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Title: Le Mort d'Arthur: Volume 2
Author: Malory, Thomas, Sir, 1400-1470
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Le Mort d'Arthur: Volume 2" ***

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LE MORTE D'ARTHUR

King Arthur and of his Noble Knights of the Round Table


By Sir Thomas Malory


IN TWO VOLS.--VOL. II



CONTENTS:



BOOK X



CHAPTER I. How Sir Tristram jousted, and smote down King Arthur, because
he told him not the cause why he bare that shield.


AND if so be ye can descrive what ye bear, ye are worthy to bear the
arms. As for that, said Sir Tristram, I will answer you; this shield was
given me, not desired, of Queen Morgan le Fay; and as for me, I can not
descrive these arms, for it is no point of my charge, and yet I trust to
God to bear them with worship. Truly, said King Arthur, ye ought not to
bear none arms but if ye wist what ye bear: but I pray you tell me your
name. To what intent? said Sir Tristram. For I would wit, said Arthur.
Sir, ye shall not wit as at this time. Then shall ye and I do battle
together, said King Arthur. Why, said Sir Tristram, will ye do battle
with me but if I tell you my name? and that little needeth you an ye
were a man of worship, for ye have seen me this day have had great
travail, and therefore ye are a villainous knight to ask battle of me,
considering my great travail; howbeit I will not fail you, and have ye
no doubt that I fear not you; though you think you have me at a great
advantage yet shall I right well endure you. And there withal King
Arthur dressed his shield and his spear, and Sir Tristram against him,
and they came so eagerly together. And there King Arthur brake his spear
all to pieces upon Sir Tristram's shield. But Sir Tristram hit Arthur
again, that horse and man fell to the earth. And there was King Arthur
wounded on the left side, a great wound and a perilous.

Then when Sir Uwaine saw his lord Arthur lie on the ground sore wounded,
he was passing heavy. And then he dressed his shield and his spear, and
cried aloud unto Sir Tristram and said: Knight, defend thee. So they
came together as thunder, and Sir Uwaine brised his spear all to pieces
upon Sir Tristram's shield, and Sir Tristram smote him harder and sorer,
with such a might that he bare him clean out of his saddle to the earth.
With that Sir Tristram turned about and said: Fair knights, I had no
need to joust with you, for I have had enough to do this day. Then arose
Arthur and went to Sir Uwaine, and said to Sir Tristram: We have as we
have deserved, for through our orgulyté we demanded battle of you,
and yet we knew not your name. Nevertheless, by Saint Cross, said Sir
Uwaine, he is a strong knight at mine advice as any is now living.

Then Sir Tristram departed, and in every place he asked and demanded
after Sir Launcelot, but in no place he could not hear of him whether he
were dead or alive; wherefore Sir Tristram made great dole and sorrow.
So Sir Tristram rode by a forest, and then was he ware of a fair tower
by a marsh on that one side, and on that other side a fair meadow. And
there he saw ten knights fighting together. And ever the nearer he came
he saw how there was but one knight did battle against nine knights,
and that one did so marvellously that Sir Tristram had great wonder
that ever one knight might do so great deeds of arms. And then within a
little while he had slain half their horses and unhorsed them, and their
horses ran in the fields and forest. Then Sir Tristram had so great pity
of that one knight that endured so great pain, and ever he thought it
should be Sir Palomides, by his shield. And so he rode unto the knights
and cried unto them, and bade them cease of their battle, for they did
themselves great shame so many knights to fight with one. Then answered
the master of those knights, his name was called Breuse Saunce Pité,
that was at that time the most mischievoust knight living, and said
thus: Sir knight, what have ye ado with us to meddle? and therefore,
an ye be wise, depart on your way as ye came, for this knight shall not
escape us. That were pity, said Sir Tristram, that so good a knight
as he is should be slain so cowardly; and therefore I warn you I will
succour him with all my puissance.



CHAPTER II. How Sir Tristram saved Sir Palomides' life, and how they
promised to fight together within a fortnight.


So Sir Tristram alighted off his horse because they were on foot, that
they should not slay his horse, and then dressed his shield, with his
sword in his hand, and he smote on the right hand and on the left hand
passing sore, that well-nigh at every stroke he struck down a knight.
And when they espied his strokes they fled all with Breuse Saunce Pité
unto the tower, and Sir Tristram followed fast after with his sword in
his hand, but they escaped into the tower, and shut Sir Tristram without
the gate. And when Sir Tristram saw this he returned aback unto Sir
Palomides, and found him sitting under a tree sore wounded. Ah,
fair knight, said Sir Tristram, well be ye found. Gramercy, said Sir
Palomides, of your great goodness, for ye have rescued me of my life,
and saved me from my death. What is your name? said Sir Tristram. He
said: My name is Sir Palomides. O Jesu, said Sir Tristram, thou hast a
fair grace of me this day that I should rescue thee, and thou art the
man in the world that I most hate; but now make thee ready, for I will
do battle with thee. What is your name? said Sir Palomides. My name is
Sir Tristram, your mortal enemy. It may be so, said Sir Palomides; but
ye have done over much for me this day that I should fight with you; for
inasmuch as ye have saved my life it will be no worship for you to have
ado with me, for ye are fresh and I am wounded sore, and therefore, an
ye will needs have ado with me, assign me a day and then I shall meet
with you without fail. Ye say well, said Sir Tristram, now I assign you
to meet me in the meadow by the river of Camelot, where Merlin set the
peron. So they were agreed.

Then Sir Tristram asked Sir Palomides why the ten knights did battle
with him. For this cause, said Sir Palomides; as I rode upon mine
adventures in a forest here beside I espied where lay a dead knight, and
a lady weeping beside him. And when I saw her making such dole, I asked
her who slew her lord. Sir, she said, the falsest knight of the world
now living, and he is the most villain that ever man heard speak of and
his name is Sir Breuse Saunce Pité. Then for pity I made the damosel to
leap on her palfrey, and I promised her to be her warrant, and to help
her to inter her lord. And so, suddenly, as I came riding by this tower,
there came out Sir Breuse Saunce Pité, and suddenly he struck me from
my horse. And then or I might recover my horse this Sir Breuse slew the
damosel. And so I took my horse again, and I was sore ashamed, and so
began the medley betwixt us: and this is the cause wherefore we did this
battle. Well, said Sir Tristram, now I understand the manner of your
battle, but in any wise have remembrance of your promise that ye have
made with me to do battle with me this day fortnight. I shall not fail
you, said Sir Palomides. Well, said Sir Tristram, as at this time I will
not fail you till that ye be out of the danger of your enemies.

So they mounted upon their horses, and rode together unto that forest,
and there they found a fair well, with clear water bubbling. Fair sir,
said Sir Tristram, to drink of that water have I courage; and then they
alighted off their horses. And then were they ware by them where stood a
great horse tied to a tree, and ever he neighed. And then were they ware
of a fair knight armed, under a tree, lacking no piece of harness, save
his helm lay under his head. By the good lord, said Sir Tristram, yonder
lieth a well-faring knight; what is best to do? Awake him, said Sir
Palomides. So Sir Tristram awaked him with the butt of his spear. And
so the knight rose up hastily and put his helm upon his head, and gat a
great spear in his hand; and without any more words he hurled unto Sir
Tristram, and smote him clean from his saddle to the earth, and hurt him
on the left side, that Sir Tristram lay in great peril. Then he walloped
farther, and fetched his course, and came hurling upon Sir Palomides,
and there he struck him a part through the body, that he fell from his
horse to the earth. And then this strange knight left them there,
and took his way through the forest. With this Sir Palomides and Sir
Tristram were on foot, and gat their horses again, and either asked
counsel of other, what was best to do. By my head, said Sir Tristram, I
will follow this strong knight that thus hath shamed us. Well, said Sir
Palomides, and I will repose me hereby with a friend of mine. Beware,
said Sir Tristram unto Palomides, that ye fail not that day that ye have
set with me to do battle, for, as I deem, ye will not hold your day, for
I am much bigger than ye. As for that, said Sir Palomides, be it as it
be may, for I fear you not, for an I be not sick nor prisoner, I will
not fail you; but I have cause to have more doubt of you that ye will
not meet with me, for ye ride after yonder strong knight. And if ye meet
with him it is an hard adventure an ever ye escape his hands. Right
so Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides departed, and either took their ways
diverse.



CHAPTER III. How Sir Tristram sought a strong knight that had smitten him down, and
many other knights of the Round Table.


AND so Sir Tristram rode long after this strong knight. And at the last
he saw where lay a lady overthwart a dead knight. Fair lady, said Sir
Tristram, who hath slain your lord? Sir, she said, here came a knight
riding, as my lord and I rested us here, and asked him of whence he was,
and my lord said of Arthur's court. Therefore, said the strong knight,
I will joust with thee, for I hate all these that be of Arthur's court.
And my lord that lieth here dead amounted upon his horse, and the strong
knight and my lord encountered together, and there he smote my lord
throughout with his spear, and thus he hath brought me in great woe and
damage. That me repenteth, said Sir Tristram, of your great anger; an
it please you tell me your husband's name. Sir, said she, his name
was Galardoun, that would have proved a good knight. So departed Sir
Tristram from that dolorous lady, and had much evil lodging. Then on the
third day Sir Tristram met with Sir Gawaine and with Sir Bleoberis in a
forest at a lodge, and either were sore wounded. Then Sir Tristram asked
Sir Gawaine and Sir Bleoberis if they met with such a knight, with such
a cognisance, with a covered shield. Fair sir, said these knights, such
a knight met with us to our great damage. And first he smote down my
fellow, Sir Bleoberis, and sore wounded him because he bade me I should
not have ado with him, for why he was overstrong for me. That strong
knight took his words at scorn, and said he said it for mockery. And
then they rode together, and so he hurt my fellow. And when he had done
so I might not for shame but I must joust with him. And at the first
course he smote me down and my horse to the earth. And there he had
almost slain me, and from us he took his horse and departed, and in an
evil time we met with him. Fair knights, said Sir Tristram, so he met
with me, and with another knight that hight Palomides, and he smote us
both down with one spear, and hurt us right sore. By my faith, said Sir
Gawaine, by my counsel ye shall let him pass and seek him no further;
for at the next feast of the Round Table, upon pain of my head ye shall
find him there. By my faith, said Sir Tristram, I shall never rest till
that I find him. And then Sir Gawaine asked him his name. Then he said:
My name is Sir Tristram. And so either told other their names, and then
departed Sir Tristram and rode his way.

And by fortune in a meadow Sir Tristram met with Sir Kay, the Seneschal,
and Sir Dinadan. What tidings with you, said Sir Tristram, with you
knights? Not good, said these knights. Why so? said Sir Tristram; I pray
you tell me, for I ride to seek a knight. What cognisance beareth he?
said Sir Kay. He beareth, said Sir Tristram, a covered shield close with
cloth. By my head, said Sir Kay, that is the same knight that met with
us, for this night we were lodged within a widow's house, and there was
that knight lodged; and when he wist we were of Arthur's court he spoke
great villainy by the king, and specially by the Queen Guenever, and
then on the morn was waged battle with him for that cause. And at the
first recounter, said Sir Kay, he smote me down from my horse and hurt
me passing sore; and when my fellow, Sir Dinadan, saw me smitten
down and hurt he would not revenge me, but fled from me; and thus he
departed. And then Sir Tristram asked them their names, and so either
told other their names. And so Sir Tristram departed from Sir Kay, and
from Sir Dinadan, and so he passed through a great forest into a plain,
till he was ware of a priory, and there he reposed him with a good man
six days.



CHAPTER IV. How Sir Tristram smote down Sir Sagramore le Desirous and
Sir Dodinas le Savage.


AND then he sent his man that hight Gouvernail, and commanded him to go
to a city thereby to fetch him new harness; for it was long time afore
that that Sir Tristram had been refreshed, his harness was brised and
broken. And when Gouvernail, his servant, was come with his apparel, he
took his leave at the widow, and mounted upon his horse, and rode his
way early on the morn. And by sudden adventure Sir Tristram met with
Sir Sagramore le Desirous, and with Sir Dodinas le Savage. And these two
knights met with Sir Tristram and questioned with him, and asked him if
he would joust with them. Fair knights, said Sir Tristram, with a good
will I would joust with you, but I have promised at a day set, near
hand, to do battle with a strong knight; and therefore I am loath to
have ado with you, for an it misfortuned me here to be hurt I should not
be able to do my battle which I promised. As for that, said Sagramore,
maugre your head, ye shall joust with us or ye pass from us. Well, said
Sir Tristram, if ye enforce me thereto I must do what I may. And then
they dressed their shields, and came running together with great ire.
But through Sir Tristram's great force he struck Sir Sagramore from
his horse. Then he hurled his horse farther, and said to Sir Dodinas:
Knight, make thee ready; and so through fine force Sir Tristram struck
Dodinas from his horse. And when he saw them lie on the earth he took
his bridle, and rode forth on his way, and his man Gouvernail with him.

Anon as Sir Tristram was passed, Sir Sagramore and Sir Dodinas gat again
their horses, and mounted up lightly and followed after Sir Tristram.
And when Sir Tristram saw them come so fast after him he returned with
his horse to them, and asked them what they would. It is not long ago
sithen I smote you to the earth at your own request and desire: I would
have ridden by you, but ye would not suffer me, and now meseemeth ye
would do more battle with me. That is truth, said Sir Sagramore and Sir
Dodinas, for we will be revenged of the despite ye have done to us. Fair
knights, said Sir Tristram, that shall little need you, for all that
I did to you ye caused it; wherefore I require you of your knighthood
leave me as at this time, for I am sure an I do battle with you I shall
not escape without great hurts, and as I suppose ye shall not escape all
lotless. And this is the cause why I am so loath to have ado with you;
for I must fight within these three days with a good knight, and as
valiant as any is now living, and if I be hurt I shall not be able to do
battle with him. What knight is that, said Sir Sagramore, that ye shall
fight withal? Sirs, said he, it is a good knight called Sir Palomides.
By my head, said Sir Sagramore and Sir Dodinas, ye have cause to dread
him, for ye shall find him a passing good knight, and a valiant. And
because ye shall have ado with him we will forbear you as at this time,
and else ye should not escape us lightly. But, fair knight, said Sir
Sagramore, tell us your name. Sir, said he, my name is Sir Tristram de
Liones. Ah, said Sagramore and Sir Dodinas, well be ye found, for much
worship have we heard of you. And then either took leave of other, and
departed on their way.



CHAPTER V. How Sir Tristram met at the peron with Sir Launcelot, and how
they fought together unknown.


THEN departed Sir Tristram and rode straight unto Camelot, to the peron
that Merlin had made to-fore, where Sir Lanceor, that was the king's son
of Ireland, was slain by the hands of Balin. And in that same place was
the fair lady Colombe slain, that was love unto Sir Lanceor; for after
he was dead she took his sword and thrust it through her body. And by
the craft of Merlin he made to inter this knight, Lanceor, and his lady,
Colombe, under one stone. And at that time Merlin prophesied that in
that same place should fight two the best knights that ever were in
Arthur's days, and the best lovers. So when Sir Tristram came to the
tomb where Lanceor and his lady were buried he looked about him after
Sir Palomides. Then was he ware of a seemly knight came riding against
him all in white, with a covered shield. When he came nigh Sir Tristram
he said on high: Ye be welcome, sir knight, and well and truly have ye
holden your promise. And then they dressed their shields and spears,
and came together with all their might of their horses; and they met so
fiercely that both their horses and knights fell to the earth, and as
fast as they might avoided their horses, and put their shields afore
them; and they struck together with bright swords, as men that were of
might, and either wounded other wonderly sore, that the blood ran out
upon the grass. And thus they fought the space of four hours, that never
one would speak to other one word, and of their harness they had hewn
off many pieces. O Lord Jesu, said Gouvernail, I marvel greatly of
the strokes my master hath given to your master. By my head, said Sir
Launcelot's servant, your master hath not given so many but your master
has received as many or more. O Jesu, said Gouvernail, it is too much
for Sir Palomides to suffer or Sir Launcelot, and yet pity it were that
either of these good knights should destroy other's blood. So they
stood and wept both, and made great dole when they saw the bright swords
over-covered with blood of their bodies.

Then at the last spake Sir Launcelot and said: Knight, thou fightest
wonderly well as ever I saw knight, therefore, an it please you, tell me
your name. Sir, said Sir Tristram, that is me loath to tell any man my
name. Truly, said Sir Launcelot, an I were required I was never loath to
tell my name. It is well said, said Sir Tristram, then I require you
to tell me your name? Fair knight, he said, my name is Sir Launcelot du
Lake. Alas, said Sir Tristram, what have I done! for ye are the man in
the world that I love best. Fair knight, said Sir Launcelot, tell me
your name? Truly, said he, my name is Sir Tristram de Liones. O Jesu,
said Sir Launcelot, what adventure is befallen me! And therewith Sir
Launcelot kneeled down and yielded him up his sword. And therewith Sir
Tristram kneeled adown, and yielded him up his sword. And so either gave
other the degree. And then they both forthwithal went to the stone, and
set them down upon it, and took off their helms to cool them, and either
kissed other an hundred times. And then anon after they took off their
helms and rode to Camelot. And there they met with Sir Gawaine and with
Sir Gaheris that had made promise to Arthur never to come again to the
court till they had brought Sir Tristram with them.



CHAPTER VI. How Sir Launcelot brought Sir Tristram to the court, and
of the great joy that the king and other made for the coming of Sir
Tristram.


RETURN again, said Sir Launcelot, for your quest is done, for I have
met with Sir Tristram: lo, here is his own person! Then was Sir Gawaine
glad, and said to Sir Tristram: Ye are welcome, for now have ye eased
me greatly of my labour. For what cause, said Sir Gawaine, came ye
into this court? Fair sir, said Sir Tristram, I came into this country
because of Sir Palomides; for he and I had assigned at this day to have
done battle together at the peron, and I marvel I hear not of him. And
thus by adventure my lord, Sir Launcelot, and I met together. With this
came King Arthur, and when he wist that there was Sir Tristram, then he
ran unto him and took him by the hand and said: Sir Tristram, ye are as
welcome as any knight that ever came to this court. And when the king
had heard how Sir Launcelot and he had foughten, and either had wounded
other wonderly sore, then the king made great dole. Then Sir Tristram
told the king how he came thither for to have had ado with Sir
Palomides. And then he told the king how he had rescued him from the
nine knights and Breuse Saunce Pité; and how he found a knight lying by
a well, and that knight smote down Sir Palomides and me, but his shield
was covered with a cloth. So Sir Palomides left me, and I followed after
that knight; and in many places I found where he had slain knights, and
forjousted many. By my head, said Sir Gawaine, that same knight smote
me down and Sir Bleoberis, and hurt us sore both, he with the covered
shield. Ah, said Sir Kay, that knight smote me adown and hurt me passing
sore, and fain would I have known him, but I might not. Jesu, mercy,
said Arthur, what knight was that with the covered shield? I know not,
said Sir Tristram; and so said they all. Now, said King Arthur, then wot
I, for it is Sir Launcelot. Then they all looked upon Sir Launcelot and
said: Ye have beguiled us with your covered shield. It is not the first
time, said Arthur, he hath done so. My lord, said Sir Launcelot, truly
wit ye well I was the same knight that bare the covered shield; and
because I would not be known that I was of your court I said no worship
of your house. That is truth, said Sir Gawaine, Sir Kay, and Sir
Bleoberis.

Then King Arthur took Sir Tristram by the hand and went to the Table
Round. Then came Queen Guenever and many ladies with her, and all the
ladies said at one voice: Welcome, Sir Tristram! Welcome, said the
damosels. Welcome, said knights. Welcome, said Arthur, for one of
the best knights, and the gentlest of the world, and the man of most
worship; for of all manner of hunting thou bearest the prize, and of
all measures of blowing thou art the beginning, and of all the terms of
hunting and hawking ye are the beginner, of all instruments of music ye
are the best; therefore, gentle knight, said Arthur, ye are welcome to
this court. And also, I pray you, said Arthur, grant me a boon. It shall
be at your commandment, said Tristram. Well, said Arthur, I will desire
of you that ye will abide in my court. Sir, said Sir Tristram, thereto
is me loath, for I have ado in many countries. Not so, said Arthur, ye
have promised it me, ye may not say nay. Sir, said Sir Tristram, I will
as ye will. Then went Arthur unto the sieges about the Round Table, and
looked in every siege the which were void that lacked knights. And then
the king saw in the siege of Marhaus letters that said: This is the
siege of the noble knight, Sir Tristram. And then Arthur made Sir
Tristram Knight of the Table Round, with great nobley and great feast
as might be thought. For Sir Marhaus was slain afore by the hands of Sir
Tristram in an island; and that was well known at that time in the court
of Arthur, for this Marhaus was a worthy knight. And for evil deeds that
he did unto the country of Cornwall Sir Tristram and he fought. And they
fought so long, tracing and traversing, till they fell bleeding to
the earth; for they were so sore wounded that they might not stand for
bleeding. And Sir Tristram by fortune recovered, and Sir Marhaus died
through the stroke on the head. So leave we of Sir Tristram and speak we
of King Mark.



CHAPTER VII. How for the despite of Sir Tristram King Mark came with two
knights into England, and how he slew one of the knights.


THEN King Mark had great despite of the renown of Sir Tristram, and then
he chased him out of Cornwall: yet was he nephew unto King Mark, but
he had great suspicion unto Sir Tristram because of his queen, La Beale
Isoud; for him seemed that there was too much love between them both. So
when Sir Tristram departed out of Cornwall into England King Mark heard
of the great prowess that Sir Tristram did there, the which grieved
him sore. So he sent on his part men to espy what deeds he did. And the
queen sent privily on her part spies to know what deeds he had done, for
great love was between them twain. So when the messengers were come home
they told the truth as they had heard, that he passed all other knights
but if it were Sir Launcelot. Then King Mark was right heavy of these
tidings, and as glad was La Beale Isoud. Then in great despite he took
with him two good knights and two squires, and disguised himself, and
took his way into England, to the intent for to slay Sir Tristram. And
one of these two knights hight Bersules, and the other knight was called
Amant. So as they rode King Mark asked a knight that he met, where he
should find King Arthur. He said: At Camelot. Also he asked that knight
after Sir Tristram, whether he heard of him in the court of King Arthur.
Wit you well, said that knight, ye shall find Sir Tristram there for a
man of as great worship as is now living; for through his prowess he won
the tournament of the Castle of Maidens that standeth by the Hard Rock.
And sithen he hath won with his own hands thirty knights that were men
of great honour. And the last battle that ever he did he fought with
Sir Launcelot; and that was a marvellous battle. And not by force Sir
Launcelot brought Sir Tristram to the court, and of him King Arthur made
passing great joy, and so made him Knight of the Table Round; and his
seat was where the good knight's, Sir Marhaus, seat was. Then was King
Mark passing sorry when he heard of the honour of Sir Tristram; and so
they departed.

Then said King Mark unto his two knights: Now will I tell you my
counsel: ye are the men that I trust most to alive, and I will that ye
wit my coming hither is to this intent, for to destroy Sir Tristram by
wiles or by treason; and it shall be hard if ever he escape our hands.
Alas, said Sir Bersules, what mean you? for ye be set in such a way ye
are disposed shamefully; for Sir Tristram is the knight of most worship
that we know living, and therefore I warn you plainly I will never
consent to do him to the death; and therefore I will yield my service,
and forsake you. When King Mark heard him say so, suddenly he drew his
sword and said: Ah, traitor; and smote Sir Bersules on the head, that
the sword went to his teeth. When Amant, the knight, saw him do that
villainous deed, and his squires, they said it was foul done, and
mischievously: Wherefore we will do thee no more service, and wit ye
well, we will appeach thee of treason afore Arthur. Then was King Mark
wonderly wroth and would have slain Amant; but he and the two squires
held them together, and set nought by his malice. When King Mark saw he
might not be revenged on them, he said thus unto the knight, Amant: Wit
thou well, an thou appeach me of treason I shall thereof defend me afore
King Arthur; but I require thee that thou tell not my name, that I am
King Mark, whatsomever come of me. As for that, said Sir Amant, I will
not discover your name; and so they departed, and Amant and his fellows
took the body of Bersules and buried it.



CHAPTER VIII. How King Mark came to a fountain where he found Sir
Lamorak complaining for the love of King Lot's wife.


THEN King Mark rode till he came to a fountain, and there he rested him,
and stood in a doubt whether he would ride to Arthur's court or none, or
return again to his country. And as he thus rested him by that fountain
there came by him a knight well armed on horseback; and he alighted,
and tied his horse until a tree, and set him down by the brink of
the fountain; and there he made great languor and dole, and made the
dolefullest complaint of love that ever man heard; and all this
while was he not ware of King Mark. And this was a great part of his
complaint: he cried and wept, saying: O fair Queen of Orkney, King Lot's
wife, and mother of Sir Gawaine, and to Sir Gaheris, and mother to many
other, for thy love I am in great pains. Then King Mark arose and went
near him and said: Fair knight, ye have made a piteous complaint. Truly,
said the knight, it is an hundred part more ruefuller than my heart can
utter. I require you, said King Mark, tell me your name. Sir, said he,
as for my name I will not hide it from no knight that beareth a shield,
and my name is Sir Lamorak de Galis. But when Sir Lamorak heard King
Mark speak, then wist he well by his speech that he was a Cornish
knight. Sir, said Sir Lamorak, I understand by your tongue ye be of
Cornwall, wherein there dwelleth the shamefullest king that is now
living, for he is a great enemy to all good knights; and that proveth
well, for he hath chased out of that country Sir Tristram, that is the
worshipfullest knight that now is living, and all knights speak of him
worship; and for jealousness of his queen he hath chased him out of
his country. It is pity, said Sir Lamorak, that ever any such false
knight-coward as King Mark is, should be matched with such a fair lady
and good as La Beale Isoud is, for all the world of him speaketh shame,
and of her worship that any queen may have. I have not ado in this
matter, said King Mark, neither nought will I speak thereof. Well said,
said Sir Lamorak. Sir, can ye tell me any tidings? I can tell you, said
Sir Lamorak, that there shall be a great tournament in haste beside
Camelot, at the Castle of Jagent; and the King with the Hundred Knights
and the King of Ireland, as I suppose, make that tournament.

Then there came a knight that was called Sir Dinadan, and saluted
them both. And when he wist that King Mark was a knight of Cornwall he
reproved him for the love of King Mark a thousand fold more than did
Sir Lamorak. Then he proffered to joust with King Mark. And he was full
loath thereto, but Sir Dinadan edged him so, that he jousted with Sir
Lamorak. And Sir Lamorak smote King Mark so sore that he bare him on
his spear end over his horse's tail. And then King Mark arose again,
and followed after Sir Lamorak. But Sir Dinadan would not joust with
Sir Lamorak, but he told King Mark that Sir Lamorak was Sir Kay, the
Seneschal. That is not so, said King Mark, for he is much bigger than
Sir Kay; and so he followed and overtook him, and bade him abide. What
will you do? said Sir Lamorak. Sir, he said, I will fight with a sword,
for ye have shamed me with a spear; and therewith they dashed together
with swords, and Sir Lamorak suffered him and forbare him. And King Mark
was passing hasty, and smote thick strokes. Sir Lamorak saw he would not
stint, and waxed somewhat wroth, and doubled his strokes, for he was one
of the noblest knights of the world; and he beat him so on the helm that
his head hung nigh on the saddle bow. When Sir Lamorak saw him fare so,
he said: Sir knight, what cheer? meseemeth you have nigh your fill of
fighting, it were pity to do you any more harm, for ye are but a mean
knight, therefore I give you leave to go where ye list. Gramercy, said
King Mark, for ye and I be not matches.

Then Sir Dinadan mocked King Mark and said: Ye are not able to match a
good knight. As for that, said King Mark, at the first time I jousted
with this knight ye refused him. Think ye that it is a shame to me? said
Sir Dinadan: nay, sir, it is ever worship to a knight to refuse that
thing that he may not attain, there fore your worship had been much more
to have refused him as I did; for I warn you plainly he is able to
beat such five as ye and I be; for ye knights of Cornwall are no men of
worship as other knights are. And because ye are no men of worship
ye hate all men of worship, for never was bred in your country such a
knight as is Sir Tristram.



CHAPTER IX. How King Mark, Sir Lamorak, and Sir Dinadan came to a
castle, and how King Mark was known there.


THEN they rode forth all together, King Mark, Sir Lamorak, and Sir
Dinadan, till that they came to a bridge, and at the end thereof stood a
fair tower. Then saw they a knight on horseback well armed, brandishing
a spear, crying and proffering himself to joust. Now, said Sir Dinadan
unto King Mark, yonder are two brethren, that one hight Alein, and the
other hight Trian, that will joust with any that passeth this passage.
Now proffer yourself, said Dinadan to King Mark, for ever ye be laid
to the earth. Then King Mark was ashamed, and therewith he feutred his
spear, and hurtled to Sir Trian, and either brake their spears all to
pieces, and passed through anon. Then Sir Trian sent King Mark another
spear to joust more; but in no wise he would not joust no more. Then
they came to the castle all three knights, and prayed the lord of the
castle of harbour. Ye are right welcome, said the knights of the castle,
for the love of the lord of this castle, the which hight Sir Tor le Fise
Aries. And then they came into a fair court well repaired, and they
had passing good cheer, till the lieutenant of this castle, that hight
Berluse, espied King Mark of Cornwall. Then said Berluse: Sir knight, I
know you better than you ween, for ye are King Mark that slew my father
afore mine own eyen; and me had ye slain had I not escaped into a wood;
but wit ye well, for the love of my lord of this castle I will neither
hurt you nor harm you, nor none of your fellowship. But wit ye well,
when ye are past this lodging I shall hurt you an I may, for ye slew my
father traitorly. But first for the love of my lord, Sir Tor, and for
the love of Sir Lamorak, the honourable knight that here is lodged, ye
shall have none ill lodging; for it is pity that ever ye should be in
the company of good knights; for ye are the most villainous knight or
king that is now known alive, for ye are a destroyer of good knights,
and all that ye do is but treason.



CHAPTER X. How Sir Berluse met with King Mark, and how Sir Dinadan took
his part.


THEN was King Mark sore ashamed, and said but little again. But when Sir
Lamorak and Sir Dinadan wist that he was King Mark they were sorry of
his fellowship. So after supper they went to lodging. So on the morn
they arose early, and King Mark and Sir Dinadan rode together; and
three mile from their lodging there met with them three knights, and Sir
Berluse was one, and that other his two cousins. Sir Berluse saw King
Mark, and then he cried on high: Traitor, keep thee from me for wit thou
well that I am Berluse. Sir knight, said Sir Dinadan, I counsel you to
leave off at this time, for he is riding to King Arthur; and because I
have promised to conduct him to my lord King Arthur needs must I take
a part with him; howbeit I love not his condition, and fain I would be
from him. Well, Dinadan, said Sir Berluse, me repenteth that ye will
take part with him, but now do your best. And then he hurtled to King
Mark, and smote him sore upon the shield, that he bare him clean out of
his saddle to the earth. That saw Sir Dinadan, and he feutred his spear,
and ran to one of Berluse's fellows, and smote him down off his saddle.
Then Dinadan turned his horse, and smote the third knight in the same
wise to the earth, for Sir Dinadan was a good knight on horseback;
and there began a great battle, for Berluse and his fellows held them
together strongly on foot. And so through the great force of Sir Dinadan
King Mark had Berluse to the earth, and his two fellows fled; and had
not been Sir Dinadan King Mark would have slain him. And so Sir Dinadan
rescued him of his life, for King Mark was but a murderer. And then they
took their horses and departed and left Sir Berluse there sore wounded.

Then King Mark and Sir Dinadan rode forth a four leagues English, till
that they came to a bridge where hoved a knight on horseback, armed and
ready to joust. Lo, said Sir Dinadan unto King Mark, yonder hoveth a
knight that will joust, for there shall none pass this bridge but he
must joust with that knight. It is well, said King Mark, for this jousts
falleth with thee. Sir Dinadan knew the knight well that he was a noble
knight, and fain he would have jousted, but he had had liefer King Mark
had jousted with him, but by no mean King Mark would not joust. Then Sir
Dinadan might not refuse him in no manner. And then either dressed their
spears and their shields, and smote together, so that through fine force
Sir Dinadan was smitten to the earth; and lightly he rose up and gat
his horse, and required that knight to do battle with swords. And he
answered and said: Fair knight, as at this time I may not have ado
with you no more, for the custom of this passage is such. Then was Sir
Dinadan passing wroth that he might not be revenged of that knight; and
so he departed, and in no wise would that knight tell his name. But ever
Sir Dinadan thought he should know him by his shield that it should be
Sir Tor.



CHAPTER XI. How King Mark mocked Sir Dinadan, and how they met with six
knights of the Round Table.


So as they rode by the way King Mark then began to mock Sir Dinadan, and
said: I weened you knights of the Table Round might not in no wise find
their matches. Ye say well, said Sir Dinadan; as for you, on my life I
call you none of the best knights; but sith ye have such a despite at me
I require you to joust with me to prove my strength. Not so, said King
Mark, for I will not have ado with you in no manner; but I require you
of one thing, that when ye come to Arthur's court discover not my name,
for I am there so hated. It is shame to you, said Sir Dinadan, that ye
govern you so shamefully; for I see by you ye are full of cowardice,
and ye are a murderer, and that is the greatest shame that a knight may
have; for never a knight being a murderer hath worship, nor never
shall have; for I saw but late through my force ye would have slain
Sir Berluse, a better knight than ye, or ever ye shall be, and more of
prowess. Thus they rode forth talking till they came to a fair place,
where stood a knight, and prayed them to take their lodging with him.
So at the request of that knight they reposed them there, and made them
well at ease, and had great cheer. For all errant-knights were welcome
to him, and specially all those of Arthur's court. Then Sir Dinadan
demanded his host what was the knight's name that kept the bridge. For
what cause ask you it? said the host. For it is not long ago, said
Sir Dinadan, sithen he gave me a fall. Ah, fair knight, said his host,
thereof have ye no marvel, for he is a passing good knight, and his name
is Sir Tor, the son of Aries le Vaysher. Ah, said Sir Dinadan, was that
Sir Tor? for truly so ever me thought.

Right as they stood thus talking together they saw come riding to them
over a plain six knights of the court of King Arthur, well armed at all
points. And there by their shields Sir Dinadan knew them well. The first
was the good knight Sir Uwaine, the son of King Uriens, the second was
the noble knight Sir Brandiles, the third was Ozana le Cure Hardy, the
fourth was Uwaine les Aventurous, the fifth was Sir Agravaine, the sixth
Sir Mordred, brother to Sir Gawaine. When Sir Dinadan had seen these six
knights he thought in himself he would bring King Mark by some wile to
joust with one of them. And anon they took their horses and ran after
these knights well a three mile English. Then was King Mark ware where
they sat all six about a well, and ate and drank such meats as they had,
and their horses walking and some tied, and their shields hung in divers
places about them. Lo, said Sir Dinadan, yonder are knights-errant that
will joust with us. God forbid, said King Mark, for they be six and we
but two. As for that, said Sir Dinadan, let us not spare, for I will
assay the foremost; and therewith he made him ready. When King Mark
saw him do so, as fast as Sir Dinadan rode toward them, King Mark rode
froward them with all his menial meiny. So when Sir Dinadan saw King
Mark was gone, he set the spear out of the rest, and threw his shield
upon his back, and came, riding to the fellowship of the Table Round.
And anon Sir Uwaine knew Sir Dinadan, and welcomed him, and so did all
his fellowship.



CHAPTER XII. How the six knights sent Sir Dagonet to joust with King
Mark, and how King Mark refused him.


AND then they asked him of his adventures, and whether he had seen Sir
Tristram or Sir Launcelot. So God me help, said Sir Dinadan, I saw none
of them sithen I departed from Camelot. What knight is that, said Sir
Brandiles, that so suddenly departed from you, and rode over yonder
field? Sir, said he, it was a knight of Cornwall, and the most horrible
coward that ever bestrode horse. What is his name? said all these
knights. I wot not, said Sir Dinadan. So when they had reposed them, and
spoken together, they took their horses and rode to a castle where
dwelt an old knight that made all knights-errant good cheer. Then in
the meanwhile that they were talking came into the castle Sir Griflet le
Fise de Dieu, and there was he welcome; and they all asked him whether
he had seen Sir Launcelot or Sir Tristram. Sirs, he answered, I saw him
not sithen he departed from Camelot. So as Sir Dinadan walked and
beheld the castle, thereby in a chamber he espied King Mark, and then he
rebuked him, and asked him why he departed so. Sir, said he, for I durst
not abide because they were so many. But how escaped ye? said King Mark.
Sir, said Sir Dinadan, they were better friends than I weened they had
been. Who is captain of that fellowship? said the king. Then for to fear
him Sir Dinadan said that it was Sir Launcelot. O Jesu, said the king,
might I know Sir Launcelot by his shield? Yea, said Dinadan, for he
beareth a shield of silver and black bends. All this he said to fear the
king, for Sir Launcelot was not in his fellowship. Now I pray you, said
King Mark, that ye will ride in my fellowship. That is me loath to do,
said Sir Dinadan, because ye forsook my fellowship.

Right so Sir Dinadan went from King Mark, and went to his own
fellowship; and so they mounted upon their horses, and rode on their
ways, and talked of the Cornish knight, for Dinadan told them that he
was in the castle where they were lodged. It is well said, said Sir
Griflet, for here have I brought Sir Dagonet, King Arthur's fool, that
is the best fellow and the merriest in the world. Will ye do well? said
Sir Dinadan: I have told the Cornish knight that here is Sir Launcelot,
and the Cornish knight asked me what shield he bare. Truly, I told him
that he bare the same shield that Sir Mordred beareth. Will ye do well?
said Sir Mordred; I am hurt and may not well bear my shield nor harness,
and therefore put my shield and my harness upon Sir Dagonet, and let him
set upon the Cornish knight. That shall be done, said Sir Dagonet, by
my faith. Then anon was Dagonet armed him in Mordred's harness and his
shield, and he was set on a great horse, and a spear in his hand. Now,
said Dagonet, shew me the knight, and I trow I shall bear him down. So
all these knights rode to a woodside, and abode till King Mark came by
the way. Then they put forth Sir Dagonet, and he came on all the while
his horse might run, straight upon King Mark. And when he came nigh King
Mark, he cried as he were wood, and said: Keep thee, knight of Cornwall,
for I will slay thee. Anon, as King Mark beheld his shield, he said
to himself: Yonder is Sir Launcelot; alas, now am I destroyed; and
therewithal he made his horse to run as fast as it might through thick
and thin. And ever Sir Dagonet followed after King Mark, crying and
rating him as a wood man, through a great forest. When Sir Uwaine and
Sir Brandiles saw Dagonet so chase King Mark, they laughed all as they
were wood. And then they took their horses, and rode after to see how
Sir Dagonet sped, for they would not for no good that Sir Dagonet were
shent, for King Arthur loved him passing well, and made him knight with
his own hands. And at every tournament he began to make King Arthur to
laugh. Then the knights rode here and there, crying and chasing after
King Mark, that all the forest rang of the noise.



CHAPTER XIII. How Sir Palomides by adventure met King Mark flying, and
how he overthrew Dagonet and other knights.


SO King Mark rode by fortune by a well, in the way where stood a
knight-errant on horseback, armed at all points, with a great spear
in his hand. And when he saw King Mark coming flying he said: Knight,
return again for shame and stand with me, and I shall be thy warrant.
Ah, fair knight, said King Mark, let me pass, for yonder cometh after
me the best knight of the world, with the black bended shield. Fie, for
shame, said the knight, he is none of the worthy knights, and if he were
Sir Launcelot or Sir Tristram I should not doubt to meet the better of
them both. When King Mark heard him say that word, he turned his horse
and abode by him. And then that strong knight bare a spear to Dagonet,
and smote him so sore that he bare him over his horse's tail, and nigh
he had broken his neck. And anon after him came Sir Brandiles, and when
he saw Dagonet have that fall he was passing wroth, and cried: Keep
thee, knight, and so they hurtled together wonder sore. But the knight
smote Sir Brandiles so sore that he went to the earth, horse and man.
Sir Uwaine came after and saw all this. Jesu, said he, yonder is a
strong knight. And then they feutred their spears, and this knight came
so eagerly that he smote down Sir Uwaine. Then came Ozana with the hardy
heart, and he was smitten down. Now, said Sir Griflet, by my counsel
let us send to yonder errant-knight, and wit whether he be of Arthur's
court, for as I deem it is Sir Lamorak de Galis. So they sent unto him,
and prayed the strange knight to tell his name, and whether he were of
Arthur's court or not. As for my name they shall not wit, but tell them
I am a knight-errant as they are, and let them wit that I am no knight
of King Arthur's court; and so the squire rode again unto them and told
them his answer of him. By my head, said Sir Agravaine, he is one of the
strongest knights that ever I saw, for he hath overthrown three
noble knights, and needs we must encounter with him for shame. So Sir
Agravaine feutred his spear, and that other was ready, and smote him
down over his horse to the earth. And in the same wise he smote Sir
Uwaine les Avoutres and also Sir Griflet. Then had he served them all
but Sir Dinadan, for he was behind, and Sir Mordred was unarmed, and
Dagonet had his harness.

So when this was done, this strong knight rode on his way a soft pace,
and King Mark rode after him, praising him mickle; but he would answer
no words, but sighed wonderly sore, hanging down his head, taking no
heed to his words. Thus they rode well a three mile English, and then
this knight called to him a varlet, and bade him ride until yonder fair
manor, and recommend me to the lady of that castle and place, and pray
her to send me refreshing of good meats and drinks. And if she ask thee
what I am, tell her that I am the knight that followeth the glatisant
beast: that is in English to say the questing beast; for that beast
wheresomever he yede he quested in the belly with such a noise as it had
been a thirty couple of hounds. Then the varlet went his way and came to
the manor, and saluted the lady, and told her from whence he came.
And when she understood that he came from the knight that followed the
questing beast: O sweet Lord Jesu, she said, when shall I see that noble
knight, my dear son Palomides? Alas, will he not abide with me? and
therewith she swooned and wept, and made passing great dole. And then
also soon as she might she gave the varlet all that he asked. And the
varlet returned unto Sir Palomides, for he was a varlet of King Mark.
And as soon as he came, he told the knight's name was Sir Palomides. I
am well pleased, said King Mark, but hold thee still and say nothing.
Then they alighted and set them down and reposed them a while. Anon
withal King Mark fell asleep. When Sir Palomides saw him sound asleep he
took his horse and rode his way, and said to them: I will not be in the
company of a sleeping knight. And so he rode forth a great pace.



CHAPTER XIV. How King Mark and Sir Dinadan heard Sir Palomides making
great sorrow and mourning for La Beale Isoud.


NOW turn we unto Sir Dinadan, that found these seven knights passing
heavy. And when he wist how that they sped, as heavy was he. My lord
Uwaine, said Dinadan, I dare lay my head it is Sir Lamorak de Galis. I
promise you all I shall find him an he may be found in this country. And
so Sir Dinadan rode after this knight; and so did King Mark, that sought
him through the forest. So as King Mark rode after Sir Palomides he
heard the noise of a man that made great dole. Then King Mark rode
as nigh that noise as he might and as he durst. Then was he ware of a
knight that was descended off his horse, and had put off his helm, and
there he made a piteous complaint and a dolorous, of love.

Now leave we that, and talk we of Sir Dinadan, that rode to seek Sir
Palomides. And as he came within a forest he met with a knight, a chaser
of a deer. Sir, said Sir Dinadan, met ye with a knight with a shield of
silver and lions' heads? Yea, fair knight, said the other, with such a
knight met I with but a while agone, and straight yonder way he yede.
Gramercy, said Sir Dinadan, for might I find the track of his horse I
should not fail to find that knight. Right so as Sir Dinadan rode in the
even late he heard a doleful noise as it were of a man. Then Sir Dinadan
rode toward that noise; and when he came nigh that noise he alighted off
his horse, and went near him on foot. Then was he ware of a knight that
stood under a tree, and his horse tied by him, and the helm off his
head; and ever that knight made a doleful complaint as ever made
knight. And always he made his complaint of La Beale Isoud, the Queen of
Cornwall, and said: Ah, fair lady, why love I thee! for thou art fairest
of all other, and yet showest thou never love to me, nor bounty. Alas,
yet must I love thee. And I may not blame thee, fair lady, for mine eyes
be cause of this sorrow. And yet to love thee I am but a fool, for the
best knight of the world loveth thee, and ye him again, that is Sir
Tristram de Liones. And the falsest king and knight is your husband, and
the most coward and full of treason, is your lord, King Mark. Alas, that
ever so fair a lady and peerless of all other should be matched with the
most villainous knight of the world. All this language heard King Mark,
what Sir Palomides said by him; wherefore he was adread when he saw Sir
Dinadan, lest he espied him, that he would tell Sir Palomides that he
was King Mark; and therefore he withdrew him, and took his horse and
rode to his men, where he commanded them to abide. And so he rode as
fast as he might unto Camelot; and the same day he found there Amant,
the knight, ready that afore Arthur had appealed him of treason; and so,
lightly the king commanded them to do battle. And by misadventure King
Mark smote Amant through the body. And yet was Amant in the righteous
quarrel. And right so he took his horse and departed from the court for
dread of Sir Dinadan, that he would tell Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides
what he was. Then were there maidens that La Beale Isoud had sent to Sir
Tristram, that knew Sir Amant well.



CHAPTER XV. How King Mark had slain Sir Amant wrongfully to-fore King
Arthur, and Sir Launcelot fetched King Mark to King Arthur.


THEN by the license of King Arthur they went to him and spake with him;
for while the truncheon of the spear stuck in his body he spake: Ah,
fair damosels, said Amant, recommend me unto La Beale Isoud, and tell
her that I am slain for the love of her and of Sir Tristram. And there
he told the damosels how cowardly King Mark had slain him, and Sir
Bersules, his fellow. And for that deed I appealed him of treason, and
here am I slain in a righteous quarrel; and all was because Sir Bersules
and I would not consent by treason to slay the noble knight, Sir
Tristram. Then the two maidens cried aloud that all the court might
hear it, and said: O sweet Lord Jesu, that knowest all hid things, why
sufferest Thou so false a traitor to vanquish and slay a true knight
that fought in a righteous quarrel? Then anon it was sprung to the king,
and the queen, and to all the lords, that it was King Mark that had
slain Sir Amant, and Sir Bersules afore hand; wherefore they did their
battle. Then was King Arthur wroth out of measure, and so were all the
other knights. But when Sir Tristram knew all the matter he made great
dole and sorrow out of measure, and wept for sorrow for the loss of the
noble knights, Sir Bersules and of Sir Amant.

When Sir Launcelot espied Sir Tristram weep he went hastily to King
Arthur, and said: Sir, I pray you give me leave to return again to
yonder false king and knight. I pray you, said King Arthur, fetch
him again, but I would not that ye slew him, for my worship. Then Sir
Launcelot armed him in all haste, and mounted upon a great horse, and
took a spear in his hand and rode after King Mark. And from thence
a three mile English Sir Launcelot over took him, and bade him: Turn
recreant king and knight, for whether thou wilt or not thou shalt go
with me to King Arthur's court. King Mark returned and looked upon Sir
Launcelot, and said: Fair sir, what is your name? Wit thou well, said
he, my name is Sir Launcelot, and therefore defend thee. And when King
Mark wist that it was Sir Launcelot, and came so fast upon him with
a spear, he cried then aloud: I yield me to thee, Sir Launcelot,
honourable knight. But Sir Launcelot would not hear him, but came fast
upon him. King Mark saw that, and made no defence, but tumbled adown out
of his saddle to the earth as a sack, and there he lay still, and cried
Sir Launcelot mercy. Arise, recreant knight and king. I will not fight,
said King Mark, but whither that ye will I will go with you. Alas, alas,
said Sir Launcelot, that I may not give thee one buffet for the love of
Sir Tristram and of La Beale Isoud, and for the two knights that thou
hast slain traitorly. And so he mounted upon his horse and brought him
to King Arthur; and there King Mark alighted in that same place, and
threw his helm from him upon the earth, and his sword, and fell flat to
the earth of King Arthur's feet, and put him in his grace and mercy. So
God me help, said Arthur, ye are welcome in a manner, and in a manner
ye are not welcome. In this manner ye are welcome, that ye come hither
maugre thy head, as I suppose. That is truth, said King Mark, and else I
had not been here, for my lord, Sir Launcelot, brought me hither through
his fine force, and to him am I yolden to as recreant. Well, said
Arthur, ye understand ye ought to do me service, homage, and fealty.
And never would ye do me none, but ever ye have been against me, and
a destroyer of my knights; now, how will ye acquit you? Sir, said King
Mark, right as your lordship will require me, unto my power, I will make
a large amends. For he was a fair speaker, and false thereunder. Then
for great pleasure of Sir Tristram, to make them twain accorded, the
king withheld King Mark as at that time, and made a broken love-day
between them.



CHAPTER XVI. How Sir Dinadan told Sir Palomides of the battle between
Sir Launcelot and Sir Tristam.


NOW turn we again unto Sir Palomides, how Sir Dinadan comforted him in
all that he might, from his great sorrow. What knight are ye? said Sir
Palomides. Sir, I am a knight-errant as ye be, that hath sought you long
by your shield. Here is my shield, said Sir Palomides, wit ye well, an
ye will ought, therewith I will defend it. Nay, said Sir Dinadan, I will
not have ado with you but in good manner. And if ye will, ye shall find
me soon ready. Sir, said Sir Dinadan, whitherward ride you this way? By
my head, said Sir Palomides, I wot not, but as fortune leadeth me. Heard
ye or saw ye ought of Sir Tristram? So God me help, of Sir Tristram
I both heard and saw, and not for then we loved not inwardly well
together, yet at my mischief Sir Tristram rescued me from my death; and
yet, or he and I departed, by both our assents we assigned a day that we
should have met at the stony grave that Merlin set beside Camelot,
and there to have done battle together; howbeit I was letted, said Sir
Palomides, that I might not hold my day, the which grieveth me sore; but
I have a large excuse. For I was prisoner with a lord, and many other
more, and that shall Sir Tristram right well understand, that I brake
it not of fear of cowardice. And then Sir Palomides told Sir Dinadan the
same day that they should have met. So God me help, said Sir Dinadan,
that same day met Sir Launcelot and Sir Tristram at the same grave of
stone. And there was the most mightiest battle that ever was seen in
this land betwixt two knights, for they fought more than two hours. And
there they both bled so much blood that all men marvelled that ever they
might endure it. And so at the last, by both their assents, they were
made friends and sworn-brethren for ever, and no man can judge the
better knight. And now is Sir Tristram made a knight of the Round Table,
and he sitteth in the siege of the noble knight, Sir Marhaus. By my
head, said Sir Palomides, Sir Tristram is far bigger than Sir Launcelot,
and the hardier knight. Have ye assayed them both? said Sir Dinadan.
I have seen Sir Tristram fight, said Sir Palomides, but never Sir
Launcelot to my witting. But at the fountain where Sir Launcelot lay
asleep, there with one spear he smote down Sir Tristram and me, said
Palomides, but at that time they knew not either other. Fair knight,
said Sir Dinadan, as for Sir Launcelot and Sir Tristram let them be, for
the worst of them will not be lightly matched of no knights that I know
living. No, said Sir Palomides, God defend, but an I had a quarrel to
the better of them both I would with as good a will fight with him as
with you. Sir, I require you tell me your name, and in good faith I
shall hold you company till that we come to Camelot; and there shall ye
have great worship now at this great tournament; for there shall be
the Queen Guenever, and La Beale Isoud of Cornwall. Wit you well, sir
knight, for the love of La Beale Isoud I will be there, and else not,
but I will not have ado in King Arthur's court. Sir, said Dinadan, I
shall ride with you and do you service, so you will tell me your name.
Sir, ye shall understand my name is Sir Palomides, brother to Safere,
the good and noble knight. And Sir Segwarides and I, we be Saracens
born, of father and mother. Sir, said Sir Dinadan, I thank you much for
the telling of your name. For I am glad of that I know your name, and
I promise you by the faith of my body, ye shall not be hurt by me by my
will, but rather be advanced. And thereto will I help you with all my
power, I promise you, doubt ye not. And certainly on my life ye shall
win great worship in the court of King Arthur, and be right welcome. So
then they dressed on their helms and put on their shields, and mounted
upon their horses, and took the broad way towards Camelot. And then were
they ware of a castle that was fair and rich, and also passing strong as
any was within this realm.



CHAPTER XVII. How Sir Lamorak jousted with divers knights of the castle
wherein was Morgan le Fay.


SIR PALOMIDES, said Dinadan, here is a castle that I know well, and
therein dwelleth Queen Morgan le Fay, King Arthur's sister; and King
Arthur gave her this castle, the which he hath repented him sithen a
thousand times, for sithen King Arthur and she have been at debate and
strife; but this castle could he never get nor win of her by no manner
of engine; and ever as she might she made war on King Arthur. And all
dangerous knights she withholdeth with her, for to destroy all these
knights that King Arthur loveth. And there shall no knight pass this way
but he must joust with one knight, or with two, or with three. And if it
hap that King Arthur's knight be beaten, he shall lose his horse and his
harness and all that he hath, and hard, if that he escape, but that he
shall be prisoner. So God me help, said Palomides, this is a shameful
custom, and a villainous usance for a queen to use, and namely to make
such war upon her own lord, that is called the Flower of Chivalry that
is christian or heathen; and with all my heart I would destroy that
shameful custom. And I will that all the world wit she shall have no
service of me. And if she send out any knights, as I suppose she will,
for to joust, they shall have both their hands full. And I shall not
fail you, said Sir Dinadan, unto my puissance, upon my life.

So as they stood on horseback afore the castle, there came a knight with
a red shield, and two squires after him; and he came straight unto
Sir Palomides, the good knight, and said to him: Fair and gentle
knight-errant, I require thee for the love thou owest unto knighthood,
that ye will not have ado here with these men of this castle; for this
was Sir Lamorak that thus said. For I came hither to seek this deed, and
it is my request; and therefore I beseech you, knight, let me deal, and
if I be beaten revenge me. In the name of God, said Palomides, let
see how ye will speed, and we shall behold you. Then anon came forth a
knight of the castle, and proffered to joust with the Knight with the
Red Shield. Anon they encountered together, and he with the red shield
smote him so hard that he bare him over to the earth. Therewith anon
came another knight of the castle, and he was smitten so sore that
he avoided his saddle. And forthwithal came the third knight, and
the Knight with the Red Shield smote him to the earth. Then came Sir
Palomides, and besought him that he might help him to joust. Fair
knight, said he unto him, suffer me as at this time to have my will, for
an they were twenty knights I shall not doubt them. And ever there were
upon the walls of the castle many lords and ladies that cried and said:
Well have ye jousted, Knight with the Red Shield. But as soon as the
knight had smitten them down, his squire took their horses, and avoided
their saddles and bridles of the horses, and turned them into the
forest, and made the knights to be kept to the end of the jousts. Right
so came out of the castle the fourth knight, and freshly proffered to
joust with the Knight with the Red Shield: and he was ready, and he
smote him so hard that horse and man fell to the earth, and the knight's
back brake with the fall, and his neck also. O Jesu, said Sir Palomides,
that yonder is a passing good knight, and the best jouster that ever
I saw. By my head, said Sir Dinadan, he is as good as ever was Sir
Launcelot or Sir Tristram, what knight somever he be.



CHAPTER XVIII. How Sir Palomides would have jousted for Sir Lamorak with
the knights of the castle.


THEN forthwithal came a knight out of the castle, with a shield bended
with black and with white. And anon the Knight with the Red Shield and
he encountered so hard that he smote the knight of the castle through
the bended shield and through the body, and brake the horse's back. Fair
knight, said Sir Palomides, ye have overmuch on hand, therefore I pray
you let me joust, for ye had need to be reposed. Why sir, said the
knight, seem ye that I am weak and feeble? and sir, methinketh ye
proffer me wrong, and to me shame, when I do well enough. I tell you now
as I told you erst; for an they were twenty knights I shall beat them,
and if I be beaten or slain then may ye revenge me. And if ye think that
I be weary, and ye have an appetite to joust with me, I shall find you
jousting enough. Sir, said Palomides, I said it not because I would
joust with you, but meseemeth that ye have overmuch on hand. And
therefore, an ye were gentle, said the Knight with the Red Shield, ye
should not proffer me shame; therefore I require you to joust with me,
and ye shall find that I am not weary. Sith ye require me, said Sir
Palomides, take keep to yourself. Then they two knights came together as
fast as their horses might run, and the knight smote Sir Palomides sore
on the shield that the spear went into his side a great wound, and a
perilous. And therewithal Sir Palomides avoided his saddle. And that
knight turned unto Sir Dinadan; and when he saw him coming he cried
aloud, and said: Sir, I will not have ado with you; but for that he let
it not, but came straight upon him. So Sir Dinadan for shame put forth
his spear and all to-shivered it upon the knight. But he smote Sir
Dinadan again so hard that he smote him clean from his saddle; but their
horses he would not suffer his squires to meddle with, and because they
were knights-errant.

Then he dressed him again to the castle, and jousted with seven knights
more, and there was none of them might withstand him, but he bare him to
the earth. And of these twelve knights he slew in plain jousts four.
And the eight knights he made them to swear on the cross of a sword that
they should never use the evil customs of the castle. And when he had
made them to swear that oath he let them pass. And ever stood the lords
and the ladies on the castle walls crying and saying: Knight with the
Red Shield, ye have marvellously well done as ever we saw knight do. And
therewith came a knight out of the castle unarmed, and said: Knight with
the Red Shield, overmuch damage hast thou done to us this day, therefore
return whither thou wilt, for here are no more will have ado with thee;
for we repent sore that ever thou camest here, for by thee is fordone
the old custom of this castle. And with that word he turned again into
the castle, and shut the gates. Then the Knight with the Red Shield
turned and called his squires, and so passed forth on his way, and rode
a great pace.

And when he was past Sir Palomides went to Sir Dinadan, and said: I had
never such a shame of one knight that ever I met; and therefore I cast
me to ride after him, and to be revenged with my sword, for a-horseback
I deem I shall get no worship of him. Sir Palomides, said Dinadan, ye
shall not meddle with him by my counsel, for ye shall get no worship of
him; and for this cause, ye have seen him this day have had overmuch to
do, and overmuch travailed. By almighty Jesu, said Palomides, I shall
never be at ease till that I have had ado with him. Sir, said Dinadan, I
shall give you my beholding. Well, said Palomides, then shall ye see how
we shall redress our mights. So they took their horses of their varlets,
and rode after the Knight with the Red Shield; and down in a valley
beside a fountain they were ware where he was alighted to repose him,
and had done off his helm for to drink at the well.



CHAPTER XIX. How Sir Lamorak jousted with Sir Palomides, and hurt him
grievously.


THEN Palomides rode fast till he came nigh him. And then he said:
Knight, remember ye of the shame ye did to me right now at the castle,
therefore dress thee, for I will have ado with thee. Fair knight, said
he to Palomides, of me ye win no worship, for ye have seen this day that
I have been travailed sore. As for that, said Palomides, I will not let,
for wit ye well I will be revenged. Well, said the knight, I may happen
to endure you. And therewithal he mounted upon his horse, and took a
great spear in his hand ready for to joust. Nay, said Palomides, I will
not joust, for I am sure at jousting I get no prize. Fair knight,
said that knight, it would beseem a knight to joust and to fight on
horseback. Ye shall see what I will do, said Palomides. And therewith he
alighted down upon foot, and dressed his shield afore him and pulled out
his sword. Then the Knight with the Red Shield descended down from his
horse, and dressed his shield afore him, and so he drew out his sword.
And then they came together a soft pace, and wonderly they lashed
together passing thick the mountenance of an hour or ever they breathed.
Then they traced and traversed, and waxed wonderly wroth, and either
behight other death; they hewed so fast with their swords that they cut
in down half their swords and mails, that the bare flesh in some place
stood above their harness. And when Sir Palomides beheld his fellow's
sword over-hylled with his blood it grieved him sore: some while
they foined, some while they struck as wild men. But at the last Sir
Palomides waxed faint, because of his first wound that he had at the
castle with a spear, for that wound grieved him wonderly sore. Fair
knight, said Palomides, meseemeth we have assayed either other passing
sore, and if it may please thee, I require thee of thy knighthood tell
me thy name. Sir, said the knight to Palomides, that is me loath to
do, for thou hast done me wrong and no knighthood to proffer me battle,
considering my great travail, but an thou wilt tell me thy name I will
tell thee mine. Sir, said he, wit thou well my name is Palomides. Ah,
sir, ye shall understand my name is Sir Lamorak de Galis, son and heir
unto the good knight and king, King Pellinore, and Sir Tor, the good
knight, is my half brother. When Sir Palomides heard him say so he
kneeled down and asked mercy, For outrageously have I done to you this
day; considering the great deeds of arms I have seen you do, shamefully
and unknightly I have required you to do battle. Ah, Sir Palomides,
said Sir Lamorak, overmuch have ye done and said to me. And therewith
he embraced him with his both hands, and said: Palomides, the worthy
knight, in all this land is no better than ye, nor more of prowess, and
me repenteth sore that we should fight together. So it doth not me, said
Sir Palomides, and yet am I sorer wounded than ye be; but as for that I
shall soon thereof be whole. But certainly I would not for the fairest
castle in this land, but if thou and I had met, for I shall love you the
days of my life afore all other knights except my brother, Sir Safere.
I say the same, said Sir Lamorak, except my brother, Sir Tor. Then came
Sir Dinadan, and he made great joy of Sir Lamorak. Then their squires
dressed both their shields and their harness, and stopped their wounds.
And thereby at a priory they rested them all night.



CHAPTER XX. How it was told Sir Launcelot that Dagonet chased King Mark,
and how a knight overthrew him and six knights.


Now turn we again. When Sir Ganis and Sir Brandiles with his fellows
came to the court of King Arthur they told the king, Sir Launcelot, and
Sir Tristram, how Sir Dagonet, the fool, chased King Mark through the
forest, and how the strong knight smote them down all seven with one
spear. There was great laughing and japing at King Mark and at Sir
Dagonet. But all these knights could not tell what knight it was that
rescued King Mark. Then they asked King Mark if that he knew him, and
he answered and said: He named himself the Knight that followed the
Questing Beast, and on that name he sent one of my varlets to a place
where was his mother; and when she heard from whence he came she made
passing great dole, and discovered to my varlet his name, and said: Oh,
my dear son, Sir Palomides, why wilt thou not see me? And therefore,
sir, said King Mark, it is to understand his name is Sir Palomides, a
noble knight. Then were all these seven knights glad that they knew his
name.

Now turn we again, for on the morn they took their horses, both Sir
Lamorak, Palomides, and Dinadan, with their squires and varlets, till
they saw a fair castle that stood on a mountain well closed, and thither
they rode, and there they found a knight that hight Galahalt, that was
lord of that castle, and there they had great cheer and were well eased.
Sir Dinadan, said Sir Lamorak, what will ye do? Oh sir, said Dinadan,
I will to-morrow to the court of King Arthur. By my head, said Sir
Palomides, I will not ride these three days, for I am sore hurt, and
much have I bled, and therefore I will repose me here. Truly, said Sir
Lamorak, and I will abide here with you; and when ye ride, then will
I ride, unless that ye tarry over long; then will I take my horse.
Therefore I pray you, Sir Dinadan, abide and ride with us. Faithfully,
said Dinadan, I will not abide, for I have such a talent to see Sir
Tristram that I may not abide long from him. Ah, Dinadan, said Sir
Palomides, now do I understand that ye love my mortal enemy, and
therefore how should I trust you. Well, said Dinadan, I love my lord Sir
Tristram, above all other, and him will I serve and do honour. So shall
I, said Sir Lamorak, in all that may lie in my power.

So on the morn Sir Dinadan rode unto the court of King Arthur; and by
the way as he rode he saw where stood an errant knight, and made him
ready for to joust. Not so, said Dinadan, for I have no will to joust.
With me shall ye joust, said the knight, or that ye pass this way.
Whether ask ye jousts, by love or by hate? The knight answered: Wit ye
well I ask it for love, and not for hate. It may well be so, said Sir
Dinadan, but ye proffer me hard love when ye will joust with me with a
sharp spear. But, fair knight, said Sir Dinadan, sith ye will joust with
me, meet with me in the court of King Arthur, and there shall I joust
with you. Well, said the knight, sith ye will not joust with me, I pray
you tell me your name. Sir knight, said he, my name is Sir Dinadan. Ah,
said the knight, full well know I you for a good knight and a gentle,
and wit you well I love you heartily. Then shall there be no jousts,
said Dinadan, betwixt us. So they departed. And the same day he came to
Camelot, where lay King Arthur. And there he saluted the king and the
queen, Sir Launcelot, and Sir Tristram; and all the court was glad of
Sir Dinadan, for he was gentle, wise, and courteous, and a good knight.
And in especial, the valiant knight Sir Tristram loved Sir Dinadan
passing well above all other knights save Sir Launcelot.

Then the king asked Sir Dinadan what adventures he had seen. Sir, said
Dinadan, I have seen many adventures, and of some King Mark knoweth,
but not all. Then the king hearkened Sir Dinadan, how he told that Sir
Palomides and he were afore the castle of Morgan le Fay, and how
Sir Lamorak took the jousts afore them, and how he forjousted twelve
knights, and of them four he slew, and how after he smote down Sir
Palomides and me both. I may not believe that, said the king, for
Sir Palomides is a passing good knight. That is very truth, said Sir
Dinadan, but yet I saw him better proved, hand for hand. And then he
told the king all that battle, and how Sir Palomides was more weaker,
and more hurt, and more lost of his blood. And without doubt, said Sir
Dinadan, had the battle longer lasted, Palomides had been slain. O Jesu,
said King Arthur, this is to me a great marvel. Sir, said Tristram,
marvel ye nothing thereof, for at mine advice there is not a valianter
knight in the world living, for I know his might. And now I will say
you, I was never so weary of knight but if it were Sir Launcelot. And
there is no knight in the world except Sir Launcelot that did so well
as Sir Lamorak. So God me help, said the king, I would that knight, Sir
Lamorak, came to this Court. Sir, said Dinadan, he will be here in short
space, and Sir Palomides both, but I fear that Palomides may not yet
travel.



CHAPTER XXI. How King Arthur let do cry a jousts, and how Sir Lamorak
came in, and overthrew Sir Gawaine and many other.


THEN within three days after the king let make a jousting at a priory.
And there made them ready many knights of the Round Table, for Sir
Gawaine and his brethren made them ready to joust; but Tristram,
Launcelot, nor Dinadan, would not joust, but suffered Sir Gawaine, for
the love of King Arthur, with his brethren, to win the gree if they
might. Then on the morn they apparelled them to joust, Sir Gawaine and
his four brethren, and did there great deeds of arms. And Sir Ector de
Maris did marvellously well, but Sir Gawaine passed all that fellowship;
wherefore King Arthur and all the knights gave Sir Gawaine the honour at
the beginning.

Right so King Arthur was ware of a knight and two squires, the which
came out of a forest side, with a shield covered with leather, and then
he came slyly and hurtled here and there, and anon with one spear he had
smitten down two knights of the Round Table. Then with his hurtling he
lost the covering of his shield, then was the king and all other ware
that he bare a red shield. O Jesu, said King Arthur, see where rideth
a stout knight, he with the red shield. And there was noise and crying
Beware the Knight with the Red Shield. So within a little while he had
overthrown three brethren of Sir Gawaine's. So God me help, said King
Arthur, meseemeth yonder is the best jouster that ever I saw. With that
he saw him encounter with Sir Gawaine, and he smote him down with so
great force that he made his horse to avoid his saddle. How now, said
the king, Sir Gawaine hath a fall; well were me an I knew what knight he
were with the red shield. I know him well, said Dinadan, but as at
this time ye shall not know his name. By my head, said Sir Tristram, he
jousted better than Sir Palomides, and if ye list to know his name, wit
ye well his name is Sir Lamorak de Galis.

As they stood thus talking, Sir Gawaine and he encountered together
again, and there he smote Sir Gawaine from his horse, and bruised him
sore. And in the sight of King Arthur he smote down twenty knights,
beside Sir Gawaine and his brethren. And so clearly was the prize
given him as a knight peerless. Then slyly and marvellously Sir Lamorak
withdrew him from all the fellowship into the forest side. All this
espied King Arthur, for his eye went never from him. Then the king, Sir
Launcelot, Sir Tristram, and Sir Dinadan, took their hackneys, and rode
straight after the good knight, Sir Lamorak de Galis, and there found
him. And thus said the king: Ah, fair knight, well be ye found. When he
saw the king he put off his helm and saluted him, and when he saw Sir
Tristram he alighted down off his horse and ran to him to take him by
the thighs, but Sir Tristram would not suffer him, but he alighted
or that he came, and either took other in arms, and made great joy of
other. The king was glad, and also was all the fellowship of the Round
Table, except Sir Gawaine and his brethren. And when they wist that he
was Sir Lamorak, they had great despite at him, and were wonderly wroth
with him that he had put him to dishonour that day.

Then Gawaine called privily in council all his brethren, and to them
said thus: Fair brethren, here may ye see, whom that we hate King
Arthur loveth, and whom that we love he hateth. And wit ye well, my fair
brethren, that this Sir Lamorak will never love us, because we slew his
father, King Pellinore, for we deemed that he slew our father, King of
Orkney. And for the despite of Pellinore, Sir Lamorak did us a shame
to our mother, therefore I will be revenged. Sir, said Sir Gawaine's
brethren, let see how ye will or may be revenged, and ye shall find us
ready. Well, said Gawaine, hold you still and we shall espy our time.



CHAPTER XXII. How King Arthur made King Mark to be accorded with Sir
Tristram, and how they departed toward Cornwall.


NOW pass we our matter, and leave we Sir Gawaine, and speak of King
Arthur, that on a day said unto King Mark: Sir, I pray you give me
a gift that I shall ask you. Sir, said King Mark, I will give you
whatsomever ye desire an it be in my power. Sir, gramercy, said Arthur.
This I will ask you, that ye will be good lord unto Sir Tristram, for
he is a man of great honour; and that ye will take him with you into
Cornwall, and let him see his friends, and there cherish him for my
sake. Sir, said King Mark, I promise you by the faith of my body, and
by the faith that I owe to God and to you, I shall worship him for your
sake in all that I can or may. Sir, said Arthur, and I will forgive you
all the evil will that ever I ought you, an so be that you swear that
upon a book before me. With a good will, said King Mark; and so he there
sware upon a book afore him and all his knights, and therewith King Mark
and Sir Tristram took either other by the hands hard knit together. But
for all this King Mark thought falsely, as it proved after, for he put
Sir Tristram in prison, and cowardly would have slain him.

Then soon after King Mark took his leave to ride into Cornwall, and Sir
Tristram made him ready to ride with him, whereof the most part of the
Round Table were wroth and heavy, and in especial Sir Launcelot, and Sir
Lamorak, and Sir Dinadan, were wroth out of measure For well they wist
King Mark would slay or destroy Sir Tristram. Alas, said Dinadan, that
my lord, Sir Tristram, shall depart. And Sir Tristram took such sorrow
that he was amazed like a fool. Alas, said Sir Launcelot unto King
Arthur, what have ye done, for ye shall lose the most man of worship
that ever came into your court. It was his own desire, said Arthur, and
therefore I might not do withal, for I have done all that I can and made
them at accord. Accord, said Sir Launcelot, fie upon that accord, for ye
shall hear that he shall slay Sir Tristram, or put him in a prison, for
he is the most coward and the villainest king and knight that is now
living.

And therewith Sir Launcelot departed, and came to King Mark, and said to
him thus: Sir king, wit thou well the good knight Sir Tristram shall go
with thee. Beware, I rede thee, of treason, for an thou mischief that
knight by any manner of falsehood or treason, by the faith I owe to God
and to the order of knighthood, I shall slay thee with mine own hands.
Sir Launcelot, said the king, overmuch have ye said to me, and I have
sworn and said over largely afore King Arthur in hearing of all his
knights, that I shall not slay nor betray him. It were to me overmuch
shame to break my promise. Ye say well, said Sir Launcelot, but ye
are called so false and full of treason that no man may believe you.
Forsooth it is known well wherefore ye came into this country, and for
none other cause but for to slay Sir Tristram. So with great dole King
Mark and Sir Tristram rode together, for it was by Sir Tristram's will
and his means to go with King Mark, and all was for the intent to see La
Beale Isoud, for without the sight of her Sir Tristram might not endure.



CHAPTER XXIII. How Sir Percivale was made knight of King Arthur, and how
a dumb maid spake, and brought him to the Round Table.


NOW turn we again unto Sir Lamorak, and speak we of his brethren, Sir
Tor, which was King Pellinore's first son and begotten of Aryes, wife
of the cowherd, for he was a bastard; and Sir Aglovale was his first son
begotten in wedlock; Sir Lamorak, Dornar, Percivale, these were his sons
too in wedlock. So when King Mark and Sir Tristram were departed from
the court there was made great dole and sorrow for the departing of Sir
Tristram. Then the king and his knights made no manner of joys eight
days after. And at the eight days' end there came to the court a knight
with a young squire with him. And when this knight was unarmed, he went
to the king and required him to make the young squire a knight. Of what
lineage is he come? said King Arthur. Sir, said the knight, he is the
son of King Pellinore, that did you some time good service, and he is a
brother unto Sir Lamorak de Galis, the good knight. Well, said the king,
for what cause desire ye that of me that I should make him knight? Wit
you well, my lord the king, that this young squire is brother to me
as well as to Sir Lamorak, and my name is Aglavale. Sir Aglavale, said
Arthur, for the love of Sir Lamorak, and for his father's love, he shall
be made knight to-morrow. Now tell me, said Arthur, what is his name?
Sir, said the knight, his name is Percivale de Galis. So on the morn
the king made him knight in Camelot. But the king and all the knights
thought it would be long or that he proved a good knight.

Then at the dinner, when the king was set at the table, and every knight
after he was of prowess, the king commanded him to be set among mean
knights; and so was Sir Percivale set as the king commanded. Then was
there a maiden in the queen's court that was come of high blood, and she
was dumb and never spake word. Right so she came straight into the hall,
and went unto Sir Percivale, and took him by the hand and said aloud,
that the king and all the knights might hear it: Arise, Sir Percivale,
the noble knight and God's knight, and go with me; and so he did. And
there she brought him to the right side of the Siege Perilous, and said,
Fair knight, take here thy siege, for that siege appertaineth to thee
and to none other. Right so she departed and asked a priest. And as she
was confessed and houselled then she died. Then the king and all the
court made great joy of Sir Percivale.



CHAPTER XXIV. How Sir Lamorak visited King Lot's wife, and how Sir
Gaheris slew her which was his own mother.


NOW turn we unto Sir Lamorak, that much was there praised. Then, by the
mean of Sir Gawaine and his brethren, they sent for their mother there
besides, fast by a castle beside Camelot; and all was to that intent
to slay Sir Lamorak. The Queen of Orkney was there but a while, but Sir
Lamorak wist of their being, and was full fain; and for to make an end
of this matter, he sent unto her, and there betwixt them was a night
assigned that Sir Lamorak should come to her. Thereof was ware Sir
Gaheris, and there he rode afore the same night, and waited upon Sir
Lamorak, and then he saw where he came all armed. And where Sir Lamorak
alighted he tied his horse to a privy postern, and so he went into a
parlour and unarmed him; and then he went unto the queen's bed, and she
made of him passing great joy, and he of her again, for either loved
other passing sore. So when the knight, Sir Gaheris, saw his time, he
came to their bedside all armed, with his sword naked, and suddenly gat
his mother by the hair and struck off her head.

When Sir Lamorak saw the blood dash upon him all hot, the which he loved
passing well, wit you well he was sore abashed and dismayed of that
dolorous knight. And therewithal, Sir Lamorak leapt out of the bed in
his shirt as a knight dismayed, saying thus: Ah, Sir Gaheris, knight
of the Table Round, foul and evil have ye done, and to you great shame.
Alas, why have ye slain your mother that bare you? with more right
ye should have slain me. The offence hast thou done, said Gaheris,
notwithstanding a man is born to offer his service; but yet shouldst
thou beware with whom thou meddlest, for thou hast put me and my
brethren to a shame, and thy father slew our father; and thou to lie by
our mother is too much shame for us to suffer. And as for thy father,
King Pellinore my brother Sir Gawaine and I slew him. Ye did him the
more wrong, said Sir Lamorak, for my father slew not your father, it
was Balin le Savage: and as yet my father's death is not revenged. Leave
those words, said Sir Gaheris, for an thou speak feloniously I will slay
thee. But because thou art naked I am ashamed to slay thee. But wit thou
well, in what place I may get thee I shall slay thee; and now my mother
is quit of thee; and withdraw thee and take thine armour, that thou were
gone. Sir Lamorak saw there was none other bote, but fast armed him, and
took his horse and rode his way making great sorrow. But for the shame
and dolour he would not ride to King Arthur's court, but rode another
way.

But when it was known that Gaheris had slain his mother the king was
passing wroth, and commanded him to go out of his court. Wit ye well Sir
Gawaine was wroth that Gaheris had slain his mother and let Sir Lamorak
escape. And for this matter was the king passing wroth, and so was Sir
Launcelot, and many other knights. Sir, said Sir Launcelot, here is a
great mischief befallen by felony, and by forecast treason, that your
sister is thus shamefully slain. And I dare say that it was wrought by
treason, and I dare say ye shall lose that good knight, Sir Lamorak the
which is great pity. I wot well and am sure, an Sir Tristram wist it,
he would never more come within your court, the which should grieve you
much more and all your knights. God defend, said the noble King Arthur,
that I should lose Sir Lamorak or Sir Tristram, for then twain of my
chief knights of the Table Round were gone. Sir, said Sir Launcelot, I
am sure ye shall lose Sir Lamorak, for Sir Gawaine and his brethren will
slay him by one mean or other; for they among them have concluded and
sworn to slay him an ever they may see their time. That shall I let,
said Arthur.



CHAPTER XXV. How Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred met with a knight
fleeing, and how they both were overthrown, and of Sir Dinadan.


NOW leave we of Sir Lamorak, and speak of Sir Gawaine's brethren,
and specially of Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred. As they rode on their
adventures they met with a knight fleeing, sore wounded; and they asked
him what tidings. Fair knights, said he, here cometh a knight after
me that will slay me. With that came Sir Dinadan riding to them by
adventure, but he would promise them no help. But Sir Agravaine and
Sir Mordred promised him to rescue him. Therewithal came that knight
straight unto them, and anon he proffered to joust. That saw Sir Mordred
and rode to him, but he struck Mordred over his horse's tail. That saw
Sir Agravaine, and straight he rode toward that knight, and right so as
he served Mordred so he served Agravaine, and said to them: Sirs, wit ye
well both that I am Breuse Saunce Pité, that hath done this to you. And
yet he rode over Agravaine five or six times. When Dinadan saw this, he
must needs joust with him for shame. And so Dinadan and he encountered
together, that with pure strength Sir Dinadan smote him over his horse's
tail Then he took his horse and fled, for he was on foot one of the
valiantest knights in Arthur's days, and a great destroyer of all good
knights.

Then rode Sir Dinadan unto Sir Mordred and unto Sir Agravaine. Sir
knight, said they all, well have ye done, and well have ye revenged us,
wherefore we pray you tell us your name. Fair sirs, ye ought to know my
name, the which is called Sir Dinadan. When they understood that it was
Dinadan they were more wroth than they were before, for they hated him
out of measure because of Sir Lamorak. For Dinadan had such a custom
that he loved all good knights that were valiant, and he hated all those
that were destroyers of good knights. And there were none that hated
Dinadan but those that ever were called murderers. Then spake the hurt
knight that Breuse Saunce Pité had chased, his name was Dalan, and
said: If thou be Dinadan thou slewest my father. It may well be so, said
Dinadan, but then it was in my defence and at his request. By my head,
said Dalan, thou shalt die therefore, and therewith he dressed his spear
and his shield. And to make the shorter tale, Sir Dinadan smote him down
off his horse, that his neck was nigh broken. And in the same wise he
smote Sir Mordred and Sir Agravaine. And after, in the quest of the
Sangreal, cowardly and feloniously they slew Dinadan, the which was
great damage, for he was a great bourder and a passing good knight.

And so Sir Dinadan rode to a castle that hight Beale-Valet. And there he
found Sir Palomides that was not yet whole of the wound that Sir Lamorak
gave him. And there Dinadan told Palomides all the tidings that he heard
and saw of Sir Tristram, and how he was gone with King Mark, and with
him he hath all his will and desire. Therewith Sir Palomides waxed
wroth, for he loved La Beale Isoud. And then he wist well that Sir
Tristram enjoyed her.



CHAPTER XXVI. How King Arthur, the Queen, and Launcelot received letters
out of Cornwall, and of the answer again.


NOW leave we Sir Palomides and Sir Dinadan in the Castle of Beale-Valet,
and turn we again unto King Arthur. There came a knight out of Cornwall,
his name was Fergus, a fellow of the Round Table. And there he told
the king and Sir Launcelot good tidings of Sir Tristram, and there were
brought goodly letters, and how he left him in the castle of Tintagil.
Then came the damosel that brought goodly letters unto King Arthur and
unto Sir Launcelot, and there she had passing good cheer of the king,
and of the Queen Guenever, and of Sir Launcelot. Then they wrote goodly
letters again. But Sir Launcelot bade ever Sir Tristram beware of King
Mark, for ever he called him in his letters King Fox, as who saith, he
fareth all with wiles and treason. Whereof Sir Tristram in his heart
thanked Sir Launcelot. Then the damosel went unto La Beale Isoud, and
bare her letters from the king and from Sir Launcelot, whereof she was
in passing great joy. Fair damosel, said La Beale Isoud, how fareth
my Lord Arthur, and the Queen Guenever, and the noble knight, Sir
Launcelot? She answered, and to make short tale: Much the better that
ye and Sir Tristram be in joy. God reward them, said La Beale Isoud, for
Sir Tristram suffereth great pain for me, and I for him.

So the damosel departed, and brought letters to King Mark. And when he
had read them, and understood them, he was wroth with Sir Tristram, for
he deemed that he had sent the damosel unto King Arthur. For Arthur and
Launcelot in a manner threated King Mark. And as King Mark read these
letters he deemed treason by Sir Tristram. Damosel, said King Mark, will
ye ride again and bear letters from me unto King Arthur? Sir, she said,
I will be at your commandment to ride when ye will. Ye say well, said
the king; come again, said the king, to-morn, and fetch your letters.
Then she departed and told them how she should ride again with letters
unto Arthur. Then we pray you, said La Beale Isoud and Sir Tristram,
that when ye have received your letters, that ye would come by us that
we may see the privity of your letters. All that I may do, madam, ye wot
well I must do for Sir Tristram, for I have been long his own maiden.

So on the morn the damosel went to King Mark to have had his letters and
to depart. I am not avised, said King Mark, as at this time to send my
letters. Then privily and secretly he sent letters unto King Arthur, and
unto Queen Guenever, and unto Sir Launcelot. So the varlet departed, and
found the king and the queen in Wales, at Carlion. And as the king and
the queen were at mass the varlet came with the letters. And when mass
was done the king and the queen opened the letters privily by themself.
And the beginning of the king's letters spake wonderly short unto King
Arthur, and bade him entermete with himself and with his wife, and of
his knights; for he was able enough to rule and keep his wife.



CHAPTER XXVII. How Sir Launcelot was wroth with the letter that he
received from King Mark, and of Dinadan which made a lay of King Mark.


WHEN King Arthur understood the letter, he mused of many things, and
thought on his sister's words, Queen Morgan le Fay, that she had said
betwixt Queen Guenever and Sir Launcelot. And in this thought he studied
a great while. Then he bethought him again how his sister was his own
enemy, and that she hated the queen and Sir Launcelot, and so he put all
that out of his thought. Then King Arthur read the letter again, and
the latter clause said that King Mark took Sir Tristram for his mortal
enemy; wherefore he put Arthur out of doubt he would be revenged of
Sir Tristram. Then was King Arthur wroth with King Mark. And when
Queen Guenever read her letter and understood it, she was wroth out of
measure, for the letter spake shame by her and by Sir Launcelot. And
so privily she sent the letter unto Sir Launcelot. And when he wist the
intent of the letter he was so wroth that he laid him down on his bed to
sleep, whereof Sir Dinadan was ware, for it was his manner to be privy
with all good knights. And as Sir Launcelot slept he stole the letter
out of his hand, and read it word by word. And then he made great sorrow
for anger. And so Sir Launcelot awaked, and went to a window, and read
the letter again, the which made him angry.

Sir, said Dinadan, wherefore be ye angry? discover your heart to me:
forsooth ye wot well I owe you good will, howbeit I am a poor knight
and a servitor unto you and to all good knights. For though I be not of
worship myself I love all those that be of worship. It is truth, said
Sir Launcelot, ye are a trusty knight, and for great trust I will shew
you my counsel. And when Dinadan understood all, he said: This is my
counsel: set you right nought by these threats, for King Mark is so
villainous, that by fair speech shall never man get of him. But ye shall
see what I shall do; I will make a lay for him, and when it is made I
shall make an harper to sing it afore him. So anon he went and made
it, and taught it an harper that hight Eliot. And when he could it, he
taught it to many harpers. And so by the will of Sir Launcelot, and of
Arthur, the harpers went straight into Wales, and into Cornwall, to sing
the lay that Sir Dinadan made by King Mark, the which was the worst lay
that ever harper sang with harp or with any other instruments.



CHAPTER XXVIII. How Sir Tristram was hurt, and of a war made to King
Mark; and of Sir Tristram how he promised to rescue him.


NOW turn we again unto Sir Tristram and to King Mark. As Sir Tristram
was at jousts and at tournament it fortuned he was sore hurt both with
a spear and with a sword, but yet he won always the degree. And for
to repose him he went to a good knight that dwelled in Cornwall, in a
castle, whose name was Sir Dinas le Seneschal. Then by misfortune there
came out of Sessoin a great number of men of arms, and an hideous host,
and they entered nigh the Castle of Tintagil; and their captain's name
was Elias, a good man of arms. When King Mark understood his enemies
were entered into his land he made great dole and sorrow, for in no wise
by his will King Mark would not send for Sir Tristram, for he hated him
deadly.

So when his council was come they devised and cast many perils of the
strength of their enemies. And then they concluded all at once, and said
thus unto King Mark: Sir, wit ye well ye must send for Sir Tristram, the
good knight, or else they will never be overcome. For by Sir Tristram
they must be foughten withal, or else we row against the stream. Well,
said King Mark, I will do by your counsel; but yet he was full loath
thereto, but need constrained him to send for him. Then was he sent for
in all haste that might be, that he should come to King Mark. And when
he understood that King Mark had sent for him, he mounted upon a soft
ambler and rode to King Mark. And when he was come the king said thus:
Fair nephew Sir Tristram, this is all. Here be come our enemies of
Sessoin, that are here nigh hand, and without tarrying they must be
met with shortly, or else they will destroy this country. Sir, said Sir
Tristram, wit ye well all my power is at your commandment. And wit ye
well, sir, these eight days I may bear none arms, for my wounds be not
yet whole. And by that day I shall do what I may. Ye say well, said King
Mark; then go ye again and repose you and make you fresh, and I shall go
and meet the Sessoins with all my power.

So the king departed unto Tintagil, and Sir Tristram went to repose him.
And the king made a great host and departed them in three; the first
part led Sir Dinas the Seneschal, and Sir Andred led the second part,
and Sir Argius led the third part; and he was of the blood of King Mark.
And the Sessoins had three great battles, and many good men of arms. And
so King Mark by the advice of his knights issued out of the Castle of
Tintagil upon his enemies. And Dinas, the good knight, rode out afore,
and slew two knights with his own hands, and then began the battles. And
there was marvellous breaking of spears and smiting of swords, and slew
down many good knights. And ever was Sir Dinas the Seneschal the best
of King Mark's party. And thus the battle endured long with great
mortality. But at the last King Mark and Sir Dinas, were they never so
loath, they withdrew them to the Castle of Tintagil with great slaughter
of people; and the Sessoins followed on fast, that ten of them were put
within the gates and four slain with the portcullis.

Then King Mark sent for Sir Tristram by a varlet, that told him all the
mortality. Then he sent the varlet again, and bade him: Tell King Mark
that I will come as soon as I am whole, for erst I may do him no good.
Then King Mark had his answer. Therewith came Elias and bade the king
yield up the castle: For ye may not hold it no while. Sir Elias, said
the king, so will I yield up the castle if I be not soon rescued. Anon
King Mark sent again for rescue to Sir Tristram. By then Sir Tristram
was whole, and he had gotten him ten good knights of Arthur's; and with
them he rode unto Tintagil. And when he saw the great host of Sessoins
he marvelled wonder greatly. And then Sir Tristram rode by the woods and
by the ditches as secretly as he might, till he came nigh the gates. And
there dressed a knight to him when he saw that Sir Tristram would enter;
and Sir Tristram smote him down dead, and so he served three more. And
everych of these ten knights slew a man of arms. So Sir Tristram entered
into the Castle of Tintagil. And when King Mark wist that Sir Tristram
was come he was glad of his coming, and so was all the fellowship, and
of him they made great joy.



CHAPTER XXIX. How Sir Tristram overcame the battle, and how Elias
desired a man to fight body for body.


SO on the morn Elias the captain came, and bade King Mark: Come out and
do battle; for now the good knight Sir Tristram is entered it will
be shame to thee, said Elias, for to keep thy walls. When King Mark
understood this he was wroth and said no word, but went unto Sir
Tristram and asked him his counsel. Sir, said Sir Tristram, will ye that
I give him his answer? I will well, said King Mark. Then Sir Tristram
said thus to the messenger: Bear thy lord word from the king and me,
that we will do battle with him to-morn in the plain field. What is
your name? said the messenger. Wit thou well my name is Sir Tristram de
Liones. Therewithal the messenger departed and told his lord Elias all
that he had heard. Sir, said Sir Tristram unto King Mark, I pray you
give me leave to have the rule of the battle. I pray you take the rule,
said King Mark. Then Sir Tristram let devise the battle in what manner
that it should be. He let depart his host in six parties, and ordained
Sir Dinas the Seneschal to have the foreward, and other knights to rule
the remnant. And the same night Sir Tristram burnt all the Sessoins'
ships unto the cold water. Anon, as Elias wist that, he said it was of
Sir Tristram's doing: For he casteth that we shall never escape,
mother son of us. Therefore, fair fellows, fight freely to-morrow, and
miscomfort you nought; for any knight, though he be the best knight in
the world, he may not have ado with us all.

Then they ordained their battle in four parties, wonderly well
apparelled and garnished with men of arms. Thus they within issued, and
they without set freely upon them; and there Sir Dinas did great deeds
of arms. Not for then Sir Dinas and his fellowship were put to the
worse. With that came Sir Tristram and slew two knights with one spear;
then he slew on the right hand and on the left hand, that men marvelled
that ever he might do such deeds of arms. And then he might see sometime
the battle was driven a bow-draught from the castle, and sometime it was
at the gates of the castle. Then came Elias the captain rushing here and
there, and hit King Mark so sore upon the helm that he made him to
avoid the saddle. And then Sir Dinas gat King Mark again to horseback.
Therewithal came in Sir Tristram like a lion, and there he met with
Elias, and he smote him so sore upon the helm that he avoided his
saddle. And thus they fought till it was night, and for great slaughter
and for wounded people everych party drew to their rest.

And when King Mark was come within the Castle of Tintagil he lacked of
his knights an hundred, and they without lacked two hundred; and they
searched the wounded men on both parties. And then they went to council;
and wit you well either party were loath to fight more, so that either
might escape with their worship. When Elias the captain understood the
death of his men he made great dole; and when he wist that they were
loath to go to battle again he was wroth out of measure. Then Elias sent
word unto King Mark, in great despite, whether he would find a knight
that would fight for him body for body. And if that he might slay King
Mark's knight, he to have the truage of Cornwall yearly. And if that his
knight slay mine, I fully release my claim forever. Then the messenger
departed unto King Mark, and told him how that his lord Elias had sent
him word to find a knight to do battle with him body for body. When King
Mark understood the messenger, he bade him abide and he should have his
answer. Then called he all the baronage together to wit what was the
best counsel. They said all at once: To fight in a field we have no
lust, for had not been Sir Tristram's prowess it had been likely that we
never should have escaped; and therefore, sir, as we deem, it were well
done to find a knight that would do battle with him, for he knightly
proffereth.



CHAPTER XXX. How Sir Elias and Sir Tristram fought together for the
truage, and how Sir Tristram slew Elias in the field.


NOT for then when all this was said, they could find no knight that
would do battle with him. Sir king, said they all, here is no knight
that dare fight with Elias. Alas, said King Mark, then am I utterly
ashamed and utterly destroyed, unless that my nephew Sir Tristram will
take the battle upon him. Wit you well, they said all, he had yesterday
overmuch on hand, and he is weary for travail, and sore wounded. Where
is he? said King Mark. Sir, said they, he is in his bed to repose him.
Alas, said King Mark, but I have the succour of my nephew Sir Tristram,
I am utterly destroyed for ever.

Therewith one went to Sir Tristram where he lay, and told him what King
Mark had said. And therewith Sir Tristram arose lightly, and put on him
a long gown, and came afore the king and all the lords. And when he saw
them all so dismayed he asked the king and the lords what tidings were
with them. Never worse, said the king. And therewith he told him all,
how he had word of Elias to find a knight to fight for the truage of
Cornwall, and none can I find. And as for you, said the king and all the
lords, we may ask no more of you for shame; for through your hardiness
yesterday ye saved all our lives. Sir, said Sir Tristram, now I
understand ye would have my succour, reason would that I should do all
that lieth in my power to do, saving my worship and my life, howbeit I
am sore bruised and hurt. And sithen Sir Elias proffereth so largely,
I shall fight with him, or else I will be slain in the field, or else
I will deliver Cornwall from the old truage. And therefore lightly call
his messenger and he shall be answered, for as yet my wounds be green,
and they will be sorer a seven night after than they be now; and
therefore he shall have his answer that I will do battle to-morn with
him.

Then was the messenger departed brought before King Mark. Hark, my
fellow, said Sir Tristram, go fast unto thy lord, and bid him make true
assurance on his part for the truage, as the king here shall make on
his part; and then tell thy lord, Sir Elias, that I, Sir Tristram, King
Arthur's knight, and knight of the Table Round, will as to-morn meet
with thy lord on horseback, to do battle as long as my horse may endure,
and after that to do battle with him on foot to the utterance. The
messenger beheld Sir Tristram from the top to the toe; and therewithal
he departed and came to his lord, and told him how he was answered of
Sir Tristram. And therewithal was made hostage on both parties, and made
it as sure as it might be, that whether party had the victory, so to
end. And then were both hosts assembled on both parts of the field,
without the Castle of Tintagil, and there was none but Sir Tristram and
Sir Elias armed.

So when the appointment was made, they departed in-sunder, and they
came together with all the might that their horses might run. And either
knight smote other so hard that both horses and knights went to the
earth. Not for then they both lightly arose and dressed their shields
on their shoulders, with naked swords in their hands, and they dashed
together that it seemed a flaming fire about them. Thus they traced, and
traversed, and hewed on helms and hauberks, and cut away many cantels
of their shields, and either wounded other passing sore, so that the
hot blood fell freshly upon the earth. And by then they had foughten the
mountenance of an hour Sir Tristram waxed faint and for-bled, and gave
sore aback. That saw Sir Elias, and followed fiercely upon him, and
wounded him in many places. And ever Sir Tristram traced and traversed,
and went froward him here and there, and covered him with his shield as
he might all weakly, that all men said he was overcome; for Sir Elias
had given him twenty strokes against one.

Then was there laughing of the Sessoins' party, and great dole on King
Mark's party. Alas, said the king, we are ashamed and destroyed all for
ever: for as the book saith, Sir Tristram was never so matched, but if
it were Sir Launcelot. Thus as they stood and beheld both parties, that
one party laughing and the other party weeping, Sir Tristram remembered
him of his lady, La Beale Isoud, that looked upon him, and how he was
likely never to come in her presence. Then he pulled up his shield that
erst hung full low. And then he dressed up his shield unto Elias, and
gave him many sad strokes, twenty against one, and all to-brake his
shield and his hauberk, that the hot blood ran down to the earth. Then
began King Mark to laugh, and all Cornish men, and that other party to
weep. And ever Sir Tristram said to Sir Elias: Yield thee.

Then when Sir Tristram saw him so staggering on the ground, he said: Sir
Elias, I am right sorry for thee, for thou art a passing good knight as
ever I met withal, except Sir Launcelot. Therewithal Sir Elias fell to
the earth, and there died. What shall I do, said Sir Tristram unto King
Mark, for this battle is at an end? Then they of Elias' party departed,
and King Mark took of them many prisoners, to redress the harms and the
scathes that he had of them; and the remnant he sent into their country
to borrow out their fellows. Then was Sir Tristram searched and well
healed. Yet for all this King Mark would fain have slain Sir Tristram.
But for all that ever Sir Tristram saw or heard by King Mark, yet would
he never beware of his treason, but ever he would be thereas La Beale
Isoud was.



CHAPTER XXXI. How at a great feast that King Mark made an harper came
and sang the lay that Dinadan had made.


NOW will we pass of this matter, and speak we of the harpers that Sir
Launcelot and Sir Dinadan had sent into Cornwall. And at the great
feast that King Mark made for joy that the Sessoins were put out of his
country, then came Eliot the harper with the lay that Dinadan had made
and secretly brought it unto Sir Tristram, and told him the lay that
Dinadan had made by King Mark. And when Sir Tristram heard it, he said:
O Lord Jesu, that Dinadan can make wonderly well and ill, thereas it
shall be. Sir, said Eliot, dare I sing this song afore King Mark? Yea,
on my peril, said Sir Tristram, for I shall be thy warrant. Then at the
meat came in Eliot the harper, and because he was a curious harper men
heard him sing the same lay that Dinadan had made, the which spake the
most villainy by King Mark of his treason that ever man heard.

When the harper had sung his song to the end King Mark was wonderly
wroth, and said: Thou harper, how durst thou be so bold on thy head to
sing this song afore me. Sir, said Eliot, wit you well I am a minstrel,
and I must do as I am commanded of these lords that I bear the arms of.
And sir, wit ye well that Sir Dinadan, a knight of the Table Round, made
this song, and made me to sing it afore you. Thou sayest well, said King
Mark, and because thou art a minstrel thou shalt go quit, but I charge
thee hie thee fast out of my sight. So the harper departed and went to
Sir Tristram, and told him how he had sped. Then Sir Tristram let make
letters as goodly as he could to Launcelot and to Sir Dinadan. And so he
let conduct the harper out of the country. But to say that King Mark was
wonderly wroth, he was, for he deemed that the lay that was sung afore
him was made by Sir Tristram's counsel, wherefore he thought to slay him
and all his well-willers in that country.



CHAPTER XXXII. How King Mark slew by treason his brother Boudwin, for
good service that he had done to him.


NOW turn we to another matter that fell between King Mark and his
brother, that was called the good Prince Boudwin, that all the people
of the country loved passing well. So it befell on a time that the
miscreant Saracens landed in the country of Cornwall soon after these
Sessoins were gone. And then the good Prince Boudwin, at the landing,
he raised the country privily and hastily. And or it were day he let put
wildfire in three of his own ships, and suddenly he pulled up the sail,
and with the wind he made those ships to be driven among the navy of the
Saracens. And to make short tale, those three ships set on fire all the
ships, that none were saved. And at point of the day the good Prince
Boudwin with all his fellowship set on the miscreants with shouts and
cries, and slew to the number of forty thousand, and left none alive.

When King Mark wist this he was wonderly wroth that his brother should
win such worship. And because this prince was better beloved than he
in all that country, and that also Boudwin loved well Sir Tristram,
therefore he thought to slay him. And thus, hastily, as a man out of
his wit, he sent for Prince Boudwin and Anglides his wife, and bade them
bring their young son with them, that he might see him. All this he did
to the intent to slay the child as well as his father, for he was the
falsest traitor that ever was born. Alas, for his goodness and for his
good deeds this gentle Prince Boudwin was slain. So when he came with
his wife Anglides, the king made them fair semblant till they had dined.
And when they had dined King Mark sent for his brother and said thus:
Brother, how sped you when the miscreants arrived by you? meseemeth it
had been your part to have sent me word, that I might have been at that
journey, for it had been reason that I had had the honour and not you.
Sir, said the Prince Boudwin, it was so that an I had tarried till
that I had sent for you those miscreants had destroyed my country. Thou
liest, false traitor, said King Mark, for thou art ever about for to
win worship from me, and put me to dishonour, and thou cherishest that
I hate. And therewith he struck him to the heart with a dagger, that
he never after spake word. Then the Lady Anglides made great dole, and
swooned, for she saw her lord slain afore her face. Then was there no
more to do but Prince Boudwin was despoiled and brought to burial. But
Anglides privily gat her husband's doublet and his shirt, and that she
kept secretly.

Then was there much sorrow and crying, and great dole made Sir Tristram,
Sir Dinas, Sir Fergus, and so did all knights that were there; for that
prince was passingly well beloved. So La Beale Isoud sent unto Anglides,
the Prince Boudwin's wife, and bade her avoid lightly or else her young
son, Alisander le Orphelin, should be slain When she heard this, she
took her horse and her child; and rode with such poor men as durst ride
with her.



CHAPTER XXXIII. How Anglides, Boudwin's wife, escaped with her young
son, Alisander le Orphelin, and came to the Castle of Arundel.


