The beguiling of Merlin

Infatuation, real love and man, remain a query.

Similarly, who is an enchantress and who the prey,

It’s all so baffling and a real mystery!

And if love is not requited, revenge follows

Reducing love to a hollow,

Non-existent, a void, an emptiness,

With thousand colours of weakness.


The painting depicts the infatuated Merlin beguiled.

 By the lady of the lake, Nimue, supposed to be mild,

Loving, enticing and romantic,

And awesomely terrific.

Comes the moment of being in distress,

Under the spell of the enchantress

Destined for tragedy and greatness.

Merlin lies trapped in her magic, mysterious,

Though himself a wizard legendary and famous,

Now imprisoned within a hawthorn bush, so helpless.


Time and tide bring revelations shocking,

And so heart breaking,

Leaving one utterly disillusioned,

And by fate or by own karma pinioned.


©Pushmaotee Subrun

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About Pushmaotee Subrun

Pushmaotee Fowdur Subrun was born in 1949 in Mauritius. She pursued higher studies in Delhi University where she graduated in English. For the past forty-four years she has worked in secondary schools, seven years of which she spent in Masvingo, Zimbabwe, teaching English in an army school. She completed her PGCE at the Mauritius Institute of Education in 1993. After her retirement, she was a member of the Council of the University of Mauritius for three years. She is currently a reader and editor in the Ministry of Arts and Culture. She has written one novel, one play and Short Stories and Fables. Her poems have featured in Setu Magazine, ‘Poetry and Creativity’ and in Atunis Poetry.

6 thoughts on “The beguiling of Merlin

  1. amitapaul

    This is an Ekphrastic poem on a very complex subject which The Beguiling of Merlin which has layers upon layers of meaning .

    Stephanie Chatfield writes in ‘ The Pre -Raphaelite Sisterhood :

    “ This painting is more than a depiction of an Arthurian legend. Through his work, Burne-Jones tells us an autobiographical tale of his own beguiling. In the face of Nimue, we see Mary Zambaco, the woman who captivated Burne-Jones, despite the fact that he was married to the beautiful Georgiana. Mary Zambaco can be seen in other Burne-Jones works as well, including the Pygmalion series that I’ve written about here. The Beguiling of Merlin was also his way of marking the end of the affair. Unlike Merlin, Ned had broken free from Mary’s spell. He was disillusioned, even writing that she was “A woman at her best, self-denying and devoted , is pathetic and lovely beyond words; but once she gets the upper hand and flaunts, she’s the devil.” “

    Burne – Jones of course is being selfish , chauvinistic , unfair and unrealistic in his comments .


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