield?
Merlin: He has given, now you must.
Uther Pendragon: The land from here to the sea shall be yours if you enforce the King’s will!
Lord Cornwall: Done!
Merlin: [to himself] Good.
Lord Cornwall: King Uther, let us feast together! To my castle!
[Morgana disguised as Guinevere has seduced Arthur]
Morgana: [disguised as Guinevere] I have conceived a son; my king
[revealing herself as Morgana]
Morgana: my brother!
Arthur: [Arthur is dying] Perceval, take Excalibur. Find a pool of calm water. Throw the sword into it.
Arthur: Obey me, Perceval. Do it, and return.
Arthur: [Perceval returns after not throwing the sword in] When you cast it in, what did you see?
Perceval: I saw nothing but the wind on the water. My King, I couldn’t do it! Excalibur cannot be lost! Other men…
Arthur: [interrupting Perceval] DO… as I command! One day, a King will come, and the Sword will rise… again.
Morgana: Your eyes never leave me, Merlin.
Merlin: Can’t I acknowledge beauty?
Morgana: Can’t you acknowledge… love? Perhaps you ache for what you’ve never known.
Merlin: Perhaps you lust for what you cannot have.
[Arthur and Lancelot fighting at their first encounter]
Lancelot: Your rage has unbalanced you. You sir, would fight to the death, against a knight who is not your enemy. Over a stretch of road you could easily ride around.
Arthur: So be it. To the death!
Mordred: Any message for your dear brother, my father?
Morgana: You are my message.
Mordred: I’ve come to claim what is mine father.
Arthur: Show yourself.
[Mordred takes off his mask]
Arthur: I cannot give you the land. Only my love.
Mordred: That’s the one thing of yours I don’t want! The quest knights have failed. They’re all dead. And YOU… are dead, too. I shall come back and take Camelot by force!
Boy Mordred: You seek what Arthur wants? That thing they call the Grail?
Perceval: I do.
Boy Mordred: Then follow me.
[Mordred leads him to the tree where the decomposing bodies of some of the other quest knights are]
Boy Mordred: They were looking for it too. But they weren’t good enough.
Sir Ector: I remember my first joust. It looks far worse than it feels!
Arthur: Where hides evil in my kingdom, then?
Merlin: Always… where you never expect it. Always.
Gawain: I know where.
Arthur: Where, Sir Gawain?
Gawain: I cannot say.
Arthur: You must speak your heart. You sit at the Round Table. Where is this evil?
Gawain: He’s our best… and our bravest… why then, is he never here? Without Lancelot, this table is nothing! Is there anyone here who doesn’t think him a god? And now to be driven from us
[points to Guenevere]
Gawain: by a woman’s desire!
Guenevere: In the idleness that comes with peace, I see that gossip has bred its own evil! I will forgive your hasty words. Come… drink from Lancelot’s cup, and partake of his ‘goodness’.
[the cup is passed to Gawain, who proceeds to slam it upside-down on the table in defiance of Guenevere]
Arthur: You DARE accuse the Queen, Gawain?
Gawain: I do!
Guenevere: I protest my innocence!
Arthur: [standing up and drawing Excalibur threateningly] WERE I NOT KING, I WOULD MAKE YOU PAY WITH YOUR LIFE FOR WHAT YOU’VE SAID!
Guenevere: Will you not champion me?
Arthur: I cannot! I am your King, and I must be your judge in this. Lancelot must do it. He also stands accused. I decree – that at sunrise, two days from now, the champions will meet, and the truth shall be known. For by the law of God, no knight who is false can win in combat with one who is true.
Grail Figure: What is the secret of the Grail? Who does it serve?
Perceval: You, my lord.
Grail Figure: Who am I?
Perceval: You are my lord and king. You are Arthur.
Grail Figure: Have you found the secret that I have lost?
Perceval: Yes. You and the land are one.
Merlin: What are you afraid of?
Arthur: I don’t know.