NOTWITHSTANDING, when King Mark had done this deed, yet he thought to do
more vengeance; and with his sword in his hand, he sought from chamber
to chamber, to seek Anglides and her young son. And when she was missed
he called a good knight that hight Sadok, and charged him by pain of
death to fetch Anglides again and her young son. So Sir Sadok departed
and rode after Anglides. And within ten mile he overtook her, and bade
her turn again and ride with him to King Mark. Alas, fair knight,
she said, what shall ye win by my son's death or by mine? I have had
overmuch harm and too great a loss. Madam, said Sadok, of your loss
is dole and pity; but madam, said Sadok, would ye depart out of this
country with your son, and keep him till he be of age, that he may
revenge his father's death, then would I suffer you to depart from me,
so you promise me to revenge the death of Prince Boudwin. Ah, gentle
knight, Jesu thank thee, and if ever my son, Alisander le Orphelin, live
to be a knight, he shall have his father's doublet and his shirt with
the bloody marks, and I shall give him such a charge that he shall
remember it while he liveth. And therewithal Sadok departed from her,
and either betook other to God. And when Sadok came to King Mark he told
him faithfully that he had drowned young Alisander her son; and thereof
King Mark was full glad.

Now turn we unto Anglides, that rode both night and day by adventure out
of Cornwall, and little and in few places she rested; but ever she drew
southward to the seaside, till by fortune she came to a castle that
is called Magouns, and now it is called Arundel, in Sussex. And the
Constable of the castle welcomed her, and said she was welcome to her
own castle; and there was Anglides worshipfully received, for the
Constable's wife was nigh her cousin, and the Constable's name was
Bellangere; and that same Constable told Anglides that the same castle
was hers by right inheritance. Thus Anglides endured years and winters,
till Alisander was big and strong; there was none so wight in all that
country, neither there was none that might do no manner of mastery afore
him.



CHAPTER XXXIV. How Anglides gave the bloody doublet to Alisander, her
son, the same day that he was made knight, and the charge withal.


THEN upon a day Bellangere the Constable came to Anglides and said:
Madam, it were time my lord Alisander were made knight, for he is a
passing strong young man. Sir, said she, I would he were made knight;
but then must I give him the most charge that ever sinful mother gave to
her child. Do as ye list, said Bellangere, and I shall give him warning
that he shall be made knight. Now it will be well done that he may be
made knight at our Lady Day in Lent. Be it so, said Anglides, and I pray
you make ready therefore. So came the Constable to Alisander, and told
him that he should at our Lady Day in Lent be made knight. I thank God,
said Alisander; these are the best tidings that ever came to me. Then
the Constable ordained twenty of the greatest gentlemen's sons, and the
best born men of the country, that should be made knights that same day
that Alisander was made knight. So on the same day that Alisander and
his twenty fellows were made knights, at the offering of the mass there
came Anglides unto her son and said thus: O fair sweet son, I charge
thee upon my blessing, and of the high order of chivalry that thou
takest here this day, that thou understand what I shall say and charge
thee withal. Therewithal she pulled out a bloody doublet and a bloody
shirt, that were be-bled with old blood. When Alisander saw this he
stert aback and waxed pale, and said: Fair mother, what may this mean?
I shall tell thee, fair son: this was thine own father's doublet and
shirt, that he wore upon him that same day that he was slain. And there
she told him why and wherefore, and how for his goodness King Mark slew
him with his dagger afore mine own eyen. And therefore this shall be
your charge that I shall give thee.



CHAPTER XXXV. How it was told to King Mark of Sir Alisander, and how he
would have slain Sir Sadok for saving his life.


NOW I require thee, and charge thee upon my blessing, and upon the high
order of knighthood, that thou be revenged upon King Mark for the death
of thy father. And therewithal she swooned. Then Alisander leapt to
his mother, and took her up in his arms, and said: Fair mother, ye have
given me a great charge, and here I promise you I shall be avenged upon
King Mark when that I may; and that I promise to God and to you. So
this feast was ended, and the Constable, by the advice of Anglides, let
purvey that Alisander was well horsed and harnessed. Then he jousted
with his twenty fellows that were made knights with him, but for to make
a short tale, he overthrew all those twenty, that none might withstand
him a buffet.

Then one of those knights departed unto King Mark, and told him all, how
Alisander was made knight, and all the charge that his mother gave him,
as ye have heard afore time. Alas, false treason, said King Mark, I
weened that young traitor had been dead. Alas, whom may I trust? And
therewithal King Mark took a sword in his hand; and sought Sir Sadok
from chamber to chamber to slay him. When Sir Sadok saw King Mark come
with his sword in his hand he said thus: Beware, King Mark, and come not
nigh me; for wit thou well that I saved Alisander his life, of which I
never repent me, for thou falsely and cowardly slew his father Boudwin,
traitorly for his good deeds; wherefore I pray Almighty Jesu send
Alisander might and strength to be revenged upon thee. And now beware
King Mark of young Alisander, for he is made a knight. Alas, said King
Mark, that ever I should hear a traitor say so afore me. And therewith
four knights of King Mark's drew their swords to slay Sir Sadok, but
anon Sir Sadok slew them all in King Mark's presence. And then Sir Sadok
passed forth into his chamber, and took his horse and his harness, and
rode on his way a good pace. For there was neither Sir Tristram, neither
Sir Dinas, nor Sir Fergus, that would Sir Sadok any evil will. Then was
King Mark wroth, and thought to destroy Sir Alisander and Sir Sadok that
had saved him; for King Mark dreaded and hated Alisander most of any man
living.

When Sir Tristram understood that Alisander was made knight, anon
forthwithal he sent him a letter, praying him and charging him that he
would draw him to the court of King Arthur, and that he put him in
the rule and in the hands of Sir Launcelot. So this letter was sent to
Alisander from his cousin, Sir Tristram. And at that time he thought to
do after his commandment. Then King Mark called a knight that brought
him the tidings from Alisander, and bade him abide still in that
country. Sir, said that knight, so must I do, for in my own country I
dare not come. No force, said King Mark, I shall give thee here double
as much lands as ever thou hadst of thine own. But within short space
Sir Sadok met with that false knight, and slew him. Then was King Mark
wood wroth out of measure. Then he sent unto Queen Morgan le Fay, and
to the Queen of North-galis, praying them in his letters that they two
sorceresses would set all the country in fire with ladies that were
enchantresses, and by such that were dangerous knights, as Malgrin,
Breuse Saunce Pité, that by no mean Alisander le Orphelin should escape,
but either he should be taken or slain. This ordinance made King Mark
for to destroy Alisander.



CHAPTER XXXVI. How Sir Alisander won the prize at a tournament, and of
Morgan le Fay: and how he fought with Sir Malgrin, and slew him.


NOW turn we again unto Sir Alisander, that at his departing his mother
took with him his father's bloody shirt. So that he bare with him always
till his death day, in tokening to think of his father's death. So was
Alisander purposed to ride to London, by the counsel of Sir Tristram,
to Sir Launcelot. And by fortune he went by the seaside, and rode wrong.
And there he won at a tournament the gree that King Carados made. And
there he smote down King Carados and twenty of his knights, and also Sir
Safere, a good knight that was Sir Palomides' brother, the good knight.
All this saw a damosel, and saw the best knight joust that ever she saw.
And ever as he smote down knights he made them to swear to wear none
harness in a twelvemonth and a day. This is well said, said Morgan
le Fay, this is the knight that I would fain see. And so she took
her palfrey, and rode a great while, and then she rested her in her
pavilion. So there came four knights, two were armed, and two were
unarmed, and they told Morgan le Fay their names: the first was Elias
de Gomeret, the second was Cari de Gomeret, those were armed; that other
twain were of Camiliard, cousins unto Queen Guenever, and that one hight
Guy, and that other hight Garaunt, those were unarmed. There these four
knights told Morgan le Fay how a young knight had smitten them down
before a castle For the maiden of that castle said that he was but late
made knight, and young. But as we suppose, but if it were Sir Tristram,
or Sir Launcelot, or Sir Lamorak, the good knight, there is none that
might sit him a buffet with a spear. Well, said Morgan le Fay, I shall
meet that knight or it be long time, an he dwell in that country.

So turn we to the damosel of the castle, that when Alisander le Orphelin
had forjousted the four knights, she called him to her, and said thus:
Sir knight, wilt thou for my sake joust and fight with a knight, for my
sake, of this country, that is and hath been long time an evil neighbour
to me? His name is Malgrin, and he will not suffer me to be married
in no manner wise for all that I can do, or any knight for my sake.
Damosel, said Alisander, an he come whiles I am here I will fight with
him, and my poor body for your sake I will jeopard. And therewithal she
sent for him, for he was at her commandment. And when either had a sight
of other, they made them ready for to joust, and they came together
eagerly, and Malgrin brised his spear upon Alisander, and Alisander
smote him again so hard that he bare him quite from his saddle to the
earth. But this Malgrin arose lightly, and dressed his shield and drew
his sword, and bade him alight, saying: Though thou have the better of
me on horseback, thou shalt find that I shall endure like a knight on
foot. It is well said, said Alisander; and so lightly he avoided his
horse and betook him to his varlet. And then they rushed together like
two boars, and laid on their helms and shields long time, by the space
of three hours, that never man could say which was the better knight.

And in the meanwhile came Morgan le Fay to the damosel of the castle,
and they beheld the battle. But this Malgrin was an old roted knight,
and he was called one of the dangerous knights of the world to do battle
on foot, but on horseback there were many better. And ever this Malgrin
awaited to slay Alisander, and so wounded him wonderly sore, that it
was marvel that ever he might stand, for he had bled so much blood; for
Alisander fought wildly, and not wittily. And that other was a felonious
knight, and awaited him, and smote him sore. And sometime they rushed
together with their shields, like two boars or rams, and fell grovelling
both to the earth. Now knight, said Malgrin, hold thy hand a while, and
tell me what thou art. I will not, said Alisander, but if me list: but
tell me thy name, and why thou keepest this country, or else thou shalt
die of my hands. Wit thou well, said Malgrin, that for this maiden's
love, of this castle, I have slain ten good knights by mishap; and by
outrage and orgulité of myself I have slain ten other knights. So God me
help, said Alisander, this is the foulest confession that ever I heard
knight make, nor never heard I speak of other men of such a shameful
confession; wherefore it were great pity and great shame unto me that
I should let thee live any longer; therefore keep thee as well as ever
thou mayest, for as I am true knight, either thou shalt slay me or else
I shall slay thee, I promise thee faithfully.

Then they lashed together fiercely, and at the last Alisander smote
Malgrin to the earth. And then he raced off his helm, and smote off his
head lightly. And when he had done and ended this battle, anon he called
to him his varlet, the which brought him his horse. And then he, weening
to be strong enough, would have mounted. And so she laid Sir Alisander
in an horse litter, and led him into the castle, for he had no foot nor
might to stand upon the earth; for he had sixteen great wounds, and in
especial one of them was like to be his death.



CHAPTER XXXVII. How Queen Morgan le Fay had Alisander in her castle, and
how she healed his wounds.


THEN Queen Morgan le Fay searched his wounds, and gave such an ointment
unto him that he should have died. And on the morn when she came to him
he complained him sore; and then she put other ointments upon him, and
then he was out of his pain. Then came the damosel of the castle, and
said unto Morgan le Fay: I pray you help me that this knight might wed
me, for he hath won me with his hands. Ye shall see, said Morgan le Fay,
what I shall say. Then Morgan le Fay went unto Alisander, and bade in
anywise that he should refuse this lady, an she desire to wed you, for
she is not for you. So the damosel came and desired of him marriage.
Damosel, said Orphelin, I thank you, but as yet I cast me not to marry
in this country. Sir, she said, sithen ye will not marry me, I pray you
insomuch as ye have won me, that ye will give me to a knight of this
country that hath been my friend, and loved me many years. With all my
heart, said Alisander, I will assent thereto. Then was the knight sent
for, his name was Gerine le Grose. And anon he made them handfast, and
wedded them.

Then came Queen Morgan le Fay to Alisander, and bade him arise, and put
him in an horse litter, and gave him such a drink that in three days and
three nights he waked never, but slept; and so she brought him to her
own castle that at that time was called La Beale Regard. Then Morgan
le Fay came to Alisander, and asked him if he would fain be whole. Who
would be sick, said Alisander, an he might be whole? Well, said Morgan
le Fay, then shall ye promise me by your knighthood that this day
twelvemonth and a day ye shall not pass the compass of this castle, and
without doubt ye shall lightly be whole. I assent, said Sir Alisander.
And there he made her a promise: then was he soon whole. And when
Alisander was whole, then he repented him of his oath, for he might
not be revenged upon King Mark. Right so there came a damosel that was
cousin to the Earl of Pase, and she was cousin to Morgan le Fay. And
by right that castle of La Beale Regard should have been hers by
true inheritance. So this damosel entered into this castle where lay
Alisander, and there she found him upon his bed, passing heavy and all
sad.



CHAPTER XXXVIII. How Alisander was delivered from Queen Morgan le Fay by
the means of a damosel.


SIR knight, said the damosel, an ye would be merry I could tell you good
tidings. Well were me, said Alisander, an I might hear of good tidings,
for now I stand as a prisoner by my promise. Sir, she said, wit you well
that ye be a prisoner, and worse than ye ween; for my lady, my cousin
Queen Morgan le Fay, keepeth you here for none other intent but for
to do her pleasure with you when it liketh her. O Jesu defend me, said
Alisander, from such pleasure; for I had liefer cut away my hangers than
I would do her such pleasure. As Jesu help me, said the damosel, an ye
would love me and be ruled by me, I shall make your deliverance with
your worship. Tell me, said Alisander, by what means, and ye shall have
my love. Fair knight, said she, this castle of right ought to be mine,
and I have an uncle the which is a mighty earl, he is Earl of Pase, and
of all folks he hateth most Morgan le Fay; and I shall send unto him and
pray him for my sake to destroy this castle for the evil customs that be
used therein; and then will he come and set wild-fire on every part of
the castle, and I shall get you out at a privy postern, and there
shall ye have your horse and your harness. Ye say well, damosel, said
Alisander. And then she said: Ye may keep the room of this castle this
twelvemonth and a day, then break ye not your oath. Truly, fair damosel,
said Alisander, ye say sooth. And then he kissed her, and did to her
pleasaunce as it pleased them both at times and leisures.

So anon she sent unto her uncle and bade him come and destroy that
castle, for as the book saith, he would have destroyed that castle afore
time had not that damosel been. When the earl understood her letters he
sent her word again that on such a day he would come and destroy
that castle. So when that day came she showed Alisander a postern
wherethrough he should flee into a garden, and there he should find his
armour and his horse. When the day came that was set, thither came the
Earl of Pase with four hundred knights, and set on fire all the parts of
the castle, that or they ceased they left not a stone standing. And all
this while that the fire was in the castle he abode in the garden. And
when the fire was done he let make a cry that he would keep that piece
of earth thereas the castle of La Beale Regard was a twelvemonth and a
day, from all manner knights that would come.

So it happed there was a duke that hight Ansirus, and he was of the kin
of Sir Launcelot. And this knight was a great pilgrim, for every third
year he would be at Jerusalem. And because he used all his life to go in
pilgrimage men called him Duke Ansirus the Pilgrim. And this duke had a
daughter that hight Alice, that was a passing fair woman, and because of
her father she was called Alice la Beale Pilgrim. And anon as she heard
of this cry she went unto Arthur's court, and said openly in hearing
of many knights, that what knight may overcome that knight that keepeth
that piece of earth shall have me and all my lands.

When the knights of the Round Table heard her say thus many were glad,
for she was passing fair and of great rents. Right so she let cry in
castles and towns as fast on her side as Alisander did on his side.
Then she dressed her pavilion straight by the piece of the earth that
Alisander kept. So she was not so soon there but there came a knight
of Arthur's court that hight Sagramore le Desirous, and he proffered to
joust with Alisander; and they encountered, and Sagramore le Desirous
brised his spear upon Sir Alisander, but Sir Alisander smote him so hard
that he avoided his saddle. And when La Beale Alice saw him joust so
well, she thought him a passing goodly knight on horseback. And then
she leapt out of her pavilion, and took Sir Alisander by the bridle, and
thus she said: Fair knight, I require thee of thy knighthood show me thy
visage. I dare well, said Alisander, show my visage. And then he put off
his helm; and she saw his visage, she said: O sweet Jesu, thee I must
love, and never other. Then show me your visage, said he.



CHAPTER XXXIX. How Alisander met with Alice la Beale Pilgrim, and how he
jousted with two knights; and after of him and of Sir Mordred.


Then she unwimpled her visage. And when he saw her he said: Here have I
found my love and my lady. Truly, fair lady, said he, I promise you
to be your knight, and none other that beareth the life. Now, gentle
knight, said she, tell me your name. My name is, said he, Alisander le
Orphelin. Now, damosel, tell me your name, said he. My name is, said
she, Alice la Beale Pilgrim. And when we be more at our heart's ease,
both ye and I shall tell other of what blood we be come. So there was
great love betwixt them. And as they thus talked there came a knight
that hight Harsouse le Berbuse, and asked part of Sir Alisander's
spears. Then Sir Alisander encountered with him, and at the first Sir
Alisander smote him over his horse's croup. And then there came another
knight that hight Sir Hewgon, and Sir Alisander smote him down as he
did that other. Then Sir Hewgon proffered to do battle on foot. Sir
Alisander overcame him with three strokes, and there would have slain
him had he not yielded him. So then Alisander made both those knights to
swear to wear none armour in a twelvemonth and a day.

Then Sir Alisander alighted down, and went to rest him and repose him.
Then the damosel that helped Sir Alisander out of the castle, in her
play told Alice all together how he was prisoner in the castle of La
Beale Regard, and there she told her how she got him out of prison. Sir,
said Alice la Beale Pilgrim, meseemeth ye are much beholding to this
maiden. That is truth, said Sir Alisander. And there Alice told him of
what blood she was come. Sir, wit ye well, she said, that I am of the
blood of King Ban, that was father unto Sir Launcelot. Y-wis, fair lady,
said Alisander, my mother told me that my father was brother unto a
king, and I nigh cousin unto Sir Tristram.

Then this while came there three knights, that one hight Vains, and
the other hight Harvis de les Marches, and the third hight Perin de la
Montaine. And with one spear Sir Alisander smote them down all three,
and gave them such falls that they had no list to fight upon foot. So he
made them to swear to wear none arms in a twelvemonth. So when they were
departed Sir Alisander beheld his lady Alice on horseback as he stood
in her pavilion. And then was he so enamoured upon her that he wist not
whether he were on horseback or on foot.

Right so came the false knight Sir Mordred, and saw Sir Alisander was
assotted upon his lady; and therewithal he took his horse by the bridle,
and led him here and there, and had cast to have led him out of that
place to have shamed him. When the damosel that helped him out of that
castle saw how shamefully he was led, anon she let arm her, and set a
shield upon her shoulder; and therewith she mounted upon his horse, and
gat a naked sword in her hand, and she thrust unto Alisander with all
her might, and she gave him such a buffet that he thought the fire flew
out of his eyen. And when Alisander felt that stroke he looked about
him, and drew his sword And when she saw that, she fled, and so did
Mordred into the forest, and the damosel fled into the pavilion. So when
Alisander understood himself how the false knight would have shamed him
had not the damosel been then was he wroth with himself that Sir Mordred
was so escaped his hands. But then Sir Alisander and Alice had good game
at the damosel, how sadly she hit him upon the helm.

Then Sir Alisander jousted thus day by day, and on foot he did many
battles with many knights of King Arthur's court, and with many knights
strangers. Therefore to tell all the battles that he did it were
overmuch to rehearse, for every day within that twelvemonth he had ado
with one knight or with other, and some day he had ado with three or
with four; and there was never knight that put him to the worse. And at
the twelvemonth's end he departed with his lady, Alice la Beale Pilgrim.
And the damosel would never go from him, and so they went into their
country of Benoye, and lived there in great joy.



CHAPTER XL. How Sir Galahalt did do cry a jousts in Surluse, and Queen
Guenever's knights should joust against all that would come.


BUT as the book saith, King Mark would never stint till he had slain him
by treason. And by Alice he gat a child that hight Bellengerus le Beuse.
And by good fortune he came to the court of King Arthur, and proved a
passing good knight; and he revenged his father's death, for the false
King Mark slew both Sir Tristram and Alisander falsely and feloniously.
And it happed so that Alisander had never grace nor fortune to come to
King Arthur's court. For an he had come to Sir Launcelot, all knights
said that knew him, he was one of the strongest knights that was in
Arthur's days, and great dole was made for him. So let we of him pass,
and turn we to another tale.

So it befell that Sir Galahalt, the haut prince, was lord of the country
of Surluse, whereof came many good knights. And this noble prince was a
passing good man of arms, and ever he held a noble fellowship together.
And then he came to Arthur's court and told him his intent, how this was
his will, how he would let cry a jousts in the country of Surluse, the
which country was within the lands of King Arthur, and there he asked
leave to let cry a jousts. I will give you leave, said King Arthur; but
wit thou well, said King Arthur, I may not be there. Sir, said Queen
Guenever, please it you to give me leave to be at that jousts. With
right good will, said Arthur; for Sir Galahalt, the haut prince, shall
have you in governance. Sir, said Galahalt, I will as ye will. Sir,
then the queen, I will take with me [Sir Launcelot] and such knights as
please me best. Do as ye list, said King Arthur. So anon she commanded
Sir Launcelot to make him ready with such knights as he thought best.

So in every good town and castle of this land was made a cry, that in
the country of Surluse Sir Galahalt should make a joust that should last
eight days, and how the haut prince, with the help of Queen Guenever's
knights, should joust against all manner of men that would come. When
this cry was known, kings and princes, dukes and earls, barons and
noble knights, made them ready to be at that jousts. And at the day of
jousting there came in Sir Dinadan disguised, and did many great deeds
of arms.



CHAPTER XLI. How Sir Launcelot fought in the tournament, and how Sir
Palomides did arms there for a damosel.


THEN at the request of Queen Guenever and of King Bagdemagus Sir
Launcelot came into the range, but he was disguised, and that was the
cause that few folk knew him; and there met with him Sir Ector de Maris,
his own brother, and either brake their spears upon other to their
hands. And then either gat another spear. And then Sir Launcelot smote
down Sir Ector de Maris, his own brother. That saw Sir Bleoberis, and
he smote Sir Launcelot such a buffet upon the helm that he wist not well
where he was. Then Sir Launcelot was wrothy and smote Sir Bleoberis so
sore upon the helm that his head bowed down backward. And he smote
eft another buffet, that he avoided his saddle; and so he rode by, and
thrust forth to the thickest. When the King of Northgalis saw Sir Ector
and Bleoberis lie on the ground then was he wroth, for they came on
his party against them of Surluse. So the King of Northgalis ran to
Sir Launcelot, and brake a spear upon him all to pieces. Therewith Sir
Launcelot overtook the King of Northgalis, and smote him such a buffet
on the helm with his sword that he made him to avoid his horse; and anon
the king was horsed again. So both the King Bagdemagus' and the King of
North-galis' party hurled to other; and then began a strong medley, but
they of Northgalis were far bigger.

When Sir Launcelot saw his party go to the worst he thrang into the
thickest press with a sword in his hand; and there he smote down on the
right hand and on the left hand, and pulled down knights and raced off
their helms, that all men had wonder that ever one knight might do such
deeds of arms. When Sir Meliagaunce, that was son unto King Bagdemagus,
saw how Sir Launcelot fared he marvelled greatly. And when he understood
that it was he, he wist well that he was disguised for his sake. Then
Sir Meliagaunce prayed a knight to slay Sir Launcelot's horse, either
with sword or with spear. At that time King Bagdemagus met with a knight
that hight Sauseise, a good knight, to whom he said: Now fair Sauseise,
encounter with my son Meliagaunce and give him large payment, for I
would he were well beaten of thy hands, that he might depart out of
this field. And then Sir Sauseise encountered with Sir Meliagaunce,
and either smote other down. And then they fought on foot, and there
Sauseise had won Sir Meliagaunce, had there not come rescues. So then
the haut prince blew to lodging, and every knight unarmed him and went
to the great feast.

Then in the meanwhile there came a damosel to the haut prince, and
complained that there was a knight that hight Goneries that withheld her
all her lands. Then the knight was there present, and cast his glove to
her or to any that would fight in her name. So the damosel took up the
glove all heavily for default of a champion. Then there came a varlet to
her and said: Damosel, will ye do after me? Full fain, said the damosel.
Then go you unto such a knight that lieth here beside in an hermitage,
and that followeth the Questing Beast, and pray him to take the battle
upon him, and anon I wot well he will grant you.

So anon she took her palfrey, and within a while she found that knight,
that was Sir Palomides. And when she required him he armed him and rode
with her, and made her to go to the haut prince, and to ask leave for
her knight to do battle. I will well, said the haut prince. Then the
knights were ready in the field to joust on horseback; and either gat a
spear in their hands, and met so fiercely together that their spears
all to-shivered. Then they flang out swords, and Sir Palomides smote Sir
Goneries down to the earth. And then he raced off his helm and smote off
his head. Then they went to supper, and the damosel loved Palomides
as paramour, but the book saith she was of his kin. So then Palomides
disguised himself in this manner, in his shield he bare the Questing
Beast, and in all his trappings. And when he was thus ready, he sent to
the haut prince to give him leave to joust with other knights, but he
was adoubted of Sir Launcelot. The haut prince sent him word again that
he should be welcome, and that Sir Launcelot should not joust with him.
Then Sir Galahalt, the haut prince, let cry what knight somever he were
that smote down Sir Palomides should have his damosel to himself.



CHAPTER XLII. How Sir Galahalt and Palomides fought together, and of Sir
Dinadan and Sir Galahalt.


HERE beginneth the second day. Anon as Sir Palomides came into the
field, Sir Galahalt, the haut prince, was at the range end, and met with
Sir Palomides, and he with him, with great spears. And then they came so
hard together that their spears all to-shivered, but Sir Galahalt smote
him so hard that he bare him backward over his horse, but yet he lost
not his stirrups. Then they drew their swords and lashed together many
sad strokes, that many worshipful knights left their business to behold
them. But at the last Sir Galahalt, the haut prince, smote a stroke of
might unto Palomides, sore upon the helm; but the helm was so hard that
the sword might not bite, but slipped and smote off the head of the
horse of Sir Palomides. When the haut prince wist and saw the good
knight fall unto the earth he was ashamed of that stroke. And therewith
he alighted down off his own horse, and prayed the good knight,
Palomides, to take that horse of his gift, and to forgive him that deed.
Sir, said Palomides, I thank you of your great goodness, for ever of a
man of worship a knight shall never have disworship; and so he mounted
upon that horse, and the haut prince had another anon. Now, said the
haut prince, I release to you that maiden, for ye have won her. Ah, said
Palomides, the damosel and I be at your commandment.

So they departed, and Sir Galahalt did great deeds of arms. And right so
came Dinadan and encountered with Sir Galahalt, and either came to other
so fast with their spears that their spears brake to their hands. But
Dinadan had weened the haut prince had been more weary than he was. And
then he smote many sad strokes at the haut prince; but when Dinadan saw
he might not get him to the earth he said: My lord, I pray you leave me,
and take another. The haut prince knew not Dinadan, and left goodly for
his fair words. And so they departed; but soon there came another and
told the haut prince that it was Dinadan. Forsooth, said the prince,
therefore am I heavy that he is so escaped from me, for with his mocks
and japes now shall I never have done with him. And then Galahalt rode
fast after him, and bade him: Abide, Dinadan, for King Arthur's sake.
Nay, said Dinadan, so God me help, we meet no more together this day.
Then in that wrath the haut prince met with Meliagaunce, and he smote
him in the throat that an he had fallen his neck had broken; and with
the same spear he smote down another knight. Then came in they of
Northgalis and many strangers, and were like to have put them of Surluse
to the worse, for Sir Galahalt, the haut prince, had ever much in hand.
So there came the good knight, Semound the Valiant, with forty knights,
and he beat them all aback. Then the Queen Guenever and Sir Launcelot
let blow to lodging, and every knight unarmed him, and dressed him to
the feast.



CHAPTER XLIII. How Sir Archade appealed Sir Palomides of treason, and
how Sir Palomides slew him.


WHEN Palomides was unarmed he asked lodging for himself and the damosel.
Anon the haut prince commanded them to lodging. And he was not so
soon in his lodging but there came a knight that hight Archade, he
was brother unto Goneries that Palomides slew afore in the damosel's
quarrel. And this knight, Archade, called Sir Palomides traitor, and
appealed him for the death of his brother. By the leave of the
haut prince, said Palomides, I shall answer thee. When Sir Galahalt
understood their quarrel he bade them go to dinner: And as soon as ye
have dined look that either knight be ready in the field. So when they
had dined they were armed both, and took their horses, and the queen,
and the prince, and Sir Launcelot, were set to behold them; and so they
let run their horses, and there Sir Palomides bare Archade on his spear
over his horse's tail. And then Palomides alighted and drew his sword,
but Sir Archade might not arise; and there Sir Palomides raced off his
helm, and smote off his head. Then the haut prince and Queen Guenever
went unto supper. Then King Bagdemagus sent away his son Meliagaunce
because Sir Launcelot should not meet with him, for he hated Sir
Launcelot, and that knew he not.



CHAPTER XLIV. Of the third day, and how Sir Palomides jousted with Sir
Lamorak, and other things.


NOW beginneth the third day of jousting; and at that day King Bagdemagus
made him ready; and there came against him King Marsil, that had in gift
an island of Sir Galahalt the haut prince; and this island had the
name Pomitain. Then it befell that King Bagdemagus and King Marsil of
Pomitain met together with spears, and King Marsil had such a buffet
that he fell over his horse's croup. Then came there in a knight of King
Marsil to revenge his lord, and King Bagdemagus smote him down, horse
and man, to the earth. So there came an earl that hight Arrouse, and Sir
Breuse, and an hundred knights with them of Pomitain, and the King of
Northgalis was with them; and all these were against them of Surluse.
And then there began great battle, and many knights were cast under
horses' feet. And ever King Bagdemagus did best, for he first began, and
ever he held on. Gaheris, Gawaine's brother, smote ever at the face of
King Bagdemagus; and at the last King Bagdemagus hurtled down Gaheris,
horse and man.

Then by adventure Sir Palomides, the good knight, met with Sir Blamore
de Ganis, Sir Bleoberis' brother. And either smote other with great
spears, that both their horses and knights fell to the earth. But Sir
Blamore had such a fall that he had almost broken his neck, for the
blood brast out at nose, mouth, and his ears, but at the last he
recovered well by good surgeons. Then there came in the Duke Chaleins of
Clarance; and in his governance there came a knight that hight Elis la
Noire; and there encountered with him King Bagdemagus, and he smote Elis
that he made him to avoid his saddle. So the Duke Chaleins of Clarance
did there great deeds of arms, and of so late as he came in the
third day there was no man did so well except King Bagdemagus and Sir
Palomides, that the prize was given that day to King Bagdemagus. And
then they blew unto lodging, and unarmed them, and went to the feast.
Right so came Dinadan, and mocked and japed with King Bagdemagus that
all knights laughed at him, for he was a fine japer, and well loving all
good knights.

So anon as they had dined there came a varlet bearing four spears on his
back; and he came to Palomides, and said thus: Here is a knight by hath
sent you the choice of four spears, and requireth you for your lady's
sake to take that one half of these spears, and joust with him in the
field. Tell him, said Palomides, I will not fail him. When Sir Galahalt
wist of this, he bade Palomides make him ready. So the Queen Guenever,
the haut prince, and Sir Launcelot, they were set upon scaffolds to give
the judgment of these two knights. Then Sir Palomides and the strange
knight ran so eagerly together that their spears brake to their hands.
Anon withal either of them took a great spear in his hand and all
to-shivered them in pieces. And then either took a greater spear, and
then the knight smote down Sir Palomides, horse and man, to the earth.
And as he would have passed over him the strange knight's horse stumbled
and fell down upon Palomides. Then they drew their swords and lashed
together wonderly sore a great while.

Then the haut prince and Sir Launcelot said they saw never two knights
fight better than they did; but ever the strange knight doubled his
strokes, and put Palomides aback; therewithal the haut prince cried: Ho:
and then they went to lodging. And when they were unarmed they knew it
was the noble knight Sir Lamorak. When Sir Launcelot knew that it was
Sir Lamorak he made much of him, for above all earthly men he loved him
best except Sir Tristram. Then Queen Guenever commended him, and so did
all other good knights make much of him, except Sir Gawaine's brethren.
Then Queen Guenever said unto Sir Launcelot: Sir, I require you that
an ye joust any more, that ye joust with none of the blood of my lord
Arthur. So he promised he would not as at that time.



CHAPTER XLV. Of the fourth day, and of many great feats of arms.


HERE beginneth the fourth day. Then came into the field the King with
the Hundred Knights, and all they of Northgalis, and the Duke Chaleins
of Clarance, and King Marsil of Pomitain, and there came Safere,
Palomides' brother, and there he told him tidings of his mother. And his
name was called the Earl, and so he appealed him afore King Arthur: For
he made war upon our father and mother, and there I slew him in plain
battle. So they went into the field, and the damosel with them; and
there came to encounter again them Sir Bleoberis de Ganis, and Sir Ector
de Maris. Sir Palomides encountered with Sir Bleoberis, and either smote
other down. And in the same wise did Sir Safere and Sir Ector, and
the two couples did battle on foot. Then came in Sir Lamorak, and he
encountered with the King with the Hundred Knights, and smote him
quite over his horse's tail. And in the same wise he served the King of
Northgalis, and also he smote down King Marsil. And so or ever he stint
he smote down with his spear and with his sword thirty knights. When
Duke Chaleins saw Lamorak do so great prowess he would not meddle with
him for shame; and then he charged all his knights in pain of death that
none of you touch him; for it were shame to all good knights an that
knight were shamed.

Then the two kings gathered them together, and all they set upon Sir
Lamorak; and he failed them not, but rushed here and there, smiting on
the right hand and on the left, and raced off many helms, so that the
haut prince and Queen Guenever said they saw never knight do such deeds
of arms on horseback. Alas, said Launcelot to King Bagdemagus, I
will arm me and help Sir Lamorak. And I will ride with you, said King
Bagdemagus. And when they two were horsed they came to Sir Lamorak that
stood among thirty knights; and well was him that might reach him a
buffet, and ever he smote again mightily. Then came there into the press
Sir Launcelot, and he threw down Sir Mador de la Porte. And with the
truncheon of that spear he threw down many knights. And King Bagdemagus
smote on the left hand and on the right hand marvellously well. And then
the three kings fled aback. Therewithal then Sir Galahalt let blow to
lodging, and all the heralds gave Sir Lamorak the prize. And all this
while fought Palomides, Sir Bleoberis, Sir Safere, Sir Ector on foot;
never were there four knights evener matched. And then they were
departed, and had unto their lodging, and unarmed them, and so they went
to the great feast.

But when Sir Lamorak was come into the court Queen Guenever took him in
her arms and said: Sir, well have ye done this day. Then came the haut
prince, and he made of him great joy, and so did Dinadan, for he wept
for joy; but the joy that Sir Launcelot made of Sir Lamorak there might
no man tell. Then they went unto rest, and on the morn the haut prince
let blow unto the field.



CHAPTER XLVI. Of the Fifth day, and how Sir Lamorak behaved him.


HERE beginneth the fifth day. So it befell that Sir Palomides came in
the morntide, and proffered to joust thereas King Arthur was in a castle
there besides Surluse; and there encountered with him a worshipful duke,
and there Sir Palomides smote him over his horse's croup. And this duke
was uncle unto King Arthur. Then Sir Elise's son rode unto Palomides,
and Palomides served Elise in the same wise. When Sir Uwaine saw this
he was wroth. Then he took his horse and encountered with Sir Palomides,
and Palomides smote him so hard that he went to the earth, horse and
man. And for to make a short tale, he smote down three brethren of Sir
Gawaine, that is for to say Mordred, Gaheris, and Agravaine. O Jesu,
said Arthur, this is a great despite of a Saracen that he shall smite
down my blood. And therewithal King Arthur was wood wroth, and thought
to have made him ready to joust.

That espied Sir Lamorak, that Arthur and his blood were discomfit; and
anon he was ready, and asked Palomides if he would any more joust. Why
should I not? said Palomides. Then they hurtled together, and brake
their spears, and all to-shivered them, that all the castle rang of
their dints. Then either gat a greater spear in his hand, and they came
so fiercely together; but Sir Palomides' spear all to-brast and Sir
Lamorak's did hold. Therewithal Sir Palomides lost his stirrups and lay
upright on his horse's back. And then Sir Palomides returned again and
took his damosel, and Sir Safere returned his way.

So, when he was departed, King Arthur came to Sir Lamorak and thanked
him of his goodness, and prayed him to tell him his name. Sir, said
Lamorak, wit thou well, I owe you my service, but as at this time I
will not abide here, for I see of mine enemies many about me. Alas, said
Arthur, now wot I well it is Sir Lamorak de Galis. O Lamorak, abide
with me, and by my crown I shall never fail thee: and not so hardy in
Gawaine's head, nor none of his brethren, to do thee any wrong. Sir,
said Sir Lamorak, wrong have they done me, and to you both. That is
truth, said the king, for they slew their own mother and my sister, the
which me sore grieveth: it had been much fairer and better that ye had
wedded her, for ye are a king's son as well as they. O Jesu, said the
noble knight Sir Lamorak unto Arthur, her death shall I never forget. I
promise you, and make mine avow unto God, I shall revenge her death as
soon as I see time convenable. And if it were not at the reverence of
your highness I should now have been revenged upon Sir Gawaine and
his brethren. Truly, said Arthur, I will make you at accord. Sir, said
Lamorak, as at this time I may not abide with you, for I must to the
jousts, where is Sir Launcelot, and the haut prince Sir Galahalt.

Then there was a damosel that was daughter to King Bandes. And there was
a Saracen knight that hight Corsabrin, and he loved the damosel, and
in no wise he would suffer her to be married; for ever this Corsabrin
noised her, and named her that she was out of her mind; and thus he let
her that she might not be married.



CHAPTER XLVII. How Sir Palomides fought with Corsabrin for a lady, and
how Palomides slew Corsabrin.


SO by fortune this damosel heard tell that Palomides did much for
damosels' sake; so she sent to him a pensel, and prayed him to fight
with Sir Corsabrin for her love, and he should have her and her lands
of her father's that should fall to her. Then the damosel sent unto
Corsabrin, and bade him go unto Sir Palomides that was a paynim as well
as he, and she gave him warning that she had sent him her pensel, and
if he might overcome Palomides she would wed him. When Corsabrin wist of
her deeds then was he wood wroth and angry, and rode unto Surluse where
the haut prince was, and there he found Sir Palomides ready, the which
had the pensel. So there they waged battle either with other afore
Galahalt. Well, said the haut prince, this day must noble knights joust,
and at-after dinner we shall see how ye can speed.

Then they blew to jousts; and in came Dinadan, and met with Sir Gerin,
a good knight, and he threw him down over his horse's croup; and Sir
Dinadan overthrew four knights more; and there he did great deeds of
arms, for he was a good knight, but he was a scoffer and a japer, and
the merriest knight among fellowship that was that time living. And he
had such a custom that he loved every good knight, and every good knight
loved him again. So then when the haut prince saw Dinadan do so well, he
sent unto Sir Launcelot and bade him strike down Sir Dinadan: And when
that ye have done so bring him afore me and the noble Queen Guenever.
Then Sir Launcelot did as he was required. Then Sir Lamorak and he smote
down many knights, and raced off helms, and drove all the knights afore
them. And so Sir Launcelot smote down Sir Dinadan, and made his men to
unarm him, and so brought him to the queen and the haut prince, and they
laughed at Dinadan so sore that they might not stand. Well, said Sir
Dinadan, yet have I no shame, for the old shrew, Sir Launcelot, smote
me down. So they went to dinner, [and] all the court had good sport at
Dinadan.

Then when the dinner was done they blew to the field to behold Sir
Palomides and Corsabrin. Sir Palomides pight his pensel in midst of
the field; and then they hurtled together with their spears as it were
thunder, and either smote other to the earth. And then they pulled out
their swords, and dressed their shields, and lashed together mightily as
mighty knights, that well-nigh there was no piece of harness would hold
them, for this Corsabrin was a passing felonious knight. Corsabrin, said
Palomides, wilt thou release me yonder damosel and the pensel? Then was
Corsabrin wroth out of measure, and gave Palomides such a buffet that
he kneeled on his knee. Then Palomides arose lightly, and smote him upon
the helm that he fell down right to the earth. And therewith he raced
off his helm and said: Corsabrin, yield thee or else thou shalt die of
my hands. Fie on thee, said Corsabrin, do thy worst. Then he smote
off his head. And therewithal came a stink of his body when the soul
departed, that there might nobody abide the savour. So was the corpse
had away and buried in a wood, because he was a paynim. Then they blew
unto lodging, and Palomides was unarmed.

Then he went unto Queen Guenever, to the haut prince, and to Sir
Launcelot. Sir, said the haut prince, here have ye seen this day a great
miracle by Corsabrin, what savour there was when the soul departed from
the body. Therefore, sir, we will require you to take the baptism upon
you, and I promise you all knights will set the more by you, and say
more worship by you. Sir, said Palomides, I will that ye all know that
into this land I came to be christened, and in my heart I am christened
and christened will I be. But I have made such an avow that I may not be
christened till I have done seven true battles for Jesu's sake, and then
will I be christened; and I trust God will take mine intent, for I mean
truly Then Sir Palomides prayed Queen Guenever and the haut prince to
sup with him. And so they did, both Sir Launcelot and Sir Lamorak, and
many other good knights. So on the morn they heard their mass, and blew
the field, and then knights made them ready.



CHAPTER XLVIII. Of the sixth day, and what then was done.


HERE beginneth the sixth day. Then came therein Sir Gaheris, and there
encountered with him Sir Ossaise of Surluse, and Sir Gaheris smote him
over his horse's croup. And then either party encountered with other,
and there were many spears broken, and many knights cast under feet. So
there came in Sir Dornard and Sir Aglovale, that were brethren unto Sir
Lamorak, and they met with other two knights, and either smote other
so hard that all four knights and horses fell to the earth. When Sir
Lamorak saw his two brethren down he was wroth out of measure, and then
he gat a great spear in his hand, and therewithal he smote down four
good knights, and then his spear brake. Then he pulled out his sword,
and smote about him on the right hand and on the left hand, and raced
off helms and pulled down knights, that all men marvelled of such deeds
of arms as he did, for he fared so that many knights fled. Then he
horsed his brethren again, and said: Brethren, ye ought to be ashamed to
fall so off your horses! what is a knight but when he is on horseback? I
set not by a knight when he is on foot, for all battles on foot are but
pillers' battles. For there should no knight fight on foot but if it
were for treason, or else he were driven thereto by force; therefore,
brethren, sit fast on your horses, or else fight never more afore me.

With that came in the Duke Chaleins of Clarance, and there encountered
with him the Earl Ulbawes of Surluse, and either of them smote other
down. Then the knights of both parties horsed their lords again, for Sir
Ector and Bleoberis were on foot, waiting on the Duke Chaleins. And the
King with the Hundred Knights was with the Earl of Ulbawes. With that
came Gaheris and lashed to the King with the Hundred Knights, and he to
him again. Then came the Duke Chaleins and departed them.

Then they blew to lodging, and the knights unarmed them and drew them to
their dinner; and at the midst of their dinner in came Dinadan and began
to rail. Then he beheld the haut prince, that seemed wroth with some
fault that he saw; for he had a custom he loved no fish, and because he
was served with fish, the which he hated, therefore he was not merry.
When Sir Dinadan had espied the haut prince, he espied where was a fish
with a great head, and that he gat betwixt two dishes, and served the
haut prince with that fish. And then he said thus: Sir Galahalt, well
may I liken you to a wolf, for he will never eat fish, but flesh;
then the haut prince laughed at his words. Well, well, said Dinadan
to Launcelot, what devil do ye in this country, for here may no mean
knights win no worship for thee. Sir Dinadan, said Launcelot, I ensure
thee I shall no more meet with thee nor with thy great spear, for I may
not sit in my saddle when that spear hitteth me. And if I be happy
I shall beware of that boistous body that thou bearest. Well, said
Launcelot, make good watch ever: God forbid that ever we meet but if it
be at a dish of meat. Then laughed the queen and the haut prince, that
they might not sit at their table; thus they made great joy till on the
morn, and then they heard mass, and blew to field. And Queen Guenever
and all the estates were set, and judges armed clean with their shields
to keep the right.



CHAPTER XLIX. Of the seventh battle, and how Sir Launcelot, being
disguised like a maid, smote down Sir Dinadan.


NOW beginneth the seventh battle. There came in the Duke Cambines,
and there encountered with him Sir Aristance, that was counted a good
knight, and they met so hard that either bare other down, horse and man.
Then came there the Earl of Lambaile and helped the duke again to horse.
Then came there Sir Ossaise of Surluse, and he smote the Earl Lambaile
down from his horse. Then began they to do great deeds of arms, and many
spears were broken, and many knights were cast to the earth. Then the
King of Northgalis and the Earl Ulbawes smote together that all the
judges thought it was like mortal death. This meanwhile Queen Guenever,
and the haut prince, and Sir Launcelot, made there Sir Dinadan make him
ready to joust. I would, said Dinadan, ride into the field, but then one
of you twain will meet with me. Per dieu, said the haut prince, ye may
see how we sit here as judges with our shields, and always mayest thou
behold whether we sit here or not.

So Sir Dinadan departed and took his horse, and met with many knights,
and did passing well. And as he was departed, Sir Launcelot disguised
himself, and put upon his armour a maiden's garment freshly attired.
Then Sir Launcelot made Sir Galihodin to lead him through the range, and
all men had wonder what damosel it was. And so as Sir Dinadan came
into the range, Sir Launcelot, that was in the damosel's array, gat
Galihodin's spear, and ran unto Sir Dinadan. And always Sir Dinadan
looked up thereas Sir Launcelot was, and then he saw one sit in the
stead of Sir Launcelot, armed. But when Dinadan saw a manner of a
damosel he dread perils that it was Sir Launcelot disguised, but Sir
Launcelot came on him so fast that he smote him over his horse's croup;
and then with great scorns they gat Sir Dinadan into the forest there
beside, and there they dispoiled him unto his shirt, and put upon him
a woman's garment, and so brought him into the field: and so they blew
unto lodging. And every knight went and unarmed them. Then was Sir
Dinadan brought in among them all. And when Queen Guenever saw Sir
Dinadan brought so among them all, then she laughed that she fell down,
and so did all that there were. Well, said Dinadan to Launcelot, thou
art so false that I can never beware of thee. Then by all the assent
they gave Sir Launcelot the prize, the next was Sir Lamorak de Galis,
the third was Sir Palomides, the fourth was King Bagdemagus; so these
four knights had the prize, and there was great joy, and great nobley in
all the court.

And on the morn Queen Guenever and Sir Launcelot departed unto King
Arthur, but in no wise Sir Lamorak would not go with them. I shall
undertake, said Sir Launcelot, that an ye will go with us King Arthur
shall charge Sir Gawaine and his brethren never to do you hurt. As for
that, said Sir Lamorak, I will not trust Sir Gawaine nor none of his
brethren; and wit ye well, Sir Launcelot, an it were not for my lord
King Arthur's sake, I should match Sir Gawaine and his brethren well
enough. But to say that I should trust them, that shall I never, and
therefore I pray you recommend me unto my lord Arthur, and unto all my
lords of the Round Table. And in what place that ever I come I shall do
you service to my power: and sir, it is but late that I revenged that,
when my lord Arthur's kin were put to the worse by Sir Palomides.
Then Sir Lamorak departed from Sir Launcelot, and either wept at their
departing.



CHAPTER L. How by treason Sir Tristram was brought to a tournament for
to have been slain, and how he was put in prison.


NOW turn we from this matter, and speak we of Sir Tristram, of whom
this book is principally of, and leave we the king and the queen, Sir
Launcelot, and Sir Lamorak, and here beginneth the treason of King Mark,
that he ordained against Sir Tristram. There was cried by the coasts of
Cornwall a great tournament and jousts, and all was done by Sir Galahalt
the haut prince and King Bagdemagus, to the intent to slay Launcelot, or
else utterly destroy him and shame him, because Sir Launcelot had always
the higher degree, therefore this prince and this king made this jousts
against Sir Launcelot. And thus their counsel was discovered unto King
Mark, whereof he was full glad.

Then King Mark bethought him that he would have Sir Tristram unto that
tournament disguised that no man should know him, to that intent that
the haut prince should ween that Sir Tristram were Sir Launcelot. So at
these jousts came in Sir Tristram. And at that time Sir Launcelot was
not there, but when they saw a knight disguised do such deeds of arms,
they weened it had been Sir Launcelot. And in especial King Mark said it
was Sir Launcelot plainly. Then they set upon him, both King Bagdemagus,
and the haut prince, and their knights, that it was wonder that ever Sir
Tristram might endure that pain. Notwithstanding for all the pain that
he had, Sir Tristram won the degree at that tournament, and there he
hurt many knights and bruised them, and they hurt him and bruised him
wonderly sore. So when the jousts were all done they knew well that it
was Sir Tristram de Liones; and all that were on King Mark's party were
glad that Sir Tristram was hurt, and the remnant were sorry of his hurt;
for Sir Tristram was not so behated as was Sir Launcelot within the
realm of England.

Then came King Mark unto Sir Tristram and said: Fair nephew, I am sorry
of your hurts. Gramercy my lord, said Sir Tristram. Then King Mark made
Sir Tristram to be put in an horse bier in great sign of love, and said:
Fair cousin, I shall be your leech myself. And so he rode forth with Sir
Tristram, and brought him to a castle by daylight. And then King Mark
made Sir Tristram to eat. And then after he gave him a drink, the which
as soon as he had drunk he fell asleep. And when it was night he made
him to be carried to another castle, and there he put him in a strong
prison, and there he ordained a man and a woman to give him his meat and
drink. So there he was a great while.

Then was Sir Tristram missed, and no creature wist where he was become.
When La Beale Isoud heard how he was missed, privily she went unto Sir
Sadok, and prayed him to espy where was Sir Tristram. Then when Sadok
wist how Sir Tristram was missed, and anon espied that he was put in
prison by King Mark and the traitors of Magouns, then Sadok and two of
his cousins laid them in an ambushment, fast by the Castle of Tintagil,
in arms. And as by fortune, there came riding King Mark and four of his
nephews, and a certain of the traitors of Magouns. When Sir Sadok espied
them he brake out of the bushment, and set there upon them. And when
King Mark espied Sir Sadok he fled as fast as he might, and there Sir
Sadok slew all the four nephews unto King Mark. But these traitors of
Magouns slew one of Sadok's cousins with a great wound in the neck, but
Sadok smote the other to the death. Then Sir Sadok rode upon his way
unto a castle that was called Liones, and there he espied of the treason
and felony of King Mark. So they of that castle rode with Sir Sadok till
that they came to a castle that hight Arbray, and there in the town
they found Sir Dinas the Seneschal, that was a good knight. But when Sir
Sadok had told Sir Dinas of all the treason of King Mark he defied such
a king, and said he would give up his lands that he held of him. And
when he said these words all manner knights said as Sir Dinas said. Then
by his advice and of Sir Sadok's, he let stuff all the towns and castles
within the country of Liones, and assembled all the people that they
might make.



CHAPTER LI. How King Mark let do counterfeit letters from the Pope, and
how Sir Percivale delivered Sir Tristram out of prison.


NOW turn we unto King Mark, that when he was escaped from Sir Sadok he
rode unto the Castle of Tintagil, and there he made great cry and noise,
and cried unto harness all that might bear arms. Then they sought and
found where were dead four cousins of King Mark's, and the traitor of
Magouns. Then the king let inter them in a chapel. Then the king let cry
in all the country that held of him, to go unto arms, for he understood
to the war he must needs. When King Mark heard and understood how Sir
Sadok and Sir Dinas were arisen in the country of Liones he remembered
of wiles and treason. Lo thus he did: he let make and counterfeit
letters from the Pope, and did make a strange clerk to bear them unto
King Mark; the which letters specified that King Mark should make him
ready, upon pain of cursing, with his host to come to the Pope, to help
to go to Jerusalem, for to make war upon the Saracens.

When this clerk was come by the mean of the king, anon withal King Mark
sent these letters unto Sir Tristram and bade him say thus: that an he
would go war upon the miscreants, he should be had out of prison, and
to have all his power. When Sir Tristram understood this letter, then
he said thus to the clerk: Ah, King Mark, ever hast thou been a traitor,
and ever will be; but, Clerk, said Sir Tristram, say thou thus unto
King Mark: Since the Apostle Pope hath sent for him, bid him go thither
himself; for tell him, traitor king as he is, I will not go at his
commandment, get I out of prison as I may, for I see I am well rewarded
for my true service. Then the clerk returned unto King Mark, and told
him of the answer of Sir Tristram. Well, said King Mark, yet shall he be
beguiled. So he went into his chamber, and counterfeit letters; and the
letters specified that the Pope desired Sir Tristram to come himself,
to make war upon the miscreants. When the clerk was come again to Sir
Tristram and took him these letters, then Sir Tristram beheld these
letters, and anon espied they were of King Mark's counterfeiting. Ah,
said Sir Tristram, false hast thou been ever, King Mark, and so wilt
thou end. Then the clerk departed from Sir Tristram and came to King
Mark again.

By then there were come four wounded knights within the Castle of
Tintagil, and one of them his neck was nigh broken in twain. Another
had his arm stricken away, the third was borne through with a spear, the
fourth had his teeth stricken in twain. And when they came afore King
Mark they cried and said: King, why fleest thou not, for all this
country is arisen clearly against thee? Then was King Mark wroth out of
measure.

And in the meanwhile there came into the country Sir Percivale de Galis
to seek Sir Tristram. And when he heard that Sir Tristram was in prison,
Sir Percivale made clearly the deliverance of Sir Tristram by his
knightly means. And when he was so delivered he made great joy of
Sir Percivale, and so each one of other. Sir Tristram said unto Sir
Percivale: An ye will abide in these marches I will ride with you. Nay,
said Percivale, in this country I may not tarry, for I must needs into
Wales. So Sir Percivale departed from Sir Tristram, and rode straight
unto King Mark, and told him how he had delivered Sir Tristram; and also
he told the king that he had done himself great shame for to put Sir
Tristram in prison, for he is now the knight of most renown in this
world living. And wit thou well the noblest knights of the world love
Sir Tristram, and if he will make war upon you ye may not abide it. That
is truth, said King Mark, but I may not love Sir Tristram because he
loveth my queen and my wife, La Beale Isoud. Ah, fie for shame, said Sir
Percivale, say ye never so more. Are ye not uncle unto Sir Tristram,
and he your nephew? Ye should never think that so noble a knight as Sir
Tristram is, that he would do himself so great a villainy to hold
his uncle's wife; howbeit, said Sir Percivale, he may love your queen
sinless, because she is called one of the fairest ladies of the world.

Then Sir Percivale departed from King Mark. So when he was departed King
Mark bethought him of more treason: notwithstanding King Mark granted
Sir Percivale never by no manner of means to hurt Sir Tristram. So anon
King Mark sent unto Sir Dinas the Seneschal that he should put down all
the people that he had raised, for he sent him an oath that he would go
himself unto the Pope of Rome to war upon the miscreants; and this is
a fairer war than thus to arise the people against your king. When Sir
Dinas understood that King Mark would go upon the miscreants, then Sir
Dinas in all the haste put down all the people; and when the people
were departed every man to his home, then King Mark espied where was Sir
Tristram with La Beale Isoud; and there by treason King Mark let take
him and put him in prison, contrary to his promise that he made unto Sir
Percivale.

When Queen Isoud understood that Sir Tristram was in prison she made as
great sorrow as ever made lady or gentlewoman. Then Sir Tristram sent a
letter unto La Beale Isoud, and prayed her to be his good lady; and if
it pleased her to make a vessel ready for her and him, he would go with
her unto the realm of Logris, that is this land. When La Beale Isoud
understood Sir Tristram's letters and his intent, she sent him another,
and bade him be of good comfort, for she would do make the vessel ready,
and all thing to purpose.

Then La Beale Isoud sent unto Sir Dinas, and to Sadok, and prayed them
in anywise to take King Mark, and put him in prison, unto the time that
she and Sir Tristram were departed unto the realm of Logris. When Sir
Dinas the Seneschal understood the treason of King Mark he promised her
again, and sent her word that King Mark should be put in prison. And as
they devised it so it was done. And then Sir Tristram was delivered out
of prison; and anon in all the haste Queen Isoud and Sir Tristram went
and took their counsel with that they would have with them when they
departed.



CHAPTER LII. How Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud came unto England, and
how Sir Launcelot brought them to Joyous Gard.


THEN La Beale Isoud and Sir Tristram took their vessel, and came by
water into this land. And so they were not in this land four days but
there came a cry of a jousts and tournament that King Arthur let make.
When Sir Tristram heard tell of that tournament he disguised himself,
and La Beale Isoud, and rode unto that tournament. And when he came
there he saw many knights joust and tourney; and so Sir Tristram dressed
him to the range, and to make short conclusion, he overthrew fourteen
knights of the Round Table. When Sir Launcelot saw these knights thus
overthrown, Sir Launcelot dressed him to Sir Tristram. That saw La Beale
Isoud how Sir Launcelot was come into the field. Then La Beale Isoud
sent unto Sir Launcelot a ring, and bade him wit that it was Sir
Tristram de Liones. When Sir Launcelot under stood that there was Sir
Tristram he was full glad, and would not joust. Then Sir Launcelot
espied whither Sir Tristram yede, and after him he rode; and then either
made of other great joy. And so Sir Launcelot brought Sir Tristram and
La Beale Isoud unto Joyous Gard, that was his own castle, that he had
won with his own hands. And there Sir Launcelot put them in to wield for
their own. And wit ye well that castle was garnished and furnished for
a king and a queen royal there to have sojourned. And Sir Launcelot
charged all his people to honour them and love them as they would do
himself.

So Sir Launcelot departed unto King Arthur; and then he told Queen
Guenever how he that jousted so well at the last tournament was Sir
Tristram. And there he told her how he had with him La Beale Isoud
maugre King Mark, and so Queen Guenever told all this unto King Arthur.
When King Arthur wist that Sir Tristram was escaped and come from King
Mark, and had brought La Beale Isoud with him, then was he passing glad.
So because of Sir Tristram King Arthur let make a cry, that on May Day
should be a jousts before the castle of Lonazep; and that castle was
fast by Joyous Gard. And thus Arthur devised, that all the knights of
this land, and of Cornwall, and of North Wales, should joust against all
these countries, Ireland, Scotland, and the remnant of Wales, and
the country of Gore, and Surluse, and of Listinoise, and they of
Northumberland, and all they that held lands of Arthur on this half the
sea. When this cry was made many knights were glad and many were unglad.
Sir, said Launcelot unto Arthur, by this cry that ye have made ye will
put us that be about you in great jeopardy, for there be many knights
that have great envy to us; therefore when we shall meet at the day of
jousts there will be hard shift among us. As for that, said Arthur, I
care not; there shall we prove who shall be best of his hands. So when
Sir Launcelot understood wherefore King Arthur made this jousting, then
he made such purveyance that La Beale Isoud should behold the jousts in
a secret place that was honest for her estate.

Now turn we unto Sir Tristram and to La Beale Isoud, how they made great
joy daily together with all manner of mirths that they could devise;
and every day Sir Tristram would go ride a-hunting, for Sir Tristram was
that time called the best chaser of the world, and the noblest blower of
an horn of all manner of measures; for as books report, of Sir Tristram
came all the good terms of venery and hunting, and all the sizes and
measures of blowing of an horn; and of him we had first all the terms of
hawking, and which were beasts of chase and beasts of venery, and which
were vermins, and all the blasts that long to all manner of games. First
to the uncoupling, to the seeking, to the rechate, to the flight, to the
death, and to strake, and many other blasts and terms, that all manner
of gentlemen have cause to the world's end to praise Sir Tristram, and
to pray for his soul.



CHAPTER LIII. How by the counsel of La Beale Isoud Sir Tristram rode
armed, and how he met with Sir Palomides.


SO on a day La Beale Isoud said unto Sir Tristram: I marvel me much,
said she, that ye remember not yourself, how ye be here in a strange
country, and here be many perilous knights; and well ye wot that King
Mark is full of treason; and that ye will ride thus to chase and to
hunt unarmed ye might be destroyed. My fair lady and my love, I cry you
mercy, I will no more do so. So then Sir Tristram rode daily a-hunting
armed, and his men bearing his shield and his spear. So on a day a
little afore the month of May, Sir Tristram chased an hart passing
eagerly, and so the hart passed by a fair well. And then Sir Tristram
alighted and put off his helm to drink of that bubbly water. Right so he
heard and saw the Questing Beast come to the well. When Sir Tristram
saw that beast he put on his helm, for he deemed he should hear of Sir
Palomides, for that beast was his quest. Right so Sir Tristram saw where
came a knight armed, upon a noble courser, and he saluted him, and they
spake of many things; and this knight's name was Breuse Saunce Pité. And
right so withal there came unto them the noble knight Sir Palomides, and
either saluted other, and spake fair to other.

Fair knights, said Sir Palomides, I can tell you tidings. What is that?
said those knights. Sirs, wit ye well that King Mark is put in prison by
his own knights, and all was for love of Sir Tristram; for King Mark had
put Sir Tristram twice in prison, and once Sir Percivale delivered the
noble knight Sir Tristram out of prison. And at the last time Queen
La Beale Isoud delivered him, and went clearly away with him into this
realm; and all this while King Mark, the false traitor, is in prison. Is
this truth? said Palomides; then shall we hastily hear of Sir Tristram.
And as for to say that I love La Beale Isoud paramours, I dare make
good that I do, and that she hath my service above all other ladies, and
shall have the term of my life.

And right so as they stood talking they saw afore them where came a
knight all armed, on a great horse, and one of his men bare his shield,
and the other his spear. And anon as that knight espied them he gat his
shield and his spear and dressed him to joust. Fair fellows, said Sir
Tristram, yonder is a knight will joust with us, let see which of us
shall encounter with him, for I see well he is of the court of King
Arthur. It shall not be long or he be met withal, said Sir Palomides,
for I found never no knight in my quest of this glasting beast, but an
he would joust I never refused him. As well may I, said Breuse Saunce
Pité, follow that beast as ye. Then shall ye do battle with me, said
Palomides.

So Sir Palomides dressed him unto that other knight, Sir Bleoberis, that
was a full noble knight, nigh kin unto Sir Launcelot. And so they met
so hard that Sir Palomides fell to the earth, horse and all. Then Sir
Bleoberis cried aloud and said thus: Make thee ready thou false traitor
knight, Breuse Saunce Pité, for wit thou certainly I will have ado with
thee to the utterance for the noble knights and ladies that thou hast
falsely betrayed. When this false knight and traitor, Breuse Saunce
Pité, heard him say so, he took his horse by the bridle and fled his way
as fast as ever his horse might run, for sore he was of him afeard. When
Sir Bleoberis saw him flee he followed fast after, through thick and
through thin. And by fortune as Sir Breuse fled, he saw even afore him
three knights of the Table Round, of the which the one hight Sir Ector
de Maris, the other hight Sir Percivale de Galis, the third hight
Sir Harry le Fise Lake, a good knight and an hardy. And as for Sir
Percivale, he was called that time of his time one of the best knights
of the world, and the best assured. When Breuse saw these knights he
rode straight unto them, and cried unto them and prayed them of rescues.
What need have ye? said Sir Ector. Ah, fair knights, said Sir Breuse,
here followeth me the most traitor knight, and most coward, and most of
villainy; his name is Breuse Saunce Pité, and if he may get me he will
slay me without mercy and pity. Abide with us, said Sir Percivale, and
we shall warrant you.

Then were they ware of Sir Bleoberis that came riding all that he might.
Then Sir Ector put himself forth to joust afore them all. When Sir
Bleoberis saw that they were four knights and he but himself, he stood
in a doubt whether he would turn or hold his way. Then he said to
himself: I am a knight of the Table Round, and rather than I should
shame mine oath and my blood I will hold my way whatsoever fall thereof.
And then Sir Ector dressed his spear, and smote either other passing
sore, but Sir Ector fell to the earth. That saw Sir Percivale, and he
dressed his horse toward him all that he might drive, but Sir Percivale
had such a stroke that horse and man fell to the earth. When Sir Harry
saw that they were both to the earth then he said to himself: Never was
Breuse of such prowess. So Sir Harry dressed his horse, and they met
together so strongly that both the horses and knights fell to the earth,
but Sir Bleoberis' horse began to recover again. That saw Breuse and he
came hurtling, and smote him over and over, and would have slain him
as he lay on the ground. Then Sir Harry le Fise Lake arose lightly, and
took the bridle of Sir Breuse's horse, and said: Fie for shame! strike
never a knight when he is at the earth, for this knight may be called no
shameful knight of his deeds, for yet as men may see thereas he lieth on
the ground he hath done worshipfully, and put to the worse passing
good knights. Therefore will I not let, said Sir Breuse. Thou shalt not
choose, said Sir Harry, as at this time. Then when Sir Breuse saw that
he might not choose nor have his will he spake fair. Then Sir Harry let
him go. And then anon he made his horse to run over Sir Bleoberis, and
rashed him to the earth like if he would have slain him. When Sir Harry
saw him do so villainously he cried: Traitor knight, leave off for
shame. And as Sir Harry would have taken his horse to fight with Sir
Breuse, then Sir Breuse ran upon him as he was half upon his horse,
and smote him down, horse and man, to the earth, and had near slain
Sir Harry, the good knight. That saw Sir Percivale, and then he cried:
Traitor knight what dost thou? And when Sir Percivale was upon his
horse Sir Breuse took his horse and fled all that ever he might, and
Sir Percivale and Sir Harry followed after him fast, but ever the longer
they chased the farther were they behind.

Then they turned again and came to Sir Ector de Maris and to Sir
Bleoberis. Ah, fair knights, said Bleoberis, why have ye succoured that
false knight and traitor? Why said Sir Harry, what knight is he? for
well I wot it is a false knight, said Sir Harry, and a coward and a
felonious knight. Sir, said Bleoberis, he is the most coward knight, and
a devourer of ladies and a destroyer of good knights and especially of
Arthur's. What is your name? said Sir Ector. My name is Sir Bleoberis de
Ganis. Alas, fair cousin, said Ector, forgive it me, for I am Sir Ector
de Maris. Then Sir Percivale and Sir Harry made great joy that they
met with Bleoberis, but all they were heavy that Sir Breuse was escaped
them, whereof they made great dole.



CHAPTER LIV. Of Sir Palomides, and how he met with Sir Bleoberis and
with Sir Ector, and of Sir Pervivale.


RIGHT so as they stood thus there came Sir Palomides, and when he saw
the shield of Bleoberis lie on the earth, then said Palomides: He that
oweth that shield let him dress him to me, for he smote me down here
fast by at a fountain, and therefore I will fight for him on foot. I
am ready, said Bleoberis, here to answer thee, for wit thou well, sir
knight, it was I, and my name is Bleoberis de Ganis. Well art thou met,
said Palomides, and wit thou well my name is Palomides the Saracen; and
either of them hated other to the death. Sir Palomides, said Ector, wit
thou well there is neither thou nor none knight that beareth the life
that slayeth any of our blood but he shall die for it; therefore an thou
list to fight go seek Sir Launcelot or Sir Tristram, and there shall ye
find your match. With them have I met, said Palomides, but I had never
no worship of them. Was there never no manner of knight, said Sir Ector,
but they that ever matched with you? Yes, said Palomides, there was the
third, a good knight as any of them, and of his age he was the best that
ever I found; for an he might have lived till he had been an hardier man
there liveth no knight now such, and his name was Sir Lamorak de Galis.
And as he had jousted at a tournament there he overthrew me and thirty
knights more, and there he won the degree. And at his departing there
met him Sir Gawaine and his brethren, and with great pain they slew him
feloniously, unto all good knights' great damage. Anon as Sir Percivale
heard that his brother was dead, Sir Lamorak, he fell over his horse's
mane swooning, and there he made the greatest dole that ever made
knight. And when Sir Percivale arose he said: Alas, my good and noble
brother Sir Lamorak, now shall we never meet, and I trow in all the wide
world a man may not find such a knight as he was of his age; and it is
too much to suffer the death of our father King Pellinore, and now the
death of our good brother Sir Lamorak.

Then in the meanwhile there came a varlet from the court of King Arthur,
and told them of the great tournament that should be at Lonazep, and how
these lands, Cornwall and Northgalis, should be against all them that
would come.



CHAPTER LV. How Sir Tristram met with Sir Dinadan, and of their devices,
and what he said to Sir Gawaine's brethren.


NOW turn we unto Sir Tristram, that as he rode a-hunting he met with Sir
Dinadan, that was come into that country to seek Sir Tristram. Then Sir
Dinadan told Sir Tristram his name, but Sir Tristram would not tell him
his name, wherefore Sir Dinadan was wroth. For such a foolish knight as
ye are, said Sir Dinadan, I saw but late this day lying by a well, and
he fared as he slept; and there he lay like a fool grinning, and would
not speak, and his shield lay by him, and his horse stood by him; and
well I wot he was a lover. Ah, fair sir, said Sir Tristram are ye not
a lover? Mary, fie on that craft! said Sir Dinadan. That is evil said,
said Sir Tristram, for a knight may never be of prowess but if he be a
lover. It is well said, said Sir Dinadan; now tell me your name, sith
ye be a lover, or else I shall do battle with you. As for that, said Sir
Tristram, it is no reason to fight with me but I tell you my name; and
as for that my name shall ye not wit as at this time. Fie for shame,
said Dinadan, art thou a knight and durst not tell thy name to me?
therefore I will fight with thee. As for that, said Sir Tristram, I will
be advised, for I will not do battle but if me list. And if I do battle,
said Sir Tristram, ye are not able to withstand me. Fie on thee, coward,
said Sir Dinadan.

And thus as they hoved still, they saw a knight come riding against
them. Lo, said Sir Tristram, see where cometh a knight riding, will
joust with you. Anon, as Sir Dinadan beheld him he said: That is the
same doted knight that I saw lie by the well, neither sleeping nor
waking. Well, said Sir Tristram, I know that knight well with the
covered shield of azure, he is the king's son of Northumberland, his
name is Epinegris; and he is as great a lover as I know, and he loveth
the king's daughter of Wales, a full fair lady. And now I suppose, said
Sir Tristram, an ye require him he will joust with you, and then shall
ye prove whether a lover be a better knight, or ye that will not love
no lady. Well, said Dinadan, now shalt thou see what I shall do.
Therewithal Sir Dinadan spake on high and said: Sir knight, make thee
ready to joust with me, for it is the custom of errant knights one to
joust with other. Sir, said Epinegris, is that the rule of you errant
knights for to make a knight to joust, will he or nill? As for that,
said Dinadan, make thee ready, for here is for me. And therewithal they
spurred their horses and met together so hard that Epinegris smote down
Sir Dinadan. Then Sir Tristram rode to Sir Dinadan and said: How now,
meseemeth the lover hath well sped. Fie on thee, coward, said Sir
Dinadan, and if thou be a good knight revenge me. Nay, said Sir
Tristram, I will not joust as at this time, but take your horse and let
us go hence. God defend me, said Sir Dinadan, from thy fellowship, for I
never sped well since I met with thee: and so they departed. Well, said
Sir Tristram, peradventure I could tell you tidings of Sir Tristram.
God defend me, said Dinadan, from thy fellowship, for Sir Tristram were
mickle the worse an he were in thy company; and then they departed.
Sir, said Sir Tristram, yet it may happen I shall meet with you in other
places.

So rode Sir Tristram unto Joyous Gard, and there he heard in that town
great noise and cry. What is this noise? said Sir Tristram. Sir, said
they, here is a knight of this castle that hath been long among us, and
right now he is slain with two knights, and for none other cause but
that our knight said that Sir Launcelot were a better knight than Sir
Gawaine. That was a simple cause, said Sir Tristram, for to slay a good
knight for to say well by his master. That is little remedy to us, said
the men of the town. For an Sir Launcelot had been here soon we should
have been revenged upon the false knights.

When Sir Tristram heard them say so he sent for his shield and for his
spear, and lightly within a while he had overtaken them, and bade them
turn and amend that they had misdone. What amends wouldst thou have?
said the one knight. And therewith they took their course, and either
met other so hard that Sir Tristram smote down that knight over his
horse's tail. Then the other knight dressed him to Sir Tristram, and in
the same wise he served the other knight. And then they gat off their
horses as well as they might, and dressed their shields and swords to do
their battle to the utterance. Knights, said Sir Tristram, ye shall tell
me of whence ye are, and what be your names, for such men ye might be ye
should hard escape my hands; and ye might be such men of such a country
that for all your evil deeds ye should pass quit. Wit thou well, sir
knight, said they, we fear not to tell thee our names, for my name is
Sir Agravaine, and my name is Gaheris, brethren unto the good knight Sir
Gawaine, and we be nephews unto King Arthur. Well, said Sir Tristram,
for King Arthur's sake I shall let you pass as at this time. But it is
shame, said Sir Tristram, that Sir Gawaine and ye be come of so great a
blood that ye four brethren are so named as ye be, for ye be called the
greatest destroyers and murderers of good knights that be now in this
realm; for it is but as I heard say that Sir Gawaine and ye slew among
you a better knight than ever ye were, that was the noble knight Sir
Lamorak de Galis. An it had pleased God, said Sir Tristram, I would I
had been by Sir Lamorak at his death. Then shouldst thou have gone the
same way, said Sir Gaheris. Fair knight, said Sir Tristram, there must
have been many more knights than ye are. And therewithal Sir Tristram
departed from them toward Joyous Gard. And when he was departed they
took their horses, and the one said to the other: We will overtake him
and be revenged upon him in the despite of Sir Lamorak.



CHAPTER LVI. How Sir Tristram smote down Sir Agravaine and Sir Gaheris,
and how Sir Dinadan was sent for by La Beale Isoud.


SO when they had overtaken Sir Tristram, Sir Agravaine bade him: Turn,
traitor knight. That is evil said, said Sir Tristram; and therewith he
pulled out his sword, and smote Sir Agravaine such a buffet upon
the helm that he tumbled down off his horse in a swoon, and he had a
grievous wound. And then he turned to Gaheris, and Sir Tristram smote
his sword and his helm together with such a might that Gaheris fell out
of his saddle: and so Sir Tristram rode unto Joyous Gard, and there he
alighted and unarmed him. So Sir Tristram told La Beale Isoud of all his
adventure, as ye have heard to-fore. And when she heard him tell of Sir
Dinadan: Sir, said she, is not that he that made the song by King Mark?
That same is he, said Sir Tristram, for he is the best bourder and
japer, and a noble knight of his hands, and the best fellow that I
know, and all good knights love his fellowship. Alas, sir, said she, why
brought ye not him with you? Have ye no care, said Sir Tristram, for he
rideth to seek me in this country; and therefore he will not away till
he have met with me. And there Sir Tristram told La Beale Isoud how Sir
Dinadan held against all lovers. Right so there came in a varlet and
told Sir Tristram how there was come an errant knight into the town,
with such colours upon his shield. That is Sir Dinadan, said Sir
Tristram; wit ye what ye shall do, said Sir Tristram: send ye for him,
my Lady Isoud, and I will not be seen, and ye shall hear the merriest
knight that ever ye spake withal, and the maddest talker; and I pray you
heartily that ye make him good cheer.

Then anon La Beale Isoud sent into the town, and prayed Sir Dinadan that
he would come into the castle and repose him there with a lady. With a
good will, said Sir Dinadan; and so he mounted upon his horse and rode
into the castle; and there he alighted, and was unarmed, and brought
into the castle. Anon La Beale Isoud came unto him, and either saluted
other; then she asked him of whence that he was. Madam, said Dinadan,
I am of the court of King Arthur, and knight of the Table Round, and my
name is Sir Dinadan. What do ye in this country? said La Beale Isoud.
Madam, said he, I seek Sir Tristram the good knight, for it was told me
that he was in this country. It may well be, said La Beale Isoud, but I
am not ware of him. Madam, said Dinadan, I marvel of Sir Tristram and
mo other lovers, what aileth them to be so mad and so sotted upon women.
Why, said La Beale Isoud, are ye a knight and be no lover? it is shame
to you: wherefore ye may not be called a good knight [but] if ye make a
quarrel for a lady. God defend me, said Dinadan, for the joy of love is
too short, and the sorrow thereof, and what cometh thereof, dureth over
long. Ah, said La Beale Isoud, say ye not so, for here fast by was the
good knight Sir Bleoberis, that fought with three knights at once for a
damosel's sake, and he won her afore the King of Northumberland. It was
so, said Sir Dinadan, for I know him well for a good knight and a noble,
and come of noble blood; for all be noble knights of whom he is come of,
that is Sir Launcelot du Lake.

Now I pray you, said La Beale Isoud, tell me will you fight for my
love with three knights that do me great wrong? and insomuch as ye be
a knight of King Arthur's I require you to do battle for me. Then Sir
Dinadan said: I shall say you ye be as fair a lady as ever I saw any,
and much fairer than is my lady Queen Guenever, but wit ye well at one
word, I will not fight for you with three knights, Jesu defend me. Then
Isoud laughed, and had good game at him. So he had all the cheer that
she might make him, and there he lay all that night. And on the morn
early Sir Tristram armed him, and La Beale Isoud gave him a good helm;
and then he promised her that he would meet with Sir Dinadan, and they
two would ride together into Lonazep, where the tournament should be:
And there shall I make ready for you where ye shall see the tournament.
Then departed Sir Tristram with two squires that bare his shield and his
spears that were great and long.



CHAPTER LVII. How Sir Dinadan met with Sir Tristram, and with jousting
with Sir Palomides, Sir Dinadan knew him.


THEN after that Sir Dinadan departed, and rode his way a great pace
until he had overtaken Sir Tristram. And when Sir Dinadan had overtaken
him he knew him anon, and he hated the fellowship of him above all other
knights. Ah, said Sir Dinadan, art thou that coward knight that I met
with yesterday? keep thee, for thou shalt joust with me maugre thy head.
Well, said Sir Tristram, and I am loath to joust. And so they let their
horses run, and Sir Tristram missed of him a-purpose, and Sir Dinadan
brake a spear upon Sir Tristram, and therewith Sir Dinadan dressed him
to draw out his sword. Not so, said Sir Tristram, why are ye so wroth?
I will not fight. Fie on thee, coward, said Dinadan, thou shamest all
knights. As for that, said Sir Tristram, I care not, for I will wait
upon you and be under your protection; for because ye are so good a
knight ye may save me. The devil deliver me of thee, said Sir Dinadan,
for thou art as goodly a man of arms and of thy person as ever I saw,
and the most coward that ever I saw. What wilt thou do with those
great spears that thou carriest with thee? I shall give them, said Sir
Tristram, to some good knight when I come to the tournament; and if I
see you do best, I shall give them to you.

So thus as they rode talking they saw where came an errant knight afore
them, that dressed him to joust. Lo, said Sir Tristram, yonder is one
will joust; now dress thee to him. Ah, shame betide thee, said Sir
Dinadan. Nay, not so, said Tristram, for that knight beseemeth a shrew.
Then shall I, said Sir Dinadan. And so they dressed their shields and
their spears, and they met together so hard that the other knight smote
down Sir Dinadan from his horse. Lo, said Sir Tristram, it had been
better ye had left. Fie on thee, coward, said Sir Dinadan. Then Sir
Dinadan started up and gat his sword in his hand, and proffered to do
battle on foot. Whether in love or in wrath? said the other knight. Let
us do battle in love, said Sir Dinadan. What is your name, said that
knight, I pray you tell me. Wit ye well my name is Sir Dinadan. Ah,
Dinadan, said that knight, and my name is Gareth, the youngest brother
unto Sir Gawaine. Then either made of other great cheer, for this Gareth
was the best knight of all the brethren, and he proved a good knight.
Then they took their horses, and there they spake of Sir Tristram, how
such a coward he was; and every word Sir Tristram heard and laughed them
to scorn.

Then were they ware where came a knight afore them well horsed and well
armed, and he made him ready to joust. Fair knights, said Sir Tristram,
look betwixt you who shall joust with yonder knight, for I warn you I
will not have ado with him. Then shall I, said Sir Gareth. And so they
encountered together, and there that knight smote down Sir Gareth over
his horse's croup. How now, said Sir Tristram unto Sir Dinadan, dress
thee now and revenge the good knight Gareth. That shall I not, said Sir
Dinadan, for he hath stricken down a much bigger knight than I am.
Ah, said Sir Tristram, now Sir Dinadan, I see and feel well your heart
faileth you, therefore now shall ye see what I shall do. And then Sir
Tristram hurtled unto that knight, and smote him quite from his horse.
And when Sir Dinadan saw that, he marvelled greatly; and then he deemed
that it was Sir Tristram.

Then this knight that was on foot pulled out his sword to do battle.
What is your name? said Sir Tristram. Wit ye well, said that knight, my
name is Sir Palomides. What knight hate ye most? said Sir Tristram. Sir
knight, said he, I hate Sir Tristram to the death, for an I may meet
with him the one of us shall die. Ye say well, said Sir Tristram, and
wit ye well that I am Sir Tristram de Liones, and now do your worst.
When Sir Palomides heard him say so he was astonied. And then he said
thus: I pray you, Sir Tristram, forgive me all mine evil will, and if I
live I shall do you service above all other knights that be living;
and whereas I have owed you evil will me sore repenteth. I wot not
what aileth me, for meseemeth that ye are a good knight, and none other
knight that named himself a good knight should not hate you; therefore I
require you, Sir Tristram, take no displeasure at mine unkind words. Sir
Palomides, said Sir Tristram, ye say well, and well I wot ye are a good
knight, for I have seen ye proved; and many great enterprises have ye
taken upon you, and well achieved them; therefore, said Sir Tristram, an
ye have any evil will to me, now may ye right it, for I am ready at your
hand. Not so, my lord Sir Tristram, I will do you knightly service in
all thing as ye will command. And right so I will take you, said Sir
Tristram. And so they rode forth on their ways talking of many things.
O my lord Sir Tristram, said Dinadan, foul have ye mocked me, for God
knoweth I came into this country for your sake, and by the advice of
my lord Sir Launcelot; and yet would not Sir Launcelot tell me the
certainty of you, where I should find you. Truly, said Sir Tristram, Sir
Launcelot wist well where I was, for I abode within his own castle.



CHAPTER LVIII. How they approached the Castle Lonazep, and of other
devices of the death of Sir Lamorak.


THUS they rode until they were ware of the Castle Lonazep. And then
were they ware of four hundred tents and pavilions, and marvellous great
ordinance. So God me help, said Sir Tristram, yonder I see the greatest
ordinance that ever I saw. Sir, said Palomides, meseemeth that there was
as great an ordinance at the Castle of Maidens upon the rock, where ye
won the prize, for I saw myself where ye forjousted thirty knights. Sir,
said Dinadan, and in Surluse, at that tournament that Galahalt of
the Long Isles made, the which there dured seven days, was as great a
gathering as is here, for there were many nations. Who was the best?
said Sir Tristram. Sir, it was Sir Launcelot du Lake and the noble
knight, Sir Lamorak de Galis, and Sir Launcelot won the degree. I
doubt not, said Sir Tristram, but he won the degree, so he had not been
overmatched with many knights; and of the death of Sir Lamorak, said
Sir Tristram, it was over great pity, for I dare say he was the cleanest
mighted man and the best winded of his age that was alive; for I knew
him that he was the biggest knight that ever I met withal, but if it
were Sir Launcelot. Alas, said Sir Tristram, full woe is me for his
death. And if they were not the cousins of my lord Arthur that slew him,
they should die for it, and all those that were consenting to his death.
And for such things, said Sir Tristram, I fear to draw unto the court of
my lord Arthur; I will that ye wit it, said Sir Tristram unto Gareth.

Sir, I blame you not, said Gareth, for well I understand the vengeance
of my brethren Sir Gawaine, Agravaine, Gaheris, and Mordred. But as for
me, said Sir Gareth, I meddle not of their matters, therefore there is
none of them that loveth me. And for I understand they be murderers of
good knights I left their company; and God would I had been by, said
Gareth, when the noble knight, Sir Lamorak, was slain. Now as Jesu be my
help, said Sir Tristram, it is well said of you, for I had liefer than
all the gold betwixt this and Rome I had been there. Y-wis,[1] said
Palomides, and so would I had been there, and yet had I never the degree
at no jousts nor tournament thereas he was, but he put me to the worse,
or on foot or on horseback; and that day that he was slain he did the
most deeds of arms that ever I saw knight do in all my life days. And
when him was given the degree by my lord Arthur, Sir Gawaine and his
three brethren, Agravaine, Gaheris, and Sir Mordred, set upon Sir
Lamorak in a privy place, and there they slew his horse. And so they
fought with him on foot more than three hours, both before him and
behind him; and Sir Mordred gave him his death wound behind him at his
back, and all to-hew him: for one of his squires told me that saw it.
Fie upon treason, said Sir Tristram, for it killeth my heart to hear
this tale. So it doth mine, said Gareth; brethren as they be mine I
shall never love them, nor draw in their fellowship for that deed.

Now speak we of other deeds, said Palomides, and let him be, for his
life ye may not get again. That is the more pity, said Dinadan, for
Sir Gawaine and his brethren, except you Sir Gareth, hate all the good
knights of the Round Table for the most part; for well I wot an they
might privily, they hate my lord Sir Launcelot and all his kin, and
great privy despite they have at him; and that is my lord Sir Launcelot
well ware of, and that causeth him to have the good knights of his kin
about him.


[1] "Y-wis" (certainly); Caxton, "ye wis"; W. de Worde, "truly."



CHAPTER LIX. How they came to Humber bank, and how they found a ship
there, wherein lay the body of King Hermance.


SIR, said Palomides, let us leave of this matter, and let us see how we
shall do at this tournament. By mine advice, said Palomides, let us four
hold together against all that will come. Not by my counsel, said
Sir Tristram, for I see by their pavilions there will be four hundred
knights, and doubt ye not, said Sir Tristram, but there will be many
good knights; and be a man never so valiant nor so big, yet he may be
overmatched. And so have I seen knights done many times; and when they
weened best to have won worship they lost it, for manhood is not worth
but if it be medled with wisdom. And as for me, said Sir Tristram, it
may happen I shall keep mine own head as well as another.

So thus they rode until that they came to Humber bank, where they heard
a cry and a doleful noise. Then were they ware in the wind where came
a rich vessel hilled over with red silk, and the vessel landed fast
by them. Therewith Sir Tristram alighted and his knights. And so Sir
Tristram went afore and entered into that vessel. And when he came
within he saw a fair bed richly covered, and thereupon lay a dead seemly
knight, all armed save the head, was all be-bled with deadly wounds upon
him, the which seemed to be a passing good knight. How may this be, said
Sir Tristram, that this knight is thus slain? Then Sir Tristram was
ware of a letter in the dead knight's hand. Master mariners, said Sir
Tristram, what meaneth that letter? Sir, said they, in that letter ye
shall hear and know how he was slain, and for what cause, and what was
his name. But sir, said the mariners, wit ye well that no man shall take
that letter and read it but if he be a good knight, and that he will
faithfully promise to revenge his death, else shall there be no knight
see that letter open. Wit ye well, said Sir Tristram, that some of us
may revenge his death as well as other, and if it be so as ye mariners
say his death shall be revenged. And therewith Sir Tristram took the
letter out of the knight's hand, and it said thus: Hermance, king and
lord of the Red City, I send unto all knights errant, recommending unto
you noble knights of Arthur's court. I beseech them all among them to
find one knight that will fight for my sake with two brethren that I
brought up of nought, and feloniously and traitorly they have slain me;
wherefore I beseech one good knight to revenge my death. And he that
revengeth my death I will that he have my Red City and all my castles.

Sir, said the mariners, wit ye well this king and knight that here lieth
was a full worshipful man and of full great prowess, and full well he
loved all manner knights errants. So God me help, said Sir Tristram,
here is a piteous case, and full fain would I take this enterprise upon
me; but I have made such a promise that needs I must be at this great
tournament, or else I am shamed. For well I wot for my sake in especial
my lord Arthur let make this jousts and tournament in this country; and
well I wot that many worshipful people will be there at that tournament
for to see me; therefore I fear me to take this enterprise upon me that
I shall not come again by time to this jousts. Sir, said Palomides,
I pray you give me this enterprise, and ye shall see me achieve it
worshipfully, other else I shall die in this quarrel. Well, said Sir
Tristram, and this enterprise I give you, with this, that ye be with
me at this tournament that shall be as this day seven night. Sir, said
Palomides, I promise you that I shall be with you by that day if I be
unslain or unmaimed.



CHAPTER LX. How Sir Tristram with his fellowship came and were with an
host which after fought with Sir Tristram; and other matters.


THEN departed Sir Tristram, Gareth, and Sir Dinadan, and left Sir
Palomides in the vessel; and so Sir Tristram beheld the mariners how
they sailed overlong Humber. And when Sir Palomides was out of their
sight they took their horses and beheld about them. And then were they
ware of a knight that came riding against them unarmed, and nothing
about him but a sword. And when this knight came nigh them he saluted
them, and they him again. Fair knights, said that knight, I pray you
insomuch as ye be knights errant, that ye will come and see my castle,
and take such as ye find there; I pray you heartily. And so they rode
with him until his castle, and there they were brought into the hall,
that was well apparelled; and so they were there unarmed, and set at a
board; and when this knight saw Sir Tristram, anon he knew him. And then
this knight waxed pale and wroth at Sir Tristram. When Sir Tristram saw
his host make such cheer he marvelled and said: Sir, mine host, what
cheer make you? Wit thou well, said he, I fare the worse for thee, for
I know thee, Sir Tristram de Liones, thou slewest my brother; and
therefore I give thee summons I will slay thee an ever I may get thee
at large. Sir knight, said Sir Tristram, I am never advised that ever I
slew any brother of yours; and if ye say that I did I will make amends
unto my power. I will none amends, said the knight, but keep thee from
me.

So when he had dined Sir Tristram asked his arms, and departed. And so
they rode on their ways, and within a while Sir Dinadan saw where came
a knight well armed and well horsed, without shield. Sir Tristram, said
Sir Dinadan, take keep to yourself, for I dare undertake yonder cometh
your host that will have ado with you. Let him come, said Sir Tristram,
I shall abide him as well as I may. Anon the knight, when he came nigh
Sir Tristram, he cried and bade him abide and keep him. So they hurtled
together, but Sir Tristram smote the other knight so sore that he bare
him over his horse's croup. That knight arose lightly and took his horse
again, and so rode fiercely to Sir Tristram, and smote him twice hard
upon the helm. Sir knight, said Sir Tristram, I pray you leave off
and smite me no more, for I would be loath to deal with you an I might
choose, for I have your meat and your drink within my body. For all that
he would not leave; and then Sir Tristram gave him such a buffet upon
the helm that he fell up-so-down from his horse, that the blood brast
out at the ventails of his helm, and so he lay still likely to be dead.
Then Sir Tristram said: Me repenteth of this buffet that I smote so
sore, for as I suppose he is dead. And so they left him and rode on
their ways.

So they had not ridden but a while, but they saw riding against them
two full likely knights, well armed and well horsed, and goodly servants
about them. The one was Berrant le Apres, and he was called the King
with the Hundred Knights; and the other was Sir Segwarides, which were
renowned two noble knights. So as they came either by other the king
looked upon Sir Dinadan, that at that time he had Sir Tristram's helm
upon his shoulder, the which helm the king had seen to-fore with the
Queen of Northgalis, and that queen the king loved as paramour; and that
helm the Queen of Northgalis had given to La Beale Isoud, and the queen
La Beale Isoud gave it to Sir Tristram. Sir knight, said Berrant, where
had ye that helm? What would ye? said Sir Dinadan. For I will have ado
with thee, said the king, for the love of her that owed that helm, and
therefore keep you. So they departed and came together with all their
mights of their horses, and there the King with the Hundred Knights
smote Sir Dinadan, horse and all, to the earth; and then he commanded
his servant: Go and take thou his helm off, and keep it. So the varlet
went to unbuckle his helm. What helm, what wilt thou do? said Sir
Tristram, leave that helm. To what intent, said the king, will ye, sir
knight, meddle with that helm? Wit you well, said Sir Tristram, that
helm shall not depart from me or it be dearer bought. Then make you
ready, said Sir Berrant unto Sir Tristram. So they hurtled together, and
there Sir Tristram smote him down over his horse's tail; and then the
king arose lightly, and gat his horse lightly again. And then he struck
fiercely at Sir Tristram many great strokes. And then Sir Tristram gave
Sir Berrant such a buffet upon the helm that he fell down over his horse
sore stonied. Lo, said Dinadan, that helm is unhappy to us twain, for I
had a fall for it, and now, sir king, have ye another fall.

Then Segwarides asked: Who shall joust with me? I pray thee, said Sir
Gareth unto Dinadan, let me have this jousts. Sir, said Dinadan, I pray
you take it as for me. That is no reason, said Tristram, for this jousts
should be yours. At a word, said Dinadan, I will not thereof. Then
Gareth dressed him to Sir Segwarides, and there Sir Segwarides smote
Gareth and his horse to the earth. Now, said Sir Tristram to Dinadan,
joust with yonder knight. I will not thereof, said Dinadan. Then will
I, said Sir Tristram. And then Sir Tristram ran to him, and gave him a
fall; and so they left them on foot, and Sir Tristram rode unto Joyous
Gard, and there Sir Gareth would not of his courtesy have gone into this
castle, but Sir Tristram would not suffer him to depart. And so they
alighted and unarmed them, and had great cheer. But when Dinadan came
afore La Beale Isoud he cursed the time that ever he bare Sir Tristram's
helm, and there he told her how Sir Tristram had mocked him. Then was
there laughing and japing at Sir Dinadan, that they wist not what to do
with him.



CHAPTER LXI. How Palomides went for to fight with two brethren for the
death of King Hermance.


NOW will we leave them merry within Joyous Gard, and speak we of Sir
Palomides. Then Sir Palomides sailed evenlong Humber to the coasts of
the sea, where was a fair castle. And at that time it was early in the
morning, afore day. Then the mariners went unto Sir Palomides that slept
fast. Sir knight, said the mariners, ye must arise, for here is a castle
there ye must go into. I assent me, said Sir Palomides; and therewithal
he arrived. And then he blew his horn that the mariners had given him.
And when they within the castle heard that horn they put forth many
knights; and there they stood upon the walls, and said with one voice:
Welcome be ye to this castle. And then it waxed clear day, and Sir
Palomides entered into the castle. And within a while he was served with
many divers meats. Then Sir Palomides heard about him much weeping and
great dole. What may this mean? said Sir Palomides; I love not to hear
such a sorrow, and fain I would know what it meaneth. Then there came
afore him one whose name was Sir Ebel, that said thus: Wit ye well, sir
knight, this dole and sorrow is here made every day, and for this cause:
we had a king that hight Hermance, and he was King of the Red City, and
this king that was lord was a noble knight, large and liberal of his
expense; and in the world he loved nothing so much as he did errant
knights of King Arthur's court, and all jousting, hunting, and all
manner of knightly games; for so kind a king and knight had never the
rule of poor people as he was; and because of his goodness and gentle
ness we bemoan him, and ever shall. And all kings and estates may
beware by our lord, for he was destroyed in his own default; for had he
cherished them of his blood he had yet lived with great riches and rest:
but all estates may beware by our king. But alas, said Ebel, that we
shall give all other warning by his death.

Tell me, said Palomides, and in what manner was your lord slain, and by
whom. Sir, said Sir Ebel, our king brought up of children two men that
now are perilous knights; and these two knights our king had so in
charity, that he loved no man nor trusted no man of his blood, nor
none other that was about him. And by these two knights our king was
governed, and so they ruled him peaceably and his lands, and never would
they suffer none of his blood to have no rule with our king. And also he
was so free and so gentle, and they so false and deceivable, that they
ruled him peaceably; and that espied the lords of our king's blood,
and departed from him unto their own livelihood. Then when these two
traitors understood that they had driven all the lords of his blood from
him, they were not pleased with that rule, but then they thought to have
more, as ever it is an old saw: Give a churl rule and thereby he will
not be sufficed; for whatsomever he be that is ruled by a villain born,
and the lord of the soil to be a gentleman born, the same villain shall
destroy all the gentlemen about him: therefore all estates and lords,
beware whom ye take about you. And if ye be a knight of King Arthur's
court remember this tale, for this is the end and conclusion. My lord
and king rode unto the forest hereby by the advice of these traitors,
and there he chased at the red deer, armed at all pieces full like a
good knight; and so for labour he waxed dry, and then he alighted, and
drank at a well. And when he was alighted, by the assent of these two
traitors, that one that hight Helius he suddenly smote our king through
the body with a spear, and so they left him there. And when they were
departed, then by fortune I came to the well, and found my lord and king
wounded to the death. And when I heard his complaint, I let bring him to
the water side, and in that same ship I put him alive; and when my lord
King Hermance was in that vessel, he required me for the true faith I
owed unto him for to write a letter in this manner.



CHAPTER LXII. The copy of the letter written for to revenge the king's
death, and how Sir Palomides fought for to have the battle.


RECOMMENDING unto King Arthur and to all his knights errant, beseeching
them all that insomuch as I, King Hermance, King of the Red City, thus
am slain by felony and treason, through two knights of mine own, and of
mine own bringing up and of mine own making, that some worshipful
knight will revenge my death, insomuch I have been ever to my power well
willing unto Arthur's court. And who that will adventure his life with
these two traitors for my sake in one battle, I, King Hermance, King of
the Red City, freely give him all my lands and rents that ever I wielded
in my life. This letter, said Ebel, I wrote by my lord's commandment,
and then he received his Creator; and when he was dead, he commanded me
or ever he were cold to put that letter fast in his hand. And then he
commanded me to put forth that same vessel down Humber, and I should
give these mariners in commandment never to stint until that they came
unto Logris, where all the noble knights shall assemble at this time.
And there shall some good knight have pity on me to revenge my death,
for there was never king nor lord falslier nor traitorlier slain than I
am here to my death. Thus was the complaint of our King Hermance. Now,
said Sir Ebel, ye know all how our lord was betrayed, we require you for
God's sake have pity upon his death, and worshipfully revenge his death,
and then may ye wield all these lands. For we all wit well that an ye
may slay these two traitors, the Red City and all those that be therein
will take you for their lord.

Truly, said Sir Palomides, it grieveth my heart for to hear you tell
this doleful tale; and to say the truth I saw the same letter that ye
speak of, and one of the best knights on the earth read that letter to
me, and by his commandment I came hither to revenge your king's death;
and therefore have done, and let me wit where I shall find those
traitors, for I shall never be at ease in my heart till I be in hands
with them. Sir, said Sir Ebel, then take your ship again, and that ship
must bring you unto the Delectable Isle, fast by the Red City, and we
in this castle shall pray for you, and abide your again-coming. For
this same castle, an ye speed well, must needs be yours; for our King
Hermance let make this castle for the love of the two traitors, and so
we kept it with strong hand, and therefore full sore are we threated.
Wot ye what ye shall do, said Sir Palomides; whatsomever come of me,
look ye keep well this castle. For an it misfortune me so to be slain
in this quest I am sure there will come one of the best knights of the
world for to revenge my death, and that is Sir Tristram de Liones, or
else Sir Launcelot du Lake.

Then Sir Palomides departed from that castle. And as he came nigh the
city, there came out of a ship a goodly knight armed against him, with
his shield on his shoulder, and his hand upon his sword. And anon as he
came nigh Sir Palomides he said: Sir knight, what seek ye here? leave
this quest for it is mine, and mine it was or ever it was yours, and
therefore I will have it. Sir knight, said Palomides, it may well be
that this quest was yours or it was mine, but when the letter was taken
out of the dead king's hand, at that time by likelihood there was no
knight had undertaken to revenge the death of the king. And so at
that time I promised to revenge his death, and so I shall or else I am
ashamed. Ye say well, said the knight, but wit ye well then will I fight
with you, and who be the better knight of us both, let him take the
battle upon hand. I assent me, said Sir Palomides. And then they dressed
their shields, and pulled out their swords, and lashed together many sad
strokes as men of might; and this fighting was more than an hour, but
at the last Sir Palomides waxed big and better winded, so that then
he smote that knight such a stroke that he made him to kneel upon his
knees. Then that knight spake on high and said: Gentle knight, hold thy
hand. Sir Palomides was goodly and withdrew his hand. Then this knight
said: Wit ye well, knight, that thou art better worthy to have this
battle than I, and require thee of knighthood tell me thy name. Sir, my
name is Palomides, a knight of King Arthur's, and of the Table Round,
that hither I came to revenge the death of this dead king.



CHAPTER LXIII. Of the preparation of Sir Palomides and the two brethren
that should fight with him.


WELL be ye found, said the knight to Palomides, for of all knights
that be alive, except three, I had liefest have you. The first is Sir
Launcelot du Lake, and Sir Tristram de Liones, the third is my nigh
cousin, Sir Lamorak de Galis. And I am brother unto King Hermance that
is dead, and my name is Sir Hermind. Ye say well, said Sir Palomides,
and ye shall see how I shall speed; and if I be there slain go ye to my
lord Sir Launcelot, or else to my lord Sir Tristram, and pray them to
revenge my death, for as for Sir Lamorak him shall ye never see in this
world. Alas, said Sir Hermind, how may that be? He is slain, said
Sir Palomides, by Sir Gawaine and his brethren. So God me help, said
Hermind, there was not one for one that slew him. That is truth, said
Sir Palomides, for they were four dangerous knights that slew him,
as Sir Gawaine, Sir Agravaine, Sir Gaheris, and Sir Mordred, but Sir
Gareth, the fifth brother was away, the best knight of them all. And so
Sir Palomides told Hermind all the manner, and how they slew Sir Lamorak
all only by treason.

