The Knight and the Lion

"Prisoner of Love"

In no time, Lunette peeped round the door:

'Good sir, they've been out for your blood all right. They were after you like hounds after a partridge. You must have been terrified.'

'You're right,' Yvain cried. 'I was never so scared in all my life. Even so, if it were possible, I would like to look out of some small window and see the procession and the body going to the burial.'

Not that he cared at all for the procession or the body. It was the beautiful lady that he wanted to catch a glimpse of if he could.

So Lunette sat him at a small window and went down to join the procession. Yvain is far from pleased to see the body of the knight carried by to be buried, for he knows that he still has no proof that he has killed him and that Kay is sure to disbelieve him. Yet when his eyes fall upon the lady the sugar and honey of love soften his heart.

'May God have mercy on your soul, my dear husband,' the lady is saying, 'for I truly believe that no knight ever sat in the saddle who was your equal. You were generous and brave. May your soul rest among the saints, my fair dear lord.'

All this time Yvain gazes at the lady. If only she would look up, he thinks, and they might talk together.

'I must be mad', he tells himself, 'to wish for what I can never have. She must hate me more than any other man in the world. For I killed her husband, whom she dearly loved.'

Now the lady breaks out weeping once more and claws her face in her distress.

'I am her enemy,' thinks Yvain, 'for I have done her the greatest harm I could possibly do. And yet I wish her nothing but good. I want to rush to her side and dry her tears, to seize her wrists to stop her harming herself. If she is so beautiful in her sorrow, how lovely she would be in a happy mood! Now I am a prisoner twice over, shut in the castle by the gates and by love for her. For if the gates were open I would not leave while she is here.'

Yvain is suffering from 'courtly love'. What was this Medieval form of love
and how was it different from the way we think about love nowadays?