In the age of chivalry, and in the very year when Caxton published Malory's Morte d'Arthur with its uplifting theme of knightly virtue and purity, England found itself under the heel of a king whose very first act [stripping and parading Richard's corpse] was one of calculated barbarity. By contrast, Richard III's end would prove to represent England's last personification of the monarch as the flower of chivalry: the last king leading his men shoulder to shoulder in battle, but more than that, attempting to curtail the bloodshed by settling the outcome in single combat.
The sword was odd. The Arab Movement was one: Feisal another (his name means a flashing sword): then there is the excluded notion, Garden of Eden touch: and the division meaning, like the sword in the bed of mixed sleeping, from the Morte d'Arthur. I don't know which was in your mind, but they all came to me — and the sword also means clean-ness, and death.thomas edward ("t. e.") lawrence
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