So Sir Palomides took his ship, and arrived up at the Delectable Isle.
And in the meanwhile Sir Hermind that was the king's brother, he arrived
up at the Red City, and there he told them how there was come a knight
of King Arthur's to avenge King Hermance's death: And his name is Sir
Palomides, the good knight, that for the most part he followeth the
beast Glatisant. Then all the city made great joy, for mickle had they
heard of Sir Palomides, and of his noble prowess. So let they ordain a
messenger, and sent unto the two brethren, and bade them to make them
ready, for there was a knight come that would fight with them both. So
the messenger went unto them where they were at a castle there beside;
and there he told them how there was a knight come of King Arthur's
court to fight with them both at once. He is welcome, said they; but
tell us, we pray you, if it be Sir Launcelot or any of his blood? He is
none of that blood, said the messenger. Then we care the less, said the
two brethren, for with none of the blood of Sir Launcelot we keep not to
have ado withal. Wit ye well, said the messenger, that his name is Sir
Palomides, that yet is unchristened, a noble knight. Well, said they, an
he be now unchristened he shall never be christened. So they appointed
to be at the city within two days.

And when Sir Palomides was come to the city they made passing great joy
of him, and then they beheld him, and saw that he was well made, cleanly
and bigly, and unmaimed of his limbs, and neither too young nor too old.
And so all the people praised him; and though he was not christened yet
he believed in the best manner, and was full faithful and true of his
promise, and well conditioned; and because he made his avow that he
would never be christened unto the time that he had achieved the
beast Glatisant, the which was a full wonderful beast, and a great
signification; for Merlin prophesied much of that beast. And also Sir
Palomides avowed never to take full christendom unto the time that he
had done seven battles within the lists.

So within the third day there came to the city these two brethren, the
one hight Helius, the other hight Helake, the which were men of great
prowess; howbeit that they were false and full of treason, and but poor
men born, yet were they noble knights of their hands. And with them they
brought forty knights, to that intent that they should be big enough for
the Red City. Thus came the two brethren with great bobaunce and pride,
for they had put the Red City in fear and damage. Then they were brought
to the lists, and Sir Palomides came into the place and said thus: Be ye
the two brethren, Helius and Helake, that slew your king and lord,
Sir Hermance, by felony and treason, for whom that I am come hither to
revenge his death? Wit thou well, said Sir Helius and Sir Helake, that
we are the same knights that slew King Hermance; and wit thou well, Sir
Palomides Saracen, that we shall handle thee so or thou depart that
thou shalt wish that thou wert christened. It may well be, said Sir
Palomides, for yet I would not die or I were christened; and yet so am
I not afeard of you both, but I trust to God that I shall die a
better christian man than any of you both; and doubt ye not, said Sir
Palomides, either ye or I shall be left dead in this place.



CHAPTER LXIV. Of the battle between Sir Palomides and the two brethren,
and how the two brethren were slain.


THEN they departed, and the two brethren came against Sir Palomides, and
he against them, as fast as their horses might run. And by fortune Sir
Palomides smote Helake through his shield and through the breast more
than a fathom. All this while Sir Helius held up his spear, and for
pride and orgulité he would not smite Sir Palomides with his spear;
but when he saw his brother lie on the earth, and saw he might not help
himself, then he said unto Sir Palomides: Help thyself. And therewith
he came hurtling unto Sir Palomides with his spear, and smote him
quite from his saddle. Then Sir Helius rode over Sir Palomides twice or
thrice. And therewith Sir Palomides was ashamed, and gat the horse of
Sir Helius by the bridle, and therewithal the horse areared, and Sir
Palomides halp after, and so they fell both to the earth; but anon Sir
Helius stert up lightly, and there he smote Sir Palomides a great stroke
upon the helm, that he kneeled upon his own knee. Then they lashed
together many sad strokes, and traced and traversed now backward, now
sideling, hurtling together like two boars, and that same time they fell
both grovelling to the earth.

Thus they fought still without any reposing two hours, and never
breathed; and then Sir Palomides waxed faint and weary, and Sir Helius
waxed passing strong, and doubled his strokes, and drove Sir Palomides
overthwart and endlong all the field, that they of the city when they
saw Sir Palomides in this case they wept and cried, and made great dole,
and the other party made as great joy. Alas, said the men of the city,
that this noble knight should thus be slain for our king's sake. And as
they were thus weeping and crying, Sir Palomides that had suffered an
hundred strokes, that it was wonder that he stood on his feet, at the
last Sir Palomides beheld as he might the common people, how they wept
for him; and then he said to himself: Ah, fie for shame, Sir Palomides,
why hangest thou thy head so low; and therewith he bare up his shield,
and looked Sir Helius in the visage, and he smote him a great stroke
upon the helm, and after that another and another. And then he smote Sir
Helius with such a might that he fell to the earth grovelling; and
then he raced off his helm from his head, and there he smote him such a
buffet that he departed his head from the body. And then were the people
of the city the joyfullest people that might be. So they brought him to
his lodging with great solemnity, and there all the people became his
men. And then Sir Palomides prayed them all to take keep unto all the
lordship of King Hermance: For, fair sirs, wit ye well I may not as at
this time abide with you, for I must in all haste be with my lord King
Arthur at the Castle of Lonazep, the which I have promised. Then was
the people full heavy at his departing, for all that city proffered
Sir Palomides the third part of their goods so that he would abide with
them; but in no wise as at that time he would not abide.

And so Sir Palomides departed, and so he came unto the castle thereas
Sir Ebel was lieutenant. And when they in the castle wist how Sir
Palomides had sped, there was a joyful meiny; and so Sir Palomides
departed, and came to the castle of Lonazep. And when he wist that Sir
Tristram was not there he took his way over Humber, and came unto Joyous
Gard, whereas Sir Tristram was and La Beale Isoud. Sir Tristram had
commanded that what knight errant came within the Joyous Gard, as in
the town, that they should warn Sir Tristram. So there came a man of
the town, and told Sir Tristram how there was a knight in the town, a
passing goodly man. What manner of man is he, said Sir Tristram, and
what sign beareth he? So the man told Sir Tristram all the tokens of
him. That is Palomides, said Dinadan. It may well be, said Sir Tristram.
Go ye to him, said Sir Tristram unto Dinadan. So Dinadan went unto
Sir Palomides, and there either made other great joy, and so they lay
together that night. And on the morn early came Sir Tristram and Sir
Gareth, and took them in their beds, and so they arose and brake their
fast.



CHAPTER LXV. How Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides met Breuse Saunce Pité,
and how Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud went unto Lonazep.


AND then Sir Tristram desired Sir Palomides to ride into the fields and
woods. So they were accorded to repose them in the forest. And when they
had played them a great while they rode unto a fair well; and anon they
were ware of an armed knight that came riding against them, and there
either saluted other. Then this armed knight spake to Sir Tristram, and
asked what were these knights that were lodged in Joyous Gard. I wot not
what they are, said Sir Tristram. What knights be ye? said that knight,
for meseemeth ye be no knights errant, because ye ride unarmed. Whether
we be knights or not we list not to tell thee our name. Wilt thou not
tell me thy name? said that knight; then keep thee, for thou shalt die
of my hands. And therewith he got his spear in his hands, and would have
run Sir Tristram through. That saw Sir Palomides, and smote his horse
traverse in midst of the side, that man and horse fell to the earth. And
therewith Sir Palomides alighted and pulled out his sword to have slain
him. Let be, said Sir Tristram, slay him not, the knight is but a fool,
it were shame to slay him. But take away his spear, said Sir Tristram,
and let him take his horse and go where that he will.

So when this knight arose he groaned sore of the fall, and so he took
his horse, and when he was up he turned then his horse, and required Sir
Tristram and Sir Palomides to tell him what knights they were. Now wit
ye well, said Sir Tristram, that my name is Sir Tristram de Liones, and
this knight's name is Sir Palomides. When he wist what they were he took
his horse with the spurs, because they should not ask him his name,
and so rode fast away through thick and thin. Then came there by them a
knight with a bended shield of azure, whose name was Epinogris, and
he came toward them a great wallop. Whither are ye riding? said Sir
Tristram. My fair lords, said Epinogris, I follow the falsest knight
that beareth the life; wherefore I require you tell me whether ye saw
him, for he beareth a shield with a case of red over it. So God me help,
said Tristram, such a knight departed from us not a quarter of an hour
agone; we pray you tell us his name. Alas, said Epinogris, why let ye
him escape from you? and he is so great a foe unto all errant knights:
his name is Breuse Saunce Pité. Ah, fie for shame, said Sir Palomides,
alas that ever he escaped mine hands, for he is the man in the world
that I hate most. Then every knight made great sorrow to other; and so
Epinogris departed and followed the chase after him.

Then Sir Tristram and his three fellows rode unto Joyous Gard; and there
Sir Tristram talked unto Sir Palomides of his battle, how he sped at the
Red City, and as ye have heard afore so was it ended. Truly, said Sir
Tristram, I am glad ye have well sped, for ye have done worshipfully.
Well, said Sir Tristram, we must forward to-morn. And then he devised
how it should be; and Sir Tristram devised to send his two pavilions to
set them fast by the well of Lonazep, and therein shall be the queen La
Beale Isoud. It is well said, said Sir Dinadan, but when Sir Palomides
heard of that his heart was ravished out of measure: notwithstanding he
said but little. So when they came to Joyous Gard Sir Palomides would
not have gone into the castle, but as Sir Tristram took him by the
finger, and led him into the castle. And when Sir Palomides saw La Beale
Isoud he was ravished so that he might unnethe speak. So they went unto
meat, but Palomides might not eat, and there was all the cheer that
might be had. And on the morn they were apparelled to ride toward
Lonazep.

So Sir Tristram had three squires, and La Beale Isoud had three
gentlewomen, and both the queen and they were richly apparelled; and
other people had they none with them, but varlets to bear their shields
and their spears. And thus they rode forth. So as they rode they saw
afore them a rout of knights; it was the knight Galihodin with twenty
knights with him. Fair fellows, said Galihodin, yonder come four
knights, and a rich and a well fair lady: I am in will to take that lady
from them. That is not of the best counsel, said one of Galihodin's
men, but send ye to them and wit what they will say; and so it was done.
There came a squire unto Sir Tristram, and asked them whether they would
joust or else to lose their lady. Not so, said Sir Tristram, tell your
lord I bid him come as many as we be, and win her and take her. Sir,
said Palomides, an it please you let me have this deed, and I shall
undertake them all four. I will that ye have it, said Sir Tristram,
at your pleasure. Now go and tell your lord Galihodin, that this same
knight will encounter with him and his fellows.



CHAPTER LXVI. How Sir Palomides jousted with Sir Galihodin, and after
with Sir Gawaine, and smote them down.


THEN this squire departed and told Galihodin; and then he dressed his
shield, and put forth a spear, and Sir Palomides another; and there Sir
Palomides smote Galihodin so hard that he smote both horse and man
to the earth. And there he had an horrible fall. And then came there
another knight, and in the same wise he served him; and so he served the
third and the fourth, that he smote them over their horses' croups, and
always Sir Palomides' spear was whole. Then came six knights more of
Galihodin's men, and would have been avenged upon Sir Palomides. Let
be, said Sir Galihodin, not so hardy, none of you all meddle with this
knight, for he is a man of great bounté and honour, and if he would ye
were not able to meddle with him. And right so they held them still.
And ever Sir Palomides was ready to joust; and when he saw they would
no more he rode unto Sir Tristram. Right well have ye done, said Sir
Tristram, and worshipfully have ye done as a good knight should. This
Galihodin was nigh cousin unto Galahalt, the haut prince; and this
Galihodin was a king within the country of Surluse.

So as Sir Tristram, Sir Palomides, and La Beale Isoud rode together they
saw afore them four knights, and every man had his spear in his
hand: the first was Sir Gawaine, the second Sir Uwaine, the third Sir
Sagramore le Desirous, and the fourth was Dodinas le Savage. When Sir
Palomides beheld them, that the four knights were ready to joust, he
prayed Sir Tristram to give him leave to have ado with them all so long
as he might hold him on horseback. And if that I be smitten down I pray
you revenge me. Well, said Sir Tristram, I will as ye will, and ye are
not so fain to have worship but I would as fain increase your worship.
And therewithal Sir Gawaine put forth his spear, and Sir Palomides
another; and so they came so eagerly together that Sir Palomides smote
Sir Gawaine to the earth, horse and all; and in the same wise he served
Uwaine, Sir Dodinas, and Sagramore. All these four knights Sir Palomides
smote down with divers spears And then Sir Tristram departed toward
Lonazep.

And when they were departed then came thither Galihodin with his ten
knights unto Sir Gawaine, and there he told him all how he had sped. I
marvel, said Sir Gawaine, what knights they be, that are so arrayed
in green. And that knight upon the white horse smote me down, said
Galihodin, and my three fellows. And so he did to me, said Gawaine; and
well I wot, said Sir Gawaine, that either he upon the white horse is Sir
Tristram or else Sir Palomides, and that gay beseen lady is Queen Isoud.
Thus they talked of one thing and of other.

And in the meanwhile Sir Tristram passed on till that he came to the
well where his two pavilions were set; and there they alighted, and
there they saw many pavilions and great array. Then Sir Tristram left
there Sir Palomides and Sir Gareth with La Beale Isoud, and Sir Tristram
and Sir Dinadan rode to Lonazep to hearken tidings; and Sir Tristram
rode upon Sir Palomides' white horse. And when he came into the castle
Sir Dinadan heard a great horn blow, and to the horn drew many knights.
Then Sir Tristram asked a knight: What meaneth the blast of that horn?
Sir, said that knight, it is all those that shall hold against King
Arthur at this tournament. The first is the King of Ireland, and the
King of Surluse, the King of Listinoise, the King of Northumberland, and
the King of the best part of Wales, with many other countries. And these
draw them to a council, to understand what governance they shall be of;
but the King of Ireland, whose name was Marhalt, and father to the good
knight Sir Marhaus that Sir Tristram slew, had all the speech that
Sir Tristram might hear it. He said: Lords and fellows, let us look to
ourself, for wit ye well King Arthur is sure of many good knights, or
else he would not with so few knights have ado with us; therefore by my
counsel let every king have a standard and a cognisance by himself, that
every knight draw to their natural lord, and then may every king and
captain help his knights if they have need. When Sir Tristram had heard
all their counsel he rode unto King Arthur for to hear of his counsel.



CHAPTER LXVII. How Sir Tristram and his fellowship came into the
tournament of Lonazep; and of divers jousts and matters.


BUT Sir Tristram was not so soon come into the place, but Sir Gawaine
and Sir Galihodin went to King Arthur, and told him: That same green
knight in the green harness with the white horse smote us two down, and
six of our fellows this same day. Well, said Arthur. And then he called
Sir Tristram and asked him what was his name. Sir, said Sir Tristram, ye
shall hold me excused as at this time, for ye shall not wit my name.
And there Sir Tristram returned and rode his way. I have marvel, said
Arthur, that yonder knight will not tell me his name, but go thou,
Griflet le Fise de Dieu, and pray him to speak with me betwixt us. Then
Sir Griflet rode after him and overtook him, and said him that King
Arthur prayed him for to speak with him secretly apart. Upon this
covenant, said Sir Tristram, I will speak with him; that I will turn
again so that ye will ensure me not to desire to hear my name. I shall
undertake, said Sir Griflet, that he will not greatly desire it of you.
So they rode together until they came to King Arthur. Fair sir, said
King Arthur, what is the cause ye will not tell me your name? Sir, said
Sir Tristram, without a cause I will not hide my name. Upon what party
will ye hold? said King Arthur. Truly, my lord, said Sir Tristram, I wot
not yet on what party I will be on, until I come to the field, and there
as my heart giveth me, there will I hold; but to-morrow ye shall see and
prove on what party I shall come. And therewithal he returned and went
to his pavilions.

And upon the morn they armed them all in green, and came into the field;
and there young knights began to joust, and did many worshipful deeds.
Then spake Gareth unto Sir Tristram, and prayed him to give him leave
to break his spear, for him thought shame to bear his spear whole again.
When Sir Tristram heard him say so he laughed, and said: I pray you do
your best. Then Sir Gareth gat a spear and proffered to joust. That saw
a knight that was nephew unto the King of the Hundred Knights; his name
was Selises, and a good man of arms. So this knight Selises then dressed
him unto Sir Gareth, and they two met together so hard that either smote
other down, his horse and all, to the earth, so they were both bruised
and hurt; and there they lay till the King with the Hundred Knights halp
Selises up, and Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides halp up Gareth again. And
so they rode with Sir Gareth unto their pavilions, and then they pulled
off his helm.

And when La Beale Isoud saw Sir Gareth bruised in the face she asked him
what ailed him. Madam, said Sir Gareth, I had a great buffet, and as I
suppose I gave another, but none of my fellows, God thank them, would
not rescue me. Forsooth, said Palomides, it longed not to none of us
as this day to joust, for there have not this day jousted no proved
knights, and needly ye would joust. And when the other party saw ye
proffered yourself to joust they sent one to you, a passing good knight
of his age, for I know him well, his name is Selises; and worshipfully
ye met with him, and neither of you are dishonoured, and therefore
refresh yourself that ye may be ready and whole to joust to-morrow.
As for that, said Gareth, I shall not fail you an I may bestride mine
horse.



CHAPTER LXVIII. How Sir Tristram and his fellowship jousted, and of the
noble feats that they did in that tourneying.


NOW upon what party, said Tristram, is it best we be withal as to-morn?
Sir, said Palomides, ye shall have mine advice to be against King Arthur
as to-morn, for on his party will be Sir Launcelot and many good knights
of his blood with him. And the more men of worship that they be, the
more worship we shall win. That is full knightly spoken, said Sir
Tristram; and right so as ye counsel me, so will we do. In the name of
God, said they all. So that night they were lodged with the best. And
on the morn when it was day they were arrayed all in green trappings,
shields and spears, and La Beale Isoud in the same colour, and her three
damosels. And right so these four knights came into the field endlong
and through. And so they led La Beale Isoud thither as she should stand
and behold all the jousts in a bay window; but always she was wimpled
that no man might see her visage. And then these three knights rode
straight unto the party of the King of Scots.

When King Arthur had seen them do all this he asked Sir Launcelot what
were these knights and that queen. Sir, said Launcelot, I cannot say you
in certain, but if Sir Tristram be in this country, or Sir Palomides,
wit ye well it be they in certain, and La Beale Isoud. Then Arthur called
to him Sir Kay and said: Go lightly and wit how many knights there be
here lacking of the Table Round, for by the sieges thou mayst know. So
went Sir Kay and saw by the writings in the sieges that there lacked ten
knights. And these be their names that be not here. Sir Tristram, Sir
Palomides, Sir Percivale, Sir Gaheris, Sir Epinogris, Sir Mordred, Sir
Dinadan, Sir La Cote Male Taile, and Sir Pelleas the noble knight. Well,
said Arthur, some of these I dare undertake are here this day against
us.

Then came therein two brethren, cousins unto Sir Gawaine, the one hight
Sir Edward, that other hight Sir Sadok, the which were two good knights;
and they asked of King Arthur that they might have the first jousts,
for they were of Orkney. I am pleased, said King Arthur. Then Sir Edward
encountered with the King of Scots, in whose party was Sir Tristram and
Sir Palomides; and Sir Edward smote the King of Scots quite from his
horse, and Sir Sadok smote down the King of North Wales, and gave him
a wonder great fall, that there was a great cry on King Arthur's party,
and that made Sir Palomides passing wroth. And so Sir Palomides dressed
his shield and his spear, and with all his might he met with Sir Edward
of Orkney, that he smote him so hard that his horse might not stand on
his feet, and so they hurtled to the earth; and then with the same spear
Sir Palomides smote down Sir Sadok over his horse's croup. O Jesu, said
Arthur, what knight is that arrayed all in green? he jousteth mightily.
Wit you well, said Sir Gawaine, he is a good knight, and yet shall
ye see him joust better or he depart. And yet shall ye see, said Sir
Gawaine, another bigger knight, in the same colour, than he is; for
that same knight, said Sir Gawaine, that smote down right now my four
cousins, he smote me down within these two days, and seven fellows more.

This meanwhile as they stood thus talking there came into the place Sir
Tristram upon a black horse, and or ever he stint he smote down with one
spear four good knights of Orkney that were of the kin of Sir Gawaine;
and Sir Gareth and Sir Dinadan everych of them smote down a good knight.
Jesu, said Arthur, yonder knight upon the black horse doth mightily and
marvellously well. Abide you, said Sir Gawaine; that knight with the
black horse began not yet. Then Sir Tristram made to horse again the two
kings that Edward and Sadok had unhorsed at the beginning. And then Sir
Tristram drew his sword and rode into the thickest of the press against
them of Orkney; and there he smote down knights, and rashed off helms,
and pulled away their shields, and hurtled down many knights: he fared
so that Sir Arthur and all knights had great marvel when they saw one
knight do so great deeds of arms. And Sir Palomides failed not upon the
other side, but did so marvellously well that all men had wonder. For
there King Arthur likened Sir Tristram that was on the black horse like
to a wood lion, and likened Sir Palomides upon the white horse unto a
wood leopard, and Sir Gareth and Sir Dinadan unto eager wolves. But the
custom was such among them that none of the kings would help other, but
all the fellowship of every standard to help other as they might; but
ever Sir Tristram did so much deeds of arms that they of Orkney waxed
weary of him, and so withdrew them unto Lonazep.



CHAPTER LXIX. How Sir Tristram was unhorsed and smitten down by Sir
Launcelot, and after that Sir Tristram smote down King Arthur.


THEN was the cry of heralds and all manner of common people: The Green
Knight hath done marvellously, and beaten all them of Orkney. And there
the heralds numbered that Sir Tristram that sat upon the black horse had
smitten down with spears and swords thirty knights; and Sir Palomides
had smitten down twenty knights, and the most part of these fifty
knights were of the house of King Arthur, and proved knights. So God me
help, said Arthur unto Sir Launcelot, this is a great shame to us to see
four knights beat so many knights of mine; and therefore make you ready,
for we will have ado with them. Sir, said Launcelot, wit ye well that
there are two passing good knights, and great worship were it not to us
now to have ado with them, for they have this day sore travailed. As for
that, said Arthur, I will be avenged; and therefore take with you Sir
Bleoberis and Sir Ector, and I will be the fourth, said Arthur. Sir,
said Launcelot, ye shall find me ready, and my brother Sir Ector, and my
cousin Sir Bleoberis. And so when they were ready and on horseback:
Now choose, said Sir Arthur unto Sir Launcelot, with whom that ye will
encounter withal. Sir, said Launcelot, I will meet with the green knight
upon the black horse, that was Sir Tristram; and my cousin Sir Bleoberis
shall match the green knight upon the white horse, that was Sir
Palomides; and my brother Sir Ector shall match with the green knight
upon the white horse, that was Sir Gareth. Then must I, said Sir Arthur,
have ado with the green knight upon the grisled horse, and that was Sir
Dinadan. Now every man take heed to his fellow, said Sir Launcelot. And
so they trotted on together, and there encountered Sir Launcelot against
Sir Tristram. So Sir Launcelot smote Sir Tristram so sore upon the
shield that he bare horse and man to the earth; but Sir Launcelot weened
that it had been Sir Palomides, and so he passed forth. And then Sir
Bleoberis encountered with Sir Palomides, and he smote him so hard upon
the shield that Sir Palomides and his white horse rustled to the earth.
Then Sir Ector de Maris smote Sir Gareth so hard that down he fell off
his horse. And the noble King Arthur encountered with Sir Dinadan, and
he smote him quite from his saddle. And then the noise turned awhile how
the green knights were slain down.

When the King of Northgalis saw that Sir Tristram had a fall, then he
remembered him how great deeds of arms Sir Tristram had done. Then he
made ready many knights, for the custom and cry was such, that what
knight were smitten down, and might not be horsed again by his fellows,
outher by his own strength, that as that day he should be prisoner unto
the party that had smitten him down. So came in the King of Northgalis,
and he rode straight unto Sir Tristram; and when he came nigh him he
alighted down suddenly and betook Sir Tristram his horse, and said thus:
Noble knight, I know thee not of what country that thou art, but for the
noble deeds that thou hast done this day take there my horse, and let me
do as well I may; for, as Jesu me help, thou art better worthy to have
mine horse than I myself. Gramercy, said Sir Tristram, and if I may I
shall quite you: look that ye go not far from us, and as I suppose, I
shall win you another horse. And therewith Sir Tristram mounted upon his
horse, and there he met with King Arthur, and he gave him such a buffet
upon the helm with his sword that King Arthur had no power to keep his
saddle. And then Sir Tristram gave the King of Northgalis King Arthur's
horse: then was there great press about King Arthur for to horse him
again; but Sir Palomides would not suffer King Arthur to be horsed
again, but ever Sir Palomides smote on the right hand and on the left
hand mightily as a noble knight. And this meanwhile Sir Tristram rode
through the thickest of the press, and smote down knights on the right
hand and on the left hand, and raced off helms, and so passed forth unto
his pavilions, and left Sir Palomides on foot; and Sir Tristram changed
his horse and disguised himself all in red, horse and harness.



CHAPTER LXX. How Sir Tristram changed his harness and it was all red,
and how he demeaned him, and how Sir Palomides slew Launcelot's horse.


AND when the queen La Beale Isoud saw that Sir Tristram was unhorsed,
and she wist not where he was, then she wept greatly. But Sir Tristram,
when he was ready, came dashing lightly into the field, and then La
Beale Isoud espied him. And so he did great deeds of arms; with one
spear, that was great, Sir Tristram smote down five knights or ever he
stint. Then Sir Launcelot espied him readily, that it was Sir Tristram,
and then he repented him that he had smitten him down; and so Sir
Launcelot went out of the press to repose him and lightly he came again.
And now when Sir Tristram came into the press, through his great force
he put Sir Palomides upon his horse, and Sir Gareth, and Sir Dinadan,
and then they began to do marvellously; but Sir Palomides nor none of
his two fellows knew not who had holpen them on horseback again. But
ever Sir Tristram was nigh them and succoured them, and they [knew]
not him, because he was changed into red armour: and all this while Sir
Launcelot was away.

So when La Beale Isoud knew Sir Tristram again upon his horse-back she
was passing glad, and then she laughed and made good cheer. And as
it happened, Sir Palomides looked up toward her where she lay in the
window, and he espied how she laughed; and therewith he took such a
rejoicing that he smote down, what with his spear and with his sword,
all that ever he met; for through the sight of her he was so enamoured
in her love that he seemed at that time, that an both Sir Tristram and
Sir Launcelot had been both against him they should have won no worship
of him; and in his heart, as the book saith, Sir Palomides wished that
with his worship he might have ado with Sir Tristram before all men,
because of La Beale Isoud. Then Sir Palomides began to double his
strength, and he did so marvellously that all men had wonder of him, and
ever he cast up his eye unto La Beale Isoud. And when he saw her make
such cheer he fared like a lion, that there might no man withstand him;
and then Sir Tristram beheld him, how that Sir Palomides bestirred him;
and then he said unto Sir Dinadan: So God me help, Sir Palomides is a
passing good knight and a well enduring, but such deeds saw I him never
do, nor never heard I tell that ever he did so much in one day. It is
his day, said Dinadan; and he would say no more unto Sir Tristram; but
to himself he said: An if ye knew for whose love he doth all those
deeds of arms, soon would Sir Tristram abate his courage. Alas, said Sir
Tristram, that Sir Palomides is not christened. So said King Arthur, and
so said all those that beheld him. Then all people gave him the prize,
as for the best knight that day, that he passed Sir Launcelot outher
Sir Tristram. Well, said Dinadan to himself, all this worship that Sir
Palomides hath here this day he may thank the Queen Isoud, for had she
been away this day Sir Palomides had not gotten the prize this day.

Right so came into the field Sir Launcelot du Lake, and saw and heard
the noise and cry and the great worship that Sir Palomides had. He
dressed him against Sir Palomides, with a great mighty spear and a long,
and thought to smite him down. And when Sir Palomides saw Sir Launcelot
come upon him so fast, he ran upon Sir Launcelot as fast with his sword
as he might; and as Sir Launcelot should have stricken him he smote his
spear aside, and smote it a-two with his sword. And Sir Palomides rushed
unto Sir Launcelot, and thought to have put him to a shame; and with his
sword he smote his horse's neck that Sir Launcelot rode upon, and then
Sir Launcelot fell to the earth. Then was the cry huge and great: See
how Sir Palomides the Saracen hath smitten down Sir Launcelot's horse.
Right then were there many knights wroth with Sir Palomides because he
had done that deed; therefore many knights held there against that it
was unknightly done in a tournament to kill an horse wilfully, but that
it had been done in plain battle, life for life.



CHAPTER LXXI. How Sir Launcelot said to Sir Palomides, and how the prize
of that day was given unto Sir Palomides.


WHEN Sir Ector de Maris saw Sir Launcelot his brother have such a
despite, and so set on foot, then he gat a spear eagerly, and ran
against Sir Palomides, and he smote him so hard that he bare him quite
from his horse. That saw Sir Tristram, that was in red harness, and he
smote down Sir Ector de Maris quite from his horse. Then Sir Launcelot
dressed his shield upon his shoulder, and with his sword naked in his
hand, and so came straight upon Sir Palomides fiercely and said: Wit
thou well thou hast done me this day the greatest despite that ever any
worshipful knight did to me in tournament or in jousts, and therefore I
will be avenged upon thee, therefore take keep to yourself. Ah, mercy,
noble knight, said Palomides, and forgive me mine unkindly deeds, for I
have no power nor might to withstand you, and I have done so much
this day that well I wot I did never so much, nor never shall in my
life-days; and therefore, most noble knight, I require thee spare me as
at this day, and I promise you I shall ever be your knight while I live:
an ye put me from my worship now, ye put me from the greatest worship
that ever I had or ever shall have in my life-days. Well, said Sir
Launcelot, I see, for to say thee sooth, ye have done marvellously well
this day; and I understand a part for whose love ye do it, and well I
wot that love is a great mistress. And if my lady were here as she
nis not, wit you well, said Sir Launcelot, ye should not bear away the
worship. But beware your love be not discovered, for an Sir Tristram may
know it ye will repent it; and sithen my quarrel is not here, ye shall
have this day the worship as for me; considering the great travail and
pain that ye have had this day, it were no worship for me to put you
from it. And therewithal Sir Launcelot suffered Sir Palomides to depart.

Then Sir Launcelot by great force and might gat his own horse maugre
twenty knights. So when Sir Launcelot was horsed he did many marvels,
and so did Sir Tristram, and Sir Palomides in like wise. Then Sir
Launcelot smote down with a spear Sir Dinadan, and the King of Scotland,
and the King of Wales, and the King of Northumberland, and the King
of Listinoise. So then Sir Launcelot and his fellows smote down well
a forty knights. Then came the King of Ireland and the King of the
Straight Marches to rescue Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides. There began
a great medley, and many knights were smitten down on both parties; and
always Sir Launcelot spared Sir Tristram, and he spared him. And Sir
Palomides would not meddle with Sir Launcelot, and so there was hurtling
here and there. And then King Arthur sent out many knights of the
Table Round; and Sir Palomides was ever in the foremost front, and Sir
Tristram did so strongly well that the king and all other had marvel.
And then the king let blow to lodging; and because Sir Palomides began
first, and never he went nor rode out of the field to repose, but ever
he was doing marvellously well either on foot or on horseback, and
longest during, King Arthur and all the kings gave Sir Palomides the
honour and the gree as for that day.

Then Sir Tristram commanded Sir Dinadan to fetch the queen La Beale
Isoud, and bring her to his two pavilions that stood by the well. And so
Dinadan did as he was commanded. But when Sir Palomides understood and
wist that Sir Tristram was in the red armour, and on a red horse, wit ye
well that he was glad, and so was Sir Gareth and Sir Dinadan, for they
all weened that Sir Tristram had been taken prisoner. And then every
knight drew to his inn. And then King Arthur and every knight spake of
those knights; but above all men they gave Sir Palomides the prize, and
all knights that knew Sir Palomides had wonder of his deeds. Sir, said
Sir Launcelot unto Arthur, as for Sir Palomides an he be the green
knight I dare say as for this day he is best worthy to have the degree,
for he reposed him never, nor never changed his weeds, and he began
first and longest held on. And yet, well I wot, said Sir Launcelot,
that there was a better knight than he, and that shall be proved or we
depart, upon pain of my life. Thus they talked on either party; and so
Sir Dinadan railed with Sir Tristram and said: What the devil is upon
thee this day? for Sir Palomides' strength feebled never this day, but
ever he doubled his strength.



CHAPTER LXXII. How Sir Dinadan provoked Sir Tristram to do well.


AND thou, Sir Tristram, farest all this day as though thou hadst been
asleep, and therefore I call thee coward. Well, Dinadan, said Sir
Tristram, I was never called coward or now of no earthly knight in my
life; and wit thou well, sir, I call myself never the more coward though
Sir Launcelot gave me a fall, for I outcept him of all knights. And
doubt ye not Sir Dinadan, an Sir Launcelot have a quarrel good, he
is too over good for any knight that now is living; and yet of his
sufferance, largess, bounty, and courtesy, I call him knight peerless:
and so Sir Tristram was in manner wroth with Sir Dinadan. But all this
language Sir Dinadan said because he would anger Sir Tristram, for
to cause him to awake his spirits and to be wroth; for well knew Sir
Dinadan that an Sir Tristram were thoroughly wroth Sir Palomides should
not get the prize upon the morn. And for this intent Sir Dinadan said
all this railing and language against Sir Tristram. Truly, said Sir
Palomides, as for Sir Launcelot, of his noble knighthood, courtesy, and
prowess, and gentleness, I know not his peer; for this day, said
Sir Palomides, I did full uncourteously unto Sir Launcelot, and full
unknightly, and full knightly and courteously he did to me again; for
an he had been as ungentle to me as I was to him, this day I had won
no worship. And therefore, said Palomides, I shall be Sir Launcelot's
knight while my life lasteth. This talking was in the houses of kings.
But all kings, lords, and knights, said, of clear knighthood, and of
pure strength, of bounty, of courtesy, Sir Launcelot and Sir Tristram
bare the prize above all knights that ever were in Arthur's days. And
there were never knights in Arthur's days did half so many deeds as they
did; as the book saith, no ten knights did not half the deeds that
they did, and there was never knight in their days that required Sir
Launcelot or Sir Tristram of any quest, so it were not to their shame,
but they performed their desire.



CHAPTER LXXIII. How King Arthur and Sir Lancelot came to see La Beale
Isoud, and how Palomides smote down King Arthur.


SO on the morn Sir Launcelot departed, and Sir Tristram was ready, and
La Beale Isoud with Sir Palomides and Sir Gareth. And so they rode all
in green full freshly beseen unto the forest. And Sir Tristram left Sir
Dinadan sleeping in his bed. And so as they rode it happed the king and
Launcelot stood in a window, and saw Sir Tristram ride and Isoud. Sir,
said Launcelot, yonder rideth the fairest lady of the world except your
queen, Dame Guenever. Who is that? said Sir Arthur. Sir, said he, it is
Queen Isoud that, out-taken my lady your queen, she is makeless. Take
your horse, said Arthur, and array you at all rights as I will do, and
I promise you, said the king, I will see her. Then anon they were armed
and horsed, and either took a spear and rode unto the forest. Sir, said
Launcelot, it is not good that ye go too nigh them, for wit ye well
there are two as good knights as now are living, and therefore, sir, I
pray you be not too hasty. For peradventure there will be some knights
be displeased an we come suddenly upon them. As for that, said Arthur, I
will see her, for I take no force whom I grieve. Sir, said Launcelot, ye
put yourself in great jeopardy. As for that, said the king, we will take
the adventure. Right so anon the king rode even to her, and saluted her,
and said: God you save. Sir, said she, ye are welcome. Then the king
beheld her, and liked her wonderly well.

With that came Sir Palomides unto Arthur, and said: Uncourteous knight,
what seekest thou here? thou art uncourteous to come upon a lady thus
suddenly, therefore withdraw thee. Sir Arthur took none heed of Sir
Palomides' words, but ever he looked still upon Queen Isoud Then was Sir
Palomides wroth, and therewith he took a spear, and came hurtling upon
King Arthur, and smote him down with a spear. When Sir Launcelot saw
that despite of Sir Palomides, he said to himself: I am loath to have
ado with yonder knight, and not for his own sake but for Sir Tristram.
And one thing I am sure of, if I smite down Sir Palomides I must have
ado with Sir Tristram, and that were overmuch for me to match them both,
for they are two noble knights; notwithstanding, whether I live or I
die, needs must I revenge my lord, and so will I, whatsomever befall of
me. And therewith Sir Launcelot cried to Sir Palomides: Keep thee from
me. And then Sir Launcelot and Sir Palomides rushed together with two
spears strongly, but Sir Launcelot smote Sir Palomides so hard that he
went quite out of his saddle, and had a great fall. When Sir Tristram
saw Sir Palomides have that fall, he said to Sir Launcelot: Sir knight,
keep thee, for I must joust with thee. As for to joust with me, said
Sir Launcelot, I will not fail you, for no dread I have of you; but I
am loath to have ado with you an I might choose, for I will that ye
wit that I must revenge my special lord that was unhorsed unwarly and
unknightly. And therefore, though I revenged that fall, take ye no
displeasure therein, for he is to me such a friend that I may not see
him shamed.

Anon Sir Tristram understood by his person and by his knightly words
that it was Sir Launcelot du Lake, and verily Sir Tristram deemed that
it was King Arthur, he that Sir Palomides had smitten down. And then
Sir Tristram put his spear from him, and put Sir Palomides again
on horseback, and Sir Launcelot put King Arthur on horseback and so
departed. So God me help, said Sir Tristram unto Palomides, ye did not
worshipfully when ye smote down that knight so suddenly as ye did. And
wit ye well ye did yourself great shame, for the knights came hither
of their gentleness to see a fair lady; and that is every good knight's
part, to behold a fair lady; and ye had not ado to play such masteries
afore my lady. Wit thou well it will turn to anger, for he that ye smote
down was King Arthur, and that other was the good knight Sir Launcelot.
But I shall not forget the words of Sir Launcelot when that he called
him a man of great worship, thereby I wist that it was King Arthur.
And as for Sir Launcelot, an there had been five hundred knights in the
meadow, he would not have refused them, and yet he said he would
refuse me. By that again I wist that it was Sir Launcelot, for ever he
forbeareth me in every place, and showeth me great kindness; and of all
knights, I out-take none, say what men will say, he beareth the flower
of all chivalry, say it him whosomever will. An he be well angered, and
that him list to do his utterance without any favour, I know him not
alive but Sir Launcelot is over hard for him, be it on horseback or on
foot. I may never believe, said Palomides, that King Arthur will ride so
privily as a poor errant knight. Ah, said Sir Tristram, ye know not
my lord Arthur, for all knights may learn to be a knight of him. And
therefore ye may be sorry, said Sir Tristram, of your unkindly deeds
to so noble a king. And a thing that is done may not be undone, said
Palomides. Then Sir Tristram sent Queen Isoud unto her lodging in the
priory, there to behold all the tournament.



CHAPTER LXXIV. How the second day Palomides forsook Sir Tristram, and
went to the contrary part against him.


THEN there was a cry unto all knights, that when they heard an horn
blow they should make jousts as they did the first day. And like as the
brethren Sir Edward and Sir Sadok began the jousts the first day, Sir
Uwaine the king's son Urien and Sir Lucanere de Buttelere began the
jousts the second day. And at the first encounter Sir Uwaine smote down
the King's son of Scots; and Sir Lucanere ran against the King of Wales,
and they brake their spears all to pieces; and they were so fierce both,
that they hurtled together that both fell to the earth. Then they of
Orkney horsed again Sir Lucanere. And then came in Sir Tristram de
Liones; and then Sir Tristram smote down Sir Uwaine and Sir Lucanere;
and Sir Palomides smote down other two knights and Sir Gareth smote down
other two knights. Then said Sir Arthur unto Sir Launcelot: See yonder
three knights do passingly well, and namely the first that jousted. Sir,
said Launcelot, that knight began not yet but ye shall see him this day
do marvellously. And then came into the place the duke's son of Orkney,
and then they began to do many deeds of arms.

When Sir Tristram saw them so begin, he said to Palomides: How feel ye
yourself? may ye do this day as ye did yesterday? Nay, said Palomides,
I feel myself so weary, and so sore bruised of the deeds of yesterday,
that I may not endure as I did yesterday. That me repenteth, said Sir
Tristram, for I shall lack you this day. Sir Palomides said: Trust not
to me, for I may not do as I did. All these words said Palomides for to
beguile Sir Tristram. Sir, said Sir Tristram unto Sir Gareth, then must
I trust upon you; wherefore I pray you be not far from me to rescue me.
An need be, said Sir Gareth, I shall not fail you in all that I may do.
Then Sir Palomides rode by himself; and then in despite of Sir Tristram
he put himself in the thickest press among them of Orkney, and there he
did so marvellously deeds of arms that all men had wonder of him, for
there might none stand him a stroke.

When Sir Tristram saw Sir Palomides do such deeds, he marvelled and
said to himself: He is weary of my company. So Sir Tristram beheld him
a great while and did but little else, for the noise and cry was so huge
and great that Sir Tristram marvelled from whence came the strength
that Sir Palomides had there in the field Sir, said Sir Gareth unto
Sir Tristram, remember ye not of the words that Sir Dinadan said to you
yesterday, when he called you a coward; forsooth, sir, he said it for
none ill, for ye are the man in the world that he most loveth, and all
that he said was for your worship. And therefore, said Sir Gareth to Sir
Tristram, let me know this day what ye be; and wonder ye not so upon Sir
Palomides, for he enforceth himself to win all the worship and honour
from you. I may well believe it, said Sir Tristram. And sithen I
understand his evil will and his envy, ye shall see, if that I enforce
myself, that the noise shall be left that now is upon him.

Then Sir Tristram rode into the thickest of the press, and then he did
so marvellously well, and did so great deeds of arms, that all men said
that Sir Tristram did double so much deeds of arms as Sir Palomides had
done aforehand. And then the noise went plain from Sir Palomides, and
all the people cried upon Sir Tristram. O Jesu, said the people, see how
Sir Tristram smiteth down with his spear so many knights. And see, said
they all, how many knights he smiteth down with his sword, and of how
many knights he rashed off their helms and their shields; and so he
beat them all of Orkney afore him. How now, said Sir Launcelot unto King
Arthur, I told you that this day there would a knight play his pageant.
Yonder rideth a knight ye may see he doth knightly, for he hath strength
and wind. So God me help, said Arthur to Launcelot, ye say sooth, for I
saw never a better knight, for he passeth far Sir Palomides. Sir, wit
ye well, said Launcelot, it must be so of right, for it is himself, that
noble knight Sir Tristram. I may right well believe it, said Arthur.

But when Sir Palomides heard the noise and the cry was turned from him,
he rode out on a part and beheld Sir Tristram. And when Sir Palomides
saw Sir Tristram do so marvellously well he wept passingly sore for
despite, for he wist well he should no worship win that day; for well
knew Sir Palomides, when Sir Tristram would put forth his strength and
his manhood, he should get but little worship that day.



CHAPTER LXXV. How Sir Tristram departed of the field, and awaked Sir
Dinadan, and changed his array into black.


THEN came King Arthur, and the King of Northgalis, and Sir Launcelot du
Lake; and Sir Bleoberis, Sir Bors de Ganis, Sir Ector de Maris, these
three knights came into the field with Sir Launcelot. And then Sir
Launcelot with the three knights of his kin did so great deeds of arms
that all the noise began upon Sir Launcelot. And so they beat the King
of Wales and the King of Scots far aback, and made them to avoid the
field; but Sir Tristram and Sir Gareth abode still in the field and
endured all that ever there came, that all men had wonder that any
knight might endure so many strokes. But ever Sir Launcelot, and his
three kinsmen by the commandment of Sir Launcelot, forbare Sir Tristram.
Then said Sir Arthur: Is that Sir Palomides that endureth so well? Nay,
said Sir Launcelot, wit ye well it is the good knight Sir Tristram, for
yonder ye may see Sir Palomides beholdeth and hoveth, and doth little or
nought. And sir, ye shall understand that Sir Tristram weeneth this day
to beat us all out of the field. And as for me, said Sir Launcelot,
I shall not beat him, beat him whoso will. Sir, said Launcelot unto
Arthur, ye may see how Sir Palomides hoveth yonder, as though he were in
a dream; wit ye well he is full heavy that Tristram doth such deeds of
arms Then is he but a fool, said Arthur, for never was Sir Palomides,
nor never shall be, of such prowess as Sir Tristram. And if he have any
envy at Sir Tristram, and cometh in with him upon his side he is a false
knight.

As the king and Sir Launcelot thus spake, Sir Tristram rode privily out
of the press, that none espied him but La Beale Isoud and Sir Palomides,
for they two would not let off their eyes upon Sir Tristram. And when
Sir Tristram came to his pavilions he found Sir Dinadan in his bed
asleep. Awake, said Tristram, ye ought to be ashamed so to sleep when
knights have ado in the field. Then Sir Dinadan arose lightly and said:
What will ye that I shall do? Make you ready, said Sir Tristram, to ride
with me into the field. So when Sir Dinadan was armed he looked upon Sir
Tristram's helm and on his shield, and when he saw so many strokes upon
his helm and upon his shield he said: In good time was I thus asleep,
for had I been with you I must needs for shame there have followed you;
more for shame than any prowess that is in me; that I see well now by
those strokes that I should have been truly beaten as I was yesterday.
Leave your japes, said Sir Tristram, and come off, that [we] were in
the field again. What, said Sir Dinadan, is your heart up? yesterday
ye fared as though ye had dreamed. So then Sir Tristram was arrayed in
black harness. O Jesu, said Dinadan, what aileth you this day? meseemeth
ye be wilder than ye were yesterday. Then smiled Sir Tristram and said
to Dinadan: Await well upon me; if ye see me overmatched look that ye
be ever behind me, and I shall make you ready way by God's grace. So
Sir Tristram and Sir Dinadan took their horses. All this espied Sir
Palomides, both their going and their coming, and so did La Beale Isoud,
for she knew Sir Tristram above all other.



CHAPTER LXXVI. How Sir Palomides changed his shield and his armour for
to hurt Sir Tristram, and how Sir Launcelot did to Sir Tristram.


THEN when Sir Palomides saw that Sir Tristram was disguised, then he
thought to do him a shame. So Sir Palomides rode to a knight that was
sore wounded, that sat under a fair well from the field. Sir knight,
said Sir Palomides, I pray you to lend me your armour and your shield,
for mine is over-well known in this field, and that hath done me great
damage; and ye shall have mine armour and my shield that is as sure as
yours. I will well, said the knight, that ye have mine armour and my
shield, if they may do you any avail. So Sir Palomides armed him hastily
in that knight's armour and his shield that shone as any crystal or
silver, and so he came riding into the field. And then there was neither
Sir Tristram nor none of King Arthur's party that knew Sir Palomides.
And right so as Sir Palomides was come into the field Sir Tristram smote
down three knights, even in the sight of Sir Palomides. And then Sir
Palomides rode against Sir Tristram, and either met other with great
spears, that they brast to their hands. And then they dashed together
with swords eagerly. Then Sir Tristram had marvel what knight he was
that did battle so knightly with him. Then was Sir Tristram wroth, for
he felt him passing strong, so that he deemed he might not have ado with
the remnant of the knights, because of the strength of Sir Palomides.
So they lashed together and gave many sad strokes together, and many
knights marvelled what knight he might be that so encountered with the
black knight, Sir Tristram. Full well knew La Beale Isoud that there was
Sir Palomides that fought with Sir Tristram, for she espied all in her
window where that she stood, as Sir Palomides changed his harness with
the wounded knight. And then she began to weep so heartily for the
despite of Sir Palomides that there she swooned.

Then came in Sir Launcelot with the knights of Orkney. And when the
other party had espied Sir Launcelot, they cried: Return, return,
here cometh Sir Launcelot du Lake. So there came knights and said: Sir
Launcelot, ye must needs fight with yonder knight in the black harness,
that was Sir Tristram, for he hath almost overcome that good knight that
fighteth with him with the silver shield, that was Sir Palomides. Then
Sir Launcelot rode betwixt Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides, and Sir
Launcelot said to Palomides: Sir knight, let me have the battle, for ye
have need to be reposed. Sir Palomides knew Sir Launcelot well, and so
did Sir Tristram, but because Sir Launcelot was far hardier knight than
himself therefore he was glad, and suffered Sir Launcelot to fight with
Sir Tristram. For well wist he that Sir Launcelot knew not Sir Tristram,
and there he hoped that Sir Launcelot should beat or shame Sir Tristram,
whereof Sir Palomides was full fain. And so Sir Launcelot gave Sir
Tristram many sad strokes, but Sir Launcelot knew not Sir Tristram,
but Sir Tristram knew well Sir Launcelot. And thus they fought long
together, that La Beale Isoud was well-nigh out of her mind for sorrow.

Then Sir Dinadan told Sir Gareth how that knight in the black harness
was Sir Tristram: And this is Launcelot that fighteth with him, that
must needs have the better of him, for Sir Tristram hath had too much
travail this day. Then let us smite him down, said Sir Gareth. So it is
better that we do, said Sir Dinadan, than Sir Tristram be shamed, for
yonder hoveth the strong knight with the silver shield to fall upon Sir
Tristram if need be. Then forthwithal Gareth rushed upon Sir Launcelot,
and gave him a great stroke upon his helm so hard that he was astonied.
And then came Sir Dinadan with a spear, and he smote Sir Launcelot such
a buffet that horse and all fell to the earth. O Jesu, said Sir Tristram
to Sir Gareth and Sir Dinadan, fie for shame, why did ye smite down so
good a knight as he is, and namely when I had ado with him? now ye do
yourself great shame, and him no disworship; for I held him reasonable
hot, though ye had not holpen me.

Then came Sir Palomides that was disguised, and smote down Sir Dinadan
from his horse. Then Sir Launcelot, because Sir Dinadan had smitten him
aforehand, then Sir Launcelot assailed Sir Dinadan passing sore, and Sir
Dinadan defended him mightily. But well understood Sir Tristram that
Sir Dinadan might not endure Sir Launcelot, wherefore Sir Tristram was
sorry. Then came Sir Palomides fresh upon Sir Tristram. And when Sir
Tristram saw him come, he thought to deliver him at once, because that
he would help Sir Dinadan, because he stood in great peril with Sir
Launcelot. Then Sir Tristram hurtled unto Sir Palomides and gave him
a great buffet, and then Sir Tristram gat Sir Palomides and pulled him
down underneath him. And so fell Sir Tristram with him; and Sir Tristram
leapt up lightly and left Sir Palomides, and went betwixt Sir Launcelot
and Dinadan, and then they began to do battle together.

Right so Sir Dinadan gat Sir Tristram's horse, and said on high that Sir
Launcelot might hear it: My lord Sir Tristram, take your horse. And when
Sir Launcelot heard him name Sir Tristram: O Jesu, said Launcelot, what
have I done? I am dishonoured. Ah, my lord Sir Tristram, said Launcelot,
why were ye disguised? ye have put yourself in great peril this day; but
I pray you noble knight to pardon me, for an I had known you we had not
done this battle. Sir, said Sir Tristram, this is not the first kindness
ye showed me. So they were both horsed again.

Then all the people on the one side gave Sir Launcelot the honour and
the degree, and on the other side all the people gave to the noble
knight Sir Tristram the honour and the degree; but Launcelot said nay
thereto: For I am not worthy to have this honour, for I will report me
unto all knights that Sir Tristram hath been longer in the field than
I, and he hath smitten down many more knights this day than I have done.
And therefore I will give Sir Tristram my voice and my name, and so I
pray all my lords and fellows so to do. Then there was the whole voice
of dukes and earls, barons and knights, that Sir Tristram this day is
proved the best knight.



CHAPTER LXXVII. How Sir Tristram departed with La Beale Isoud, and how
Palomides followed and excused him.


THEN they blew unto lodging, and Queen Isoud was led unto her pavilions.
But wit you well she was wroth out of measure with Sir Palomides, for
she saw all his treason from the beginning to the ending. And all this
while neither Sir Tristram, neither Sir Gareth nor Dinadan, knew not
of the treason of Sir Palomides; but afterward ye shall hear that there
befell the greatest debate betwixt Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides that
might be.

So when the tournament was done, Sir Tristram, Gareth, and Dinadan, rode
with La Beale Isoud to these pavilions. And ever Sir Palomides rode with
them in their company disguised as he was. But when Sir Tristram had
espied him that he was the same knight with the shield of silver that
held him so hot that day: Sir knight, said Sir Tristram, wit ye well
here is none that hath need of your fellowship, and therefore I pray you
depart from us. Sir Palomides answered again as though he had not known
Sir Tristram: Wit you well, sir knight, from this fellowship will I
never depart, for one of the best knights of the world commanded me to
be in this company, and till he discharge me of my service I will not be
discharged. By that Sir Tristram knew that it was Sir Palomides. Ah, Sir
Palomides, said the noble knight Sir Tristram, are ye such a knight? Ye
have been named wrong, for ye have long been called a gentle knight,
and as this day ye have showed me great ungentleness, for ye had almost
brought me unto my death. But, as for you, I suppose I should have done
well enough, but Sir Launcelot with you was overmuch; for I know no
knight living but Sir Launcelot is over good for him, an he will do his
uttermost. Alas, said Sir Palomides, are ye my lord Sir Tristram? Yea,
sir, and that ye know well enough. By my knighthood, said Palomides,
until now I knew you not; I weened that ye had been the King of Ireland,
for well I wot ye bare his arms. His arms I bare, said Sir Tristram,
and that will I stand by, for I won them once in a field of a full noble
knight, his name was Sir Marhaus; and with great pain I won that knight,
for there was none other recover, but Sir Marhaus died through false
leeches; and yet was he never yolden to me. Sir, said Palomides, I
weened ye had been turned upon Sir Launcelot's party, and that caused
me to turn. Ye say well, said Sir Tristram, and so I take you, and I
forgive you.

So then they rode into their pavilions; and when they were alighted they
unarmed them and washed their faces and hands, and so yode unto meat,
and were set at their table. But when Isoud saw Sir Palomides she
changed then her colours, and for wrath she might not speak. Anon Sir
Tristram espied her countenance and said: Madam, for what cause make ye
us such cheer? we have been sore travailed this day. Mine own lord, said
La Beale Isoud, for God's sake be ye not displeased with me, for I may
none otherwise do; for I saw this day how ye were betrayed and nigh
brought to your death. Truly, sir, I saw every deal, how and in what
wise, and therefore, sir, how should I suffer in your presence such a
felon and traitor as Sir Palomides; for I saw him with mine eyes, how he
beheld you when ye went out of the field. For ever he hoved still upon
his horse till he saw you come in againward. And then forthwithal I
saw him ride to the hurt knight, and changed harness with him, and then
straight I saw him how he rode into the field. And anon as he had found
you he encountered with you, and thus wilfully Sir Palomides did battle
with you; and as for him, sir, I was not greatly afraid, but I dread
sore Launcelot, that knew you not. Madam, said Palomides, ye may say
whatso ye will, I may not contrary you, but by my knighthood I knew not
Sir Tristram. Sir Palomides, said Sir Tristram, I will take your excuse,
but well I wot ye spared me but little, but all is pardoned on my part.
Then La Beale Isoud held down her head and said no more at that time.



CHAPTER LXXVIII. How King Arthur and Sir Launcelot came unto their
pavilions as they sat at supper, and of Sir Palomides.


AND therewithal two knights armed came unto the pavilion, and there they
alighted both, and came in armed at all pieces. Fair knights, said Sir
Tristram, ye are to blame to come thus armed at all pieces upon me while
we are at our meat; if ye would anything when we were in the field there
might ye have eased your hearts. Not so, said the one of those knights,
we come not for that intent, but wit ye well Sir Tristram, we be come
hither as your friends. And I am come here, said the one, for to see
you, and this knight is come for to see La Beale Isoud. Then said Sir
Tristram: I require you do off your helms that I may see you. That will
we do at your desire, said the knights. And when their helms were off,
Sir Tristram thought that he should know them.

Then said Sir Dinadan privily unto Sir Tristram: Sir, that is Sir
Launcelot du Lake that spake unto you first, and the other is my lord
King Arthur. Then, said Sir Tristram unto La Beale Isoud, Madam arise,
for here is my lord, King Arthur. Then the king and the queen kissed,
and Sir Launcelot and Sir Tristram braced either other in arms, and then
there was joy without measure; and at the request of La Beale Isoud,
King Arthur and Launcelot were unarmed, and then there was merry
talking. Madam, said Sir Arthur, it is many a day sithen that I have
desired to see you, for ye have been praised so far; and now I dare say
ye are the fairest that ever I saw, and Sir Tristram is as fair and as
good a knight as any that I know; therefore me beseemeth ye are well
beset together. Sir, God thank you, said the noble knight, Sir Tristram,
and Isoud; of your great goodness and largess ye are peerless. Thus they
talked of many things and of all the whole jousts. But for what cause,
said King Arthur, were ye, Sir Tristram, against us? Ye are a knight
of the Table Round; of right ye should have been with us. Sir, said Sir
Tristram, here is Dinadan, and Sir Gareth your own nephew, caused me to
be against you. My lord Arthur, said Gareth, I may well bear the blame,
but it were Sir Tristram's own deeds. That may I repent, said Dinadan,
for this unhappy Sir Tristram brought us to this tournament, and many
great buffets he caused us to have. Then the king and Launcelot laughed
that they might not sit.

What knight was that, said Arthur, that held you so short, this with the
shield of silver? Sir, said Sir Tristram, here he sitteth at this board.
What, said Arthur, was it Sir Palomides? Wit ye well it was he, said La
Beale Isoud. So God me help, said Arthur, that was unknightly done
of you of so good a knight, for I have heard many people call you a
courteous knight. Sir, said Palomides, I knew not Sir Tristram, for he
was so disguised. So God me help, said Launcelot, it may well be, for I
knew not Sir Tristram; but I marvel why ye turned on our party. That was
done for the same cause, said Launcelot. As for that, said Sir Tristram,
I have pardoned him, and I would be right loath to leave his fellowship,
for I love right well his company: so they left off and talked of other
things.

And in the evening King Arthur and Sir Launcelot departed unto their
lodging; but wit ye well Sir Palomides had envy heartily, for all that
night he had never rest in his bed, but wailed and wept out of measure.
So on the morn Sir Tristram, Gareth, and Dinadan arose early, and then
they went unto Sir Palomides' chamber, and there they found him fast
asleep, for he had all night watched, and it was seen upon his cheeks
that he had wept full sore. Say nothing, said Sir Tristram, for I am
sure he hath taken anger and sorrow for the rebuke that I gave to him,
and La Beale Isoud.



CHAPTER LXXIX. How Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides did the next day, and
how King Arthur was unhorsed.


THEN Sir Tristram let call Sir Palomides, and bade him make him ready,
for it was time to go to the field. When they were ready they were
armed, and clothed all in red, both Isoud and all they; and so they led
her passing freshly through the field, into the priory where was her
lodging. And then they heard three blasts blow, and every king and
knight dressed him unto the field. And the first that was ready to
joust was Sir Palomides and Sir Kainus le Strange, a knight of the Table
Round. And so they two encountered together, but Sir Palomides smote
Sir Kainus so hard that he smote him quite over his horse's croup. And
forthwithal Sir Palomides smote down another knight, and brake then
his spear, and pulled out his sword and did wonderly well. And then the
noise began greatly upon Sir Palomides. Lo, said King Arthur, yonder
Palomides beginneth to play his pageant. So God me help, said Arthur, he
is a passing good knight. And right as they stood talking thus, in came
Sir Tristram as thunder, and he encountered with Sir Kay the Seneschal,
and there he smote him down quite from his horse; and with that same
spear Sir Tristram smote down three knights more, and then he pulled out
his sword and did marvellously. Then the noise and cry changed from
Sir Palomides and turned to Sir Tristram, and all the people cried: O
Tristram, O Tristram. And then was Sir Palomides clean forgotten.

How now, said Launcelot unto Arthur, yonder rideth a knight that playeth
his pageants. So God me help, said Arthur to Launcelot, ye shall see
this day that yonder two knights shall here do this day wonders. Sir,
said Launcelot, the one knight waiteth upon the other, and enforceth
himself through envy to pass the noble knight Sir Tristram, and he
knoweth not of the privy envy the which Sir Palomides hath to him; for
all that the noble Sir Tristram doth is through clean knighthood. And
then Sir Gareth and Dinadan did wonderly great deeds of arms, as two
noble knights, so that King Arthur spake of them great honour and
worship; and the kings and knights of Sir Tristram's side did passingly
well, and held them truly together. Then Sir Arthur and Sir Launcelot
took their horses and dressed them, and gat into the thickest of the
press. And there Sir Tristram unknowing smote down King Arthur, and then
Sir Launcelot would have rescued him, but there were so many upon Sir
Launcelot that they pulled him down from his horse. And then the King of
Ireland and the King of Scots with their knights did their pain to take
King Arthur and Sir Launcelot prisoner. When Sir Launcelot heard them
say so, he fared as it had been an hungry lion, for he fared so that no
knight durst nigh him.

Then came Sir Ector de Maris, and he bare a spear against Sir Palomides,
and brast it upon him all to shivers. And then Sir Ector came again and
gave Sir Palomides such a dash with a sword that he stooped down upon
his saddle bow. And forthwithal Sir Ector pulled down Sir Palomides
under his feet; and then Sir Ector de Maris gat Sir Launcelot du Lake
an horse, and brought it to him, and bade him mount upon him; but Sir
Palomides leapt afore and gat the horse by the bridle, and leapt into
the saddle. So God me help, said Launcelot, ye are better worthy to have
that horse than I. Then Sir Ector brought Sir Launcelot another horse.
Gramercy, said Launcelot unto his brother. And so when he was horsed
again, with one spear he smote down four knights. And then Sir Launcelot
brought to King Arthur one of the best of the four horses. Then Sir
Launcelot with King Arthur and a few of his knights of Sir Launcelot's
kin did marvellous deeds; for that time, as the book recordeth, Sir
Launcelot smote down and pulled down thirty knights. Notwithstanding the
other party held them so fast together that King Arthur and his knights
were overmatched. And when Sir Tristram saw that, what labour King
Arthur and his knights, and in especial the noble deeds that Sir
Launcelot did with his own hands, he marvelled greatly.



CHAPTER LXXX. How Sir Tristram turned to King Arthur's side, and how
Palomides would not.


THEN Sir Tristram called unto him Sir Palomides, Sir Gareth, and Sir
Dinadan, and said thus to them: My fair fellows, wit ye well that I will
turn unto King Arthur's party, for I saw never so few men do so well,
and it will be shame unto us knights that be of the Round Table to
see our lord King Arthur, and that noble knight Sir Launcelot, to be
dishonoured. It will be well done, said Sir Gareth and Sir Dinadan. Do
your best, said Palomides, for I will not change my party that I came
in withal. That is for my sake, said Sir Tristram; God speed you in your
journey. And so departed Sir Palomides from them. Then Sir Tristram,
Gareth, and Dinadan, turned with Sir Launcelot. And then Sir Launcelot
smote down the King of Ireland quite from his horse; and so Sir
Launcelot smote down the King of Scots, and the King of Wales; and then
Sir Arthur ran unto Sir Palomides and smote him quite from his horse;
and then Sir Tristram bare down all that he met. Sir Gareth and Sir
Dinadan did there as noble knights; then all the parties began to flee.
Alas, said Palomides, that ever I should see this day, for now have I
lost all the worship that I won; and then Sir Palomides went his way
wailing, and so withdrew him till he came to a well, and there he put
his horse from him, and did off his armour, and wailed and wept like
as he had been a wood man. Then many knights gave the prize to Sir
Tristram, and there were many that gave the prize unto Sir Launcelot.
Fair lords, said Sir Tristram, I thank you of the honour ye would
give me, but I pray you heartily that ye would give your voice to Sir
Launcelot, for by my faith said Sir Tristram, I will give Sir Launcelot
my voice. But Sir Launcelot would not have it, and so the prize was
given betwixt them both.

Then every man rode to his lodging, and Sir Bleoberis and Sir Ector rode
with Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud unto their pavilions. Then as Sir
Palomides was at the well wailing and weeping, there came by him flying
the kings of Wales and of Scotland, and they saw Sir Palomides in that
arage. Alas, said they, that so noble a man as ye be should be in this
array. And then those kings gat Sir Palomides' horse again, and made him
to arm him and mount upon his horse, and so he rode with them, making
great dole. So when Sir Palomides came nigh the pavilions thereas Sir
Tristram and La Beale Isoud was in, then Sir Palomides prayed the two
kings to abide him there the while that he spake with Sir Tristram. And
when he came to the port of the pavilions, Sir Palomides said on high:
Where art thou, Sir Tristram de Liones? Sir, said Dinadan, that is
Palomides. What, Sir Palomides, will ye not come in here among us? Fie
on thee traitor, said Palomides, for wit you well an it were daylight
as it is night I should slay thee, mine own hands. And if ever I may get
thee, said Palomides, thou shalt die for this day's deed. Sir Palomides,
said Sir Tristram, ye wite me with wrong, for had ye done as I did ye
had won worship. But sithen ye give me so large warning I shall be
well ware of you. Fie on thee, traitor, said Palomides, and therewith
departed.

Then on the morn Sir Tristram, Bleoberis, and Sir Ector de Maris, Sir
Gareth, Sir Dinadan, what by water and what by land, they brought La
Beale Isoud unto Joyous Gard, and there reposed them a seven night, and
made all the mirths and disports that they could devise. And King Arthur
and his knights drew unto Camelot, and Sir Palomides rode with the two
kings; and ever he made the greatest dole that any man could think, for
he was not all only so dolorous for the departing from La Beale Isoud,
but he was a part as sorrowful to depart from the fellowship of Sir
Tristram; for Sir Tristram was so kind and so gentle that when Sir
Palomides remembered him thereof he might never be merry.



CHAPTER LXXXI. How Sir Bleoberis and Sir Ector reported to Queen
Guenever of the beauty of La Beale Isoud.


SO at the seven nights' end Sir Bleoberis and Sir Ector departed from
Sir Tristram and from the queen; and these two good knights had great
gifts; and Sir Gareth and Sir Dinadan abode with Sir Tristram. And when
Sir Bleoberis and Sir Ector were come there as the Queen Guenever was
lodged, in a castle by the seaside, and through the grace of God the
queen was recovered of her malady, then she asked the two knights from
whence they came. They said that they came from Sir Tristram and from La
Beale Isoud. How doth Sir Tristram, said the queen, and La Beale Isoud?
Truly, said those two knights, he doth as a noble knight should do; and
as for the Queen Isoud, she is peerless of all ladies; for to speak of
her beauty, bounté, and mirth, and of her goodness, we saw never her
match as far as we have ridden and gone. O mercy Jesu, said Queen
Guenever, so saith all the people that have seen her and spoken with
her. God would that I had part of her conditions; and it is misfortuned
me of my sickness while that tournament endured. And as I suppose I
shall never see in all my life such an assembly of knights and ladies as
ye have done.

Then the knights told her how Palomides won the degree at the first day
with great noblesse; and the second day Sir Tristram won the degree; and
the third day Sir Launcelot won the degree. Well, said Queen Guenever,
who did best all these three days? So God me help, said these knights,
Sir Launcelot and Sir Tristram had least dishonour. And wit ye well Sir
Palomides did passing well and mightily; but he turned against the party
that he came in withal, and that caused him to lose a great part of his
worship, for it seemed that Sir Palomides is passing envious. Then shall
he never win worship, said Queen Guenever, for an it happeth an envious
man once to win worship he shall be dishonoured twice therefore; and for
this cause all men of worship hate an envious man, and will shew him no
favour, and he that is courteous, and kind, and gentle, hath favour in
every place.



CHAPTER LXXXII. How Epinogris complained by a well, and how Sir
Palomides came and found him, and of their both sorrowing.


NOW leave we of this matter and speak we of Sir Palomides, that rode and
lodged him with the two kings, whereof the kings were heavy. Then the
King of Ireland sent a man of his to Sir Palomides, and gave him a great
courser, and the King of Scotland gave him great gifts; and fain they
would have had Sir Palomides to have abiden with them, but in no wise he
would abide; and so he departed, and rode as adventures would guide him,
till it was nigh noon. And then in a forest by a well Sir Palomides saw
where lay a fair wounded knight and his horse bounden by him; and that
knight made the greatest dole that ever he heard man make, for ever he
wept, and therewith he sighed as though he would die. Then Sir Palomides
rode near him and saluted him mildly and said: Fair knight, why wail
ye so? let me lie down and wail with you, for doubt not I am much more
heavier than ye are; for I dare say, said Palomides, that my sorrow is
an hundred fold more than yours is, and therefore let us complain either
to other. First, said the wounded knight, I require you tell me your
name, for an thou be none of the noble knights of the Round Table thou
shalt never know my name, whatsomever come of me. Fair knight, said
Palomides, such as I am, be it better or be it worse, wit thou well
that my name is Sir Palomides, son and heir unto King Astlabor, and Sir
Safere and Sir Segwarides are my two brethren; and wit thou well as for
myself I was never christened, but my two brethren are truly christened.
O noble knight, said that knight, well is me that I have met with you;
and wit ye well my name is Epinogris, the king's son of Northumberland.
Now sit down, said Epinogris, and let us either complain to other.

Then Sir Palomides began his complaint. Now shall I tell you, said
Palomides, what woe I endure. I love the fairest queen and lady that
ever bare life, and wit ye well her name is La Beale Isoud, King Mark's
wife of Cornwall. That is great folly, said Epinogris, for to love Queen
Isoud, for one of the best knights of the world loveth her, that is Sir
Tristram de Liones. That is truth, said Palomides, for no man knoweth
that matter better than I do, for I have been in Sir Tristram's
fellowship this month, and with La Beale Isoud together; and alas, said
Palomides, unhappy man that I am, now have I lost the fellowship of Sir
Tristram for ever, and the love of La Beale Isoud for ever, and I am
never like to see her more, and Sir Tristram and I be either to other
mortal enemies. Well, said Epinogris, sith that ye loved La Beale Isoud,
loved she you ever again by anything that ye could think or wit, or else
did ye rejoice her ever in any pleasure? Nay, by my knighthood, said
Palomides, I never espied that ever she loved me more than all the
world, nor never had I pleasure with her, but the last day she gave me
the greatest rebuke that ever I had, the which shall never go from my
heart. And yet I well deserved that rebuke, for I did not knightly, and
therefore I have lost the love of her and of Sir Tristram for ever; and
I have many times enforced myself to do many deeds for La Beale Isoud's
sake, and she was the causer of my worship-winning. Alas, said Sir
Palomides, now have I lost all the worship that ever I won, for never
shall me befall such prowess as I had in the fellowship of Sir Tristram.



CHAPTER LXXXIII. How Sir Palomides brought Sir Epinogris his lady; and
how Sir Palomides and Sir Safere were assailed.


NAY, nay, said Epinogris, your sorrow is but japes to my sorrow; for
I rejoiced my lady and won her with my hands, and lost her again: alas
that day! Thus first I won her, said Epinogris; my lady was an earl's
daughter, and as the earl and two knights came from the tournament of
Lonazep, for her sake I set upon this earl and on his two knights, my
lady there being present; and so by fortune there I slew the earl and
one of the knights, and the other knight fled, and so that night I had
my lady. And on the morn as she and I reposed us at this well-side there
came there to me an errant knight, his name was Sir Helior le Preuse,
an hardy knight, and this Sir Helior challenged me to fight for my lady.
And then we went to battle first upon horse and after on foot, but at
the last Sir Helior wounded me so that he left me for dead, and so he
took my lady with him; and thus my sorrow is more than yours, for I have
rejoiced and ye rejoiced never. That is truth, said Palomides, but sith
I can never recover myself I shall promise you if I can meet with Sir
Helior I shall get you your lady again, or else he shall beat me.

Then Sir Palomides made Sir Epinogris to take his horse, and so they
rode to an hermitage, and there Sir Epinogris rested him. And in the
meanwhile Sir Palomides walked privily out to rest him under the leaves,
and there beside he saw a knight come riding with a shield that he had
seen Sir Ector de Maris bear beforehand; and there came after him a ten
knights, and so these ten knights hoved under the leaves for heat. And
anon after there came a knight with a green shield and therein a white
lion, leading a lady upon a palfrey. Then this knight with the green
shield that seemed to be master of the ten knights, he rode fiercely
after Sir Helior, for it was he that hurt Sir Epinogris. And when he
came nigh Sir Helior he bade him defend his lady. I will defend her,
said Helior, unto my power. And so they ran together so mightily that
either of these knights smote other down, horse and all, to the earth;
and then they won up lightly and drew their swords and their shields,
and lashed together mightily more than an hour. All this Sir Palomides
saw and beheld, but ever at the last the knight with Sir Ector's shield
was bigger, and at the last this knight smote Sir Helior down, and then
that knight unlaced his helm to have stricken off his head. And then
he cried mercy, and prayed him to save his life, and bade him take his
lady. Then Sir Palomides dressed him up, because he wist well that that
same lady was Epinogris' lady, and he promised him to help him.

Then Sir Palomides went straight to that lady, and took her by the hand,
and asked her whether she knew a knight that hight Epinogris. Alas, she
said, that ever he knew me or I him, for I have for his sake lost my
worship, and also his life grieveth me most of all. Not so, lady, said
Palomides, come on with me, for here is Epinogris in this hermitage. Ah!
well is me, said the lady, an he be alive. Whither wilt thou with that
lady? said the knight with Sir Ector's shield. I will do with her what
me list, said Palomides. Wit you well, said that knight, thou speakest
over large, though thou seemest me to have at advantage, because thou
sawest me do battle but late. Thou weenest, sir knight, to have that
lady away from me so lightly? nay, think it never not; an thou were
as good a knight as is Sir Launcelot, or as is Sir Tristram, or Sir
Palomides, but thou shalt win her dearer than ever did I. And so they
went unto battle upon foot, and there they gave many sad strokes, and
either wounded other passing sore, and thus they fought still more than
an hour.

Then Sir Palomides had marvel what knight he might be that was so strong
and so well breathed during, and thus said Palomides: Knight, I require
thee tell me thy name. Wit thou well, said that knight, I dare tell thee
my name, so that thou wilt tell me thy name. I will, said Palomides.
Truly, said that knight, my name is Safere, son of King Astlabor, and
Sir Palomides and Sir Segwarides are my brethren. Now, and wit thou
well, my name is Sir Palomides. Then Sir Safere kneeled down upon his
knees, and prayed him of mercy; and then they unlaced their helms and
either kissed other weeping. And in the meanwhile Sir Epinogris arose
out of his bed, and heard them by the strokes, and so he armed him to
help Sir Palomides if need were.



CHAPTER LXXXIV. How Sir Palomides and Sir Safere conducted Sir Epinogris
to his castle, and of other adventures.


THEN Sir Palomides took the lady by the hand and brought her to Sir
Epinogris, and there was great joy betwixt them, for either swooned for
joy. When they were met: Fair knight and lady, said Sir Safere, it were
pity to depart you; Jesu send you joy either of other. Gramercy,
gentle knight, said Epinogris; and much more thanks be to my lord Sir
Palomides, that thus hath through his prowess made me to get my lady.
Then Sir Epinogris required Sir Palomides and Sir Safere, his brother,
to ride with them unto his castle, for the safeguard of his person. Sir,
said Palomides, we will be ready to conduct you because that ye are sore
wounded; and so was Epinogris and his lady horsed, and his lady behind
him upon a soft ambler. And then they rode unto his castle, where they
had great cheer and joy, as great as ever Sir Palomides and Sir Safere
had in their life-days.

So on the morn Sir Safere and Sir Palomides departed, day until after
noon. And at the last they heard a great weeping and a great noise down
in a manor. Sir, said then Sir Safere, let us wit what noise this is.
I will well, said Sir Palomides. And so they rode forth till that they
came to a fair gate of a manor, and there sat an old man saying his
prayers and beads. Then Sir Palomides and Sir Safere alighted and left
their horses, and went within the gates, and there they saw full many
goodly men weeping. Fair sirs, said Palomides, wherefore weep ye and
make this sorrow? Anon one of the knights of the castle beheld Sir
Palomides and knew him, and then went to his fellows and said: Fair
fellows, wit ye well all, we have in this castle the same knight that
slew our lord at Lonazep, for I know him well; it is Sir Palomides. Then
they went unto harness, all that might bear harness, some on horseback
and some on foot, to the number of three score. And when they were ready
they came freshly upon Sir Palomides and upon Sir Safere with a great
noise, and said thus: Keep thee, Sir Palomides, for thou art known, and
by right thou must be dead, for thou hast slain our lord; and therefore
wit ye well we will slay thee, therefore defend thee.

Then Sir Palomides and Sir Safere, the one set his back to the other,
and gave many great strokes, and took many great strokes; and thus they
fought with a twenty knights and forty gentlemen and yeomen nigh two
hours. But at the last though they were loath, Sir Palomides and Sir
Safere were taken and yolden, and put in a strong prison; and within
three days twelve knights passed upon them, and they found Sir Palomides
guilty, and Sir Safere not guilty, of their lord's death. And when Sir
Safere should be delivered there was great dole betwixt Sir Palomides
and him, and many piteous complaints that Sir Safere made at his
departing, there is no maker can rehearse the tenth part. Fair brother,
said Palomides, let be thy dolour and thy sorrow. And if I be ordained
to die a shameful death, welcome be it; but an I had wist of this death
that I am deemed unto, I should never have been yolden. So Sir Safere
departed from his brother with the greatest dolour and sorrow that ever
made knight.

And on the morn they of the castle ordained twelve knights to ride with
Sir Palomides unto the father of the same knight that Sir Palomides
slew; and so they bound his legs under an old steed's belly. And then
they rode with Sir Palomides unto a castle by the seaside, that hight
Pelownes, and there Sir Palomides should have justice. Thus was their
ordinance; and so they rode with Sir Palomides fast by the castle of
Joyous Gard. And as they passed by that castle there came riding out of
that castle by them one that knew Sir Palomides. And when that knight
saw Sir Palomides bounden upon a crooked courser, the knight asked Sir
Palomides for what cause he was led so. Ah, my fair fellow and knight,
said Palomides, I ride toward my death for the slaying of a knight at
a tournament of Lonazep; and if I had not departed from my lord Sir
Tristram, as I ought not to have done, now might I have been sure to
have had my life saved; but I pray you, sir knight, recommend me unto
my lord, Sir Tristram, and unto my lady, Queen Isoud, and say to them if
ever I trespassed to them I ask them forgiveness. And also I beseech you
recommend me unto my lord, King Arthur, and to all the fellowship of
the Round Table, unto my power. Then that knight wept for pity of Sir
Palomides; and therewithal he rode unto Joyous Gard as fast as his horse
might run, and lightly that knight descended down off his horse and went
unto Sir Tristram, and there he told him all as ye have heard, and ever
the knight wept as he had been mad.



CHAPTER LXXXV. How Sir Tristram made him ready to rescue Sir Palomides,
but Sir Launcelot rescued him or he came.


WHEN Sir Tristram heard how Sir Palomides went to his death, he
was heavy to hear that, and said: Howbeit that I am wroth with Sir
Palomides, yet will not I suffer him to die so shameful a death, for he
is a full noble knight. And then anon Sir Tristram was armed and took
his horse and two squires with him, and rode a great pace toward the
castle of Pelownes where Sir Palomides was judged to death. And these
twelve knights that led Sir Palomides passed by a well whereas Sir
Launcelot was, which was alighted there, and had tied his horse to a
tree, and taken off his helm to drink of that well; and when he saw
these knights, Sir Launcelot put on his helm and suffered them to
pass by him. And then was he ware of Sir Palomides bounden, and led
shamefully to his death. O Jesu, said Launcelot, what misadventure
is befallen him that he is thus led toward his death? Forsooth, said
Launcelot, it were shame to me to suffer this noble knight so to die an
I might help him, therefore I will help him whatsomever come of it, or
else I shall die for Sir Palomides' sake. And then Sir Launcelot mounted
upon his horse, and gat his spear in his hand, and rode after the
twelve knights that led Sir Palomides. Fair knights, said Sir Launcelot,
whither lead ye that knight? it beseemeth him full ill to ride bounden.
Then these twelve knights suddenly turned their horses and said to Sir
Launcelot: Sir knight, we counsel thee not to meddle with this knight,
for he hath deserved death, and unto death he is judged. That me
repenteth, said Launcelot, that I may not borrow him with fairness, for
he is over good a knight to die such a shameful death. And therefore,
fair knights, said Sir Launcelot, keep you as well as ye can, for I will
rescue that knight or die for it.

Then they began to dress their spears, and Sir Launcelot smote the
foremost down, horse and man, and so he served three more with one
spear; and then that spear brast, and therewithal Sir Launcelot drew his
sword, and then he smote on the right hand and on the left hand. Then
within a while he left none of those twelve knights, but he had laid
them to the earth, and the most part of them were sore wounded. And
then Sir Launcelot took the best horse that he found, and loosed Sir
Palomides and set him upon that horse; and so they returned again unto
Joyous Gard, and then was Sir Palomides ware of Sir Tristram how he
came riding. And when Sir Launcelot saw him he knew him well, but Sir
Tristram knew him not because Sir Launcelot had on his shoulder a golden
shield. So Sir Launcelot made him ready to joust with Sir Tristram,
that Sir Tristram should not ween that he were Sir Launcelot. Then Sir
Palomides cried aloud to Sir Tristram: O my lord, I require you joust
not with this knight, for this good knight hath saved me from my death.
When Sir Tristram heard him say so he came a soft trotting pace toward
them. And then Sir Palomides said: My lord, Sir Tristram, much am I
beholding unto you of your great goodness, that would proffer your
noble body to rescue me undeserved, for I have greatly offended you.
Notwithstanding, said Sir Palomides, here met we with this noble knight
that worshipfully and manly rescued me from twelve knights, and smote
them down all and wounded them sore.



CHAPTER LXXXVI. How Sir Tristram and Launcelot, with Palomides, came to
joyous Gard; and of Palomides and Sir Tristram.


FAIR knight, said Sir Tristram unto Sir Launcelot, of whence be ye? I
am a knight errant, said Sir Launcelot, that rideth to seek many
adventures. What is your name? said Sir Tristram. Sir, at this time
I will not tell you. Then Sir Launcelot said unto Sir Tristram and to
Palomides: Now either of you are met together I will depart from you.
Not so, said Sir Tristram; I pray you of knighthood to ride with me unto
my castle. Wit you well, said Sir Launcelot, I may not ride with you,
for I have many deeds to do in other places, that at this time I may not
abide with you. Ah, mercy Jesu, said Sir Tristram, I require you as
ye be a true knight to the order of knighthood, play you with me this
night. Then Sir Tristram had a grant of Sir Launcelot: howbeit though
he had not desired him he would have ridden with them, outher soon have
come after them; for Sir Launcelot came for none other cause into that
country but for to see Sir Tristram. And when they were come within
Joyous Gard they alighted, and their horses were led into a stable;
and then they unarmed them. And when Sir Launcelot was unhelmed,
Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides knew him. Then Sir Tristram took Sir
Launcelot in arms, and so did La Beale Isoud; and Palomides kneeled down
upon his knees and thanked Sir Launcelot. When Sir Launcelot saw Sir
Palomides kneel he lightly took him up and said thus: Wit thou well, Sir
Palomides, I and any knight in this land, of worship ought of very right
succour and rescue so noble a knight as ye are proved and renowned,
throughout all this realm endlong and overthwart. And then was there joy
among them, and the oftener that Sir Palomides saw La Beale Isoud the
heavier he waxed day by day.

Then Sir Launcelot within three or four days departed, and with him rode
Sir Ector de Maris; and Dinadan and Sir Palomides were there left with
Sir Tristram a two months and more. But ever Sir Palomides faded and
mourned, that all men had marvel wherefore he faded so away. So upon
a day, in the dawning, Sir Palomides went into the forest by himself
alone; and there he found a well, and then he looked into the well, and
in the water he saw his own visage, how he was disturbed and defaded,
nothing like that he was. What may this mean? said Sir Palomides, and
thus he said to himself: Ah, Palomides, Palomides, why art thou defaded,
thou that was wont to be called one of the fairest knights of the world?
I will no more lead this life, for I love that I may never get nor
recover. And therewithal he laid him down by the well. And then he began
to make a rhyme of La Beale Isoud and him.

And in the meanwhile Sir Tristram was that same day ridden into the
forest to chase the hart of greese; but Sir Tristram would not ride
a-hunting never more unarmed, because of Sir Breuse Saunce Pité. And
so as Sir Tristram rode into that forest up and down, he heard one sing
marvellously loud, and that was Sir Palomides that lay by the well.
And then Sir Tristram rode softly thither, for he deemed there was some
knight errant that was at the well. And when Sir Tristram came nigh him
he descended down from his horse and tied his horse fast till a tree,
and then he came near him on foot; and anon he was ware where lay Sir
Palomides by the well and sang loud and merrily; and ever the complaints
were of that noble queen, La Beale Isoud, the which was marvellously and
wonderfully well said, and full dolefully and piteously made. And all
the whole song the noble knight, Sir Tristram, heard from the beginning
to the ending, the which grieved and troubled him sore.

But then at the last, when Sir Tristram had heard all Sir Palomides'
complaints, he was wroth out of measure, and thought for to slay him
thereas he lay. Then Sir Tristram remembered himself that Sir Palomides
was unarmed, and of the noble name that Sir Palomides had, and the noble
name that himself had, and then he made a restraint of his anger; and so
he went unto Sir Palomides a soft pace and said: Sir Palomides, I have
heard your complaint, and of thy treason that thou hast owed me so long,
and wit thou well therefore thou shalt die; and if it were not for shame
of knighthood thou shouldest not escape my hands, for now I know well
thou hast awaited me with treason. Tell me, said Sir Tristram, how thou
wilt acquit thee? Sir, said Palomides, thus I will acquit me: as for
Queen La Beale Isoud, ye shall wit well that I love her above all other
ladies in this world; and well I wot it shall befall me as for her love
as befell to the noble knight Sir Kehydius, that died for the love of La
Beale Isoud. And now, Sir Tristram, I will that ye wit that I have loved
La Beale Isoud many a day, and she hath been the causer of my worship,
and else I had been the most simplest knight in the world. For by her,
and because of her, I have won the worship that I have; for when I
remembered me of La Beale Isoud I won the worship wheresomever I came
for the most part; and yet had I never reward nor bounté of her the days
of my life, and yet have I been her knight guerdonless. And therefore,
Sir Tristram, as for any death I dread not, for I had as lief die as to
live. And if I were armed as thou art, I should lightly do battle with
thee. Well have ye uttered your treason, said Tristram. I have done to
you no treason, said Palomides, for love is free for all men, and though
I have loved your lady, she is my lady as well as yours; howbeit I have
wrong if any wrong be, for ye rejoice her, and have your desire of her,
and so had I never nor never am like to have, and yet shall I love her
to the uttermost days of my life as well as ye.



CHAPTER LXXXVII. How there was a day set between Sir Tristram and Sir
Palomides for to fight, and how Sir Tristram was hurt.


THEN said Sir Tristram: I will fight with you to the uttermost. I grant,
said Palomides, for in a better quarrel keep I never to fight, for an
I die of your hands, of a better knight's hands may I not be slain. And
sithen I understand that I shall never rejoice La Beale Isoud, I have as
good will to die as to live. Then set ye a day, said Sir Tristram, that
we shall do battle. This day fifteen days, said Palomides, will I meet
with you hereby, in the meadow under Joyous Gard. Fie for shame, said
Sir Tristram, will ye set so long day? let us fight to-morn. Not so,
said Palomides, for I am meagre, and have been long sick for the love of
La Beale Isoud, and therefore I will repose me till I have my strength
again. So then Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides promised faith fully
to meet at the well that day fifteen days. I am remembered, said Sir
Tristram to Palomides, that ye brake me once a promise when that I
rescued you from Breuse Saunce Pité and nine knights; and then ye
promised me to meet me at the peron and the grave beside Camelot,
whereas at that time ye failed of your promise. Wit you well, said
Palomides unto Sir Tristram, I was at that day in prison, so that I
might not hold my promise. So God me help, said Sir Tristram, an ye had
holden your promise this work had not been here now at this time.

Right so departed Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides. And so Sir Palomides
took his horse and his harness, and he rode unto King Arthur's court;
and there Sir Palomides gat him four knights and four sergeants-of-arms,
and so he returned againward unto Joyous Gard. And in the meanwhile Sir
Tristram chased and hunted at all manner of venery; and about three days
afore the battle should be, as Sir Tristram chased an hart, there was an
archer shot at the hart, and by misfortune he smote Sir Tristram in the
thick of the thigh, and the arrow slew Sir Tristram's horse and hurt
him. When Sir Tristram was so hurt he was passing heavy, and wit ye well
he bled sore; and then he took another horse, and rode unto Joyous Gard
with great heaviness, more for the promise that he had made with Sir
Palomides, as to do battle with him within three days after, than for
any hurt of his thigh. Wherefore there was neither man nor woman that
could cheer him with anything that they could make to him, neither Queen
La Beale Isoud; for ever he deemed that Sir Palomides had smitten him so
that he should not be able to do battle with him at the day set.



CHAPTER LXXXVIII. How Sir Palomides kept his day to have foughten, but
Sir Tristram might not come; and other things.


BUT in no wise there was no knight about Sir Tristram that would believe
that ever Sir Palomides would hurt Sir Tristram, neither by his own
hands nor by none other consenting. Then when the fifteenth day was
come, Sir Palomides came to the well with four knights with him of
Arthur's court, and three sergeants-of-arms. And for this intent Sir
Palomides brought the knights with him and the sergeants-of-arms, for
they should bear record of the battle betwixt Sir Tristram and Sir
Palomides. And the one sergeant brought in his helm, the other his
spear, the third his sword. So thus Palomides came into the field,
and there he abode nigh two hours; and then he sent a squire unto Sir
Tristram, and desired him to come into the field to hold his promise.

When the squire was come to Joyous Gard, anon as Sir Tristram heard of
his coming he let command that the squire should come to his presence
thereas he lay in his bed. My lord Sir Tristram, said Palomides' squire,
wit you well my lord, Palomides, abideth you in the field, and he would
wit whether ye would do battle or not. Ah, my fair brother, said
Sir Tristram, wit thou well that I am right heavy for these tidings;
therefore tell Sir Palomides an I were well at ease I would not lie
here, nor he should have no need to send for me an I might either ride
or go; and for thou shalt say that I am no liar--Sir Tristram showed him
his thigh that the wound was six inches deep. And now thou hast seen my
hurt, tell thy lord that this is no feigned matter, and tell him that I
had liefer than all the gold of King Arthur that I were whole; and tell
Palomides as soon as I am whole I shall seek him endlong and overthwart,
and that I promise you as I am true knight; and if ever I may meet
with him, he shall have battle of me his fill. And with this the squire
departed; and when Palomides wist that Tristram was hurt he was glad and
said: Now I am sure I shall have no shame, for I wot well I should have
had hard handling of him, and by likely I must needs have had the worse,
for he is the hardest knight in battle that now is living except Sir
Launcelot.

And then departed Sir Palomides whereas fortune led him, and within a
month Sir Tristram was whole of his hurt. And then he took his horse,
and rode from country to country, and all strange adventures he achieved
wheresomever he rode; and always he enquired for Sir Palomides, but
of all that quarter of summer Sir Tristram could never meet with Sir
Palomides. But thus as Sir Tristram sought and enquired after Sir
Palomides Sir Tristram achieved many great battles, wherethrough all
the noise fell to Sir Tristram, and it ceased of Sir Launcelot; and
therefore Sir Launcelot's brethren and his kinsmen would have slain
Sir Tristram because of his fame. But when Sir Launcelot wist how his
kinsmen were set, he said to them openly: Wit you well, that an the
envy of you all be so hardy to wait upon my lord, Sir Tristram, with any
hurt, shame, or villainy, as I am true knight I shall slay the best of
you with mine own hands Alas, fie for shame, should ye for his noble
deeds await upon him to slay him. Jesu defend, said Launcelot, that ever
any noble knight as Sir Tristram is should be destroyed with treason.
Of this noise and fame sprang into Cornwall, and among them of Liones,
whereof they were passing glad, and made great joy. And then they of
Liones sent letters unto Sir Tristram of recommendation, and many great
gifts to maintain Sir Tristram's estate; and ever, between, Sir Tristram
resorted unto Joyous Gard whereas La Beale Isoud was, that loved him as
her life.

_Here endeth the tenth book which is of Sir Tristram. And here followeth
the eleventh book which is of Sir Launcelot._



BOOK XI.



CHAPTER I. How Sir Launcelot rode on his adventure, and how he holp a
dolorous lady from her pain, and how that he fought with a dragon.


NOW leave we Sir Tristram de Liones, and speak we of Sir Launcelot du
Lake, and of Sir Galahad, Sir Launcelot's son, how he was gotten, and in
what manner, as the book of French rehearseth. Afore the time that Sir
Galahad was gotten or born, there came in an hermit unto King Arthur
upon Whitsunday, as the knights sat at the Table Round. And when the
hermit saw the Siege Perilous, he asked the king and all the knights
why that siege was void. Sir Arthur and all the knights answered: There
shall never none sit in that siege but one, but if he be destroyed.
Then said the hermit: Wot ye what is he? Nay, said Arthur and all the
knights, we wot not who is he that shall sit therein. Then wot I, said
the hermit, for he that shall sit there is unborn and ungotten, and
this same year he shall be gotten that shall sit there in that Siege
Perilous, and he shall win the Sangreal. When this hermit had made this
mention he departed from the court of King Arthur.

And then after this feast Sir Launcelot rode on his adventure, till on
a time by adventure he passed over the pont of Corbin; and there he saw
the fairest tower that ever he saw, and there-under was a fair town full
of people; and all the people, men and women, cried at once: Welcome,
Sir Launcelot du Lake, the flower of all knighthood, for by thee all we
shall be holpen out of danger. What mean ye, said Sir Launcelot, that
ye cry so upon me? Ah, fair knight, said they all, here is within this
tower a dolorous lady that hath been there in pains many winters and
days, for ever she boileth in scalding water; and but late, said all the
people, Sir Gawaine was here and he might not help her, and so he left
her in pain. So may I, said Sir Launcelot, leave her in pain as well
as Sir Gawaine did. Nay, said the people, we know well that it is Sir
Launcelot that shall deliver her. Well, said Launcelot, then shew me
what I shall do.

Then they brought Sir Launcelot into the tower; and when he came to the
chamber thereas this lady was, the doors of iron unlocked and unbolted.
And so Sir Launcelot went into the chamber that was as hot as any stew.
And there Sir Launcelot took the fairest lady by the hand that ever he
saw, and she was naked as a needle; and by enchantment Queen Morgan le
Fay and the Queen of Northgalis had put her there in that pains, because
she was called the fairest lady of that country; and there she had been
five years, and never might she be delivered out of her great pains unto
the time the best knight of the world had taken her by the hand. Then
the people brought her clothes. And when she was arrayed, Sir Launcelot
thought she was the fairest lady of the world, but if it were Queen
Guenever.

Then this lady said to Sir Launcelot: Sir, if it please you will ye go
with me hereby into a chapel that we may give loving and thanking unto
God? Madam, said Sir Launcelot, come on with me, I will go with you.
So when they came there and gave thankings to God all the people, both
learned and lewd, gave thankings unto God and him, and said: Sir knight,
since ye have delivered this lady, ye shall deliver us from a serpent
there is here in a tomb. Then Sir Launcelot took his shield and said:
Bring me thither, and what I may do unto the pleasure of God and you I
will do. So when Sir Launcelot came thither he saw written upon the
tomb letters of gold that said thus: Here shall come a leopard of king's
blood, and he shall slay this serpent, and this leopard shall engender
a lion in this foreign country, the which lion shall pass all other
knights. So then Sir Launcelot lift up the tomb, and there came out an
horrible and a fiendly dragon, spitting fire out of his mouth. Then Sir
Launcelot drew his sword and fought with the dragon long, and at the
last with great pain Sir Launcelot slew that dragon. Therewithal came
King Pelles, the good and noble knight, and saluted Sir Launcelot, and
he him again. Fair knight, said the king, what is your name? I require
you of your knighthood tell me!



CHAPTER II. How Sir Launcelot came to Pelles, and of the Sangreal, and
of Elaine, King Pelles' daughter.


SIR, said Launcelot, wit you well my name is Sir Launcelot du Lake.
And my name is, said the king, Pelles, king of the foreign country, and
cousin nigh unto Joseph of Armathie. And then either of them made much
of other, and so they went into the castle to take their repast. And
anon there came in a dove at a window, and in her mouth there seemed a
little censer of gold. And herewithal there was such a savour as all the
spicery of the world had been there. And forthwithal there was upon the
table all manner of meats and drinks that they could think upon. So
came in a damosel passing fair and young, and she bare a vessel of gold
betwixt her hands; and thereto the king kneeled devoutly, and said his
prayers, and so did all that were there. O Jesu, said Sir Launcelot,
what may this mean? This is, said the king, the richest thing that any
man hath living. And when this thing goeth about, the Round Table shall
be broken; and wit thou well, said the king, this is the holy Sangreal
that ye have here seen. So the king and Sir Launcelot led their life the
most part of that day. And fain would King Pelles have found the mean
to have had Sir Launcelot to have lain by his daughter, fair Elaine.
And for this intent: the king knew well that Sir Launcelot should get a
child upon his daughter, the which should be named Sir Galahad the good
knight, by whom all the foreign country should be brought out of danger,
and by him the Holy Greal should be achieved.

Then came forth a lady that hight Dame Brisen, and she said unto the
king: Sir, wit ye well Sir Launcelot loveth no lady in the world but all
only Queen Guenever; and therefore work ye by counsel, and I shall make
him to lie with your daughter, and he shall not wit but that he lieth
with Queen Guenever. O fair lady, Dame Brisen, said the king, hope ye to
bring this about? Sir, said she, upon pain of my life let me deal; for
this Brisen was one of the greatest enchantresses that was at that time
in the world living. Then anon by Dame Brisen's wit she made one to come
to Sir Launcelot that he knew well. And this man brought him a ring from
Queen Guenever like as it had come from her, and such one as she was
wont for the most part to wear; and when Sir Launcelot saw that token
wit ye well he was never so fain. Where is my lady? said Sir Launcelot.
In the Castle of Case, said the messenger, but five mile hence. Then Sir
Launcelot thought to be there the same might. And then this Brisen
by the commandment of King Pelles let send Elaine to this castle with
twenty-five knights unto the Castle of Case. Then Sir Launcelot against
night rode unto that castle, and there anon he was received worshipfully
with such people, to his seeming, as were about Queen Guenever secret.

So when Sir Launcelot was alighted, he asked where the queen was. So
Dame Brisen said she was in her bed; and then the people were avoided,
and Sir Launcelot was led unto his chamber. And then Dame Brisen brought
Sir Launcelot a cup full of wine; and anon as he had drunken that wine
he was so assotted and mad that he might make no delay, but withouten
any let he went to bed; and he weened that maiden Elaine had been Queen
Guenever. Wit you well that Sir Launcelot was glad, and so was that lady
Elaine that she had gotten Sir Launcelot in her arms. For well she knew
that same night should be gotten upon her Galahad that should prove the
best knight of the world; and so they lay together until underne of the'
morn; and all the windows and holes of that chamber were stopped that no
manner of day might be seen. And then Sir Launcelot remembered him, and
he arose up and went to the window.



CHAPTER III. How Sir Launcelot was displeased when he knew that he had
lain by Dame Elaine, and how she was delivered of Galahad.


AND anon as he had unshut the window the enchantment was gone; then he
knew himself that he had done amiss. Alas, he said, that I have lived
so long; now I am shamed. So then he gat his sword in his hand and said:
Thou traitress, what art thou that I have lain by all this night? thou
shalt die right here of my hands. Then this fair lady Elaine skipped out
of her bed all naked, and kneeled down afore Sir Launcelot, and said:
Fair courteous knight, come of king's blood, I require you have mercy
upon me, and as thou art renowned the most noble knight of the world,
slay me not, for I have in my womb him by thee that shall be the most
noblest knight of the world. Ah, false traitress, said Sir Launcelot,
why hast thou betrayed me? anon tell me what thou art. Sir, she said, I
am Elaine, the daughter of King Pelles. Well, said Sir Launcelot, I will
forgive you this deed; and therewith he took her up in his arms, and
kissed her, for she was as fair a lady, and thereto lusty and young,
and as wise, as any was that time living. So God me help, said
Sir Launcelot, I may not wite this to you; but her that made this
enchantment upon me as between you and me, an I may find her, that same
Lady Brisen, she shall lose her head for witchcrafts, for there was
never knight deceived so as I am this night. And so Sir Launcelot
arrayed him, and armed him, and took his leave mildly at that lady young
Elaine, and so he departed. Then she said: My lord Sir Launcelot, I
beseech you see me as soon as ye may, for I have obeyed me unto the
prophecy that my father told me. And by his commandment to fulfil this
prophecy I have given the greatest riches and the fairest flower that
ever I had, and that is my maidenhood that I shall never have again; and
therefore, gentle knight, owe me your good will.

