This is a copy of Rossetti's first Arthurian subject, made five years earlier. It illustrates a passage in Malory's Morte d'Arthur, Book XXI. Queen Guinevere, who has become a nun after the revelation of her adultery, is visited by her former lover Sir Lancelot. The passage ends: "'madame I pray you kysse me, and never no more'. 'Nay', sayd the quene, 'that shal I never do, but absteyne you from suche werkes.' And they departed.'"
Rossetti heightens the drama by setting the scene over King Arthur's tomb, underlining his obsession with the subject of illicit love.
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Dante Gabriel Rossetti (...)