Merlin and Nimue
Nimue (also known as Viviane or Lady of the Lake) was the responsible for Merlin’s downfall. She met Merlin when she was 16 years of age. Merlin fell in love with Nimue. He was so in love with her that he was constantly at her side. Nimue accompanied Merlin on a journey so that she might learn his magic. Knowing that Merlin could take her unwillingly, she made him swear that he would use no magic to make her lay with him. In some versions of the legend, Nimue traded her love for lessons in sorcery. Merlin foresaw his own death, but was so smitten with Nimue that he was helpless to avert his own tragic end. There are different versions of his death. One version has Nimue tiring of him and turning one of his own spells against him and seals him in a cave forever. Other versions have her trapping him in a bush or Hawthorne tree where his voice is sometimes heard.
§ illustration: Merlin and Nimue by Edward Burne-Jones