And so Sir Launcelot arrayed him and was armed, and took his leave
mildly at that young lady Elaine; and so he departed, and rode till he
came to the Castle of Corbin, where her father was. And as fast as her
time came she was delivered of a fair child, and they christened him
Galahad; and wit ye well that child was well kept and well nourished,
and he was named Galahad because Sir Launcelot was so named at the
fountain stone; and after that the Lady of the Lake confirmed him Sir
Launcelot du Lake.

Then after this lady was delivered and churched, there came a knight
unto her, his name was Sir Bromel la Pleche, the which was a great lord;
and he had loved that lady long, and he evermore desired her to wed her;
and so by no mean she could put him off, till on a day she said to Sir
Bromel: Wit thou well, sir knight, I will not love you, for my love is
set upon the best knight of the world. Who is he? said Sir Bromel. Sir,
she said, it is Sir Launcelot du Lake that I love and none other, and
therefore woo me no longer. Ye say well, said Sir Bromel, and sithen ye
have told me so much, ye shall have but little joy of Sir Launcelot, for
I shall slay him wheresomever I meet him. Sir, said the Lady Elaine, do
to him no treason. Wit ye well, my lady, said Bromel, and I promise you
this twelvemonth I shall keep the pont of Corbin for Sir Launcelot's
sake, that he shall neither come nor go unto you, but I shall meet with
him.



CHAPTER IV. How Sir Bors came to Dame Elaine and saw Galahad, and how he
was fed with the Sangreal.


THEN as it fell by fortune and adventure, Sir Bors de Ganis, that was
nephew unto Sir Launcelot, came over that bridge; and there Sir Bromel
and Sir Bors jousted, and Sir Bors smote Sir Bromel such a buffet that
he bare him over his horse's croup. And then Sir Bromel, as an hardy
knight, pulled out his sword, and dressed his shield to do battle with
Sir Bors. And then Sir Bors alighted and avoided his horse, and there
they dashed together many sad strokes; and long thus they fought, till
at the last Sir Bromel was laid to the earth, and there Sir Bors began
to unlace his helm to slay him. Then Sir Bromel cried Sir Bors mercy,
and yielded him. Upon this covenant thou shalt have thy life, said Sir
Bors, so thou go unto Sir Launcelot upon Whitsunday that next cometh,
and yield thee unto him as knight recreant. I will do it, said Sir
Bromel, and that he sware upon the cross of the sword. And so he let him
depart, and Sir Bors rode unto King Pelles, that was within Corbin.

And when the king and Elaine his daughter wist that Sir Bors was nephew
unto Sir Launcelot, they made him great cheer. Then said Dame Elaine: We
marvel where Sir Launcelot is, for he came never here but once. Marvel
not, said Sir Bors, for this half year he hath been in prison with Queen
Morgan le Fay, King Arthur's sister. Alas, said Dame Elaine, that me
repenteth. And ever Sir Bors beheld that child in her arms, and ever
him seemed it was passing like Sir Launcelot. Truly, said Elaine, wit
ye well this child he gat upon me. Then Sir Bors wept for joy, and he
prayed to God it might prove as good a knight as his father was. And so
came in a white dove, and she bare a little censer of gold in her mouth,
and there was all manner of meats and drinks; and a maiden bare that
Sangreal, and she said openly: Wit you well, Sir Bors, that this child
is Galahad, that shall sit in the Siege Perilous, and achieve the
Sangreal, and he shall be much better than ever was Sir Launcelot du
Lake, that is his own father. And then they kneeled down and made their
devotions, and there was such a savour as all the spicery in the world
had been there. And when the dove took her flight, the maiden vanished
with the Sangreal as she came.

Sir, said Sir Bors unto King Pelles, this castle may be named the Castle
Adventurous, for here be many strange adventures. That is sooth, said
the king, for well may this place be called the adventures place, for
there come but few knights here that go away with any worship; be he
never so strong, here he may be proved; and but late Sir Gawaine, the
good knight, gat but little worship here. For I let you wit, said King
Pelles, here shall no knight win no worship but if he be of worship
himself and of good living, and that loveth God and dreadeth God, and
else he getteth no worship here, be he never so hardy. That is wonderful
thing, said Sir Bors. What ye mean in this country I wot not, for ye
have many strange adventures, and therefore I will lie in this castle
this night. Ye shall not do so, said King Pelles, by my counsel, for it
is hard an ye escape without a shame. I shall take the adventure that
will befall me, said Sir Bors. Then I counsel you, said the king, to be
confessed clean. As for that, said Sir Bors, I will be shriven with a
good will. So Sir Bors was confessed, and for all women Sir Bors was a
virgin, save for one, that was the daughter of King Brangoris, and on
her he gat a child that hight Elaine, and save for her Sir Bors was a
clean maiden.

And so Sir Bors was led unto bed in a fair large chamber, and many doors
were shut about the chamber. When Sir Bors espied all those doors, he
avoided all the people, for he might have nobody with him; but in no
wise Sir Bors would unarm him, but so he laid him down upon the bed. And
right so he saw come in a light, that he might well see a spear great
and long that came straight upon him pointling, and to Sir Bors seemed
that the head of the spear brent like a taper. And anon, or Sir Bors
wist, the spear head smote him into the shoulder an hand-breadth in
deepness, and that wound grieved Sir Bors passing sore. And then he laid
him down again for pain; and anon therewithal there came a knight armed
with his shield on his shoulder and his sword in his hand, and he bade
Sir Bors: Arise, sir knight, and fight with me. I am sore hurt, he said,
but yet I shall not fail thee. And then Sir Bors started up and dressed
his shield; and then they lashed together mightily a great while; and
at the last Sir Bors bare him backward until that he came unto a chamber
door, and there that knight yede into that chamber and rested him a
great while. And when he had reposed him he came out freshly again, and
began new battle with Sir Bors mightily and strongly.



CHAPTER V. How Sir Bors made Sir Pedivere to yield him, and of
marvellous adventures that he had, and how he achieved them.


THEN Sir Bors thought he should no more go into that chamber to rest
him, and so Sir Bors dressed him betwixt the knight and that chamber
door, and there Sir Bors smote him down, and then that knight yielded
him What is your name? said Sir Bors. Sir, said he, my name is Pedivere
of the Straight Marches. So Sir Bors made him to swear at Whitsunday
next coming to be at the court of King Arthur, and yield him there as
a prisoner as an overcome knight by the hands of Sir Bors. So thus
departed Sir Pedivere of the Straight Marches. And then Sir Bors laid
him down to rest, and then he heard and felt much noise in that chamber;
and then Sir Bors espied that there came in, he wist not whether at
the doors nor windows, shot of arrows and of quarrels so thick that he
marvelled, and many fell upon him and hurt him in the bare places.

And then Sir Bors was ware where came in an hideous lion; so Sir Bors
dressed him unto the lion, and anon the lion bereft him his shield, and
with his sword Sir Bors smote off the lion's head. Right so Sir Bors
forthwithal saw a dragon in the court passing horrible, and there seemed
letters of gold written in his forehead; and Sir Bors thought that the
letters made a signification of King Arthur. Right so there came an
horrible leopard and an old, and there they fought long, and did great
battle together. And at the last the dragon spit out of his mouth as it
had been an hundred dragons; and lightly all the small dragons slew the
old dragon and tare him all to pieces.

Anon withal there came an old man into the hall, and he sat him down in
a fair chair, and there seemed to be two adders about his neck; and then
the old man had an harp, and there he sang an old song how Joseph of
Armathie came into this land. Then when he had sung, the old man bade
Sir Bors go from thence. For here shall ye have no more adventures; and
full worshipfully have ye done, and better shall ye do hereafter. And
then Sir Bors seemed that there came the whitest dove with a little
golden censer in her mouth. And anon therewithal the tempest ceased and
passed, that afore was marvellous to hear. So was all that court full of
good savours. Then Sir Bors saw four children bearing four fair tapers,
and an old man in the midst of the children with a censer in his own
hand, and a spear in his other hand, and that spear was called the Spear
of Vengeance.



CHAPTER VI. How Sir Bors departed; and how Sir Launcelot was rebuked of
Queen Guenever, and of his excuse.


NOW, said that old man to Sir Bors, go ye to your cousin, Sir Launcelot,
and tell him of this adventure the which had been most convenient for
him of all earthly knights; but sin is so foul in him he may not achieve
such holy deeds, for had not been his sin he had passed all the knights
that ever were in his days; and tell thou Sir Launcelot, of all worldly
adventures he passeth in manhood and prowess all other, but in this
spiritual matters he shall have many his better. And then Sir Bors saw
four gentlewomen come by him, purely beseen: and he saw where that they
entered into a chamber where was great light as it were a summer light;
and the women kneeled down afore an altar of silver with four pillars,
and as it had been a bishop kneeled down afore that table of silver.
And as Sir Bors looked over his head he saw a sword like silver, naked,
hoving over his head, and the clearness thereof smote so in his eyes
that as at that time Sir Bors was blind; and there he heard a voice that
said: Go hence, thou Sir Bors, for as yet thou art not worthy for to be
in this place. And then he yede backward to his bed till on the morn.
And on the morn King Pelles made great joy of Sir Bors; and then he
departed and rode to Camelot, and there he found Sir Launcelot du Lake,
and told him of the adventures that he had seen with King Pelles at
Corbin.

So the noise sprang in Arthur's court that Launcelot had gotten a child
upon Elaine, the daughter of King Pelles, wherefore Queen Guenever was
wroth, and gave many rebukes to Sir Launcelot, and called him false
knight. And then Sir Launcelot told the queen all, and how he was made
to lie by her by enchantment in likeness of the queen. So the queen held
Sir Launcelot excused. And as the book saith, King Arthur had been in
France, and had made war upon the mighty King Claudas, and had won much
of his lands. And when the king was come again he let cry a great feast,
that all lords and ladies of all England should be there, but if it were
such as were rebellious against him.



CHAPTER VII. How Dame Elaine, Galahad's mother, came in great estate
unto Camelot, and how Sir Launcelot behaved him there.


AND when Dame Elaine, the daughter of King Pelles, heard of this feast
she went to her father and required him that he would give her leave to
ride to that feast. The king answered: I will well ye go thither, but in
any wise as ye love me and will have my blessing, that ye be well beseen
in the richest wise; and look that ye spare not for no cost; ask and ye
shall have all that you needeth. Then by the advice of Dame Brisen, her
maiden, all thing was apparelled unto the purpose, that there was never
no lady more richlier beseen. So she rode with twenty knights, and ten
ladies, and gentlewomen, to the number of an hundred horses. And when
she came to Camelot, King Arthur and Queen Guenever said, and all the
knights, that Dame Elaine was the fairest and the best beseen lady that
ever was seen in that court. And anon as King Arthur wist that she was
come he met her and saluted her, and so did the most part of all the
knights of the Round Table, both Sir Tristram, Sir Bleoberis, and Sir
Gawaine, and many more that I will not rehearse. But when Sir Launcelot
saw her he was so ashamed, and that because he drew his sword on the
morn when he had lain by her, that he would not salute her nor speak to
her; and yet Sir Launcelot thought she was the fairest woman that ever
he saw in his life-days.

But when Dame Elaine saw Sir Launcelot that would not speak unto her she
was so heavy that she weened her heart would have to-brast; for wit you
well, out of measure she loved him. And then Elaine said unto her woman,
Dame Brisen: the unkindness of Sir Launcelot slayeth me near. Ah, peace,
madam, said Dame Brisen, I will undertake that this night he shall lie
with you, an ye would hold you still. That were me liefer, said Dame
Elaine, than all the gold that is above the earth. Let me deal, said
Dame Brisen. So when Elaine was brought unto Queen Guenever either made
other good cheer by countenance, but nothing with hearts. But all men
and women spake of the beauty of Dame Elaine, and of her great riches.

Then, at night, the queen commanded that Dame Elaine should sleep in a
chamber nigh her chamber, and all under one roof; and so it was done as
the queen commanded. Then the queen sent for Sir Launcelot and bade him
come to her chamber that night: Or else I am sure, said the queen, that
ye will go to your lady's bed, Dame Elaine, by whom ye gat Galahad. Ah,
madam, said Sir Launcelot, never say ye so, for that I did was against
my will. Then, said the queen, look that ye come to me when I send for
you. Madam, said Launcelot, I shall not fail you, but I shall be ready
at your commandment. This bargain was soon done and made between them,
but Dame Brisen knew it by her crafts, and told it to her lady, Dame
Elaine. Alas, said she, how shall I do? Let me deal, said Dame Brisen,
for I shall bring him by the hand even to your bed, and he shall ween
that I am Queen Guenever's messenger. Now well is me, said Dame Elaine,
for all the world I love not so much as I do Sir Launcelot.



CHAPTER VIII. How Dame Brisen by enchantment brought Sir Launcelot to
Dame Elaine's bed, and how Queen Guenever rebuked him.


SO when time came that all folks were abed, Dame Brisen came to Sir
Launcelot's bed's side and said: Sir Launcelot du Lake, sleep you? My
lady, Queen Guenever, lieth and awaiteth upon you. O my fair lady, said
Sir Launcelot, I am ready to go with you where ye will have me. So Sir
Launcelot threw upon him a long gown, and his sword in his hand; and
then Dame Brisen took him by the finger and led him to her lady's bed,
Dame Elaine; and then she departed and left them in bed together. Wit
you well the lady was glad, and so was Sir Launcelot, for he weened that
he had had another in his arms.

Now leave we them kissing and clipping, as was kindly thing; and
now speak we of Queen Guenever that sent one of her women unto Sir
Launcelot's bed; and when she came there she found the bed cold, and
he was away; so she came to the queen and told her all. Alas, said the
queen, where is that false knight become? Then the queen was nigh out of
her wit, and then she writhed and weltered as a mad woman, and might not
sleep a four or five hours. Then Sir Launcelot had a condition that
he used of custom, he would clatter in his sleep, and speak oft of his
lady, Queen Guenever. So as Sir Launcelot had waked as long as it had
pleased him, then by course of kind he slept, and Dame Elaine both. And
in his sleep he talked and clattered as a jay, of the love that had been
betwixt Queen Guenever and him. And so as he talked so loud the queen
heard him thereas she lay in her chamber; and when she heard him so
clatter she was nigh wood and out of her mind, and for anger and pain
wist not what to do. And then she coughed so loud that Sir Launcelot
awaked, and he knew her hemming. And then he knew well that he lay not
by the queen; and therewith he leapt out of his bed as he had been a
wood man, in his shirt, and the queen met him in the floor; and thus she
said: False traitor knight that thou art, look thou never abide in my
court, and avoid my chamber, and not so hardy, thou false traitor
knight that thou art, that ever thou come in my sight. Alas, said Sir
Launcelot; and therewith he took such an heartly sorrow at her words
that he fell down to the floor in a swoon. And therewithal Queen
Guenever departed. And when Sir Launcelot awoke of his swoon, he leapt
out at a bay window into a garden, and there with thorns he was all
to-scratched in his visage and his body; and so he ran forth he wist not
whither, and was wild wood as ever was man; and so he ran two year, and
never man might have grace to know him.



CHAPTER IX. How Dame Elaine was commanded by Queen Guenever to avoid the
court, and how Sir Launcelot became mad.


NOW turn we unto Queen Guenever and to the fair Lady Elaine, that when
Dame Elaine heard the queen so to rebuke Sir Launcelot, and also she
saw how he swooned, and how he leaped out at a bay window, then she said
unto Queen Guenever: Madam, ye are greatly to blame for Sir Launcelot,
for now have ye lost him, for I saw and heard by his countenance that
he is mad for ever. Alas, madam, ye do great sin, and to yourself great
dishonour, for ye have a lord of your own, and therefore it is your part
to love him; for there is no queen in this world hath such another king
as ye have. And, if ye were not, I might have the love of my lord Sir
Launcelot; and cause I have to love him for he had my maidenhood, and by
him I have borne a fair son, and his name is Galahad, and he shall be in
his time the best knight of the world. Dame Elaine, said the queen, when
it is daylight I charge you and command you to avoid my court; and for
the love ye owe unto Sir Launcelot discover not his counsel, for an
ye do, it will be his death. As for that, said Dame Elaine, I dare
undertake he is marred for ever, and that have ye made; for ye, nor I,
are like to rejoice him; for he made the most piteous groans when he
leapt out at yonder bay window that ever I heard man make. Alas, said
fair Elaine, and alas, said the Queen Guenever, for now I wot well we
have lost him for ever.

So on the morn Dame Elaine took her leave to depart, and she would no
longer abide. Then King Arthur brought her on her way with mo than an
hundred knights through a forest. And by the way she told Sir Bors de
Ganis all how it betid that same night, and how Sir Launcelot leapt out
at a window, araged out of his wit. Alas, said Sir Bors, where is my
lord, Sir Launcelot, become? Sir, said Elaine, I wot ne'er. Alas, said
Sir Bors, betwixt you both ye have destroyed that good knight. As for
me, said Dame Elaine, I said never nor did never thing that should in
any wise displease him, but with the rebuke that Queen Guenever gave him
I saw him swoon to the earth; and when he awoke he took his sword in his
hand, naked save his shirt, and leapt out at a window with the grisliest
groan that ever I heard man make. Now farewell, Dame Elaine, said Sir
Bors, and hold my lord Arthur with a tale as long as ye can, for I will
turn again to Queen Guenever and give her a hete; and I require you, as
ever ye will have my service, make good watch and espy if ever ye may
see my lord Sir Launcelot. Truly, said fair Elaine, I shall do all that
I may do, for as fain would I know and wit where he is become, as you,
or any of his kin, or Queen Guenever; and cause great enough have I
thereto as well as any other. And wit ye well, said fair Elaine to Sir
Bors, I would lose my life for him rather than he should be hurt; but
alas, I cast me never for to see him, and the chief causer of this
is Dame Guenever. Madam, said Dame Brisen, the which had made the
enchantment before betwixt Sir Launcelot and her, I pray you heartily,
let Sir Bors depart, and hie him with all his might as fast as he may to
seek Sir Launcelot, for I warn you he is clean out of his mind; and yet
he shall be well holpen an but by miracle.

Then wept Dame Elaine, and so did Sir Bors de Ganis; and so they
departed, and Sir Bors rode straight unto Queen Guenever. And when she
saw Sir Bors she wept as she were wood. Fie on your weeping, said Sir
Bors de Ganis, for ye weep never but when there is no bote. Alas, said
Sir Bors, that ever Sir Launcelot's kin saw you, for now have ye lost
the best knight of our blood, and he that was all our leader and our
succour; and I dare say and make it good that all kings, christian nor
heathen, may not find such a knight, for to speak of his nobleness and
courtesy, with his beauty and his gentleness. Alas, said Sir Bors, what
shall we do that be of his blood? Alas, said Sir Ector de Maris. Alas,
said Lionel.



CHAPTER X. What sorrow Queen Guenever made for Sir Launcelot, and how he
was sought by knights of his kin.


AND when the queen heard them say so she fell to the earth in a dead
swoon. And then Sir Bors took her up, and dawed her; and when she was
awaked she kneeled afore the three knights, and held up both her hands,
and besought them to seek him. And spare not for no goods but that he be
found, for I wot he is out of his mind. And Sir Bors, Sir Ector, and Sir
Lionel departed from the queen, for they might not abide no longer for
sorrow. And then the queen sent them treasure enough for their expenses,
and so they took their horses and their armour, and departed. And then
they rode from country to country, in forests, and in wilderness, and
in wastes; and ever they laid watch both at forests and at all manner of
men as they rode, to hearken and spere after him, as he that was a naked
man, in his shirt, with a sword in his hand. And thus they rode nigh a
quarter of a year, endlong and overthwart, in many places, forests and
wilderness, and oft-times were evil lodged for his sake; and yet for all
their labour and seeking could they never hear word of him. And wit you
well these three knights were passing sorry.

Then at the last Sir Bors and his fellows met with a knight that hight
Sir Melion de Tartare. Now fair knight, said Sir Bors, whither be ye
away? for they knew either other afore time. Sir, said Melion, I am
in the way toward the court of King Arthur. Then we pray you, said Sir
Bors, that ye will tell my lord Arthur, and my lady, Queen Guenever, and
all the fellowship of the Round Table, that we cannot in no wise hear
tell where Sir Launcelot is become. Then Sir Melion departed from
them, and said that he would tell the king, and the queen, and all the
fellowship-of the Round Table, as they had desired him. So when Sir
Melion came to the court of King Arthur he told the king, and the queen,
and all the fellowship of the Round Table, what Sir Bors had said of Sir
Launcelot. Then Sir Gawaine, Sir Uwaine, Sir Sagramore le Desirous, Sir
Aglovale, and Sir Percivale de Galis took upon them by the great desire
of King Arthur, and in especial by the queen, to seek throughout all
England, Wales, and Scotland, to find Sir Launcelot, and with them
rode eighteen knights mo to bear them fellowship; and wit ye well, they
lacked no manner of spending; and so were they three and twenty knights.

Now turn we to Sir Launcelot, and speak we of his care and woe, and what
pain he there endured; for cold, hunger, and thirst, he had plenty. And
thus as these noble knights rode together, they by one assent departed,
and then they rode by two, by three, and by four, and by five, and
ever they assigned where they should meet. And so Sir Aglovale and Sir
Percivale rode together unto their mother that was a queen in those
days. And when she saw her two sons, for joy she wept tenderly. And then
she said: Ah, my dear sons, when your father was slain he left me four
sons, of the which now be twain slain. And for the death of my noble
son, Sir Lamorak, shall my heart never be glad. And then she kneeled
down upon her knees to-fore Aglovale and Sir Percivale, and besought
them to abide at home with her. Ah, sweet mother, said Sir Percivale, we
may not, for we be come of king's blood of both parties, and therefore,
mother, it is our kind to haunt arms and noble deeds. Alas, my sweet
sons, then she said, for your sakes I shall lose my liking and lust,
and then wind and weather I may not endure, what for the death of your
father, King Pellinore, that was shamefully slain by the hands of Sir
Gawaine, and his brother, Sir Gaheris: and they slew him not manly but
by treason. Ah, my dear sons, this is a piteous complaint for me of
your father's death, considering also the death of Sir Lamorak, that
of knighthood had but few fellows. Now, my dear sons, have this in your
mind. Then there was but weeping and sobbing in the court when they
should depart, and she fell a-swooning in midst of the court.



CHAPTER XI. How a servant of Sir Aglovale's was slain, and what
vengeance Sir Aglovale and Sir Percivale did therefore.


AND when she was awaked she sent a squire after them with spending
enough. And so when the squire had overtaken them, they would not suffer
him to ride with them, but sent him home again to comfort their mother,
praying her meekly of her blessing. And so this squire was benighted,
and by misfortune he happened to come to a castle where dwelled a baron.
And so when the squire was come into the castle, the lord asked him from
whence he came, and whom he served. My lord, said the squire, I serve
a good knight that is called Sir Aglovale: the squire said it to good
intent, weening unto him to have been more forborne for Sir Aglovale's
sake, than he had said he had served the queen, Aglovale's mother. Well,
my fellow, said the lord of that castle, for Sir Aglovale's sake thou
shalt have evil lodging, for Sir Aglovale slew my brother, and therefore
thou shalt die on part of payment. And then that lord commanded his men
to have him away and slay him; and so they did, and so pulled him out of
the castle, and there they slew him without mercy.

Right so on the morn came Sir Aglovale and Sir Percivale riding by a
churchyard, where men and women were busy, and beheld the dead squire,
and they thought to bury him. What is there, said Sir Aglovale, that ye
behold so fast? A good man stert forth and said: Fair knight, here lieth
a squire slain shamefully this night. How was he slain, fair fellow?
said Sir Aglovale. My fair sir, said the man, the lord of this castle
lodged this squire this night; and because he said he was servant unto
a good knight that is with King Arthur, his name is Sir Aglovale,
therefore the lord commanded to slay him, and for this cause is he
slain. Gramercy, said Sir Aglovale, and ye shall see his death revenged
lightly; for I am that same knight for whom this squire was slain.

Then Sir Aglovale called unto him Sir Percivale, and bade him alight
lightly; and so they alighted both, and betook their horses to their
men, and so they yede on foot into the castle. And all so soon as they
were within the castle gate Sir Aglovale bade the porter: Go thou unto
thy lord and tell him that I am Sir Aglovale for whom this squire was
slain this night. Anon the porter told this to his lord, whose name was
Goodewin. Anon he armed him, and then he came into the court and said:
Which of you is Sir Aglovale? Here I am, said Aglovale: for what
cause slewest thou this night my mother's squire? I slew him, said Sir
Goodewin, because of thee, for thou slewest my brother, Sir Gawdelin. As
for thy brother, said Sir Aglovale, I avow it I slew him, for he was a
false knight and a betrayer of ladies and of good knights; and for the
death of my squire thou shalt die. I defy thee, said Sir Goodewin.
Then they lashed together as eagerly as it had been two lions, and Sir
Percivale he fought with all the remnant that would fight. And within
a while Sir Percivale had slain all that would withstand him; for Sir
Percivale dealt so his strokes that were so rude that there durst no
man abide him. And within a while Sir Aglovale had Sir Goodewin at the
earth, and there he unlaced his helm, and struck off his head. And then
they departed and took their horses; and then they let carry the dead
squire unto a priory, and there they interred him.



CHAPTER XII. How Sir Pervivale departed secretly from his brother, and
how he loosed a knight bound with a chain, and of other doings.


AND when this was done they rode into many countries, ever inquiring
after Sir Launcelot, but never they could hear of him; and at the last
they came to a castle that hight Cardican, and there Sir Percivale
and Sir Aglovale were lodged together. And privily about midnight Sir
Percivale came to Aglovale's squire and said: Arise and make thee ready,
for ye and I will ride away secretly. Sir, said the squire, I would full
fain ride with you where ye would have me, but an my lord, your brother,
take me he will slay me. As for that care thou not, for I shall be thy
warrant.

And so Sir Percivale rode till it was after noon, and then he came upon
a bridge of stone, and there he found a knight that was bound with a
chain fast about the waist unto a pillar of stone. O fair knight, said
that bound knight, I require thee loose me of my bonds. What knight are
ye, said Sir Percivale, and for what cause are ye so bound? Sir, I shall
tell you, said that knight: I am a knight of the Table Round, and my
name is Sir Persides; and thus by adventure I came this way, and here
I lodged in this castle at the bridge foot, and therein dwelleth an
uncourteous lady; and because she proffered me to be her paramour, and I
refused her, she set her men upon me suddenly or ever I might come to my
weapon; and thus they bound me, and here I wot well I shall die but
if some man of worship break my bands. Be ye of good cheer, said Sir
Percivale, and because ye are a knight of the Round Table as well as I,
I trust to God to break your bands. And therewith Sir Percivale pulled
out his sword and struck at the chain with such a might that he cut
a-two the chain, and through Sir Persides' hauberk and hurt him a
little. O Jesu, said Sir Persides, that was a mighty stroke as ever I
felt one, for had not the chain been ye had slain me.

And therewithal Sir Persides saw a knight coming out of a castle all
that ever he might fling. Beware, sir, said Sir Persides, yonder cometh
a man that will have ado with you. Let him come, said Sir Percivale.
And so he met with that knight in midst of the bridge; and Sir Percivale
gave him such a buffet that he smote him quite from his horse and over a
part of the bridge, that, had not been a little vessel under the bridge,
that knight had been drowned. And then Sir Percivale took the knight's
horse and made Sir Persides to mount up him; and so they rode unto the
castle, and bade the lady deliver Sir Persides' servants, or else he
would slay all that ever he found; and so for fear she delivered them
all. Then was Sir Percivale ware of a lady that stood in that tower.
Ah, madam, said Sir Percivale, what use and custom is that in a lady to
destroy good knights but if they will be your paramour? Forsooth this is
a shameful custom of a lady, and if I had not a great matter in my hand
I should fordo your evil customs.

And so Sir Persides brought Sir Percivale unto his own castle, and
there he made him great cheer all that night. And on the morn, when Sir
Percivale had heard mass and broken his fast, he bade Sir Persides ride
unto King Arthur: And tell the king how that ye met with me; and tell my
brother, Sir Aglovale, how I rescued you; and bid him seek not after me,
for I am in the quest to seek Sir Launcelot du Lake, and though he seek
me he shall not find me; and tell him I will never see him, nor the
court, till I have found Sir Launcelot. Also tell Sir Kay the Seneschal,
and to Sir Mordred, that I trust to Jesu to be of as great worthiness
as either of them, for tell them I shall never forget their mocks and
scorns that they did to me that day that I was made knight; and tell
them I will never see that court till men speak more worship of me than
ever men did of any of them both. And so Sir Persides departed from
Sir Percivale, and then he rode unto King Arthur, and told there of
Sir Percivale. And when Sir Aglovale heard him speak of his brother Sir
Percivale, he said: He departed from me unkindly.



CHAPTER XIII. How Sir Percivale met with Sir Ector, and how they fought
long, and each had almost slain other.


SIR, said Sir Persides, on my life he shall prove a noble knight as any
now is living. And when he saw Sir Kay and Sir Mordred, Sir Persides
said thus: My fair lords both, Sir Percivale greeteth you well both, and
he sent you word by me that he trusteth to God or ever he come to the
court again to be of as great noblesse as ever were ye both, and mo men
to speak of his noblesse than ever they did of you. It may well be, said
Sir Kay and Sir Mordred, but at that time when he was made knight he was
full unlike to prove a good knight. As for that, said King Arthur, he
must needs prove a good knight, for his father and his brethren were
noble knights.

And now will we turn unto Sir Percivale that rode long; and in a forest
he met a knight with a broken shield and a broken helm; and as soon as
either saw other readily they made them ready to joust, and so hurtled
together with all the might of their horses, and met together so hard,
that Sir Percivale was smitten to the earth. And then Sir Percivale
arose lightly, and cast his shield on his shoulder and drew his sword,
and bade the other knight Alight, and do we battle unto the uttermost.
Will ye more? said that knight. And therewith he alighted, and put his
horse from him; and then they came together an easy pace, and there they
lashed together with noble swords, and sometime they struck and sometime
they foined, and either gave other many great wounds. Thus they fought
near half a day, and never rested but right little, and there was none
of them both that had less wounds than fifteen, and they bled so much
that it was marvel they stood on their feet. But this knight that fought
with Sir Percivale was a proved knight and a wise-fighting knight, and
Sir Percivale was young and strong, not knowing in fighting as the other
was.

Then Sir Percivale spoke first, and said: Sir knight, hold thy hand
a while still, for we have fought for a simple matter and quarrel
overlong, and therefore I require thee tell me thy name, for I was never
or this time matched. So God me help, said that knight, and never or
this time was there never knight that wounded me so sore as thou hast
done, and yet have I fought in many battles; and now shalt thou wit that
I am a knight of the Table Round, and my name is Sir Ector de Maris,
brother unto the good knight, Sir Launcelot du Lake. Alas, said Sir
Percivale, and my name is Sir Percivale de Galis that hath made my quest
to seek Sir Launcelot, and now I am siker that I shall never finish
my quest, for ye have slain me with your hands. It is not so, said
Sir Ector, for I am slain by your hands, and may not live. Therefore
I require you, said Sir Ector unto Sir Percivale, ride ye hereby to a
priory, and bring me a priest that I may receive my Saviour, for I
may not live. And when ye come to the court of King Arthur tell not my
brother, Sir Launcelot, how that ye slew me, for then he would be your
mortal enemy, but ye may say that I was slain in my quest as I sought
him. Alas, said Sir Percivale, ye say that never will be, for I am so
faint for bleeding that I may unnethe stand, how should I then take my
horse?



CHAPTER XIV. How by miracle they were both made whole by the coming of
the holy vessel of Sangreal.


THEN they made both great dole out of measure. This will not avail, said
Sir Percivale. And then he kneeled down and made his prayer devoutly
unto Almighty Jesu, for he was one of the best knights of the world that
at that time was, in whom the very faith stood most in. Right so there
came by the holy vessel of the Sangreal with all manner of sweetness and
savour; but they could not readily see who that bare that vessel, but
Sir Percivale had a glimmering of the vessel and of the maiden that bare
it, for he was a perfect clean maiden; and forthwithal they both were as
whole of hide and limb as ever they were in their life-days: then they
gave thankings to God with great mildness. O Jesu, said Sir Percivale,
what may this mean, that we be thus healed, and right now we were at the
point of dying? I wot full well, said Sir Ector, what it is; it is an
holy vessel that is borne by a maiden, and therein is part of the holy
blood of our Lord Jesu Christ, blessed mote he be. But it may not be
seen, said Sir Ector, but if it be by a perfect man. So God me help,
said Sir Percivale, I saw a damosel, as me thought, all in white, with a
vessel in both her hands, and forthwithal I was whole.

So then they took their horses and their harness, and amended their
harness as well as they might that was broken; and so they mounted upon
their horses, and rode talking together. And there Sir Ector de Maris
told Sir Percivale how he had sought his brother, Sir Launcelot, long,
and never could hear witting of him: In many strange adventures have I
been in this quest. And so either told other of their adventures.

_Here endeth the eleventh book. And here followeth the twelfth book._



BOOK XII.



CHAPTER I. How Sir Launcelot in his madness took a sword and fought with
a knight, and leapt in a bed.


AND now leave we of a while of Sir Ector and of Sir Percivale, and speak
we of Sir Launcelot that suffered and endured many sharp showers, that
ever ran wild wood from place to place, and lived by fruit and such as
he might get, and drank water two year; and other clothing had he but
little but his shirt and his breech. Thus as Sir Launcelot wandered here
and there he came in a fair meadow where he found a pavilion; and there
by, upon a tree, there hung a white shield, and two swords hung thereby,
and two spears leaned there by a tree. And when Sir Launcelot saw the
swords, anon he leapt to the one sword, and took it in his hand, and
drew it out. And then he lashed at the shield, that all the meadow rang
of the dints, that he gave such a noise as ten knights had foughten
together.

Then came forth a dwarf, and leapt unto Sir Launcelot, and would have
had the sword out of his hand. And then Sir Launcelot took him by the
both shoulders and threw him to the ground upon his neck, that he had
almost broken his neck; and therewithal the dwarf cried help. Then
came forth a likely knight, and well apparelled in scarlet furred with
minever. And anon as he saw Sir Launcelot he deemed that he should be
out of his wit. And then he said with fair speech: Good man, lay down
that sword, for as meseemeth thou hadst more need of sleep and of warm
clothes than to wield that sword. As for that, said Sir Launcelot, come
not too nigh, for an thou do, wit thou well I will slay thee.

And when the knight of the pavilion saw that, he stert backward within
the pavilion. And then the dwarf armed him lightly; and so the knight
thought by force and might to take the sword from Sir Launcelot, and so
he came stepping out; and when Sir Launcelot saw him come so all armed
with his sword in his hand, then Sir Launcelot flew to him with such a
might, and hit him upon the helm such a buffet, that the stroke troubled
his brains, and therewith the sword brake in three. And the knight fell
to the earth as he had been dead, the blood brasting out of his mouth,
the nose, and the ears. And then Sir Launcelot ran into the pavilion,
and rushed even into the warm bed; and there was a lady in that bed,
and she gat her smock, and ran out of the pavilion. And when she saw her
lord lie at the ground like to be dead, then she cried and wept as she
had been mad. Then with her noise the knight awaked out of his swoon,
and looked up weakly with his eyes; and then he asked her, where was
that mad man that had given him such a buffet: For such a buffet had I
never of man's hand. Sir, said the dwarf, it is not worship to hurt him,
for he is a man out of his wit; and doubt ye not he hath been a man of
great worship, and for some heartly sorrow that he hath taken, he is
fallen mad; and me beseemeth, said the dwarf, he resembleth much unto
Sir Launcelot, for him I saw at the great tournament beside Lonazep.
Jesu defend, said that knight, that ever that noble knight, Sir
Launcelot, should be in such a plight; but whatsomever he be, said that
knight, harm will I none do him: and this knight's name was Bliant. Then
he said unto the dwarf: Go thou fast on horseback, unto my brother Sir
Selivant, that is at the Castle Blank, and tell him of mine adventure,
and bid him bring with him an horse litter, and then will we bear this
knight unto my castle.



CHAPTER II. How Sir Lancelot was carried in an horse litter, and how Sir
Launcelot rescued Sir Bliant, his host.


SO the dwarf rode fast, and he came again and brought Sir Selivant with
him, and six men with an horse litter; and so they took up the feather
bed with Sir Launcelot, and so carried all away with them unto the
Castle Blank, and he never awaked till he was within the castle. And
then they bound his hands and his feet, and gave him good meats and good
drinks, and brought him again to his strength and his fairness; but in
his wit they could not bring him again, nor to know himself. Thus was
Sir Launcelot there more than a year and a half, honestly arrayed and
fair faren withal.

Then upon a day this lord of that castle, Sir Bliant, took his arms, on
horseback, with a spear, to seek adventures. And as he rode in a forest
there met with him two knights adventurous, the one was Breuse Saunce
Pité, and his brother, Sir Bertelot; and these two ran both at once upon
Sir Bliant, and brake their spears upon his body. And then they drew out
swords and made great battle, and fought long together. But at the last
Sir Bliant was sore wounded, and felt himself faint; and then he fled on
horseback toward his castle. And as they came hurling under the castle
whereas Sir Launcelot lay in a window, [he] saw how two knights laid
upon Sir Bliant with their swords. And when Sir Launcelot saw that, yet
as wood as he was he was sorry for his lord, Sir Bliant. And then Sir
Launcelot brake the chains from his legs and off his arms, and in the
breaking he hurt his hands sore; and so Sir Launcelot ran out at a
postern, and there he met with the two knights that chased Sir Bliant;
and there he pulled down Sir Bertelot with his bare hands from his
horse, and therewithal he wrothe his sword out of his hand; and so he
leapt unto Sir Breuse, and gave him such a buffet upon the head that he
tumbled backward over his horse's croup. And when Sir Bertelot saw there
his brother have such a fall, he gat a spear in his hand, and would have
run Sir Launcelot through: that saw Sir Bliant, and struck off the hand
of Sir Bertelot. And then Sir Breuse and Sir Bertelot gat their horses
and fled away.

When Sir Selivant came and saw what Sir Launcelot had done for his
brother, then he thanked God, and so did his brother, that ever they did
him any good. But when Sir Bliant saw that Sir Launcelot was hurt with
the breaking of his irons, then was he heavy that ever he bound him.
Bind him no more, said Sir Selivant, for he is happy and gracious. Then
they made great joy of Sir Launcelot, and they bound him no more; and
so he abode there an half year and more. And on the morn early Sir
Launcelot was ware where came a great boar with many hounds nigh him.
But the boar was so big there might no hounds tear him; and the hunters
came after, blowing their horns, both upon horseback and some upon foot;
and then Sir Launcelot was ware where one alighted and tied his horse to
a tree, and leaned his spear against the tree.



CHAPTER III. How Sir Launcelot fought against a boar and slew him, and
how he was hurt, and brought unto an hermitage.


SO came Sir Launcelot and found the horse bounden till a tree, and a
spear leaning against a tree, and a sword tied to the saddle bow; and
then Sir Launcelot leapt into the saddle and gat that spear in his hand,
and then he rode after the boar; and then Sir Launcelot was ware where
the boar set his arse to a tree fast by an hermitage. Then Sir Launcelot
ran at the boar with his spear, and therewith the boar turned him
nimbly, and rove out the lungs and the heart of the horse, so that
Launcelot fell to the earth; and, or ever Sir Launcelot might get from
the horse, the boar rove him on the brawn of the thigh up to the hough
bone. And then Sir Launcelot was wroth, and up he gat upon his feet,
and drew his sword, and he smote off the boar's head at one stroke. And
therewithal came out the hermit, and saw him have such a wound. Then the
hermit came to Sir Launcelot and bemoaned him, and would have had him
home unto his hermitage; but when Sir Launcelot heard him speak, he was
so wroth with his wound that he ran upon the hermit to have slain him,
and the hermit ran away. And when Sir Launcelot might not overget him,
he threw his sword after him, for Sir Launcelot might go no further for
bleeding; then the hermit turned again, and asked Sir Launcelot how he
was hurt. Fellow, said Sir Launcelot, this boar hath bitten me sore.
Then come with me, said the hermit, and I shall heal you. Go thy way,
said Sir Launcelot, and deal not with me.

Then the hermit ran his way, and there he met with a good knight with
many men. Sir, said the hermit, here is fast by my place the goodliest
man that ever I saw, and he is sore wounded with a boar, and yet he hath
slain the boar. But well I wot, said the hermit, and he be not holpen,
that goodly man shall die of that wound, and that were great pity. Then
that knight at the desire of the hermit gat a cart, and in that cart
that knight put the boar and Sir Launcelot, for Sir Launcelot was so
feeble that they might right easily deal with him; and so Sir Launcelot
was brought unto the hermitage, and there the hermit healed him of his
wound. But the hermit might not find Sir Launcelot's sustenance, and so
he impaired and waxed feeble, both of his body and of his wit: for the
default of his sustenance he waxed more wooder than he was aforehand.

And then upon a day Sir Launcelot ran his way into the forest; and by
adventure he came to the city of Corbin, where Dame Elaine was, that
bare Galahad, Sir Launcelot's son. And so when he was entered into the
town he ran through the town to the castle; and then all the young men
of that city ran after Sir Launcelot, and there they threw turves at
him, and gave him many sad strokes. And ever as Sir Launcelot might
overreach any of them, he threw them so that they would never come in
his hands no more; for of some he brake the legs and the arms, and so
fled into the castle; and then came out knights and squires and rescued
Sir Launcelot. And when they beheld him and looked upon his person, they
thought they saw never so goodly a man. And when they saw so many wounds
upon him, all they deemed that he had been a man of worship. And then
they ordained him clothes to his body, and straw underneath him, and a
little house. And then every day they would throw him meat, and set him
drink, but there was but few would bring him meat to his hands.



CHAPTER IV. How Sir Launcelot was known by Dame Elaine, and was borne
into a chamber and after healed by the Sangreal.


SO it befell that King Pelles had a nephew, his name was Castor; and so
he desired of the king to be made knight, and so at the request of this
Castor the king made him knight at the feast of Candlemas. And when Sir
Castor was made knight, that same day he gave many gowns. And then Sir
Castor sent for the fool--that was Sir Launcelot. And when he was come
afore Sir Castor, he gave Sir Launcelot a robe of scarlet and all that
longed unto him. And when Sir Launcelot was so arrayed like a knight, he
was the seemliest man in all the court, and none so well made. So when
he saw his time he went into the garden, and there Sir Launcelot laid
him down by a well and slept. And so at-after noon Dame Elaine and her
maidens came into the garden to play them; and as they roamed up and
down one of Dame Elaine's maidens espied where lay a goodly man by the
well sleeping, and anon showed him to Dame Elaine. Peace, said Dame
Elaine, and say no word: and then she brought Dame Elaine where he lay.
And when that she beheld him, anon she fell in remembrance of him, and
knew him verily for Sir Launcelot; and therewithal she fell a-weeping so
heartily that she sank even to the earth; and when she had thus wept
a great while, then she arose and called her maidens and said she was
sick.

And so she yede out of the garden, and she went straight to her father,
and there she took him apart by herself; and then she said: O father,
now have I need of your help, and but if that ye help me farewell my
good days for ever. What is that, daughter? said King Pelles. Sir, she
said, thus is it: in your garden I went for to sport, and there, by the
well, I found Sir Launcelot du Lake sleeping. I may not believe that,
said King Pelles. Sir, she said, truly he is there, and meseemeth he
should be distract out of his wit. Then hold you still, said the king,
and let me deal. Then the king called to him such as he most trusted, a
four persons, and Dame Elaine, his daughter. And when they came to the
well and beheld Sir Launcelot, anon Dame Brisen knew him. Sir, said Dame
Brisen, we must be wise how we deal with him, for this knight is out of
his mind, and if we awake him rudely what he will do we all know not;
but ye shall abide, and I shall throw such an enchantment upon him that
he shall not awake within the space of an hour; and so she did.

Then within a little while after, the king commanded that all people
should avoid, that none should be in that way thereas the king would
come. And so when this was done, these four men and these ladies laid
hand on Sir Launcelot, and so they bare him into a tower, and so into
a chamber where was the holy vessel of the Sangreal, and by force Sir
Launcelot was laid by that holy vessel; and there came an holy man
and unhilled that vessel, and so by miracle and by virtue of that holy
vessel Sir Launcelot was healed and recovered. And when that he was
awaked he groaned and sighed, and complained greatly that he was passing
sore.



CHAPTER V. How Sir Launcelot, after that he was whole and had his mind,
he was ashamed, and how that Elaine desired a castle for him.


AND when Sir Launcelot saw King Pelles and Elaine, he waxed ashamed and
said thus: O Lord Jesu, how came I here? for God's sake, my lord, let
me wit how I came here. Sir, said Dame Elaine, into this country ye came
like a madman, clean out of your wit, and here have ye been kept as a
fool; and no creature here knew what ye were, until by fortune a maiden
of mine brought me unto you whereas ye lay sleeping by a well, and anon
as I verily beheld you I knew you. And then I told my father, and so
were ye brought afore this holy vessel, and by the virtue of it thus
were ye healed. O Jesu, mercy, said Sir Launcelot; if this be sooth, how
many there be that know of my woodness! So God me help, said Elaine, no
more but my father, and I, and Dame Brisen. Now for Christ's love, said
Sir Launcelot, keep it in counsel, and let no man know it in the
world, for I am sore ashamed that I have been thus miscarried; for I am
banished out of the country of Logris for ever, that is for to say the
country of England.

And so Sir Launcelot lay more than a fortnight or ever that he might
stir for soreness. And then upon a day he said unto Dame Elaine these
words: Lady Elaine, for your sake I have had much travail, care, and
anguish, it needeth not to rehearse it, ye know how. Notwithstanding I
know well I have done foul to you when that I drew my sword to you, to
have slain you, upon the morn when I had lain with you. And all was the
cause, that ye and Dame Brisen made me for to lie by you maugre mine
head; and as ye say, that night Galahad your son was begotten. That is
truth, said Dame Elaine. Now will ye for my love, said Sir Launcelot, go
unto your father and get me a place of him wherein I may dwell? for in
the court of King Arthur may I never come. Sir, said Dame Elaine, I will
live and die with you, and only for your sake; and if my life might not
avail you and my death might avail you, wit you well I would die for
your sake. And I will go to my father and I am sure there is nothing
that I can desire of him but I shall have it. And where ye be, my lord
Sir Launcelot, doubt ye not but I will be with you with all the service
that I may do. So forthwithal she went to her father and said, Sir, my
lord, Sir Launcelot, desireth to be here by you in some castle of yours.
Well daughter, said the king, sith it is his desire to abide in these
marches he shall be in the Castle of Bliant, and there shall ye be with
him, and twenty of the fairest ladies that be in the country, and they
shall all be of the great blood, and ye shall have ten knights with you;
for, daughter, I will that ye wit we all be honoured by the blood of Sir
Launcelot.



CHAPTER VI. How Sir Launcelot came into the joyous Isle, and there he
named himself Le Chevaler Mal Fet.


THEN went Dame Elaine unto Sir Launcelot, and told him all how her
father had devised for him and her. Then came the knight Sir Castor,
that was nephew unto Kong Pelles, unto Sir Launcelot, and asked him what
was his name. Sir, said Sir Launcelot, my name is Le Chevaler Mal Fet,
that is to say the knight that hath trespassed. Sir, said Sir Castor, it
may well be so, but ever meseemeth your name should be Sir Launcelot du
Lake, for or now I have seen you. Sir, said Launcelot, ye are not as a
gentle knight: I put case my name were Sir Launcelot, and that it list
me not to discover my name, what should it grieve you here to keep my
counsel, and ye be not hurt thereby? but wit thou well an ever it lie
in my power I shall grieve you, and that I promise you truly. Then Sir
Castor kneeled down and besought Sir Launcelot of mercy: For I shall
never utter what ye be, while that ye be in these parts. Then Sir
Launcelot pardoned him.

And then, after this, King Pelles with ten knights, and Dame Elaine, and
twenty ladies, rode unto the Castle of Bliant that stood in an island
beclosed in iron, with a fair water deep and large. And when they were
there Sir Launcelot let call it the Joyous Isle; and there was he called
none otherwise but Le Chevaler Mal Fet, the knight that hath trespassed.
Then Sir Launcelot let make him a shield all of sable, and a queen
crowned in the midst, all of silver, and a knight clean armed kneeling
afore her. And every day once, for any mirths that all the ladies might
make him, he would once every day look toward the realm of Logris,
where King Arthur and Queen Guenever was. And then would he fall upon a
weeping as his heart should to-brast.

So it fell that time Sir Launcelot heard of a jousting fast by his
castle, within three leagues. Then he called unto him a dwarf, and he
bade him go unto that jousting. And or ever the knights depart, look
thou make there a cry, in hearing of all the knights, that there is one
knight in the Joyous Isle, that is the Castle of Bliant, and say his
name is Le Chevaler Mal Fet, that will joust against knights that will
come. And who that putteth that knight to the worse shall have a fair
maid and a gerfalcon.



CHAPTER VII. Of a great tourneying in the Joyous Isle, and how Sir
Pervivale and Sir Ector came thither, and Sir Percivale fought with him.


SO when this cry was made, unto Joyous Isle drew knights to the number
of five hundred; and wit ye well there was never seen in Arthur's days
one knight that did so much deeds of arms as Sir Launcelot did three
days together; for as the book maketh truly mention, he had the better
of all the five hundred knights, and there was not one slain of them.
And after that Sir Launcelot made them all a great feast.

And in the meanwhile came Sir Percivale de Galis and Sir Ector de Maris
under that castle that was called the Joyous Isle. And as they beheld
that gay castle they would have gone to that castle, but they might not
for the broad water, and bridge could they find none. Then they saw on
the other side a lady with a sperhawk on her hand, and Sir Percivale
called unto her, and asked that lady who was in that castle. Fair
knights, she said, here within this castle is the fairest lady in this
land, and her name is Elaine. Also we have in this castle the fairest
knight and the mightiest man that is I dare say living, and he called
himself Le Chevaler Mal Fet. How came he into these marches? said Sir
Percivale. Truly, said the damosel, he came into this country like a mad
man, with dogs and boys chasing him through the city of Corbin, and by
the holy vessel of the Sangreal he was brought into his wit again; but
he will not do battle with no knight, but by underne or by noon. And if
ye list to come into the castle, said the lady, ye must ride unto the
further side of the castle and there shall ye find a vessel that will
bear you and your horse. Then they departed, and came unto the vessel.
And then Sir Percivale alighted, and said to Sir Ector de Maris: Ye
shall abide me here until that I wit what manner a knight he is; for it
were shame unto us, inasmuch as he is but one knight, an we should both
do battle with him. Do ye as ye list, said Sir Ector, and here I shall
abide you until that I hear of you.

Then passed Sir Percivale the water, and when he came to the castle gate
he bade the porter: Go thou to the good knight within the castle, and
tell him here is come an errant knight to joust with him. Sir, said
the porter, ride ye within the castle, and there is a common place for
jousting, that lords and ladies may behold you. So anon as Sir Launcelot
had warning he was soon ready; and there Sir Percivale and Sir Launcelot
encountered with such a might, and their spears were so rude, that both
the horses and the knights fell to the earth. Then they avoided their
horses, and flang out noble swords, and hewed away cantels of their
shields, and hurtled together with their shields like two boars, and
either wounded other passing sore. At the last Sir Percivale spake first
when they had foughten there more than two hours. Fair knight, said Sir
Percivale, I require thee tell me thy name, for I met never with such
a knight. Sir, said Sir Launcelot, my name is Le Chevaler Mal Fet. Now
tell me your name, said Sir Launcelot, I require you, gentle knight.
Truly, said Sir Percivale, my name is Sir Percivale de Galis, that was
brother unto the good knight, Sir Lamorak de Galis, and King Pellinore
was our father, and Sir Aglovale is my brother. Alas, said Sir
Launcelot, what have I done to fight with you that art a knight of the
Round Table, that sometime was your fellow?



CHAPTER VIII. How each of them knew other, and of their great courtesy,
and how his brother Sir Ector came unto him, and of their joy.


AND therewithal Sir Launcelot kneeled down upon his knees, and threw
away his shield and his sword from him. When Sir Percivale saw him do
so he marvelled what he meant. And then thus he said: Sir knight,
whatsomever thou be, I require thee upon the high order of knighthood,
tell me thy true name. Then he said: So God me help, my name is Sir
Launcelot du Lake, King Ban's son of Benoy. Alas, said Sir Percivale,
what have I done? I was sent by the queen for to seek you, and so I have
sought you nigh this two year, and yonder is Sir Ector de Maris, your
brother abideth me on the other side of the yonder water. Now for God's
sake, said Sir Percivale, forgive me mine offences that I have here
done. It is soon forgiven, said Sir Launcelot.

Then Sir Percivale sent for Sir Ector de Maris, and when Sir Launcelot
had a sight of him, he ran unto him and took him in his arms; and then
Sir Ector kneeled down, and either wept upon other, that all had pity to
behold them. Then came Dame Elaine and she there made them great
cheer as might lie in her power; and there she told Sir Ector and Sir
Percivale how and in what manner Sir Launcelot came into that country,
and how he was healed; and there it was known how long Sir Launcelot was
with Sir Bliant and with Sir Selivant, and how he first met with them,
and how he departed from them because of a boar; and how the hermit
healed Sir Launcelot of his great wound, and how that he came to Corbin.



CHAPTER IX. How Sir Bors and Sir Lionel came to King Brandegore, and how
Sir Bors took his son Helin le Blank, and of Sir Launcelot.


NOW leave we Sir Launcelot in the Joyous Isle with the Lady Dame Elaine,
and Sir Percivale and Sir Ector playing with them, and turn we to Sir
Bors de Ganis and Sir Lionel, that had sought Sir Launcelot nigh by the
space of two year, and never could they hear of him. And as they thus
rode, by adventure they came to the house of Brandegore, and there Sir
Bors was well known, for he had gotten a child upon the king's daughter
fifteen year to-fore, and his name was Helin le Blank. And when Sir Bors
saw that child it liked him passing well. And so those knights had good
cheer of the King Brandegore. And on the morn Sir Bors came afore King
Brandegore and said: Here is my son Helin le Blank, that as it is said
he is my son; and sith it is so, I will that ye wit that I will have him
with me unto the court of King Arthur. Sir, said the king, ye may well
take him with you, but he is over tender of age. As for that, said
Sir Bors, I will have him with me, and bring him to the house of most
worship of the world. So when Sir Bors should depart there was made
great sorrow for the departing of Helin le Blank, and great weeping was
there made. But Sir Bors and Sir Lionel departed, and within a while
they came to Camelot, where was King Arthur. And when King Arthur
understood that Helin le Blank was Sir Bors' son, and nephew unto King
Brandegore, then King Arthur let him make knight of the Round Table; and
so he proved a good knight and an adventurous.

Now will we turn to our matter of Sir Launcelot. It befell upon a day
Sir Ector and Sir Percivale came to Sir Launcelot and asked him what
he would do, and whether he would go with them unto King Arthur or
not. Nay, said Sir Launcelot, that may not be by no mean, for I was so
entreated at the court that I cast me never to come there more. Sir,
said Sir Ector, I am your brother, and ye are the man in the world that
I love most; and if I understood that it were your disworship, ye may
understand I would never counsel you thereto; but King Arthur and all
his knights, and in especial Queen Guenever, made such dole and sorrow
that it was marvel to hear and see. And ye must remember the great
worship and renown that ye be of, how that ye have been more spoken of
than any other knight that is now living; for there is none that beareth
the name now but ye and Sir Tristram. Therefore brother, said Sir Ector,
make you ready to ride to the court with us, and I dare say there was
never knight better welcome to the court than ye; and I wot well and can
make it good, said Sir Ector, it hath cost my lady, the queen, twenty
thousand pound the seeking of you. Well brother, said Sir Launcelot, I
will do after your counsel, and ride with you.

So then they took their horses and made them ready, and took their leave
at King Pelles and at Dame Elaine. And when Sir Launcelot should depart
Dame Elaine made great sorrow. My lord, Sir Launcelot, said Dame Elaine,
at this same feast of Pentecost shall your son and mine, Galahad, be
made knight, for he is fully now fifteen winter old. Do as ye list, said
Sir Launcelot; God give him grace to prove a good knight. As for that,
said Dame Elaine, I doubt not he shall prove the best man of his kin
except one. Then shall he be a man good enough, said Sir Launcelot.



CHAPTER X. How Sir Launcelot with Sir Percivale and Sir Ector came to
the court, and of the great joy of him.


THEN they departed, and within five days' journey they came to Camelot,
that is called in English, Winchester. And when Sir Launcelot was come
among them, the king and all the knights made great joy of him. And
there Sir Percivale de Galis and Sir Ector de Maris began and told the
whole adventures: that Sir Launcelot had been out of his mind the time
of his absence, and how he called himself Le Chevaler Mal Fet, the
knight that had trespassed; and in three days Sir Launcelot smote down
five hundred knights. And ever as Sir Ector and Sir Percivale told these
tales of Sir Launcelot, Queen Guenever wept as she should have died.
Then the queen made great cheer. O Jesu, said King Arthur, I marvel for
what cause ye, Sir Launcelot, went out of your mind. I and many others
deem it was for the love of fair Elaine, the daughter of King Pelles, by
whom ye are noised that ye have gotten a child, and his name is Galahad,
and men say he shall do marvels. My lord, said Sir Launcelot, if I did
any folly I have that I sought. And therewithal the king spake no more.
But all Sir Launcelot's kin knew for whom he went out of his mind. And
then there were great feasts made and great joy; and many great lords
and ladies, when they heard that Sir Launcelot was come to the court
again, they made great joy.



CHAPTER XI. How La Beale Isoud counselled Sir Tristram to go unto the
court, to the great feast of Pentecost.


NOW will we leave off this matter, and speak we of Sir Tristram, and of
Sir Palomides that was the Saracen unchristened. When Sir Tristram was
come home unto Joyous Gard from his adventures, all this while that
Sir Launcelot was thus missed, two year and more, Sir Tristram bare
the renown through all the realm of Logris, and many strange adventures
befell him, and full well and manly and worshipfully he brought them to
an end. So when he was come home La Beale Isoud told him of the great
feast that should be at Pentecost next following, and there she told him
how Sir Launcelot had been missed two year, and all that while he had
been out of his mind, and how he was holpen by the holy vessel, the
Sangreal. Alas, said Sir Tristram, that caused some debate betwixt
him and Queen Guenever. Sir, said Dame Isoud, I know it all, for Queen
Guenever sent me a letter in the which she wrote me all how it was,
for to require you to seek him. And now, blessed be God, said La Beale
Isoud, he is whole and sound and come again to the court.

Thereof am I glad, said Sir Tristram, and now shall ye and I make us
ready, for both ye and I will be at the feast. Sir, said Isoud, an it
please you I will not be there, for through me ye be marked of many good
knights, and that caused you to have much more labour for my sake than
needeth you. Then will I not be there, said Sir Tristram, but if ye be
there. God defend, said La Beale Isoud, for then shall I be spoken of
shame among all queens and ladies of estate; for ye that are called one
of the noblest knights of the world, and ye a knight of the Round
Table, how may ye be missed at that feast? What shall be said among all
knights? See how Sir Tristram hunteth, and hawketh, and cowereth within
a castle with his lady, and forsaketh your worship. Alas, shall some
say, it is pity that ever he was made knight, or that ever he should
have the love of a lady. Also what shall queens and ladies say of me?
It is pity that I have my life, that I will hold so noble a knight as
ye are from his worship. So God me help, said Sir Tristram unto La Beale
Isoud, it is passing well said of you and nobly counselled; and now I
well understand that ye love me; and like as ye have counselled me I
will do a part thereafter. But there shall no man nor child ride with
me, but myself. And so will I ride on Tuesday next coming, and no more
harness of war but my spear and my sword.



CHAPTER XII. How Sir Tristram departed unarmed and met with Sir
Palomides, and how they smote each other, and how Sir Palomides forbare
him.


AND so when the day came Sir Tristram took his leave at La Beale Isoud,
and she sent with him four knights, and within half a mile he sent them
again: and within a mile after Sir Tristram saw afore him where Sir
Palomides had stricken down a knight, and almost wounded him to the
death. Then Sir Tristram repented him that he was not armed, and then
he hoved still. With that Sir Palomides knew Sir Tristram, and cried on
high: Sir Tristram, now be we met, for or we depart we will redress our
old sores. As for that, said Sir Tristram, there was yet never Christian
man might make his boast that ever I fled from him; and wit ye well, Sir
Palomides, thou that art a Saracen shall never make thy boast that Sir
Tristram de Liones shall flee from thee. And therewith Sir Tristram
made his horse to run, and with all his might he came straight upon
Sir Palomides, and brast his spear upon him an hundred pieces. And
forthwithal Sir Tristram drew his sword. And then he turned his horse
and struck at Palomides six great strokes upon his helm; and then Sir
Palomides stood still, and beheld Sir Tristram, and marvelled of his
woodness, and of his folly. And then Sir Palomides said to himself: An
Sir Tristram were armed, it were hard to cease him of this battle, and
if I turn again and slay him I am ashamed wheresomever that I go.

Then Sir Tristram spake and said: Thou coward knight, what castest thou
to do; why wilt thou not do battle with me? for have thou no doubt I
shall endure all thy malice. Ah, Sir Tristram, said Palomides, full
well thou wottest I may not fight with thee for shame, for thou art here
naked and I am armed, and if I slay thee, dishonour shall be mine.
And well thou wottest, said Sir Palomides to Sir Tristram, I know thy
strength and thy hardiness to endure against a good knight. That is
truth, said Sir Tristram, I understand thy valiantness well. Ye say
well, said Sir Palomides; now, I require you, tell me a question that
I shall say to you. Tell me what it is, said Sir Tristram, and I shall
answer you the truth, as God me help. I put case, said Sir Palomides,
that ye were armed at all rights as well as I am, and I naked as ye
be, what would you do to me now, by your true knighthood? Ah, said Sir
Tristram, now I understand thee well, Sir Palomides, for now must I say
mine own judgment, and as God me bless, that I shall say shall not
be said for no fear that I have of thee. But this is all: wit Sir
Palomides, as at this time thou shouldest depart from me, for I would
not have ado with thee. No more will I, said Palomides, and therefore
ride forth on thy way. As for that I may choose, said Sir Tristram,
either to ride or to abide. But Sir Palomides, said Sir Tristram, I
marvel of one thing, that thou that art so good a knight, that thou wilt
not be christened, and thy brother, Sir Safere, hath been christened
many a day.



CHAPTER XIII. How that Sir Tristram gat him harness of a knight which
was hurt, and how he overthrew Sir Palomides.


AS for that, said Sir Palomides, I may not yet be christened for one
avow that I have made many years agone; howbeit in my heart I believe in
Jesu Christ and his mild mother Mary; but I have but one battle to do,
and when that is done I will be baptised with a good will. By my head,
said Tristram, as for one battle thou shalt not seek it no longer. For
God defend, said Sir Tristram, that through my default thou shouldst
longer live thus a Saracen, for yonder is a knight that ye, Sir
Palomides, have hurt and smitten down. Now help me that I were armed
in his armour, and I shall soon fulfil thine avows. As ye will, said
Palomides, so it shall be.

So they rode both unto that knight that sat upon a bank, and then Sir
Tristram saluted him, and he weakly saluted him again. Sir knight, said
Sir Tristram, I require you tell me your right name. Sir, he said, my
name is Sir Galleron of Galway, and knight of the Table Round. So God
me help, said Sir Tristram, I am right heavy of your hurts; but this is
all, I must pray you to lend me all your whole armour, for ye see I
am unarmed, and I must do battle with this knight. Sir, said the hurt
knight, ye shall have it with a good will; but ye must beware, for I
warn you that knight is wight. Sir, said Galleron, I pray you tell me
your name, and what is that knight's name that hath beaten me. Sir, as
for my name it is Sir Tristram de Liones, and as for the knight's name
that hath hurt you is Sir Palomides, brother to the good knight Sir
Safere, and yet is Sir Palomides unchristened. Alas, said Sir Galleron,
that is pity that so good a knight and so noble a man of arms should be
unchristened. So God me help, said Sir Tristram, either he shall slay me
or I him but that he shall be christened or ever we depart in-sunder.
My lord Sir Tristram, said Sir Galleron, your renown and worship is well
known through many realms, and God save you this day from shenship and
shame.

Then Sir Tristram unarmed Galleron, the which was a noble knight, and
had done many deeds of arms, and he was a large knight of flesh and
bone. And when he was unarmed he stood upon his feet, for he was bruised
in the back with a spear; yet so as Sir Galleron might, he armed Sir
Tristram. And then Sir Tristram mounted upon his own horse, and in his
hand he gat Sir Galleron's spear; and therewithal Sir Palomides was
ready. And so they came hurtling together, and either smote other in
midst of their shields; and therewithal Sir Palomides' spear brake,
and Sir Tristram smote down the horse; and Sir Palomides, as soon as
he might, avoided his horse, and dressed his shield, and pulled out his
sword. That saw Sir Tristram, and therewithal he alighted and tied his
horse till a tree.



CHAPTER XIV. How Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides fought long together,
and after accorded, and how Sir Tristram made him to be christened.


AND then they came together as two wild boars, lashing together, tracing
and traversing as noble men that oft had been well proved in battle;
but ever Sir Palomides dread the might of Sir Tristram, and therefore he
suffered him to breathe him. Thus they fought more than two hours, but
often Sir Tristram smote such strokes at Sir Palomides that he made
him to kneel; and Sir Palomides brake and cut away many pieces of Sir
Tristram's shield; and then Sir Palomides wounded Sir Tristram, for
he was a well fighting man. Then Sir Tristram was wood wroth out of
measure, and rushed upon Sir Palomides with such a might that Sir
Palomides fell grovelling to the earth; and therewithal he leapt up
lightly upon his feet, and then Sir Tristram wounded Palomides sore
through the shoulder. And ever Sir Tristram fought still in like hard,
and Sir Palomides failed not, but gave him many sad strokes. And at the
last Sir Tristram doubled his strokes, and by fortune Sir Tristram smote
Sir Palomides sword out of his hand, and if Sir Palomides had stooped
for his sword he had been slain.

Then Palomides stood still and beheld his sword with a sorrowful heart.
How now, said Sir Tristram unto Palomides, now have I thee at advantage
as thou haddest me this day; but it shall never be said in no court,
nor among good knights, that Sir Tristram shall slay any knight that is
weaponless; and therefore take thou thy sword, and let us make an end of
this battle. As for to do this battle, said Palomides, I dare right well
end it, but I have no great lust to fight no more. And for this cause,
said Palomides: mine offence to you is not so great but that we may be
friends. All that I have offended is and was for the love of La Beale
Isoud. And as for her, I dare say she is peerless above all other
ladies, and also I proffered her never no dishonour; and by her I have
gotten the most part of my worship. And sithen I offended never as to
her own person, and as for the offence that I have done, it was against
your own person, and for that offence ye have given me this day many
sad strokes, and some I have given you again; and now I dare say I
felt never man of your might, nor so well breathed, but if it were Sir
Launcelot du Lake; wherefore I require you, my lord, forgive me all that
I have offended unto you; and this same day have me to the next church,
and first let me be clean confessed, and after see you now that I be
truly baptised. And then will we all ride together unto the court of
Arthur, that we be there at the high feast. Now take your horse, said
Sir Tristram, and as ye say so it shall be, and all thine evil will God
forgive it you, and I do. And here within this mile is the Suffragan of
Carlisle that shall give you the sacrament of baptism.

Then they took their horses and Sir Galleron rode with them. And when
they came to the Suffragan Sir Tristram told him their desire. Then the
Suffragan let fill a great vessel with water, and when he had hallowed
it he then confessed clean Sir Palomides, and Sir Tristram and Sir
Galleron were his godfathers. And then soon after they departed, riding
toward Camelot, where King Arthur and Queen Guenever was, and for the
most part all the knights of the Round Table. And so the king and all
the court were glad that Sir Palomides was christened. And at the same
feast in came Galahad and sat in the Siege Perilous. And so therewithal
departed and dissevered all the knights of the Round Table. And Sir
Tristram returned again unto Joyous Gard, and Sir Palomides followed the
Questing Beast.


_Here endeth the second book of Sir Tristram that was drawn out of
French into English. But here is no rehersal of the third book. And
here followeth the noble tale of the Sangreal, that called is the Holy
Vessel; and the signification of the blessed blood of our Lord Jesus
Christ, blessed mote it be, the which was brought into this land by
Joseph Aramathie. Therefore on all sinful souls blessed Lord have thou
mercy.

Explicit liber xii. Et incipit Decimustercius._



BOOK XIII.



CHAPTER I. How at the vigil of the Feast of Pentecost entered into the
hall before King Arthur a damosel, and desired Sir Launcelot for to come
and dub a knight, and how he went with her.


AT the vigil of Pentecost, when all the fellowship of the Round Table
were come unto Camelot and there heard their service, and the tables
were set ready to the meat, right so entered into the hall a full fair
gentlewoman on horseback, that had ridden full fast, for her horse was
all besweated. Then she there alighted, and came before the king and
saluted him; and he said: Damosel, God thee bless. Sir, said she, for
God's sake say me where Sir Launcelot is. Yonder ye may see him, said
the king. Then she went unto Launcelot and said: Sir Launcelot, I salute
you on King Pelles' behalf, and I require you come on with me hereby
into a forest. Then Sir Launcelot asked her with whom she dwelled. I
dwell, said she, with King Pelles. What will ye with me? said Launcelot.
Ye shall know, said she, when ye come thither. Well, said he, I will
gladly go with you. So Sir Launcelot bade his squire saddle his horse
and bring his arms; and in all haste he did his commandment.

Then came the queen unto Launcelot, and said: Will ye leave us at this
high feast? Madam, said the gentlewoman, wit ye well he shall be with
you to-morn by dinner time. If I wist, said the queen, that he should
not be with us here to-morn he should not go with you by my good will.
Right so departed Sir Launcelot with the gentlewoman, and rode until
that he came into a forest and into a great valley, where they saw an
abbey of nuns; and there was a squire ready and opened the gates, and
so they entered and descended off their horses; and there came a fair
fellowship about Sir Launcelot, and welcomed him, and were passing
glad of his coming. And then they led him unto the Abbess's chamber
and unarmed him; and right so he was ware upon a bed lying two of his
cousins, Sir Bors and Sir Lionel, and then he waked them; and when they
saw him they made great joy. Sir, said Sir Bors unto Sir Launcelot, what
adventure hath brought you hither, for we weened to-morn to have found
you at Camelot? As God me help, said Sir Launcelot, a gentlewoman
brought me hither, but I know not the cause.

In the meanwhile that they thus stood talking together, therein came
twelve nuns that brought with them Galahad, the which was passing fair
and well made, that unnethe in the world men might not find his match:
and all those ladies wept. Sir, said they all, we bring you here this
child the which we have nourished, and we pray you to make him a knight,
for of a more worthier man's hand may he not receive the order of
knighthood. Sir Launcelot beheld the young squire and saw him seemly and
demure as a dove, with all manner of good features, that he weened
of his age never to have seen so fair a man of form. Then said Sir
Launcelot: Cometh this desire of himself? He and all they said yea. Then
shall he, said Sir Launcelot, receive the high order of knighthood as
to-morn at the reverence of the high feast. That night Sir Launcelot had
passing good cheer; and on the morn at the hour of prime, at Galahad's
desire, he made him knight and said: God make him a good man, for of
beauty faileth you not as any that liveth.



CHAPTER II. How the letters were found written in the Siege Perilous and
of the marvellous adventure of the sword in a stone.


NOW fair sir, said Sir Launcelot, will ye come with me unto the court of
King Arthur? Nay, said he, I will not go with you as at this time. Then
he departed from them and took his two cousins with him, and so they
came unto Camelot by the hour of underne on Whitsunday. By that time the
king and the queen were gone to the minster to hear their service. Then
the king and the queen were passing glad of Sir Bors and Sir Lionel,
and so was all the fellowship. So when the king and all the knights were
come from service, the barons espied in the sieges of the Round Table
all about, written with golden letters: Here ought to sit he, and he
ought to sit here. And thus they went so long till that they came to
the Siege Perilous, where they found letters newly written of gold which
said: Four hundred winters and four and fifty accomplished after the
passion of our Lord Jesu Christ ought this siege to be fulfilled. Then
all they said: This is a marvellous thing and an adventurous. In the
name of God, said Sir Launcelot; and then accompted the term of the
writing from the birth of our Lord unto that day. It seemeth me said Sir
Launcelot, this siege ought to be fulfilled this same day, for this is
the feast of Pentecost after the four hundred and four and fifty year;
and if it would please all parties, I would none of these letters were
seen this day, till he be come that ought to enchieve this adventure.
Then made they to ordain a cloth of silk, for to cover these letters in
the Siege Perilous.

Then the king bade haste unto dinner. Sir, said Sir Kay the Steward, if
ye go now unto your meat ye shall break your old custom of your court,
for ye have not used on this day to sit at your meat or that ye have
seen some adventure. Ye say sooth, said the king, but I had so great joy
of Sir Launcelot and of his cousins, which be come to the court whole
and sound, so that I bethought me not of mine old custom. So, as they
stood speaking, in came a squire and said unto the king: Sir, I bring
unto you marvellous tidings. What be they? said the king. Sir, there
is here beneath at the river a great stone which I saw fleet above the
water, and therein I saw sticking a sword. The king said: I will see
that marvel. So all the knights went with him, and when they came to the
river they found there a stone fleeting, as it were of red marble, and
therein stuck a fair rich sword, and in the pommel thereof were precious
stones wrought with subtle letters of gold. Then the barons read the
letters which said in this wise: Never shall man take me hence, but only
he by whose side I ought to hang, and he shall be the best knight of the
world.

When the king had seen the letters, he said unto Sir Launcelot: Fair
Sir, this sword ought to be yours, for I am sure ye be the best knight
of the world. Then Sir Launcelot answered full soberly: Certes, sir, it
is not my sword; also, Sir, wit ye well I have no hardiness to set
my hand to it, for it longed not to hang by my side. Also, who that
assayeth to take the sword and faileth of it, he shall receive a wound
by that sword that he shall not be whole long after. And I will that
ye wit that this same day shall the adventures of the Sangreal, that is
called the Holy Vessel, begin.



CHAPTER III. How Sir Gawaine assayed to draw out the sword, and how an
old man brought in Galahad.


NOW, fair nephew, said the king unto Sir Gawaine, assay ye, for my love.
Sir, he said, save your good grace I shall not do that. Sir, said the
king, assay to take the sword and at my commandment. Sir, said Gawaine,
your commandment I will obey. And therewith he took up the sword by the
handles, but he might not stir it. I thank you, said the king to Sir
Gawaine. My lord Sir Gawaine, said Sir Launcelot, now wit ye well this
sword shall touch you so sore that ye shall will ye had never set your
hand thereto for the best castle of this realm. Sir, he said, I might
not withsay mine uncle's will and commandment. But when the king heard
this he repented it much, and said unto Sir Percivale that he should
assay, for his love. And he said: Gladly, for to bear Sir Gawaine
fellowship. And therewith he set his hand on the sword and drew it
strongly, but he might not move it. Then were there no[1] mo that durst
be so hardy to set their hands thereto. Now may ye go to your dinner,
said Sir Kay unto the king, for a marvellous adventure have ye seen.
So the king and all went unto the court, and every knight knew his own
place, and set him therein, and young men that were knights served them.

So when they were served, and all sieges fulfilled save only the Siege
Perilous, anon there befell a marvellous adventure, that all the doors
and windows of the palace shut by themself. Not for then the hall was
not greatly darked; and therewith they were[1] all[1] abashed both one
and other. Then King Arthur spake first and said: By God, fair fellows
and lords, we have seen this day marvels, but or night I suppose we
shall see greater marvels.

In the meanwhile came in a good old man, and an ancient, clothed all in
white, and there was no knight knew from whence he came. And with him
he brought a young knight, both on foot, in red arms, without sword or
shield, save a scabbard hanging by his side. And these words he said:
Peace be with you, fair lords. Then the old man said unto Arthur: Sir,
I bring here a young knight, the which is of king's lineage, and of the
kindred of Joseph of Aramathie, whereby the marvels of this court, and
of strange realms, shall be fully accomplished.


[1] Omitted by Caxton, supplied from W. de Worde.



CHAPTER IV. How the old man brought Galahad to the Siege Perilous and
set him therein, and how all the knights marvelled.


THE king was right glad of his words, and said unto the good man: Sir,
ye be right welcome, and the young knight with you. Then the old man
made the young man to unarm him, and he was in a coat of red sendal,
and bare a mantle upon his shoulder that was furred with ermine, and
put that upon him. And the old knight said unto the young knight: Sir,
follow me. And anon he led him unto the Siege Perilous, where beside
sat Sir Launcelot; and the good man lift up the cloth, and found there
letters that said thus: This is the siege of Galahad, the haut prince.
Sir, said the old knight, wit ye well that place is yours. And then he
set him down surely in that siege. And then he said to the old man: Sir,
ye may now go your way, for well have ye done that ye were commanded to
do; and recommend me unto my grandsire, King Pelles, and unto my lord
Petchere, and say them on my behalf, I shall come and see them as soon
as ever I may. So the good man departed; and there met him twenty noble
squires, and so took their horses and went their way.

Then all the knights of the Table Round marvelled greatly of Sir
Galahad, that he durst sit there in that Siege Perilous, and was so
tender of age; and wist not from whence he came but all only by God; and
said: This is he by whom the Sangreal shall be enchieved, for there sat
never none but he, but he were mischieved. Then Sir Launcelot beheld his
son and had great joy of him. Then Bors told his fellows: Upon pain of
my life this young knight shall come unto great worship. This noise
was great in all the court, so that it came to the queen. Then she had
marvel what knight it might be that durst adventure him to sit in the
Siege Perilous. Many said unto the queen he resembled much unto Sir
Launcelot. I may well suppose, said the queen, that Sir Launcelot begat
him on King Pelles' daughter, by the which he was made to lie by, by
enchantment, and his name is Galahad. I would fain see him, said the
queen, for he must needs be a noble man, for so is his father that him
begat, I report me unto all the Table Round.

So when the meat was done that the king and all were risen, the king
yede unto the Siege Perilous and lift up the cloth, and found there the
name of Galahad; and then he shewed it unto Sir Gawaine, and said: Fair
nephew, now have we among us Sir Galahad, the good knight that shall
worship us all; and upon pain of my life he shall enchieve the Sangreal,
right as Sir Launcelot had done us to understand. Then came King Arthur
unto Galahad and said: Sir, ye be welcome, for ye shall move many good
knights to the quest of the Sangreal, and ye shall enchieve that never
knights might bring to an end. Then the king took him by the hand, and
went down from the palace to shew Galahad the adventures of the stone.



CHAPTER V. How King Arthur shewed the stone hoving on the water to
Galahad, and how he drew out the sword.


THE queen heard thereof, and came after with many ladies, and shewed
them the stone where it hoved on the water. Sir, said the king unto Sir
Galahad, here is a great marvel as ever I saw, and right good knights
have assayed and failed. Sir, said Galahad, that is no marvel, for this
adventure is not theirs but mine; and for the surety of this sword I
brought none with me, for here by my side hangeth the scabbard. And anon
he laid his hand on the sword, and lightly drew it out of the stone, and
put it in the sheath, and said unto the king: Now it goeth better than
it did aforehand. Sir, said the king, a shield God shall send you. Now
have I that sword that sometime was the good knight's, Balin le Savage,
and he was a passing good man of his hands; and with this sword he slew
his brother Balan, and that was great pity, for he was a good knight,
and either slew other through a dolorous stroke that Balin gave unto my
grandfather King Pelles, the which is not yet whole, nor not shall be
till I heal him.

Therewith the king and all espied where came riding down the river a
lady on a white palfrey toward them. Then she saluted the king and the
queen, and asked if that Sir Launcelot was there. And then he answered
himself: I am here, fair lady. Then she said all with weeping: How your
great doing is changed sith this day in the morn. Damosel, why say you
so? said Launcelot. I say you sooth, said the damosel, for ye were this
day the best knight of the world, but who should say so now, he should
be a liar, for there is now one better than ye, and well it is proved by
the adventures of the sword whereto ye durst not set to your hand; and
that is the change and leaving of your name. Wherefore I make unto you a
remembrance, that ye shall not ween from henceforth that ye be the best
knight of the world. As touching unto that, said Launcelot, I know well
I was never the best. Yes, said the damosel, that were ye, and are
yet, of any sinful man of the world. And, Sir king, Nacien, the hermit,
sendeth thee word, that thee shall befall the greatest worship that
ever befell king in Britain; and I say you wherefore, for this day the
Sangreal appeared in thy house and fed thee and all thy fellowship of
the Round Table. So she departed and went that same way that she came.



CHAPTER VI. How King Arthur had all the knights together for to joust in
the meadow beside Camelot or they departed.


Now, said the king, I am sure at this quest of the Sangreal shall all
ye of the Table Round depart, and never shall I see you again whole
together; therefore I will see you all whole together in the meadow of
Camelot to joust and to tourney, that after your death men may speak of
it that such good knights were wholly together such a day. As unto that
counsel and at the king's request they accorded all, and took on their
harness that longed unto jousting. But all this moving of the king
was for this intent, for to see Galahad proved; for the king deemed he
should not lightly come again unto the court after his departing. So
were they assembled in the meadow, both more and less. Then Sir
Galahad, by the prayer of the king and the queen, did upon him a noble
jesseraunce, and also he did on his helm, but shield would he take none
for no prayer of the king. And then Sir Gawaine and other knights prayed
him to take a spear. Right so he did; and the queen was in a tower with
all her ladies, for to behold that tournament. Then Sir Galahad dressed
him in midst of the meadow, and began to break spears marvellously, that
all men had wonder of him; for he there surmounted all other knights,
for within a while he had defouled many good knights of the Table Round
save twain, that was Sir Launcelot and Sir Percivale.



CHAPTER VII. How the queen desired to see Galahad; and how after, all
the knights were replenished with the Holy Sangreal, and how they avowed
the enquest of the same.


THEN the king, at the queen's request, made him to alight and to unlace
his helm, that the queen might see him in the visage. When she beheld
him she said: Soothly I dare well say that Sir Launcelot begat him, for
never two men resembled more in likeness, therefore it nis no marvel
though he be of great prowess. So a lady that stood by the queen said:
Madam, for God's sake ought he of right to be so good a knight? Yea,
forsooth, said the queen, for he is of all parties come of the best
knights of the world and of the highest lineage; for Sir Launcelot is
come but of the eighth degree from our Lord Jesu Christ, and Sir Galahad
is of the ninth degree from our Lord Jesu Christ, therefore I dare say
they be the greatest gentlemen of the world.

And then the king and all estates went home unto Camelot, and so went
to evensong to the great minster, and so after upon that to supper, and
every knight sat in his own place as they were toforehand. Then anon
they heard cracking and crying of thunder, that them thought the place
should all to-drive. In the midst of this blast entered a sunbeam
more clearer by seven times than ever they saw day, and all they were
alighted of the grace of the Holy Ghost. Then began every knight to
behold other, and either saw other, by their seeming, fairer than ever
they saw afore. Not for then there was no knight might speak one word
a great while, and so they looked every man on other as they had been
dumb. Then there entered into the hall the Holy Grail covered with white
samite, but there was none might see it, nor who bare it. And there was
all the hall fulfilled with good odours, and every knight had such meats
and drinks as he best loved in this world. And when the Holy Grail had
been borne through the hall, then the holy vessel departed suddenly,
that they wist not where it became: then had they all breath to speak.
And then the king yielded thankings to God, of His good grace that he
had sent them. Certes, said the king, we ought to thank our Lord Jesu
greatly for that he hath shewed us this day, at the reverence of this
high feast of Pentecost.

Now, said Sir Gawaine, we have been served this day of what meats and
drinks we thought on; but one thing beguiled us, we might not see the
Holy Grail, it was so preciously covered. Wherefore I will make here
avow, that to-morn, without longer abiding, I shall labour in the quest
of the Sangreal, that I shall hold me out a twelvemonth and a day, or
more if need be, and never shall I return again unto the court till I
have seen it more openly than it hath been seen here; and if I may not
speed I shall return again as he that may not be against the will of our
Lord Jesu Christ.

When they of the Table Round heard Sir Gawaine say so, they arose up
the most part and made such avows as Sir Gawaine had made. Anon as King
Arthur heard this he was greatly displeased, for he wist well they might
not again-say their avows. Alas, said King Arthur unto Sir Gawaine,
ye have nigh slain me with the avow and promise that ye have made; for
through you ye have bereft me the fairest fellowship and the truest of
knighthood that ever were seen together in any realm of the world; for
when they depart from hence I am sure they all shall never meet more in
this world, for they shall die many in the quest. And so it forthinketh
me a little, for I have loved them as well as my life, wherefore it
shall grieve me right sore, the departition of this fellowship: for I
have had an old custom to have them in my fellowship.



CHAPTER VIII. How great sorrow was made of the king and the queen and
ladies for the departing of the knights, and how they departed.


AND therewith the tears fell in his eyes. And then he said: Gawaine,
Gawaine, ye have set me in great sorrow, for I have great doubt that
my true fellowship shall never meet here more again. Ah, said Sir
Launcelot, comfort yourself; for it shall be unto us a great honour and
much more than if we died in any other places, for of death we be siker.
Ah, Launcelot, said the king, the great love that I have had unto you
all the days of my life maketh me to say such doleful words; for never
Christian king had never so many worthy men at his table as I have had
this day at the Round Table, and that is my great sorrow.

When the queen, ladies, and gentlewomen, wist these tidings, they had
such sorrow and heaviness that there might no tongue tell it, for those
knights had held them in honour and chierté. But among all other Queen
Guenever made great sorrow. I marvel, said she, my lord would suffer
them to depart from him. Thus was all the court troubled for the love
of the departition of those knights. And many of those ladies that loved
knights would have gone with their lovers; and so had they done, had not
an old knight come among them in religious clothing; and then he spake
all on high and said: Fair lords, which have sworn in the quest of the
Sangreal, thus sendeth you Nacien, the hermit, word, that none in this
quest lead lady nor gentlewoman with him, for it is not to do in so high
a service as they labour in; for I warn you plain, he that is not clean
of his sins he shall not see the mysteries of our Lord Jesu Christ. And
for this cause they left these ladies and gentlewomen.

After this the queen came unto Galahad and asked him of whence he
was, and of what country. He told her of whence he was. And son unto
Launcelot, she said he was. As to that, he said neither yea nor nay. So
God me help, said the queen, of your father ye need not to shame you,
for he is the goodliest knight, and of the best men of the world come,
and of the strain, of all parties, of kings. Wherefore ye ought of right
to be, of your deeds, a passing good man; and certainly, she said,
ye resemble him much. Then Sir Galahad was a little ashamed and said:
Madam, sith ye know in certain, wherefore do ye ask it me? for he that
is my father shall be known openly and all betimes. And then they went
to rest them. And in the honour of the highness of Galahad he was led
into King Arthur's chamber, and there rested in his own bed.

And as soon as it was day the king arose, for he had no rest of all that
night for sorrow. Then he went unto Gawaine and to Sir Launcelot that
were arisen for to hear mass. And then the king again said: Ah Gawaine,
Gawaine, ye have betrayed me; for never shall my court be amended by
you, but ye will never be sorry for me as I am for you. And therewith
the tears began to run down by his visage. And therewith the king said:
Ah, knight Sir Launcelot, I require thee thou counsel me, for I would
that this quest were undone, an it might be Sir, said Sir Launcelot, ye
saw yesterday so many worthy knights that then were sworn that they may
not leave it in no manner of wise. That wot I well, said the king, but
it shall so heavy me at their departing that I wot well there shall no
manner of joy remedy me. And then the king and the queen went unto the
minster. So anon Launcelot and Gawaine commanded their men to bring
their arms. And when they all were armed save their shields and their
helms, then they came to their fellowship, which were all ready in the
same wise, for to go to the minster to hear their service.

Then after the service was done the king would wit how many had
undertaken the quest of the Holy Grail; and to accompt them he prayed
them all. Then found they by the tale an hundred and fifty, and all
were knights of the Round Table. And then they put on their helms and
departed, and recommended them all wholly unto the queen; and there was
weeping and great sorrow. Then the queen departed into her chamber and
held her, so that no man should perceive her great sorrows. When Sir
Launcelot missed the queen he went till her chamber, and when she saw
him she cried aloud: O Launcelot, Launcelot, ye have betrayed me and put
me to the death, for to leave thus my lord. Ah, madam, I pray you be
not displeased, for I shall come again as soon as I may with my worship.
Alas, said she, that ever I saw you; but he that suffered upon the cross
for all mankind, he be unto you good conduct and safety, and all the
whole fellowship.

Right so departed Sir Launcelot, and found his fellowship that abode
his coming. And so they mounted upon their horses and rode through the
streets of Camelot; and there was weeping of rich and poor, and the king
turned away and might not speak for weeping. So within a while they came
to a city, and a castle that hight Vagon. There they entered into the
castle, and the lord of that castle was an old man that hight Vagon, and
he was a good man of his living, and set open the gates, and made them
all the cheer that he might. And so on the morn they were all accorded
that they should depart everych from other; and on the morn they
departed with weeping cheer, and every knight took the way that him
liked best.



CHAPTER IX. How Galahad gat him a shield, and how they sped that
presumed to take down the said shield.


NOW rideth Sir Galahad yet without shield, and so he rode four days
without any adventure. And at the fourth day after evensong he came to
a White Abbey, and there he was received with great reverence, and led
unto a chamber, and there was he unarmed; and then was he ware of two[1]
knights of the Table Round, one was Sir Bagdemagus, and[1] that[1]
other[1] was Sir Uwaine. And when they saw him they went unto Galahad
and made of him great solace, and so they went unto supper. Sirs, said
Sir Galahad, what adventure brought you hither? Sir, said they, it is
told us that within this place is a shield that no man may bear about
his neck but he be mischieved outher dead within three days, or maimed
for ever. Ah sir, said King Bagdemagus, I shall it bear to-morrow for
to assay this adventure. In the name of God, said Sir Galahad. Sir, said
Bagdemagus, an I may not enchieve the adventure of this shield ye shall
take it upon you, for I am sure ye shall not fail. Sir, said Galahad, I
right well agree me thereto, for I have no shield. So on the morn they
arose and heard mass. Then Bagdemagus asked where the adventurous shield
was. Anon a monk led him behind an altar where the shield hung as white
as any snow, but in the midst was a red cross. Sir, said the monk,
this shield ought not to be hanged about no knight's neck but he be the
worthiest knight of the world;

[1] Omitted by Caxton, supplied from W. de Worde.

therefore I counsel you knights to be well advised. Well, said
Bagdemagus, I wot well that I am not the best knight of the world, but
yet I shall assay to bear it, and so bare it out of the minster. And
then he said unto Galahad: An it please you abide here still, till
ye wit how that I speed. I shall abide you, said Galahad. Then King
Bagdemagus took with him a good squire, to bring tidings unto Sir
Galahad how he sped.

Then when they had ridden a two mile and came to a fair valley afore an
hermitage, then they saw a knight come from that part in white armour,
horse and all; and he came as fast as his horse might run, and his spear
in his rest, and Bagdemagus dressed his spear against him and brake it
upon the white knight. But the other struck him so hard that he brast
the mails, and sheef him through the right shoulder, for the shield
covered him not as at that time; and so he bare him from his horse.
And therewith he alighted and took the white shield from him, saying:
Knight, thou hast done thyself great folly, for this shield ought not
to be borne but by him that shall have no peer that liveth. And then
he came to Bagdemagus' squire and said: Bear this shield unto the good
knight Sir Galahad, that thou left in the abbey, and greet him well by
me. Sir, said the squire, what is your name? Take thou no heed of my
name, said the knight, for it is not for thee to know nor for none
earthly man. Now, fair sir, said the squire, at the reverence of Jesu
Christ, tell me for what cause this shield may not be borne but if the
bearer thereof be mischieved. Now sith thou hast conjured me so, said
the knight, this shield behoveth unto no man but unto Galahad. And the
squire went unto Bagdemagus and asked whether he were sore wounded or
not. Yea forsooth, said he, I shall escape hard from the death. Then he
fetched his horse, and brought him with great pain unto an abbey. Then
was he taken down softly and unarmed, and laid in a bed, and there was
looked to his wounds. And as the book telleth, he lay there long, and
escaped hard with the life.



CHAPTER X. How Galahad departed with the shield, and how King Evelake
had received the shield of Joseph of Aramathie.


SIR GALAHAD, said the squire, that knight that wounded Bagdemagus
sendeth you greeting, and bade that ye should bear this shield,
wherethrough great adventures should befall. Now blessed be God and
fortune, said Galahad. And then he asked his arms, and mounted upon his
horse, and hung the white shield about his neck, and commended them unto
God. And Sir Uwaine said he would bear him fellowship if it pleased
him. Sir, said Galahad, that may ye not, for I must go alone, save this
squire shall bear me fellowship: and so departed Uwaine.

Then within a while came Galahad thereas the White Knight abode him by
the hermitage, and everych saluted other courteously. Sir, said Galahad,
by this shield be many marvels fallen. Sir, said the knight, it befell
after the passion of our Lord Jesu Christ thirty-two year, that Joseph
of Aramathie, the gentle knight, the which took down our Lord off the
holy Cross, at that time he departed from Jerusalem with a great party
of his kindred with him. And so he laboured till that they came to a
city that hight Sarras. And at that same hour that Joseph came to Sarras
there was a king that hight Evelake, that had great war against the
Saracens, and in especial against one Saracen, the which was King
Evelake's cousin, a rich king and a mighty, which marched nigh this
land, and his name was called Tolleme la Feintes. So on a day these two
met to do battle. Then Joseph, the son of Joseph of Aramathie, went to
King Evelake and told him he should be discomfit and slain, but if he
left his belief of the old law and believed upon the new law. And then
there he shewed him the right belief of the Holy Trinity, to the which
he agreed unto with all his heart; and there this shield was made for
King Evelake, in the name of Him that died upon the Cross. And then
through his good belief he had the better of King Tolleme. For when
Evelake was in the battle there was a cloth set afore the shield, and
when he was in the greatest peril he let put away the cloth, and then
his enemies saw a figure of a man on the Cross, wherethrough they
all were discomfit. And so it befell that a man of King Evelake's was
smitten his hand off, and bare that hand in his other hand; and Joseph
called that man unto him and bade him go with good devotion touch the
Cross. And as soon as that man had touched the Cross with his hand it
was as whole as ever it was to-fore. Then soon after there fell a great
marvel, that the cross of the shield at one time vanished away that no
man wist where it became. And then King Evelake was baptised, and for
the most part all the people of that city. So, soon after Joseph would
depart, and King Evelake would go with him, whether he wold or nold.
And so by fortune they came into this land, that at that time was called
Great Britain; and there they found a great felon paynim, that put
Joseph into prison. And so by fortune tidings came unto a worthy man
that hight Mondrames, and he assembled all his people for the great
renown he had heard of Joseph; and so he came into the land of Great
Britain and disherited this felon paynim and consumed him, and therewith
delivered Joseph out of prison. And after that all the people were
turned to the Christian faith.



CHAPTER XI. How Joseph made a cross on the white shield with his blood,
and how Galahad was by a monk brought to a tomb.


NOT long after that Joseph was laid in his deadly bed. And when King
Evelake saw that he made much sorrow, and said: For thy love I have left
my country, and sith ye shall depart out of this world, leave me some
token of yours that I may think on you. Joseph said: That will I do
full gladly; now bring me your shield that I took you when ye went into
battle against King Tolleme. Then Joseph bled sore at the nose, so that
he might not by no mean be staunched. And there upon that shield he made
a cross of his own blood. Now may ye see a remembrance that I love you,
for ye shall never see this shield but ye shall think on me, and it
shall be always as fresh as it is now. And never shall man bear this
shield about his neck but he shall repent it, unto the time that
Galahad, the good knight, bear it; and the last of my lineage shall have
it about his neck, that shall do many marvellous deeds. Now, said King
Evelake, where shall I put this shield, that this worthy knight may have
it? Ye shall leave it thereas Nacien, the hermit, shall be put after his
death; for thither shall that good knight come the fifteenth day after
that he shall receive the order of knighthood: and so that day that they
set is this time that he have his shield, and in the same abbey lieth
Nacien, the hermit. And then the White Knight vanished away.

Anon as the squire had heard these words, he alighted off his hackney
and kneeled down at Galahad's feet, and prayed him that he might go with
him till he had made him knight. Yea,[1] I would not refuse you. Then
will ye make me a knight? said the squire, and that order, by the grace
of God, shall be well set in me. So Sir Galahad granted him, and turned
again unto the abbey where they came from; and there men made great joy
of Sir Galahad. And anon as he was alighted there was a monk brought him
unto a tomb in a churchyard, where there was such a noise that who that
heard it should verily nigh be mad or lose his strength: and sir, they
said, we deem it is a fiend.


[1] Caxton "Yf," for which "Ye" seems the easiest emendation that
will save the sense.



CHAPTER XII. Of the marvel that Sir Galahad saw and heard in the tomb,
and how he made Melias knight.


NOW lead me thither, said Galahad. And so they did, all armed save his
helm. Now, said the good man, go to the tomb and lift it up. So he did,
and heard a great noise; and piteously he said, that all men might hear
it: Sir Galahad, the servant of Jesu Christ, come thou not nigh me, for
thou shalt make me go again there where I have been so long. But Galahad
was nothing afraid, but lifted up the stone; and there came out so foul
a smoke, and after he saw the foulest figure leap thereout that ever he
saw in the likeness of a man; and then he blessed him and wist well
it was a fiend. Then heard he a voice say Galahad, I see there environ
about thee so many angels that my power may not dere thee{sic} Right
so Sir Galahad saw a body all armed lie in that tomb, and beside him a
sword. Now, fair brother, said Galahad, let us remove this body, for it
is not worthy to lie in this churchyard, for he was a false Christian
man. And therewith they all departed and went to the abbey. And anon as
he was unarmed a good man came and set him down by him and said: Sir,
I shall tell you what betokeneth all that ye saw in the tomb; for that
covered body betokeneth the duresse of the world, and the great sin that
Our Lord found in the world. For there was such wretchedness that the
father loved not the son, nor the son loved not the father; and that was
one of the causes that Our Lord took flesh and blood of a clean
maiden, for our sins were so great at that time that well-nigh all was
wickedness. Truly, said Galahad, I believe you right well.

So Sir Galahad rested him there that night; and upon the morn he made
the squire knight, and asked him his name, and of what kindred he was
come. Sir, said he, men calleth me Melias de Lile, and I am the son of
the King of Denmark. Now, fair sir, said Galahad, sith that ye be come
of kings and queens, now look that knighthood be well set in you, for
ye ought to be a mirror unto all chivalry. Sir, said Sir Melias, ye say
sooth. But, sir, sithen ye have made me a knight ye must of right grant
me my first desire that is reasonable. Ye say sooth, said Galahad.
Melias said: Then that ye will suffer me to ride with you in this quest
of the Sangreal, till that some adventure depart us. I grant you, sir.

Then men brought Sir Melias his armour and his spear and his horse,
and so Sir Galahad and he rode forth all that week or they found any
adventure. And then upon a Monday in the morning, as they were departed
from an abbey, they came to a cross which departed two ways, and in that
cross were letters written that said thus: Now, ye knights errant, the
which goeth to seek knights adventurous, see here two ways; that one way
defendeth thee that thou ne go that way, for he shall not go out of the
way again but if he be a good man and a worthy knight; and if thou go on
the left hand, thou shalt not lightly there win prowess, for thou shalt
in this way be soon assayed. Sir, said Melias to Galahad, if it like
you to suffer me to take the way on the left hand, tell me, for there I
shall well prove my strength. It were better, said Galahad, ye rode not
that way, for I deem I should better escape in that way than ye. Nay, my
lord, I pray you let me have that adventure. Take it in God's name, said
Galahad.



CHAPTER XIII. Of the adventure that Melias had, and how Galahad revenged
him, and how Melias was carried into an abbey.


AND then rode Melias into an old forest, and therein he rode two days
and more. And then he came into a fair meadow, and there was a fair
lodge of boughs. And then he espied in that lodge a chair, wherein was
a crown of gold, subtly wrought. Also there were cloths covered upon
the earth, and many delicious meats set thereon. Sir Melias beheld this
adventure, and thought it marvellous, but he had no hunger, but of the
crown of gold he took much keep; and therewith he stooped down and took
it up, and rode his way with it. And anon he saw a knight came riding
after him that said: Knight, set down that crown which is not yours, and
therefore defend you. Then Sir Melias blessed him and said: Fair lord
of heaven, help and save thy new-made knight. And then they let their
horses run as fast as they might, so that the other knight smote Sir
Melias through hauberk and through the left side, that he fell to the
earth nigh dead. And then he took the crown and went his way; and Sir
Melias lay still and had no power to stir.

In the meanwhile by fortune there came Sir Galahad and found him there
in peril of death. And then he said: Ah Melias, who hath wounded you?
therefore it had been better to have ridden the other way. And when Sir
Melias heard him speak: Sir, he said, for God's love let me not die
in this forest, but bear me unto the abbey here beside, that I may be
confessed and have my rights. It shall be done, said Galahad, but where
is he that hath wounded you? With that Sir Galahad heard in the leaves
cry on high: Knight, keep thee from me. Ah sir, said Melias, beware, for
that is he that hath slain me. Sir Galahad answered: Sir knight, come on
your peril. Then either dressed to other, and came together as fast as
their horses might run, and Galahad smote him so that his spear went
through his shoulder, and smote him down off his horse, and in the
falling Galahad's spear brake.