Merlin: Shall I tell you what’s out there?
Arthur: Yes, please.
Merlin: The dragon. A beast of such power that if you were to see it whole and complete in a single glance, it would burn you to cinders.
Arthur: Where is it?
Merlin: It is everywhere. It is everything. Its scales glisten in the bark of trees. Its roar is heard in the wind. And its forked tongue strikes like…
Merlin: Like lightning, yes that’s it.
Arthur: How can I…? What shall I…? Must I…?
Merlin: Do nothing. Be still. Sleep. Rest in the arms of the dragon. Dream.
Arthur: I have often thought that in the hereafter of our lives, when I owe no more to the future and can be just a man, that we may meet, and you will come to me and claim me as yours, and know that I am your husband. It is a dream I have…
Uther: Merlin! Where are you? Call your dragon to weave a mist to hide us!
Merlin: The days of our kind are numberèd. The one God comes to drive out the many gods. The spirits of wood and stream grow silent. It’s the way of things. Yes… it’s a time for men, and their ways.
Perceval: [holding the Grail to Arthur’s lips] You and the land are one. Drink.
Arthur: I am wasting away. I cannot die and I cannot live.
Perceval: Drink from the chalice. You will be reborn and the land with you.
Arthur: [drinks] Perceval… I didn’t know how empty was my soul… until it was filled.
Arthur: [to Kay] Ready my knights for battle. They will ride with their king once more. I have lived through others for far too long. Lancelot carried my honor, and Guenevere, my guilt. Mordred bears my sins. My knights have fought my causes. Now, my brother, I shall be… king.
Lancelot: [Lancelot unhorses Arthur, then approaches him still on horseback with his lance held out] Yield sir, I have the advantage
Arthur: [in a fit of absolute rage] I will not! Fight me from your horse or on foot, but fight me, your avoidance mocks me!
Lancelot: I sought only not to harm you
[knocks Arthur to the ground]
Arthur: I was not born to live a man’s life, but to be the stuff of future memory.
Arthur: [to Guinevere] I’ve often thought that in the hereafter of our lives, when I owe no more to the future… can be just a man… we might meet. You’d come to me, claim me yours, know that I am your husband.
[He starts to leave, then turns to face her]
Arthur: It is a dream I have.
[He leaves. She watches him go, knowing that she will never see him again]
Merlin: What are you afraid of?
Arthur: I don’t know!
Merlin: Shall I tell you what’s out there?
Arthur: Yes, please!
Merlin: The Dragon! A beast of such power that if you were to see it whole and all complete in a single glance it would burn you to cinders!
Arthur: Where is this Dragon?
Merlin: It is everywhere! It is everything! Its scales glisten in the bark of trees, its roar is heard in the wind and its forked tongue strikes like… like…
[a bolt of lightning strikes nearly at their feet]
Merlin: Oh, like lightning! Yes, that’s it!
Arthur: Swear faith to me, and you shall have mercy! I need battle lords such as you!
Uryenes: [scornfully] A noble knight swear faith to a squire?
Mador: [shouting] NEVER… NEVER!
Arthur: You are right.
Arthur: You’re right… I’m not yet a knight.
[Hands Excalibur to Uyrenes and kneels]
Arthur: You, Uryenes, will make me a knight. Then as knight to knight… I care not for your mercy!
Merlin: [Alarmed] What’s this? What’s this?
Mador: Keep it, Uryenes!
Uryenes: [hesitates and then touches Excalibur to Arthur’s shoulder] In the name of God, St Michael and St George, I give you the right to bear arms and the power to meet justice!
Arthur: That duty I will solemnly obey, as knight and king.
Merlin: I never saw this.
Uryenes: Rise… King Arthur.
[Uryenes kneels before Arthur]
Uryenes: I am your humble knight, and I swear allegiance to the courage in your veins. So strong it is, its source must be Uther Pendragon’s. I doubt you no more!
[kisses Arthur’s hand – other knights also kneel]