Roger Jerome: Merlin Remembers

"The old order changeth, yielding place to new..."

Merlin is one of the most celebrated spellcasters of all time. He played a special rôle in the story of the mighty King Arthur of Britain. Protecting Arthur as a baby, keeping a watchful eye on him throughout his eventful life, Merlin is unable to prevent Arthur's final fall, caused by those he trusted most.

Description and Storyline

"Merlin Remembers" is for grades 3-8, but can be adapted for older students if necessary. 20 youngsters are included in the show. They are trained in the basics of swordfighting, the use of fake blood and dying! The swords and shields are imaginary.

The program begins with Merlin entering dramatically, on the run from Vivian. He explains who she is and how he got temporarily free. Discovering his memory-basket, he demonstrates some of the magic for which he is famous. He then recounts the story of Arthur's birth and early life:

"Lords and ladies, dearly loved, listen while I tell
About our ancestors of old, and what to them befell."

Merlin introduces the Sword in the Stone, on which is written:

"Whoso pulleth out this sword from this stone
Is rightwise born king of Britain."

Students attempt to pull out the Pendragon sword. Only one is successful and he is crowned as the young Arthur. Merlin explains his invention, the Round Table, and 9 knights are invested with the traditional shoulder-tapping ceremony.

"From all of Britain's corners,
The best were gathered then,
In boar-like fury of heart to kill
The evil enemies of men."

We then see Excalibur and Merlin explains how Arthur received it from the Lady of the Lake:

"She gave to me this huge cross-hilted sword,
Whereby to drive the wicked out."

Guinevere, Lancelot and Mordred are introduced and their treachery explained. The story of the Lady of Shalott is told, with the entire poem by Tennyson:

"There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colors gay.
She has heard a whisper say
A curse is on her."

Finally, we reach the Battle of Camlaan, when Arthur's reign came to an end. Twenty students are trained and then fight the final battle.

"The crash of battleaxes on shattered
helms and shrieks of those, who
falling down, tooked up for Heaven
and only saw the mist."

Arthur's wounded body is taken away and Sir Bedivere remains to contemplate the carnage:

"The Stillness of the dead world's winter dawn
Amazed Sir Bedivere and he groaned
'The King is gone to Avalon'."

Myth and History


40-45 minutes

20 pre-selected participating students will be needed—10 sensible boys, 10 sensible girls.