With that came out another knight out of the leaves, and brake a spear
upon Galahad or ever he might turn him. Then Galahad drew out his sword
and smote off the left arm of him, so that it fell to the earth. And
then he fled, and Sir Galahad pursued fast after him. And then he turned
again unto Sir Melias, and there he alighted and dressed him softly on
his horse to-fore him, for the truncheon of his spear was in his body;
and Sir Galahad stert up behind him, and held him in his arms, and so
brought him to the abbey, and there unarmed him and brought him to his
chamber. And then he asked his Saviour. And when he had received Him
he said unto Sir Galahad: Sir, let death come when it pleaseth him. And
therewith he drew out the truncheon of the spear out of his body: and
then he swooned.

Then came there an old monk which sometime had been a knight, and
beheld Sir Melias. And anon he ransacked him; and then he said unto Sir
Galahad: I shall heal him of his wound, by the grace of God, within the
term of seven weeks. Then was Sir Galahad glad, and unarmed him, and
said he would abide there three days. And then he asked Sir Melias
how it stood with him. Then he said he was turned unto helping, God be
thanked.



CHAPTER XIV. How Sir Galahad departed, and how he was commanded to go to
the Castle of Maidens to destroy the wicked custom.


NOW will I depart, said Galahad, for I have much on hand, for many good
knights be full busy about it, and this knight and I were in the same
quest of the Sangreal. Sir, said a good man, for his sin he was thus
wounded; and I marvel, said the good man, how ye durst take upon you so
rich a thing as the high order of knighthood without clean confession,
and that was the cause ye were bitterly wounded. For the way on the
right hand betokeneth the highway of our Lord Jesu Christ, and the
way of a good true good liver. And the other way betokeneth the way
of sinners and of misbelievers. And when the devil saw your pride and
presumption, for to take you in the quest of the Sangreal, that made you
to be overthrown, for it may not be enchieved but by virtuous living.
Also, the writing on the cross was a signification of heavenly deeds,
and of knightly deeds in God's works, and no knightly deeds in worldly
works. And pride is head of all deadly sins, that caused this knight
to depart from Galahad. And where thou tookest the crown of gold thou
sinnest in covetise and in theft: all this were no knightly deeds. And
this Galahad, the holy knight, the which fought with the two knights,
the two knights signify the two deadly sins which were wholly in this
knight Melias; and they might not withstand you, for ye are without
deadly sin.

Now departed Galahad from thence, and betaught them all unto God. Sir
Melias said: My lord Galahad, as soon as I may ride I shall seek you.
God send you health, said Galahad, and so took his horse and departed,
and rode many journeys forward and backward, as adventure would lead
him. And at the last it happened him to depart from a place or a castle
the which was named Abblasoure; and he had heard no mass, the which he
was wont ever to hear or ever he departed out of any castle or place,
and kept that for a custom. Then Sir Galahad came unto a mountain
where he found an old chapel, and found there nobody, for all, all was
desolate; and there he kneeled to-fore the altar, and besought God of
wholesome counsel. So as he prayed he heard a voice that said: Go thou
now, thou adventurous knight, to the Castle of Maidens, and there do
thou away the wicked customs.



CHAPTER XV. How Sir Galahad fought with the knights of the castle, and
destroyed the wicked custom.


WHEN Sir Galahad heard this he thanked God, and took his horse; and he
had not ridden but half a mile, he saw in the valley afore him a strong
castle with deep ditches, and there ran beside it a fair river that
hight Severn; and there he met with a man of great age, and either
saluted other, and Galahad asked him the castle's name. Fair sir, said
he, it is the Castle of Maidens. That is a cursed castle, said Galahad,
and all they that be conversant therein, for all pity is out thereof,
and all hardiness and mischief is therein. Therefore, I counsel you, sir
knight, to turn again. Sir, said Galahad, wit you well I shall not turn
again. Then looked Sir Galahad on his arms that nothing failed him,
and then he put his shield afore him; and anon there met him seven fair
maidens, the which said unto him: Sir knight, ye ride here in a great
folly, for ye have the water to pass over. Why should I not pass the
water? said Galahad. So rode he away from them and met with a squire
that said: Knight, those knights in the castle defy you, and defenden
you ye go no further till that they wit what ye would. Fair sir, said
Galahad, I come for to destroy the wicked custom of this castle. Sir,
an ye will abide by that ye shall have enough to do. Go you now, said
Galahad, and haste my needs.

Then the squire entered into the castle. And anon after there came out
of the castle seven knights, and all were brethren. And when they saw
Galahad they cried: Knight, keep thee, for we assure thee nothing but
death. Why, said Galahad, will ye all have ado with me at once? Yea,
said they, thereto mayst thou trust. Then Galahad put forth his spear
and smote the foremost to the earth, that near he brake his neck. And
therewithal the other smote him on his shield great strokes, so that
their spears brake. Then Sir Galahad drew out his sword, and set upon
them so hard that it was marvel to see it, and so through great force
he made them to forsake the field; and Galahad chased them till they
entered into the castle, and so passed through the castle at another
gate.

And there met Sir Galahad an old man clothed in religious clothing, and
said: Sir, have here the keys of this castle. Then Sir Galahad opened
the gates, and saw so much people in the streets that he might not
number them, and all said: Sir, ye be welcome, for long have we abiden
here our deliverance. Then came to him a gentlewoman and said: These
knights be fled, but they will come again this night, and here to begin
again their evil custom. What will ye that I shall do? said Galahad.
Sir, said the gentlewoman, that ye send after all the knights hither
that hold their lands of this castle, and make them to swear for to use
the customs that were used heretofore of old time. I will well, said
Galahad. And there she brought him an horn of ivory, bounden with gold
richly, and said: Sir, blow this horn which will be heard two mile about
this castle. When Sir Galahad had blown the horn he set him down upon a
bed.

Then came a priest to Galahad, and said: Sir, it is past a seven year
agone that these seven brethren came into this castle, and harboured
with the lord of this castle that hight the Duke Lianour, and he was
lord of all this country. And when they espied the duke's daughter,
that was a full fair woman, then by their false covin they made debate
betwixt themself, and the duke of his goodness would have departed
them, and there they slew him and his eldest son. And then they took the
maiden and the treasure of the castle. And then by great force they
held all the knights of this castle against their will under their
obeissance, and in great service and truage, robbing and pilling the
poor common people of all that they had. So it happened on a day the
duke's daughter said: Ye have done unto me great wrong to slay mine own
father, and my brother, and thus to hold our lands: not for then, she
said, ye shall not hold this castle for many years, for by one knight ye
shall be overcome. Thus she prophesied seven years agone. Well, said the
seven knights, sithen ye say so, there shall never lady nor knight pass
this castle but they shall abide maugre their heads, or die therefore,
till that knight be come by whom we shall lose this castle. And
therefore is it called the Maidens' Castle, for they have devoured many
maidens. Now, said Galahad, is she here for whom this castle was lost?
Nay sir, said the priest, she was dead within these three nights after
that she was thus enforced; and sithen have they kept her younger
sister, which endureth great pains with mo other ladies.

By this were the knights of the country come, and then he made them do
homage and fealty to the king's daughter, and set them in great ease of
heart. And in the morn there came one to Galahad and told him how that
Gawaine, Gareth, and Uwaine, had slain the seven brethren. I suppose
well, said Sir Galahad, and took his armour and his horse, and commended
them unto God.



CHAPTER XVI. How Sir Gawaine came to the abbey for to follow Galahad,
and how he was shriven to a hermit.


NOW, saith the tale, after Sir Gawaine departed, he rode many journeys,
both toward and froward. And at the last he came to the abbey where Sir
Galahad had the white shield, and there Sir Gawaine learned the way to
sewe after Sir Galahad; and so he rode to the abbey where Melias lay
sick, and there Sir Melias told Sir Gawaine of the marvellous adventures
that Sir Galahad did. Certes, said Sir Gawaine, I am not happy that I
took not the way that he went, for an I may meet with him I will not
depart from him lightly, for all marvellous adventures Sir Galahad
enchieveth. Sir, said one of the monks, he will not of your fellowship.
Why? said Sir Gawaine. Sir, said he, for ye be wicked and sinful, and he
is full blessed. Right as they thus stood talking there came in riding
Sir Gareth. And then they made joy either of other. And on the morn they
heard mass, and so departed. And by the way they met with Sir Uwaine les
Avoutres, and there Sir Uwaine told Sir Gawaine how he had met with none
adventure sith he departed from the court. Nor we, said Sir Gawaine. And
either promised other of the three knights not to depart while they were
in that quest, but if fortune caused it.

So they departed and rode by fortune till that they came by the Castle
of Maidens; and there the seven brethren espied the three knights, and
said: Sithen, we be flemed by one knight from this castle, we shall
destroy all the knights of King Arthur's that we may overcome, for the
love of Sir Galahad. And therewith the seven knights set upon the three
knights, and by fortune Sir Gawaine slew one of the brethren, and each
one of his fellows slew another, and so slew the remnant. And then they
took the way under the castle, and there they lost the way that Sir
Galahad rode, and there everych of them departed from other; and Sir
Gawaine rode till he came to an hermitage, and there he found the good
man saying his evensong of Our Lady; and there Sir Gawaine asked harbour
for charity, and the good man granted it him gladly.

Then the good man asked him what he was. Sir, he said, I am a knight of
King Arthur's that am in the quest of the Sangreal, and my name is Sir
Gawaine. Sir, said the good man, I would wit how it standeth betwixt God
and you. Sir, said Sir Gawaine, I will with a good will shew you my life
if it please you; and there he told the hermit how a monk of an abbey
called me wicked knight. He might well say it, said the hermit, for when
ye were first made knight ye should have taken you to knightly deeds
and virtuous living, and ye have done the contrary, for ye have lived
mischievously many winters; and Sir Galahad is a maid and sinned never,
and that is the cause he shall enchieve where he goeth that ye nor none
such shall not attain, nor none in your fellowship, for ye have used the
most untruest life that ever I heard knight live. For certes had ye not
been so wicked as ye are, never had the seven brethren been slain by you
and your two fellows. For Sir Galahad himself alone beat them all seven
the day to-fore, but his living is such he shall slay no man lightly.
Also I may say you the Castle of Maidens betokeneth the good souls
that were in prison afore the Incarnation of Jesu Christ. And the seven
knights betoken the seven deadly sins that reigned that time in the
world; and I may liken the good Galahad unto the son of the High Father,
that lighted within a maid, and bought all the souls out of thrall, so
did Sir Galahad deliver all the maidens out of the woful castle.

Now, Sir Gawaine, said the good man, thou must do penance for thy sin.
Sir, what penance shall I do? Such as I will give, said the good man.
Nay, said Sir Gawaine, I may do no penance; for we knights adventurous
oft suffer great woe and pain. Well, said the good man, and then he held
his peace. And on the morn Sir Gawaine departed from the hermit, and
betaught him unto God. And by adventure he met with Sir Aglovale and
Sir Griflet, two knights of the Table Round. And they two rode four days
without finding of any adventure, and at the fifth day they departed.
And everych held as fell them by adventure. Here leaveth the tale of Sir
Gawaine and his fellows, and speak we of Sir Galahad.



CHAPTER XVII. How Sir Galahad met with Sir Launcelot and Sir Percivale,
and smote them down, and departed from them.

So when Sir Galahad was departed from the Castle of Maidens he rode till
he came to a waste forest, and there he met with Sir Launcelot and Sir
Percivale, but they knew him not, for he was new disguised. Right so Sir
Launcelot, his father, dressed his spear and brake it upon Sir Galahad,
and Galahad smote him so again that he smote down horse and man. And
then he drew his sword, and dressed him unto Sir Percivale, and smote
him so on the helm, that it rove to the coif of steel; and had not the
sword swerved Sir Percivale had been slain, and with the stroke he fell
out of his saddle. This jousts was done to-fore the hermitage where a
recluse dwelled. And when she saw Sir Galahad ride, she said: God be
with thee, best knight of the world. Ah certes, said she, all aloud that
Launcelot and Percivale might hear it: An yonder two knights had known
thee as well as I do they would not have encountered with thee. Then Sir
Galahad heard her say so he was adread to be known: therewith he smote
his horse with his spurs and rode a great pace froward them. Then
perceived they both that he was Galahad; and up they gat on their
horses, and rode fast after him, but in a while he was out of their
sight. And then they turned again with heavy cheer. Let us spere some
tidings, said Percivale, at yonder recluse. Do as ye list, said Sir
Launcelot.

When Sir Percivale came to the recluse she knew him well enough, and Sir
Launcelot both. But Sir Launcelot rode overthwart and endlong in a wild
forest, and held no path but as wild adventure led him. And at the last
he came to a stony cross which departed two ways in waste land; and by
the cross was a stone that was of marble, but it was so dark that Sir
Launcelot might not wit what it was. Then Sir Launcelot looked by him,
and saw an old chapel, and there he weened to have found people; and Sir
Launcelot tied his horse till a tree, and there he did off his shield
and hung it upon a tree, and then went to the chapel door, and found it
waste and broken. And within he found a fair altar, full richly arrayed
with cloth of clean silk, and there stood a fair clean candlestick,
which bare six great candles, and the candlestick was of silver. And
when Sir Launcelot saw this light he had great will for to enter into
the chapel, but he could find no place where he might enter; then was he
passing heavy and dismayed. Then he returned and came to his horse and
did off his saddle and bridle, and let him pasture, and unlaced his
helm, and ungirt his sword, and laid him down to sleep upon his shield
to-fore the cross.



CHAPTER XVIII. How Sir Launcelot, half sleeping and half waking, saw a
sick man borne in a litter, and how he was healed with the Sangreal.


AND so he fell asleep; and half waking and sleeping he saw come by him
two palfreys all fair and white, the which bare a litter, therein lying
a sick knight. And when he was nigh the cross he there abode still. All
this Sir Launcelot saw and beheld, for he slept not verily; and he heard
him say: O sweet Lord, when shall this sorrow leave me? and when shall
the holy vessel come by me, wherethrough I shall be blessed? For I have
endured thus long, for little trespass. A full great while complained
the knight thus, and always Sir Launcelot heard it. With that Sir
Launcelot saw the candlestick with the six tapers come before the cross,
and he saw nobody that brought it. Also there came a table of silver,
and the holy vessel of the Sangreal, which Launcelot had seen aforetime
in King Pescheour's house. And therewith the sick knight set him up, and
held up both his hands, and said: Fair sweet Lord, which is here within
this holy vessel; take heed unto me that I may be whole of this malady.
And therewith on his hands and on his knees he went so nigh that he
touched the holy vessel and kissed it, and anon he was whole; and then
he said: Lord God, I thank thee, for I am healed of this sickness.

So when the holy vessel had been there a great while it went unto the
chapel with the chandelier and the light, so that Launcelot wist not
where it was become; for he was overtaken with sin that he had no power
to rise again the holy vessel; wherefore after that many men said of him
shame, but he took repentance after that. Then the sick knight dressed
him up and kissed the cross; anon his squire brought him his arms, and
asked his lord how he did. Certes, said he, I thank God right well,
through the holy vessel I am healed. But I have marvel of this sleeping
knight that had no power to awake when this holy vessel was brought
hither. I dare right well say, said the squire, that he dwelleth in some
deadly sin whereof he was never confessed. By my faith, said the knight,
whatsomever he be he is unhappy, for as I deem he is of the fellowship
of the Round Table, the which is entered into the quest of the Sangreal.
Sir, said the squire, here I have brought you all your arms save your
helm and your sword, and therefore by mine assent now may ye take this
knight's helm and his sword: and so he did. And when he was clean
armed he took Sir Launcelot's horse, for he was better than his; and so
departed they from the cross.



CHAPTER XIX. How a voice spake to Sir Launcelot, and how he found his
horse and his helm borne away, and after went afoot.


THEN anon Sir Launcelot waked, and set him up, and bethought him what he
had seen there, and whether it were dreams or not. Right so heard he a
voice that said: Sir Launcelot, more harder than is the stone, and more
bitter than is the wood, and more naked and barer than is the leaf of
the fig tree; therefore go thou from hence, and withdraw thee from this
holy place. And when Sir Launcelot heard this he was passing heavy and
wist not what to do, and so departed sore weeping, and cursed the time
that he was born. For then he deemed never to have had worship more. For
those words went to his heart, till that he knew wherefore he was called
so. Then Sir Launcelot went to the cross and found his helm, his sword,
and his horse taken away. And then he called himself a very wretch, and
most unhappy of all knights; and there he said: My sin and my wickedness
have brought me unto great dishonour. For when I sought worldly
adventures for worldly desires, I ever enchieved them and had the better
in every place, and never was I discomfit in no quarrel, were it right
or wrong. And now I take upon me the adventures of holy things, and now
I see and understand that mine old sin hindereth me and shameth me, so
that I had no power to stir nor speak when the holy blood appeared afore
me. So thus he sorrowed till it was day, and heard the fowls sing: then
somewhat he was comforted. But when Sir Launcelot missed his horse and
his harness then he wist well God was displeased with him.

Then he departed from the cross on foot into a forest; and so by prime
he came to an high hill, and found an hermitage and a hermit therein
which was going unto mass. And then Launcelot kneeled down and cried
on Our Lord mercy for his wicked works. So when mass was done Launcelot
called him, and prayed him for charity for to hear his life. With a good
will, said the good man. Sir, said he, be ye of King Arthur's court and
of the fellowship of the Round Table? Yea forsooth, and my name is Sir
Launcelot du Lake that hath been right well said of, and now my good
fortune is changed, for I am the most wretch of the world. The hermit
beheld him and had marvel how he was so abashed. Sir, said the hermit,
ye ought to thank God more than any knight living, for He hath caused
you to have more worldly worship than any knight that now liveth. And
for your presumption to take upon you in deadly sin for to be in His
presence, where His flesh and His blood was, that caused you ye might
not see it with worldly eyes; for He will not appear where such sinners
be, but if it be unto their great hurt and unto their great shame; and
there is no knight living now that ought to give God so great thank as
ye, for He hath given you beauty, seemliness, and great strength above
all other knights; and therefore ye are the more beholding unto God than
any other man, to love Him and dread Him, for your strength and manhood
will little avail you an God be against you.



CHAPTER XX. How Sir Launcelot was shriven, and what sorrow he made and
of the good ensamples which were shewed him.


THEN Sir Launcelot wept with heavy cheer, and said: Now I know well ye
say me sooth. Sir, said the good man, hide none old sin from me. Truly,
said Sir Launcelot, that were me full loath to discover. For this
fourteen year I never discovered one thing that I have used, and that
may I now wite my shame and my disadventure. And then he told there that
good man all his life. And how he had loved a queen unmeasurably and out
of measure long. And all my great deeds of arms that I have done, I
did for the most part for the queen's sake, and for her sake would I do
battle were it right or wrong, and never did I battle all only for God's
sake, but for to win worship and to cause me to be the better beloved
and little or nought I thanked God of it. Then Sir Launcelot said: I
pray you counsel me. I will counsel you, said the hermit, if ye will
ensure me that ye will never come in that queen's fellowship as much
as ye may forbear. And then Sir Launcelot promised him he nold, by the
faith of his body. Look that your heart and your mouth accord, said the
good man, and I shall ensure you ye shall have more worship than ever ye
had.

Holy father, said Sir Launcelot, I marvel of the voice that said to me
marvellous words, as ye have heard to-forehand. Have ye no marvel, said
the good man thereof, for it seemeth well God loveth you; for men may
understand a stone is hard of kind, and namely one more than another;
and that is to understand by thee, Sir Launcelot, for thou wilt not
leave thy sin for no goodness that God hath sent thee; therefore thou
art more than any stone, and never wouldst thou be made nesh nor by
water nor by fire, and that is the heat of the Holy Ghost may not enter
in thee. Now take heed, in all the world men shall not find one knight
to whom Our Lord hath given so much of grace as He hath given you, for
He hath given you fairness with seemliness, He hath given thee wit,
discretion to know good from evil, He hath given thee prowess and
hardiness, and given thee to work so largely that thou hast had at all
days the better wheresomever thou came; and now Our Lord will suffer
thee no longer, but that thou shalt know Him whether thou wilt or nylt.
And why the voice called thee bitterer than wood, for where overmuch sin
dwelleth, there may be but little sweetness, wherefore thou art likened
to an old rotten tree.

Now have I shewed thee why thou art harder than the stone and bitterer
than the tree. Now shall I shew thee why thou art more naked and barer
than the fig tree. It befell that Our Lord on Palm Sunday preached
in Jerusalem, and there He found in the people that all hardness was
harboured in them, and there He found in all the town not one that would
harbour him. And then He went without the town, and found in midst
of the way a fig tree, the which was right fair and well garnished of
leaves, but fruit had it none. Then Our Lord cursed the tree that bare
no fruit; that betokeneth the fig tree unto Jerusalem, that had leaves
and no fruit. So thou, Sir Launcelot, when the Holy Grail was brought
afore thee, He found in thee no fruit, nor good thought nor good will,
and defouled with lechery. Certes, said Sir Launcelot, all that you
have said is true, and from henceforward I cast me, by the grace of God,
never to be so wicked as I have been, but as to follow knighthood and to
do feats of arms.

Then the good man enjoined Sir Launcelot such penance as he might do
and to sewe knighthood, and so assoiled him, and prayed Sir Launcelot to
abide with him all that day. I will well, said Sir Launcelot, for I have
neither helm, nor horse, nor sword. As for that, said the good man, I
shall help you or to-morn at even of an horse, and all that longed unto
you. And then Sir Launcelot repented him greatly.

_Here endeth off the history of Sir Launcelot. And here followeth of Sir
Percivale de Galis, which is the fourteenth book._



BOOK XIV.



CHAPTER I. How Sir Percivale came to a recluse and asked counsel, and
how she told him that she was his aunt.


NOW saith the tale, that when Sir Launcelot was ridden after Sir
Galahad, the which had all these adventures above said, Sir Percivale
turned again unto the recluse, where he deemed to have tidings of that
knight that Launcelot followed. And so he kneeled at her window, and the
recluse opened it and asked Sir Percivale what he would. Madam, he said,
I am a knight of King Arthur's court, and my name is Sir Percivale de
Galis. When the recluse heard his name she had great joy of him, for
mickle she had loved him to-fore any other knight, for she ought to do
so, for she was his aunt. And then she commanded the gates to be opened,
and there he had all the cheer that she might make him, and all that was
in her power was at his commandment.

So on the morn Sir Percivale went to the recluse and asked her if she
knew that knight with the white shield. Sir, said she, why would ye wit?
Truly, madam, said Sir Percivale, I shall never be well at ease till
that I know of that knight's fellowship, and that I may fight with
him, for I may not leave him so lightly, for I have the shame yet. Ah,
Percivale, said she, would ye fight with him? I see well ye have great
will to be slain as your father was, through outrageousness. Madam, said
Sir Percivale, it seemeth by your words that ye know me. Yea, said she,
I well ought to know you, for I am your aunt, although I be in a priory
place. For some called me sometime the Queen of the Waste Lands, and
I was called the queen of most riches in the world; and it pleased me
never my riches so much as doth my poverty. Then Sir Percivale wept for
very pity when that he knew it was his aunt. Ah, fair nephew, said she,
when heard ye tidings of your mother? Truly, said he, I heard none
of her, but I dream of her much in my sleep; and therefore I wot not
whether she be dead or alive. Certes, fair nephew, said she, your mother
is dead, for after your departing from her she took such a sorrow that
anon, after she was confessed, she died. Now, God have mercy on her
soul, said Sir Percivale, it sore forthinketh me; but all we must change
the life. Now, fair aunt, tell me what is the knight? I deem it be he
that bare the red arms on Whitsunday. Wit you well, said she, that this
is he, for otherwise ought he not to do, but to go in red arms; and that
same knight hath no peer, for he worketh all by miracle, and he shall
never be overcome of none earthly man's hand.



CHAPTER II. How Merlin likened the Round Table to the world, and how the
knights that should achieve the Sangreal should be known.


ALSO Merlin made the Round Table in tokening of roundness of the world,
for by the Round Table is the world signified by right, for all the
world, Christian and heathen, repair unto the Round Table; and when they
are chosen to be of the fellowship of the Round Table they think them
more blessed and more in worship than if they had gotten half the world;
and ye have seen that they have lost their fathers and their mothers,
and all their kin, and their wives and their children, for to be of your
fellowship. It is well seen by you; for since ye have departed from your
mother ye would never see her, ye found such fellowship at the Round
Table. When Merlin had ordained the Round Table he said, by them which
should be fellows of the Round Table the truth of the Sangreal should be
well known. And men asked him how men might know them that should best
do and to enchieve the Sangreal? Then he said there should be three
white bulls that should enchieve it, and the two should be maidens, and
the third should be chaste. And that one of the three should pass his
father as much as the lion passeth the leopard, both of strength and
hardiness.

They that heard Merlin say so said thus unto Merlin: Sithen there shall
be such a knight, thou shouldest ordain by thy crafts a siege, that no
man should sit in it but he all only that shall pass all other knights.
Then Merlin answered that he would do so. And then he made the Siege
Perilous, in the which Galahad sat in at his meat on Whitsunday last
past. Now, madam, said Sir Percivale, so much have I heard of you that
by my good will I will never have ado with Sir Galahad but by way of
kindness; and for God's love, fair aunt, can ye teach me some way
where I may find him? for much would I love the fellowship of him. Fair
nephew, said she, ye must ride unto a castle the which is called Goothe,
where he hath a cousin-germain, and there may ye be lodged this night.
And as he teacheth you, seweth after as fast as ye can; and if he can
tell you no tidings of him, ride straight unto the Castle of Carbonek,
where the maimed king is there lying, for there shall ye hear true
tidings of him.



CHAPTER III. How Sir Percivale came into a monastery, where he found
King Evelake, which was an old man.


THEN departed Sir Percivale from his aunt, either making great sorrow.
And so he rode till evensong time. And then he heard a clock smite; and
then he was ware of an house closed well with walls and deep ditches,
and there he knocked at the gate and was let in, and he alighted and was
led unto a chamber, and soon he was unarmed. And there he had right
good cheer all that night; and on the morn he heard his mass, and in the
monastery he found a priest ready at the altar. And on the right side he
saw a pew closed with iron, and behind the altar he saw a rich bed and a
fair, as of cloth of silk and gold.

Then Sir Percivale espied that therein was a man or a woman, for the
visage was covered; then he left off his looking and heard his service.
And when it came to the sacring, he that lay within that parclos dressed
him up, and uncovered his head; and then him beseemed a passing old man,
and he had a crown of gold upon his head, and his shoulders were naked
and unhilled unto his navel. And then Sir Percivale espied his body was
full of great wounds, both on the shoulders, arms, and visage. And ever
he held up his hands against Our Lord's body, and cried: Fair, sweet
Father, Jesu Christ, forget not me. And so he lay down, but always he
was in his prayers and orisons; and him seemed to be of the age of three
hundred winter. And when the mass was done the priest took Our Lord's
body and bare it to the sick king. And when he had used it he did off
his crown, and commanded the crown to be set on the altar.

Then Sir Percivale asked one of the brethren what he was. Sir, said the
good man, ye have heard much of Joseph of Aramathie, how he was sent by
Jesu Christ into this land for to teach and preach the holy Christian
faith; and therefore he suffered many persecutions the which the enemies
of Christ did unto him, and in the city of Sarras he converted a king
whose name was Evelake. And so this king came with Joseph into this
land, and ever he was busy to be thereas the Sangreal was; and on a time
he nighed it so nigh that Our Lord was displeased with him, but ever he
followed it more and more, till God struck him almost blind. Then this
king cried mercy, and said: Fair Lord, let me never die till the good
knight of my blood of the ninth degree be come, that I may see him
openly that he shall enchieve the Sangreal, that I may kiss him.



CHAPTER IV. How Sir Percivale saw many men of arms bearing a dead
knight, and how he fought against them.


WHEN the king thus had made his prayers he heard a voice that said:
Heard be thy prayers, for thou shalt not die till he have kissed thee.
And when that knight shall come the clearness of your eyes shall come
again, and thou shalt see openly, and thy wounds shall be healed, and
erst shall they never close. And this befell of King Evelake, and this
same king hath lived this three hundred winters this holy life, and men
say the knight is in the court that shall heal him. Sir, said the good
man, I pray you tell me what knight that ye be, and if ye be of King
Arthur's court and of the Table Round. Yea forsooth, said he, and my
name is Sir Percivale de Galis. And when the good man understood his
name he made great joy of him.

And then Sir Percivale departed and rode till the hour of noon. And
he met in a valley about a twenty men of arms, which bare in a bier a
knight deadly slain. And when they saw Sir Percivale they asked him of
whence he was. And he answered: Of the court of King Arthur. Then they
cried all at once: Slay him. Then Sir Percivale smote the first to the
earth and his horse upon him. And then seven of the knights smote upon
his shield all at once, and the remnant slew his horse so that he
fell to the earth. So had they slain him or taken him had not the good
knight, Sir Galahad, with the red arms come there by adventure into
those parts. And when he saw all those knights upon one knight he cried:
Save me that knight's life. And then he dressed him toward the twenty
men of arms as fast as his horse might drive, with his spear in the
rest, and smote the foremost horse and man to the earth. And when his
spear was broken he set his hand to his sword, and smote on the right
hand and on the left hand that it was marvel to see, and at every stroke
he smote one down or put him to a rebuke, so that they would fight no
more but fled to a thick forest, and Sir Galahad followed them.

And when Sir Percivale saw him chase them so, he made great sorrow that
his horse was away. And then he wist well it was Sir Galahad. And then
he cried aloud: Ah fair knight, abide and suffer me to do thankings unto
thee, for much have ye done for me. But ever Sir Galahad rode so
fast that at the last he passed out of his sight. And as fast as Sir
Percivale might he went after him on foot, crying. And then he met with
a yeoman riding upon an hackney, the which led in his hand a great steed
blacker than any bear. Ah, fair friend, said Sir Percivale, as ever I
may do for you, and to be your true knight in the first place ye will
require me, that ye will lend me that black steed, that I might overtake
a knight the which rideth afore me. Sir knight, said the yeoman, I pray
you hold me excused of that, for that I may not do. For wit ye well, the
horse is such a man's horse, that an I lent it you or any man, that he
would slay me. Alas, said Sir Percivale, I had never so great sorrow as
I have had for losing of yonder knight. Sir, said the yeoman, I am right
heavy for you, for a good horse would beseem you well; but I dare not
deliver you this horse but if ye would take him from me. That will I not
do, said Sir Percivale. And so they departed; and Sir Percivale set him
down under a tree, and made sorrow out of measure. And as he was there,
there came a knight riding on the horse that the yeoman led, and he was
clean armed.



CHAPTER V. How a yeoman desired him to get again an horse, and how Sir
Percivale's hackney was slain, and how he gat an horse.


AND anon the yeoman came pricking after as fast as ever he might, and
asked Sir Percivale if he saw any knight riding on his black steed. Yea,
sir, forsooth, said he; why, sir, ask ye me that? Ah, sir, that steed
he hath benome me with strength; wherefore my lord will slay me in what
place he findeth me. Well, said Sir Percivale, what wouldst thou that
I did? Thou seest well that I am on foot, but an I had a good horse I
should bring him soon again. Sir, said the yeoman, take mine hackney
and do the best ye can, and I shall sewe you on foot to wit how that ye
shall speed. Then Sir Percivale alighted upon that hackney, and rode as
fast as he might, and at the last he saw that knight. And then he
cried: Knight, turn again; and he turned and set his spear against Sir
Percivale, and he smote the hackney in the midst of the breast that
he fell down dead to the earth, and there he had a great fall, and the
other rode his way. And then Sir Percivale was wood wroth, and cried:
Abide, wicked knight; coward and false-hearted knight, turn again and
fight with me on foot. But he answered not, but passed on his way.

When Sir Percivale saw he would not turn he cast away his helm and
sword, and said: Now am I a very wretch, cursed and most unhappy above
all other knights. So in this sorrow he abode all that day till it was
night; and then he was faint, and laid him down and slept till it was
midnight; and then he awaked and saw afore him a woman which said unto
him right fiercely: Sir Percivale, what dost thou here? He answered, I
do neither good nor great ill. If thou wilt ensure me, said she, that
thou wilt fulfil my will when I summon thee, I shall lend thee mine own
horse which shall bear thee whither thou wilt. Sir Percivale was glad
of her proffer, and ensured her to fulfil all her desire. Then abide me
here, and I shall go and fetch you an horse. And so she came soon again
and brought an horse with her that was inly black. When Percivale beheld
that horse he marvelled that it was so great and so well apparelled; and
not for then he was so hardy, and he leapt upon him, and took none heed
of himself. And so anon as he was upon him he thrust to him with his
spurs, and so he rode by a forest, and the moon shone clear. And within
an hour and less he bare him four days' journey thence, until he came to
a rough water the which roared, and his horse would have borne him into
it.



CHAPTER VI. Of the great danger that Sir Percivale was in by his horse,
and how he saw a serpent and a lion fight.


AND when Sir Percivale came nigh the brim, and saw the water so
boistous, he doubted to overpass it. And then he made a sign of the
cross in his forehead. When the fiend felt him so charged he shook off
Sir Percivale, and he went into the water crying and roaring, making
great sorrow, and it seemed unto him that the water brent. Then Sir
Percivale perceived it was a fiend, the which would have brought him
unto his perdition. Then he commended himself unto God, and prayed Our
Lord to keep him from all such temptations; and so he prayed all that
night till on the morn that it was day; then he saw that he was in a
wild mountain the which was closed with the sea nigh all about, that he
might see no land about him which might relieve him, but wild beasts.

And then he went into a valley, and there he saw a young serpent bring a
young lion by the neck, and so he came by Sir Percivale. With that came
a great lion crying and roaring after the serpent. And as fast as Sir
Percivale saw this he marvelled, and hied him thither, but anon the
lion had overtaken the serpent and began battle with him. And then Sir
Percivale thought to help the lion, for he was the more natural beast of
the two; and therewith he drew his sword, and set his shield afore him,
and there he gave the serpent such a buffet that he had a deadly wound.
When the lion saw that, he made no resemblaunt to fight with him, but
made him all the cheer that a beast might make a man. Then Percivale
perceived that, and cast down his shield which was broken; and then he
did off his helm for to gather wind, for he was greatly enchafed with
the serpent: and the lion went alway about him fawning as a spaniel.
And then he stroked him on the neck and on the shoulders. And then he
thanked God of the fellowship of that beast. And about noon the lion
took his little whelp and trussed him and bare him there he came from.

Then was Sir Percivale alone. And as the tale telleth, he was one of
the men of the world at that time which most believed in Our Lord Jesu
Christ, for in those days there were but few folks that believed in God
perfectly. For in those days the son spared not the father no more than
a stranger. And so Sir Percivale comforted himself in our Lord Jesu, and
besought God no temptation should bring him out of God's service, but to
endure as his true champion. Thus when Sir Percivale had prayed he saw
the lion come toward him, and then he couched down at his feet. And so
all that night the lion and he slept together; and when Sir Percivale
slept he dreamed a marvellous dream, that there two ladies met with him,
and that one sat upon a lion, and that other sat upon a serpent, and
that one of them was young, and the other was old; and the youngest him
thought said: Sir Percivale, my lord saluteth thee, and sendeth thee
word that thou array thee and make thee ready, for to-morn thou must
fight with the strongest champion of the world. And if thou be overcome
thou shall not be quit for losing of any of thy members, but thou shalt
be shamed for ever to the world's end. And then he asked her what was
her lord. And she said the greatest lord of all the world: and so she
departed suddenly that he wist not where.



CHAPTER VII. Of the vision that Sir Percivale saw, and how his vision
was expounded, and of his lion.


THEN came forth the other lady that rode upon the serpent, and she said:
Sir Percivale, I complain me of you that ye have done unto me, and have
not offended unto you. Certes, madam, he said, unto you nor no lady I
never offended. Yes, said she, I shall tell you why. I have nourished in
this place a great while a serpent, which served me a great while, and
yesterday ye slew him as he gat his prey. Say me for what cause ye slew
him, for the lion was not yours. Madam, said Sir Percivale, I know well
the lion was not mine, but I did it for the lion is of more gentler
nature than the serpent, and therefore I slew him; meseemeth I did not
amiss against you. Madam, said he, what would ye that I did? I would,
said she, for the amends of my beast that ye become my man. And then he
answered: That will I not grant you. No, said she, truly ye were never
but my servant sin ye received the homage of Our Lord Jesu Christ.
Therefore, I ensure you in what place I may find you without keeping I
shall take you, as he that sometime was my man. And so she departed from
Sir Percivale and left him sleeping, the which was sore travailed of his
advision. And on the morn he arose and blessed him, and he was passing
feeble.

Then was Sir Percivale ware in the sea, and saw a ship come sailing
toward him; and Sir Percivale went unto the ship and found it covered
within and without with white samite. And at the board stood an old man
clothed in a surplice, in likeness of a priest. Sir, said Sir Percivale,
ye be welcome. God keep you, said the good man. Sir, said the old man,
of whence be ye? Sir, said Sir Percivale, I am of King Arthur's court,
and a knight of the Table Round, the which am in the quest of the
Sangreal; and here am I in great duresse, and never like to escape out
of this wilderness. Doubt not, said the good man, an ye be so true a
knight as the order of chivalry requireth, and of heart as ye ought to
be, ye should not doubt that none enemy should slay you. What are ye?
said Sir Percivale. Sir, said the old man, I am of a strange country,
and hither I come to comfort you.

Sir, said Sir Percivale, what signifieth my dream that I dreamed this
night? And there he told him altogether: She which rode upon the lion
betokeneth the new law of holy church, that is to understand, faith,
good hope, belief, and baptism. For she seemed younger than the other it
is great reason, for she was born in the resurrection and the passion of
Our Lord Jesu Christ. And for great love she came to thee to warn
thee of thy great battle that shall befall thee. With whom, said Sir
Percivale, shall I fight? With the most champion of the world, said the
old man; for as the lady said, but if thou quit thee well thou shalt not
be quit by losing of one member, but thou shalt be shamed to the world's
end. And she that rode on the serpent signifieth the old law, and that
serpent betokeneth a fiend. And why she blamed thee that thou slewest
her servant, it betokeneth nothing; the serpent that thou slewest
betokeneth the devil that thou rodest upon to the rock. And when thou
madest a sign of the cross, there thou slewest him, and put away his
power. And when she asked thee amends and to become her man, and thou
saidst thou wouldst not, that was to make thee to believe on her and
leave thy baptism. So he commanded Sir Percivale to depart, and so
he leapt over the board and the ship, and all went away he wist not
whither. Then he went up unto the rock and found the lion which always
kept him fellowship, and he stroked him upon the back and had great joy
of him.



CHAPTER VIII. How Sir Percivale saw a ship coming to him-ward, and how
the lady of the ship told him of her disheritance.


BY that Sir Percivale had abiden there till mid-day he saw a ship came
rowing in the sea, as all the wind of the world had driven it. And so
it drove under that rock. And when Sir Percivale saw this he hied him
thither, and found the ship covered with silk more blacker than any
bear, and therein was a gentlewoman of great beauty, and she was clothed
richly that none might be better. And when she saw Sir Percivale she
said: Who brought you in this wilderness where ye be never like to pass
hence, for ye shall die here for hunger and mischief? Damosel, said Sir
Percivale, I serve the best man of the world, and in his service he will
not suffer me to die, for who that knocketh shall enter, and who that
asketh shall have, and who that seeketh him he hideth him not. But then
she said: Sir Percivale, wot ye what I am? Yea, said he. Now who taught
you my name? said she. Now, said Sir Percivale, I know you better than
ye ween. And I came out of the waste forest where I found the Red Knight
with the white shield, said the damosel. Ah, damosel, said he, with
that knight would I meet passing fain. Sir knight, said she, an ye will
ensure me by the faith that ye owe unto knighthood that ye shall do my
will what time I summon you, and I shall bring you unto that knight.
Yea, said he, I shall promise you to fulfil your desire. Well, said she,
now shall I tell you. I saw him in the forest chasing two knights unto
a water, the which is called Mortaise; and they drove him into the water
for dread of death, and the two knights passed over, and the Red Knight
passed after, and there his horse was drenched, and he, through great
strength, escaped unto the land: thus she told him, and Sir Percivale
was passing glad thereof.

Then she asked him if he had ate any meat late. Nay, madam, truly I ate
no meat nigh this three days, but late here I spake with a good man that
fed me with his good words and holy, and refreshed me greatly. Ah, sir
knight, said she, that same man is an enchanter and a multiplier of
words. For an ye believe him ye shall plainly be shamed, and die in this
rock for pure hunger, and be eaten with wild beasts; and ye be a young
man and a goodly knight, and I shall help you an ye will. What are ye,
said Sir Percivale, that proffered me thus great kindness? I am, said
she, a gentlewoman that am disherited, which was sometime the richest
woman of the world. Damosel, said Sir Percivale, who hath disherited
you? for I have great pity of you. Sir, said she, I dwelled with the
greatest man of the world, and he made me so fair and clear that there
was none like me; and of that great beauty I had a little pride more
than I ought to have had. Also I said a word that pleased him not. And
then he would not suffer me to be any longer in his company, and so
drove me from mine heritage, and so disherited me, and he had never
pity of me nor of none of my council, nor of my court. And sithen, sir
knight, it hath befallen me so, and through me and mine I have benome
him many of his men, and made them to become my men. For they ask never
nothing of me but I give it them, that and much more. Thus I and all my
servants were against him night and day. Therefore I know now no good
knight, nor no good man, but I get them on my side an I may. And for
that I know that thou art a good knight, I beseech you to help me; and
for ye be a fellow of the Round Table, wherefore ye ought not to fail no
gentlewoman which is disherited, an she besought you of help.



CHAPTER IX. How Sir Percivale promised her help, and how he required her
of love, and how he was saved from the fiend.


THEN Sir Percivale promised her all the help that he might; and then she
thanked him. And at that time the weather was hot. Then she called unto
her a gentlewoman and bade her bring forth a pavilion; and so she did,
and pight it upon the gravel. Sir, said she, now may ye rest you in this
heat of the day. Then he thanked her, and she put off his helm and his
shield, and there he slept a great while. And then he awoke and asked
her if she had any meat, and she said: Yea, also ye shall have enough.
And so there was set enough upon the table, and thereon so much that he
had marvel, for there was all manner of meats that he could think on.
Also he drank there the strongest wine that ever he drank, him thought,
and therewith he was a little chafed more than he ought to be; with that
he beheld the gentlewoman, and him thought she was the fairest creature
that ever he saw. And then Sir Percivale proffered her love, and prayed
her that she would be his. Then she refused him, in a manner, when he
required her, for the cause he should be the more ardent on her, and
ever he ceased not to pray her of love. And when she saw him well
enchafed, then she said: Sir Percivale, wit you well I shall not fulfil
your will but if ye swear from henceforth ye shall be my true servant,
and to do nothing but that I shall command you. Will ye ensure me this
as ye be a true knight? Yea, said he, fair lady, by the faith of my
body. Well, said she, now shall ye do with me whatso it please you; and
now wit ye well ye are the knight in the world that I have most desire
to.

And then two squires were commanded to make a bed in midst of the
pavilion. And anon she was unclothed and laid therein. And then Sir
Percivale laid him down by her naked; and by adventure and grace he saw
his sword lie on the ground naked, in whose pommel was a red cross and
the sign of the crucifix therein, and bethought him on his knighthood
and his promise made to-forehand unto the good man; then he made a
sign of the cross in his forehead, and therewith the pavilion turned
up-so-down, and then it changed unto a smoke, and a black cloud, and
then he was adread and cried aloud:



CHAPTER X. How Sir Percivale for penance rove himself through the thigh;
and how she was known for the devil.


FAIR sweet Father, Jesu Christ, ne let me not be shamed, the which was
nigh lost had not thy good grace been. And then he looked into a ship,
and saw her enter therein, which said: Sir Percivale, ye have betrayed
me. And so she went with the wind roaring and yelling, that it seemed
all the water brent after her. Then Sir Percivale made great sorrow,
and drew his sword unto him, saying: Sithen my flesh will be my master
I shall punish it; and therewith he rove himself through the thigh
that the blood stert about him, and said: O good Lord, take this in
recompensation of that I have done against thee, my Lord. So then he
clothed him and armed him, and called himself a wretch, saying: How nigh
was I lost, and to have lost that I should never have gotten again, that
was my virginity, for that may never be recovered after it is once lost.
And then he stopped his bleeding wound with a piece of his shirt.

Thus as he made his moan he saw the same ship come from Orient that the
good man was in the day afore, and the noble knight was ashamed with
himself, and therewith he fell in a swoon. And when he awoke he went
unto him weakly, and there he saluted this good man. And then he asked
Sir Percivale: How hast thou done sith I departed? Sir, said he, here
was a gentlewoman and led me into deadly sin. And there he told him
altogether. Knew ye not the maid? said the good man. Sir, said he, nay,
but well I wot the fiend sent her hither to shame me. O good knight,
said he, thou art a fool, for that gentlewoman was the master fiend of
hell, the which hath power above all devils, and that was the old lady
that thou sawest in thine advision riding on the serpent. Then he told
Sir Percivale how our Lord Jesu Christ beat him out of heaven for his
sin, the which was the most brightest angel of heaven, and therefore he
lost his heritage. And that was the champion that thou foughtest withal,
the which had overcome thee had not the grace of God been. Now beware
Sir Percivale, and take this for an ensample. And then the good man
vanished away. Then Sir Percivale took his arms, and entered into the
ship, and so departed from thence.

_Here endeth the fourteenth book, which is of Sir Percivale. And here
followeth of Sir Launcelot, which is the fifteenth book._



BOOK XV.



CHAPTER I. How Sir Launcelot came to a chapel, where he found dead, in a
white shirt, a man of religion, of an hundred winter old.


WHEN the hermit had kept Sir Launcelot three days, the hermit gat him
an horse, an helm, and a sword. And then he departed about the hour of
noon. And then he saw a little house. And when he came near he saw a
chapel, and there beside he saw an old man that was clothed all in white
full richly; and then Sir Launcelot said: God save you. God keep you,
said the good man, and make you a good knight. Then Sir Launcelot
alighted and entered into the chapel, and there he saw an old man dead,
in a white shirt of passing fine cloth.

Sir, said the good man, this man that is dead ought not to be in such
clothing as ye see him in, for in that he brake the oath of his order,
for he hath been more than an hundred winter a man of a religion. And
then the good man and Sir Launcelot went into the chapel; and the good
man took a stole about his neck, and a book, and then he conjured on
that book; and with that they saw in an hideous figure and horrible,
that there was no man so hard-hearted nor so hard but he should have
been afeard. Then said the fiend: Thou hast travailed me greatly; now
tell me what thou wilt with me. I will, said the good man, that thou
tell me how my fellow became dead, and whether he be saved or damned.
Then he said with an horrible voice: He is not lost but saved. How may
that be? said the good man; it seemed to me that he lived not well, for
he brake his order for to wear a shirt where he ought to wear none, and
who that trespasseth against our order doth not well. Not so, said the
fiend, this man that lieth here dead was come of a great lineage.
And there was a lord that hight the Earl de Vale, that held great war
against this man's nephew, the which hight Aguarus. And so this Aguarus
saw the earl was bigger than he. Then he went for to take counsel of his
uncle, the which lieth here dead as ye may see. And then he asked leave,
and went out of his hermitage for to maintain his nephew against the
mighty earl; and so it happed that this man that lieth here dead did so
much by his wisdom and hardiness that the earl was taken, and three of
his lords, by force of this dead man.



CHAPTER II. Of a dead man, how men would have hewn him, and it would not
be, and how Sir Launcelot took the hair of the dead man.


THEN was there peace betwixt the earl and this Aguarus, and great surety
that the earl should never war against him. Then this dead man that here
lieth came to this hermitage again; and then the earl made two of his
nephews for to be avenged upon this man. So they came on a day, and
found this dead man at the sacring of his mass, and they abode him till
he had said mass. And then they set upon him and drew out swords to have
slain him; but there would no sword bite on him more than upon a gad
of steel, for the high Lord which he served He him preserved. Then made
they a great fire, and did off all his clothes, and the hair off his
back. And then this dead man hermit said unto them: Ween you to burn me?
It shall not lie in your power nor to perish me as much as a thread, an
there were any on my body. No? said one of them, it shall be assayed.
And then they despoiled him, and put upon him this shirt, and cast him
in a fire, and there he lay all that night till it was day in that fire,
and was not dead, and so in the morn I came and found him dead; but I
found neither thread nor skin tamed, and so took him out of the fire
with great fear, and laid him here as ye may see. And now may ye suffer
me to go my way, for I have said you the sooth. And then he departed
with a great tempest.

Then was the good man and Sir Launcelot more gladder than they were
to-fore. And then Sir Launcelot dwelled with that good man that night.
Sir, said the good man, be ye not Sir Launcelot du Lake? Yea, sir, said
he. What seek ye in this country? Sir, said Sir Launcelot, I go to seek
the adventures of the Sangreal. Well, said he, seek it ye may well,
but though it were here ye shall have no power to see it no more than a
blind man should see a bright sword, and that is long on your sin, and
else ye were more abler than any man living. And then Sir Launcelot
began to weep. Then said the good man: Were ye confessed sith ye entered
into the quest of the Sangreal? Yea, sir, said Sir Launcelot. Then upon
the morn when the good man had sung his mass, then they buried the dead
man. Then Sir Launcelot said: Father, what shall I do? Now, said the
good man, I require you take this hair that was this holy man's and put
it next thy skin, and it shall prevail thee greatly. Sir, and I will do
it, said Sir Launcelot. Also I charge you that ye eat no flesh as long
as ye be in the quest of the Sangreal, nor ye shall drink no wine, and
that ye hear mass daily an ye may do it. So he took the hair and put it
upon him, and so departed at evensong-time.

And so rode he into a forest, and there he met with a gentlewoman riding
upon a white palfrey, and then she asked him: Sir knight, whither ride
ye? Certes, damosel, said Launcelot, I wot not whither I ride but as
fortune leadeth me. Ah, Sir Launcelot, said she, I wot what adventure ye
seek, for ye were afore time nearer than ye be now, and yet shall ye see
it more openly than ever ye did, and that shall ye understand in short
time. Then Sir Launcelot asked her where he might be harboured that
night. Ye shall not find this day nor night, but to-morn ye shall find
harbour good, and ease of that ye be in doubt of And then he commended
her unto God. Then he rode till that he came to a Cross, and took that
for his host as for that night.



CHAPTER III. Of an advision that Sir Launcelot had, and how he told it
to an hermit, and desired counsel of him.


AND so he put his horse to pasture, and did off his helm and his shield,
and made his prayers unto the Cross that he never fall in deadly sin
again. And so he laid him down to sleep. And anon as he was asleep it
befell him there an advision, that there came a man afore him all by
compass of stars, and that man had a crown of gold on his head and that
man led in his fellowship seven kings and two knights. And all these
worshipped the Cross, kneeling upon their knees, holding up their hands
toward the heaven. And all they said: Fair sweet Father of heaven come
and visit us, and yield unto us everych as we have deserved.

Then looked Launcelot up to the heaven, and him seemed the clouds did
open, and an old man came down, with a company of angels, and alighted
among them, and gave unto everych his blessing, and called them his
servants, and good and true knights. And when this old man had said thus
he came to one of those knights, and said: I have lost all that I have
set in thee, for thou hast ruled thee against me as a warrior, and used
wrong wars with vain-glory, more for the pleasure of the world than to
please me, therefore thou shalt be confounded without thou yield me my
treasure. All this advision saw Sir Launcelot at the Cross.

And on the morn he took his horse and rode till mid-day; and there by
adventure he met with the same knight that took his horse, helm, and his
sword, when he slept when the Sangreal appeared afore the Cross. When
Sir Launcelot saw him he saluted him not fair, but cried on high:
Knight, keep thee, for thou hast done to me great unkindness. And then
they put afore them their spears, and Sir Launcelot came so fiercely
upon him that he smote him and his horse down to the earth, that he had
nigh broken his neck. Then Sir Launcelot took the knight's horse that
was his own aforehand, and descended from the horse he sat upon, and
mounted upon his own horse, and tied the knight's own horse to a
tree, that he might find that horse when that he was arisen. Then Sir
Launcelot rode till night, and by adventure he met an hermit, and each
of them saluted other; and there he rested with that good man all night,
and gave his horse such as he might get. Then said the good man unto
Launcelot: Of whence be ye? Sir, said he, I am of Arthur's court, and my
name is Sir Launcelot du Lake that am in the quest of the Sangreal, and
therefore I pray you to counsel me of a vision the which I had at the
Cross. And so he told him all.



CHAPTER IV. How the hermit expounded to Sir Launcelot his advision, and
told him that Sir Galahad was his son.


LO, Sir Launcelot, said the good man, there thou mightest understand the
high lineage that thou art come of, and thine advision betokeneth. After
the passion of Jesu Christ forty year, Joseph of Aramathie preached the
victory of King Evelake, that he had in the battles the better of his
enemies. And of the seven kings and the two knights: the first of
them is called Nappus, an holy man; and the second hight Nacien, in
remembrance of his grandsire, and in him dwelled our Lord Jesu Christ;
and the third was called Helias le Grose; and the fourth hight Lisais;
and the fifth hight Jonas, he departed out of his country and went into
Wales, and took there the daughter of Manuel, whereby he had the land
of Gaul, and he came to dwell in this country. And of him came King
Launcelot thy grandsire, the which there wedded the king's daughter of
Ireland, and he was as worthy a man as thou art, and of him came King
Ban, thy father, the which was the last of the seven kings. And by thee,
Sir Launcelot, it signifieth that the angels said thou were none of the
seven fellowships. And the last was the ninth knight, he was signified
to a lion, for he should pass all manner of earthly knights, that is Sir
Galahad, the which thou gat on King Pelles' daughter; and thou ought to
thank God more than any other man living, for of a sinner earthly thou
hast no peer as in knighthood, nor never shall be. But little thank hast
thou given to God for all the great virtues that God hath lent thee.
Sir, said Launcelot, ye say that that good knight is my son. That
oughtest thou to know and no man better, said the good man, for thou
knewest the daughter of King Pelles fleshly, and on her thou begattest
Galahad, and that was he that at the feast of Pentecost sat in the Siege
Perilous; and therefore make thou it known openly that he is one of thy
begetting on King Pelles' daughter, for that will be your worship and
honour, and to all thy kindred. And I counsel you in no place press not
upon him to have ado with him. Well, said Launcelot, meseemeth that good
knight should pray for me unto the High Father, that I fall not to sin
again. Trust thou well, said the good man, thou farest mickle the better
for his prayer; but the son shall not bear the wickedness of the father,
nor the father shall not bear the wickedness of the son, but everych
shall bear his own burden. And therefore beseek thou only God, and He
will help thee in all thy needs. And then Sir Launcelot and he went to
supper, and so laid him to rest, and the hair pricked so Sir Launcelot's
skin which grieved him full sore, but he took it meekly, and suffered
the pain. And so on the morn he heard his mass and took his arms, and so
took his leave.



CHAPTER V. How Sir Launcelot jousted with many knights, and how he was
taken.


AND then mounted upon his horse, and rode into a forest, and held no
highway. And as he looked afore him he saw a fair plain, and beside that
a fair castle, and afore the castle were many pavilions of silk and
of diverse hue. And him seemed that he saw there five hundred knights
riding on horseback; and there were two parties: they that were of the
castle were all on black horses and their trappings black, and they that
were without were all on white horses and trappings, and everych hurtled
to other that it marvelled Sir Launcelot. And at the last him thought
they of the castle were put to the worse.

Then thought Sir Launcelot for to help there the weaker party in
increasing of his chivalry. And so Sir Launcelot thrust in among the
party of the castle, and smote down a knight, horse and man, to the
earth. And then he rashed here and there, and did marvellous deeds of
arms. And then he drew out his sword, and struck many knights to the
earth, so that all those that saw him marvelled that ever one knight
might do so great deeds of arms. But always the white knights held them
nigh about Sir Launcelot, for to tire him and wind him. But at the last,
as a man may not ever endure, Sir Launcelot waxed so faint of fighting
and travailing, and was so weary of his great deeds, that[1] he might
not lift up his arms for to give one stroke, so that he weened never to
have borne arms; and then they all took and led him away into a
forest, and there made him to alight and to rest him. And then all the
fellowship of the castle were overcome for the default of him. Then
they said all unto Sir Launcelot: Blessed be God that ye be now of our
fellowship, for we shall hold you in our prison; and so they left


[1] So W. de Worde; Caxton "but."


him with few words. And then Sir Launcelot made great sorrow, For never
or now was I never at tournament nor jousts but I had the best, and now
I am shamed; and then he said: Now I am sure that I am more sinfuller
than ever I was.

Thus he rode sorrowing, and half a day he was out of despair, till that
he came into a deep valley. And when Sir Launcelot saw he might not ride
up into the mountain, he there alighted under an apple tree, and there
he left his helm and his shield, and put his horse unto pasture. And
then he laid him down to sleep. And then him thought there came an old
man afore him, the which said: Ah, Launcelot of evil faith and poor
belief, wherefore is thy will turned so lightly toward thy deadly sin?
And when he had said thus he vanished away, and Launcelot wist not where
he was become. Then he took his horse, and armed him; and as he rode by
the way he saw a chapel where was a recluse, which had a window that she
might see up to the altar. And all aloud she called Launcelot, for that
he seemed a knight errant. And then he came, and she asked him what he
was, and of what place, and where about he went to seek.



CHAPTER VI. How Sir Launcelot told his advision to a woman, and how she
expounded it to him.


AND then he told her altogether word by word, and the truth how it
befell him at the tournament. And after told her his advision that he
had had that night in his sleep, and prayed her to tell him what it
might mean, for he was not well content with it. Ah, Launcelot, said
she, as long as ye were knight of earthly knighthood ye were the most
marvellous man of the world, and most adventurous. Now, said the lady,
sithen ye be set among the knights of heavenly adventures, if adventure
fell thee contrary at that tournament have thou no marvel, for that
tournament yesterday was but a tokening of Our Lord. And not for then
there was none enchantment, for they at the tournament were earthly
knights. The tournament was a token to see who should have most knights,
either Eliazar, the son of King Pelles, or Argustus, the son of King
Harlon. But Eliazar was all clothed in white, and Argustus was covered
in black, the which were [over]come.

All what this betokeneth I shall tell you. The day of Pentecost, when
King Arthur held his court, it befell that earthly kings and knights
took a tournament together, that is to say the quest of the Sangreal.
The earthly knights were they the which were clothed all in black, and
the covering betokeneth the sins whereof they be not confessed. And they
with the covering of white betokeneth virginity, and they that chose
chastity. And thus was the quest begun in them. Then thou beheld the
sinners and the good men, and when thou sawest the sinners overcome,
thou inclinest to that party for bobaunce and pride of the world, and
all that must be left in that quest, for in this quest thou shalt have
many fellows and thy betters. For thou art so feeble of evil trust and
good belief, this made it when thou were there where they took thee and
led thee into the forest. And anon there appeared the Sangreal unto the
white knights, but thou was so feeble of good belief and faith that thou
mightest not abide it for all the teaching of the good man, but anon
thou turnest to the sinners, and that caused thy misadventure that thou
should'st know good from evil and vain glory of the world, the which is
not worth a pear. And for great pride thou madest great sorrow that thou
hadst not overcome all the white knights with the covering of white, by
whom was betokened virginity and chastity; and therefore God was wroth
with you, for God loveth no such deeds in this quest. And this advision
signifieth that thou were of evil faith and of poor belief, the which
will make thee to fall into the deep pit of hell if thou keep thee not.
Now have I warned thee of thy vain glory and of thy pride, that thou
hast many times erred against thy Maker. Beware of everlasting pain, for
of all earthly knights I have most pity of thee, for I know well thou
hast not thy peer of any earthly sinful man.

And so she commended Sir Launcelot to dinner. And after dinner he took
his horse and commended her to God, and so rode into a deep valley, and
there he saw a river and an high mountain. And through the water he must
needs pass, the which was hideous; and then in the name of God he took
it with good heart. And when he came over he saw an armed knight, horse
and man black as any bear; without any word he smote Sir Launcelot's
horse to the earth; and so he passed on, he wist not where he was
become. And then he took his helm and his shield, and thanked God of his
adventure.

_Here leadeth off the story of Sir Launcelot, and speak we of Sir
Gawaine, the which is the sixteenth book._



BOOK XVI.



CHAPTER I. How Sir Gawaine was nigh weary of the quest of the Sangreal,
and of his marvellous dream.


WHEN Sir Gawaine was departed from his fellowship he rode long without
any adventure. For he found not the tenth part of adventure as he was
wont to do. For Sir Gawaine rode from Whitsuntide until Michaelmas and
found none adventure that pleased him. So on a day it befell Gawaine met
with Sir Ector de Maris, and either made great joy of other that it
were marvel to tell. And so they told everych other, and complained them
greatly that they could find none adventure. Truly, said Sir Gawaine
unto Sir Ector, I am nigh weary of this quest, and loath I am to follow
further in strange countries. One thing marvelled me, said Sir Ector, I
have met with twenty knights, fellows of mine, and all they complain as
I do. I have marvel, said Sir Gawaine, where that Sir Launcelot, your
brother, is. Truly, said Sir Ector, I cannot hear of him, nor of Sir
Galahad, Percivale, nor Sir Bors. Let them be, said Sir Gawaine, for
they four have no peers. And if one thing were not in Sir Launcelot he
had no fellow of none earthly man; but he is as we be, but if he took
more pain upon him. But an these four be met together they will be loath
that any man meet with them; for an they fail of the Sangreal it is in
waste of all the remnant to recover it.

Thus Ector and Gawaine rode more than eight days, and on a Saturday
they found an old chapel, the which was wasted that there seemed no man
thither repaired; and there they alighted, and set their spears at the
door, and in they entered into the chapel, and there made their orisons
a great while, and set them down in the sieges of the chapel. And as
they spake of one thing and other, for heaviness they fell asleep, and
there befell them both marvellous adventures. Sir Gawaine him seemed he
came into a meadow full of herbs and flowers, and there he saw a rack
of bulls, an hundred and fifty, that were proud and black, save three of
them were all white, and one had a black spot, and the other two were
so fair and so white that they might be no whiter. And these three bulls
which were so fair were tied with two strong cords. And the remnant of
the bulls said among them: Go we hence to seek better pasture. And so
some went, and some came again, but they were so lean that they might
not stand upright; and of the bulls that were so white, that one came
again and no mo. But when this white bull was come again among these
other there rose up a great cry for lack of wind that failed them;
and so they departed one here and another there: this advision befell
Gawaine that night.



CHAPTER II. Of the advision of Sir Ector, and how he jousted with Sir
Uwaine les Avoutres, his sworn brother.


BUT to Ector de Maris befell another vision the contrary. For it seemed
him that his brother, Sir Launcelot, and he alighted out of a chair and
leapt upon two horses, and the one said to the other: Go we seek that
we shall not find. And him thought that a man beat Sir Launcelot, and
despoiled him, and clothed him in another array, the which was all full
of knots, and set him upon an ass, and so he rode till he came to the
fairest well that ever he saw; and Sir Launcelot alighted and would have
drunk of that well. And when he stooped to drink of the water the water
sank from him. And when Sir Launcelot saw that, he turned and went
thither as the head came from. And in the meanwhile he trowed that
himself and Sir Ector rode till that they came to a rich man's house
where there was a wedding. And there he saw a king the which said: Sir
knight, here is no place for you. And then he turned again unto the
chair that he came from.

Thus within a while both Gawaine and Ector awaked, and either told other
of their advision, the which marvelled them greatly. Truly, said Ector,
I shall never be merry till I hear tidings of my brother Launcelot. Now
as they sat thus talking they saw an hand showing unto the elbow, and
was covered with red samite, and upon that hung a bridle not right rich,
and held within the fist a great candle which burned right clear, and so
passed afore them, and entered into the chapel, and then vanished away
and they wist not where. And anon came down a voice which said: Knights
of full evil faith and of poor belief, these two things have failed you,
and therefore ye may not come to the adventures of the Sangreal.

Then first spake Gawaine and said: Ector, have ye heard these words? Yea
truly, said Sir Ector, I heard all. Now go we, said Sir Ector, unto some
hermit that will tell us of our advision, for it seemeth me we labour
all in vain. And so they departed and rode into a valley, and there met
with a squire which rode on an hackney, and they saluted him fair. Sir,
said Gawaine, can thou teach us to any hermit? Here is one in a
little mountain, but it is so rough there may no horse go thither, and
therefore ye must go upon foot; there shall ye find a poor house, and
there is Nacien the hermit, which is the holiest man in this country.
And so they departed either from other.

And then in a valley they met with a knight all armed, which proffered
them to joust as far as he saw them. In the name of God, said Sir
Gawaine, sith I departed from Camelot there was none proffered me to
joust but once. And now, sir, said Ector, let me joust with him. Nay,
said Gawaine, ye shall not but if I be beat; it shall not for-think me
then if ye go after me. And then either embraced other to joust and came
together as fast as their horses might run, and brast their shields and
the mails, and the one more than the other; and Gawaine was wounded in
the left side, but the other knight was smitten through the breast, and
the spear came out on the other side, and so they fell both out of their
saddles, and in the falling they brake both their spears.

Anon Gawaine arose and set his hand to his sword, and cast his shield
afore him. But all for naught was it, for the knight had no power to
arise against him. Then said Gawaine: Ye must yield you as an overcome
man, or else I may slay you. Ah, sir knight, said he, I am but dead, for
God's sake and of your gentleness lead me here unto an abbey that I
may receive my Creator. Sir, said Gawaine, I know no house of religion
hereby. Sir, said the knight, set me on an horse to-fore you, and I
shall teach you. Gawaine set him up in the saddle, and he leapt up
behind him for to sustain him, and so came to an abbey where they were
well received; and anon he was unarmed, and received his Creator. Then
he prayed Gawaine to draw out the truncheon of the spear out of his
body. Then Gawaine asked him what he was, that knew him not. I am, said
he, of King Arthur's court, and was a fellow of the Round Table, and we
were brethren sworn together; and now Sir Gawaine, thou hast slain me,
and my name is Uwaine les Avoutres, that sometime was son unto King
Uriens, and was in the quest of the Sangreal; and now forgive it thee
God, for it shall ever be said that the one sworn brother hath slain the
other.



CHAPTER III. How Sir Gawaine and Sir Ector came to an hermitage to be
confessed, and how they told to the hermit their advisions.


ALAS, said Gawaine, that ever this misadventure is befallen me.
No force, said Uwaine, sith I shall die this death, of a much more
worshipfuller man's hand might I not die; but when ye come to the court
recommend me unto my lord, King Arthur, and all those that be left
alive, and for old brotherhood think on me. Then began Gawaine to weep,
and Ector also. And then Uwaine himself and Sir Gawaine drew out the
truncheon of the spear, and anon departed the soul from the body. Then
Sir Gawaine and Sir Ector buried him as men ought to bury a king's son,
and made write upon his name, and by whom he was slain.

Then departed Gawaine and Ector, as heavy as they might for their
misadventure, and so rode till that they came to the rough mountain, and
there they tied their horses and went on foot to the hermitage. And when
they were come up they saw a poor house, and beside the chapel a little
courtelage, where Nacien the hermit gathered worts, as he which had
tasted none other meat of a great while. And when he saw the errant
knights he came toward them and saluted them, and they him again. Fair
lords, said he, what adventure brought you hither? Sir, said Gawaine,
to speak with you for to be confessed. Sir, said the hermit, I am ready.
Then they told him so much that he wist well what they were. And then he
thought to counsel them if he might.

Then began Gawaine first and told him of his advision that he had had in
the chapel, and Ector told him all as it is afore rehearsed. Sir, said
the hermit unto Sir Gawaine, the fair meadow and the rack therein
ought to be understood the Round Table, and by the meadow ought to be
understood humility and patience, those be the things which be always
green and quick; for men may no time overcome humility and patience,
therefore was the Round Table founded, and the chivalry hath been at
all times so by the fraternity which was there that she might not be
overcome; for men said she was founded in patience and in humility. At
the rack ate an hundred and fifty bulls; but they ate not in the meadow,
for their hearts should be set in humility and patience, and the bulls
were proud and black save only three. By the bulls is to understand the
fellowship of the Round Table, which for their sin and their wickedness
be black. Blackness is to say without good or virtuous works. And the
three bulls which were white save only one that was spotted: the two
white betoken Sir Galahad and Sir Percivale, for they be maidens clean
and without spot; and the third that had a spot signifieth Sir Bors de
Ganis, which trespassed but once in his virginity, but sithen he kept
himself so well in chastity that all is forgiven him and his misdeeds.
And why those three were tied by the necks, they be three knights in
virginity and chastity, and there is no pride smitten in them. And the
black bulls which said: Go we hence, they were those which at Pentecost
at the high feast took upon them to go in the quest of the Sangreal
without confession: they might not enter in the meadow of humility
and patience. And therefore they returned into waste countries, that
signifieth death, for there shall die many of them: everych of them
shall slay other for sin, and they that shall escape shall be so lean
that it shall be marvel to see them. And of the three bulls without
spot, the one shall come again, and the other two never.



CHAPTER IV. How the hermit expounded their advision.


THEN spake Nacien unto Ector: Sooth it is that Launcelot and ye came
down off one chair: the chair betokeneth mastership and lordship which
ye came down from. But ye two knights, said the hermit, ye go to seek
that ye shall never find, that is the Sangreal; for it is the secret
thing of our Lord Jesu Christ. What is to mean that Sir Launcelot fell
down off his horse: he hath left pride and taken him to humility, for he
hath cried mercy loud for his sin, and sore repented him, and our Lord
hath clothed him in his clothing which is full of knots, that is the
hair that he weareth daily. And the ass that he rode upon is a beast of
humility, for God would not ride upon no steed, nor upon no palfrey;
so in ensample that an ass betokeneth meekness, that thou sawest Sir
Launcelot ride on in thy sleep. And the well whereas the water sank from
him when he should have taken thereof, and when he saw he might not have
it, he returned thither from whence he came, for the well betokeneth the
high grace of God, the more men desire it to take it, the more shall be
their desire. So when he came nigh the Sangreal, he meeked him that he
held him not a man worthy to be so nigh the Holy Vessel, for he had
been so defouled in deadly sin by the space of many years; yet when
he kneeled to drink of the well, there he saw great providence of
the Sangreal. And for he had served so long the devil, he shall have
vengeance four-and-twenty days long, for that he hath been the devil's
servant four-and-twenty years. And then soon after he shall return unto
Camelot out of this country, and he shall say a part of such things as
he hath found.

Now will I tell you what betokeneth the hand with the candle and the
bridle: that is to understand the Holy Ghost where charity is ever, and
the bridle signifieth abstinence. For when she is bridled in Christian
man's heart she holdeth him so short that he falleth not in deadly sin.
And the candle which sheweth clearness and sight signifieth the right
way of Jesu Christ. And when he went and said: Knights of poor faith and
of wicked belief, these three things failed, charity, abstinence, and
truth; therefore ye may not attain that high adventure of the Sangreal.



CHAPTER V. Of the good counsel that the hermit gave to them.


CERTES, said Gawaine, soothly have ye said, that I see it openly. Now, I
pray you, good man and holy father, tell me why we met not with so many
adventures as we were wont to do, and commonly have the better. I shall
tell you gladly, said the good man; the adventure of the Sangreal which
ye and many other have undertaken the quest of it and find it not, the
cause is for it appeareth not to sinners. Wherefore marvel not though
ye fail thereof, and many other. For ye be an untrue knight and a great
murderer, and to good men signifieth other things than murder. For I
dare say, as sinful as Sir Launcelot hath been, sith that he went into
the quest of the Sangreal he slew never man, nor nought shall, till that
he come unto Camelot again, for he hath taken upon him for to forsake
sin. And nere that he nis not stable, but by his thought he is likely to
turn again, he should be next to enchieve it save Galahad, his son. But
God knoweth his thought and his unstableness, and yet shall he die right
an holy man, and no doubt he hath no fellow of no earthly sinful man.
Sir, said Gawaine, it seemeth me by your words that for our sins it will
not avail us to travel in this quest Truly, said the good man, there be
an hundred such as ye be that never shall prevail, but to have shame.
And when they had heard these voices they commended him unto God.

Then the good man called Gawaine, and said: It is long time passed sith
that ye were made knight, and never sithen thou servedst thy Maker,
and now thou art so old a tree that in thee is neither life nor fruit;
wherefore bethink thee that thou yield to Our Lord the bare rind, sith
the fiend hath the leaves and the fruit. Sir, said Gawaine an I had
leisure I would speak with you, but my fellow here, Sir Ector, is gone,
and abideth me yonder beneath the hill. Well, said the good man, thou
were better to be counselled. Then departed Gawaine and came to Ector,
and so took their horses and rode till they came to a forester's house,
which harboured them right well. And on the morn they departed from
their host, and rode long or they could find any adventure.



CHAPTER VI. How Sir Bors met with an hermit, and how he was confessed to
him, and of his penance enjoined to him.


WHEN Bors was departed from Camelot he met with a religious man riding
on an ass, and Sir Bors saluted him. Anon the good man knew him that
he was one of the knights-errant that was in the quest of the Sangreal.
What are ye? said the good man. Sir, said he, I am a knight that fain
would be counselled in the quest of the Sangreal, for he shall have much
earthly worship that may bring it to an end. Certes, said the good man,
that is sooth, for he shall be the best knight of the world, and the
fairest of all the fellowship. But wit you well there shall none attain
it but by cleanness, that is pure confession.

So rode they together till that they came to an hermitage. And there he
prayed Bors to dwell all that night with him. And so he alighted and put
away his armour, and prayed him that he might be confessed; and so they
went into the chapel, and there he was clean confessed, and they ate
bread and drank water together. Now, said the good man, I pray thee that
thou eat none other till that thou sit at the table where the Sangreal
shall be. Sir, said he, I agree me thereto, but how wit ye that I shall
sit there. Yes, said the good man, that know I, but there shall be but
few of your fellows with you. All is welcome, said Sir Bors, that God
sendeth me. Also, said the good man, instead of a shirt, and in sign of
chastisement, ye shall wear a garment; therefore I pray you do off
all your clothes and your shirt: and so he did. And then he took him
a scarlet coat, so that should be instead of his shirt till he had
fulfilled the quest of the Sangreal; and the good man found in him so
marvellous a life and so stable, that he marvelled and felt that he was
never corrupt in fleshly lusts, but in one time that he begat Elian le
Blank.

Then he armed him, and took his leave, and so departed. And so a little
from thence he looked up into a tree, and there he saw a passing great
bird upon an old tree, and it was passing dry, without leaves; and the
bird sat above, and had birds, the which were dead for hunger. So smote
he himself with his beak, the which was great and sharp. And so the
great bird bled till that he died among his birds. And the young birds
took the life by the blood of the great bird. When Bors saw this he wist
well it was a great tokening; for when he saw the great bird arose not,
then he took his horse and yede his way. So by evensong, by adventure he
came to a strong tower and an high, and there was he lodged gladly.



CHAPTER VII. How Sir Bors was lodged with a lady, and how he took upon
him for to fight against a champion for her land.


AND when he was unarmed they led him into an high tower where was a
lady, young, lusty, and fair. And she received him with great joy, and
made him to sit down by her, and so was he set to sup with flesh and
many dainties. And when Sir Bors saw that, he bethought him on his
penance, and bade a squire to bring him water. And so he brought him,
and he made sops therein and ate them. Ah, said the lady, I trow ye like
not my meat. Yes, truly, said Sir Bors, God thank you, madam, but I may
eat none other meat this day. Then she spake no more as at that time,
for she was loath to displease him. Then after supper they spake of one
thing and other.

With that came a squire and said: Madam, ye must purvey you to-morn for
a champion, for else your sister will have this castle and also your
lands, except ye can find a knight that will fight to-morn in your
quarrel against Pridam le Noire. Then she made sorrow and said: Ah,
Lord God, wherefore granted ye to hold my land, whereof I should now be
disherited without reason and right? And when Sir Bors had heard her
say thus, he said: I shall comfort you. Sir, said she, I shall tell you
there was here a king that hight Aniause, which held all this land in
his keeping. So it mishapped he loved a gentlewoman a great deal elder
than I. So took he her all this land to her keeping, and all his men to
govern; and she brought up many evil customs whereby she put to death a
great part of his kinsmen. And when he saw that, he let chase her out of
this land, and betook it me, and all this land in my demesnes. But anon
as that worthy king was dead, this other lady began to war upon me, and
hath destroyed many of my men, and turned them against me, that I have
well-nigh no man left me; and I have nought else but this high tower
that she left me. And yet she hath promised me to have this tower,
without I can find a knight to fight with her champion.

Now tell me, said Sir Bors, what is that Pridam le Noire? Sir, said she,
he is the most doubted man of this land. Now may ye send her word that
ye have found a knight that shall fight with that Pridam le Noire in
God's quarrel and yours. Then that lady was not a little glad, and sent
word that she was purveyed, and that night Bors had good cheer; but
in no bed he would come, but laid him on the floor, nor never would do
otherwise till that he had met with the quest of the Sangreal.



CHAPTER VIII. Of an advision which Sir Bors had that night, and how he
fought and overcame his adversary.


AND anon as he was asleep him befell a vision, that there came to him
two birds, the one as white as a swan, and the other was marvellous
black; but it was not so great as the other, but in the likeness of a
Raven. Then the white bird came to him, and said: An thou wouldst give
me meat and serve me I should give thee all the riches of the world,
and I shall make thee as fair and as white as I am. So the white bird
departed, and there came the black bird to him, and said: An thou wolt,
serve me to-morrow and have me in no despite though I be black, for wit
thou well that more availeth my blackness than the other's whiteness.
And then he departed.

And he had another vision: him thought that he came to a great place
which seemed a chapel, and there he found a chair set on the left side,
which was worm-eaten and feeble. And on the right hand were two flowers
like a lily, and the one would have benome the other's whiteness, but a
good man departed them that the one touched not the other; and then out
of every flower came out many flowers, and fruit great plenty. Then him
thought the good man said: Should not he do great folly that would let
these two flowers perish for to succour the rotten tree, that it fell
not to the earth? Sir, said he, it seemeth me that this wood might
not avail. Now keep thee, said the good man, that thou never see such
adventure befall thee.

Then he awaked and made a sign of the cross in midst of the forehead,
and so rose and clothed him. And there came the lady of the place, and
she saluted him, and he her again, and so went to a chapel and heard
their service. And there came a company of knights, that the lady had
sent for, to lead Sir Bors unto battle. Then asked he his arms. And when
he was armed she prayed him to take a little morsel to dine. Nay, madam,
said he, that shall I not do till I have done my battle, by the grace of
God. And so he leapt upon his horse, and departed, all the knights and
men with him. And as soon as these two ladies met together, she which
Bors should fight for complained her, and said: Madam, ye have done
me wrong to bereave me of my lands that King Aniause gave me, and full
loath I am there should be any battle. Ye shall not choose, said the
other lady, or else your knight withdraw him.

Then there was the cry made, which party had the better of the two
knights, that his lady should rejoice all the land. Now departed the one
knight here, and the other there. Then they came together with such
a raundon that they pierced their shields and their hauberks, and the
spears flew in pieces, and they wounded either other sore. Then hurtled
they together, so that they fell both to the earth, and their horses
betwixt their legs; and anon they arose, and set hands to their swords,
and smote each one other upon the heads, that they made great wounds and
deep, that the blood went out of their bodies. For there found Sir Bors
greater defence in that knight more than he weened. For that Pridam was
a passing good knight, and he wounded Sir Bors full evil, and he him
again; but ever this Pridam held the stour in like hard. That perceived
Sir Bors, and suffered him till he was nigh attaint. And then he ran
upon him more and more, and the other went back for dread of death.
So in his withdrawing he fell upright, and Sir Bors drew his helm so
strongly that he rent it from his head, and gave him great strokes with
the flat of his sword upon the visage, and bade him yield him or he
should slay him. Then he cried him mercy and said: Fair knight, for
God's love slay me not, and I shall ensure thee never to war against thy
lady, but be alway toward her. Then Bors let him be; then the old lady
fled with all her knights.



CHAPTER IX. How the lady was returned to her lands by the battle of Sir
Bors, and of his departing, and how he met Sir Lionel taken and beaten
with thorns, and also of a maid which should have been devoured.


SO then came Bors to all those that held lands of his lady, and said he
should destroy them but if they did such service unto her as longed
to their lands. So they did their homage, and they that would not were
chased out of their lands. Then befell that young lady to come to her
estate again, by the mighty prowess of Sir Bors de Ganis. So when all
the country was well set in peace, then Sir Bors took his leave and
departed; and she thanked him greatly, and would have given him great
riches, but he refused it.

Then he rode all that day till night, and came to an harbour to a lady
which knew him well enough, and made of him great Joy. Upon the morn, as
soon as the day appeared, Bors departed from thence, and so rode into
a forest unto the hour of midday, and there befell him a marvellous
adventure. So he met at the departing of the two ways two knights that
led Lionel, his brother, all naked, bounden upon a strong hackney, and
his hands bounden to-fore his breast. And everych of them held in his
hands thorns wherewith they went beating him so sore that the blood
trailed down more than in an hundred places of his body, so that he was
all blood to-fore and behind, but he said never a word; as he which was
great of heart he suffered all that ever they did to him, as though he
had felt none anguish.

Anon Sir Bors dressed him to rescue him that was his brother; and so he
looked upon the other side of him, and saw a knight which brought a fair
gentlewoman, and would have set her in the thickest place of the forest
for to have been the more surer out of the way from them that sought
him. And she which was nothing assured cried with an high voice: Saint
Mary succour your maid. And anon she espied where Sir Bors came riding.
And when she came nigh him she deemed him a knight of the Round Table,
whereof she hoped to have some comfort; and then she conjured him: By
the faith that he ought unto Him in whose service thou art entered in,
and for the faith ye owe unto the high order of knighthood, and for the
noble King Arthur's sake, that I suppose made thee knight, that thou
help me, and suffer me not to be shamed of this knight. When Bors heard
her say thus he had so much sorrow there he nist not what to do. For if
I let my brother be in adventure he must be slain, and that would I not
for all the earth. And if I help not the maid she is shamed for ever,
and also she shall lose her virginity the which she shall never get
again. Then lift he up his eyes and said weeping: Fair sweet Lord
Jesu Christ, whose liege man I am, keep Lionel, my brother, that these
knights slay him not, and for pity of you, and for Mary's sake, I shall
succour this maid.



CHAPTER X. How Sir Bors left to rescue his brother, and rescued the
damosel; and how it was told him that Lionel was dead.


THEN dressed he him unto the knight the which had the gentlewoman, and
then he cried: Sir knight, let your hand off that maiden, or ye be but
dead. And then he set down the maiden, and was armed at all pieces save
he lacked his spear. Then he dressed his shield, and drew out his sword,
and Bors smote him so hard that it went through his shield and habergeon
on the left shoulder. And through great strength he beat him down to the
earth, and at the pulling out of Bors' spear there he swooned. Then
came Bors to the maid and said: How seemeth it you? of this knight ye
be delivered at this time. Now sir, said she, I pray you lead me thereas
this knight had me. So shall I do gladly: and took the horse of the
wounded knight, and set the gentlewoman upon him, and so brought her as
she desired. Sir knight, said she, ye have better sped than ye weened,
for an I had lost my maidenhead, five hundred men should have died for
it. What knight was he that had you in the forest? By my faith, said
she, he is my cousin. So wot I never with what engine the fiend enchafed
him, for yesterday he took me from my father privily; for I, nor none of
my father's men, mistrusted him not, and if he had had my maidenhead he
should have died for the sin, and his body shamed and dishonoured for
ever. Thus as she stood talking with him there came twelve knights
seeking after her, and anon she told them all how Bors had delivered
her; then they made great joy, and besought him to come to her father,
a great lord, and he should be right welcome. Truly, said Bors, that may
not be at this time, for I have a great adventure to do in this country.
So he commended them unto God and departed.

Then Sir Bors rode after Lionel, his brother, by the trace of their
horses, thus he rode seeking a great while. Then he overtook a man
clothed in a religious clothing; and rode on a strong black horse
blacker than a berry, and said: Sir knight, what seek you? Sir, said he,
I seek my brother that I saw within a while beaten with two knights. Ah,
Bors, discomfort you not, nor fall into no wanhope; for I shall tell you
tidings such as they be, for truly he is dead. Then showed he him a new
slain body lying in a bush, and it seemed him well that it was the body
of Lionel, and then he made such a sorrow that he fell to the earth all
in a swoon, and lay a great while there. And when he came to himself he
said: Fair brother, sith the company of you and me is departed shall
I never have joy in my heart, and now He which I have taken unto my
master, He be my help. And when he had said thus he took his body
lightly in his arms, and put it upon the arson of his saddle. And then
he said to the man: Canst thou tell me unto some chapel where that I may
bury this body? Come on, said he, here is one fast by; and so long they
rode till they saw a fair tower, and afore it there seemed an old feeble
chapel. And then they alighted both, and put him into a tomb of marble.



CHAPTER XI. How Sir Bors told his dream to a priest, which he had
dreamed, and of the counsel that the priest gave to him.


NOW leave we him here, said the good man, and go we to our harbour till
to-morrow; we will come here again to do him service. Sir, said Bors, be
ye a priest? Yea forsooth, said he. Then I pray you tell me a dream that
befell to me the last night. Say on, said he. Then he began so much
to tell him of the great bird in the forest, and after told him of his
birds, one white, another black, and of the rotten tree, and of the
white flowers. Sir, I shall tell you a part now, and the other deal
to-morrow. The white fowl betokeneth a gentlewoman, fair and rich, which
loved thee paramours, and hath loved thee long; and if thou warn her
love she shall go die anon, if thou have no pity on her. That signifieth
the great bird, the which shall make thee to warn her. Now for no fear
that thou hast, ne for no dread that thou hast of God, thou shalt not
warn her, but thou wouldst not do it for to be holden chaste, for to
conquer the loos of the vain glory of the world; for that shall befall
thee now an thou warn her, that Launcelot, the good knight, thy cousin,
shall die. And therefore men shall now say that thou art a manslayer,
both of thy brother, Sir Lionel, and of thy cousin, Sir Launcelot du
Lake, the which thou mightest have saved and rescued easily, but thou
weenedst to rescue a maid which pertaineth nothing to thee. Now look
thou whether it had been greater harm of thy brother's death, or else to
have suffered her to have lost her maidenhood. Then asked he him: Hast
thou heard the tokens of thy dream the which I have told to you? Yea
forsooth, said Sir Bors, all your exposition and declaring of my dream
I have well understood and heard. Then said the man in this black
clothing: Then is it in thy default if Sir Launcelot, thy cousin, die.
Sir, said Bors, that were me loath, for wit ye well there is nothing in
the world but I had liefer do it than to see my lord, Sir Launcelot du
Lake, to die in my default. Choose ye now the one or the other, said the
good man.

And then he led Sir Bors into an high tower, and there he found knights
and ladies: those ladies said he was welcome, and so they unarmed him.
And when he was in his doublet men brought him a mantle furred with
ermine, and put it about him; and then they made him such cheer that
he had forgotten all his sorrow and anguish, and only set his heart in
these delights and dainties, and took no thought more for his brother,
Sir Lionel, neither of Sir Launcelot du Lake, his cousin. And anon came
out of a chamber to him the fairest lady than ever he saw, and more
richer beseen than ever he saw Queen Guenever or any other estate. Lo,
said they, Sir Bors, here is the lady unto whom we owe all our service,
and I trow she be the richest lady and the fairest of all the world, and
the which loveth you best above all other knights, for she will have no
knight but you. And when he understood that language he was abashed. Not
for then she saluted him, and he her; and then they sat down together
and spake of many things, in so much that she besought him to be her
love, for she had loved him above all earthly men, and she should make
him richer than ever was man of his age. When Bors understood her words
he was right evil at ease, which in no manner would not break chastity,
so wist not he how to answer her.



CHAPTER XII. How the devil in a woman's likeness would have had Sir Bors
to have lain by her, and how by God's grace he escaped.


ALAS, said she, Bors, shall ye not do my will? Madam, said Bors, there
is no lady in the world whose will I will fulfil as of this thing, for
my brother lieth dead which was slain right late. Ah Bors, said she,
I have loved you long for the great beauty I have seen in you, and the
great hardiness that I have heard of you, that needs ye must lie by
me this night, and therefore I pray you grant it me. Truly, said he,
I shall not do it in no manner wise. Then she made him such sorrow
as though she would have died. Well Bors, said she, unto this have ye
brought me, nigh to mine end. And therewith she took him by the hand,
and bade him behold her. And ye shall see how I shall die for your love.
Ah, said then he, that shall I never see.

Then she departed and went up into an high battlement, and led with her
twelve gentlewomen; and when they were above, one of the gentlewomen
cried, and said: Ah, Sir Bors, gentle knight have mercy on us all, and
suffer my lady to have her will, and if ye do not we must suffer death
with our lady, for to fall down off this high tower, and if ye suffer us
thus to die for so little a thing all ladies and gentlewomen will say
or you dishonour. Then looked he upward, they seemed all ladies of great
estate, and richly and well beseen. Then had he of them great pity; not
for that he was uncounselled in himself that liefer he had they all had
lost their souls than he his, and with that they fell adown all at
once unto the earth. And when he saw that, he was all abashed, and had
thereof great marvel. With that he blessed his body and his visage. And
anon he heard a great noise and a great cry, as though all the fiends of
hell had been about him; and therewith he saw neither tower, nor lady,
nor gentlewoman, nor no chapel where he brought his brother to. Then
held he up both his hands to the heaven, and said: Fair Father God, I am
grievously escaped; and then he took his arms and his horse and rode on
his way.

Then he heard a clock smite on his right hand; and thither he came to an
abbey on his right hand, closed with high walls, and there was let in.
Then they supposed that he was one of the quest of the Sangreal, so they
led him into a chamber and unarmed him. Sirs, said Sir Bors, if there be
any holy man in this house I pray you let me speak with him. Then one
of them led him unto the Abbot, which was in a chapel. And then Sir Bors
saluted him, and he him again. Sir, said Bors, I am a knight-errant;
and told him all the adventure which he had seen. Sir Knight, said the
Abbot, I wot not what ye be, for I weened never that a knight of your
age might have been so strong in the grace of our Lord Jesu Christ. Not
for then ye shall go unto your rest, for I will not counsel you this
day, it is too late, and to-morrow I shall counsel you as I can.



CHAPTER XIII. Of the holy communication of an Abbot to Sir Bors, and how
the Abbot counselled him.


AND that night was Sir Bors served richly; and on the morn early he
heard mass, and the Abbot came to him, and bade him good morrow, and
Bors to him again. And then he told him he was a fellow of the quest
of the Sangreal, and how he had charge of the holy man to eat bread and
water. Then [said the Abbot]: Our Lord Jesu Christ showed him unto you
in the likeness of a soul that suffered great anguish for us, since He
was put upon the cross, and bled His heart-blood for mankind: there was
the token and the likeness of the Sangreal that appeared afore you, for
the blood that the great fowl bled revived the chickens from death to
life. And by the bare tree is betokened the world which is naked and
without fruit but if it come of Our Lord. Also the lady for whom ye
fought for, and King Aniause which was lord there-to-fore, betokeneth
Jesu Christ which is the King of the world. And that ye fought with the
champion for the lady, this it betokeneth: for when ye took the battle
for the lady, by her shall ye understand the new law of Jesu Christ and
Holy Church; and by the other lady ye shall understand the old law and
the fiend, which all day warreth against Holy Church, therefore ye did
your battle with right. For ye be Jesu Christ's knights, therefore ye
ought to be defenders of Holy Church. And by the black bird might ye
understand Holy Church, which sayeth I am black, but he is fair. And by
the white bird might men understand the fiend, and I shall tell you how
the swan is white without-forth, and black within: it is hypocrisy which
is without yellow or pale, and seemeth without-forth the servants
of Jesu Christ, but they be within so horrible of filth and sin, and
beguile the world evil. Also when the fiend appeared to thee in likeness
of a man of religion, and blamed thee that thou left thy brother for a
lady, so led thee where thou seemed thy brother was slain, but he is yet
alive; and all was for to put thee in error, and bring thee unto wanhope
and lechery, for he knew thou were tender hearted, and all was for thou
shouldst not find the blessed adventure of the Sangreal. And the third
fowl betokeneth the strong battle against the fair ladies which were all
devils. Also the dry tree and the white lily: the dry tree betokeneth
thy brother Lionel, which is dry without virtue, and therefore many men
ought to call him the rotten tree, and the worm-eaten tree, for he is a
murderer and doth contrary to the order of knighthood. And the two white
flowers signify two maidens, the one is a knight which was wounded the
other day, and the other is the gentlewoman which ye rescued; and why
the other flower drew nigh the other, that was the knight which would
have defouled her and himself both. And Sir Bors, ye had been a great
fool and in great peril for to have seen those two flowers perish for to
succour the rotten tree, for an they had sinned together they had been
damned; and for that ye rescued them both, men might call you a very
knight and servant of Jesu Christ.



CHAPTER XIV. How Sir Bors met with his brother Sir Lionel, and how Sir
Lionel would have slain Sir Bors.


THEN went Sir Bors from thence and commended the Abbot unto God. And
then he rode all that day, and harboured with an old lady. And on the
morn he rode to a castle in a valley, and there he met with a yeoman
going a great pace toward a forest. Say me, said Sir Bors, canst thou
tell me of any adventure? Sir, said he, here shall be under this castle
a great and a marvellous tournament. Of what folks shall it be? said
Sir Bors. The Earl of Plains shall be in the one party, and the lady's
nephew of Hervin on the other party. Then Bors thought to be there if he
might meet with his brother Sir Lionel, or any other of his fellowship,
which were in the quest of the Sangreal. And then he turned to an
hermitage that was in the entry of the forest.

And when he was come thither he found there Sir Lionel, his brother,
which sat all armed at the entry of the chapel door for to abide there
harbour till on the morn that the tournament shall be. And when Sir Bors
saw him he had great joy of him, that it were marvel to tell of his joy.
And then he alighted off his horse, and said: Fair sweet brother, when
came ye hither? Anon as Lionel saw him he said: Ah Bors, ye may not make
none avaunt, but as for you I might have been slain; when ye saw
two knights leading me away beating me, ye left me for to succour a
gentlewoman, and suffered me in peril of death; for never erst ne did
no brother to another so great an untruth. And for that misdeed now I
ensure you but death, for well have ye deserved it; therefore keep thee
from henceforward, and that shall ye find as soon as I am armed. When
Sir Bors understood his brother's wrath he kneeled down to the earth and
cried him mercy, holding up both his hands, and prayed him to forgive
him his evil will. Nay, said Lionel, that shall never be an I may have
the higher hand, that I make mine avow to God, thou shalt have death for
it, for it were pity ye lived any longer.

Right so he went in and took his harness, and mounted upon his horse,
and came to-fore him and said: Bors, keep thee from me, for I shall
do to thee as I would to a felon or a traitor, for ye be the untruest
knight that ever came out of so worthy an house as was King Bors de
Ganis which was our father, therefore start upon thy horse, and so shall
ye be most at your advantage. And but if ye will I will run upon you
thereas ye stand upon foot, and so the shame shall be mine and the harm
yours, but of that shame ne reck I nought.

When Sir Bors saw that he must fight with his brother or else to die, he
nist what to do; then his heart counselled him not thereto, inasmuch
as Lionel was born or he, wherefore he ought to bear him reverence;
yet kneeled he down afore Lionel's horse's feet, and said: Fair sweet
brother, have mercy upon me and slay me not, and have in remembrance
the great love which ought to be between us twain. What Sir Bors said to
Lionel he rought not, for the fiend had brought him in such a will that
he should slay him. Then when Lionel saw he would none other, and that
he would not have risen to give him battle, he rashed over him so that
he smote Bors with his horse, feet upward, to the earth, and hurt him so
sore that he swooned of distress, the which he felt in himself to have
died without confession. So when Lionel saw this, he alighted off his
horse to have smitten off his head. And so he took him by the helm, and
would have rent it from his head. Then came the hermit running unto him,
which was a good man and of great age, and well had heard all the words
that were between them, and so fell down upon Sir Bors.



CHAPTER XV. How Sir Colgrevance fought against Sir Lionel for to save
Sir Bors, and how the hermit was slain.


THEN he said to Lionel: Ah gentle knight, have mercy upon me and on thy
brother, for if thou slay him thou shalt be dead of sin, and that were
sorrowful, for he is one of the worthiest knights of the world, and of
the best conditions. So God help me, said Lionel, sir priest, but if ye
flee from him I shall slay you, and he shall never the sooner be quit.
Certes, said the good man, I have liefer ye slay me than him, for my
death shall not be great harm, not half so much as of his. Well, said
Lionel, I am greed; and set his hand to his sword and smote him so hard
that his head yede backward. Not for that he restrained him of his evil
will, but took his brother by the helm, and unlaced it to have stricken
off his head, and had slain him without fail. But so it happed,
Colgrevance a fellow of the Round Table, came at that time thither as
Our Lord's will was. And when he saw the good man slain he marvelled
much what it might be. And then he beheld Lionel would have slain his
brother, and knew Sir Bors which he loved right well. Then stert he down
and took Lionel by the shoulders, and drew him strongly aback from Bors,
and said: Lionel, will ye slay your brother, the worthiest knight of the
world one? and that should no good man suffer. Why, said Lionel, will ye
let me? therefore if ye entermete you in this I shall slay you, and him
after. Why, said Colgrevance, is this sooth that ye will slay him? Slay
him will I, said he, whoso say the contrary, for he hath done so much
against me that he hath well deserved it. And so ran upon him, and would
have smitten him through the head, and Sir Colgrevance ran betwixt them,
and said: An ye be so hardy to do so more, we two shall meddle together.

When Lionel understood his words he took his shield afore him, and asked
him what that he was. And he told him, Colgrevance, one of his fellows.
Then Lionel defied him, and gave him a great stroke through the helm.
Then he drew his sword, for he was a passing good knight, and defended
him right manfully. So long dured the battle that Bors rose up all
anguishly, and beheld [how] Colgrevance, the good knight, fought with
his brother for his quarrel; then was he full sorry and heavy, and
thought if Colgrevance slew him that was his brother he should never
have joy; and if his brother slew Colgrevance the shame should ever be
mine. Then would he have risen to have departed them, but he had not so
much might to stand on foot; so he abode him so long till Colgrevance
had the worse, for Lionel was of great chivalry and right hardy, for he
had pierced the hauberk and the helm, that he abode but death, for
he had lost much of his blood that it was marvel that he might stand
upright. Then beheld he Sir Bors which sat dressing him upward and said:
Ah, Bors, why come ye not to cast me out of peril of death, wherein I
have put me to succour you which were right now nigh the death? Certes,
said Lionel, that shall not avail you, for none of you shall bear others
warrant, but that ye shall die both of my hand. When Bors heard that,
he did so much, he rose and put on his helm. Then perceived he first
the hermit-priest which was slain, then made he a marvellous sorrow upon
him.



CHAPTER XVI. How Sir Lionel slew Sir Colgrevance, and how after he would
have slain Sir Bors.


THEN oft Colgrevance cried upon Sir Bors: Why will ye let me die here
for your sake? if it please you that I die for you the death, it will
please me the better for to save a worthy man. With that word Sir Lionel
smote off the helm from his head. Then Colgrevance saw that he might not
escape; then he said: Fair sweet Jesu, that I have misdone have mercy
upon my soul, for such sorrow that my heart suffereth for goodness, and
for alms deed that I would have done here, be to me aligement of penance
unto my soul's health. At these words Lionel smote him so sore that
he bare him to the earth. So he had slain Colgrevance he ran upon his
brother as a fiendly man, and gave him such a stroke that he made him
stoop. And he that was full of humility prayed him for God's love to
leave this battle: For an it befell, fair brother, that I slew you or
ye me, we should be dead of that sin. Never God me help but if I have on
you mercy, an I may have the better hand. Then drew Bors his sword,
all weeping, and said: Fair brother, God knoweth mine intent. Ah, fair
brother, ye have done full evil this day to slay such an holy priest the
which never trespassed. Also ye have slain a gentle knight, and one of
our fellows. And well wot ye that I am not afeard of you greatly, but I
dread the wrath of God, and this is an unkindly war, therefore God show
miracle upon us both. Now God have mercy upon me though I defend my
life against my brother: with that Bors lift up his hand and would have
smitten his brother.



CHAPTER XVII. How there came a voice which charged Sir Bors to touch him
not, and of a cloud that came between them.


AND then he heard a voice that said: Flee Bors, and touch him not, or
else thou shalt slay him. Right so alighted a cloud betwixt them in
likeness of a fire and a marvellous flame, that both their two shields
brent. Then were they sore afraid, that they fell both to the earth, and
lay there a great while in a swoon. And when they came to themself, Bors
saw that his brother had no harm; then he held up both his hands, for he
dread God had taken vengeance upon him. With that he heard a voice say:
Bors, go hence, and bear thy brother no longer fellowship, but take thy
way anon right to the sea, for Sir Percivale abideth thee there. Then he
said to his brother: Fair sweet brother, forgive me for God's love all
that I have trespassed unto you. Then he answered: God forgive it thee
and I do gladly.

