A mystical forest in the Matter of Britain. Broceliande first appears in the works of Wace, who locates it in Bretagne; later it becomes a place of indeterminate but apparently British location. Its most famous marvel is a fountain and stone which may be used to conjure rain and storms. Several stories of the Matter of Britain, most notably the various versions of Owain, take place in the forest. Moreover, the Forest of Arroy in Malory, that »contrey of stronge adventures« in which the triple quest of Gawain, Owain and Marhalt takes place, may be intended to be identical with Broceliande; at the beginning of that adventure is a suggestive encounter at a fountain. In those stories where Merlin is trapped in or crushed under an oak, this also takes place in Broceliande; Malory's chamber in the stone, however, is in Cornwall.

A note of some interest to admirers of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien is that in his notes, he originally called the region of Beleriand Broceliande or Broseliand.


Alan Seeger

Broceliande! in the perilous beauty of silence and menacing shade,
Thou art set on the shores of the sea down the haze
  of horizons untravelled, unscanned.
Untroubled, untouched with the woes of this world
  are the moon-marshalled hosts that invade

Only at dusk, when lavender clouds in the orient twilight disband,
Vanishing where all the blue afternoon they have drifted in solemn parade,
Sometimes a whisper comes down on the wind from the valleys of Fairyland ----

Sometimes an echo most mournful and faint like the horn of a huntsman strayed,
Faint and forlorn, half drowned in the murmur of foliage fitfully fanned,
Breathes in a burden of nameless regret till I startle,
  disturbed and affrayed:
                    Broceliande --
                    Broceliande --

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