So Sir Bors departed from him and rode the next way to the sea. And at
the last by fortune he came to an abbey which was nigh the sea. That
night Bors rested him there; and in his sleep there came a voice to
him and bade him go to the sea. Then he stert up and made a sign of the
cross in the midst of his forehead, and took his harness, and made ready
his horse, and mounted upon him; and at a broken wall he rode out, and
rode so long till that he came to the sea. And on the strand he found a
ship covered all with white samite, and he alighted, and betook him to
Jesu Christ. And as soon as he entered into the ship, the ship departed
into the sea, and went so fast that him seemed the ship went flying, but
it was soon dark so that he might know no man, and so he slept till it
was day. Then he awaked, and saw in midst of the ship a knight lie all
armed save his helm. Then knew he that it was Sir Percivale of Wales,
and then he made of him right great joy; but Sir Percivale was abashed
of him, and he asked him what he was. Ah, fair sir, said Bors, know ye
me not? Certes, said he, I marvel how ye came hither, but if Our Lord
brought ye hither Himself. Then Sir Bors smiled and did off his helm.
Then Percivale knew him, and either made great joy of other, that it
was marvel to hear. Then Bors told him how he came into the ship, and
by whose admonishment; and either told other of their temptations, as
ye have heard to-forehand. So went they downward in the sea, one while
backward, another while forward, and everych comforted other, and oft
were in their prayers. Then said Sir Percivale: We lack nothing but
Galahad, the good knight.

_And thus endeth the sixteenth book, which is of Sir Gawaine, Ector de
Maris, and Sir Bors de Ganis, and Sir Percivale. And here followeth the
seven-teenth book, which is of the noble knight Sir Galahad._



BOOK XVII.



CHAPTER I. How Sir Galahad fought at a tournament, and how he was known
of Sir Gawaine and Sir Ector de Maris.


NOW saith this story, when Galahad had rescued Percivale from the twenty
knights, he yede tho into a waste forest wherein he rode many journeys;
and he found many adventures the which he brought to an end, whereof the
story maketh here no mention. Then he took his way to the sea on a day,
and it befell as he passed by a castle where was a wonder tournament,
but they without had done so much that they within were put to the
worse, yet were they within good knights enough. When Galahad saw that
those within were at so great a mischief that men slew them at the entry
of the castle, then he thought to help them, and put a spear forth
and smote the first that he fell to the earth, and the spear brake to
pieces. Then he drew his sword and smote thereas they were thickest,
and so he did wonderful deeds of arms that all they marvelled. Then
it happed that Gawaine and Sir Ector de Maris were with the knights
without. But when they espied the white shield with the red cross the
one said to the other: Yonder is the good knight, Sir Galahad, the haut
prince: now he should be a great fool which should meet with him to
fight. So by adventure he came by Sir Gawaine, and he smote him so
hard that he clave his helm and the coif of iron unto his head, so that
Gawaine fell to the earth; but the stroke was so great that it slanted
down to the earth and carved the horse's shoulder in two.

When Ector saw Gawaine down he drew him aside, and thought it no wisdom
for to abide him, and also for natural love, that he was his uncle. Thus
through his great hardiness he beat aback all the knights without. And
then they within came out and chased them all about. But when Galahad
saw there would none turn again he stole away privily, so that none wist
where he was become. Now by my head, said Gawaine to Ector, now are the
wonders true that were said of Launcelot du Lake, that the sword which
stuck in the stone should give me such a buffet that I would not have
it for the best castle in this world; and soothly now it is proved
true, for never ere had I such a stroke of man's hand. Sir, said Ector,
meseemeth your quest is done. And yours is not done, said Gawaine, but
mine is done, I shall seek no further. Then Gawaine was borne into a
castle and unarmed him, and laid him in a rich bed, and a leech found
that he might live, and to be whole within a month. Thus Gawaine and
Ector abode together, for Sir Ector would not away till Gawaine were
whole.

And the good knight, Galahad, rode so long till he came that night to
the Castle of Carboneck; and it befell him thus that he was benighted
in an hermitage. So the good man was fain when he saw he was a
knight-errant. Tho when they were at rest there came a gentlewoman
knocking at the door, and called Galahad, and so the good man came to
the door to wit what she would. Then she called the hermit: Sir Ulfin,
I am a gentlewoman that would speak with the knight which is with you.
Then the good man awaked Galahad, and bade him: Arise, and speak with
a gentlewoman that seemeth hath great need of you. Then Galahad went to
her and asked her what she would. Galahad, said she, I will that ye
arm you, and mount upon your horse and follow me, for I shall show you
within these three days the highest adventure that ever any knight saw.
Anon Galahad armed him, and took his horse, and commended him to God,
and bade the gentlewoman go, and he would follow thereas she liked.



CHAPTER II. How Sir Galahad rode with a damosel, and came to the ship
whereas Sir Bors and Sir Percivale were in.


SO she rode as fast as her palfrey might bear her, till that she came to
the sea, the which was called Collibe. And at the night they came unto
a castle in a valley, closed with a running water, and with strong walls
and high; and so she entered into the castle with Galahad, and there had
he great cheer, for the lady of that castle was the damosel's lady. So
when he was unarmed, then said the damosel: Madam, shall we abide here
all this day? Nay, said she, but till he hath dined and till he hath
slept a little. So he ate and slept a while till that the maid called
him, and armed him by torchlight. And when the maid was horsed and he
both, the lady took Galahad a fair child and rich; and so they departed
from the castle till they came to the seaside; and there they found the
ship where Bors and Percivale were in, the which cried on the ship's
board: Sir Galahad, ye be welcome, we have abiden you long. And when he
heard them he asked them what they were. Sir, said she, leave your horse
here, and I shall leave mine; and took their saddles and their bridles
with them, and made a cross on them, and so entered into the ship. And
the two knights received them both with great joy, and everych knew
other; and so the wind arose, and drove them through the sea in a
marvellous pace. And within a while it dawned.

Then did Galahad off his helm and his sword, and asked of his fellows
from whence came that fair ship. Truly, said they, ye wot as well as
we, but of God's grace; and then they told everych to other of all their
hard adventures, and of their great temptations. Truly, said Galahad, ye
are much bounden to God, for ye have escaped great adventures; and had
not the gentlewoman been I had not come here, for as for you I weened
never to have found you in these strange countries. Ah Galahad, said
Bors, if Launcelot, your father, were here then were we well at ease,
for then meseemed we failed nothing. That may not be, said Galahad, but
if it pleased Our Lord.

By then the ship went from the land of Logris, and by adventure it
arrived up betwixt two rocks passing great and marvellous; but there
they might not land, for there was a swallow of the sea, save there was
another ship, and upon it they might go without danger. Go we thither,
said the gentlewoman, and there shall we see adventures, for so is Our
Lord's will. And when they came thither they found the ship rich enough,
but they found neither man nor woman therein. But they found in the end
of the ship two fair letters written, which said a dreadful word and a
marvellous: Thou man, which shall enter into this ship, beware thou
be in steadfast belief, for I am Faith, and therefore beware how
thou enterest, for an thou fail I shall not help thee. Then said the
gentlewoman: Percivale, wot ye what I am? Certes, said he, nay, to my
witting. Wit ye well, said she, that I am thy sister, which am daughter
of King Pellinore, and therefore wit ye well ye are the man in the world
that I most love; and if ye be not in perfect belief of Jesu Christ
enter not in no manner of wise, for then should ye perish the ship,
for he is so perfect he will suffer no sinner in him. When Percivale
understood that she was his very sister he was inwardly glad, and said:
Fair sister, I shall enter therein, for if I be a miscreature or an
untrue knight there shall I perish.



CHAPTER III. How Sir Galahad entered into the ship, and of a fair bed
therein, with other marvellous things, and of a sword.


IN the meanwhile Galahad blessed him, and entered therein; and then next
the gentlewoman, and then Sir Bors and Sir Percivale. And when they were
in, it was so marvellous fair and rich that they marvelled; and in midst
of the ship was a fair bed, and Galahad went thereto, and found there
a crown of silk. And at the feet was a sword, rich and fair, and it
was drawn out of the sheath half a foot and more; and the sword was of
divers fashions, and the pommel was of stone, and there was in him all
manner of colours that any man might find, and everych of the colours
had divers virtues; and the scales of the haft were of two ribs of
divers beasts, the one beast was a serpent which was conversant in
Calidone, and is called the Serpent of the fiend; and the bone of him is
of such a virtue that there is no hand that handleth him shall never be
weary nor hurt. And the other beast is a fish which is not right great,
and haunteth the flood of Euphrates; and that fish is called Ertanax,
and his bones be of such a manner of kind that who that handleth them
shall have so much will that he shall never be weary, and he shall not
think on joy nor sorrow that he hath had but only that thing that he
beholdeth before him. And as for this sword there shall never man begrip
him at the handles but one; but he shall pass all other. In the name of
God, said Percivale, I shall assay to handle it. So he set his hand to
the sword, but he might not begrip it. By my faith, said he, now have I
failed. Bors set his hand thereto and failed.

Then Galahad beheld the sword and saw letters like blood that said:
Let see who shall assay to draw me out of my sheath, but if he be more
hardier than any other; and who that draweth me, wit ye well that he
shall never fail of shame of his body, or to be wounded to the death. By
my faith, said Galahad, I would draw this sword out of the sheath, but
the offending is so great that I shall not set my hand thereto. Now
sirs, said the gentlewoman, wit ye well that the drawing of this sword
is warned to all men save all only to you. Also this ship arrived in the
realm of Logris; and that time was deadly war between King Labor, which
was father unto the maimed king, and King Hurlame, which was a Saracen.
But then was he newly christened, so that men held him afterward one
of the wittiest men of the world. And so upon a day it befell that King
Labor and King Hurlame had assembled their folk upon the sea where this
ship was arrived; and there King Hurlame was discomfit, and his men
slain; and he was afeard to be dead, and fled to his ship, and there
found this sword and drew it, and came out and found King Labor, the man
in the world of all Christendom in whom was then the greatest faith. And
when King Hurlame saw King Labor he dressed this sword, and smote him
upon the helm so hard that he clave him and his horse to the earth with
the first stroke of his sword. And it was in the realm of Logris; and
so befell great pestilence and great harm to both realms. For sithen
increased neither corn, nor grass, nor well-nigh no fruit, nor in the
water was no fish; wherefore men call it the lands of the two marches,
the waste land, for that dolorous stroke. And when King Hurlame saw this
sword so carving, he turned again to fetch the scabbard, and so came
into this ship and entered, and put up the sword in the sheath. And as
soon as he had done it he fell down dead afore the bed. Thus was the
sword proved, that none ne drew it but he were dead or maimed. So lay he
there till a maiden came into the ship and cast him out, for there was
no man so hardy of the world to enter into that ship for the defence.



CHAPTER IV. Of the marvels of the sword and of the scabbard.


AND then beheld they the scabbard, it seemed to be of a serpent's skin,
and thereon were letters of gold and silver. And the girdle was but
poorly to come to, and not able to sustain such a rich sword. And the
letters said: He which shall wield me sought to be more harder than any
other, if he bear me as truly as me ought to be borne. For the body of
him which I ought to hang by, he shall not be shamed in no place while
he is girt with this girdle, nor never none be so hardy to do away this
girdle; for it ought not be done away but by the hands of a maid, and
that she be a king's daughter and queen's, and she must be a maid all
the days of her life, both in will and in deed. And if she break her
virginity she shall die the most villainous death that ever died any
woman. Sir, said Percivale, turn this sword that we may see what is on
the other side. And it was red as blood, with black letters as any coal,
which said: He that shall praise me most, most shall he find me to blame
at a great need; and to whom I should be most debonair shall I be most
felon, and that shall be at one time.

Fair brother, said she to Percivale, it befell after a forty year after
the passion of Jesu Christ that Nacien, the brother-in-law of King
Mordrains, was borne into a town more than fourteen days' journey from
his country, by the commandment of Our Lord, into an isle, into the
parts of the West, that men cleped the Isle of Turnance. So befell it
that he found this ship at the entry of a rock, and he found the bed
and this sword as we have heard now. Not for then he had not so much
hardiness to draw it; and there he dwelled an eight days, and at the
ninth day there fell a great wind which departed him out of the isle,
and brought him to another isle by a rock, and there he found the
greatest giant that ever man might see. Therewith came that horrible
giant to slay him; and then he looked about him and might not flee, and
he had nothing to defend him with. So he ran to his sword, and when he
saw it naked he praised it much, and then he shook it, and therewith he
brake it in the midst. Ah, said Nacien, the thing that I most praised
ought I now most to blame, and therewith he threw the pieces of his
sword over his bed. And after he leapt over the board to fight with the
giant, and slew him.

And anon he entered into the ship again, and the wind arose, and drove
him through the sea, that by adventure he came to another ship where
King Mordrains was, which had been tempted full evil with a fiend in the
Port of Perilous Rock. And when that one saw the other they made great
joy of other, and either told other of their adventure, and how the
sword failed him at his most need When Mordrains saw the sword he
praised it much: But the breaking was not to do but by wickedness of thy
selfward, for thou art in some sin. And there he took the sword, and
set the pieces together, and they soldered as fair as ever they were
to-fore; and there put he the sword in the sheath, and laid it down on
the bed. Then heard they a voice that said: Go out of this ship a little
while, and enter into the other, for dread ye fall in deadly sin, for
and ye be found in deadly sin ye may not escape but perish: and so
they went into the other ship. And as Nacien went over the board he was
smitten with a sword on the right foot, that he fell down noseling to
the ship's board; and therewith he said: O God, how am I hurt. And then
there came a voice and said: Take thou that for thy forfeit that thou
didst in drawing of this sword, therefore thou receivest a wound, for
thou were never worthy to handle it, as the writing maketh mention. In
the name of God, said Galahad, ye are right wise of these works.



CHAPTER V. How King Pelles was smitten through both thighs because he
drew the sword, and other marvellous histories.


SIR, said she, there was a king that hight Pelles, the maimed king. And
while he might ride he supported much Christendom and Holy Church. So
upon a day he hunted in a wood of his which lasted unto the sea; and at
the last he lost his hounds and his knights save only one: and there
he and his knight went till that they came toward Ireland, and there he
found the ship. And when he saw the letters and understood them, yet he
entered, for he was right perfect of his life, but his knight had none
hardiness to enter; and there found he this sword, and drew it out
as much as ye may see. So therewith entered a spear wherewith he was
smitten him through both the thighs, and never sith might he be healed,
nor nought shall to-fore we come to him. Thus, said she, was not King
Pelles, your grandsire, maimed for his hardiness? In the name of God,
damosel, said Galahad.

So they went toward the bed to behold all about it, and above the head
there hung two swords. Also there were two spindles which were as white
as any snow, and other that were as red as blood, and other above green
as any emerald: of these three colours were the spindles, and of natural
colour within, and without any painting. These spindles, said the
damosel, were when sinful Eve came to gather fruit, for which Adam and
she were put out of paradise, she took with her the bough on which the
apple hung on. Then perceived she that the branch was fair and green,
and she remembered her the loss which came from the tree. Then she
thought to keep the branch as long as she might. And for she had no
coffer to keep it in, she put it in the earth. So by the will of Our
Lord the branch grew to a great tree within a little while, and was
as white as any snow, branches, boughs, and leaves: that was a token
a maiden planted it. But after God came to Adam, and bade him know his
wife fleshly as nature required. So lay Adam with his wife under the
same tree; and anon the tree which was white was full green as any
grass, and all that came out of it; and in the same time that they
medled together there was Abel begotten: thus was the tree long of green
colour. And so it befell many days after, under the same tree Caym slew
Abel, whereof befell great marvel. For anon as Abel had received the
death under the green tree, it lost the green colour and became red; and
that was in tokening of the blood. And anon all the plants died thereof,
but the tree grew and waxed marvellously fair, and it was the fairest
tree and the most delectable that any man might behold and see; and so
died the plants that grew out of it to-fore that Abel was slain under
it. So long dured the tree till that Solomon, King David's son, reigned,
and held the land after his father. This Solomon was wise and knew all
the virtues of stones and trees, and so he knew the course of the
stars, and many other divers things. This Solomon had an evil wife,
wherethrough he weened that there had been no good woman, and so he
despised them in his books. So answered a voice him once: Solomon, if
heaviness come to a man by a woman, ne reck thou never; for yet shall
there come a woman whereof there shall come greater joy to man an
hundred times more than this heaviness giveth sorrow; and that woman
shall be born of thy lineage. Tho when Solomon heard these words he held
himself but a fool, and the truth he perceived by old books. Also the
Holy Ghost showed him the coming of the glorious Virgin Mary. Then asked
he of the voice, if it should be in the yerde of his lineage. Nay, said
the voice, but there shall come a man which shall be a maid, and the
last of your blood, and he shall be as good a knight as Duke Josua, thy
brother-in-law.



CHAPTER VI. How Solomon took David's sword by the counsel of his wife,
and of other matters marvellous.


NOW have I certified thee of that thou stoodest in doubt. Then was
Solomon glad that there should come any such of his lineage; but ever
he marvelled and studied who that should be, and what his name might
be. His wife perceived that he studied, and thought she would know it at
some season; and so she waited her time, and asked of him the cause of
his studying, and there he told her altogether how the voice told
him. Well, said she, I shall let make a ship of the best wood and most
durable that men may find. So Solomon sent for all the carpenters of
the land, and the best. And when they had made the ship the lady said
to Solomon: Sir, said she, since it is so that this knight ought to pass
all knights of chivalry which have been to-fore him and shall come after
him, moreover I shall tell you, said she, ye shall go into Our Lord's
temple, where is King David's sword, your father, the which is the
marvelloust and the sharpest that ever was taken in any knight's hand.
Therefore take that, and take off the pommel, and thereto make ye
a pommel of precious stones, that it be so subtly made that no man
perceive it but that they be all one; and after make there an hilt so
marvellously and wonderly that no man may know it; and after make a
marvellous sheath. And when ye have made all this I shall let make a
girdle thereto, such as shall please me.

All this King Solomon did let make as she devised, both the ship and all
the remnant. And when the ship was ready in the sea to sail, the lady
let make a great bed and marvellous rich, and set her upon the bed's
head, covered with silk, and laid the sword at the feet, and the girdles
were of hemp, and therewith the king was angry. Sir, wit ye well, said
she, that I have none so high a thing which were worthy to sustain so
high a sword, and a maid shall bring other knights thereto, but I wot
not when it shall be, nor what time. And there she let make a covering
to the ship, of cloth of silk that should never rot for no manner of
weather. Yet went that lady and made a carpenter to come to the tree
which Abel was slain under. Now, said she, carve me out of this tree as
much wood as will make me a spindle. Ah madam, said he, this is the tree
the which our first mother planted. Do it, said she, or else I shall
destroy thee. Anon as he began to work there came out drops of blood;
and then would he have left, but she would not suffer him, and so he
took away as much wood as might make a spindle: and so she made him to
take as much of the green tree and of the white tree. And when these
three spindles were shapen she made them to be fastened upon the selar
of the bed. When Solomon saw this, he said to his wife: Ye have done
marvellously, for though all the world were here right now, he could not
devise wherefore all this was made, but Our Lord Himself; and thou that
hast done it wottest not what it shall betoken. Now let it be, said
she, for ye shall hear tidings sooner than ye ween. Now shall ye hear a
wonderful tale of King Solomon and his wife.



CHAPTER VII. A wonderful tale of King Solomon and his wife.


THAT night lay Solomon before the ship with little fellowship. And when
he was asleep him thought there came from heaven a great company of
angels, and alighted into the ship, and took water which was brought by
an angel, in a vessel of silver, and sprent all the ship. And after he
came to the sword, and drew letters on the hilt. And after went to the
ship's board, and wrote there other letters which said: Thou man that
wilt enter within me, beware that thou be full within the faith, for
I ne am but Faith and Belief. When Solomon espied these letters he was
abashed, so that he durst not enter, and so drew him aback; and the ship
was anon shoven in the sea, and he went so fast that he lost sight of
him within a little while. And then a little voice said: Solomon, the
last knight of thy lineage shall rest in this bed. Then went Solomon and
awaked his wife, and told her of the adventures of the ship.

Now saith the history that a great while the three fellows beheld the
bed and the three spindles. Then they were at certain that they were of
natural colours without painting. Then they lift up a cloth which was
above the ground, and there found a rich purse by seeming. And Percivale
took it, and found therein a writ and so he read it, and devised the
manner of the spindles and of the ship, whence it came, and by whom it
was made. Now, said Galahad, where shall we find the gentlewoman that
shall make new girdles to the sword? Fair sir, said Percivale's sister,
dismay you not, for by the leave of God I shall let make a girdle to the
sword, such one as shall long thereto. And then she opened a box, and
took out girdles which were seemly wrought with golden threads, and
upon that were set full precious stones, and a rich buckle of gold. Lo,
lords, said she, here is a girdle that ought to be set about the sword.
And wit ye well the greatest part of this girdle was made of my hair,
which I loved well while that I was a woman of the world. But as soon
as I wist that this adventure was ordained me I clipped off my hair, and
made this girdle in the name of God. Ye be well found, said Sir Bors,
for certes ye have put us out of great pain, wherein we should have
entered ne had your tidings been.

Then went the gentlewoman and set it on the girdle of the sword. Now,
said the fellowship, what is the name of the sword, and what shall we
call it? Truly, said she, the name of the sword is the Sword with the
Strange Girdles; and the sheath, Mover of Blood; for no man that hath
blood in him ne shall never see the one part of the sheath which was
made of the Tree of Life. Then they said to Galahad: In the name of Jesu
Christ, and pray you that ye gird you with this sword which hath been
desired so much in the realm of Logris. Now let me begin, said Galahad,
to grip this sword for to give you courage; but wit ye well it longeth
no more to me than it doth to you. And then he gripped about it with his
fingers a great deal; and then she girt him about the middle with the
sword. Now reck I not though I die, for now I hold me one of the blessed
maidens of the world, which hath made the worthiest knight of the world.
Damosel, said Galahad, ye have done so much that I shall be your knight
all the days of my life.

Then they went from that ship, and went to the other. And anon the wind
drove them into the sea a great pace, but they had no victuals: but it
befell that they came on the morn to a castle that men call Carteloise,
that was in the marches of Scotland. And when they had passed the port,
the gentlewoman said: Lords, here be men arriven that, an they wist that
ye were of King Arthur's court, ye should be assailed anon. Damosel,
said Galahad, He that cast us out of the rock shall deliver us from
them.



CHAPTER VIII. How Galahad and his fellows came to a castle, and how
they were fought withal, and how they slew their adversaries, and other
matters.


SO it befell as they spoke thus there came a squire by them, and asked
what they were; and they said they were of King Arthur's house. Is that
sooth? said he. Now by my head, said he, ye be ill arrayed; and then
turned he again unto the cliff fortress. And within a while they heard
an horn blow. Then a gentlewoman came to them, and asked them of whence
they were; and they told her. Fair lords, said she, for God's love turn
again if ye may, for ye be come unto your death. Nay, they said, we will
not turn again, for He shall help us in whose service we be entered in.
Then as they stood talking there came knights well armed, and bade them
yield them or else to die. That yielding, said they, shall be noyous to
you. And therewith they let their horses run, and Sir Percivale smote
the foremost to the earth, and took his horse, and mounted thereupon,
and the same did Galahad. Also Bors served another so, for they had no
horses in that country, for they left their horses when they took their
ship in other countries. And so when they were horsed then began they to
set upon them; and they of the castle fled into the strong fortress, and
the three knights after them into the castle, and so alighted on foot,
and with their swords slew them down, and gat into the hall.

Then when they beheld the great multitude of people that they had slain,
they held themself great sinners. Certes, said Bors, I ween an God had
loved them that we should not have had power to have slain them thus.
But they have done so much against Our Lord that He would not suffer
them to reign no longer. Say ye not so, said Galahad, for if they misdid
against God, the vengeance is not ours, but to Him which hath power
thereof.

So came there out of a chamber a good man which was a priest, and bare
God's body in a cup. And when he saw them which lay dead in the hall he
was all abashed; and Galahad did off his helm and kneeled down, and so
did his two fellows. Sir, said they, have ye no dread of us, for we be
of King Arthur's court. Then asked the good man how they were slain so
suddenly, and they told it him. Truly, said the good man, an ye might
live as long as the world might endure, ne might ye have done so great
an alms-deed as this. Sir, said Galahad, I repent me much, inasmuch as
they were christened. Nay, repent you not, said he, for they were not
christened, and I shall tell you how that I wot of this castle. Here was
Lord Earl Hernox not but one year, and he had three sons, good knights
of arms, and a daughter, the fairest gentlewoman that men knew. So those
three knights loved their sister so sore that they brent in love, and so
they lay by her, maugre her head. And for she cried to her father they
slew her, and took their father and put him in prison, and wounded him
nigh to the death, but a cousin of hers rescued him. And then did they
great untruth: they slew clerks and priests, and made beat down chapels,
that Our Lord's service might not be served nor said. And this same day
her father sent to me for to be confessed and houseled; but such shame
had never man as I had this day with the three brethren, but the earl
bade me suffer, for he said they should not long endure, for three
servants of Our Lord should destroy them, and now it is brought to an
end. And by this may ye wit that Our Lord is not displeased with your
deeds. Certes, said Galahad, an it had not pleased Our Lord, never
should we have slain so many men in so little a while.

And then they brought the Earl Hernox out of prison into the midst of
the hall, that knew Galahad anon, and yet he saw him never afore but by
revelation of Our Lord.



CHAPTER IX. How the three knights, with Percivale's sister, came unto
the same forest, and of an hart and four lions, and other things.



THEN began he to weep right tenderly, and said: Long have I abiden your
coming, but for God's love hold me in your arms, that my soul may depart
out of my body in so good a man's arms as ye be. Gladly, said Galahad.
And then one said on high, that all heard: Galahad, well hast thou
avenged me on God's enemies. Now behoveth thee to go to the Maimed King
as soon as thou mayest, for he shall receive by thee health which he
hath abiden so long. And therewith the soul departed from the body, and
Galahad made him to be buried as him ought to be.

Right so departed the three knights, and Percivale's sister with them.
And so they came into a waste forest, and there they saw afore them a
white hart which four lions led. Then they took them to assent for to
follow after for to know whither they repaired; and so they rode after a
great pace till that they came to a valley, and thereby was an hermitage
where a good man dwelled, and the hart and the lions entered also. So
when they saw all this they turned to the chapel, and saw the good man
in a religious weed and in the armour of Our Lord, for he would sing
mass of the Holy Ghost; and so they entered in and heard mass. And at
the secrets of the mass they three saw the hart become a man, the which
marvelled them, and set him upon the altar in a rich siege; and saw the
four lions were changed, the one to the form of a man, the other to the
form of a lion, and the third to an eagle, and the fourth was changed
unto an ox. Then took they their siege where the hart sat, and went out
through a glass window, and there was nothing perished nor broken; and
they heard a voice say: In such a manner entered the Son of God in the
womb of a maid Mary, whose virginity ne was perished ne hurt. And when
they heard these words they fell down to the earth and were astonied;
and therewith was a great clearness.

And when they were come to theirself again they went to the good man and
prayed him that he would say them truth. What thing have ye seen? said
he. And they told him all that they had seen. Ah lords, said he, ye be
welcome; now wot I well ye be the good knights the which shall bring the
Sangreal to an end; for ye be they unto whom Our Lord shall shew great
secrets. And well ought Our Lord be signified to an hart, for the hart
when he is old he waxeth young again in his white skin. Right so cometh
again Our Lord from death to life, for He lost earthly flesh that was
the deadly flesh, which He had taken in the womb of the blessed Virgin
Mary; and for that cause appeared Our Lord as a white hart without spot.
And the four that were with Him is to understand the four evangelists
which set in writing a part of Jesu Christ's deeds that He did sometime
when He was among you an earthly man; for wit ye well never erst ne
might no knight know the truth, for ofttimes or this Our Lord showed
Him unto good men and unto good knights, in likeness of an hart, but I
suppose from henceforth ye shall see no more. And then they joyed much,
and dwelled there all that day. And upon the morrow when they had heard
mass they departed and commended the good man to God: and so they came
to a castle and passed by. So there came a knight armed after them and
said: Lords, hark what I shall say to you.



CHAPTER X. How they were desired of a strange custom, the which they
would not obey; wherefore they fought and slew many knights.


THIS gentlewoman that ye lead with you is a maid? Sir, said she, a maid
I am. Then he took her by the bridle and said: By the Holy Cross, ye
shall not escape me to-fore ye have yolden the custom of this castle.
Let her go, said Percivale, ye be not wise, for a maid in what place
she cometh is free. So in the meanwhile there came out a ten or twelve
knights armed, out of the castle, and with them came gentlewomen which
held a dish of silver. And then they said: This gentlewoman must yield
us the custom of this castle. Sir, said a knight, what maid passeth
hereby shall give this dish full of blood of her right arm. Blame have
ye, said Galahad, that brought up such customs, and so God me save, I
ensure you of this gentlewoman ye shall fail while that I live. So God
me help, said Percivale, I had liefer be slain. And I also, said Sir
Bors. By my troth, said the knight, then shall ye die, for ye may not
endure against us though ye were the best knights of the world.

Then let they run each to other, and the three fellows beat the ten
knights, and then set their hands to their swords and beat them down
and slew them. Then there came out of the castle a three score knights
armed. Fair lords, said the three fellows, have mercy on yourself and
have not ado with us. Nay, fair lords, said the knights of the castle,
we counsel you to withdraw you, for ye be the best knights of the world,
and therefore do no more, for ye have done enough. We will let you go
with this harm, but we must needs have the custom. Certes, said Galahad,
for nought speak ye. Well, said they, will ye die? We be not yet come
thereto, said Galahad. Then began they to meddle together, and Galahad,
with the strange girdles, drew his sword, and smote on the right hand
and on the left hand, and slew what that ever abode him, and did such
marvels that there was none that saw him but weened he had been none
earthly man, but a monster. And his two fellows halp him passing well,
and so they held the journey everych in like hard till it was night:
then must they needs depart.

So came in a good knight, and said to the three fellows: If ye will come
in to-night and take such harbour as here is ye shall be right welcome,
and we shall ensure you by the faith of our bodies, and as we be true
knights, to leave you in such estate to-morrow as we find you, without
any falsehood. And as soon as ye know of the custom we dare say ye will
accord therefore. For God's love, said the gentlewoman, go thither and
spare not for me. Go we, said Galahad; and so they entered into the
chapel. And when they were alighted they made great joy of them. So
within a while the three knights asked the custom of the castle and
wherefore it was. What it is, said they, we will say you sooth.



CHAPTER XI. How Sir Percivale's sister bled a dish full of blood for
to heal a lady, wherefore she died; and how that the body was put in a
ship.


THERE is in this castle a gentlewoman which we and this castle is hers,
and many other. So it befell many years agone there fell upon her a
malady; and when she had lain a great while she fell unto a measle, and
of no leech she could have no remedy. But at the last an old man said an
she might have a dish full of blood of a maid and a clean virgin in will
and in work, and a king's daughter, that blood should be her health, and
for to anoint her withal; and for this thing was this custom made. Now,
said Percivale's sister, fair knights, I see well that this gentlewoman
is but dead. Certes, said Galahad, an ye bleed so much ye may die.
Truly, said she, an I die for to heal her I shall get me great worship
and soul's health, and worship to my lineage, and better is one harm
than twain. And therefore there shall be no more battle, but to-morn I
shall yield you your custom of this castle. And then there was great joy
more than there was to-fore, for else had there been mortal war upon the
morn; notwithstanding she would none other, whether they wold or nold.

That night were the three fellows eased with the best; and on the morn
they heard mass, and Sir Percivale's sister bade bring forth the sick
lady. So she was, the which was evil at ease. Then said she: Who shall
let me blood? So one came forth and let her blood, and she bled so much
that the dish was full. Then she lift up her hand and blessed her; and
then she said to the lady: Madam, I am come to the death for to make you
whole, for God's love pray for me. With that she fell in a swoon.
Then Galahad and his two fellows start up to her, and lift her up and
staunched her, but she had bled so much that she might not live. Then
she said when she was awaked: Fair brother Percivale, I die for the
healing of this lady, so I require you that ye bury me not in this
country, but as soon as I am dead put me in a boat at the next haven,
and let me go as adventure will lead me; and as soon as ye three come to
the City of Sarras, there to enchieve the Holy Grail, ye shall find me
under a tower arrived, and there bury me in the spiritual place; for I
say you so much, there Galahad shall be buried, and ye also, in the same
place.

Then Percivale understood these words, and granted it her, weeping. And
then said a voice: Lords and fellows, to-morrow at the hour of prime ye
three shall depart everych from other, till the adventure bring you
to the Maimed King. Then asked she her Saviour; and as soon as she had
received it the soul departed from the body. So the same day was the
lady healed, when she was anointed withal. Then Sir Percivale made a
letter of all that she had holpen them as in strange adventures, and put
it in her right hand, and so laid her in a barge, and covered it with
black silk; and so the wind arose, and drove the barge from the land,
and all knights beheld it till it was out of their sight. Then they drew
all to the castle, and so forthwith there fell a sudden tempest and a
thunder, lightning, and rain, as all the earth would have broken. So
half the castle turned up-so-down. So it passed evensong or the tempest
was ceased.

Then they saw afore them a knight armed and wounded hard in the body and
in the head, that said: O God, succour me for now it is need. After this
knight came another knight and a dwarf, which cried to them afar: Stand,
ye may not escape. Then the wounded knight held up his hands to God
that he should not die in such tribulation. Truly, said Galahad, I shall
succour him for His sake that he calleth upon. Sir, said Bors, I shall
do it, for it is not for you, for he is but one knight. Sir, said he,
I grant. So Sir Bors took his horse, and commended him to God, and rode
after, to rescue the wounded knight. Now turn we to the two fellows.



CHAPTER XII. How Galahad and Percivale found in a castle many tombs of
maidens that had bled to death.


NOW saith the story that all night Galahad and Percivale were in a
chapel in their prayers, for to save Sir Bors. So on the morrow they
dressed them in their harness toward the castle, to wit what was fallen
of them therein. And when they came there they found neither man nor
woman that he ne was dead by the vengeance of Our Lord. With that
they heard a voice that said: This vengeance is for blood-shedding of
maidens. Also they found at the end of the chapel a churchyard, and
therein might they see a three score fair tombs, and that place was so
fair and so delectable that it seemed them there had been none tempest,
for there lay the bodies of all the good maidens which were martyred for
the sick lady's sake. Also they found the names of everych, and of what
blood they were come, and all were of kings' blood, and twelve of them
were kings' daughters. Then they departed and went into a forest. Now,
said Percivale unto Galahad, we must depart, so pray we Our Lord that
we may meet together in short time: then they did off their helms and
kissed together, and wept at their departing.



CHAPTER XIII. How Sir Launcelot entered into the ship where Sir
Percivale's sister lay dead, and how he met with Sir Galahad, his son.


NOW saith the history, that when Launcelot was come to the water of
Mortoise, as it is rehearsed before, he was in great peril, and so he
laid him down and slept, and took the adventure that God would send him.
So when he was asleep there came a vision unto him and said: Launcelot,
arise up and take thine armour, and enter into the first ship that thou
shalt find. And when he heard these words he start up and saw great
clearness about him. And then he lift up his hand and blessed him, and
so took his arms and made him ready; and so by adventure he came by a
strand, and found a ship the which was without sail or oar. And as soon
as he was within the ship there he felt the most sweetness that ever he
felt, and he was fulfilled with all thing that he thought on or desired.
Then he said: Fair sweet Father, Jesu Christ, I wot not in what joy I
am, for this joy passeth all earthly joys that ever I was in. And so in
this joy he laid him down to the ship's board, and slept till day. And
when he awoke he found there a fair bed, and therein lying a gentlewoman
dead, the which was Sir Percivale's sister. And as Launcelot devised
her, he espied in her right hand a writ, the which he read, the which
told him all the adventures that ye have heard to-fore, and of what
lineage she was come. So with this gentlewoman Sir Launcelot was a month
and more. If ye would ask how he lived, He that fed the people of Israel
with manna in the desert, so was he fed; for every day when he had said
his prayers he was sustained with the grace of the Holy Ghost.

So on a night he went to play him by the water side, for he was somewhat
weary of the ship. And then he listened and heard an horse come, and one
riding upon him. And when he came nigh he seemed a knight. And so he let
him pass, and went thereas the ship was; and there he alighted, and took
the saddle and the bridle and put the horse from him, and went into the
ship. And then Launcelot dressed unto him, and said: Ye be welcome. And
he answered and saluted him again, and asked him: What is your name? for
much my heart giveth unto you. Truly, said he, my name is Launcelot du
Lake. Sir, said he, then be ye welcome, for ye were the beginner of me
in this world. Ah, said he, are ye Galahad? Yea, forsooth, said he; and
so he kneeled down and asked him his blessing, and after took off his
helm and kissed him. And there was great joy between them, for there is
no tongue can tell the joy that they made either of other, and many a
friendly word spoken between, as kin would, the which is no need here
to be rehearsed. And there everych told other of their adventures and
marvels that were befallen to them in many journeys sith that they
departed from the court.

Anon, as Galahad saw the gentlewoman dead in the bed, he knew her
well enough, and told great worship of her, that she was the best maid
living, and it was great pity of her death. But when Launcelot heard how
the marvellous sword was gotten, and who made it, and all the marvels
rehearsed afore, then he prayed Galahad, his son, that he would show him
the sword, and so he did; and anon he kissed the pommel, and the hilt,
and the scabbard. Truly, said Launcelot, never erst knew I of so high
adventures done, and so marvellous and strange. So dwelt Launcelot and
Galahad within that ship half a year, and served God daily and nightly
with all their power; and often they arrived in isles far from folk,
where there repaired none but wild beasts, and there they found many
strange adventures and perilous, which they brought to an end; but for
those adventures were with wild beasts, and not in the quest of the
Sangreal, therefore the tale maketh here no mention thereof, for it
would be too long to tell of all those adventures that befell them.



CHAPTER XIV. How a knight brought unto Sir Galahad a horse, and bade him
come from his father, Sir Launcelot.


SO after, on a Monday, it befell that they arrived in the edge of a
forest to-fore a cross; and then saw they a knight armed all in white,
and was richly horsed, and led in his right hand a white horse; and
so he came to the ship, and saluted the two knights on the High Lord's
behalf, and said: Galahad, sir, ye have been long enough with your
father, come out of the ship, and start upon this horse, and go where
the adventures shall lead thee in the quest of the Sangreal. Then he
went to his father and kissed him sweetly, and said: Fair sweet father,
I wot not when I shall see you more till I see the body of Jesu Christ.
I pray you, said Launcelot, pray ye to the High Father that He hold me
in His service. And so he took his horse, and there they heard a voice
that said: Think for to do well, for the one shall never see the other
before the dreadful day of doom. Now, son Galahad, said Launcelot,
since we shall depart, and never see other, I pray to the High Father to
conserve me and you both. Sir, said Galahad, no prayer availeth so much
as yours And therewith Galahad entered into the forest.

And the wind arose, and drove Launcelot more than a month throughout the
sea, where he slept but little, but prayed to God that he might see
some tidings of the Sangreal. So it befell on a night, at midnight, he
arrived afore a castle, on the back side, which was rich and fair, and
there was a postern opened toward the sea, and was open without any
keeping, save two lions kept the entry; and the moon shone clear. Anon
Sir Launcelot heard a voice that said: Launcelot, go out of this ship
and enter into the castle, where thou shalt see a great part of thy
desire. Then he ran to his arms, and so armed him, and so went to the
gate and saw the lions. Then set he hand to his sword and drew it. Then
there came a dwarf suddenly, and smote him on the arm so sore that the
sword fell out of his hand. Then heard he a voice say: O man of evil
faith and poor belief, wherefore trowest thou more on thy harness than
in thy Maker, for He might more avail thee than thine armour, in whose
service that thou art set. Then said Launcelot: Fair Father Jesu Christ,
I thank thee of Thy great mercy that Thou reprovest me of my misdeed;
now see I well that ye hold me for your servant. Then took he again his
sword and put it up in his sheath, and made a cross in his forehead,
and came to the lions, and they made semblaunt to do him harm.
Notwithstanding he passed by them without hurt, and entered into the
castle to the chief fortress, and there were they all at rest. Then
Launcelot entered in so armed, for he found no gate nor door but it was
open. And at the last he found a chamber whereof the door was shut, and
he set his hand thereto to have opened it, but he might not.



CHAPTER XV. How Sir Launcelot was to-fore the door of the chamber
wherein the Holy Sangreal was.


THEN he enforced him mickle to undo the door. Then he listened and heard
a voice which sang so sweetly that it seemed none earthly thing; and him
thought the voice said: Joy and honour be to the Father of Heaven. Then
Launcelot kneeled down to-fore the chamber, for well wist he that there
was the Sangreal within that chamber. Then said he: Fair sweet Father,
Jesu Christ, if ever I did thing that pleased Thee, Lord for Thy pity
never have me not in despite for my sins done aforetime, and that Thou
show me something of that I seek. And with that he saw the chamber door
open, and there came out a great clearness, that the house was as bright
as all the torches of the world had been there.

So came he to the chamber door, and would have entered. And anon a voice
said to him: Flee, Launcelot, and enter not, for thou oughtest not to
do it; and if thou enter thou shalt for-think it. Then he withdrew him
aback right heavy. Then looked he up in the midst of the chamber, and
saw a table of silver, and the Holy Vessel, covered with red samite, and
many angels about it, whereof one held a candle of wax burning, and the
other held a cross, and the ornaments of an altar. And before the Holy
Vessel he saw a good man clothed as a priest. And it seemed that he was
at the sacring of the mass. And it seemed to Launcelot that above the
priest's hands were three men, whereof the two put the youngest by
likeness between the priest's hands; and so he lift it up right high,
and it seemed to show so to the people. And then Launcelot marvelled
not a little, for him thought the priest was so greatly charged of the
figure that him seemed that he should fall to the earth. And when he
saw none about him that would help him, then came he to the door a great
pace, and said: Fair Father Jesu Christ, ne take it for no sin though I
help the good man which hath great need of help.

Right so entered he into the chamber, and came toward the table of
silver; and when he came nigh he felt a breath, that him thought it was
intermeddled with fire, which smote him so sore in the visage that him
thought it brent his visage; and therewith he fell to the earth, and had
no power to arise, as he that was so araged, that had lost the power of
his body, and his hearing, and his seeing. Then felt he many hands about
him, which took him up and bare him out of the chamber door, without any
amending of his swoon, and left him there, seeming dead to all people.

So upon the morrow when it was fair day they within were arisen, and
found Launcelot lying afore the chamber door. All they marvelled how
that he came in, and so they looked upon him, and felt his pulse to wit
whether there were any life in him; and so they found life in him, but
he might not stand nor stir no member that he had. And so they took him
by every part of the body, and bare him into a chamber, and laid him
in a rich bed, far from all folk; and so he lay four days. Then the one
said he was alive, and the other said, Nay. In the name of God, said an
old man, for I do you verily to wit he is not dead, but he is so full of
life as the mightiest of you all; and therefore I counsel you that he be
well kept till God send him life again.



CHAPTER XVI. How Sir launcelot had lain four-and-twenty days and as many
nights as a dead man, and other divers matters.


IN such manner they kept Launcelot four-and-twenty days and all so many
nights, that ever he lay still as a dead man; and at the twenty-fifth
day befell him after midday that he opened his eyes. And when he saw
folk he made great sorrow, and said: Why have ye awaked me, for I was
more at ease than I am now. O Jesu Christ, who might be so blessed that
might see openly thy great marvels of secretness there where no sinner
may be! What have ye seen? said they about him. I have seen, said he,
so great marvels that no tongue may tell, and more than any heart can
think, and had not my son been here afore me I had seen much more.

Then they told him how he had lain there four-and-twenty days and
nights. Then him thought it was punishment for the four-and-twenty
years that he had been a sinner, wherefore Our Lord put him in penance
four-and-twenty days and nights. Then looked Sir Launcelot afore him,
and saw the hair which he had borne nigh a year, for that he for-thought
him right much that he had broken his promise unto the hermit, which he
had avowed to do. Then they asked how it stood with him. Forsooth, said
he, I am whole of body, thanked be Our Lord; therefore, sirs, for God's
love tell me where I am. Then said they all that he was in the castle of
Carbonek.

Therewith came a gentlewoman and brought him a shirt of small linen
cloth, but he changed not there, but took the hair to him again. Sir,
said they, the quest of the Sangreal is achieved now right in you, that
never shall ye see of the Sangreal no more than ye have seen. Now I
thank God, said Launcelot, of His great mercy of that I have seen, for
it sufficeth me; for as I suppose no man in this world hath lived better
than I have done to enchieve that I have done. And therewith he took
the hair and clothed him in it, and above that he put a linen shirt, and
after a robe of scarlet, fresh and new. And when he was so arrayed they
marvelled all, for they knew him that he was Launcelot, the good knight.
And then they said all: O my lord Sir Launcelot, be that ye? And he
said: Truly I am he.

Then came word to King Pelles that the knight that had lain so long dead
was Sir Launcelot. Then was the king right glad, and went to see him.
And when Launcelot saw him come he dressed him against him, and there
made the king great joy of him. And there the king told him tidings that
his fair daughter was dead. Then Launcelot was right heavy of it, and
said: Sir, me forthinketh the death of your daughter, for she was a full
fair lady, fresh and young. And well I wot she bare the best knight that
is now on the earth, or that ever was sith God was born. So the king
held him there four days, and on the morrow he took his leave at King
Pelles and at all the fellowship, and thanked them of their great
labour.

Right so as they sat at their dinner in the chief salle, then was so
befallen that the Sangreal had fulfilled the table with all manner of
meats that any heart might think. So as they sat they saw all the doors
and the windows of the place were shut without man's hand, whereof they
were all abashed, and none wist what to do.

And then it happed suddenly a knight came to the chief door and knocked,
and cried: Undo the door. But they would not. And ever he cried: Undo;
but they would not. And at last it noyed them so much that the king
himself arose and came to a window there where the knight called. Then
he said: Sir knight, ye shall not enter at this time while the Sangreal
is here, and therefore go into another; for certes ye be none of the
knights of the quest, but one of them which hath served the fiend,
and hast left the service of Our Lord: and he was passing wroth at the
king's words. Sir knight, said the king, sith ye would so fain enter,
say me of what country ye be. Sir, said he, I am of the realm of Logris,
and my name is Ector de Maris, and brother unto my lord, Sir Launcelot.
In the name of God, said the king, me for-thinketh of what I have said,
for your brother is here within. And when Ector de Maris understood
that his brother was there, for he was the man in the world that he most
dread and loved, and then he said: Ah God, now doubleth my sorrow and
shame. Full truly said the good man of the hill unto Gawaine and to me
of our dreams. Then went he out of the court as fast as his horse might,
and so throughout the castle.



CHAPTER XVII. How Sir Launcelot returned towards Logris, and of other
adventures which he saw in the way.


THEN King Pelles came to Sir Launcelot and told him tidings of his
brother, whereof he was sorry, that he wist not what to do. So Sir
Launcelot departed, and took his arms, and said he would go see the
realm of Logris, which I have not seen in twelve months. And there with
he commended the king to God, and so rode through many realms. And at
the last he came to a white abbey, and there they made him that night
great cheer; and on the morn he rose and heard mass. And afore an altar
he found a rich tomb, which was newly made; and then he took heed, and
saw the sides written with gold which said: Here lieth King Bagdemagus
of Gore, which King Arthur's nephew slew; and named him, Sir Gawaine.
Then was not he a little sorry, for Launcelot loved him much more than
any other, and had it been any other than Gawaine he should not have
escaped from death to life; and said to himself: Ah Lord God, this is a
great hurt unto King Arthur's court, the loss of such a man. And then
he departed and came to the abbey where Galahad did the adventure of
the tombs, and won the white shield with the red cross; and there had he
great cheer all that night.

And on the morn he turned unto Camelot, where he found King Arthur and
the queen. But many of the knights of the Round Table were slain and
destroyed, more than half. And so three were come home, Ector, Gawaine,
and Lionel, and many other that need not to be rehearsed. And all the
court was passing glad of Sir Launcelot, and the king asked him many
tidings of his son Galahad. And there Launcelot told the king of his
adventures that had befallen him since he departed. And also he told him
of the adventures of Galahad, Percivale, and Bors, which that he knew
by the letter of the dead damosel, and as Galahad had told him. Now God
would, said the king, that they were all three here. That shall never
be, said Launcelot, for two of them shall ye never see, but one of them
shall come again.

Now leave we this story and speak of Galahad.



CHAPTER XVIII. How Galahad came to King Mordrains, and of other matters
and adventures.


NOW, saith the story, Galahad rode many journeys in vain. And at the
last he came to the abbey where King Mordrains was, and when he heard
that, he thought he would abide to see him. And upon the morn, when he
had heard mass, Galahad came unto King Mordrains, and anon the king saw
him, which had lain blind of long time. And then he dressed him against
him, and said: Galahad, the servant of Jesu Christ, whose coming I have
abiden so long, now embrace me and let me rest on thy breast, so that
I may rest between thine arms, for thou art a clean virgin above all
knights, as the flower of the lily in whom virginity is signified, and
thou art the rose the which is the flower of all good virtues, and in
colour of fire. For the fire of the Holy Ghost is taken so in thee
that my flesh which was all dead of oldness is become young again. Then
Galahad heard his words, then he embraced him and all his body. Then
said he: Fair Lord Jesu Christ, now I have my will. Now I require thee,
in this point that I am in, thou come and visit me. And anon Our Lord
heard his prayer: therewith the soul departed from the body.

And then Galahad put him in the earth as a king ought to be, and so
departed and so came into a perilous forest where he found the well the
which boileth with great waves, as the tale telleth to-fore. And as soon
as Galahad set his hand thereto it ceased, so that it brent no more, and
the heat departed. For that it brent it was a sign of lechery, the
which was that time much used. But that heat might not abide his pure
virginity. And this was taken in the country for a miracle. And so ever
after was it called Galahad's well.

Then by adventure he came into the country of Gore, and into the
abbey where Launcelot had been to-forehand, and found the tomb of King
Bagdemagus, but he was founder thereof, Joseph of Aramathie's son; and
the tomb of Simeon where Launcelot had failed. Then he looked into
a croft under the minster, and there he saw a tomb which brent full
marvellously. Then asked he the brethren what it was. Sir, said they,
a marvellous adventure that may not be brought unto none end but by him
that passeth of bounty and of knighthood all them of the Round Table. I
would, said Galahad, that ye would lead me thereto. Gladly, said they,
and so led him till a cave. And he went down upon greses, and came nigh
the tomb. And then the flaming failed, and the fire staunched, the which
many a day had been great. Then came there a voice that said: Much are
ye beholden to thank Our Lord, the which hath given you a good hour,
that ye may draw out the souls of earthly pain, and to put them into the
joys of paradise. I am of your kindred, the which hath dwelled in this
heat this three hundred winter and four-and-fifty to be purged of the
sin that I did against Joseph of Aramathie. Then Galahad took the body
in his arms and bare it into the minster. And that night lay Galahad in
the abbey; and on the morn he gave him service, and put him in the earth
afore the high altar.



CHAPTER XIX. How Sir Percivale and Sir Bors met with Sir Galahad, and
how they came to the castle of Carbonek, and other matters.


SO departed he from thence, and commended the brethren to God; and so he
rode five days till that he came to the Maimed King. And ever followed
Percivale the five days, asking where he had been; and so one told him
how the adventures of Logris were enchieved. So on a day it befell that
they came out of a great forest, and there they met at traverse with Sir
Bors, the which rode alone. It is none need to tell if they were glad;
and them he saluted, and they yielded him honour and good adventure,
and everych told other. Then said Bors: It is mo than a year and an half
that I ne lay ten times where men dwelled, but in wild forests and in
mountains, but God was ever my comfort.

Then rode they a great while till that they came to the castle of
Carbonek. And when they were entered within the castle King Pelles knew
them; then there was great joy, for they wist well by their coming that
they had fulfilled the quest of the Sangreal. Then Eliazar, King Pelles'
son, brought to-fore them the broken sword wherewith Joseph was stricken
through the thigh. Then Bors set his hand thereto, if that he might have
soldered it again; but it would not be. Then he took it to Percivale,
but he had no more power thereto than he. Now have ye it again, said
Percivale to Galahad, for an it be ever enchieved by any bodily man ye
must do it. And then he took the pieces and set them together, and they
seemed that they had never been broken, and as well as it had been first
forged. And when they within espied that the adventure of the sword was
enchieved, then they gave the sword to Bors, for it might not be better
set; for he was a good knight and a worthy man.

And a little afore even the sword arose great and marvellous, and was
full of great heat that many men fell for dread. And anon alighted a
voice among them, and said: They that ought not to sit at the table
of Jesu Christ arise, for now shall very knights be fed. So they went
thence, all save King Pelles and Eliazar, his son, the which were holy
men, and a maid which was his niece; and so these three fellows and they
three were there, no mo. Anon they saw knights all armed came in at
the hall door, and did off their helms and their arms, and said unto
Galahad: Sir, we have hied right much for to be with you at this table
where the holy meat shall be departed. Then said he: Ye be welcome,
but of whence be ye? So three of them said they were of Gaul, and other
three said they were of Ireland, and the other three said they were of
Denmark. So as they sat thus there came out a bed of tree, of a chamber,
the which four gentlewomen brought; and in the bed lay a good man sick,
and a crown of gold upon his head; and there in the midst of the place
they set him down, and went again their way. Then he lift up his head,
and said: Galahad, Knight, ye be welcome, for much have I desired your
coming, for in such pain and in such anguish I have been long. But now
I trust to God the term is come that my pain shall be allayed, that
I shall pass out of this world so as it was promised me long ago.
Therewith a voice said: There be two among you that be not in the quest
of the Sangreal, and therefore depart ye.



CHAPTER XX How Galahad and his fellows were fed of the Holy Sangreal,
and how Our Lord appeared to them, and other things.


THEN King Pelles and his son departed. And therewithal beseemed them
that there came a man, and four angels from heaven, clothed in likeness
of a bishop, and had a cross in his hand; and these four angels bare him
up in a chair, and set him down before the table of silver where upon
the Sangreal was; and it seemed that he had in midst of his forehead
letters the which said: See ye here Joseph, the first bishop of
Christendom, the same which Our Lord succoured in the city of Sarras
in the spiritual place. Then the knights marvelled, for that bishop was
dead more than three hundred year to-fore. O knights, said he, marvel
not, for I was sometime an earthly man. With that they heard the chamber
door open, and there they saw angels; and two bare candles of wax, and
the third a towel, and the fourth a spear which bled marvellously, that
three drops fell within a box which he held with his other hand. And
they set the candles upon the table, and the third the towel upon the
vessel, and the fourth the holy spear even upright upon the vessel.
And then the bishop made semblaunt as though he would have gone to
the sacring of the mass. And then he took an ubblie which was made in
likeness of bread. And at the lifting up there came a figure in likeness
of a child, and the visage was as red and as bright as any fire, and
smote himself into the bread, so that they all saw it that the bread was
formed of a fleshly man; and then he put it into the Holy Vessel again,
and then he did that longed to a priest to do to a mass. And then he
went to Galahad and kissed him, and bade him go and kiss his fellows:
and so he did anon. Now, said he, servants of Jesu Christ, ye shall be
fed afore this table with sweet meats that never knights tasted. And
when he had said, he vanished away. And they set them at the table in
great dread, and made their prayers.

Then looked they and saw a man come out of the Holy Vessel, that had all
the signs of the passion of Jesu Christ, bleeding all openly, and said:
My knights, and my servants, and my true children, which be come out of
deadly life into spiritual life, I will now no longer hide me from you,
but ye shall see now a part of my secrets and of my hidden things: now
hold and receive the high meat which ye have so much desired. Then took
he himself the Holy Vessel and came to Galahad; and he kneeled down,
and there he received his Saviour, and after him so received all his
fellows; and they thought it so sweet that it was marvellous to tell.
Then said he to Galahad: Son, wottest thou what I hold betwixt my hands?
Nay, said he, but if ye will tell me. This is, said he, the holy dish
wherein I ate the lamb on Sheer-Thursday. And now hast thou seen that
thou most desired to see, but yet hast thou not seen it so openly
as thou shalt see it in the city of Sarras in the spiritual place.
Therefore thou must go hence and bear with thee this Holy Vessel; for
this night it shall depart from the realm of Logris, that it shall never
be seen more here. And wottest thou wherefore? For he is not served nor
worshipped to his right by them of this land, for they be turned to evil
living; therefore I shall disherit them of the honour which I have done
them. And therefore go ye three to-morrow unto the sea, where ye shall
find your ship ready, and with you take the sword with the strange
girdles, and no more with you but Sir Percivale and Sir Bors. Also I
will that ye take with you of the blood of this spear for to anoint
the Maimed King, both his legs and all his body, and he shall have his
health. Sir, said Galahad, why shall not these other fellows go with us?
For this cause: for right as I departed my apostles one here and another
there, so I will that ye depart; and two of you shall die in my service,
but one of you shall come again and tell tidings. Then gave he them his
blessing and vanished away.



CHAPTER XXI. How Galahad anointed with the blood of the spear the Maimed
King, and of other adventures.


AND Galahad went anon to the spear which lay upon the table, and touched
the blood with his fingers, and came after to the Maimed King and
anointed his legs. And therewith he clothed him anon, and start upon his
feet out of his bed as an whole man, and thanked Our Lord that He had
healed him. And that was not to the worldward, for anon he yielded him
to a place of religion of white monks, and was a full holy man. That
same night about midnight came a voice among them which said: My sons
and not my chief sons, my friends and not my warriors, go ye hence where
ye hope best to do and as I bade you. Ah, thanked' be Thou, Lord, that
Thou wilt vouchsafe to call us, Thy sinners. Now may we well prove
that we have not lost our pains. And anon in all haste they took their
harness and departed. But the three knights of Gaul, one of them hight
Claudine, King Claudas' son, and the other two were great gentlemen.
Then prayed Galahad to everych of them, that if they come to King
Arthur's court that they should salute my lord, Sir Launcelot, my
father, and all the fellowship[1] of the Round Table; and prayed them if
that they came on that part that they should not forget it.

Right so departed Galahad, Percivale and Bors with him; and so they rode
three days, and then they came to a rivage, and found the ship whereof
the tale speaketh of

[1] So W. de Worde; Caxton "of them."

to-fore. And when they came to the board they found in the midst the
table of silver which they had left with the Maimed King, and the
Sangreal which was covered with red samite. Then were they glad to have
such things in their fellowship; and so they entered and made great
reverence thereto; and Galahad fell in his prayer long time to Our Lord,
that at what time he asked, that he should pass out of this world. So
much he prayed till a voice said to him: Galahad, thou shalt have thy
request; and when thou askest the death of thy body thou shalt have it,
and then shalt thou find the life of the soul. Percivale heard this, and
prayed him, of fellowship that was between them, to tell him wherefore
he asked such things. That shall I tell you, said Galahad; the other day
when we saw a part of the adventures of the Sangreal I was in such a joy
of heart, that I trow never man was that was earthly. And therefore I
wot well, when my body is dead my soul shall be in great joy to see the
blessed Trinity every day, and the majesty of Our Lord, Jesu Christ.

So long were they in the ship that they said to Galahad: Sir, in this
bed ought ye to lie, for so saith the scripture. And so he laid him down
and slept a great while; and when he awaked he looked afore him and
saw the city of Sarras. And as they would have landed they saw the ship
wherein Percivale had put his sister in. Truly, said Percivale, in the
name of God, well hath my sister holden us covenant. Then took they
out of the ship the table of silver, and he took it to Percivale and to
Bors, to go to-fore, and Galahad came behind. And right so they went to
the city, and at the gate of the city they saw an old man crooked. Then
Galahad called him and bade him help to bear this heavy thing. Truly,
said the old man, it is ten year ago that I might not go but with
crutches. Care thou not, said Galahad, and arise up and shew thy good
will. And so he assayed, and found himself as whole as ever he was. Than
ran he to the table, and took one part against Galahad. And anon arose
there great noise in the city, that a cripple was made whole by knights
marvellous that entered into the city.

Then anon after, the three knights went to the water, and brought up
into the palace Percivale's sister, and buried her as richly as a king's
daughter ought to be. And when the king of the city, which was cleped
Estorause, saw the fellowship, he asked them of whence they were, and
what thing it was that they had brought upon the table of silver. And
they told him the truth of the Sangreal, and the power which that God
had sent there. Then the king was a tyrant, and was come of the line of
paynims, and took them and put them in prison in a deep hole.



CHAPTER XXII. How they were fed with the Sangreal while they were in
prison, and how Galahad was made king.


BUT as soon as they were there Our Lord sent them the Sangreal, through
whose grace they were always fulfilled while that they were in prison.
So at the year's end it befell that this King Estorause lay sick, and
felt that he should die. Then he sent for the three knights, and they
came afore him; and he cried them mercy of that he had done to them, and
they forgave it him goodly; and he died anon. When the king was dead all
the city was dismayed, and wist not who might be their king. Right so as
they were in counsel there came a voice among them, and bade them choose
the youngest knight of them three to be their king: For he shall well
maintain you and all yours. So they made Galahad king by all the assent
of the holy city, and else they would have slain him. And when he was
come to behold the land, he let make above the table of silver a chest
of gold and of precious stones, that hilled the Holy Vessel. And every
day early the three fellows would come afore it, and make their prayers.

Now at the year's end, and the self day after Galahad had borne the
crown of gold, he arose up early and his fellows, and came to the
palace, and saw to-fore them the Holy Vessel, and a man kneeling on his
knees in likeness of a bishop, that had about him a great fellowship of
angels, as it had been Jesu Christ himself; and then he arose and began
a mass of Our Lady. And when he came to the sacrament of the mass,
and had done, anon he called Galahad, and said to him: Come forth the
servant of Jesu Christ, and thou shalt see that thou hast much desired
to see. And then he began to tremble right hard when the deadly flesh
began to behold the spiritual things. Then he held up his hands toward
heaven and said: Lord, I thank thee, for now I see that that hath been
my desire many a day. Now, blessed Lord, would I not longer live, if it
might please thee, Lord. And therewith the good man took Our Lord's body
betwixt his hands, and proffered it to Galahad, and he received it right
gladly and meekly. Now wottest thou what I am? said the good man. Nay,
said Galahad. I am Joseph of Aramathie, the which Our Lord hath sent
here to thee to bear thee fellowship; and wottest thou wherefore that
he hath sent me more than any other? For thou hast resembled me in two
things; in that thou hast seen the marvels of the Sangreal, in that thou
hast been a clean maiden, as I have been and am.

And when he had said these words Galahad went to Percivale and kissed
him, and commended him to God; and so he went to Sir Bors and kissed
him, and commended him to God, and said: Fair lord, salute me to my
lord, Sir Launcelot, my father, and as soon as ye see him, bid him
remember of this unstable world. And therewith he kneeled down to-fore
the table and made his prayers, and then suddenly his soul departed to
Jesu Christ, and a great multitude of angels bare his soul up to heaven,
that the two fellows might well behold it. Also the two fellows saw come
from heaven an hand, but they saw not the body. And then it came right
to the Vessel, and took it and the spear, and so bare it up to heaven.
Sithen was there never man so hardy to say that he had seen the
Sangreal.



CHAPTER XXIII. Of the sorrow that Percivale and Bors made when Galahad
was dead: and of Percivale how he died, and other matters.


WHEN Percivale and Bors saw Galahad dead they made as much sorrow as
ever did two men. And if they had not been good men they might lightly
have fallen in despair. And the people of the country and of the city
were right heavy. And then he was buried; and as soon as he was buried
Sir Percivale yielded him to an hermitage out of the city, and took a
religious clothing. And Bors was alway with him, but never changed he
his secular clothing, for that he purposed him to go again into the
realm of Logris. Thus a year and two months lived Sir Percivale in the
hermitage a full holy life, and then passed out of this world; and Bors
let bury him by his sister and by Galahad in the spiritualities.

When Bors saw that he was in so far countries as in the parts of Babylon
he departed from Sarras, and armed him and came to the sea, and entered
into a ship; and so it befell him in good adventure he came into the
realm of Logris; and he rode so fast till he came to Camelot where the
king was. And then was there great joy made of him in the court, for
they weened all he had been dead, forasmuch as he had been so long out
of the country. And when they had eaten, the king made great clerks to
come afore him, that they should chronicle of the high adventures of the
good knights. When Bors had told him of the adventures of the Sangreal,
such as had befallen him and his three fellows, that was Launcelot,
Percivale, Galahad, and himself, there Launcelot told the adventures of
the Sangreal that he had seen. All this was made in great books, and put
up in almeries at Salisbury. And anon Sir Bors said to Sir Launcelot:
Galahad, your own son, saluted you by me, and after you King Arthur and
all the court, and so did Sir Percivale, for I buried them with mine own
hands in the city of Sarras. Also, Sir Launcelot, Galahad prayed you to
remember of this unsiker world as ye behight him when ye were together
more than half a year. This is true, said Launcelot; now I trust to God
his prayer shall avail me.

Then Launcelot took Sir Bors in his arms, and said: Gentle cousin, ye
are right welcome to me, and all that ever I may do for you and for
yours ye shall find my poor body ready at all times, while the spirit is
in it, and that I promise you faithfully, and never to fail. And wit ye
well, gentle cousin, Sir Bors, that ye and I will never depart asunder
whilst our lives may last. Sir, said he, I will as ye will.

_Thus endeth the history of the Sangreal, that was briefly drawn out
of French into English, the which is a story chronicled for one of the
truest and the holiest that is in this world, the which is the xvii
book.


And here followeth the eighteenth book._



BOOK XVIII.



CHAPTER I. Of the joy King Arthur and the queen had of the achievement
of the Sangreal; and how Launcelot fell to his old love again.


SO after the quest of the Sangreal was fulfilled, and all knights that
were left alive were come again unto the Table Round, as the book of the
Sangreal maketh mention, then was there great joy in the court; and in
especial King Arthur and Queen Guenever made great joy of the remnant
that were come home, and passing glad was the king and the queen of Sir
Launcelot and of Sir Bors, for they had been passing long away in the
quest of the Sangreal.

Then, as the book saith, Sir Launcelot began to resort unto Queen
Guenever again, and forgat the promise and the perfection that he made
in the quest. For, as the book saith, had not Sir Launcelot been in his
privy thoughts and in his mind so set inwardly to the queen as he was in
seeming outward to God, there had no knight passed him in the quest of
the Sangreal; but ever his thoughts were privily on the queen, and so
they loved together more hotter than they did to-forehand, and had such
privy draughts together, that many in the court spake of it, and
in especial Sir Agravaine, Sir Gawaine's brother, for he was ever
open-mouthed.

So befell that Sir Launcelot had many resorts of ladies and damosels
that daily resorted unto him, that besought him to be their champion,
and in all such matters of right Sir Launcelot applied him daily to do
for the pleasure of Our Lord, Jesu Christ. And ever as much as he might
he withdrew him from the company and fellowship of Queen Guenever, for
to eschew the slander and noise; wherefore the queen waxed wroth with
Sir Launcelot. And upon a day she called Sir Launcelot unto her chamber,
and said thus: Sir Launcelot, I see and feel daily that thy love
beginneth to slake, for thou hast no joy to be in my presence, but ever
thou art out of this court, and quarrels and matters thou hast nowadays
for ladies and gentlewomen more than ever thou wert wont to have
aforehand.

Ah madam, said Launcelot, in this ye must hold me excused for divers
causes; one is, I was but late in the quest of the Sangreal; and I thank
God of his great mercy, and never of my desert, that I saw in that my
quest as much as ever saw any sinful man, and so was it told me. And if
I had not had my privy thoughts to return to your love again as I do,
I had seen as great mysteries as ever saw my son Galahad, outher
Percivale, or Sir Bors; and therefore, madam, I was but late in that
quest. Wit ye well, madam, it may not be yet lightly forgotten the high
service in whom I did my diligent labour. Also, madam, wit ye well that
there be many men speak of our love in this court, and have you and me
greatly in await, as Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred; and madam, wit ye
well I dread them more for your sake than for any fear I have of them
myself, for I may happen to escape and rid myself in a great need, where
ye must abide all that will be said unto you. And then if that ye fall
in any distress through wilful folly, then is there none other remedy or
help but by me and my blood. And wit ye well, madam, the boldness of you
and me will bring us to great shame and slander; and that were me loath
to see you dishonoured. And that is the cause I take upon me more for
to do for damosels and maidens than ever I did to-fore, that men should
understand my joy and my delight is my pleasure to have ado for damosels
and maidens.



CHAPTER II. How the queen commanded Sir Launcelot to avoid the court,
and of the sorrow that Launcelot made.


ALL this while the queen stood still and let Sir Launcelot say what
he would. And when he had all said she brast out a-weeping, and so
she sobbed and wept a great while. And when she might speak she said:
Launcelot, now I well understand that thou art a false recreant knight
and a common lecher, and lovest and holdest other ladies, and by me thou
hast disdain and scorn. For wit thou well, she said, now I understand
thy falsehood, and therefore shall I never love thee no more. And never
be thou so hardy to come in my sight; and right here I discharge thee
this court, that thou never come within it; and I forfend thee my
fellowship, and upon pain of thy head that thou see me no more. Right
so Sir Launcelot departed with great heaviness, that unnethe he might
sustain himself for great dole-making.

Then he called Sir Bors, Sir Ector de Maris, and Sir Lionel, and told
them how the queen had forfended him the court, and so he was in will to
depart into his own country. Fair sir, said Sir Bors de Ganis, ye shall
not depart out of this land by mine advice. Ye must remember in what
honour ye are renowned, and called the noblest knight of the world; and
many great matters ye have in hand. And women in their hastiness will do
ofttimes that sore repenteth them; and therefore by mine advice ye shall
take your horse, and ride to the good hermitage here beside Windsor,
that sometime was a good knight, his name is Sir Brasias, and there
shall ye abide till I send you word of better tidings. Brother, said Sir
Launcelot, wit ye well I am full loath to depart out of this realm, but
the queen hath defended me so highly, that meseemeth she will never be
my good lady as she hath been. Say ye never so, said Sir Bors, for many
times or this time she hath been wroth with you, and after it she was
the first that repented it. Ye say well, said Launcelot, for now will I
do by your counsel, and take mine horse and my harness, and ride to the
hermit Sir Brasias, and there will I repose me until I hear some manner
of tidings from you; but, fair brother, I pray you get me the love of my
lady, Queen Guenever, an ye may Sir, said Sir Bors, ye need not to move
me of such matters, for well ye wot I will do what I may to please you.

And then the noble knight, Sir Launcelot, departed with right heavy
cheer suddenly, that none earthly creature wist of him, nor where he
was become, but Sir Bors. So when Sir Launcelot was departed, the queen
outward made no manner of sorrow in showing to none of his blood nor to
none other. But wit ye well, inwardly, as the book saith, she took great
thought, but she bare it out with a proud countenance as though she felt
nothing nor danger.



CHAPTER III. How at a dinner that the queen made there was a knight
enpoisoned, which Sir Mador laid on the queen.


AND then the queen let make a privy dinner in London unto the knights of
the Round Table. And all was for to show outward that she had as great
joy in all other knights of the Table Round as she had in Sir Launcelot.
All only at that dinner she had Sir Gawaine and his brethren, that is
for to say Sir Agravaine, Sir Gaheris, Sir Gareth, and Sir Mordred.
Also there was Sir Bors de Ganis, Sir Blamore de Ganis, Sir Bleoberis de
Ganis, Sir Galihud, Sir Galihodin, Sir Ector de Maris, Sir Lionel, Sir
Palomides, Safere his brother, Sir La Cote Male Taile, Sir Persant, Sir
Ironside, Sir Brandiles, Sir Kay le Seneschal, Sir Mador de la Porte,
Sir Patrise, a knight of Ireland, Aliduk, Sir Astamore, and Sir Pinel
le Savage, the which was cousin to Sir Lamorak de Galis, the good
knight that Sir Gawaine and his brethren slew by treason. And so these
four-and-twenty knights should dine with the queen in a privy place by
themself, and there was made a great feast of all manner of dainties.

But Sir Gawaine had a custom that he used daily at dinner and at supper,
that he loved well all manner of fruit, and in especial apples and
pears. And therefore whosomever dined or feasted Sir Gawaine would
commonly purvey for good fruit for him, and so did the queen for to
please Sir Gawaine; she let purvey for him all manner of fruit, for Sir
Gawaine was a passing hot knight of nature. And this Pinel hated Sir
Gawaine because of his kinsman Sir Lamorak de Galis; and therefore for
pure envy and hate Sir Pinel enpoisoned certain apples for to enpoison
Sir Gawaine. And so this was well unto the end of the meat; and so it
befell by misfortune a good knight named Patrise, cousin unto Sir Mador
de la Porte, to take a poisoned apple. And when he had eaten it he
swelled so till he brast, and there Sir Patrise fell down suddenly dead
among them.

Then every knight leapt from the board ashamed, and araged for wrath,
nigh out of their wits. For they wist not what to say; considering Queen
Guenever made the feast and dinner, they all had suspicion unto her. My
lady, the queen, said Gawaine, wit ye well, madam, that this dinner was
made for me, for all folks that know my condition understand that I love
well fruit, and now I see well I had near been slain; therefore, madam,
I dread me lest ye will be shamed. Then the queen stood still and was
sore abashed, that she nist not what to say. This shall not so be ended,
said Sir Mador de la Porte, for here have I lost a full noble knight of
my blood; and therefore upon this shame and despite I will be revenged
to the utterance. And there openly Sir Mador appealed the queen of the
death of his cousin, Sir Patrise. Then stood they all still, that none
would speak a word against him, for they all had great suspicion unto
the queen because she let make that dinner. And the queen was so abashed
that she could none other ways do, but wept so heartily that she fell in
a swoon. With this noise and cry came to them King Arthur, and when he
wist of that trouble he was a passing heavy man.



CHAPTER IV. How Sir Mador appeached the queen of treason, and there was
no knight would fight for her at the first time.


AND ever Sir Mador stood still afore the king, and ever he appealed the
queen of treason; for the custom was such that time that all manner
of shameful death was called treason. Fair lords, said King Arthur, me
repenteth of this trouble, but the case is so I may not have ado in this
matter, for I must be a rightful judge; and that repenteth me that I may
not do battle for my wife, for as I deem this deed came never by her.
And therefore I suppose she shall not be all distained, but that some
good knight shall put his body in jeopardy for my queen rather than she
shall be brent in a wrong quarrel. And therefore, Sir Mador, be not so
hasty, for it may happen she shall not be all friendless; and therefore
desire thou thy day of battle, and she shall purvey her of some good
knight that shall answer you, or else it were to me great shame, and to
all my court.

My gracious lord, said Sir Mador, ye must hold me excused, for though
ye be our king in that degree, ye are but a knight as we are, and ye are
sworn unto knighthood as well as we; and therefore I beseech you that ye
be not displeased, for there is none of the four-and-twenty knights that
were bidden to this dinner but all they have great suspicion unto the
queen. What say ye all, my lords? said Sir Mador. Then they answered
by and by that they could not excuse the queen; for why she made the
dinner, and either it must come by her or by her servants. Alas, said
the queen, I made this dinner for a good intent, and never for none
evil, so Almighty God me help in my right, as I was never purposed to do
such evil deeds, and that I report me unto God.

My lord, the king, said Sir Mador, I require you as ye be a righteous
king give me a day that I may have justice. Well, said the king, I give
the day this day fifteen days that thou be ready armed on horseback
in the meadow beside Westminster. And if it so fall that there be any
knight to encounter with you, there mayst thou do the best, and God
speed the right. And if it so fall that there be no knight at that day,
then must my queen be burnt, and there she shall be ready to have her
judgment. I am answered, said Sir Mador. And every knight went where it
liked them.

So when the king and the queen were together the king asked the queen
how this case befell. The queen answered: So God me help, I wot not how
or in what manner. Where is Sir Launcelot? said King Arthur; an he were
here he would not grudge to do battle for you. Sir, said the queen, I
wot not where he is, but his brother and his kinsmen deem that he be not
within this realm. That me repenteth, said King Arthur, for an he were
here he would soon stint this strife. Then I will counsel you, said
the king, and unto Sir Bors: That ye will do battle for her for Sir
Launcelot's sake, and upon my life he will not refuse you. For well I
see, said the king, that none of these four-and-twenty knights that were
with you at your dinner where Sir Patrise was slain, that will do battle
for you, nor none of them will say well of you, and that shall be a
great slander for you in this court. Alas, said the queen, and I may not
do withal, but now I miss Sir Launcelot, for an he were here he would
put me soon to my heart's ease. What aileth you, said the king, ye
cannot keep Sir Launcelot upon your side? For wit ye well, said the
king, who that hath Sir Launcelot upon his part hath the most man of
worship in the world upon his side. Now go your way, said the king unto
the queen, and require Sir Bors to do battle for you for Sir Launcelot's
sake.



CHAPTER V. How the queen required Sir Bors to fight for her, and how he
granted upon condition; and how he warned Sir Launcelot thereof.


SO the queen departed from the king, and sent for Sir Bors into her
chamber. And when he was come she besought him of succour. Madam, said
he, what would ye that I did? for I may not with my worship have ado
in this matter, because I was at the same dinner, for dread that any of
those knights would have me in suspicion. Also, madam, said Sir Bors,
now miss ye Sir Launcelot, for he would not have failed you neither in
right nor in wrong, as ye have well proved when ye have been in danger;
and now ye have driven him out of this country, by whom ye and all we
were daily worshipped by; therefore, madam, I marvel how ye dare for
shame require me to do any thing for you, in so much ye have chased him
out of your country by whom we were borne up and honoured. Alas, fair
knight, said the queen, I put me wholly in your grace, and all that is
done amiss I will amend as ye will counsel me. And therewith she kneeled
down upon both her knees, and besought Sir Bors to have mercy upon her:
Outher I shall have a shameful death, and thereto I never offended.

Right so came King Arthur, and found the queen kneeling afore Sir Bors;
then Sir Bors pulled her up, and said: Madam, ye do me great dishonour.
Ah, gentle knight, said the king, have mercy upon my queen, courteous
knight, for I am now in certain she is untruly defamed. And therefore,
courteous knight, said the king, promise her to do battle for her, I
require you for the love of Sir Launcelot. My lord, said Sir Bors, ye
require me the greatest thing that any man may require me; and wit ye
well if I grant to do battle for the queen I shall wrath many of my
fellowship of the Table Round. But as for that, said Bors, I will grant
my lord that for my lord Sir Launcelot's sake, and for your sake I will
at that day be the queen's champion unless that there come by adventure
a better knight than I am to do battle for her. Will ye promise me this,
said the king, by your faith? Yea sir, said Sir Bors, of that I will not
fail you, nor her both, but if there come a better knight than I am, and
then shall he have the battle. Then was the king and the queen passing
glad, and so departed, and thanked him heartily.

So then Sir Bors departed secretly upon a day, and rode unto Sir
Launcelot thereas he was with the hermit, Sir Brasias, and told him of
all their adventure. Ah Jesu, said Sir Launcelot, this is come happily
as I would have it, and therefore I pray you make you ready to do
battle, but look that ye tarry till ye see me come, as long as ye may.
For I am sure Mador is an hot knight when he is enchafed, for the more
ye suffer him the hastier will he be to battle. Sir, said Bors, let me
deal with him, doubt ye not ye shall have all your will. Then departed
Sir Bors from him and came to the court again. Then was it noised in all
the court that Sir Bors should do battle for the queen; wherefore many
knights were displeased with him, that he would take upon him to do
battle in the queen's quarrel; for there were but few knights in all the
court but they deemed the queen was in the wrong, and that she had done
that treason.

So Sir Bors answered thus to his fellows of the Table Round: Wit ye
well, my fair lords, it were shame to us all an we suffered to see the
most noble queen of the world to be shamed openly, considering her
lord and our lord is the man of most worship in the world, and most
christened, and he hath ever worshipped us all in all places. Many
answered him again: As for our most noble King Arthur, we love him and
honour him as well as ye do, but as for Queen Guenever we love her not,
because she is a destroyer of good knights. Fair lords, said Sir Bors,
meseemeth ye say not as ye should say, for never yet in my days knew I
never nor heard say that ever she was a destroyer of any good knight.
But at all times as far as ever I could know she was a maintainer of
good knights; and ever she hath been large and free of her goods to
all good knights, and the most bounteous lady of her gifts and her good
grace, that ever I saw or heard speak of. And therefore it were shame,
said Sir Bors, to us all to our most noble king's wife, an we suffered
her to be shamefully slain. And wit ye well, said Sir Bors, I will
not suffer it, for I dare say so much, the queen is not guilty of Sir
Patrise's death, for she owed him never none ill will, nor none of the
four-and-twenty knights that were at that dinner; for I dare say for
good love she bade us to dinner, and not for no mal engine, and that
I doubt not shall be proved hereafter, for howsomever the game goeth,
there was treason among us. Then some said to Sir Bors: We may well
believe your words. And so some of them were well pleased, and some were
not so.



CHAPTER VI. How at the day Sir Bors made him ready for to fight for the
queen; and when he would fight how another discharged him.


THE day came on fast until the even that the battle should be. Then the
queen sent for Sir Bors and asked him how he was disposed. Truly madam,
said he, I am disposed in likewise as I promised you, that is for to
say I shall not fail you, unless by adventure there come a better knight
than I am to do battle for you, then, madam, am I discharged of my
promise. Will ye, said the queen, that I tell my lord Arthur thus? Do as
it shall please you, madam. Then the queen went unto the king and told
him the answer of Sir Bors. Have ye no doubt, said the king, of Sir
Bors, for I call him now one of the best knights of the world, and the
most profitablest man. And thus it passed on until the morn, and the
king and the queen and all manner of knights that were there at that
time drew them unto the meadow beside Westminster where the battle
should be. And so when the king was come with the queen and many knights
of the Round Table, then the queen was put there in the Constable's
ward, and a great fire made about an iron stake, that an Sir Mador de la
Porte had the better, she should be burnt: such custom was used in those
days, that neither for favour, neither for love nor affinity, there
should be none other but righteous judgment, as well upon a king as upon
a knight, and as well upon a queen as upon another poor lady.

So in this meanwhile came in Sir Mador de la Porte, and took his oath
afore the king, that the queen did this treason until his cousin Sir
Patrise, and unto his oath he would prove it with his body, hand for
hand, who that would say the contrary. Right so came in Sir Bors de
Ganis, and said: That as for Queen Guenever she is in the right, and
that will I make good with my hands that she is not culpable of this
treason that is put upon her. Then make thee ready, said Sir Mador, and
we shall prove whether thou be in the right or I. Sir Mador, said Sir
Bors, wit thou well I know you for a good knight. Not for then I shall
not fear you so greatly, but I trust to God I shall be able to withstand
your malice. But this much have I promised my lord Arthur and my lady
the queen, that I shall do battle for her in this case to the uttermost,
unless that there come a better knight than I am and discharge me. Is
that all? said Sir Mador, either come thou off and do battle with me, or
else say nay. Take your horse, said Sir Bors, and as I suppose, ye shall
not tarry long but ye shall be answered.

Then either departed to their tents and made them ready to horseback
as they thought best. And anon Sir Mador came into the field with his
shield on his shoulder and his spear in his hand; and so rode about the
place crying unto Arthur: Bid your champion come forth an he dare. Then
was Sir Bors ashamed and took his horse and came to the lists' end.
And then was he ware where came from a wood there fast by a knight all
armed, upon a white horse, with a strange shield of strange arms; and he
came riding all that he might run, and so he came to Sir Bors, and said
thus: Fair knight, I pray you be not displeased, for here must a better
knight than ye are have this battle, therefore I pray you withdraw you.
For wit ye well I have had this day a right great journey, and this
battle ought to be mine, and so I promised you when I spake with you
last, and with all my heart I thank you of your good will. Then Sir
Bors rode unto King Arthur and told him how there was a knight come that
would have the battle for to fight for the queen. What knight is he?
said the king. I wot not, said Sir Bors, but such covenant he made
with me to be here this day. Now my lord, said Sir Bors, here am I
discharged.



CHAPTER VII How Sir Launcelot fought against Sir Mador for the queen,
and how he overcame Sir Mador, and discharged the queen.


THEN the king called to that knight, and asked him if he would fight for
the queen. Then he answered to the king: Therefore came I hither, and
therefore, sir king, he said, tarry me no longer, for I may not tarry.
For anon as I have finished this battle I must depart hence, for I have
ado many matters elsewhere. For wit you well, said that knight, this
is dishonour to you all knights of the Round Table, to see and know so
noble a lady and so courteous a queen as Queen Guenever is, thus to be
rebuked and shamed amongst you. Then they all marvelled what knight that
might be that so took the battle upon him. For there was not one that
knew him, but if it were Sir Bors.

Then said Sir Mador de la Porte unto the king: Now let me wit with whom
I shall have ado withal. And then they rode to the lists' end, and there
they couched their spears, and ran together with all their might, and
Sir Mador's spear brake all to pieces, but the other's spear held, and
bare Sir Mador's horse and all backward to the earth a great fall. But
mightily and suddenly he avoided his horse and put his shield afore him,
and then drew his sword, and bade the other knight alight and do battle
with him on foot. Then that knight descended from his horse lightly like
a valiant man, and put his shield afore him and drew his sword; and so
they came eagerly unto battle, and either gave other many great strokes,
tracing and traversing, racing and foining, and hurtling together with
their swords as it were wild boars. Thus were they fighting nigh an
hour, for this Sir Mador was a strong knight, and mightily proved
in many strong battles. But at the last this knight smote Sir Mador
grovelling upon the earth, and the knight stepped near him to have
pulled Sir Mador flatling upon the ground; and therewith suddenly Sir
Mador arose, and in his rising he smote that knight through the thick of
the thighs that the blood ran out fiercely. And when he felt himself so
wounded, and saw his blood, he let him arise upon his feet. And then he
gave him such a buffet upon the helm that he fell to the earth flatling,
and therewith he strode to him to have pulled off his helm off his
head. And then Sir Mador prayed that knight to save his life, and so he
yielded him as overcome, and released the queen of his quarrel. I will
not grant thee thy life, said that knight, only that thou freely release
the queen for ever, and that no mention be made upon Sir Patrise's tomb
that ever Queen Guenever consented to that treason. All this shall be
done, said Sir Mador, I clearly discharge my quarrel for ever.

Then the knights parters of the lists took up Sir Mador, and led him to
his tent, and the other knight went straight to the stair-foot where sat
King Arthur; and by that time was the queen come to the king, and either
kissed other heartily. And when the king saw that knight, he stooped
down to him, and thanked him, and in likewise did the queen; and the
king prayed him to put off his helmet, and to repose him, and to take
a sop of wine. And then he put off his helm to drink, and then every
knight knew him that it was Sir Launcelot du Lake. Anon as the king wist
that, he took the queen in his hand, and yode unto Sir Launcelot, and
said: Sir, grant mercy of your great travail that ye have had this day
for me and for my queen. My lord, said Sir Launcelot, wit ye well I
ought of right ever to be in your quarrel, and in my lady the queen's
quarrel, to do battle; for ye are the man that gave me the high order of
knighthood, and that day my lady, your queen, did me great worship, and
else I had been shamed; for that same day ye made me knight, through my
hastiness I lost my sword, and my lady, your queen, found it, and lapped
it in her train, and gave me my sword when I had need thereto, and else
had I been shamed among all knights; and therefore, my lord Arthur, I
promised her at that day ever to be her knight in right outher in wrong.
Grant mercy, said the king, for this journey; and wit ye well, said the
king, I shall acquit your goodness.

And ever the queen beheld Sir Launcelot, and wept so tenderly that she
sank almost to the ground for sorrow that he had done to her so great
goodness where she shewed him great unkindness. Then the knights of his
blood drew unto him, and there either of them made great joy of other.
And so came all the knights of the Table Round that were there at that
time, and welcomed him. And then Sir Mador was had to leech-craft, and
Sir Launcelot was healed of his wound. And then there was made great joy
and mirths in that court.



CHAPTER VIII. How the truth was known by the Maiden of the Lake, and of
divers other matters.


AND so it befell that the damosel of the lake, her name was Nimue, the
which wedded the good knight Sir Pelleas, and so she came to the court;
for ever she did great goodness unto King Arthur and to all his knights
through her sorcery and enchantments. And so when she heard how the
queen was an-angered for the death of Sir Patrise, then she told it
openly that she was never guilty; and there she disclosed by whom it was
done, and named him, Sir Pinel; and for what cause he did it, there it
was openly disclosed; and so the queen was excused, and the knight
Pinel fled into his country. Then was it openly known that Sir Pinel
enpoisoned the apples at the feast to that intent to have destroyed Sir
Gawaine, because Sir Gawaine and his brethren destroyed Sir Lamorak
de Galis, to the which Sir Pinel was cousin unto. Then was Sir Patrise
buried in the church of Westminster in a tomb, and thereupon was
written: Here lieth Sir Patrise of Ireland, slain by Sir Pinel le
Savage, that enpoisoned apples to have slain Sir Gawaine, and by
misfortune Sir Patrise ate one of those apples, and then suddenly he
brast. Also there was written upon the tomb that Queen Guenever was
appealed of treason of the death of Sir Patrise, by Sir Mador de la
Porte; and there was made mention how Sir Launcelot fought with him for
Queen Guenever, and overcame him in plain battle. All this was written
upon the tomb of Sir Patrise in excusing of the queen. And then Sir
Mador sued daily and long, to have the queen's good grace; and so by the
means of Sir Launcelot he caused him to stand in the queen's good grace,
and all was forgiven.

Thus it passed on till our Lady Day, Assumption. Within a fifteen days
of that feast the king let cry a great jousts and a tournament that
should be at that day at Camelot, that is Winchester; and the king let
cry that he and the King of Scots would joust against all that would
come against them. And when this cry was made, thither came many
knights. So there came thither the King of Northgalis, and King Anguish
of Ireland, and the King with the Hundred Knights, and Galahad, the haut
prince, and the King of Northumberland, and many other noble dukes and
earls of divers countries. So King Arthur made him ready to depart to
these jousts, and would have had the queen with him, but at that time
she would not, she said, for she was sick and might not ride at that
time. That me repenteth, said the king, for this seven year ye saw not
such a noble fellowship together except at Whitsuntide when Galahad
departed from the court. Truly, said the queen to the king, ye must hold
me excused, I may not be there, and that me repenteth. And many deemed
the queen would not be there because of Sir Launcelot du Lake, for Sir
Launcelot would not ride with the king, for he said that he was not
whole of the wound the which Sir Mador had given him; wherefore the king
was heavy and passing wroth. And so he departed toward Winchester with
his fellowship; and so by the way the king lodged in a town called
Astolat, that is now in English called Guildford, and there the king lay
in the castle.

So when the king was departed the queen called Sir Launcelot to her,
and said thus: Sir Launcelot, ye are greatly to blame thus to hold you
behind my lord; what, trow ye, what will your enemies and mine say and
deem? nought else but, See how Sir Launcelot holdeth him ever behind
the king, and so doth the queen, for that they would have their pleasure
together. And thus will they say, said the queen to Sir Launcelot, have
ye no doubt thereof.



CHAPTER IX. How Sir Launcelot rode to Astolat, and received a sleeve to
wear upon his helm at the request of a maid.


MADAM, said Sir Launcelot, I allow your wit, it is of late come since
ye were wise. And therefore, madam, at this time I will be ruled by your
counsel, and this night I will take my rest, and to-morrow by time I
will take my way toward Winchester. But wit you well, said Sir Launcelot
to the queen, that at that jousts I will be against the king, and
against all his fellowship. Ye may there do as ye list, said the queen,
but by my counsel ye shall not be against your king and your fellowship.
For therein be full many hard knights of your blood, as ye wot well
enough, it needeth not to rehearse them. Madam, said Sir Launcelot,
I pray you that ye be not displeased with me, for I will take the
adventure that God will send me.

And so upon the morn early Sir Launcelot heard mass and brake his fast,
and so took his leave of the queen and departed. And then he rode so
much until he came to Astolat, that is Guildford; and there it happed
him in the eventide he came to an old baron's place that hight Sir
Bernard of Astolat. And as Sir Launcelot entered into his lodging, King
Arthur espied him as he did walk in a garden beside the castle, how he
took his lodging, and knew him full well. It is well, said King Arthur
unto the knights that were with him in that garden beside the castle, I
have now espied one knight that will play his play at the jousts to the
which we be gone toward; I undertake he will do marvels. Who is that,
we pray you tell us? said many knights that were there at that time. Ye
shall not wit for me, said the king, as at this time. And so the king
smiled, and went to his lodging.

So when Sir Launcelot was in his lodging, and unarmed him in his
chamber, the old baron and hermit came to him making his reverence,
and welcomed him in the best manner; but the old knight knew not Sir
Launcelot. Fair sir, said Sir Launcelot to his host, I would pray you
to lend me a shield that were not openly known, for mine is well known.
Sir, said his host, ye shall have your desire, for meseemeth ye be one
of the likeliest knights of the world, and therefore I shall shew you
friendship. Sir, wit you well I have two sons that were but late made
knights, and the eldest hight Sir Tirre, and he was hurt that same day
he was made knight, that he may not ride, and his shield ye shall have;
for that is not known I dare say but here, and in no place else. And my
youngest son hight Lavaine, and if it please you, he shall ride with
you unto that jousts; and he is of his age strong and wight, for much my
heart giveth unto you that ye should be a noble knight, therefore I
pray you, tell me your name, said Sir Bernard. As for that, said Sir
Launcelot, ye must hold me excused as at this time, and if God give me
grace to speed well at the jousts I shall come again and tell you. But
I pray you, said Sir Launcelot, in any wise let me have your son, Sir
Lavaine, with me, and that I may have his brother's shield. All this
shall be done, said Sir Bernard.

This old baron had a daughter that was called that time the Fair Maiden
of Astolat. And ever she beheld Sir Launcelot wonderfully; and as the
book saith, she cast such a love unto Sir Launcelot that she could never
withdraw her love, wherefore she died, and her name was Elaine le Blank.
So thus as she came to and fro she was so hot in her love that she
besought Sir Launcelot to wear upon him at the jousts a token of hers.
Fair damosel, said Sir Launcelot, an if I grant you that, ye may say
I do more for your love than ever I did for lady or damosel. Then he
remembered him he would go to the jousts disguised. And because he had
never fore that time borne no manner of token of no damosel, then he
bethought him that he would bear one of her, that none of his blood
thereby might know him, and then he said: Fair maiden, I will grant you
to wear a token of yours upon mine helmet, and therefore what it is,
shew it me. Sir, she said, it is a red sleeve of mine, of scarlet,
well embroidered with great pearls: and so she brought it him. So
Sir Launcelot received it, and said: Never did I erst so much for no
damosel. And then Sir Launcelot betook the fair maiden his shield in
keeping, and prayed her to keep that until that he came again; and
so that night he had merry rest and great cheer, for ever the damosel
Elaine was about Sir Launcelot all the while she might be suffered.



CHAPTER X. How the tourney began at Winchester, and what knights were at
the jousts; and other things.


SO upon a day, on the morn, King Arthur and all his knights departed,
for their king had tarried three days to abide his noble knights. And so
when the king was ridden, Sir Launcelot and Sir Lavaine made them ready
to ride, and either of them had white shields, and the red sleeve
Sir Launcelot let carry with him. And so they took their leave at Sir
Bernard, the old baron, and at his daughter, the Fair Maiden of Astolat.
And then they rode so long till that they came to Camelot, that time
called Winchester; and there was great press of kings, dukes earls,
and barons, and many noble knights. But there Sir Launcelot was lodged
privily by the means of Sir Lavaine with a rich burgess, that no man in
that town was ware what they were. And so they reposed them there till
our Lady Day, Assumption, as the great feast should be. So then trumpets
blew unto the field, and King Arthur was set on high upon a scaffold to
behold who did best. But as the French book saith, the king would not
suffer Sir Gawaine to go from him, for never had Sir Gawaine the better
an Sir Launcelot were in the field; and many times was Sir Gawaine
rebuked when Launcelot came into any jousts disguised.

Then some of the kings, as King Anguish of Ireland and the King of
Scots, were that time turned upon the side of King Arthur. And then
on the other party was the King of Northgalis, and the King with the
Hundred Knights, and the King of Northumberland, and Sir Galahad, the
haut prince. But these three kings and this duke were passing weak to
hold against King Arthur's party, for with him were the noblest knights
of the world. So then they withdrew them either party from other, and
every man made him ready in his best manner to do what he might.

Then Sir Launcelot made him ready, and put the red sleeve upon his head,
and fastened it fast; and so Sir Launcelot and Sir Lavaine departed out
of Winchester privily, and rode until a little leaved wood behind the
party that held against King Arthur's party, and there they held them
still till the parties smote together. And then came in the King of
Scots and the King of Ireland on Arthur's party, and against them came
the King of Northumberland, and the King with the Hundred Knights smote
down the King of Northumberland, and the King with the Hundred Knights
smote down King Anguish of Ireland. Then Sir Palomides that was on
Arthur's party encountered with Sir Galahad, and either of them smote
down other, and either party halp their lords on horseback again. So
there began a strong assail upon both parties. And then came in Sir
Brandiles, Sir Sagramore le Desirous, Sir Dodinas le Savage, Sir Kay
le Seneschal, Sir Griflet le Fise de Dieu, Sir Mordred, Sir Meliot
de Logris, Sir Ozanna le Cure Hardy, Sir Safere, Sir Epinogris, Sir
Galleron of Galway. All these fifteen knights were knights of the Table
Round. So these with more other came in together, and beat aback the
King of Northumberland and the King of Northgalis. When Sir Launcelot
saw this, as he hoved in a little leaved wood, then he said unto Sir
Lavaine: See yonder is a company of good knights, and they hold them
together as boars that were chafed with dogs. That is truth, said Sir
Lavaine.



CHAPTER XI. How Sir Launcelot and Sir Lavaine entered in the field
against them of King Arthur's court, and how Launcelot was hurt.


NOW, said Sir Launcelot, an ye will help me a little, ye shall see
yonder fellowship that chaseth now these men in our side, that they
shall go as fast backward as they went forward. Sir, spare not, said Sir
Lavaine, for I shall do what I may. Then Sir Launcelot and Sir Lavaine
came in at the thickest of the press, and there Sir Launcelot smote down
Sir Brandiles, Sir Sagramore, Sir Dodinas, Sir Kay, Sir Griflet, and
all this he did with one spear; and Sir Lavaine smote down Sir Lucan le
Butler and Sir Bedevere. And then Sir Launcelot gat another spear, and
there he smote down Sir Agravaine, Sir Gaheris, and Sir Mordred, and Sir
Meliot de Logris; and Sir Lavaine smote Ozanna le Cure Hardy. And then
Sir Launcelot drew his sword, and there he smote on the right hand
and on the left hand, and by great force he unhorsed Sir Safere, Sir
Epinogris, and Sir Galleron; and then the knights of the Table Round
withdrew them aback, after they had gotten their horses as well as they
might. O mercy Jesu, said Sir Gawaine, what knight is yonder that doth
so marvellous deeds of arms in that field? I wot well what he is, said
King Arthur, but as at this time I will not name him. Sir, said Sir
Gawaine, I would say it were Sir Launcelot by his riding and his buffets
that I see him deal, but ever meseemeth it should not be he, for that he
beareth the red sleeve upon his head; for I wist him never bear token
at no jousts, of lady nor gentlewoman. Let him be, said King Arthur, he
will be better known, and do more, or ever he depart.

Then the party that was against King Arthur were well comforted, and
then they held them together that beforehand were sore rebuked. Then Sir
Bors, Sir Ector de Maris, and Sir Lionel called unto them the knights
of their blood, as Sir Blamore de Ganis, Sir Bleoberis, Sir Aliduke, Sir
Galihud, Sir Galihodin, Sir Bellangere le Beuse. So these nine knights
of Sir Launcelot's kin thrust in mightily, for they were all noble
knights; and they, of great hate and despite that they had unto him,
thought to rebuke that noble knight Sir Launcelot, and Sir Lavaine, for
they knew them not; and so they came hurling together, and smote down
many knights of Northgalis and of Northumberland. And when Sir Launcelot
saw them fare so, he gat a spear in his hand; and there encountered with
him all at once Sir Bors, Sir Ector, and Sir Lionel, and all they three
smote him at once with their spears. And with force of themself they
smote Sir Launcelot's horse to the earth; and by misfortune Sir Bors
smote Sir Launcelot through the shield into the side, and the spear
brake, and the head left still in his side.

When Sir Lavaine saw his master lie on the ground, he ran to the King of
Scots and smote him to the earth; and by great force he took his horse,
and brought him to Sir Launcelot, and maugre of them all he made him to
mount upon that horse. And then Launcelot gat a spear in his hand, and
there he smote Sir Bors, horse and man, to the earth. In the same wise
he served Sir Ector and Sir Lionel; and Sir Lavaine smote down Sir
Blamore de Ganis. And then Sir Launcelot drew his sword, for he felt
himself so sore y-hurt that he weened there to have had his death. And
then he smote Sir Bleoberis such a buffet on the helm that he fell down
to the earth in a swoon. And in the same wise he served Sir Aliduke and
Sir Galihud. And Sir Lavaine smote down Sir Bellangere, that was the son
of Alisander le Orphelin.

And by this was Sir Bors horsed, and then he came with Sir Ector and
Sir Lionel, and all they three smote with swords upon Sir Launcelot's
helmet. And when he felt their buffets and his wound, the which was so
grievous, then he thought to do what he might while he might endure.
And then he gave Sir Bors such a buffet that he made him bow his head
passing low; and therewithal he raced off his helm, and might have slain
him; and so pulled him down, and in the same wise he served Sir Ector
and Sir Lionel. For as the book saith he might have slain them, but when
he saw their visages his heart might not serve him thereto, but left
them there. And then afterward he hurled into the thickest press of them
all, and did there the marvelloust deeds of arms that ever man saw or
heard speak of, and ever Sir Lavaine, the good knight, with him. And
there Sir Launcelot with his sword smote down and pulled down, as the
French book maketh mention, mo than thirty knights, and the most part
were of the Table Round; and Sir Lavaine did full well that day, for he
smote down ten knights of the Table Round.



CHAPTER XII. How Sir Launcelot and Sir Lavaine departed out of the
field, and in what jeopardy Launcelot was.


MERCY Jesu, said Sir Gawaine to Arthur, I marvel what knight that he
is with the red sleeve. Sir, said King Arthur, he will be known or he
depart. And then the king blew unto lodging, and the prize was given by
heralds unto the knight with the white shield that bare the red sleeve.
Then came the King with the Hundred Knights, the King of Northgalis, and
the King of Northumberland, and Sir Galahad, the haut prince, and said
unto Sir Launcelot: Fair knight, God thee bless, for much have ye done
this day for us, therefore we pray you that ye will come with us that
ye may receive the honour and the prize as ye have worshipfully deserved
it. My fair lords, said Sir Launcelot, wit you well if I have deserved
thanks I have sore bought it, and that me repenteth, for I am like never
to escape with my life; therefore, fair lords, I pray you that ye will
suffer me to depart where me liketh, for I am sore hurt. I take none
force of none honour, for I had liefer to repose me than to be lord of
all the world. And therewithal he groaned piteously, and rode a great
wallop away-ward from them until he came under a wood's side.

And when he saw that he was from the field nigh a mile, that he was sure
he might not be seen, then he said with an high voice: O gentle knight,
Sir Lavaine, help me that this truncheon were out of my side, for it
sticketh so sore that it nigh slayeth me. O mine own lord, said Sir
Lavaine, I would fain do that might please you, but I dread me sore an I
pull out the truncheon that ye shall be in peril of death. I charge
you, said Sir Launcelot, as ye love me, draw it out. And therewithal he
descended from his horse, and right so did Sir Lavaine; and forthwithal
Sir Lavaine drew the truncheon out of his side, and he gave a great
shriek and a marvellous grisly groan, and the blood brast out nigh a
pint at once, that at the last he sank down upon his buttocks, and so
swooned pale and deadly. Alas, said Sir Lavaine, what shall I do? And
then he turned Sir Launcelot into the wind, but so he lay there nigh
half an hour as he had been dead.

And so at the last Sir Launcelot cast up his eyes, and said: O Lavaine,
help me that I were on my horse, for here is fast by within this two
mile a gentle hermit that sometime was a full noble knight and a great
lord of possessions. And for great goodness he hath taken him to
wilful poverty, and forsaken many lands, and his name is Sir Baudwin of
Brittany, and he is a full noble surgeon and a good leech. Now let see,
help me up that I were there, for ever my heart giveth me that I shall
never die of my cousin-germain's hands. And then with great pain Sir
Lavaine halp him upon his horse. And then they rode a great wallop
together, and ever Sir Launcelot bled that it ran down to the earth; and
so by fortune they came to that hermitage the which was under a wood,
and a great cliff on the other side, and a fair water running under it.
And then Sir Lavaine beat on the gate with the butt of his spear, and
cried fast: Let in for Jesu's sake.

And there came a fair child to them, and asked them what they would.
Fair son, said Sir Lavaine, go and pray thy lord, the hermit, for God's
sake to let in here a knight that is full sore wounded; and this day
tell thy lord I saw him do more deeds of arms than ever I heard say
that any man did. So the child went in lightly, and then he brought the
hermit, the which was a passing good man. When Sir Lavaine saw him
he prayed him for God's sake of succour. What knight is he? said the
hermit. Is he of the house of King Arthur, or not? I wot not, said Sir
Lavaine, what is he, nor what is his name, but well I wot I saw him do
marvellously this day as of deeds of arms. On whose party was he? said
the hermit. Sir, said Sir Lavaine, he was this day against King Arthur,
and there he won the prize of all the knights of the Round Table. I have
seen the day, said the hermit, I would have loved him the worse because
he was against my lord, King Arthur, for sometime I was one of the
fellowship of the Round Table, but I thank God now I am otherwise
disposed. But where is he? let me see him. Then Sir Lavaine brought the
hermit to him.



CHAPTER XIII. How Launcelot was brought to an hermit for to be healed of
his wound, and of other matters.


AND when the hermit beheld him, as he sat leaning upon his saddle-bow
ever bleeding piteously, and ever the knight-hermit thought that he
should know him, but he could not bring him to knowledge because he was
so pale for bleeding. What knight are ye, said the hermit, and where
were ye born? My fair lord, said Sir Launcelot, I am a stranger and a
knight adventurous, that laboureth throughout many realms for to win
worship. Then the hermit advised him better, and saw by a wound on his
cheek that he was Sir Launcelot. Alas, said the hermit, mine own lord
why lain you your name from me? Forsooth I ought to know you of right,
for ye are the most noblest knight of the world, for well I know you
for Sir Launcelot. Sir, said he, sith ye know me, help me an ye may, for
God's sake, for I would be out of this pain at once, either to death or
to life. Have ye no doubt, said the hermit, ye shall live and fare right
well. And so the hermit called to him two of his servants, and so he and
his servants bare him into the hermitage, and lightly unarmed him, and
laid him in his bed. And then anon the hermit staunched his blood, and
made him to drink good wine, so that Sir Launcelot was well refreshed
and knew himself; for in those days it was not the guise of hermits as
is nowadays, for there were none hermits in those days but that they
had been men of worship and of prowess; and those hermits held great
household, and refreshed people that were in distress.

Now turn we unto King Arthur, and leave we Sir Launcelot in the
hermitage. So when the kings were come together on both parties, and the
great feast should be holden, King Arthur asked the King of Northgalis
and their fellowship, where was that knight that bare the red sleeve:
Bring him afore me that he may have his laud, and honour, and the prize,
as it is right. Then spake Sir Galahad, the haut prince, and the King
with the Hundred Knights: We suppose that knight is mischieved, and that
he is never like to see you nor none of us all, and that is the greatest
pity that ever we wist of any knight. Alas, said Arthur, how may this
be, is he so hurt? What is his name? said King Arthur. Truly, said
they all, we know not his name, nor from whence he came, nor whither he
would. Alas, said the king, this be to me the worst tidings that came
to me this seven year, for I would not for all the lands I wield to know
and wit it were so that that noble knight were slain. Know ye him? said
they all. As for that, said Arthur, whether I know him or know him not,
ye shall not know for me what man he is, but Almighty Jesu send me good
tidings of him. And so said they all. By my head, said Sir Gawaine, if
it so be that the good knight be so sore hurt, it is great damage and
pity to all this land, for he is one of the noblest knights that ever I
saw in a field handle a spear or a sword; and if he may be found I shall
find him, for I am sure he nis not far from this town. Bear you well,
said King Arthur, an ye may find him, unless that he be in such a plight
that he may not wield himself. Jesu defend, said Sir Gawaine, but wit I
shall what he is, an I may find him.

Right so Sir Gawaine took a squire with him upon hackneys, and rode all
about Camelot within six or seven mile, but so he came again and could
hear no word of him. Then within two days King Arthur and all the
fellowship returned unto London again. And so as they rode by the way it
happed Sir Gawaine at Astolat to lodge with Sir Bernard thereas was Sir
Launcelot lodged. And so as Sir Gawaine was in his chamber to repose him
Sir Bernard, the old baron, came unto him, and his daughter Elaine,
to cheer him and to ask him what tidings, and who did best at that
tournament of Winchester. So God me help, said Sir Gawaine, there were
two knights that bare two white shields, but the one of them bare a red
sleeve upon his head, and certainly he was one of the best knights that
ever I saw joust in field. For I dare say, said Sir Gawaine, that one
knight with the red sleeve smote down forty knights of the Table Round,
and his fellow did right well and worshipfully. Now blessed be God, said
the Fair Maiden of Astolat, that that knight sped so well, for he is
the man in the world that I first loved, and truly he shall be last that
ever I shall love. Now, fair maid, said Sir Gawaine, is that good knight
your love? Certainly sir, said she, wit ye well he is my love. Then know
ye his name? said Sir Gawaine. Nay truly, said the damosel, I know
not his name nor from whence he cometh, but to say that I love him, I
promise you and God that I love him. How had ye knowledge of him first?
said Sir Gawaine.



CHAPTER XIV. How Sir Gawaine was lodged with the lord of Astolat, and
there had knowledge that it was Sir Launcelot that bare the red sleeve.


THEN she told him as ye have heard to-fore, and how her father betook
him her brother to do him service, and how her father lent him her
brother's, Sir Tirre's, shield: And here with me he left his own shield.
For what cause did he so? said Sir Gawaine. For this cause, said the
damosel, for his shield was too well known among many noble knights.
Ah fair damosel, said Sir Gawaine, please it you let me have a sight of
that shield. Sir, said she, it is in my chamber, covered with a case,
and if ye will come with me ye shall see it. Not so, said Sir Bernard
till his daughter, let send for it.

So when the shield was come, Sir Gawaine took off the case, and when he
beheld that shield he knew anon that it was Sir Launcelot's shield,
and his own arms. Ah Jesu mercy, said Sir Gawaine, now is my heart more
heavier than ever it was to-fore. Why? said Elaine. For I have great
cause, said Sir Gawaine. Is that knight that oweth this shield your
love? Yea truly, said she, my love he is, God would I were his love. So
God me speed, said Sir Gawaine, fair damosel ye have right, for an he be
your love ye love the most honourable knight of the world, and the man
of most worship. So me thought ever, said the damosel, for never or that
time, for no knight that ever I saw, loved I never none erst. God grant,
said Sir Gawaine, that either of you may rejoice other, but that is in
a great adventure. But truly, said Sir Gawaine unto the damosel, ye may
say ye have a fair grace, for why I have known that noble knight this
four-and-twenty year, and never or that day, I nor none other knight, I
dare make good, saw nor heard say that ever he bare token or sign of no
lady, gentlewoman, ne maiden, at no jousts nor tournament. And therefore
fair maiden, said Sir Gawaine, ye are much beholden to him to give him
thanks. But I dread me, said Sir Gawaine, that ye shall never see him
in this world, and that is great pity that ever was of earthly knight.
Alas, said she, how may this be, is he slain? I say not so, said Sir
Gawaine, but wit ye well he is grievously wounded, by all manner of
signs, and by men's sight more likelier to be dead than to be alive; and
wit ye well he is the noble knight, Sir Launcelot, for by this shield
I know him. Alas, said the Fair Maiden of Astolat, how may this be, and
what was his hurt? Truly, said Sir Gawaine, the man in the world that
loved him best hurt him so; and I dare say, said Sir Gawaine, an that
knight that hurt him knew the very certainty that he had hurt Sir
Launcelot, it would be the most sorrow that ever came to his heart.

Now fair father, said then Elaine, I require you give me leave to ride
and to seek him, or else I wot well I shall go out of my mind, for I
shall never stint till that I find him and my brother, Sir Lavaine. Do
as it liketh you, said her father, for me sore repenteth of the hurt
of that noble knight. Right so the maid made her ready, and before Sir
Gawaine, making great dole.

Then on the morn Sir Gawaine came to King Arthur, and told him how he
had found Sir Launcelot's shield in the keeping of the Fair Maiden of
Astolat. All that knew I aforehand, said King Arthur, and that caused
me I would not suffer you to have ado at the great jousts, for I espied,
said King Arthur, when he came in till his lodging full late in the
evening in Astolat. But marvel have I, said Arthur, that ever he would
bear any sign of any damosel, for or now I never heard say nor knew
that ever he bare any token of none earthly woman. By my head, said Sir
Gawaine, the Fair Maiden of Astolat loveth him marvellously well; what
it meaneth I cannot say, and she is ridden after to seek him. So the
king and all came to London, and there Sir Gawaine openly disclosed to
all the court that it was Sir Launcelot that jousted best.



CHAPTER XV. Of the sorrow that Sir Bors had for the hurt of Launcelot;
and of the anger that the queen had because Launcelot bare the sleeve.


AND when Sir Bors heard that, wit ye well he was an heavy man, and so
were all his kinsmen. But when Queen Guenever wist that Sir Launcelot
bare the red sleeve of the Fair Maiden of Astolat she was nigh out of
her mind for wrath. And then she sent for Sir Bors de Ganis in all the
haste that might be. So when Sir Bors was come to-fore the queen, then
she said: Ah Sir Bors, have ye heard say how falsely Sir Launcelot hath
betrayed me? Alas madam, said Sir Bors, I am afeard he hath betrayed
himself and us all. No force, said the queen, though he be destroyed,
for he is a false traitor-knight. Madam, said Sir Bors, I pray you say
ye not so, for wit you well I may not hear such language of him. Why
Sir Bors, said she, should I not call him traitor when he bare the red
sleeve upon his head at Winchester, at the great jousts? Madam, said Sir
Bors, that sleeve-bearing repenteth me sore, but I dare say he did it to
none evil intent, but for this cause he bare the red sleeve that none
of his blood should know him. For or then we, nor none of us all, never
knew that ever he bare token or sign of maid, lady, ne gentlewoman.
Fie on him, said the queen, yet for all his pride and bobaunce there ye
proved yourself his better. Nay madam, say ye never more so, for he beat
me and my fellows, and might have slain us an he had would. Fie on him,
said the queen, for I heard Sir Gawaine say before my lord Arthur that
it were marvel to tell the great love that is between the Fair Maiden of
Astolat and him. Madam, said Sir Bors, I may not warn Sir Gawaine to say
what it pleased him; but I dare say, as for my lord, Sir Launcelot,
that he loveth no lady, gentlewoman, nor maid, but all he loveth in like
much. And therefore madam, said Sir Bors, ye may say what ye will, but
wit ye well I will haste me to seek him, and find him wheresomever he
be, and God send me good tidings of him. And so leave we them there, and
speak we of Sir Launcelot that lay in great peril.

So as fair Elaine came to Winchester she sought there all about, and by
fortune Sir Lavaine was ridden to play him, to enchafe his horse. And
anon as Elaine saw him she knew him, and then she cried aloud until
him. And when he heard her anon he came to her, and then she asked her
brother how did my lord, Sir Launcelot. Who told you, sister, that my
lord's name was Sir Launcelot? Then she told him how Sir Gawaine by
his shield knew him. So they rode together till that they came to the
hermitage, and anon she alighted.

So Sir Lavaine brought her in to Sir Launcelot; and when she saw him lie
so sick and pale in his bed she might not speak, but suddenly she fell
to the earth down suddenly in a swoon, and there she lay a great
while. And when she was relieved, she shrieked and said: My lord, Sir
Launcelot, alas why be ye in this plight? and then she swooned again.
And then Sir Launcelot prayed Sir Lavaine to take her up: And bring her
to me. And when she came to herself Sir Launcelot kissed her, and said:
Fair maiden, why fare ye thus? ye put me to pain; wherefore make ye no
more such cheer, for an ye be come to comfort me ye be right welcome;
and of this little hurt that I have I shall be right hastily whole by
the grace of God. But I marvel, said Sir Launcelot, who told you my
name? Then the fair maiden told him all how Sir Gawaine was lodged with
her father: And there by your shield he discovered your name. Alas, said
Sir Launcelot, that me repenteth that my name is known, for I am sure it
will turn unto anger. And then Sir Launcelot compassed in his mind that
Sir Gawaine would tell Queen Guenever how he bare the red sleeve, and
for whom; that he wist well would turn into great anger.

So this maiden Elaine never went from Sir Launcelot, but watched him day
and night, and did such attendance to him, that the French book saith
there was never woman did more kindlier for man than she. Then Sir
Launcelot prayed Sir Lavaine to make aspies in Winchester for Sir Bors
if he came there, and told him by what tokens he should know him, by a
wound in his forehead. For well I am sure, said Sir Launcelot, that Sir
Bors will seek me, for he is the same good knight that hurt me.



CHAPTER XVI. How Sir Bors sought Launcelot and found him in the
hermitage, and of the lamentation between them.


NOW turn we unto Sir Bors de Ganis that came unto Winchester to seek
after his cousin Sir Launcelot. And so when he came to Winchester, anon
there were men that Sir Lavaine had made to lie in a watch for such
a man, and anon Sir Lavaine had warning; and then Sir Lavaine came to
Winchester and found Sir Bors, and there he told him what he was, and
with whom he was, and what was his name. Now fair knight, said Sir Bors,
I require you that ye will bring me to my lord, Sir Launcelot. Sir, said
Sir Lavaine, take your horse, and within this hour ye shall see him. And
so they departed, and came to the hermitage.

And when Sir Bors saw Sir Launcelot lie in his bed pale and discoloured,
anon Sir Bors lost his countenance, and for kindness and pity he might
not speak, but wept tenderly a great while. And then when he might speak
he said thus: O my lord, Sir Launcelot, God you bless, and send
you hasty recover; and full heavy am I of my misfortune and of mine
unhappiness, for now I may call myself unhappy. And I dread me that God
is greatly displeased with me, that he would suffer me to have such a
shame for to hurt you that are all our leader, and all our worship; and
therefore I call myself unhappy. Alas that ever such a caitiff-knight as
I am should have power by unhappiness to hurt the most noblest knight of
the world. Where I so shamefully set upon you and overcharged you, and
where ye might have slain me, ye saved me; and so did not I, for I and
your blood did to you our utterance. I marvel, said Sir Bors, that my
heart or my blood would serve me, wherefore my lord, Sir Launcelot, I
ask your mercy. Fair cousin, said Sir Launcelot, ye be right welcome;
and wit ye well, overmuch ye say for to please me, the which pleaseth
me not, for why I have the same I sought; for I would with pride have
overcome you all, and there in my pride I was near slain, and that was
in mine own default, for I might have given you warning of my being
there. And then had I had no hurt, for it is an old said saw, there
is hard battle thereas kin and friends do battle either against other,
there may be no mercy but mortal war. Therefore, fair cousin, said Sir
Launcelot, let this speech overpass, and all shall be welcome that
God sendeth; and let us leave off this matter and let us speak of some
rejoicing, for this that is done may not be undone; and let us find a
remedy how soon that I may be whole.

Then Sir Bors leaned upon his bedside, and told Sir Launcelot how the
queen was passing wroth with him, because he wore the red sleeve at the
great jousts; and there Sir Bors told him all how Sir Gawaine discovered
it: By your shield that ye left with the Fair Maiden of Astolat. Then is
the queen wroth, said Sir Launcelot and therefore am I right heavy,
for I deserved no wrath, for all that I did was because I would not be
known. Right so excused I you, said Sir Bors, but all was in vain, for
she said more largelier to me than I to you now. But is this she, said
Sir Bors, that is so busy about you, that men call the Fair Maiden of
Astolat? She it is, said Sir Launcelot, that by no means I cannot put
her from me. Why should ye put her from you? said Sir Bors, she is a
passing fair damosel, and a well beseen, and well taught; and God would,
fair cousin, said Sir Bors, that ye could love her, but as to that I may
not, nor I dare not, counsel you. But I see well, said Sir Bors, by her
diligence about you that she loveth you entirely. That me repenteth,
said Sir Launcelot. Sir, said Sir Bors, she is not the first that hath
lost her pain upon you, and that is the more pity: and so they talked of
many more things. And so within three days or four Sir Launcelot was big
and strong again.



CHAPTER XVII. How Sir Launcelot armed him to assay if he might bear
arms, and how his wounds brast out again.


THEN Sir Bors told Sir Launcelot how there was sworn a great tournament
and jousts betwixt King Arthur and the King of Northgalis, that should
be upon All Hallowmass Day, beside Winchester. Is that truth? said Sir
Launcelot; then shall ye abide with me still a little while until that
I be whole, for I feel myself right big and strong. Blessed be God,
said Sir Bors. Then were they there nigh a month together, and ever
this maiden Elaine did ever her diligent labour night and day unto Sir
Launcelot, that there was never child nor wife more meeker to her father
and husband than was that Fair Maiden of Astolat; wherefore Sir Bors was
greatly pleased with her.

So upon a day, by the assent of Sir Launcelot, Sir Bors, and Sir
Lavaine, they made the hermit to seek in woods for divers herbs, and
so Sir Launcelot made fair Elaine to gather herbs for him to make him a
bain. In the meanwhile Sir Launcelot made him to arm him at all pieces;
and there he thought to assay his armour and his spear, for his hurt or
not. And so when he was upon his horse he stirred him fiercely, and the
horse was passing lusty and fresh because he was not laboured a month
afore. And then Sir Launcelot couched that spear in the rest. That
courser leapt mightily when he felt the spurs; and he that was upon him,
the which was the noblest horse of the world, strained him mightily
and stably, and kept still the spear in the rest; and therewith Sir
Launcelot strained himself so straitly, with so great force, to get
the horse forward, that the button of his wound brast both within and
without; and therewithal the blood came out so fiercely that he felt
himself so feeble that he might not sit upon his horse. And then Sir
Launcelot cried unto Sir Bors: Ah, Sir Bors and Sir Lavaine, help, for
I am come to mine end. And therewith he fell down on the one side to the
earth like a dead corpse. And then Sir Bors and Sir Lavaine came to him
with sorrow-making out of measure. And so by fortune the maiden Elaine
heard their mourning, and then she came thither; and when she found Sir
Launcelot there armed in that place she cried and wept as she had been
wood; and then she kissed him, and did what she might to awake him.
And then she rebuked her brother and Sir Bors, and called them false
traitors, why they would take him out of his bed; there she cried, and
said she would appeal them of his death.

With this came the holy hermit, Sir Baudwin of Brittany, and when he
found Sir Launcelot in that plight he said but little, but wit ye well
he was wroth; and then he bade them: Let us have him in. And so they all
bare him unto the hermitage, and unarmed him, and laid him in his bed;
and evermore his wound bled piteously, but he stirred no limb of him.
Then the knight-hermit put a thing in his nose and a little deal of
water in his mouth. And then Sir Launcelot waked of his swoon, and then
the hermit staunched his bleeding. And when he might speak he asked
Sir Launcelot why he put his life in jeopardy. Sir, said Sir Launcelot,
because I weened I had been strong, and also Sir Bors told me that there
should be at All Hallowmass a great jousts betwixt King Arthur and the
King of Northgalis, and therefore I thought to assay it myself whether
I might be there or not. Ah, Sir Launcelot, said the hermit, your heart
and your courage will never be done until your last day, but ye shall do
now by my counsel Let Sir Bors depart from you, and let him do at that
tournament what he may: And by the grace of God, said the knight-hermit,
by that the tournament be done and ye come hither again, Sir Launcelot
shall be as whole as ye, so that he will be governed by me.



CHAPTER XVIII. How Sir Bors returned and told tidings of Sir Launcelot;
and of the tourney, and to whom the prize was given.


THEN Sir Bors made him ready to depart from Sir Launcelot; and then Sir
Launcelot said: Fair cousin, Sir Bors, recommend me unto all them unto
whom me ought to recommend me unto. And I pray you, enforce yourself at
that jousts that ye may be best, for my love; and here shall I abide
you at the mercy of God till ye come again. And so Sir Bors departed
and came to the court of King Arthur, and told them in what place he had
left Sir Launcelot. That me repenteth, said the king, but since he shall
have his life we all may thank God. And there Sir Bors told the queen in
what jeopardy Sir Launcelot was when he would assay his horse. And all
that he did, madam, was for the love of you, because he would have been
at this tournament. Fie on him, recreant knight, said the queen, for wit
ye well I am right sorry an he shall have his life. His life shall he
have, said Sir Bors, and who that would otherwise, except you, madam, we
that be of his blood should help to short their lives. But madam, said
Sir Bors, ye have been oft-times displeased with my lord, Sir Launcelot,
but at all times at the end ye find him a true knight: and so he
departed.

And then every knight of the Round Table that were there at that time
present made them ready to be at that jousts at All Hallowmass, and
thither drew many knights of divers countries. And as All Hallowmass
drew near, thither came the King of Northgalis, and the King with the
Hundred Knights, and Sir Galahad, the haut prince, of Surluse, and
thither came King Anguish of Ireland, and the King of Scots. So these
three kings came on King Arthur's party. And so that day Sir Gawaine did
great deeds of arms, and began first. And the heralds numbered that Sir
Gawaine smote down twenty knights. Then Sir Bors de Ganis came in the
same time, and he was numbered that he smote down twenty knights; and
therefore the prize was given betwixt them both, for they began first
and longest endured. Also Sir Gareth, as the book saith, did that day
great deeds of arms, for he smote down and pulled down thirty knights.
But when he had done these deeds he tarried not but so departed, and
therefore he lost his prize. And Sir Palomides did great deeds of arms
that day, for he smote down twenty knights, but he departed suddenly,
and men deemed Sir Gareth and he rode together to some manner
adventures.

So when this tournament was done Sir Bors departed and rode till he came
to Sir Launcelot, his cousin; and then he found him walking on his
feet, and there either made great joy of other; and so Sir Bors told Sir
Launcelot of all the Jousts like as ye have heard. I marvel, said Sir
Launcelot, that Sir Gareth, when he had done such deeds of arms, that he
would not tarry. Thereof we marvelled all, said Sir Bors, for but if it
were you, or Sir Tristram, or Sir Lamorak de Galis, I saw never knight
bear down so many in so little a while as did Sir Gareth: and anon he
was gone we wist not where. By my head, said Sir Launcelot, he is a
noble knight, and a mighty man and well breathed; and if he were well
assayed, said Sir Launcelot I would deem he were good enough for any
knight that beareth the life; and he is a gentle knight, courteous,
true, and bounteous, meek, and mild, and in him is no manner of mal
engin, but plain, faithful, and true.

So then they made them ready to depart from the hermit. And so upon a
morn they took their horses and Elaine le Blank with them; and when they
came to Astolat there were they well lodged, and had great cheer of Sir
Bernard, the old baron, and of Sir Tirre, his son. And so upon the morn
when Sir Launcelot should depart, fair Elaine brought her father with
her, and Sir Lavaine, and Sir Tirre, and thus she said:



CHAPTER XIX. Of the great lamentation of the Fair Maid of Astolat when
Launcelot should depart, and how she died for his love.


MY lord, Sir Launcelot, now I see ye will depart; now fair knight and
courteous knight, have mercy upon me, and suffer me not to die for thy
love. What would ye that I did? said Sir Launcelot. I would have you to
my husband, said Elaine. Fair damosel, I thank you, said Sir Launcelot,
but truly, said he, I cast me never to be wedded man. Then, fair knight,
said she, will ye be my paramour? Jesu defend me, said Sir Launcelot,
for then I rewarded your father and your brother full evil for their
great goodness. Alas, said she, then must I die for your love. Ye shall
not so, said Sir Launcelot, for wit ye well, fair maiden, I might have
been married an I had would, but I never applied me to be married yet;
but because, fair damosel, that ye love me as ye say ye do, I will for
your good will and kindness show you some goodness, and that is this,
that wheresomever ye will beset your heart upon some good knight that
will wed you, I shall give you together a thousand pound yearly to
you and to your heirs; thus much will I give you, fair madam, for your
kindness, and always while I live to be your own knight. Of all this,
said the maiden, I will none, for but if ye will wed me, or else be my
paramour at the least, wit you well, Sir Launcelot, my good days are
done. Fair damosel, said Sir Launcelot, of these two things ye must
pardon me.

Then she shrieked shrilly, and fell down in a swoon; and then women bare
her into her chamber, and there she made over much sorrow; and then Sir
Launcelot would depart, and there he asked Sir Lavaine what he would do.
What should I do, said Sir Lavaine, but follow you, but if ye drive me
from you, or command me to go from you. Then came Sir Bernard to Sir
Launcelot and said to him: I cannot see but that my daughter Elaine will
die for your sake. I may not do withal, said Sir Launcelot, for that me
sore repenteth, for I report me to yourself, that my proffer is fair;
and me repenteth, said Sir Launcelot, that she loveth me as she doth; I
was never the causer of it, for I report me to your son I early ne
late proffered her bounté nor fair behests; and as for me, said Sir
Launcelot, I dare do all that a knight should do that she is a clean
maiden for me, both for deed and for will. And I am right heavy of
her distress, for she is a full fair maiden, good and gentle, and well
taught. Father, said Sir Lavaine, I dare make good she is a clean maiden
as for my lord Sir Launcelot; but she doth as I do, for sithen I first
saw my lord Sir Launcelot, I could never depart from him, nor nought I
will an I may follow him.

Then Sir Launcelot took his leave, and so they departed, and came unto
Winchester. And when Arthur wist that Sir Launcelot was come whole and
sound the king made great joy of him, and so did Sir Gawaine and all the
knights of the Round Table except Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred. Also
Queen Guenever was wood wroth with Sir Launcelot, and would by no means
speak with him, but estranged herself from him; and Sir Launcelot made
all the means that he might for to speak with the queen, but it would
not be.

Now speak we of the Fair Maiden of Astolat that made such sorrow day
and night that she never slept, ate, nor drank, and ever she made her
complaint unto Sir Launcelot. So when she had thus endured a ten days,
that she feebled so that she must needs pass out of this world, then
she shrived her clean, and received her Creator. And ever she complained
still upon Sir Launcelot. Then her ghostly father bade her leave such
thoughts. Then she said, why should I leave such thoughts? Am I not an
earthly woman? And all the while the breath is in my body I may complain
me, for my belief is I do none offence though I love an earthly man; and
I take God to my record I loved never none but Sir Launcelot du Lake,
nor never shall, and a clean maiden I am for him and for all other; and
sithen it is the sufferance of God that I shall die for the love of so
noble a knight, I beseech the High Father of Heaven to have mercy
upon my soul, and upon mine innumerable pains that I suffered may
be allegeance of part of my sins. For sweet Lord Jesu, said the fair
maiden, I take Thee to record, on Thee I was never great offencer
against thy laws; but that I loved this noble knight, Sir Launcelot, out
of measure, and of myself, good Lord, I might not withstand the fervent
love wherefore I have my death.

And then she called her father, Sir Bernard, and her brother, Sir Tirre,
and heartily she prayed her father that her brother might write a letter
like as she did indite it: and so her father granted her. And when the
letter was written word by word like as she devised, then she prayed her
father that she might be watched until she were dead. And while my body
is hot let this letter be put in my right hand, and my hand bound fast
with the letter until that I be cold; and let me be put in a fair bed
with all the richest clothes that I have about me, and so let my bed and
all my richest clothes be laid with me in a chariot unto the next place
where Thames is; and there let me be put within a barget, and but one
man with me, such as ye trust to steer me thither, and that my barget be
covered with black samite over and over: thus father I beseech you let
it be done. So her father granted it her faithfully, all things should
be done like as she had devised. Then her father and her brother made
great dole, for when this was done anon she died. And so when she was
dead the corpse and the bed all was led the next way unto Thames, and
there a man, and the corpse, and all, were put into Thames; and so the
man steered the barget unto Westminster, and there he rowed a great
while to and fro or any espied it.



CHAPTER XX. How the corpse of the Maid of Astolat arrived to-fore
King Arthur, and of the burying, and how Sir Launcelot offered the
mass-penny.


SO by fortune King Arthur and the Queen Guenever were speaking together
at a window, and so as they looked into Thames they espied this black
barget, and had marvel what it meant. Then the king called Sir Kay,
and showed it him. Sir, said Sir Kay, wit you well there is some new
tidings. Go thither, said the king to Sir Kay, and take with you Sir
Brandiles and Agravaine, and bring me ready word what is there. Then
these four knights departed and came to the barget and went in; and
there they found the fairest corpse lying in a rich bed, and a poor man
sitting in the barget's end, and no word would he speak. So these four
knights returned unto the king again, and told him what they found. That
fair corpse will I see, said the king. And so then the king took the
queen by the hand, and went thither.

Then the king made the barget to be holden fast, and then the king and
the queen entered with certain knights with them; and there he saw the
fairest woman lie in a rich bed, covered unto her middle with many rich
clothes, and all was of cloth of gold, and she lay as though she had
smiled. Then the queen espied a letter in her right hand, and told it to
the king. Then the king took it and said: Now am I sure this letter will
tell what she was, and why she is come hither. So then the king and the
queen went out of the barget, and so commanded a certain man to wait
upon the barget.

And so when the king was come within his chamber, he called many knights
about him, and said that he would wit openly what was written within
that letter. Then the king brake it, and made a clerk to read it, and
this was the intent of the letter. Most noble knight, Sir Launcelot, now
hath death made us two at debate for your love. I was your lover, that
men called the Fair Maiden of Astolat; therefore unto all ladies I make
my moan, yet pray for my soul and bury me at least, and offer ye my
mass-penny: this is my last request. And a clean maiden I died, I take
God to witness: pray for my soul, Sir Launcelot, as thou art peerless.
This was all the substance in the letter. And when it was read, the
king, the queen, and all the knights wept for pity of the doleful
complaints. Then was Sir Launcelot sent for; and when he was come King
Arthur made the letter to be read to him.

And when Sir Launcelot heard it word by word, he said: My lord Arthur,
wit ye well I am right heavy of the death of this fair damosel: God
knoweth I was never causer of her death by my willing, and that will I
report me to her own brother: here he is, Sir Lavaine. I will not say
nay, said Sir Launcelot, but that she was both fair and good, and much
I was beholden unto her, but she loved me out of measure. Ye might have
shewed her, said the queen, some bounty and gentleness that might have
preserved her life. Madam, said Sir Launcelot, she would none other ways
be answered but that she would be my wife, outher else my paramour; and
of these two I would not grant her, but I proffered her, for her good
love that she shewed me, a thousand pound yearly to her, and to her
heirs, and to wed any manner knight that she could find best to love in
her heart. For madam, said Sir Launcelot, I love not to be constrained
to love; for love must arise of the heart, and not by no constraint.
That is truth, said the king, and many knight's love is free in himself,
and never will be bounden, for where he is bounden he looseth himself.

Then said the king unto Sir Launcelot: It will be your worship that ye
oversee that she be interred worshipfully. Sir, said Sir Launcelot, that
shall be done as I can best devise. And so many knights yede thither to
behold that fair maiden. And so upon the morn she was interred richly,
and Sir Launcelot offered her mass-penny; and all the knights of the
Table Round that were there at that time offered with Sir Launcelot. And
then the poor man went again with the barget. Then the queen sent for
Sir Launcelot, and prayed him of mercy, for why that she had been wroth
with him causeless. This is not the first time, said Sir Launcelot, that
ye had been displeased with me causeless, but, madam, ever I must suffer
you, but what sorrow I endure I take no force. So this passed on all
that winter, with all manner of hunting and hawking, and jousts and
tourneys were many betwixt many great lords, and ever in all places
Sir Lavaine gat great worship, so that he was nobly renowned among many
knights of the Table Round.



CHAPTER XXI. Of great jousts done all a Christmas, and of a great jousts
and tourney ordained by King Arthur, and of Sir Launcelot.


THUS it passed on till Christmas, and then every day there was jousts
made for a diamond, who that jousted best should have a diamond. But Sir
Launcelot would not joust but if it were at a great jousts cried. But
Sir Lavaine jousted there all that Christmas passingly well, and best
was praised, for there were but few that did so well. Wherefore all
manner of knights deemed that Sir Lavaine should be made knight of the
Table Round at the next feast of Pentecost. So at-after Christmas King
Arthur let call unto him many knights, and there they advised together
to make a party and a great tournament and jousts. And the King of
Northgalis said to Arthur, he would have on his party King Anguish
of Ireland, and the King with the Hundred Knights, and the King of
Northumberland, and Sir Galahad, the haut prince. And so these four
kings and this mighty duke took part against King Arthur and the knights
of the Table Round. And the cry was made that the day of the jousts
should be beside Westminster upon Candlemas Day, whereof many knights
were glad, and made them ready to be at that jousts in the freshest
manner.

Then Queen Guenever sent for Sir Launcelot, and said thus: I warn you
that ye ride no more in no jousts nor tournaments but that your kinsmen
may know you. And at these jousts that shall be ye shall have of me a
sleeve of gold; and I pray you for my sake enforce yourself there, that
men may speak of you worship; but I charge you as ye will have my love,
that ye warn your kinsmen that ye will bear that day the sleeve of gold
upon your helmet. Madam, said Sir Launcelot, it shall be done. And so
either made great joy of other. And when Sir Launcelot saw his time he
told Sir Bors that he would depart, and have no more with him but Sir
Lavaine, unto the good hermit that dwelt in that forest of Windsor; his
name was Sir Brasias; and there he thought to repose him, and take all
the rest that he might, because he would be fresh at that day of jousts.

So Sir Launcelot and Sir Lavaine departed, that no creature wist where
he was become, but the noble men of his blood. And when he was come to
the hermitage, wit ye well he had good cheer. And so daily Sir Launcelot
would go to a well fast by the hermitage, and there he would lie down,
and see the well spring and burble, and sometime he slept there. So at
that time there was a lady dwelt in that forest, and she was a great
huntress, and daily she used to hunt, and ever she bare her bow with
her; and no men went never with her, but always women, and they were
shooters, and could well kill a deer, both at the stalk and at the
trest; and they daily bare bows and arrows, horns and wood-knives,
and many good dogs they had, both for the string and for a bait. So it
happed this lady the huntress had abated her dog for the bow at a barren
hind, and so this barren hind took the flight over hedges and woods. And
ever this lady and part of her women costed the hind, and checked it by
the noise of the hounds, to have met with the hind at some water; and so
it happed, the hind came to the well whereas Sir Launcelot was sleeping
and slumbering. And so when the hind came to the well, for heat she went
to soil, and there she lay a great while; and the dog came after, and
umbecast about, for she had lost the very perfect feute of the hind.
Right so came that lady the huntress, that knew by the dog that she had,
that the hind was at the soil in that well; and there she came stiffly
and found the hind, and she put a broad arrow in her bow, and shot at
the hind, and over-shot the hind; and so by misfortune the arrow smote
Sir Launcelot in the thick of the buttock, over the barbs. When Sir
Launcelot felt himself so hurt, he hurled up woodly, and saw the lady
that had smitten him. And when he saw she was a woman, he said thus:
Lady or damosel, what that thou be, in an evil time bear ye a bow; the
devil made you a shooter.



CHAPTER XXII. How Launcelot after that he was hurt of a gentlewoman came
to an hermit, and of other matters.


NOW mercy, fair sir, said the lady, I am a gentlewoman that useth here
in this forest hunting, and God knoweth I saw ye not; but as here was
a barren hind at the soil in this well, and I weened to have done well,
but my hand swerved. Alas, said Sir Launcelot, ye have mischieved me.
And so the lady departed, and Sir Launcelot as he might pulled out the
arrow, and left that head still in his buttock, and so he went weakly
to the hermitage ever more bleeding as he went. And when Sir Lavaine and
the hermit espied that Sir Launcelot was hurt, wit you well they were
passing heavy, but Sir Lavaine wist not how that he was hurt nor by
whom. And then were they wroth out of measure.

Then with great pain the hermit gat out the arrow's head out of Sir
Launcelot's buttock, and much of his blood he shed, and the wound was
passing sore, and unhappily smitten, for it was in such a place that he
might not sit in no saddle. Have mercy, Jesu, said Sir Launcelot, I may
call myself the most unhappiest man that liveth, for ever when I would
fainest have worship there befalleth me ever some unhappy thing. Now so
Jesu me help, said Sir Launcelot, and if no man would but God, I shall
be in the field upon Candlemas Day at the jousts, whatsomever fall of
it: so all that might be gotten to heal Sir Launcelot was had.

So when the day was come Sir Launcelot let devise that he was arrayed,
and Sir Lavaine, and their horses, as though they had been Saracens; and
so they departed and came nigh to the field. The King of Northgalis with
an hundred knights with him, and the King of Northumberland brought with
him an hundred good knights, and King Anguish of Ireland brought with
him an hundred good knights ready to joust, and Sir Galahad, the haut
prince, brought with him an hundred good knights, and the King with the
Hundred Knights brought with him as many, and all these were proved good
knights. Then came in King Arthur's party; and there came in the King of
Scots with an hundred knights, and King Uriens of Gore brought with
him an hundred knights, and King Howel of Brittany brought with him an
hundred knights, and Chaleins of Clarance brought with him an hundred
knights, and King Arthur himself came into the field with two hundred
knights, and the most part were knights of the Table Round, that were
proved noble knights; and there were old knights set in scaffolds for to
judge, with the queen, who did best.



CHAPTER XXIII. How Sir Launcelot behaved him at the jousts, and other
men also.


THEN they blew to the field; and there the King of Northgalis
encountered with the King of Scots, and there the King of Scots had a
fall; and the King of Ireland smote down King Uriens; and the King of
Northumberland smote down King Howel of Brittany; and Sir Galahad, the
haut prince, smote down Chaleins of Clarance. And then King Arthur was
wood wroth, and ran to the King with the Hundred Knights, and there King
Arthur smote him down; and after with that same spear King Arthur smote
down three other knights. And then when his spear was broken King Arthur
did passingly well; and so therewithal came in Sir Gawaine and Sir
Gaheris, Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred, and there everych of them smote
down a knight, and Sir Gawaine smote down four knights; and then there
began a strong medley, for then there came in the knights of Launcelot's
blood, and Sir Gareth and Sir Palomides with them, and many knights of
the Table Round, and they began to hold the four kings and the mighty
duke so hard that they were discomfit; but this Duke Galahad, the haut
prince, was a noble knight, and by his mighty prowess of arms he held
the knights of the Table Round strait enough.

All this doing saw Sir Launcelot, and then he came into the field with
Sir Lavaine as it had been thunder. And then anon Sir Bors and the
knights of his blood espied Sir Launcelot, and said to them all: I
warn you beware of him with the sleeve of gold upon his head, for he is
himself Sir Launcelot du Lake; and for great goodness Sir Bors warned
Sir Gareth. I am well apaid, said Sir Gareth, that I may know him. But
who is he, said they all, that rideth with him in the same array?
That is the good and gentle knight Sir Lavaine, said Sir Bors. So Sir
Launcelot encountered with Sir Gawaine, and there by force Sir Launcelot
smote down Sir Gawaine and his horse to the earth, and so he smote down
Sir Agravaine and Sir Gaheris, and also he smote down Sir Mordred, and
all this was with one spear. Then Sir Lavaine met with Sir Palomides,
and either met other so hard and so fiercely that both their horses
fell to the earth. And then were they horsed again, and then met Sir
Launcelot with Sir Palomides, and there Sir Palomides had a fall; and so
Sir Launcelot or ever he stint, as fast as he might get spears, he smote
down thirty knights, and the most part of them were knights of the Table
Round; and ever the knights of his blood withdrew them, and made them
ado in other places where Sir Launcelot came not.

And then King Arthur was wroth when he saw Sir Launcelot do such deeds;
and then the king called unto him Sir Gawaine, Sir Mordred, Sir Kay, Sir
Griflet, Sir Lucan the Butler, Sir Bedivere, Sir Palomides, Sir Safere,
his brother; and so the king with these nine knights made them ready to
set upon Sir Launcelot, and upon Sir Lavaine. All this espied Sir Bors
and Sir Gareth. Now I dread me sore, said Sir Bors, that my lord, Sir
Launcelot, will be hard matched. By my head, said Sir Gareth, I will
ride unto my lord Sir Launcelot, for to help him, fall of him what fall
may, for he is the same man that made me knight. Ye shall not so, said
Sir Bors, by my counsel, unless that ye were disguised. Ye shall see
me disguised, said Sir Gareth; and therewithal he espied a Welsh knight
where he was to repose him, and he was sore hurt afore by Sir Gawaine,
and to him Sir Gareth rode, and prayed him of his knighthood to lend
him his shield for his. I will well, said the Welsh knight. And when Sir
Gareth had his shield, the book saith it was green, with a maiden that
seemed in it.

Then Sir Gareth came driving to Sir Launcelot all that he might and
said: Knight, keep thyself, for yonder cometh King Arthur with nine
noble knights with him to put you to a rebuke, and so I am come to
bear you fellowship for old love ye have shewed me. Gramercy, said Sir
Launcelot. Sir, said Sir Gareth, encounter ye with Sir Gawaine, and I
shall encounter with Sir Palomides; and let Sir Lavaine match with the
noble King Arthur. And when we have delivered them, let us three hold
us sadly together. Then came King Arthur with his nine knights with
him, and Sir Launcelot encountered with Sir Gawaine, and gave him such
a buffet that the arson of his saddle brast, and Sir Gawaine fell to the
earth. Then Sir Gareth encountered with the good knight Sir Palomides,
and he gave him such a buffet that both his horse and he dashed to the
earth. Then encountered King Arthur with Sir Lavaine, and there either
of them smote other to the earth, horse and all, that they lay a great
while. Then Sir Launcelot smote down Sir Agravaine, and Sir Gaheris, and
Sir Mordred; and Sir Gareth smote down Sir Kay, and Sir Safere, and Sir
Griflet. And then Sir Lavaine was horsed again, and he smote down Sir
Lucan the Butler and Sir Bedevere and then there began great throng of
good knights.

Then Sir Launcelot hurtled here and there, and raced and pulled off
helms, so that at that time there might none sit him a buffet with
spear nor with sword; and Sir Gareth did such deeds of arms that all men
marvelled what knight he was with the green shield, for he smote down
that day and pulled down mo than thirty knights And, as the French book
saith, Sir Launcelot marvelled; when he beheld Sir Gareth do such deeds,
what knight he might be; and Sir Lavaine pulled down and smote down
twenty knights. Also Sir Launcelot knew not Sir Gareth for an Sir
Tristram de Liones, outher Sir Lamorak de Galis had been alive, Sir
Launcelot would have deemed he had been one of them twain. So ever as
Sir Launcelot Sir Gareth, Sir Lavaine fought, and on the one side
Sir Bors, Sir Ector de Maris, Sir Lionel, Sir Lamorak de Galis, Sir
Bleoberis, Sir Galihud, Sir Galihodin, Sir Pelleas, and with mo other of
King Ban's blood fought upon another party, and held the King with the
Hundred Knights and the King of Northumberland right strait.



CHAPTER XXIV. How King Arthur marvelled much of the jousting in the
field, and how he rode and found Sir Launcelot.


SO this tournament and this jousts dured long, till it was near night,
for the knights of the Round Table relieved ever unto King Arthur; for
the king was wroth out of measure that he and his knights might not
prevail that day. Then Sir Gawaine said to the king: I marvel where all
this day [be] Sir Bors de Ganis and his fellowship of Sir Launcelot's
blood, I marvel all this day they be not about you: it is for some cause
said Sir Gawaine. By my head, said Sir Kay, Sir Bors is yonder all this
day upon the right hand of this field, and there he and his blood do
more worshipfully than we do. It may well be, said Sir Gawaine, but I
dread me ever of guile; for on pain of my life, said Sir Gawaine, this
knight with the red sleeve of gold is himself Sir Launcelot, I see well
by his riding and by his great strokes; and the other knight in the same
colours is the good young knight, Sir Lavaine. Also that knight with
the green shield is my brother, Sir Gareth, and yet he hath disguised
himself, for no man shall never make him be against Sir Launcelot,
because he made him knight. By my head, said Arthur, nephew, I believe
you; therefore tell me now what is your best counsel. Sir, said Sir
Gawaine, ye shall have my counsel: let blow unto lodging, for an he be
Sir Launcelot du Lake, and my brother, Sir Gareth, with him, with the
help of that good young knight, Sir Lavaine, trust me truly it will be
no boot to strive with them but if we should fall ten or twelve upon
one knight, and that were no worship, but shame. Ye say truth, said the
king; and for to say sooth, said the king, it were shame to us so many
as we be to set upon them any more; for wit ye well, said King Arthur,
they be three good knights, and namely that knight with the sleeve of
gold.

So then they blew unto lodging; but forthwithal King Arthur let send
unto the four kings, and to the mighty duke, and prayed them that the
knight with the sleeve of gold depart not from them, but that the king
may speak with him. Then forthwithal King Arthur alighted and unarmed
him, and took a little hackney and rode after Sir Launcelot, for ever
he had a spy upon him. And so he found him among the four kings and the
duke; and there the king prayed them all unto supper, and they said they
would with good will. And when they were unarmed then King Arthur knew
Sir Launcelot, Sir Lavaine, and Sir Gareth. Ah, Sir Launcelot, said King
Arthur, this day ye have heated me and my knights.

So they yede unto Arthur's lodging all together, and there was a great
feast and great revel, and the prize was given unto Sir Launcelot; and
by heralds they named him that he had smitten down fifty knights, and
Sir Gareth five-and-thirty, and Sir Lavaine four-and-twenty knights.
Then Sir Launcelot told the king and the queen how the lady huntress
shot him in the forest of Windsor, in the buttock, with an broad arrow,
and how the wound thereof was that time six inches deep, and in like
long. Also Arthur blamed Sir Gareth because he left his fellowship and
held with Sir Launcelot. My lord, said Sir Gareth, he made me a knight,
and when I saw him so hard bestead, methought it was my worship to help
him, for I saw him do so much, and so many noble knights against him;
and when I understood that he was Sir Launcelot du Lake, I shamed to
see so many knights against him alone. Truly, said King Arthur unto Sir
Gareth, ye say well, and worshipfully have ye done and to yourself great
worship; and all the days of my life, said King Arthur unto Sir Gareth,
wit you well I shall love you, and trust you the more better. For ever,
said Arthur, it is a worshipful knight's deed to help another worshipful
knight when he seeth him in a great danger; for ever a worshipful man
will be loath to see a worshipful man shamed; and he that is of no
worship, and fareth with cowardice, never shall he show gentleness, nor
no manner of goodness where he seeth a man in any danger, for then
ever will a coward show no mercy; and always a good man will do ever
to another man as he would be done to himself. So then there were great
feasts unto kings and dukes, and revel, game, and play, and all manner
of noblesse was used; and he that was courteous, true, and faithful, to
his friend was that time cherished.



CHAPTER XXV. How true love is likened to summer.


AND thus it passed on from Candlemass until after Easter, that the month
of May was come, when every lusty heart beginneth to blossom, and to
bring forth fruit; for like as herbs and trees bring forth fruit and
flourish in May, in like wise every lusty heart that is in any manner a
lover, springeth and flourisheth in lusty deeds. For it giveth unto all
lovers courage, that lusty month of May, in something to constrain him
to some manner of thing more in that month than in any other month, for
divers causes. For then all herbs and trees renew a man and woman, and
likewise lovers call again to their mind old gentleness and old service,
and many kind deeds that were forgotten by negligence. For like as
winter rasure doth alway arase and deface green summer, so fareth it
by unstable love in man and woman. For in many persons there is no
stability; for we may see all day, for a little blast of winter's
rasure, anon we shall deface and lay apart true love for little or
nought, that cost much thing; this is no wisdom nor stability, but it
is feebleness of nature and great disworship, whosomever useth this.
Therefore, like as May month flowereth and flourisheth in many gardens,
so in like wise let every man of worship flourish his heart in this
world, first unto God, and next unto the joy of them that he promised
his faith unto; for there was never worshipful man or worshipful woman,
but they loved one better than another; and worship in arms may never
be foiled, but first reserve the honour to God, and secondly the quarrel
must come of thy lady: and such love I call virtuous love.

But nowadays men can not love seven night but they must have all their
desires: that love may not endure by reason; for where they be soon
accorded and hasty heat, soon it cooleth. Right so fareth love nowadays,
soon hot soon cold: this is no stability. But the old love was not so;
men and women could love together seven years, and no licours lusts were
between them, and then was love, truth, and faithfulness: and lo, in
like wise was used love in King Arthur's days. Wherefore I liken love
nowadays unto summer and winter; for like as the one is hot and the
other cold, so fareth love nowadays; therefore all ye that be lovers
call unto your remembrance the month of May, like as did Queen Guenever,
for whom I make here a little mention, that while she lived she was a
true lover, and therefore she had a good end.


_Explicit liber Octodecimus. And here followeth liber xix._



BOOK XIX.



CHAPTER I. How Queen Guenever rode a-Maying with certain knights of the
Round Table and clad all in green.


SO it befell in the month of May, Queen Guenever called unto her knights
of the Table Round; and she gave them warning that early upon the morrow
she would ride a-Maying into woods and fields beside Westminster. And I
warn you that there be none of you but that he be well horsed, and that
ye all be clothed in green, outher in silk outher in cloth; and I shall
bring with me ten ladies, and every knight shall have a lady behind him,
and every knight shall have a squire and two yeomen; and I will that ye
all be well horsed. So they made them ready in the freshest manner.
And these were the names of the knights: Sir Kay le Seneschal, Sir
Agravaine, Sir Brandiles, Sir Sagramore le Desirous, Sir Dodinas le
Savage, Sir Ozanna le Cure Hardy, Sir Ladinas of the Forest Savage, Sir
Persant of Inde, Sir Ironside, that was called the Knight of the Red
Launds, and Sir Pelleas, the lover; and these ten knights made them
ready in the freshest manner to ride with the queen. And so upon the
morn they took their horses with the queen, and rode a-Maying in woods
and meadows as it pleased them, in great joy and delights; for the queen
had cast to have been again with King Arthur at the furthest by ten of
the clock, and so was that time her purpose.

Then there was a knight that hight Meliagrance, and he was son unto King
Bagdemagus, and this knight had at that time a castle of the gift of
King Arthur within seven mile of Westminster. And this knight, Sir
Meliagrance, loved passing well Queen Guenever, and so had he done long
and many years. And the book saith he had lain in await for to steal
away the queen, but evermore he forbare for because of Sir Launcelot;
for in no wise he would meddle with the queen an Sir Launcelot were in
her company, outher else an he were near-hand her. And that time was
such a custom, the queen rode never without a great fellowship of men of
arms about her, and they were many good knights, and the most part were
young men that would have worship; and they were called the Queen's
Knights, and never in no battle, tournament, nor jousts, they bare none
of them no manner of knowledging of their own arms, but plain white
shields, and thereby they were called the Queen's Knights. And then when
it happed any of them to be of great worship by his noble deeds, then at
the next Feast of Pentecost, if there were any slain or dead, as there
was none year that there failed but some were dead, then was there
chosen in his stead that was dead the most men of worship, that were
called the Queen's Knights. And thus they came up all first, or they
were renowned men of worship, both Sir Launcelot and all the remnant of
them.

But this knight, Sir Meliagrance, had espied the queen well and her
purpose, and how Sir Launcelot was not with her, and how she had no
men of arms with her but the ten noble knights all arrayed in green for
Maying. Then he purveyed him a twenty men of arms and an hundred archers
for to destroy the queen and her knights, for he thought that time was
best season to take the queen.



CHAPTER II. How Sir Meliagrance took the queen and her knights, which
were sore hurt in fighting.


SO as the queen had Mayed and all her knights, all were bedashed with
herbs, mosses and flowers, in the best manner and freshest. Right
so came out of a wood Sir Meliagrance with an eight score men well
harnessed, as they should fight in a battle of arrest, and bade the
queen and her knights abide, for maugre their heads they should abide.
Traitor knight, said Queen Guenever, what cast thou for to do? Wilt thou
shame thyself? Bethink thee how thou art a king's son, and knight of the
Table Round, and thou to be about to dishonour the noble king that made
thee knight; thou shamest all knighthood and thyself, and me, I let thee
wit, shalt thou never shame, for I had liefer cut mine own throat in
twain rather than thou shouldest dishonour me. As for all this language,
said Sir Meliagrance, be it as it be may, for wit you well, madam, I
have loved you many a year, and never or now could I get you at such an
advantage as I do now, and therefore I will take you as I find you.

Then spake all the ten noble knights at once and said: Sir Meliagrance,
wit thou well ye are about to jeopard your worship to dishonour, and
also ye cast to jeopard our persons howbeit we be unarmed. Ye have us
at a great avail, for it seemeth by you that ye have laid watch upon us;
but rather than ye should put the queen to a shame and us all, we had
as lief to depart from our lives, for an if we other ways did, we were
shamed for ever. Then said Sir Meliagrance: Dress you as well ye can,
and keep the queen. Then the ten knights of the Table Round drew their
swords, and the other let run at them with their spears, and the ten
knights manly abode them, and smote away their spears that no spear did
them none harm. Then they lashed together with swords, and anon Sir Kay,
Sir Sagramore, Sir Agravaine, Sir Dodinas, Sir Ladinas, and Sir Ozanna
were smitten to the earth with grimly wounds. Then Sir Brandiles, and
Sir Persant, Sir Ironside, Sir Pelleas fought long, and they were sore
wounded, for these ten knights, or ever they were laid to the ground,
slew forty men of the boldest and the best of them.

So when the queen saw her knights thus dolefully wounded, and needs
must be slain at the last, then for pity and sorrow she cried Sir
Meliagrance: Slay not my noble knights, and I will go with thee upon
this covenant, that thou save them, and suffer them not to be no more
hurt, with this, that they be led with me wheresomever thou leadest
me, for I will rather slay myself than I will go with thee, unless that
these my noble knights may be in my presence. Madam, said Meliagrance,
for your sake they shall be led with you into mine own castle, with
that ye will be ruled, and ride with me. Then the queen prayed the four
knights to leave their fighting, and she and they would not depart.
Madam, said Sir Pelleas, we will do as ye do, for as for me I take no
force of my life nor death. For as the French book saith, Sir Pelleas
gave such buffets there that none armour might hold him.



CHAPTER III. How Sir Launcelot had word how the queen was taken, and how
Sir Meliagrance laid a bushment for Launcelot.


THEN by the queen's commandment they left battle, and dressed the
wounded knights on horseback, some sitting, some overthwart their
horses, that it was pity to behold them. And then Sir Meliagrance
charged the queen and all her knights that none of all her fellowship
should depart from her; for full sore he dread Sir Launcelot du Lake,
lest he should have any knowledging. All this espied the queen, and
privily she called unto her a child of her chamber that was swiftly
horsed, to whom she said: Go thou, when thou seest thy time, and bear
this ring unto Sir Launcelot du Lake, and pray him as he loveth me that
he will see me and rescue me, if ever he will have joy of me; and spare
not thy horse, said the queen, neither for water, neither for land. So
the child espied his time, and lightly he took his horse with the spurs,
and departed as fast as he might. And when Sir Meliagrance saw him so
flee, he understood that it was by the queen's commandment for to warn
Sir Launcelot. Then they that were best horsed chased him and shot at
him, but from them all the child went suddenly. And then Sir Meliagrance
said to the queen: Madam, ye are about to betray me, but I shall ordain
for Sir Launcelot that he shall not come lightly at you. And then he
rode with her, and they all, to his castle, in all the haste that they
might. And by the way Sir Meliagrance laid in an embushment the best
archers that he might get in his country, to the number of thirty, to
await upon Sir Launcelot, charging them that if they saw such a manner
of knight come by the way upon a white horse, that in any wise they slay
his horse, but in no manner of wise have not ado with him bodily, for he
is over-hardy to be overcome.

So this was done, and they were come to his castle, but in no wise the
queen would never let none of the ten knights and her ladies out of her
sight, but always they were in her presence; for the book saith,
Sir Meliagrance durst make no masteries, for dread of Sir Launcelot,
insomuch he deemed that he had warning. So when the child was departed
from the fellowship of Sir Meliagrance, within a while he came to
Westminster, and anon he found Sir Launcelot. And when he had told his
message, and delivered him the queen's ring: Alas, said Sir Launcelot,
now I am shamed for ever, unless that I may rescue that noble lady from
dishonour. Then eagerly he asked his armour; and ever the child told Sir
Launcelot how the ten knights fought marvellously, and how Sir Pelleas,
and Sir Ironside, and Sir Brandiles, and Sir Persant of Inde, fought
strongly, but namely Sir Pelleas, there might none withstand him; and
how they all fought till at the last they were laid to the earth; and
then the queen made appointment for to save their lives, and go with Sir
Meliagrance.

Alas, said Sir Launcelot, that most noble lady, that she should be so
destroyed; I had liefer, said Sir Launcelot, than all France, that I
had been there well armed. So when Sir Launcelot was armed and upon his
horse, he prayed the child of the queen's chamber to warn Sir Lavaine
how suddenly he was departed, and for what cause. And pray him as he
loveth me, that he will hie him after me, and that he stint not until
he come to the castle where Sir Meliagrance abideth, or dwelleth; for
there, said Sir Launcelot, he shall hear of me an I am a man living,
and rescue the queen and the ten knights the which he traitorously hath
taken, and that shall I prove upon his head, and all them that hold with
him.



CHAPTER IV. How Sir Launcelot's horse was slain, and how Sir Launcelot
rode in a cart for to rescue the queen.


THEN Sir Launcelot rode as fast as he might, and the book saith he took
the water at Westminster Bridge, and made his horse to swim over Thames
unto Lambeth. And then within a while he came to the same place
thereas the ten noble knights fought with Sir Meliagrance. And then Sir
Launcelot followed the track until that he came to a wood, and there
was a straight way, and there the thirty archers bade Sir Launcelot
turn again, and follow no longer that track. What commandment have ye
thereto, said Sir Launcelot, to cause me that am a knight of the Round
Table to leave my right way? This way shalt thou leave, other-else thou
shalt go it on thy foot, for wit thou well thy horse shall be slain.
That is little mastery, said Sir Launcelot, to slay mine horse; but as
for myself, when my horse is slain, I give right nought for you, not an
ye were five hundred more. So then they shot Sir Launcelot's horse, and
smote him with many arrows; and then Sir Launcelot avoided his horse,
and went on foot; but there were so many ditches and hedges betwixt them
and him that he might not meddle with none of them. Alas for shame, said
Launcelot, that ever one knight should betray another knight; but it is
an old saw, A good man is never in danger but when he is in the danger
of a coward. Then Sir Launcelot went a while, and then he was foul
cumbered of his armour, his shield, and his spear, and all that longed
unto him. Wit ye well he was full sore annoyed, and full loath he
was for to leave anything that longed unto him, for he dread sore the
treason of Sir Meliagrance.

Then by fortune there came by him a chariot that came thither for to
fetch wood. Say me, carter, said Sir Launcelot, what shall I give thee
to suffer me to leap into thy chariot, and that thou bring me unto a
castle within this two mile? Thou shalt not come within my chariot,
said the carter, for I am sent for to fetch wood for my lord, Sir
Meliagrance. With him would I speak. Thou shalt not go with me, said the
carter. Then Sir Launcelot leapt to him, and gave him such a buffet that
he fell to the earth stark dead. Then the other carter, his fellow, was
afeard, and weened to have gone the same way; and then he cried: Fair
lord, save my life, and I shall bring you where ye will. Then I charge
thee, said Sir Launcelot, that thou drive me and this chariot even unto
Sir Meliagrance's gate. Leap up into the chariot, said the carter, and
ye shall be there anon. So the carter drove on a great wallop, and Sir
Launcelot's horse followed the chariot, with more than a forty arrows
broad and rough in him.

And more than an hour and an half Dame Guenever was awaiting in a
bay window with her ladies, and espied an armed knight standing in a
chariot. See, madam, said a lady, where rideth in a chariot a goodly
armed knight; I suppose he rideth unto hanging. Where? said the queen.
Then she espied by his shield that he was there himself, Sir Launcelot
du Lake. And then she was ware where came his horse ever after that
chariot, and ever he trod his guts and his paunch under his feet. Alas,
said the queen, now I see well and prove, that well is him that hath
a trusty friend. Ha, ha, most noble knight, said Queen Guenever, I
see well thou art hard bestead when thou ridest in a chariot. Then she
rebuked that lady that likened Sir Launcelot to ride in a chariot to
hanging. It was foul mouthed, said the queen, and evil likened, so for
to liken the most noble knight of the world unto such a shameful death.
O Jesu defend him and keep him, said the queen, from all mischievous
end. By this was Sir Launcelot come to the gates of that castle, and
there he descended down, and cried, that all the castle rang of it:
Where art thou, false traitor, Sir Meliagrance, and knight of the Table
Round? now come forth here, thou traitor knight, thou and thy fellowship
with thee; for here I am, Sir Launcelot du Lake, that shall fight with
you. And therewithal he bare the gate wide open upon the porter, and
smote him under his ear with his gauntlet, that his neck brast a-sunder.



CHAPTER V. How Sir Meliagrance required forgiveness of the queen, and
how she appeased Sir Launcelot; and other matters.


WHEN Sir Meliagrance heard that Sir Launcelot was there he ran unto
Queen Guenever, and fell upon his knee, and said: Mercy, madam, now I
put me wholly into your grace. What aileth you now? said Queen Guenever;
forsooth I might well wit some good knight would revenge me, though my
lord Arthur wist not of this your work. Madam, said Sir Meliagrance, all
this that is amiss on my part shall be amended right as yourself will
devise, and wholly I put me in your grace. What would ye that I did?
said the queen. I would no more, said Meliagrance, but that ye would
take all in your own hands, and that ye will rule my lord Sir Launcelot;
and such cheer as may be made him in this poor castle ye and he
shall have until to-morn, and then may ye and all they return unto
Westminster; and my body and all that I have I shall put in your rule.
Ye say well, said the queen, and better is peace than ever war, and the
less noise the more is my worship.

Then the queen and her ladies went down unto the knight, Sir Launcelot,
that stood wroth out of measure in the inner court, to abide battle; and
ever he bade: Thou traitor knight come forth. Then the queen came to
him and said: Sir Launcelot, why be ye so moved? Ha, madam, said Sir
Launcelot, why ask ye me that question? Meseemeth, said Sir Launcelot,
ye ought to be more wroth than I am, for ye have the hurt and the
dishonour, for wit ye well, madam, my hurt is but little for the killing
of a mare's son, but the despite grieveth me much more than all my hurt.
Truly, said the queen, ye say truth; but heartily I thank you, said the
queen, but ye must come in with me peaceably, for all thing is put in
my hand, and all that is evil shall be for the best, for the knight full
sore repenteth him of the misadventure that is befallen him. Madam, said
Sir Launcelot, sith it is so that ye been accorded with him, as for me
I may not be again it, howbeit Sir Meliagrance hath done full shamefully
to me, and cowardly. Ah madam, said Sir Launcelot, an I had wist ye
would have been so soon accorded with him I would not have made such
haste unto you. Why say ye so, said the queen, do ye forthink yourself
of your good deeds? Wit you well, said the queen, I accorded never unto
him for favour nor love that I had unto him, but for to lay down every
shameful noise. Madam, said Sir Launcelot, ye understand full well I
was never willing nor glad of shameful slander nor noise; and there is
neither king, queen, nor knight, that beareth the life, except my
lord King Arthur, and you, madam, should let me, but I should make Sir
Meliagrance's heart full cold or ever I departed from hence. That wot
I well, said the queen, but what will ye more? Ye shall have all thing
ruled as ye list to have it. Madam, said Sir Launcelot, so ye be pleased
I care not, as for my part ye shall soon please.

Right so the queen took Sir Launcelot by the bare hand, for he had put
off his gauntlet, and so she went with him till her chamber; and then
she commanded him to be unarmed. And then Sir Launcelot asked where
were the ten knights that were wounded sore; so she showed them unto Sir
Launcelot, and there they made great joy of the coming of him, and Sir
Launcelot made great dole of their hurts, and bewailed them greatly. And
there Sir Launcelot told them how cowardly and traitorly Meliagrance
set archers to slay his horse, and how he was fain to put himself in a
chariot. Thus they complained everych to other; and full fain they would
have been revenged, but they peaced themselves because of the queen.
Then, as the French book saith, Sir Launcelot was called many a day
after le Chevaler du Chariot, and did many deeds, and great adventures
he had. And so leave we of this tale le Chevaler du Chariot, and turn we
to this tale.

So Sir Launcelot had great cheer with the queen, and then Sir Launcelot
made a promise with the queen that the same night Sir Launcelot should
come to a window outward toward a garden; and that window was y-barred
with iron, and there Sir Launcelot promised to meet her when all folks
were asleep. So then came Sir Lavaine driving to the gates, crying:
Where is my lord, Sir Launcelot du Lake? Then was he sent for, and when
Sir Lavaine saw Sir Launcelot, he said: My lord, I found well how ye
were hard bestead, for I have found your horse that was slain with
arrows. As for that, said Sir Launcelot, I pray you, Sir Lavaine, speak
ye of other matters, and let ye this pass, and we shall right it another
time when we best may.



CHAPTER VI. How Sir Launcelot came in the night to the queen and lay
with her, and how Sir Meliagrance appeached the queen of treason.


THEN the knights that were hurt were searched, and soft salves were laid
to their wounds; and so it passed on till supper time, and all the
cheer that might be made them there was done unto the queen and all her
knights. Then when season was, they went unto their chambers, but in no
wise the queen would not suffer the wounded knights to be from her,
but that they were laid within draughts by her chamber, upon beds and
pillows, that she herself might see to them, that they wanted nothing.

So when Sir Launcelot was in his chamber that was assigned unto him, he
called unto him Sir Lavaine, and told him that night he must go speak
with his lady, Dame Guenever. Sir, said Sir Lavaine, let me go with you
an it please you, for I dread me sore of the treason of Sir Meliagrance.
Nay, said Sir Launcelot, I thank you, but I will have nobody with me.
Then Sir Launcelot took his sword in his hand, and privily went to a
place where he had espied a ladder to-forehand, and that he took under
his arm, and bare it through the garden, and set it up to the window,
and there anon the queen was ready to meet him. And then they made
either to other their complaints of many divers things, and then Sir
Launcelot wished that he might have come into her. Wit ye well, said
the queen, I would as fain as ye, that ye might come in to me. Would ye,
madam, said Sir Launcelot, with your heart that I were with you? Yea,
truly, said the queen. Now shall I prove my might, said Sir Launcelot,
for your love; and then he set his hands upon the bars of iron, and he
pulled at them with such a might that he brast them clean out of the
stone walls, and therewithal one of the bars of iron cut the brawn of
his hands throughout to the bone; and then he leapt into the chamber to
the queen. Make ye no noise, said the queen, for my wounded knights lie
here fast by me. So, to pass upon this tale, Sir Launcelot went unto
bed with the queen, and he took no force of his hurt hand, but took his
pleasaunce and his liking until it was in the dawning of the day; and
wit ye well he slept not but watched, and when he saw his time that he
might tarry no longer he took his leave and departed at the window, and
put it together as well as he might again, and so departed unto his own
chamber; and there he told Sir Lavaine how he was hurt. Then Sir Lavaine
dressed his hand and staunched it, and put upon it a glove, that it
should not be espied; and so the queen lay long in her bed until it was
nine of the clock.

Then Sir Meliagrance went to the queen's chamber, and found her ladies
there ready clothed. Jesu mercy, said Sir Meliagrance, what aileth you,
madam, that ye sleep thus long? And right therewithal he opened the
curtain for to behold her; and then was he ware where she lay, and all
the sheet and pillow was bebled with the blood of Sir Launcelot and of
his hurt hand. When Sir Meliagrance espied that blood, then he deemed in
her that she was false to the king, and that some of the wounded knights
had lain by her all that night. Ah, madam, said Sir Meliagrance, now I
have found you a false traitress unto my lord Arthur; for now I prove
well it was not for nought that ye laid these wounded knights within the
bounds of your chamber; therefore I will call you of treason before my
lord, King Arthur. And now I have proved you, madam, with a shameful
deed; and that they be all false, or some of them, I will make good, for
a wounded knight this night hath lain by you. That is false, said
the queen, and that I will report me unto them all. Then when the ten
knights heard Sir Meliagrance's words, they spake all in one voice and
said to Sir Meliagrance: Thou sayest falsely, and wrongfully puttest
upon us such a deed, and that we will make good any of us; choose which
thou list of us when we are whole of our wounds. Ye shall not, said Sir
Meliagrance, away with your proud language, for here ye may all see,
said Sir Meliagrance, that by the queen this night a wounded knight hath
lain. Then were they all ashamed when they saw that blood; and wit you
well Sir Meliagrance was passing glad that he had the queen at such
an advantage, for he deemed by that to hide his treason. So with this
rumour came in Sir Launcelot, and found them all at a great array.



CHAPTER VII. How Sir Launcelot answered for the queen, and waged battle
against Sir Meliagrance; and how Sir Launcelot was taken in a trap


WHAT array is this? said Sir Launcelot. Then Sir Meliagrance told them
what he had found, and showed them the queen's bed. Truly, said Sir
Launcelot, ye did not your part nor knightly, to touch a queen's bed
while it was drawn, and she lying therein; for I dare say my lord Arthur
himself would not have displayed her curtains, she being within her bed,
unless that it had pleased him to have lain down by her; and therefore
ye have done unworshipfully and shamefully to yourself. I wot not what
ye mean, said Sir Meliagrance, but well I am sure there hath one of her
wounded knights lain by her this night, and therefore I will prove with
my hands that she is a traitress unto my lord Arthur. Beware what ye do,
said Launcelot, for an ye say so, an ye will prove it, it will be taken
at your hands.

My lord, Sir Launcelot, said Sir Meliagrance, I rede you beware what
ye do; for though ye are never so good a knight, as ye wot well ye are
renowned the best knight of the world, yet should ye be advised to do
battle in a wrong quarrel, for God will have a stroke in every battle.
As for that, said Sir Launcelot, God is to be dread; but as to that I
say nay plainly, that this night there lay none of these ten wounded
knights with my lady Queen Guenever, and that will I prove with my
hands, that ye say untruly in that now. Hold, said Sir Meliagrance, here
is my glove that she is traitress unto my lord, King Arthur, and that
this night one of the wounded knights lay with her. And I receive your
glove, said Sir Launcelot. And so they were sealed with their signets,
and delivered unto the ten knights. At what day shall we do battle
together? said Sir Launcelot. This day eight days, said Sir Meliagrance,
in the field beside Westminster. I am agreed, said Sir Launcelot. But
now, said Sir Meliagrance, sithen it is so that we must fight together,
I pray you, as ye be a noble knight, await me with no treason, nor
none villainy the meanwhile, nor none for you. So God me help, said Sir
Launcelot, ye shall right well wit I was never of no such conditions,
for I report me to all knights that ever have known me, I fared never
with no treason, nor I loved never the fellowship of no man that fared
with treason. Then let us go to dinner, said Meliagrance, and after
dinner ye and the queen and ye may ride all to Westminster. I will well,
said Sir Launcelot.

Then Sir Meliagrance said to Sir Launcelot: Pleaseth it you to see the
estures of this castle? With a good will, said Sir Launcelot. And then
they went together from chamber to chamber, for Sir Launcelot dread no
perils; for ever a man of worship and of prowess dreadeth least always
perils, for they ween every man be as they be; but ever he that fareth
with treason putteth oft a man in great danger. So it befell upon Sir
Launcelot that no peril dread, as he went with Sir Meliagrance he trod
on a trap and the board rolled, and there Sir Launcelot fell down more
than ten fathom into a cave full of straw; and then Sir Meliagrance
departed and made no fare as that he nist where he was.

And when Sir Launcelot was thus missed they marvelled where he was
become; and then the queen and many of them deemed that he was departed
as he was wont to do suddenly. For Sir Meliagrance made suddenly to put
away aside Sir Lavaine's horse, that they might all understand that Sir
Launcelot was departed suddenly. So it passed on till after dinner; and
then Sir Lavaine would not stint until that he ordained litters for the
wounded knights, that they might be laid in them; and so with the
queen and them all, both ladies and gentlewomen and other, went unto
Westminster; and there the knights told King Arthur how Meliagrance had
appealed the queen of high treason, and how Sir Launcelot had received
the glove of him: And this day eight days they shall do battle afore
you. By my head, said King Arthur, I am afeard Sir Meliagrance hath
taken upon him a great charge; but where is Sir Launcelot? said the
king. Sir, said they all, we wot not where he is, but we deem he is
ridden to some adventures, as he is ofttimes wont to do, for he hath Sir
Lavaine's horse. Let him be, said the king, he will be founden, but if
he be trapped with some treason.



CHAPTER VIII. How Sir Launcelot was delivered out of prison by a lady,
and took a white courser and came for to keep his day.


SO leave we Sir Launcelot lying within that cave in great pain; and
every day there came a lady and brought him his meat and his drink,
and wooed him, to have lain by him; and ever the noble knight, Sir
Launcelot, said her nay. Sir Launcelot, said she, ye are not wise, for
ye may never out of this prison, but if ye have my help; and also your
lady, Queen Guenever, shall be brent in your default, unless that ye
be there at the day of battle. God defend, said Sir Launcelot, that she
should be brent in my default; and if it be so, said Sir Launcelot, that
I may not be there, it shall be well understanded, both at the king and
at the queen, and with all men of worship, that I am dead, sick, outher
in prison. For all men that know me will say for me that I am in some
evil case an I be not there that day; and well I wot there is some good
knight either of my blood, or some other that loveth me, that will take
my quarrel in hand; and therefore, said Sir Launcelot, wit ye well ye
shall not fear me; and if there were no more women in all this land but
ye, I will not have ado with you. Then art thou shamed, said the lady,
and destroyed for ever. As for world's shame, Jesu defend me, and as for
my distress, it is welcome whatsoever it be that God sendeth me.

So she came to him the same day that the battle should be, and said:
Sir Launcelot, methinketh ye are too hard-hearted, but wouldest thou but
kiss me once I should deliver thee, and thine armour, and the best horse
that is within Sir Meliagrance's stable. As for to kiss you, said Sir
Launcelot, I may do that and lose no worship; and wit ye well an I
understood there were any disworship for to kiss you I would not do it.
Then he kissed her, and then she gat him, and brought him to his armour.
And when he was armed, she brought him to a stable, where stood twelve
good coursers, and bade him choose the best. Then Sir Launcelot looked
upon a white courser the which liked him best; and anon he commanded the
keepers fast to saddle him with the best saddle of war that there was;
and so it was done as he bade. Then gat he his spear in his hand, and
his sword by his side, and commended the lady unto God, and said: Lady,
for this good deed I shall do you service if ever it be in my power.



CHAPTER IX. How Sir Launcelot came the same time that Sir Meliagrance
abode him in the field and dressed him to battle.


NOW leave we Sir Launcelot wallop all that he might, and speak we
of Queen Guenever that was brought to a fire to be brent; for Sir
Meliagrance was sure, him thought, that Sir Launcelot should not be at
that battle; therefore he ever cried upon King Arthur to do him justice,
other-else bring forth Sir Launcelot du Lake. Then was the king and all
the court full sore abashed and shamed that the queen should be brent in
the default of Sir Launcelot. My lord Arthur, said Sir Lavaine, ye may
understand that it is not well with my lord Sir Launcelot, for an he
were alive, so he be not sick outher in prison, wit ye well he would be
here; for never heard ye that ever he failed his part for whom he should
do battle for. And therefore, said Sir Lavaine, my lord, King Arthur, I
beseech you give me license to do battle here this day for my lord and
master, and for to save my lady, the queen. Gramercy gentle Sir Lavaine,
said King Arthur, for I dare say all that Sir Meliagrance putteth upon
my lady the queen is wrong, for I have spoken with all the ten wounded
knights, and there is not one of them, an he were whole and able to do
battle, but he would prove upon Sir Meliagrance's body that it is false
that he putteth upon my queen. So shall I, said Sir Lavaine, in the
defence of my lord, Sir Launcelot, an ye will give me leave. Now I give
you leave, said King Arthur, and do your best, for I dare well say there
is some treason done to Sir Launcelot.

Then was Sir Lavaine armed and horsed, and suddenly at the lists' end he
rode to perform this battle; and right as the heralds should cry: Lesses
les aler, right so came in Sir Launcelot driving with all the force of
his horse. And then Arthur cried: Ho! and Abide! Then was Sir Launcelot
called on horseback to-fore King Arthur, and there he told openly
to-fore the king and all, how Sir Meliagrance had served him first to
last. And when the king, and the queen, and all the lords, knew of the
treason of Sir Meliagrance they were all ashamed on his behalf. Then
was Queen Guenever sent for, and set by the king in great trust of her
champion. And then there was no more else to say, but Sir Launcelot and
Sir Meliagrance dressed them unto battle, and took their spears; and
so they came together as thunder, and there Sir Launcelot bare him
down quite over his horse's croup. And then Sir Launcelot alighted and
dressed his shield on his shoulder, with his sword in his hand, and Sir
Meliagrance in the same wise dressed him unto him, and there they smote
many great strokes together; and at the last Sir Launcelot smote him
such a buffet upon the helmet that he fell on the one side to the earth.
And then he cried upon him aloud: Most noble knight, Sir Launcelot du
Lake, save my life, for I yield me unto you, and I require you, as ye be
a knight and fellow of the Table Round, slay me not, for I yield me as
overcome; and whether I shall live or die I put me in the king's hands
and yours.

Then Sir Launcelot wist not what to do, for he had had liefer than all
the good of the world he might have been revenged upon Sir Meliagrance;
and Sir Launcelot looked up to the Queen Guenever, if he might espy by
any sign or countenance what she would have done. And then the queen
wagged her head upon Sir Launcelot, as though she would say: Slay him.
Full well knew Sir Launcelot by the wagging of her head that she would
have him dead; then Sir Launcelot bade him rise for shame and perform
that battle to the utterance. Nay, said Sir Meliagrance, I will never
arise until ye take me as yolden and recreant. I shall proffer you large
proffers, said Sir Launcelot, that is for to say, I shall unarm my head
and my left quarter of my body, all that may be unarmed, and let bind my
left hand behind me, so that it shall not help me, and right so I shall
do battle with you. Then Sir Meliagrance started up upon his legs, and
said on high: My lord Arthur, take heed to this proffer, for I will take
it, and let him be disarmed and bounden according to his proffer. What
say ye, said King Arthur unto Sir Launcelot, will ye abide by your
proffer? Yea, my lord, said Sir Launcelot, I will never go from that I
have once said.

Then the knights parters of the field disarmed Sir Launcelot, first his
head, and sithen his left arm, and his left side, and they bound his
left arm behind his back, without shield or anything, and then they were
put together. Wit you well there was many a lady and knight marvelled
that Sir Launcelot would jeopardy himself in such wise. Then Sir
Meliagrance came with his sword all on high, and Sir Launcelot showed
him openly his bare head and the bare left side; and when he weened to
have smitten him upon the bare head, then lightly he avoided the left
leg and the left side, and put his right hand and his sword to that
stroke, and so put it on side with great sleight; and then with great
force Sir Launcelot smote him on the helmet such a buffet that the
stroke carved the head in two parts. Then there was no more to do, but
he was drawn out of the field. And at the great instance of the knights
of the Table Round, the king suffered him to be interred, and the
mention made upon him, who slew him, and for what cause he was slain;
and then the king and the queen made more of Sir Launcelot du Lake, and
more he was cherished, than ever he was aforehand.



CHAPTER X. How Sir Urre came into Arthur's court for to be healed of his
wounds, and how King Arthur would begin to handle him.


THEN as the French book maketh mention, there was a good knight in
the land of Hungary, his name was Sir Urre, and he was an adventurous
knight, and in all places where he might hear of any deeds of worship
there would he be. So it happened in Spain there was an earl's son, his
name was Alphegus, and at a great tournament in Spain this Sir Urre,
knight of Hungary, and Sir Alphegus of Spain encountered together
for very envy; and so either undertook other to the utterance. And by
fortune Sir Urre slew Sir Alphegus, the earl's son of Spain, but this
knight that was slain had given Sir Urre, or ever he was slain, seven
great wounds, three on the head, and four on his body and upon his
left hand. And this Sir Alphegus had a mother, the which was a great
sorceress; and she, for the despite of her son's death, wrought by her
subtle crafts that Sir Urre should never be whole, but ever his wounds
should one time fester and another time bleed, so that he should never
be whole until the best knight of the world had searched his wounds; and
thus she made her avaunt, wherethrough it was known that Sir Urre should
never be whole.

Then his mother let make an horse litter, and put him therein under
two palfreys; and then she took Sir Urre's sister with him, a full fair
damosel, whose name was Felelolie; and then she took a page with him to
keep their horses, and so they led Sir Urre through many countries. For
as the French book saith, she led him so seven year through all lands
christened, and never she could find no knight that might ease her son.
So she came into Scotland and into the lands of England, and by fortune
she came nigh the feast of Pentecost until King Arthur's court, that at
that time was holden at Carlisle. And when she came there, then she made
it openly to be known how that she was come into that land for to heal
her son.

Then King Arthur let call that lady, and asked her the cause why she
brought that hurt knight into that land. My most noble king, said that
lady, wit you well I brought him hither for to be healed of his wounds,
that of all this seven year he might not be whole. And then she told
the king where he was wounded, and of whom; and how his mother had
discovered in her pride how she had wrought that by enchantment, so that
he should never be whole until the best knight of the world had searched
his wounds. And so I have passed through all the lands christened to
have him healed, except this land. And if I fail to heal him here in
this land, I will never take more pain upon me, and that is pity, for he
was a good knight, and of great nobleness. What is his name? said Arthur
My good and gracious lord, she said, his name is Sir Urre of the Mount.
In good time, said the king, and sith ye are come into this land, ye are
right welcome; and wit you well here shall your son be healed, an ever
any Christian man may heal him. And for to give all other men of worship
courage, I myself will assay to handle your son, and so shall all the
kings, dukes, and earls that be here present with me at this time;
thereto will I command them, and well I wot they shall obey and do after
my commandment. And wit you well, said King Arthur unto Urre's sister, I
shall begin to handle him, and search unto my power, not presuming upon
me that I am so worthy to heal your son by my deeds, but I will courage
other men of worship to do as I will do. And then the king commanded all
the kings, dukes, and earls, and all noble knights of the Round Table
that were there that time present, to come into the meadow of Carlisle.
And so at that time there were but an hundred and ten of the Round
Table, for forty knights were that time away; and so here we must begin
at King Arthur, as is kindly to begin at him that was the most man of
worship that was christened at that time.



CHAPTER XI. How King Arthur handled Sir Urre, and after him many other
knights of the Round Table.


THEN King Arthur looked upon Sir Urre, and the king thought he was a
full likely man when he was whole; and then King Arthur made him to be
taken down off the litter and laid him upon the earth, and there was
laid a cushion of gold that he should kneel upon. And then noble Arthur
said: Fair knight, me repenteth of thy hurt, and for to courage all
other noble knights I will pray thee softly to suffer me to handle your
wounds. Most noble christened king, said Urre, do as ye list, for I
am at the mercy of God, and at your commandment. So then Arthur softly
handled him, and then some of his wounds renewed upon bleeding. Then the
King Clarence of Northumberland searched, and it would not be. And then
Sir Barant le Apres that was called the King with the Hundred Knights,
he assayed and failed; and so did King Uriens of the land of Gore; so
did King Anguish of Ireland; so did King Nentres of Garloth; so did King
Carados of Scotland; so did the Duke Galahad, the haut prince; so did
Constantine, that was Sir Carados' son of Cornwall; so did Duke Chaleins
of Clarance; so did the Earl Ulbause; so did the Earl Lambaile; so did
the Earl Aristause.

Then came in Sir Gawaine with his three sons, Sir Gingalin, Sir
Florence, and Sir Lovel, these two were begotten upon Sir Brandiles'
sister; and all they failed. Then came in Sir Agravaine, Sir Gaheris,
Sir Mordred, and the good knight, Sir Gareth, that was of very
knighthood worth all the brethren. So came knights of Launcelot's kin,
but Sir Launcelot was not that time in the court, for he was that time
upon his adventures. Then Sir Lionel, Sir Ector de Maris, Sir Bors de
Ganis, Sir Blamore de Ganis, Sir Bleoberis de Ganis, Sir Gahalantine,
Sir Galihodin, Sir Menaduke, Sir Villiars the Valiant, Sir Hebes le
Renoumes. All these were of Sir Launcelot's kin, and all they failed.
Then came in Sir Sagramore le Desirous, Sir Dodinas le Savage, Sir
Dinadan, Sir Bruin le Noire, that Sir Kay named La Cote Male Taile, and
Sir Kay le Seneschal, Sir Kay de Stranges, Sir Meliot de Logris, Sir
Petipase of Winchelsea, Sir Galleron of Galway, Sir Melion of the
Mountain, Sir Cardok, Sir Uwaine les Avoutres, and Sir Ozanna le Cure
Hardy.

Then came in Sir Astamor, and Sir Gromere, Grummor's son, Sir Crosselm,
Sir Servause le Breuse, that was called a passing strong knight, for
as the book saith, the chief Lady of the Lake feasted Sir Launcelot and
Servause le Breuse, and when she had feasted them both at sundry times
she prayed them to give her a boon. And they granted it her. And then
she prayed Sir Servause that he would promise her never to do battle
against Sir Launcelot du Lake, and in the same wise she prayed Sir
Launcelot never to do battle against Sir Servause, and so either
promised her. For the French book saith, that Sir Servause had never
courage nor lust to do battle against no man, but if it were against
giants, and against dragons, and wild beasts. So we pass unto them that
at the king's request made them all that were there at that high feast,
as of the knights of the Table Round, for to search Sir Urre: to that
intent the king did it, to wit which was the noblest knight among them.

Then came Sir Aglovale, Sir Durnore, Sir Tor, that was begotten upon
Aries, the cowherd's wife, but he was begotten afore Aries wedded her,
and King Pellinore begat them all, first Sir Tor, Sir Aglovale, Sir
Durnore, Sir Lamorak, the most noblest knight one that ever was in
Arthur's days as for a worldly knight, and Sir Percivale that was
peerless except Sir Galahad in holy deeds, but they died in the quest
of the Sangreal. Then came Sir Griflet le Fise de Dieu, Sir Lucan the
Butler, Sir Bedevere his brother, Sir Brandiles, Sir Constantine, Sir
Cador's son of Cornwall, that was king after Arthur's days, and Sir
Clegis, Sir Sadok, Sir Dinas le Seneschal of Cornwall, Sir Fergus,
Sir Driant, Sir Lambegus, Sir Clarrus of Cleremont, Sir Cloddrus, Sir
Hectimere, Sir Edward of Carnarvon, Sir Dinas, Sir Priamus, that was
christened by Sir Tristram the noble knight, and these three were
brethren; Sir Hellaine le Blank that was son to Sir Bors, he begat
him upon King Brandegoris' daughter, and Sir Brian de Listinoise;
Sir Gautere, Sir Reynold, Sir Gillemere, were three brethren that Sir
Launcelot won upon a bridge in Sir Kay's arms. Sir Guyart le Petite, Sir
Bellangere le Beuse, that was son to the good knight, Sir Alisander le
Orphelin, that was slain by the treason of King Mark. Also that traitor
king slew the noble knight Sir Tristram, as he sat harping afore his
lady La Beale Isoud, with a trenchant glaive, for whose death was much
bewailing of every knight that ever were in Arthur's days; there was
never none so bewailed as was Sir Tristram and Sir Lamorak, for they
were traitorously slain, Sir Tristram by King Mark, and Sir Lamorak by
Sir Gawaine and his brethren. And this Sir Bellangere revenged the death
of his father Alisander, and Sir Tristram slew King Mark, and La Beale
Isoud died swooning upon the corse of Sir Tristram, whereof was great
pity. And all that were with King Mark that were consenting to the death
of Sir Tristram were slain, as Sir Andred and many other.

Then came Sir Hebes, Sir Morganore, Sir Sentraile, Sir Suppinabilis, Sir
Bellangere le Orgulous, that the good knight Sir Lamorak won in plain
battle; Sir Neroveus and Sir Plenorius, two good knights that Sir
Launcelot won; Sir Darras, Sir Harry le Fise Lake, Sir Erminide, brother
to King Hermaunce, for whom Sir Palomides fought at the Red City with
two brethren; and Sir Selises of the Dolorous Tower, Sir Edward of
Orkney, Sir Ironside, that was called the noble Knight of the Red Launds
that Sir Gareth won for the love of Dame Liones, Sir Arrok de Grevaunt,
Sir Degrane Saunce Velany that fought with the giant of the black lowe,
Sir Epinogris, that was the king's son of Northumberland. Sir Pelleas
that loved the lady Ettard, and he had died for her love had not been
one of the ladies of the lake, her name was Dame Nimue, and she wedded
Sir Pelleas, and she saved him that he was never slain, and he was a
full noble knight; and Sir Lamiel of Cardiff that was a great lover. Sir
Plaine de Fors, Sir Melleaus de Lile, Sir Bohart le Cure Hardy that was
King Arthur's son, Sir Mador de la Porte, Sir Colgrevance, Sir Hervise
de la Forest Savage, Sir Marrok, the good knight that was betrayed with
his wife, for she made him seven year a wer-wolf, Sir Persaunt, Sir
Pertilope, his brother, that was called the Green Knight, and Sir
Perimones, brother to them both, that was called the Red Knight, that
Sir Gareth won when he was called Beaumains. All these hundred knights
and ten searched Sir Urre's wounds by the commandment of King Arthur.



CHAPTER XII. How Sir Launcelot was commanded by Arthur to handle his
wounds, and anon he was all whole, and how they thanked God.


MERCY Jesu, said King Arthur, where is Sir Launcelot du Lake that he
is not here at this time? Thus, as they stood and spake of many things,
there was espied Sir Launcelot that came riding toward them, and told
the king. Peace, said the king, let no manner thing be said until he be
come to us. So when Sir Launcelot espied King Arthur, he descended from
his horse and came to the king, and saluted him and them all. Anon as
the maid, Sir Urre's sister, saw Sir Launcelot, she ran to her brother
thereas he lay in his litter, and said: Brother, here is come a knight
that my heart giveth greatly unto. Fair sister, said Sir Urre, so doth
my heart light against him, and certainly I hope now to be healed, for
my heart giveth unto him more than to all these that have searched me.

Then said Arthur unto Sir Launcelot: Ye must do as we have done; and
told Sir Launcelot what they had done, and showed him them all, that had
searched him. Jesu defend me, said Sir Launcelot, when so many kings
and knights have assayed and failed, that I should presume upon me to
enchieve that all ye, my lords, might not enchieve. Ye shall not choose,
said King Arthur, for I will command you for to do as we all have done.
My most renowned lord, said Sir Launcelot, ye know well I dare not nor
may not disobey your commandment, but an I might or durst, wit you well
I would not take upon me to touch that wounded knight in that intent
that I should pass all other knights; Jesu defend me from that shame. Ye
take it wrong, said King Arthur, ye shall not do it for no presumption,
but for to bear us fellowship, insomuch ye be a fellow of the Table
Round; and wit you well, said King Arthur, an ye prevail not and heal
him, I dare say there is no knight in this land may heal him, and
therefore I pray you, do as we have done.

And then all the kings and knights for the most part prayed Sir
Launcelot to search him; and then the wounded knight, Sir Urre, set him
up weakly, and prayed Sir Launcelot heartily, saying: Courteous knight,
I require thee for God's sake heal my wounds, for methinketh ever
sithen ye came here my wounds grieve me not. Ah, my fair lord, said
Sir Launcelot, Jesu would that I might help you; I shame me sore that I
should be thus rebuked, for never was I able in worthiness to do so high
a thing. Then Sir Launcelot kneeled down by the wounded knight saying:
My lord Arthur, I must do your commandment, the which is sore against my
heart. And then he held up his hands, and looked into the east, saying
secretly unto himself: Thou blessed Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I
beseech thee of thy mercy, that my simple worship and honesty be saved,
and thou blessed Trinity, thou mayst give power to heal this sick knight
by thy great virtue and grace of thee, but, Good Lord, never of myself.
And then Sir Launcelot prayed Sir Urre to let him see his head; and
then devoutly kneeling he ransacked the three wounds, that they bled a
little, and forthwith all the wounds fair healed, and seemed as they had
been whole a seven year. And in likewise he searched his body of other
three wounds, and they healed in likewise; and then the last of all he
searched the which was in his hand, and anon it healed fair.

Then King Arthur and all the kings and knights kneeled down and gave
thankings and lovings unto God and to His Blessed Mother. And ever Sir
Launcelot wept as he had been a child that had been beaten. Then King
Arthur let array priests and clerks in the most devoutest manner, to
bring in Sir Urre within Carlisle, with singing and loving to God. And
when this was done, the king let clothe him in the richest manner that
could be thought; and then were there but few better made knights in all
the court, for he was passingly well made and bigly; and Arthur asked
Sir Urre how he felt himself. My good lord, he said, I felt myself never
so lusty. Will ye joust and do deeds of arms? said King Arthur. Sir,
said Urre, an I had all that longed unto jousts I would be soon ready.



CHAPTER XIII. How there was a party made of an hundred knights against
an hundred knights, and of other matters.


THEN Arthur made a party of hundred knights to be against an hundred
knights. And so upon the morn they jousted for a diamond, but there
jousted none of the dangerous knights; and so for to shorten this tale,
Sir Urre and Sir Lavaine jousted best that day, for there was none of
them but he overthrew and pulled down thirty knights; and then by the
assent of all the kings and lords, Sir Urre and Sir Lavaine were made
knights of the Table Round. And Sir Lavaine cast his love unto Dame
Felelolie, Sir Urre's sister, and then they were wedded together with
great joy, and King Arthur gave to everych of them a barony of lands.
And this Sir Urre would never go from Sir Launcelot, but he and Sir
Lavaine awaited evermore upon him; and they were in all the court
accounted for good knights, and full desirous in arms; and many noble
deeds they did, for they would have no rest, but ever sought adventures.

Thus they lived in all that court with great noblesse and joy long time.
But every night and day Sir Agravaine, Sir Gawaine's brother, awaited
Queen Guenever and Sir Launcelot du Lake to put them to a rebuke and
shame. And so I leave here of this tale, and overskip great books of Sir
Launcelot du Lake, what great adventures he did when he was called Le
Chevaler du Chariot. For as the French book saith, because of despite
that knights and ladies called him the knight that rode in the chariot
like as he were judged to the gallows, therefore in despite of all them
that named him so, he was carried in a chariot a twelvemonth, for, but
little after that he had slain Sir Meliagrance in the queen's quarrel,
he never in a twelvemonth came on horseback. And as the French book
saith, he did that twelvemonth more than forty battles. And because I
have lost the very matter of Le Chevaier du Chariot, I depart from the
tale of Sir Launcelot, and here I go unto the morte of King Arthur; and
that caused Sir Agravaine.

_Explicit liber xix. And hereafter followeth the most piteous history of
the morte of King Arthur, the which is the twentieth book._



BOOK XX.



CHAPTER I. How Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred were busy upon Sir Gawaine
for to disclose the love between Sir Launcelot and Queen Guenever.


IN May when every lusty heart flourisheth and bourgeoneth, for as the
season is lusty to behold and comfortable, so man and woman rejoice and
gladden of summer coming with his fresh flowers: for winter with his
rough winds and blasts causeth a lusty man and woman to cower and sit
fast by the fire. So in this season, as in the month of May, it befell
a great anger and unhap that stinted not till the flower of chivalry of
all the world was destroyed and slain; and all was long upon two unhappy
knights the which were named Agravaine and Sir Mordred, that were
brethren unto Sir Gawaine. For this Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred had
ever a privy hate unto the queen Dame Guenever and to Sir Launcelot, and
daily and nightly they ever watched upon Sir Launcelot.

So it mishapped, Sir Gawaine and all his brethren were in King Arthur's
chamber; and then Sir Agravaine said thus openly, and not in no counsel,
that many knights might hear it: I marvel that we all be not ashamed
both to see and to know how Sir Launcelot lieth daily and nightly by the
queen, and all we know it so; and it is shamefully suffered of us all,
that we all should suffer so noble a king as King Arthur is so to be
shamed.

Then spake Sir Gawaine, and said: Brother Sir Agravaine, I pray you and
charge you move no such matters no more afore me, for wit you well, said
Sir Gawaine, I will not be of your counsel. So God me help, said Sir
Gaheris and Sir Gareth, we will not be knowing, brother Agravaine, of
your deeds. Then will I, said Sir Mordred. I lieve well that, said Sir
Gawaine, for ever unto all unhappiness, brother Sir Mordred, thereto
will ye grant; and I would that ye left all this, and made you not so
busy, for I know, said Sir Gawaine, what will fall of it. Fall of it
what fall may, said Sir Agravaine, I will disclose it to the king. Not
by my counsel, said Sir Gawaine, for an there rise war and wrack betwixt
Sir Launcelot and us, wit you well brother, there will many kings and
great lords hold with Sir Launcelot. Also, brother Sir Agravaine, said
Sir Gawaine, ye must remember how ofttimes Sir Launcelot hath rescued
the king and the queen; and the best of us all had been full cold at the
heart-root had not Sir Launcelot been better than we, and that hath he
proved himself full oft. And as for my part, said Sir Gawaine, I will
never be against Sir Launcelot for one day's deed, when he rescued me
from King Carados of the Dolorous Tower, and slew him, and saved my
life. Also, brother Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred, in like wise Sir
Launcelot rescued you both, and threescore and two, from Sir Turquin.
Methinketh brother, such kind deeds and kindness should be remembered.
Do as ye list, said Sir Agravaine, for I will lain it no longer. With
these words came to them King Arthur. Now brother, stint your noise,
said Sir Gawaine. We will not, said Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred. Will
ye so? said Sir Gawaine; then God speed you, for I will not hear your
tales ne be of your counsel. No more will I, said Sir Gareth and Sir
Gaheris, for we will never say evil by that man; for because, said Sir
Gareth, Sir Launcelot made me knight, by no manner owe I to say ill of
him: and therewithal they three departed, making great dole. Alas, said
Sir Gawaine and Sir Gareth, now is this realm wholly mischieved, and
the noble fellowship of the Round Table shall be disparpled: so they
departed.



CHAPTER II. How Sir Agravaine disclosed their love to King Arthur, and
how King Arthur gave them licence to take him.


AND then Sir Arthur asked them what noise they made. My lord, said
Agravaine, I shall tell you that I may keep no longer. Here is I, and
my brother Sir Mordred, brake unto my brothers Sir Gawaine, Sir Gaheris,
and to Sir Gareth, how this we know all, that Sir Launcelot holdeth
your queen, and hath done long; and we be your sister's sons, and we
may suffer it no longer, and all we wot that ye should be above Sir
Launcelot; and ye are the king that made him knight, and therefore we
will prove it, that he is a traitor to your person.

If it be so, said Sir Arthur, wit you well he is none other, but I would
be loath to begin such a thing but I might have proofs upon it; for
Sir Launcelot is an hardy knight, and all ye know he is the best knight
among us all; and but if he be taken with the deed, he will fight with
him that bringeth up the noise, and I know no knight that is able to
match him. Therefore an it be sooth as ye say, I would he were taken
with the deed. For as the French book saith, the king was full loath
thereto, that any noise should be upon Sir Launcelot and his queen; for
the king had a deeming, but he would not hear of it, for Sir Launcelot
had done so much for him and the queen so many times, that wit ye well
the king loved him passingly well. My lord, said Sir Agravaine, ye shall
ride to-morn a-hunting, and doubt ye not Sir Launcelot will not go with
you. Then when it draweth toward night, ye may send the queen word that
ye will lie out all that night, and so may ye send for your cooks, and
then upon pain of death we shall take him that night with the queen, and
outher we shall bring him to you dead or quick. I will well, said the
king; then I counsel you, said the king, take with you sure fellowship.
Sir, said Agravaine, my brother, Sir Mordred, and I, will take with us
twelve knights of the Round Table. Beware, said King Arthur, for I warn
you ye shall find him wight. Let us deal, said Sir Agravaine and Sir
Mordred.

So on the morn King Arthur rode a-hunting, and sent word to the queen
that he would be out all that night. Then Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred
gat to them twelve knights, and hid themself in a chamber in the Castle
of Carlisle, and these were their names: Sir Colgrevance, Sir Mador
de la Porte, Sir Gingaline, Sir Meliot de Logris, Sir Petipase of
Winchelsea, Sir Galleron of Galway, Sir Melion of the Mountain, Sir
Astamore, Sir Gromore Somir Joure, Sir Curselaine, Sir Florence, Sir
Lovel. So these twelve knights were with Sir Mordred and Sir Agravaine,
and all they were of Scotland, outher of Sir Gawaine's kin, either
well-willers to his brethren.

So when the night came, Sir Launcelot told Sir Bors how he would go that
night and speak with the queen. Sir, said Sir Bors, ye shall not go
this night by my counsel. Why? said Sir Launcelot. Sir, said Sir Bors,
I dread me ever of Sir Agravaine, that waiteth you daily to do you shame
and us all; and never gave my heart against no going, that ever ye went
to the queen, so much as now; for I mistrust that the king is out this
night from the queen because peradventure he hath lain some watch for
you and the queen, and therefore I dread me sore of treason. Have ye no
dread, said Sir Launcelot, for I shall go and come again, and make no
tarrying. Sir, said Sir Bors, that me repenteth, for I dread me sore
that your going out this night shall wrath us all. Fair nephew, said Sir
Launcelot, I marvel much why ye say thus, sithen the queen hath sent
for me; and wit ye well I will not be so much a coward, but she shall
understand I will see her good grace. God speed you well, said Sir Bors,
and send you sound and safe again.



CHAPTER III. How Sir Launcelot was espied in the queen's chamber, and how Sir
Agravaine and Sir Mordred came with twelve knights to slay him.


SO Sir Launcelot departed, and took his sword under his arm, and so in
his mantle that noble knight put himself in great Jeopardy; and so he
passed till he came to the queen's chamber, and then Sir Launcelot was
lightly put into the chamber. And then, as the French book saith, the
queen and Launcelot were together. And whether they were abed or at
other manner of disports, me list not hereof make no mention, for love
that time was not as is now-a-days. But thus as they were together,
there came Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred, with twelve knights with them
of the Round Table, and they said with crying voice: Traitor-knight, Sir
Launcelot du Lake, now art thou taken. And thus they cried with a loud
voice, that all the court might hear it; and they all fourteen were
armed at all points as they should fight in a battle. Alas said Queen
Guenever, now are we mischieved both Madam, said Sir Launcelot, is there
here any armour within your chamber, that I might cover my poor body
withal? An if there be any give it me, and I shall soon stint their
malice, by the grace of God. Truly, said the queen, I have none armour,
shield, sword, nor spear; wherefore I dread me sore our long love is
come to a mischievous end, for I hear by their noise there be many noble
knights, and well I wot they be surely armed, and against them ye may
make no resistance. Wherefore ye are likely to be slain, and then shall
I be brent. For an ye might escape them, said the queen, I would not
doubt but that ye would rescue me in what danger that ever I stood in.
Alas, said Sir Launcelot, in all my life thus was I never bestead, that
I should be thus shamefully slain for lack of mine armour.

But ever in one Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred cried: Traitor-knight,
come out of the queen's chamber, for wit thou well thou art so beset
that thou shalt not escape. O Jesu mercy, said Sir Launcelot, this
shameful cry and noise I may not suffer, for better were death at once
than thus to endure this pain. Then he took the queen in his arms, and
kissed her, and said: Most noble Christian queen, I beseech you as ye
have been ever my special good lady, and I at all times your true poor
knight unto my power, and as I never failed you in right nor in wrong
sithen the first day King Arthur made me knight, that ye will pray for
my soul if that I here be slain; for well I am assured that Sir Bors,
my nephew, and all the remnant of my kin, with Sir Lavaine and Sir Urre,
that they will not fail you to rescue you from the fire; and therefore,
mine own lady, recomfort yourself, whatsomever come of me, that ye go
with Sir Bors, my nephew, and Sir Urre, and they all will do you all the
pleasure that they can or may, that ye shall live like a queen upon my
lands. Nay, Launcelot, said the queen, wit thou well I will never live
after thy days, but an thou be slain I will take my death as meekly for
Jesu Christ's sake as ever did any Christian queen. Well, madam, said
Launcelot, sith it is so that the day is come that our love must
depart, wit you well I shall sell my life as dear as I may; and a
thousandfold, said Sir Launcelot, I am more heavier for you than for
myself. And now I had liefer than to be lord of all Christendom, that I
had sure armour upon me, that men might speak of my deeds or ever I were
slain. Truly, said the queen, I would an it might please God that they
would take me and slay me, and suffer you to escape. That shall never
be, said Sir Launcelot, God defend me from such a shame, but Jesu be
Thou my shield and mine armour!



CHAPTER IV. How Sir Launcelot slew Sir Colgrevance, and armed him in his
harness, and after slew Sir Agravaine, and twelve of his fellows.


AND therewith Sir Launcelot wrapped his mantle about his arm well and
surely; and by then they had gotten a great form out of the hall, and
therewithal they rashed at the door. Fair lords, said Sir Launcelot,
leave your noise and your rashing, and I shall set open this door, and
then may ye do with me what it liketh you. Come off then, said they
all, and do it, for it availeth thee not to strive against us all; and
therefore let us into this chamber, and we shall save thy life until
thou come to King Arthur. Then Launcelot unbarred the door, and with his
left hand he held it open a little, so that but one man might come in
at once; and so there came striding a good knight, a much man and large,
and his name was Colgrevance of Gore, and he with a sword struck at Sir
Launcelot mightily; and he put aside the stroke, and gave him such a
buffet upon the helmet, that he fell grovelling dead within the chamber
door. And then Sir Launcelot with great might drew that dead knight
within the chamber door; and Sir Launcelot with help of the queen and
her ladies was lightly armed in Sir Colgrevance's armour.

And ever stood Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred crying: Traitor-knight,
come out of the queen's chamber. Leave your noise, said Sir Launcelot
unto Sir Agravaine, for wit you well, Sir Agravaine, ye shall not prison
me this night; and therefore an ye do by my counsel, go ye all from this
chamber door, and make not such crying and such manner of slander as ye
do; for I promise you by my knighthood, an ye will depart and make no
more noise, I shall as to-morn appear afore you all before the king,
and then let it be seen which of you all, outher else ye all, that will
accuse me of treason; and there I shall answer you as a knight should,
that hither I came to the queen for no manner of mal engin, and that
will I prove and make it good upon you with my hands. Fie on thee,
traitor, said Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred, we will have thee maugre
thy head, and slay thee if we list; for we let thee wit we have the
choice of King Arthur to save thee or to slay thee. Ah sirs, said Sir
Launcelot, is there none other grace with you? then keep yourself.

So then Sir Launcelot set all open the chamber door, and mightily and
knightly he strode in amongst them; and anon at the first buffet he slew
Sir Agravaine. And twelve of his fellows after, within a little while
after, he laid them cold to the earth, for there was none of the twelve
that might stand Sir Launcelot one buffet. Also Sir Launcelot wounded
Sir Mordred, and he fled with all his might. And then Sir Launcelot
returned again unto the queen, and said: Madam, now wit you well all our
true love is brought to an end, for now will King Arthur ever be my
foe; and therefore, madam, an it like you that I may have you with me,
I shall save you from all manner adventures dangerous. That is not best,
said the queen; meseemeth now ye have done so much harm, it will be best
ye hold you still with this. And if ye see that as to-morn they will put
me unto the death, then may ye rescue me as ye think best. I will well,
said Sir Launcelot, for have ye no doubt, while I am living I shall
rescue you. And then he kissed her, and either gave other a ring; and so
there he left the queen, and went until his lodging.



CHAPTER V. How Sir Launcelot came to Sir Bors, and told him how he had
sped, and in what adventure he had been, and how he had escaped.


WHEN Sir Bors saw Sir Launcelot he was never so glad of his home-coming
as he was then. Jesu mercy, said Sir Launcelot, why be ye all armed:
what meaneth this? Sir, said Sir Bors, after ye were departed from us,
we all that be of your blood and your well-willers were so dretched that
some of us leapt out of our beds naked, and some in their dreams caught
naked swords in their hands; therefore, said Sir Bors, we deem there is
some great strife at hand; and then we all deemed that ye were betrapped
with some treason, and therefore we made us thus ready, what need that
ever ye were in.

My fair nephew, said Sir Launcelot unto Sir Bors, now shall ye wit all,
that this night I was more harder bestead than ever I was in my life,
and yet I escaped. And so he told them all how and in what manner, as
ye have heard to-fore. And therefore, my fellows, said Sir Launcelot, I
pray you all that ye will be of good heart in what need somever I stand,
for now is war come to us all. Sir, said Bors, all is welcome that God
sendeth us, and we have had much weal with you and much worship, and
therefore we will take the woe with you as we have taken the weal. And
therefore, they said all (there were many good knights), look ye take no
discomfort, for there nis no bands of knights under heaven but we shall
be able to grieve them as much as they may us. And therefore discomfort
not yourself by no manner, and we shall gather together that we love,
and that loveth us, and what that ye will have done shall be done. And
therefore, Sir Launcelot, said they, we will take the woe with the weal.
Grant mercy, said Sir Launcelot, of your good comfort, for in my great
distress, my fair nephew, ye comfort me greatly, and much I am beholding
unto you. But this, my fair nephew, I would that ye did in all haste
that ye may, or it be forth days, that ye will look in their lodging
that be lodged here nigh about the king, which will hold with me, and
which will not, for now I would know which were my friends from my foes.
Sir, said Sir Bors, I shall do my pain, and or it be seven of the clock
I shall wit of such as ye have said before, who will hold with you.

Then Sir Bors called unto him Sir Lionel, Sir Ector de Maris, Sir
Blamore de Ganis, Sir Bleoberis de Ganis, Sir Gahalantine, Sir
Galihodin, Sir Galihud, Sir Menadeuke Sir Villiers the Valiant, Sir
Hebes le Renoumes, Sir Lavaine Sir Urre of Hungary, Sir Nerounes, Sir
Plenorius. These two knights Sir Launcelot made, and the one he won upon
a bridge, and therefore they would never be against him. And Harry le
Fise du Lake, and Sir Selises of the Dolorous Tower, and Sir Melias
de Lile, and Sir Bellangere le Beuse, that was Sir Alisander's son Le
Orphelin, because his mother Alice le Beale Pellerin and she was kin
unto Sir Launcelot, and he held with him. So there came Sir Palomides
and Sir Safere, his brother, to hold with Sir Launcelot, and Sir
Clegis of Sadok, and Sir Dinas, Sir Clarius of Cleremont. So these
two-and-twenty knights drew them together, and by then they were armed
on horseback, and promised Sir Launcelot to do what he would. Then there
fell to them, what of North Wales and of Cornwall, for Sir Lamorak's
sake and for Sir Tristram's sake, to the number of a fourscore knights.

My lords, said Sir Launcelot, wit you well, I have been ever since I
came into this country well willed unto my lord, King Arthur, and unto
my lady, Queen Guenever, unto my power; and this night because my
lady the queen sent for me to speak with her, I suppose it was made by
treason, howbeit I dare largely excuse her person, notwithstanding I was
there by a forecast near slain, but as Jesu provided me I escaped all
their malice and treason. And then that noble knight Sir Launcelot told
them all how he was hard bestead in the queen's chamber, and how and in
what manner he escaped from them. And therefore, said Sir Launcelot, wit
you well, my fair lords, I am sure there nis but war unto me and mine.
And for because I have slain this night these knights, I wot well, as
is Sir Agravaine Sir Gawaine's brother, and at the least twelve of his
fellows, for this cause now I am sure of mortal war, for these knights
were sent and ordained by King Arthur to betray me. And therefore the
king will in his heat and malice judge the queen to the fire, and that
may I not suffer, that she should be brent for my sake; for an I may be
heard and suffered and so taken, I will fight for the queen, that she is
a true lady unto her lord; but the king in his heat I dread me will not
take me as I ought to be taken.



CHAPTER VI. Of the counsel and advice that was taken by Sir Launcelot
and his friends for to save the queen.


MY lord, Sir Launcelot, said Sir Bors, by mine advice ye shall take the
woe with the weal, and take it in patience, and thank God of it. And
sithen it is fallen as it is, I counsel you keep yourself, for an ye
will yourself, there is no fellowship of knights christened that shall
do you wrong. Also I will counsel you my lord, Sir Launcelot, than an
my lady, Queen Guenever, be in distress, insomuch as she is in pain for
your sake, that ye knightly rescue her; an ye did otherwise, all the
world will speak of you shame to the world's end. Insomuch as ye were
taken with her, whether ye did right or wrong, it is now your part to
hold with the queen, that she be not slain and put to a mischievous
death, for an she so die the shame shall be yours. Jesu defend me from
shame, said Sir Launcelot, and keep and save my lady the queen from
villainy and shameful death, and that she never be destroyed in my
default; wherefore my fair lords, my kin, and my friends, said Sir
Launcelot, what will ye do? Then they said all: We will do as ye will
do. I put this to you, said Sir Launcelot, that if my lord Arthur by
evil counsel will to-morn in his heat put my lady the queen to the fire
there to be brent, now I pray you counsel me what is best to do. Then
they said all at once with one voice: Sir, us thinketh best that ye
knightly rescue the queen, insomuch as she shall be brent it is for your
sake; and it is to suppose, an ye might be handled, ye should have the
same death, or a more shamefuler death. And sir, we say all, that ye
have many times rescued her from death for other men's quarrels, us
seemeth it is more your worship that ye rescue the queen from this
peril, insomuch she hath it for your sake.

Then Sir Launcelot stood still, and said: My fair lords, wit you well I
would be loath to do that thing that should dishonour you or my blood,
and wit you well I would be loath that my lady, the queen, should die a
shameful death; but an it be so that ye will counsel me to rescue her,
I must do much harm or I rescue her; and peradventure I shall there
destroy some of my best friends, that should much repent me; and
peradventure there be some, an they could well bring it about, or
disobey my lord King Arthur, they would soon come to me, the which I
were loath to hurt. And if so be that I rescue her, where shall I keep
her? That shall be the least care of us all, said Sir Bors. How did the
noble knight Sir Tristram, by your good will? kept not he with him La
Beale Isoud near three year in Joyous Gard? the which was done by your
alther device, and that same place is your own; and in likewise may ye
do an ye list, and take the queen lightly away, if it so be the king
will judge her to be brent; and in Joyous Gard ye may keep her long
enough until the heat of the king be past. And then shall ye bring again
the queen to the king with great worship; and then peradventure ye shall
have thank for her bringing home, and love and thank where other shall
have maugre.

That is hard to do, said Sir Launcelot, for by Sir Tristram I may have
a warning, for when by means of treaties, Sir Tristram brought again
La Beale Isoud unto King Mark from Joyous Gard, look what befell on
the end, how shamefully that false traitor King Mark slew him as he sat
harping afore his lady La Beale Isoud, with a grounden glaive he thrust
him in behind to the heart. It grieveth me, said Sir Launcelot, to speak
of his death, for all the world may not find such a knight. All this is
truth, said Sir Bors, but there is one thing shall courage you and
us all, ye know well King Arthur and King Mark were never like of
conditions, for there was never yet man could prove King Arthur untrue
of his promise.

So to make short tale, they were all consented that for better outher
for worse, if so were that the queen were on that morn brought to the
fire, shortly they all would rescue her. And so by the advice of
Sir Launcelot, they put them all in an embushment in a wood, as nigh
Carlisle as they might, and there they abode still, to wit what the king
would do.



CHAPTER VII. How Sir Mordred rode hastily to the king, to tell him of
the affray and death of Sir Agravaine and the other knights.


NOW turn we again unto Sir Mordred, that when he was escaped from the
noble knight, Sir Launcelot, he anon gat his horse and mounted upon him,
and rode unto King Arthur, sore wounded and smitten, and all forbled;
and there he told the king all how it was, and how they were all slain
save himself all only. Jesu mercy, how may this be? said the king; took
ye him in the queen's chamber? Yea, so God me help, said Sir Mordred,
there we found him unarmed, and there he slew Colgrevance, and armed him
in his armour; and all this he told the king from the beginning to the
ending. Jesu mercy, said the king, he is a marvellous knight of prowess.
Alas, me sore repenteth, said the king, that ever Sir Launcelot should
be against me. Now I am sure the noble fellowship of the Round Table is
broken for ever, for with him will many a noble knight hold; and now
it is fallen so, said the king, that I may not with my worship, but the
queen must suffer the death. So then there was made great ordinance in
this heat, that the queen must be judged to the death. And the law was
such in those days that whatsomever they were, of what estate or degree,
if they were found guilty of treason, there should be none other remedy
but death; and outher the men or the taking with the deed should be
causer of their hasty judgment. And right so was it ordained for Queen
Guenever, because Sir Mordred was escaped sore wounded, and the death of
thirteen knights of the Round Table. These proofs and experiences caused
King Arthur to command the queen to the fire there to be brent.

Then spake Sir Gawaine, and said: My lord Arthur, I would counsel you
not to be over-hasty, but that ye would put it in respite, this judgment
of my lady the queen, for many causes. One it is, though it were so that
Sir Launcelot were found in the queen's chamber, yet it might be so that
he came thither for none evil; for ye know my lord, said Sir Gawaine,
that the queen is much beholden unto Sir Launcelot, more than unto any
other knight, for ofttimes he hath saved her life, and done battle for
her when all the court refused the queen; and peradventure she sent for
him for goodness and for none evil, to reward him for his good deeds
that he had done to her in times past. And peradventure my lady, the
queen, sent for him to that intent that Sir Launcelot should come to her
good grace privily and secretly, weening to her that it was best so to
do, in eschewing and dreading of slander; for ofttimes we do many things
that we ween it be for the best, and yet peradventure it turneth to the
worst. For I dare say, said Sir Gawaine, my lady, your queen, is to you
both good and true; and as for Sir Launcelot, said Sir Gawaine, I dare
say he will make it good upon any knight living that will put upon
himself villainy or shame, and in like wise he will make good for my
lady, Dame Guenever.

That I believe well, said King Arthur, but I will not that way with Sir
Launcelot, for he trusteth so much upon his hands and his might that he
doubteth no man; and therefore for my queen he shall never fight more,
for she shall have the law. And if I may get Sir Launcelot, wit you well
he shall have a shameful death. Jesu defend, said Sir Gawaine, that I
may never see it. Why say ye so? said King Arthur; forsooth ye have
no cause to love Sir Launcelot, for this night last past he slew your
brother, Sir Agravaine, a full good knight, and almost he had slain
your other brother, Sir Mordred, and also there he slew thirteen noble
knights; and also, Sir Gawaine, remember you he slew two sons of yours,
Sir Florence and Sir Lovel. My lord, said Sir Gawaine, of all this I
have knowledge, of whose deaths I repent me sore; but insomuch I gave
them warning, and told my brethren and my sons aforehand what would fall
in the end, insomuch they would not do by my counsel, I will not meddle
me thereof, nor revenge me nothing of their deaths; for I told them
it was no boot to strive with Sir Launcelot. Howbeit I am sorry of the
death of my brethren and of my sons, for they are the causers of their
own death; for ofttimes I warned my brother Sir Agravaine, and I told
him the perils the which be now fallen.



CHAPTER VIII. How Sir Launcelot and his kinsmen rescued the queen from
the fire, and how he slew many knights.


THEN said the noble King Arthur to Sir Gawaine: Dear nephew, I pray you
make you ready in your best armour, with your brethren, Sir Gaheris and
Sir Gareth, to bring my queen to the fire, there to have her judgment
and receive the death. Nay, my most noble lord, said Sir Gawaine, that
will I never do; for wit you well I will never be in that place where so
noble a queen as is my lady, Dame Guenever, shall take a shameful end.
For wit you well, said Sir Gawaine, my heart will never serve me to see
her die; and it shall never be said that ever I was of your counsel of
her death.

Then said the king to Sir Gawaine: Suffer your brothers Sir Gaheris and
Sir Gareth to be there. My lord, said Sir Gawaine, wit you well they
will be loath to be there present, because of many adventures the which
be like there to fall, but they are young and full unable to say you
nay. Then spake Sir Gaheris, and the good knight Sir Gareth, unto Sir
Arthur: Sir, ye may well command us to be there, but wit you well
it shall be sore against our will; but an we be there by your strait
commandment ye shall plainly hold us there excused: we will be there
in peaceable wise, and bear none harness of war upon us. In the name
of God, said the king, then make you ready, for she shall soon have her
judgment anon. Alas, said Sir Gawaine, that ever I should endure to see
this woful day. So Sir Gawaine turned him and wept heartily, and so
he went into his chamber; and then the queen was led forth without
Carlisle, and there she was despoiled into her smock. And so then her
ghostly father was brought to her, to be shriven of her misdeeds. Then
was there weeping, and wailing, and wringing of hands, of many lords and
ladies, but there were but few in comparison that would bear any armour
for to strength the death of the queen.

Then was there one that Sir Launcelot had sent unto that place for to
espy what time the queen should go unto her death; and anon as he saw
the queen despoiled into her smock, and so shriven, then he gave Sir
Launcelot warning. Then was there but spurring and plucking up of
horses, and right so they came to the fire. And who that stood against
them, there were they slain; there might none withstand Sir Launcelot,
so all that bare arms and withstood them, there were they slain, full
many a noble knight. For there was slain Sir Belliance le Orgulous,
Sir Segwarides, Sir Griflet, Sir Brandiles, Sir Aglovale, Sir Tor;
Sir Gauter, Sir Gillimer, Sir Reynolds' three brethren; Sir Damas, Sir
Priamus, Sir Kay the Stranger, Sir Driant, Sir Lambegus, Sir Herminde;
Sir Pertilope, Sir Perimones, two brethren that were called the Green
Knight and the Red Knight. And so in this rushing and hurling, as Sir
Launcelot thrang here and there, it mishapped him to slay Gaheris and
Sir Gareth, the noble knight, for they were unarmed and unware. For as
the French book saith, Sir Launcelot smote Sir Gareth and Sir Gaheris
upon the brain-pans, wherethrough they were slain in the field; howbeit
in very truth Sir Launcelot saw them not, and so were they found dead
among the thickest of the press.

Then when Sir Launcelot had thus done, and slain and put to flight all
that would withstand him, then he rode straight unto Dame Guenever, and
made a kirtle and a gown to be cast upon her; and then he made her to
be set behind him, and prayed her to be of good cheer. Wit you well the
queen was glad that she was escaped from the death. And then she thanked
God and Sir Launcelot; and so he rode his way with the queen, as the
French book saith, unto Joyous Gard, and there he kept her as a noble
knight should do; and many great lords and some kings sent Sir Launcelot
many good knights, and many noble knights drew unto Sir Launcelot.
When this was known openly, that King Arthur and Sir Launcelot were at
debate, many knights were glad of their debate, and many were full heavy
of their debate.



CHAPTER IX. Of the sorrow and lamentation of King Arthur for the death
of his nephews and other good knights, and also for the queen, his wife.


SO turn we again unto King Arthur, that when it was told him how and in
what manner of wise the queen was taken away from the fire, and when he
heard of the death of his noble knights, and in especial of Sir Gaheris
and Sir Gareth's death, then the king swooned for pure sorrow. And when
he awoke of his swoon, then he said: Alas, that ever I bare crown upon
my head! for now have I lost the fairest fellowship of noble knights
that ever held Christian king together. Alas, my good knights be slain
away from me: now within these two days I have lost forty knights, and
also the noble fellowship of Sir Launcelot and his blood, for now I may
never hold them together no more with my worship. Alas that ever this
war began. Now fair fellows, said the king, I charge you that no man
tell Sir Gawaine of the death of his two brethren; for I am sure, said
the king, when Sir Gawaine heareth tell that Sir Gareth is dead he will
go nigh out of his mind. Mercy Jesu, said the king, why slew he Sir
Gareth and Sir Gaheris, for I dare say as for Sir Gareth he loved Sir
Launcelot above all men earthly. That is truth, said some knights, but
they were slain in the hurtling as Sir Launcelot thrang in the thick of
the press; and as they were unarmed he smote them and wist not whom
that he smote, and so unhappily they were slain. The death of them, said
Arthur, will cause the greatest mortal war that ever was; I am sure,
wist Sir Gawaine that Sir Gareth were slain, I should never have rest
of him till I had destroyed Sir Launcelot's kin and himself both, outher
else he to destroy me. And therefore, said the king, wit you well my
heart was never so heavy as it is now, and much more I am sorrier for
my good knights' loss than for the loss of my fair queen; for queens I
might have enow, but such a fellowship of good knights shall never be
together in no company. And now I dare say, said King Arthur, there was
never Christian king held such a fellowship together; and alas that ever
Sir Launcelot and I should be at debate. Ah Agravaine, Agravaine, said
the king, Jesu forgive it thy soul, for thine evil will, that thou and
thy brother Sir Mordred hadst unto Sir Launcelot, hath caused all this
sorrow: and ever among these complaints the king wept and swooned.

Then there came one unto Sir Gawaine, and told him how the queen was led
away with Sir Launcelot, and nigh a twenty-four knights slain. O Jesu
defend my brethren, said Sir Gawaine, for full well wist I that Sir
Launcelot would rescue her, outher else he would die in that field; and
to say the truth he had not been a man of worship had he not rescued the
queen that day, insomuch she should have been brent for his sake. And
as in that, said Sir Gawaine, he hath done but knightly, and as I would
have done myself an I had stood in like case. But where are my brethren?
said Sir Gawaine, I marvel I hear not of them. Truly, said that man, Sir
Gareth and Sir Gaheris be slain. Jesu defend, said Sir Gawaine, for
all the world I would not that they were slain, and in especial my good
brother, Sir Gareth. Sir, said the man, he is slain, and that is great
pity. Who slew him? said Sir Gawaine. Sir, said the man, Launcelot slew
them both. That may I not believe, said Sir Gawaine, that ever he slew
my brother, Sir Gareth; for I dare say my brother Gareth loved him
better than me, and all his brethren, and the king both. Also I dare
say, an Sir Launcelot had desired my brother Sir Gareth, with him he
would have been with him against the king and us all, and therefore I
may never believe that Sir Launcelot slew my brother. Sir, said this
man, it is noised that he slew him.



CHAPTER X. How King Arthur at the request of Sir Gawaine concluded to
make war against Sir Launcelot, and laid siege to his castle called
Joyous Gard.


ALAS, said Sir Gawaine, now is my joy gone. And then he fell down and
swooned, and long he lay there as he had been dead. And then, when he
arose of his swoon, he cried out sorrowfully, and said: Alas! And right
so Sir Gawaine ran to the king, crying and weeping: O King Arthur, mine
uncle, my good brother Sir Gareth is slain, and so is my brother Sir
Gaheris, the which were two noble knights. Then the king wept, and he
both; and so they fell a-swooning. And when they were revived then spake
Sir Gawaine: Sir, I will go see my brother, Sir Gareth. Ye may not see
him, said the king, for I caused him to be interred, and Sir Gaheris
both; for I well understood that ye would make over-much sorrow, and
the sight of Sir Gareth should have caused your double sorrow. Alas,
my lord, said Sir Gawaine, how slew he my brother, Sir Gareth? Mine own
good lord I pray you tell me. Truly, said the king, I shall tell you how
it is told me, Sir Launcelot slew him and Sir Gaheris both. Alas, said
Sir Gawaine, they bare none arms against him, neither of them both. I
wot not how it was, said the king, but as it is said, Sir Launcelot slew
them both in the thickest of the press and knew them not; and therefore
let us shape a remedy for to revenge their deaths.

My king, my lord, and mine uncle, said Sir Gawaine, wit you well now I
shall make you a promise that I shall hold by my knighthood, that from
this day I shall never fail Sir Launcelot until the one of us have slain
the other. And therefore I require you, my lord and king, dress you to
the war, for wit you well I will be revenged upon Sir Launcelot;
and therefore, as ye will have my service and my love, now haste you
thereto, and assay your friends. For I promise unto God, said Sir
Gawaine, for the death of my brother, Sir Gareth, I shall seek Sir
Launcelot throughout seven kings' realms, but I shall slay him or else
he shall slay me. Ye shall not need to seek him so far, said the king,
for as I hear say, Sir Launcelot will abide me and you in the Joyous
Gard; and much people draweth unto him, as I hear say. That may I
believe, said Sir Gawaine; but my lord, he said, assay your friends, and
I will assay mine. It shall be done, said the king, and as I suppose I
shall be big enough to draw him out of the biggest tower of his castle.

So then the king sent letters and writs throughout all England, both in
the length and the breadth, for to assummon all his knights. And so unto
Arthur drew many knights, dukes, and earls, so that he had a great host.
And when they were assembled, the king informed them how Sir Launcelot
had bereft him his queen. Then the king and all his host made them
ready to lay siege about Sir Launcelot, where he lay within Joyous Gard.
Thereof heard Sir Launcelot, and purveyed him of many good knights, for
with him held many knights; and some for his own sake, and some for
the queen's sake. Thus they were on both parties well furnished and
garnished of all manner of thing that longed to the war. But King
Arthur's host was so big that Sir Launcelot would not abide him in the
field, for he was full loath to do battle against the king; but Sir
Launcelot drew him to his strong castle with all manner of victual, and
as many noble men as he might suffice within the town and the castle.
Then came King Arthur with Sir Gawaine with an huge host, and laid a
siege all about Joyous Gard, both at the town and at the castle, and
there they made strong war on both parties. But in no wise Sir Launcelot
would ride out, nor go out of his castle, of long time; neither he would
none of his good knights to issue out, neither none of the town nor of
the castle, until fifteen weeks were past.



CHAPTER XI. Of the communication between King Arthur and Sir Launcelot,
and how King Arthur reproved him.

THEN it befell upon a day in harvest time, Sir Launcelot looked over
the walls, and spake on high unto King Arthur and Sir Gawaine: My lords
both, wit ye well all is in vain that ye make at this siege, for here
win ye no worship but maugre and dishonour; for an it list me to come
myself out and my good knights, I should full soon make an end of
this war. Come forth, said Arthur unto Launcelot, an thou durst, and
I promise thee I shall meet thee in midst of the field. God defend me,
said Sir Launcelot, that ever I should encounter with the most noble
king that made me knight. Fie upon thy fair language, said the king,
for wit you well and trust it, I am thy mortal foe, and ever will to my
death day; for thou hast slain my good knights, and full noble men of
my blood, that I shall never recover again. Also thou hast lain by my
queen, and holden her many winters, and sithen like a traitor taken her
from me by force.

My most noble lord and king, said Sir Launcelot, ye may say what ye
will, for ye wot well with yourself will I not strive; but thereas ye
say I have slain your good knights, I wot well that I have done so, and
that me sore repenteth; but I was enforced to do battle with them in
saving of my life, or else I must have suffered them to have slain me.
And as for my lady, Queen Guenever, except your person of your highness,
and my lord Sir Gawaine, there is no knight under heaven that dare make
it good upon me, that ever I was a traitor unto your person. And where
it please you to say that I have holden my lady your queen years and
winters, unto that I shall ever make a large answer, and prove it upon
any knight that beareth the life, except your person and Sir Gawaine,
that my lady, Queen Guenever, is a true lady unto your person as any is
living unto her lord, and that will I make good with my hands. Howbeit
it hath liked her good grace to have me in chierte, and to cherish me
more than any other knight; and unto my power I again have deserved her
love, for ofttimes, my lord, ye have consented that she should be brent
and destroyed, in your heat, and then it fortuned me to do battle for
her, and or I departed from her adversary they confessed their untruth,
and she full worshipfully excused. And at such times, my lord Arthur,
said Sir Launcelot, ye loved me, and thanked me when I saved your queen
from the fire; and then ye promised me for ever to be my good lord; and
now methinketh ye reward me full ill for my good service. And my good
lord, meseemeth I had lost a great part of my worship in my knighthood
an I had suffered my lady, your queen, to have been brent, and insomuch
she should have been brent for my sake. For sithen I have done battles
for your queen in other quarrels than in mine own, meseemeth now I had
more right to do battle for her in right quarrel. And therefore my good
and gracious lord, said Sir Launcelot, take your queen unto your good
grace, for she is both fair, true, and good.

Fie on thee, false recreant knight, said Sir Gawaine; I let thee wit my
lord, mine uncle, King Arthur, shall have his queen and thee, maugre thy
visage, and slay you both whether it please him. It may well be, said
Sir Launcelot, but wit you well, my lord Sir Gawaine, an me list to come
out of this castle ye should win me and the queen more harder than ever
ye won a strong battle. Fie on thy proud words, said Sir Gawaine; as for
my lady, the queen, I will never say of her shame. But thou, false and
recreant knight, said Sir Gawaine, what cause hadst thou to slay my
good brother Sir Gareth, that loved thee more than all my kin? Alas thou
madest him knight thine own hands; why slew thou him that loved thee so
well? For to excuse me, said Sir Launcelot, it helpeth me not, but by
Jesu, and by the faith that I owe to the high order of knighthood, I
should with as good will have slain my nephew, Sir Bors de Ganis, at
that time. But alas that ever I was so unhappy, said Launcelot, that I
had not seen Sir Gareth and Sir Gaheris.

Thou liest, recreant knight, said Sir Gawaine, thou slewest him in
despite of me; and therefore, wit thou well I shall make war to
thee, and all the while that I may live. That me repenteth, said Sir
Launcelot; for well I understand it helpeth not to seek none accordment
while ye, Sir Gawaine, are so mischievously set. And if ye were not, I
would not doubt to have the good grace of my lord Arthur. I believe it
well, false recreant knight, said Sir Gawaine; for thou hast many long
days overled me and us all, and destroyed many of our good knights. Ye
say as it pleaseth you, said Sir Launcelot; and yet may it never be said
on me, and openly proved, that ever I by forecast of treason slew no
good knight, as my lord, Sir Gawaine, ye have done; and so did I never,
but in my defence that I was driven thereto, in saving of my life. Ah,
false knight, said Sir Gawaine, that thou meanest by Sir Lamorak: wit
thou well I slew him. Ye slew him not yourself, said Sir Launcelot; it
had been overmuch on hand for you to have slain him, for he was one of
the best knights christened of his age, and it was great pity of his
death.



CHAPTER XII. How the cousins and kinsmen of Sir Launcelot excited him to
go out to battle, and how they made them ready.


WELL, well, said Sir Gawaine to Launcelot, sithen thou enbraidest me of
Sir Lamorak, wit thou well I shall never leave thee till I have thee at
such avail that thou shalt not escape my hands. I trust you well enough,
said Sir Launcelot, an ye may get me I get but little mercy. But as
the French book saith, the noble King Arthur would have taken his queen
again, and have been accorded with Sir Launcelot, but Sir Gawaine would
not suffer him by no manner of mean. And then Sir Gawaine made many
men to blow upon Sir Launcelot; and all at once they called him false
recreant knight.

Then when Sir Bors de Ganis, Sir Ector de Maris, and Sir Lionel, heard
this outcry, they called to them Sir Palomides, Sir Safere's brother,
and Sir Lavaine, with many more of their blood, and all they went unto
Sir Launcelot, and said thus: My lord Sir Launcelot, wit ye well we
have great scorn of the great rebukes that we heard Gawaine say to you;
wherefore we pray you, and charge you as ye will have our service, keep
us no longer within these walls; for wit you well plainly, we will ride
into the field and do battle with them; for ye fare as a man that were
afeard, and for all your fair speech it will not avail you. For wit you
well Sir Gawaine will not suffer you to be accorded with King Arthur,
and therefore fight for your life and your right, an ye dare. Alas, said
Sir Launcelot, for to ride out of this castle, and to do battle, I am
full loath.

Then Sir Launcelot spake on high unto Sir Arthur and Sir Gawaine: My
lords, I require you and beseech you, sithen that I am thus required and
conjured to ride into the field, that neither you, my lord King Arthur,
nor you Sir Gawaine, come not into the field. What shall we do then?
said Sir Gawaine, [N]is this the king's quarrel with thee to fight? and
it is my quarrel to fight with thee, Sir Launcelot, because of the
death of my brother Sir Gareth. Then must I needs unto battle, said Sir
Launcelot. Now wit you well, my lord Arthur and Sir Gawaine, ye will
repent it whensomever I do battle with you.

And so then they departed either from other; and then either party made
them ready on the morn for to do battle, and great purveyance was made
on both sides; and Sir Gawaine let purvey many knights for to wait upon
Sir Launcelot, for to overset him and to slay him. And on the morn at
underne Sir Arthur was ready in the field with three great hosts. And
then Sir Launcelot's fellowship came out at three gates, in a full good
array; and Sir Lionel came in the foremost battle, and Sir Launcelot
came in the middle, and Sir Bors came out at the third gate. Thus they
came in order and rule, as full noble knights; and always Sir Launcelot
charged all his knights in any wise to save King Arthur and Sir Gawaine.



CHAPTER XIII. How Sir Gawaine jousted and smote down Sir Lionel, and how
Sir Launcelot horsed King Arthur.


THEN came forth Sir Gawaine from the king's host, and he came before and
proffered to joust. And Sir Lionel was a fierce knight, and lightly he
encountered with Sir Gawaine; and there Sir Gawaine smote Sir Lionel
through out the body, that he dashed to the earth like as he had been
dead; and then Sir Ector de Maris and other more bare him into the
castle. Then there began a great stour, and much people was slain; and
ever Sir Launcelot did what he might to save the people on King Arthur's
party, for Sir Palomides, and Sir Bors, and Sir Safere, overthrew many
knights, for they were deadly knights. And Sir Blamore de Ganis, and Sir
Bleoberis de Ganis, with Sir Bellangere le Beuse, these six knights did
much harm; and ever King Arthur was nigh about Sir Launcelot to have
slain him, and Sir Launcelot suffered him, and would not strike again.
So Sir Bors encountered with King Arthur, and there with a spear Sir
Bors smote him down; and so he alighted and drew his sword, and said
to Sir Launcelot: Shall I make an end of this war? and that he meant to
have slain King Arthur. Not so hardy, said Sir Launcelot, upon pain of
thy head, that thou touch him no more, for I will never see that most
noble king that made me knight neither slain ne shamed. And therewithal
Sir Launcelot alighted off his horse and took up the king and horsed him
again, and said thus: My lord Arthur, for God's love stint this strife,
for ye get here no worship, and I would do mine utterance, but always I
forbear you, and ye nor none of yours forbeareth me; my lord, remember
what I have done in many places, and now I am evil rewarded.

Then when King Arthur was on horseback, he looked upon Sir Launcelot,
and then the tears brast out of his eyen, thinking on the great courtesy
that was in Sir Launcelot more than in any other man; and therewith the
king rode his way, and might no longer behold him, and said: Alas, that
ever this war began. And then either parties of the battles withdrew
them to repose them, and buried the dead, and to the wounded men they
laid soft salves; and thus they endured that night till on the morn. And
on the morn by underne they made them ready to do battle. And then Sir
Bors led the forward.

So upon the morn there came Sir Gawaine as brim as any boar, with a
great spear in his hand. And when Sir Bors saw him he thought to revenge
his brother Sir Lionel of the despite that Sir Gawaine did him the other
day. And so they that knew either other feutred their spears, and with
all their mights of their horses and themselves, they met together so
felonously that either bare other through, and so they fell both to the
earth; and then the battles joined, and there was much slaughter on
both parties. Then Sir Launcelot rescued Sir Bors, and sent him into the
castle; but neither Sir Gawaine nor Sir Bors died not of their wounds,
for they were all holpen. Then Sir Lavaine and Sir Urre prayed Sir
Launcelot to do his pain, and fight as they had done; For we see ye
forbear and spare, and that doth much harm; therefore we pray you spare
not your enemies no more than they do you. Alas, said Sir Launcelot, I
have no heart to fight against my lord Arthur, for ever meseemeth I do
not as I ought to do. My lord, said Sir Palomides, though ye spare them
all this day they will never con you thank; and if they may get you at
avail ye are but dead. So then Sir Launcelot understood that they said
him truth; and then he strained himself more than he did aforehand, and
because his nephew Sir Bors was sore wounded. And then within a little
while, by evensong time, Sir Launcelot and his party better stood, for
their horses went in blood past the fetlocks, there was so much people
slain. And then for pity Sir Launcelot withheld his knights, and
suffered King Arthur's party for to withdraw them aside. And then Sir
Launcelot's party withdrew them into his castle, and either parties
buried the dead, and put salve unto the wounded men.

So when Sir Gawaine was hurt, they on King Arthur's party were not so
orgulous as they were toforehand to do battle. Of this war was noised
through all Christendom, and at the last it was noised afore the
Pope; and he considering the great goodness of King Arthur, and of
Sir Launcelot, that was called the most noblest knights of the world,
wherefore the Pope called unto him a noble clerk that at that time was
there present; the French book saith, it was the Bishop of Rochester;
and the Pope gave him bulls under lead unto King Arthur of England,
charging him upon pain of interdicting of all England, that he take his
queen Dame Guenever unto him again, and accord with Sir Launcelot.



CHAPTER XIV. How the Pope sent down his bulls to make peace, and how Sir
Launcelot brought the queen to King Arthur.


SO when this Bishop was come to Carlisle he shewed the king these bulls.
And when the king understood these bulls he nist what to do: full fain
he would have been accorded with Sir Launcelot, but Sir Gawaine would
not suffer him; but as for to have the queen, thereto he agreed. But
in nowise Sir Gawaine would not suffer the king to accord with Sir
Launcelot; but as for the queen he consented. And then the Bishop had
of the king his great seal, and his assurance as he was a true anointed
king that Sir Launcelot should come safe, and go safe, and that the
queen should not be spoken unto of the king, nor of none other, for no
thing done afore time past; and of all these appointments the Bishop
brought with him sure assurance and writing, to shew Sir Launcelot.

So when the Bishop was come to Joyous Gard, there he shewed Sir
Launcelot how the Pope had written to Arthur and unto him, and there he
told him the perils if he withheld the queen from the king. It was
never in my thought, said Launcelot, to withhold the queen from my lord
Arthur; but, insomuch she should have been dead for my sake, meseemeth
it was my part to save her life, and put her from that danger, till
better recover might come. And now I thank God, said Sir Launcelot, that
the Pope hath made her peace; for God knoweth, said Sir Launcelot, I
will be a thousandfold more gladder to bring her again, than ever I was
of her taking away; with this, I may be sure to come safe and go safe,
and that the queen shall have her liberty as she had before; and never
for no thing that hath been surmised afore this time, she never from
this day stand in no peril. For else, said Sir Launcelot, I dare
adventure me to keep her from an harder shour than ever I kept her. It
shall not need you, said the Bishop, to dread so much; for wit you well,
the Pope must be obeyed, and it were not the Pope's worship nor my poor
honesty to wit you distressed, neither the queen, neither in peril, nor
shamed. And then he shewed Sir Launcelot all his writing, both from the
Pope and from King Arthur. This is sure enough, said Sir Launcelot, for
full well I dare trust my lord's own writing and his seal, for he was
never shamed of his promise. Therefore, said Sir Launcelot unto the
Bishop, ye shall ride unto the king afore, and recommend me unto his
good grace, and let him have knowledging that this same day eight days,
by the grace of God, I myself shall bring my lady, Queen Guenever,
unto him. And then say ye unto my most redoubted king, that I will say
largely for the queen, that I shall none except for dread nor fear,
but the king himself, and my lord Sir Gawaine; and that is more for the
king's love than for himself.

So the Bishop departed and came to the king at Carlisle, and told him
all how Sir Launcelot answered him; and then the tears brast out of the
king's eyen. Then Sir Launcelot purveyed him an hundred knights, and all
were clothed in green velvet, and their horses trapped to their heels;
and every knight held a branch of olive in his hand, in tokening of
peace. And the queen had four-and-twenty gentlewomen following her in
the same wise; and Sir Launcelot had twelve coursers following him, and
on every courser sat a young gentleman, and all they were arrayed in
green velvet, with sarps of gold about their quarters, and the horse
trapped in the same wise down to the heels, with many ouches, y-set with
stones and pearls in gold, to the number of a thousand. And she and Sir
Launcelot were clothed in white cloth of gold tissue; and right so as
ye have heard, as the French book maketh mention, he rode with the
queen from Joyous Gard to Carlisle. And so Sir Launcelot rode throughout
Carlisle, and so in the castle, that all men might behold; and wit
you well there was many a weeping eye. And then Sir Launcelot himself
alighted and avoided his horse, and took the queen, and so led her where
King Arthur was in his seat: and Sir Gawaine sat afore him, and many
other great lords. So when Sir Launcelot saw the king and Sir Gawaine,
then he led the queen by the arm, and then he kneeled down, and the
queen both. Wit you well then was there many bold knight there with King
Arthur that wept as tenderly as though they had seen all their kin afore
them. So the king sat still, and said no word. And when Sir Launcelot
saw his countenance, he arose and pulled up the queen with him, and thus
he spake full knightly.



CHAPTER XV. Of the deliverance of the queen to the king by Sir
Launcelot, and what language Sir Gawaine had to Sir Launcelot.


MY most redoubted king, ye shall understand, by the Pope's commandment
and yours, I have brought to you my lady the queen, as right requireth;
and if there be any knight, of whatsomever degree that he be, except
your person, that will say or dare say but that she is true and clean
to you, I here myself, Sir Launcelot du Lake, will make it good upon his
body, that she is a true lady unto you; but liars ye have listened, and
that hath caused debate betwixt you and me. For time hath been, my lord
Arthur, that ye have been greatly pleased with me when I did battle for
my lady, your queen; and full well ye know, my most noble king, that she
hath been put to great wrong or this time; and sithen it pleased you at
many times that I should fight for her, meseemeth, my good lord, I had
more cause to rescue her from the fire, insomuch she should have been
brent for my sake. For they that told you those tales were liars, and so
it fell upon them; for by likelihood had not the might of God been with
me, I might never have endured fourteen knights, and they armed and
afore purposed, and I unarmed and not purposed. For I was sent for unto
my lady your queen, I wot not for what cause; but I was not so soon
within the chamber door, but anon Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred called
me traitor and recreant knight. They called thee right, said Sir
Gawaine. My lord Sir Gawaine, said Sir Launcelot, in their quarrel they
proved themselves not in the right. Well well, Sir Launcelot, said the
king, I have given thee no cause to do to me as thou hast done, for I
have worshipped thee and thine more than any of all my knights.

My good lord, said Sir Launcelot, so ye be not displeased, ye shall
understand I and mine have done you oft better service than any other
knights have done, in many divers places; and where ye have been full
hard bestead divers times, I have myself rescued you from many dangers;
and ever unto my power I was glad to please you, and my lord Sir
Gawaine; both in jousts, and tournaments, and in battles set, both
on horseback and on foot, I have often rescued you, and my lord Sir
Gawaine, and many mo of your knights in many divers places. For now I
will make avaunt, said Sir Launcelot, I will that ye all wit that yet
I found never no manner of knight but that I was overhard for him, an I
had done my utterance, thanked be God; howbeit I have been matched with
good knights, as Sir Tristram and Sir Lamorak, but ever I had a favour
unto them and a deeming what they were. And I take God to record, said
Sir Launcelot, I never was wroth nor greatly heavy with no good knight
an I saw him busy about to win worship; and glad I was ever when I found
any knight that might endure me on horseback and on foot: howbeit Sir
Carados of the Dolorous Tower was a full noble knight and a passing
strong man, and that wot ye, my lord Sir Gawaine; for he might well
be called a noble knight when he by fine force pulled you out of your
saddle, and bound you overthwart afore him to his saddle bow; and there,
my lord Sir Gawaine, I rescued you, and slew him afore your sight. Also
I found his brother, Sir Turquin, in likewise leading Sir Gaheris, your
brother, bounden afore him; and there I rescued your brother and slew
that Turquin, and delivered three-score-and-four of my lord Arthur's
knights out of his prison. And now I dare say, said Sir Launcelot, I met
never with so strong knights, nor so well fighting, as was Sir Carados
and Sir Turquin, for I fought with them to the uttermost. And therefore,
said Sir Launcelot unto Sir Gawaine, meseemeth ye ought of right to
remember this; for, an I might have your good will, I would trust to God
to have my lord Arthur's good grace.



CHAPTER XVI. Of the communication between Sir Gawaine and Sir Launcelot,
with much other language.


THE king may do as he will, said Sir Gawaine, but wit thou well, Sir
Launcelot, thou and I shall never be accorded while we live, for thou
hast slain three of my brethren; and two of them ye slew traitorly and
piteously, for they bare none harness against thee, nor none would bear.
God would they had been armed, said Sir Launcelot, for then had they
been alive. And wit ye well Sir Gawaine, as for Sir Gareth, I love none
of my kinsmen so much as I did him; and ever while I live, said Sir
Launcelot, I will bewail Sir Gareth's death, not all only for the great
fear I have of you, but many causes cause me to be sorrowful. One is,
for I made him knight; another is, I wot well he loved me above all
other knights; and the third is, he was passing noble, true, courteous,
and gentle, and well conditioned; the fourth is, I wist well, anon as I
heard that Sir Gareth was dead, I should never after have your love, but
everlasting war betwixt us; and also I wist well that ye would cause my
noble lord Arthur for ever to be my mortal foe. And as Jesu be my help,
said Sir Launcelot, I slew never Sir Gareth nor Sir Gaheris by my will;
but alas that ever they were unarmed that unhappy day. But thus much
I shall offer me, said Sir Launcelot, if it may please the king's good
grace, and you, my lord Sir Gawaine, I shall first begin at Sandwich,
and there I shall go in my shirt, barefoot; and at every ten miles' end
I will found and gar make an house of religion, of what order that ye
will assign me, with an whole convent, to sing and read, day and night,
in especial for Sir Gareth's sake and Sir Gaheris. And this shall
I perform from Sandwich unto Carlisle; and every house shall have
sufficient livelihood. And this shall I perform while I have any
livelihood in Christendom; and there nis none of all these religious
places, but they shall be performed, furnished and garnished in all
things as an holy place ought to be, I promise you faithfully. And this,
Sir Gawaine, methinketh were more fairer, holier, and more better to
their souls, than ye, my most noble king, and you, Sir Gawaine, to war
upon me, for thereby shall ye get none avail.

Then all knights and ladies that were there wept as they were mad, and
the tears fell on King Arthur's cheeks. Sir Launcelot, said Sir Gawaine,
I have right well heard thy speech, and thy great proffers, but wit
thou well, let the king do as it pleased him, I will never forgive my
brothers' death, and in especial the death of my brother, Sir Gareth.
And if mine uncle, King Arthur, will accord with thee, he shall lose my
service, for wit thou well thou art both false to the king and to me.
Sir, said Launcelot he beareth not the life that may make that good and
if ye, Sir Gawaine, will charge me with so high a thing, ye must pardon
me, for then needs must I answer you. Nay, said Sir Gawaine, we are past
that at this time, and that caused the Pope, for he hath charged mine
uncle, the king, that he shall take his queen again, and to accord with
thee, Sir Launcelot, as for this season, and therefore thou shalt go
safe as thou camest. But in this land thou shalt not abide past fifteen
days, such summons I give thee: so the king and we were consented and
accorded or thou camest. And else, said Sir Gawaine, wit thou well thou
shouldst not have come here, but if it were maugre thy head. And if
it were not for the Pope's commandment, said Sir Gawaine, I should do
battle with mine own body against thy body, and prove it upon thee, that
thou hast been both false unto mine uncle King Arthur, and to me both;
and that shall I prove upon thy body, when thou art departed from hence,
wheresomever I find thee.



CHAPTER XVII. How Sir Launcelot departed from the king and from Joyous
Gard over seaward, and what knights went with him.


THEN Sir Launcelot sighed, and therewith the tears fell on his cheeks,
and then he said thus: Alas, most noble Christian realm, whom I have
loved above all other realms, and in thee I have gotten a great part of
my worship, and now I shall depart in this wise. Truly me repenteth
that ever I came in this realm, that should be thus shamefully banished,
undeserved and causeless; but fortune is so variant, and the wheel so
moveable, there nis none constant abiding, and that may be proved by
many old chronicles, of noble Ector, and Troilus, and Alisander, the
mighty conqueror, and many mo other; when they were most in their
royalty, they alighted lowest. And so fareth it by me, said Sir
Launcelot, for in this realm I had worship, and by me and mine all the
whole Round Table hath been increased more in worship, by me and mine
blood, than by any other. And therefore wit thou well, Sir Gawaine, I
may live upon my lands as well as any knight that here is. And if ye,
most redoubted king, will come upon my lands with Sir Gawaine to war
upon me, I must endure you as well as I may. But as to you, Sir Gawaine,
if that ye come there, I pray you charge me not with treason nor felony,
for an ye do, I must answer you. Do thou thy best, said Sir Gawaine;
therefore hie thee fast that thou were gone, and wit thou well we shall
soon come after, and break the strongest castle that thou hast, upon thy
head. That shall not need, said Sir Launcelot, for an I were as orgulous
set as ye are, wit you well I should meet you in midst of the field.
Make thou no more language, said Sir Gawaine, but deliver the queen from
thee, and pike thee lightly out of this court. Well, said Sir Launcelot,
an I had wist of this short coming, I would have advised me twice or
that I had come hither; for an the queen had been so dear to me as ye
noise her, I durst have kept her from the fellowship of the best knights
under heaven.

And then Sir Launcelot said unto Guenever, in hearing of the king and
them all: Madam, now I must depart from you and this noble fellowship
for ever; and sithen it is so, I beseech you to pray for me, and say me
well; and if ye be hard bestead by any false tongues, lightly my lady
send me word, and if any knight's hands may deliver you by battle, I
shall deliver you. And therewithal Sir Launcelot kissed the queen; and
then he said all openly. Now let see what he be in this place that dare
say the queen is not true unto my lord Arthur, let see who will speak an
he dare speak. And therewith he brought the queen to the king, and then
Sir Launcelot took his leave and departed; and there was neither king,
duke, nor earl, baron nor knight, lady nor gentlewoman, but all they
wept as people out of their mind, except Sir Gawaine. And when the noble
Sir Launcelot took his horse to ride out of Carlisle, there was sobbing
and weeping for pure dole of his departing; and so he took his way unto
Joyous Gard. And then ever after he called it the Dolorous Gard. And
thus departed Sir Launcelot from the court for ever.

And so when he came to Joyous Gard he called his fellowship unto him,
and asked them what they would do Then they answered all wholly together
with one voice they would as he would do. My fair fellows, said Sir
Launcelot, I must depart out of this most noble realm, and now I shall
depart it grieveth me sore, for I shall depart with no worship, for a
flemed man departed never out of a realm with no worship; and that is my
heaviness, for ever I fear after my days that men shall chronicle upon
me that I was flemed out of this land; and else, my fair lords, be ye
sure, an I had not dread shame, my lady, Queen Guenever, and I should
never have departed.

Then spake many noble knights, as Sir Palomides, Sir Safere his brother,
and Sir Bellingere le Beuse, and Sir Urre, with Sir Lavaine, with many
others: Sir, an ye be so disposed to abide in this land we will never
fail you; and if ye list not to abide in this land there nis none of the
good knights that here be will fail you, for many causes. One is, all
we that be not of your blood shall never be welcome to the court.
And sithen it liked us to take a part with you in your distress and
heaviness in this realm, wit you well it shall like us as well to go in
other countries with you, and there to take such part as ye do. My fair
lords, said Sir Launcelot, I well understand you, and as I can, thank
you: and ye shall understand, such livelihood as I am born unto I shall
depart with you in this manner of wise; that is for to say, I shall
depart all my livelihood and all my lands freely among you, and I myself
will have as little as any of you, for have I sufficient that may long
to my person, I will ask none other rich array; and I trust to God to
maintain you on my lands as well as ever were maintained any knights.
Then spake all the knights at once: He have shame that will leave you;
for we all understand in this realm will be now no quiet, but ever
strife and debate, now the fellowship of the Round Table is broken; for
by the noble fellowship of the Round Table was King Arthur upborne, and
by their noblesse the king and all his realm was in quiet and rest, and
a great part they said all was because of your noblesse.



CHAPTER XVIII. How Sir Launcelot passed over the sea, and how he made
great lords of the knights that went with him.


TRULY, said Sir Launcelot, I thank you all of your good saying, howbeit,
I wot well, in me was not all the stability of this realm, but in that
I might I did my devoir; and well I am sure I knew many rebellions in
my days that by me were peaced, and I trow we all shall hear of them in
short space, and that me sore repenteth. For ever I dread me, said Sir
Launcelot, that Sir Mordred will make trouble, for he is passing envious
and applieth him to trouble. So they were accorded to go with Sir
Launcelot to his lands; and to make short tale, they trussed, and paid
all that would ask them; and wholly an hundred knights departed with Sir
Launcelot at once, and made their avows they would never leave him for
weal nor for woe.

And so they shipped at Cardiff, and sailed unto Benwick: some men call
it Bayonne, and some men call it Beaune, where the wine of Beaune is.
But to say the sooth, Sir Launcelot and his nephews were lords of all
France, and of all the lands that longed unto France; he and his kindred
rejoiced it all through Sir Launcelot's noble prowess. And then Sir
Launcelot stuffed and furnished and garnished all his noble towns and
castles. Then all the people of those lands came to Sir Launcelot on
foot and hands. And so when he had stablished all these countries, he
shortly called a parliament; and there he crowned Sir Lionel, King of
France; and Sir Bors [he] crowned him king of all King Claudas' lands;
and Sir Ector de Maris, that was Sir Launcelot's youngest brother,
he crowned him King of Benwick, and king of all Guienne, that was Sir
Launcelot's own land. And he made Sir Ector prince of them all, and thus
he departed.

Then Sir Launcelot advanced all his noble knights, and first he advanced
them of his blood; that was Sir Blamore, he made him Duke of Limosin
in Guienne and Sir Bleoberis he made him Duke of Poictiers, and Sir
Gahalantine he made him Duke of Querne, and Sir Galihodin he made him
Duke of Sentonge, and Sir Galihud he made him Earl of Perigot, and Sir
Menadeuke he made him Earl of Roerge, and Sir Villiars the Valiant he
made him Earl of Bearn, and Sir Hebes le Renoumes he made him Earl of
Comange, and Sir Lavaine he made him Earl of Arminak, and Sir Urre he
made him Earl of Estrake, and Sir Neroneus he made him Earl of Pardiak,
and Sir Plenorius he made Earl of Foise, and Sir Selises of the Dolorous
Tower he made him Earl of Masauke, and Sir Melias de Lile he made him
Earl of Tursauk, and Sir Bellangere le Beuse he made Earl of the Launds,
and Sir Palomides he made him Duke of the Provence, and Sir Safere
he made him Duke of Landok, and Sir Clegis he gave him the Earldom of
Agente, and Sir Sadok he gave the Earldom of Surlat, and Sir Dinas le
Seneschal he made him Duke of Anjou, and Sir Clarrus he made him Duke of
Normandy. Thus Sir Launcelot rewarded his noble knights and many more,
that meseemeth it were too long to rehearse.



CHAPTER XIX. How King Arthur and Sir Gawaine made a great host ready to
go over sea to make war on Sir Launcelot.


SO leave we Sir Launcelot in his lands, and his noble knights with him,
and return we again unto King Arthur and to Sir Gawaine, that made a
great host ready, to the number of threescore thousand; and all thing
was made ready for their shipping to pass over the sea, and so they
shipped at Cardiff. And there King Arthur made Sir Mordred chief ruler
of all England, and also he put Queen Guenever under his governance;
because Sir Mordred was King Arthur's son, he gave him the rule of his
land and of his wife; and so the king passed the sea and landed upon Sir
Launcelot's lands, and there he brent and wasted, through the vengeance
of Sir Gawaine, all that they might overrun.

When this word came to Sir Launcelot, that King Arthur and Sir Gawaine
were landed upon his lands, and made a full great destruction and waste,
then spake Sir Bors, and said: My lord Sir Launcelot, it is shame that
we suffer them thus to ride over our lands, for wit you well, suffer ye
them as long as ye will, they will do you no favour an they may handle
you. Then said Sir Lionel that was wary and wise: My lord Sir Launcelot,
I will give this counsel, let us keep our strong walled towns until they
have hunger and cold, and blow on their nails; and then let us freshly
set upon them, and shred them down as sheep in a field, that aliens may
take example for ever how they land upon our lands.

Then spake King Bagdemagus to Sir Launcelot: Sir, your courtesy will
shende us all, and thy courtesy hath waked all this sorrow; for an they
thus over our lands ride, they shall by process bring us all to
nought whilst we thus in holes us hide. Then said Sir Galihud unto Sir
Launcelot: Sir, here be knights come of kings' blood, that will not long
droop, and they are within these walls; therefore give us leave, like as
we be knights, to meet them in the field, and we shall slay them, that
they shall curse the time that ever they came into this country. Then
spake seven brethren of North Wales, and they were seven noble knights;
a man might seek in seven kings' lands or he might find such seven
knights. Then they all said at once: Sir Launcelot, for Christ's sake
let us out ride with Sir Galihud, for we be never wont to cower in
castles nor in noble towns.

Then spake Sir Launcelot, that was master and governor of them all: My
fair lords, wit you well I am full loath to ride out with my knights for
shedding of Christian blood; and yet my lands I understand be full bare
for to sustain any host awhile, for the mighty wars that whilom made
King Claudas upon this country, upon my father King Ban, and on mine
uncle King Bors; howbeit we will as at this time keep our strong walls,
and I shall send a messenger unto my lord Arthur, a treaty for to take;
for better is peace than always war.

So Sir Launcelot sent forth a damosel and a dwarf with her, requiring
King Arthur to leave his warring upon his lands; and so she start upon
a palfrey, and the dwarf ran by her side. And when she came to the
pavilion of King Arthur, there she alighted; and there met her a gentle
knight, Sir Lucan the Butler, and said: Fair damosel, come ye from Sir
Launcelot du Lake? Yea sir, she said, therefore I come hither to speak
with my lord the king. Alas, said Sir Lucan, my lord Arthur would love
Launcelot, but Sir Gawaine will not suffer him. And then he said: I pray
to God, damosel, ye may speed well, for all we that be about the king
would Sir Launcelot did best of any knight living. And so with this
Lucan led the damosel unto the king where he sat with Sir Gawaine, for
to hear what she would say. So when she had told her tale, the water ran
out of the king's eyen, and all the lords were full glad for to advise
the king as to be accorded with Sir Launcelot, save all only Sir
Gawaine, and he said: My lord mine uncle, what will ye do? Will ye now
turn again, now ye are passed thus far upon this journey? all the
world will speak of your villainy. Nay, said Arthur, wit thou well, Sir
Gawaine, I will do as ye will advise me; and yet meseemeth, said Arthur,
his fair proffers were not good to be refused; but sithen I am come so
far upon this journey, I will that ye give the damosel her answer, for I
may not speak to her for pity, for her proffers be so large.



CHAPTER XX. What message Sir Gawaine sent to Sir Launcelot; and how King
Arthur laid siege to Benwick, and other matters.


THEN Sir Gawaine said to the damosel thus: Damosel, say ye to Sir
Launcelot that it is waste labour now to sue to mine uncle; for tell
him, an he would have made any labour for peace, he should have made
it or this time, for tell him now it is too late; and say that I, Sir
Gawaine, so send him word, that I promise him by the faith I owe unto
God and to knighthood, I shall never leave him till he have slain me
or I him. So the damosel wept and departed, and there were many weeping
eyen; and so Sir Lucan brought the damosel to her palfrey, and so she
came to Sir Launcelot where he was among all his knights. And when Sir
Launcelot had heard this answer, then the tears ran down by his cheeks.
And then his noble knights strode about him, and said: Sir Launcelot,
wherefore make ye such cheer, think what ye are, and what men we are,
and let us noble knights match them in midst of the field. That may be
lightly done, said Sir Launcelot, but I was never so loath to do battle,
and therefore I pray you, fair sirs, as ye love me, be ruled as I will
have you, for I will always flee that noble king that made me knight.
And when I may no further, I must needs defend me, and that will be more
worship for me and us all than to compare with that noble king whom we
have all served. Then they held their language, and as that night they
took their rest.

And upon the morn early, in the dawning of the day, as knights looked
out, they saw the city of Benwick besieged round about; and fast they
began to set up ladders, and then they defied them out of the town, and
beat them from the walls wightly. Then came forth Sir Gawaine well armed
upon a stiff steed, and he came before the chief gate, with his spear
in his hand, crying: Sir Launcelot, where art thou? is there none of you
proud knights dare break a spear with me? Then Sir Bors made him ready,
and came forth out of the town, and there Sir Gawaine encountered with
Sir Bors. And at that time he smote Sir Bors down from his horse, and
almost he had slain him; and so Sir Bors was rescued and borne into the
town. Then came forth Sir Lionel, brother to Sir Bors, and thought to
revenge him; and either feutred their spears, and ran together; and
there they met spitefully, but Sir Gawaine had such grace that he smote
Sir Lionel down, and wounded him there passing sore; and then Sir Lionel
was rescued and borne into the town. And this Sir Gawaine came every
day, and he failed not but that he smote down one knight or other.

So thus they endured half a year, and much slaughter was of people on
both parties. Then it befell upon a day, Sir Gawaine came afore the
gates armed at all pieces on a noble horse, with a great spear in his
hand; and then he cried with a loud voice: Where art thou now, thou
false traitor, Sir Launcelot? Why hidest thou thyself within holes and
walls like a coward? Look out now, thou false traitor knight, and here
I shall revenge upon thy body the death of my three brethren. All this
language heard Sir Launcelot every deal; and his kin and his knights
drew about him, and all they said at once to Sir Launcelot: Sir
Launcelot, now must ye defend you like a knight, or else ye be shamed
for ever; for, now ye be called upon treason, it is time for you to
stir, for ye have slept over-long and suffered over-much. So God me
help, said Sir Launcelot, I am right heavy of Sir Gawaine's words, for
now he charged me with a great charge; and therefore I wot it as well as
ye, that I must defend me, or else to be recreant.

Then Sir Launcelot bade saddle his strongest horse, and bade let
fetch his arms, and bring all unto the gate of the tower; and then Sir
Launcelot spake on high unto King Arthur, and said: My lord Arthur, and
noble king that made me knight, wit you well I am right heavy for your
sake, that ye thus sue upon me; and always I forbare you, for an I would
have been vengeable, I might have met you in midst of the field, and
there to have made your boldest knights full tame. And now I have
forborne half a year, and suffered you and Sir Gawaine to do what ye
would do; and now may I endure it no longer, for now must I needs defend
myself, insomuch Sir Gawaine hath appealed me of treason; the which is
greatly against my will that ever I should fight against any of your
blood, but now I may not forsake it, I am driven thereto as a beast till
a bay.

Then Sir Gawaine said: Sir Launcelot, an thou durst do battle, leave thy
babbling and come off, and let us ease our hearts. Then Sir Launcelot
armed him lightly, and mounted upon his horse, and either of the knights
gat great spears in their hands, and the host without stood still all
apart, and the noble knights came out of the city by a great number,
insomuch that when Arthur saw the number of men and knights, he
marvelled, and said to himself: Alas, that ever Sir Launcelot was
against me, for now I see he hath forborne me. And so the covenant was
made, there should no man nigh them, nor deal with them, till the one
were dead or yelden.



CHAPTER XXI. How Sir Launcelot and Sir Gawaine did battle together, and
how Sir Gawaine was overthrown and hurt.


THEN Sir Gawaine and Sir Launcelot departed a great way asunder, and
then they came together with all their horses' might as they might run,
and either smote other in midst of their shields; but the knights were
so strong, and their spears so big, that their horses might not endure
their buffets, and so their horses fell to the earth; and then they
avoided their horses, and dressed their shields afore them. Then they
stood together and gave many sad strokes on divers places of their
bodies, that the blood brast out on many sides and places. Then had Sir
Gawaine such a grace and gift that an holy man had given to him, that
every day in the year, from underne till high noon, his might increased
those three hours as much as thrice his strength, and that caused
Sir Gawaine to win great honour. And for his sake King Arthur made an
ordinance, that all manner of battles for any quarrels that should be
done afore King Arthur should begin at underne; and all was done for Sir
Gawaine's love, that by likelihood, if Sir Gawaine were on the one part,
he should have the better in battle while his strength endureth three
hours; but there were but few knights that time living that knew this
advantage that Sir Gawaine had, but King Arthur all only.

Thus Sir Launcelot fought with Sir Gawaine, and when Sir Launcelot felt
his might evermore increase, Sir Launcelot wondered and dread him sore
to be shamed. For as the French book saith, Sir Launcelot weened, when
he felt Sir Gawaine double his strength, that he had been a fiend and
none earthly man; wherefore Sir Launcelot traced and traversed, and
covered himself with his shield, and kept his might and his braide
during three hours; and that while Sir Gawaine gave him many sad brunts,
and many sad strokes, that all the knights that beheld Sir Launcelot
marvelled how that he might endure him; but full little understood they
that travail that Sir Launcelot had for to endure him. And then when
it was past noon Sir Gawaine had no more but his own might. When Sir
Launcelot felt him so come down, then he stretched him up and stood
near Sir Gawaine, and said thus: My lord Sir Gawaine, now I feel ye have
done; now my lord Sir Gawaine, I must do my part, for many great and
grievous strokes I have endured you this day with great pain.

Then Sir Launcelot doubled his strokes and gave Sir Gawaine such a
buffet on the helmet that he fell down on his side, and Sir Launcelot
withdrew him from him. Why withdrawest thou thee? said Sir Gawaine;
now turn again, false traitor knight, and slay me, for an thou leave me
thus, when I am whole I shall do battle with thee again. I shall endure
you, Sir, by God's grace, but wit thou well, Sir Gawaine, I will never
smite a felled knight. And so Sir Launcelot went into the city; and Sir
Gawaine was borne into King Arthur's pavilion, and leeches were brought
to him, and searched and salved with soft ointments. And then Sir
Launcelot said: Now have good day, my lord the king, for wit you well ye
win no worship at these walls; and if I would my knights outbring, there
should many a man die. Therefore, my lord Arthur, remember you of old
kindness; and however I fare, Jesu be your guide in all places.



CHAPTER XXII. Of the sorrow that King Arthur made for the war, and of
another battle where also Sir Gawaine had the worse.


ALAS, said the king, that ever this unhappy war was begun; for ever Sir
Launcelot forbeareth me in all places, and in likewise my kin, and that
is seen well this day by my nephew Sir Gawaine. Then King Arthur fell
sick for sorrow of Sir Gawaine, that he was so sore hurt, and because
of the war betwixt him and Sir Launcelot. So then they on King Arthur's
part kept the siege with little war withoutforth; and they withinforth
kept their walls, and defended them when need was. Thus Sir Gawaine lay
sick three weeks in his tents, with all manner of leech-craft that might
be had. And as soon as Sir Gawaine might go and ride, he armed him at
all points, and start upon a courser, and gat a spear in his hand, and
so he came riding afore the chief gate of Benwick; and there he cried
on height: Where art thou, Sir Launcelot? Come forth, thou false traitor
knight and recreant, for I am here, Sir Gawaine, will prove this that I
say on thee.

All this language Sir Launcelot heard, and then he said thus: Sir
Gawaine, me repents of your foul saying, that ye will not cease of your
language; for you wot well, Sir Gawaine, I know your might and all that
ye may do; and well ye wot, Sir Gawaine, ye may not greatly hurt me.
Come down, traitor knight, said he, and make it good the contrary with
thy hands, for it mishapped me the last battle to be hurt of thy hands;
therefore wit thou well I am come this day to make amends, for I ween
this day to lay thee as low as thou laidest me. Jesu defend me, said Sir
Launcelot, that ever I be so far in your danger as ye have been in mine,
for then my days were done. But Sir Gawaine, said Sir Launcelot, ye
shall not think that I tarry long, but sithen that ye so unknightly call
me of treason, ye shall have both your hands full of me. And then Sir
Launcelot armed him at all points, and mounted upon his horse, and gat
a great spear in his hand, and rode out at the gate. And both the hosts
were assembled, of them without and of them within, and stood in array
full manly. And both parties were charged to hold them still, to see and
behold the battle of these two noble knights. And then they laid their
spears in their rests, and they came together as thunder, and Sir
Gawaine brake his spear upon Sir Launcelot in a hundred pieces unto
his hand; and Sir Launcelot smote him with a greater might, that Sir
Gawaine's horse's feet raised, and so the horse and he fell to the
earth. Then Sir Gawaine deliverly avoided his horse, and put his shield
afore him, and eagerly drew his sword, and bade Sir Launcelot: Alight,
traitor knight, for if this mare's son hath failed me, wit thou well a
king's son and a queen's son shall not fail thee.

Then Sir Launcelot avoided his horse, and dressed his shield afore
him, and drew his sword; and so stood they together and gave many sad
strokes, that all men on both parties had thereof passing great
wonder. But when Sir Launcelot felt Sir Gawaine's might so marvellously
increase, he then withheld his courage and his wind, and kept himself
wonder covert of his might; and under his shield he traced and traversed
here and there, to break Sir Gawaine's strokes and his courage; and Sir
Gawaine enforced himself with all his might and power to destroy Sir
Launcelot; for as the French book saith, ever as Sir Gawaine's might
increased, right so increased his wind and his evil will. Thus Sir
Gawaine did great pain unto Sir Launcelot three hours, that he had right
great pain for to defend him.

And when the three hours were passed, that Sir Launcelot felt that Sir
Gawaine was come to his own proper strength, then Sir Launcelot said
unto Sir Gawaine: Now have I proved you twice, that ye are a full
dangerous knight, and a wonderful man of your might; and many wonderful
deeds have ye done in your days, for by your might increasing you have
deceived many a full noble and valiant knight; and, now I feel that ye
have done your mighty deeds, now wit you well I must do my deeds.
And then Sir Launcelot stood near Sir Gawaine, and then Sir Launcelot
doubled his strokes; and Sir Gawaine defended him mightily, but
nevertheless Sir Launcelot smote such a stroke upon Sir Gawaine's helm,
and upon the old wound, that Sir Gawaine sinked down upon his one
side in a swoon. And anon as he did awake he waved and foined at Sir
Launcelot as he lay, and said: Traitor knight, wit thou well I am not
yet slain, come thou near me and perform this battle unto the uttermost.
I will no more do than I have done, said Sir Launcelot, for when I see
you on foot I will do battle upon you all the while I see you stand on
your feet; but for to smite a wounded man that may not stand, God defend
me from such a shame. And then he turned him and went his way toward the
city. And Sir Gawaine evermore calling him traitor knight, and said:
Wit thou well Sir Launcelot, when I am whole I shall do battle with thee
again, for I shall never leave thee till that one of us be slain. Thus
as this siege endured, and as Sir Gawaine lay sick near a month; and
when he was well recovered and ready within three days to do battle
again with Sir Launcelot, right so came tidings unto Arthur from England
that made King Arthur and all his host to remove.

_Here followeth the xxi. book._



BOOK XXI.



CHAPTER I. How Sir Mordred presumed and took on him to be King of
England, and would have married the queen, his father's wife.


AS Sir Mordred was ruler of all England, he did do make letters as
though that they came from beyond the sea, and the letters specified
that King Arthur was slain in battle with Sir Launcelot. Wherefore Sir
Mordred made a parliament, and called the lords together, and there he
made them to choose him king; and so was he crowned at Canterbury,
and held a feast there fifteen days; and afterward he drew him unto
Winchester, and there he took the Queen Guenever, and said plainly that
he would wed her which was his uncle's wife and his father's wife. And
so he made ready for the feast, and a day prefixed that they should be
wedded; wherefore Queen Guenever was passing heavy. But she durst not
discover her heart, but spake fair, and agreed to Sir Mordred's will.
Then she desired of Sir Mordred for to go to London, to buy all manner
of things that longed unto the wedding. And because of her fair speech
Sir Mordred trusted her well enough, and gave her leave to go. And so
when she came to London she took the Tower of London, and suddenly in
all haste possible she stuffed it with all manner of victual, and well
garnished it with men, and so kept it.

Then when Sir Mordred wist and understood how he was beguiled, he was
passing wroth out of measure. And a short tale for to make, he went
and laid a mighty siege about the Tower of London, and made many great
assaults thereat, and threw many great engines unto them, and shot great
guns. But all might not prevail Sir Mordred, for Queen Guenever would
never for fair speech nor for foul, would never trust to come in his
hands again.

Then came the Bishop of Canterbury, the which was a noble clerk and an
holy man, and thus he said to Sir Mordred: Sir, what will ye do? will
ye first displease God and sithen shame yourself, and all knighthood? Is
not King Arthur your uncle, no farther but your mother's brother, and on
her himself King Arthur begat you upon his own sister, therefore how
may you wed your father's wife? Sir, said the noble clerk, leave this
opinion or I shall curse you with book and bell and candle. Do thou thy
worst, said Sir Mordred, wit thou well I shall defy thee. Sir, said the
Bishop, and wit you well I shall not fear me to do that me ought to do.
Also where ye noise where my lord Arthur is slain, and that is not so,
and therefore ye will make a foul work in this land. Peace, thou false
priest, said Sir Mordred, for an thou chafe me any more I shall make
strike off thy head. So the Bishop departed and did the cursing in the
most orgulist wise that might be done. And then Sir Mordred sought the
Bishop of Canterbury, for to have slain him. Then the Bishop fled, and
took part of his goods with him, and went nigh unto Glastonbury; and
there he was as priest hermit in a chapel, and lived in poverty and in
holy prayers, for well he understood that mischievous war was at hand.

Then Sir Mordred sought on Queen Guenever by letters and sonds, and by
fair means and foul means, for to have her to come out of the Tower of
London; but all this availed not, for she answered him shortly, openly
and privily, that she had liefer slay herself than to be married with
him. Then came word to Sir Mordred that King Arthur had araised the
siege for Sir Launcelot, and he was coming homeward with a great host,
to be avenged upon Sir Mordred; wherefore Sir Mordred made write writs
to all the barony of this land, and much people drew to him. For then
was the common voice among them that with Arthur was none other life but
war and strife, and with Sir Mordred was great joy and bliss. Thus was
Sir Arthur depraved, and evil said of. And many there were that King
Arthur had made up of nought, and given them lands, might not then say
him a good word. Lo ye all Englishmen, see ye not what a mischief here
was! for he that was the most king and knight of the world, and
most loved the fellowship of noble knights, and by him they were all
upholden, now might not these Englishmen hold them content with him. Lo
thus was the old custom and usage of this land; and also men say that
we of this land have not yet lost nor forgotten that custom and usage.
Alas, this is a great default of us Englishmen, for there may no thing
please us no term. And so fared the people at that time, they were
better pleased with Sir Mordred than they were with King Arthur; and
much people drew unto Sir Mordred, and said they would abide with him
for better and for worse. And so Sir Mordred drew with a great host to
Dover, for there he heard say that Sir Arthur would arrive, and so he
thought to beat his own father from his lands; and the most part of all
England held with Sir Mordred, the people were so new-fangle.



CHAPTER II. How after that King Arthur had tidings, he returned and came
to Dover, where Sir Mordred met him to let his landing; and of the death
of Sir Gawaine.


AND so as Sir Mordred was at Dover with his host, there came King Arthur
with a great navy of ships, and galleys, and carracks. And there was Sir
Mordred ready awaiting upon his landing, to let his own father to land
upon the land that he was king over. Then there was launching of great
boats and small, and full of noble men of arms; and there was much
slaughter of gentle knights, and many a full bold baron was laid full
low, on both parties. But King Arthur was so courageous that there might
no manner of knights let him to land, and his knights fiercely followed
him; and so they landed maugre Sir Mordred and all his power, and put
Sir Mordred aback, that he fled and all his people.

So when this battle was done, King Arthur let bury his people that were
dead. And then was noble Sir Gawaine found in a great boat, lying more
than half dead When Sir Arthur wist that Sir Gawaine was laid so low; he
went unto him; and there the king made sorrow out of measure, and took
Sir Gawaine in his arms, and thrice he there swooned. And then when
he awaked, he said: Alas, Sir Gawaine, my sister's son, here now thou
liest; the man in the world that I loved most; and now is my joy gone,
for now, my nephew Sir Gawaine, I will discover me unto your person: in
Sir Launcelot and you I most had my joy, and mine affiance, and now have
I lost my joy of you both; wherefore all mine earthly joy is gone from
me. Mine uncle King Arthur, said Sir Gawaine, wit you well my death-day
is come, and all is through mine own hastiness and wilfulness; for I am
smitten upon the old wound the which Sir Launcelot gave me, on the which
I feel well I must die; and had Sir Launcelot been with you as he was,
this unhappy war had never begun; and of all this am I causer, for Sir
Launcelot and his blood, through their prowess, held all your cankered
enemies in subjection and daunger. And now, said Sir Gawaine, ye
shall miss Sir Launcelot. But alas, I would not accord with him, and
therefore, said Sir Gawaine, I pray you, fair uncle, that I may have
paper, pen, and ink, that I may write to Sir Launcelot a cedle with mine
own hands.

And then when paper and ink was brought, then Gawaine was set up weakly
by King Arthur, for he was shriven a little to-fore; and then he wrote
thus, as the French book maketh mention: Unto Sir Launcelot, flower
of all noble knights that ever I heard of or saw by my days, I, Sir
Gawaine, King Lot's son of Orkney, sister's son unto the noble King
Arthur, send thee greeting, and let thee have knowledge that the tenth
day of May I was smitten upon the old wound that thou gavest me afore
the city of Benwick, and through the same wound that thou gavest me I
am come to my death-day. And I will that all the world wit, that I, Sir
Gawaine, knight of the Table Round, sought my death, and not through thy
deserving, but it was mine own seeking; wherefore I beseech thee, Sir
Launcelot, to return again unto this realm, and see my tomb, and pray
some prayer more or less for my soul. And this same day that I wrote
this cedle, I was hurt to the death in the same wound, the which I had
of thy hand, Sir Launcelot; for of a more nobler man might I not be
slain. Also Sir Launcelot, for all the love that ever was betwixt us,
make no tarrying, but come over the sea in all haste, that thou mayst
with thy noble knights rescue that noble king that made thee knight,
that is my lord Arthur; for he is full straitly bestead with a false
traitor, that is my half-brother, Sir Mordred; and he hath let crown him
king, and would have wedded my lady Queen Guenever, and so had he done
had she not put herself in the Tower of London. And so the tenth day of
May last past, my lord Arthur and we all landed upon them at Dover; and
there we put that false traitor, Sir Mordred, to flight, and there it
misfortuned me to be stricken upon thy stroke. And at the date of this
letter was written, but two hours and a half afore my death, written
with mine own hand, and so subscribed with part of my heart's blood. And
I require thee, most famous knight of the world, that thou wilt see my
tomb. And then Sir Gawaine wept, and King Arthur wept; and then they
swooned both. And when they awaked both, the king made Sir Gawaine to
receive his Saviour. And then Sir Gawaine prayed the king for to send
for Sir Launcelot, and to cherish him above all other knights.

And so at the hour of noon Sir Gawaine yielded up the spirit; and then
the king let inter him in a chapel within Dover Castle; and there yet
all men may see the skull of him, and the same wound is seen that Sir
Launcelot gave him in battle. Then was it told the king that Sir Mordred
had pight a new field upon Barham Down. And upon the morn the king rode
thither to him, and there was a great battle betwixt them, and much
people was slain on both parties; but at the last Sir Arthur's party
stood best, and Sir Mordred and his party fled unto Canterbury.



CHAPTER III. How after, Sir Gawaine's ghost appeared to King Arthur, and
warned him that he should not fight that day.


AND then the king let search all the towns for his knights that were
slain, and interred them; and salved them with soft salves that so sore
were wounded. Then much people drew unto King Arthur. And then they
said that Sir Mordred warred upon King Arthur with wrong. And then
King Arthur drew him with his host down by the seaside, westward toward
Salisbury; and there was a day assigned betwixt King Arthur and Sir
Mordred, that they should meet upon a down beside Salisbury, and not far
from the seaside; and this day was assigned on a Monday after Trinity
Sunday, whereof King Arthur was passing glad, that he might be avenged
upon Sir Mordred. Then Sir Mordred araised much people about London,
for they of Kent, Southsex, and Surrey, Estsex, and of Southfolk, and
of Northfolk, held the most part with Sir Mordred; and many a full noble
knight drew unto Sir Mordred and to the king: but they that loved Sir
Launcelot drew unto Sir Mordred.

So upon Trinity Sunday at night, King Arthur dreamed a wonderful dream,
and that was this: that him seemed he sat upon a chaflet in a chair,
and the chair was fast to a wheel, and thereupon sat King Arthur in the
richest cloth of gold that might be made; and the king thought there was
under him, far from him, an hideous deep black water, and therein were
all manner of serpents, and worms, and wild beasts, foul and horrible;
and suddenly the king thought the wheel turned up-so-down, and he fell
among the serpents, and every beast took him by a limb; and then the
king cried as he lay in his bed and slept: Help. And then knights,
squires, and yeomen, awaked the king; and then he was so amazed that he
wist not where he was; and then he fell a-slumbering again, not sleeping
nor thoroughly waking. So the king seemed verily that there came Sir
Gawaine unto him with a number of fair ladies with him. And when King
Arthur saw him, then he said: Welcome, my sister's son; I weened thou
hadst been dead, and now I see thee alive, much am I beholding unto
Almighty Jesu. O fair nephew and my sister's son, what be these ladies
that hither be come with you? Sir, said Sir Gawaine, all these be ladies
for whom I have foughten when I was man living, and all these are those
that I did battle for in righteous quarrel; and God hath given them that
grace at their great prayer, because I did battle for them, that they
should bring me hither unto you: thus much hath God given me leave, for
to warn you of your death; for an ye fight as to-morn with Sir Mordred,
as ye both have assigned, doubt ye not ye must be slain, and the
most part of your people on both parties. And for the great grace and
goodness that almighty Jesu hath unto you, and for pity of you, and many
more other good men there shall be slain, God hath sent me to you of
his special grace, to give you warning that in no wise ye do battle
as to-morn, but that ye take a treaty for a month day; and proffer you
largely, so as to-morn to be put in a delay. For within a month
shall come Sir Launcelot with all his noble knights, and rescue you
worshipfully, and slay Sir Mordred, and all that ever will hold with
him. Then Sir Gawaine and all the ladies vanished.

And anon the king called upon his knights, squires, and yeomen, and
charged them wightly to fetch his noble lords and wise bishops unto
him. And when they were come, the king told them his avision, what Sir
Gawaine had told him, and warned him that if he fought on the morn he
should be slain. Then the king commanded Sir Lucan the Butler, and his
brother Sir Bedivere, with two bishops with them, and charged them in
any wise, an they might, Take a treaty for a month day with Sir Mordred,
and spare not, proffer him lands and goods as much as ye think best. So
then they departed, and came to Sir Mordred, where he had a grim host of
an hundred thousand men. And there they entreated Sir Mordred long time;
and at the last Sir Mordred was agreed for to have Cornwall and Kent, by
Arthur's days: after, all England, after the days of King Arthur.



CHAPTER IV. How by misadventure of an adder the battle began, where
Mordred was slain, and Arthur hurt to the death.


THEN were they condescended that King Arthur and Sir Mordred should
meet betwixt both their hosts, and everych of them should bring fourteen
persons; and they came with this word unto Arthur. Then said he: I am
glad that this is done: and so he went into the field. And when Arthur
should depart, he warned all his host that an they see any sword drawn:
Look ye come on fiercely, and slay that traitor, Sir Mordred, for I in
no wise trust him. In like wise Sir Mordred warned his host that: An ye
see any sword drawn, look that ye come on fiercely, and so slay all
that ever before you standeth; for in no wise I will not trust for this
treaty, for I know well my father will be avenged on me. And so they
met as their appointment was, and so they were agreed and accorded
thoroughly; and wine was fetched, and they drank. Right soon came an
adder out of a little heath bush, and it stung a knight on the foot. And
when the knight felt him stung, he looked down and saw the adder, and
then he drew his sword to slay the adder, and thought of none other
harm. And when the host on both parties saw that sword drawn, then they
blew beams, trumpets, and horns, and shouted grimly. And so both hosts
dressed them together. And King Arthur took his horse, and said: Alas
this unhappy day! and so rode to his party. And Sir Mordred in like
wise. And never was there seen a more dolefuller battle in no Christian
land; for there was but rushing and riding, foining and striking, and
many a grim word was there spoken either to other, and many a deadly
stroke. But ever King Arthur rode throughout the battle of Sir Mordred
many times, and did full nobly as a noble king should, and at all times
he fainted never; and Sir Mordred that day put him in devoir, and in
great peril. And thus they fought all the long day, and never stinted
till the noble knights were laid to the cold earth; and ever they fought
still till it was near night, and by that time was there an hundred
thousand laid dead upon the down. Then was Arthur wood wroth out of
measure, when he saw his people so slain from him.

Then the king looked about him, and then was he ware, of all his host
and of all his good knights, were left no more alive but two knights;
that one was Sir Lucan the Butler, and his brother Sir Bedivere, and
they were full sore wounded. Jesu mercy, said the king, where are all my
noble knights become? Alas that ever I should see this doleful day, for
now, said Arthur, I am come to mine end. But would to God that I wist
where were that traitor Sir Mordred, that hath caused all this mischief.
Then was King Arthur ware where Sir Mordred leaned upon his sword among
a great heap of dead men. Now give me my spear, said Arthur unto Sir
Lucan, for yonder I have espied the traitor that all this woe hath
wrought. Sir, let him be, said Sir Lucan, for he is unhappy; and if ye
pass this unhappy day ye shall be right well revenged upon him. Good
lord, remember ye of your night's dream, and what the spirit of
Sir Gawaine told you this night, yet God of his great goodness hath
preserved you hitherto. Therefore, for God's sake, my lord, leave off
by this, for blessed be God ye have won the field, for here we be three
alive, and with Sir Mordred is none alive; and if ye leave off now this
wicked day of destiny is past. Tide me death, betide me life, saith the
king, now I see him yonder alone he shall never escape mine hands, for
at a better avail shall I never have him. God speed you well, said Sir
Bedivere.

Then the king gat his spear in both his hands, and ran toward Sir
Mordred, crying: Traitor, now is thy death-day come. And when Sir
Mordred heard Sir Arthur, he ran until him with his sword drawn in his
hand. And there King Arthur smote Sir Mordred under the shield, with a
foin of his spear, throughout the body, more than a fathom. And when
Sir Mordred felt that he had his death wound he thrust himself with the
might that he had up to the bur of King Arthur's spear. And right so he
smote his father Arthur, with his sword holden in both his hands, on the
side of the head, that the sword pierced the helmet and the brain-pan,
and therewithal Sir Mordred fell stark dead to the earth; and the noble
Arthur fell in a swoon to the earth, and there he swooned ofttimes. And
Sir Lucan the Butler and Sir Bedivere ofttimes heaved him up. And so
weakly they led him betwixt them both, to a little chapel not far from
the seaside. And when the king was there he thought him well eased.

Then heard they people cry in the field. Now go thou, Sir Lucan, said
the king, and do me to wit what betokens that noise in the field. So Sir
Lucan departed, for he was grievously wounded in many places. And so
as he yede, he saw and hearkened by the moonlight, how that pillers and
robbers were come into the field, to pill and to rob many a full noble
knight of brooches, and beads, of many a good ring, and of many a rich
jewel; and who that were not dead all out, there they slew them for
their harness and their riches. When Sir Lucan understood this work, he
came to the king as soon as he might, and told him all what he had heard
and seen. Therefore by my rede, said Sir Lucan, it is best that we bring
you to some town. I would it were so, said the king.



CHAPTER V. How King Arthur commanded to cast his sword Excalibur into
the water, and how he was delivered to ladies in a barge.


BUT I may not stand, mine head works so. Ah Sir Launcelot, said King
Arthur, this day have I sore missed thee: alas, that ever I was against
thee, for now have I my death, whereof Sir Gawaine me warned in my
dream. Then Sir Lucan took up the king the one part, and Sir Bedivere
the other part, and in the lifting the king swooned; and Sir Lucan fell
in a swoon with the lift, that the part of his guts fell out of his
body, and therewith the noble knight's heart brast. And when the king
awoke, he beheld Sir Lucan, how he lay foaming at the mouth, and part
of his guts lay at his feet. Alas, said the king, this is to me a full
heavy sight, to see this noble duke so die for my sake, for he would
have holpen me, that had more need of help than I. Alas, he would not
complain him, his heart was so set to help me: now Jesu have mercy upon
his soul! Then Sir Bedivere wept for the death of his brother. Leave
this mourning and weeping, said the king, for all this will not avail
me, for wit thou well an I might live myself, the death of Sir Lucan
would grieve me evermore; but my time hieth fast, said the king.
Therefore, said Arthur unto Sir Bedivere, take thou Excalibur, my good
sword, and go with it to yonder water side, and when thou comest there
I charge thee throw my sword in that water, and come again and tell me
what thou there seest. My lord, said Bedivere, your commandment shall be
done, and lightly bring you word again.

So Sir Bedivere departed, and by the way he beheld that noble sword,
that the pommel and the haft was all of precious stones; and then he
said to himself: If I throw this rich sword in the water, thereof shall
never come good, but harm and loss. And then Sir Bedivere hid Excalibur
under a tree. And so, as soon as he might, he came again unto the king,
and said he had been at the water, and had thrown the sword in the
water. What saw thou there? said the king. Sir, he said, I saw nothing
but waves and winds. That is untruly said of thee, said the king,
therefore go thou lightly again, and do my commandment; as thou art to
me lief and dear, spare not, but throw it in. Then Sir Bedivere returned
again, and took the sword in his hand; and then him thought sin and
shame to throw away that noble sword, and so eft he hid the sword, and
returned again, and told to the king that he had been at the water, and
done his commandment. What saw thou there? said the king. Sir, he said,
I saw nothing but the waters wap and waves wan. Ah, traitor untrue,
said King Arthur, now hast thou betrayed me twice. Who would have weened
that, thou that hast been to me so lief and dear? and thou art named a
noble knight, and would betray me for the richness of the sword. But now
go again lightly, for thy long tarrying putteth me in great jeopardy of
my life, for I have taken cold. And but if thou do now as I bid thee,
if ever I may see thee, I shall slay thee with mine own hands; for thou
wouldst for my rich sword see me dead.

Then Sir Bedivere departed, and went to the sword, and lightly took it
up, and went to the water side; and there he bound the girdle about the
hilts, and then he threw the sword as far into the water as he might;
and there came an arm and an hand above the water and met it, and caught
it, and so shook it thrice and brandished, and then vanished away the
hand with the sword in the water. So Sir Bedivere came again to the
king, and told him what he saw. Alas, said the king, help me hence, for
I dread me I have tarried over long. Then Sir Bedivere took the king
upon his back, and so went with him to that water side. And when they
were at the water side, even fast by the bank hoved a little barge with
many fair ladies in it, and among them all was a queen, and all they had
black hoods, and all they wept and shrieked when they saw King Arthur.
Now put me into the barge, said the king. And so he did softly; and
there received him three queens with great mourning; and so they set
them down, and in one of their laps King Arthur laid his head. And then
that queen said: Ah, dear brother, why have ye tarried so long from me?
alas, this wound on your head hath caught over-much cold. And so then
they rowed from the land, and Sir Bedivere beheld all those ladies go
from him. Then Sir Bedivere cried: Ah my lord Arthur, what shall become
of me, now ye go from me and leave me here alone among mine enemies?
Comfort thyself, said the king, and do as well as thou mayst, for in me
is no trust for to trust in; for I will into the vale of Avilion to heal
me of my grievous wound: and if thou hear never more of me, pray for my
soul. But ever the queens and ladies wept and shrieked, that it was pity
to hear. And as soon as Sir Bedivere had lost the sight of the barge, he
wept and wailed, and so took the forest; and so he went all that night,
and in the morning he was ware betwixt two holts hoar, of a chapel and
an hermitage.



CHAPTER VI. How Sir Bedivere found him on the morrow dead in an
hermitage, and how he abode there with the hermit.


THEN was Sir Bedivere glad, and thither he went; and when he came into
the chapel, he saw where lay an hermit grovelling on all four, there
fast by a tomb was new graven. When the hermit saw Sir Bedivere he knew
him well, for he was but little to-fore Bishop of Canterbury, that Sir
Mordred flemed. Sir, said Bedivere, what man is there interred that ye
pray so fast for? Fair son, said the hermit, I wot not verily, but by
deeming. But this night, at midnight, here came a number of ladies, and
brought hither a dead corpse, and prayed me to bury him; and here they
offered an hundred tapers, and they gave me an hundred besants. Alas,
said Sir Bedivere, that was my lord King Arthur, that here lieth buried
in this chapel. Then Sir Bedivere swooned; and when he awoke he prayed
the hermit he might abide with him still there, to live with fasting and
prayers. For from hence will I never go, said Sir Bedivere, by my will,
but all the days of my life here to pray for my lord Arthur. Ye are
welcome to me, said the hermit, for I know ye better than ye ween that
I do. Ye are the bold Bedivere, and the full noble duke, Sir Lucan the
Butler, was your brother. Then Sir Bedivere told the hermit all as ye
have heard to-fore. So there bode Sir Bedivere with the hermit that was
to-fore Bishop of Canterbury, and there Sir Bedivere put upon him poor
clothes, and served the hermit full lowly in fasting and in prayers.

Thus of Arthur I find never more written in books that be authorised,
nor more of the very certainty of his death heard I never read, but thus
was he led away in a ship wherein were three queens; that one was
King Arthur's sister, Queen Morgan le Fay; the other was the Queen of
Northgalis; the third was the Queen of the Waste Lands. Also there was
Nimue, the chief lady of the lake, that had wedded Pelleas the good
knight; and this lady had done much for King Arthur, for she would never
suffer Sir Pelleas to be in no place where he should be in danger of
his life; and so he lived to the uttermost of his days with her in great
rest. More of the death of King Arthur could I never find, but that
ladies brought him to his burials; and such one was buried there, that
the hermit bare witness that sometime was Bishop of Canterbury, but
yet the hermit knew not in certain that he was verily the body of King
Arthur: for this tale Sir Bedivere, knight of the Table Round, made it
to be written.



CHAPTER VII. Of the opinion of some men of the death of King Arthur; and
how Queen Guenever made her a nun in Almesbury.


YET some men say in many parts of England that King Arthur is not dead,
but had by the will of our Lord Jesu into another place; and men say
that he shall come again, and he shall win the holy cross. I will not
say it shall be so, but rather I will say: here in this world he changed
his life. But many men say that there is written upon his tomb this
verse: _Hic jacet Arthurus, Rex quondam, Rexque futurus._ Thus leave I
here Sir Bedivere with the hermit, that dwelled that time in a chapel
beside Glastonbury, and there was his hermitage. And so they lived
in their prayers, and fastings, and great abstinence. And when Queen
Guenever understood that King Arthur was slain, and all the noble
knights, Sir Mordred and all the remnant, then the queen stole away, and
five ladies with her, and so she went to Almesbury; and there she let
make herself a nun, and ware white clothes and black, and great penance
she took, as ever did sinful lady in this land, and never creature could
make her merry; but lived in fasting, prayers, and alms-deeds, that all
manner of people marvelled how virtuously she was changed. Now leave we
Queen Guenever in Almesbury, a nun in white clothes and black, and there
she was Abbess and ruler as reason would; and turn we from her, and
speak we of Sir Launcelot du Lake.



CHAPTER VIII. How when Sir Lancelot heard of the death of King Arthur,
and of Sir Gawaine, and other matters, he came into England.


AND when he heard in his country that Sir Mordred was crowned king in
England, and made war against King Arthur, his own father, and would let
him to land in his own land; also it was told Sir Launcelot how that
Sir Mordred had laid siege about the Tower of London, because the queen
would not wed him; then was Sir Launcelot wroth out of measure, and said
to his kinsmen: Alas, that double traitor Sir Mordred, now me repenteth
that ever he escaped my hands, for much shame hath he done unto my lord
Arthur; for all I feel by the doleful letter that my lord Sir Gawaine
sent me, on whose soul Jesu have mercy that my lord Arthur is full hard
bestead. Alas, said Sir Launcelot, that ever I should live to hear that
most noble king that made me knight thus to be overset with his subject
in his own realm. And this doleful letter that my lord, Sir Gawaine,
hath sent me afore his death, praying me to see his tomb, wit you well
his doleful words shall never go from mine heart, for he was a full
noble knight as ever was born; and in an unhappy hour was I born that
ever I should have that unhap to slay first Sir Gawaine, Sir Gaheris
the good knight, and mine own friend Sir Gareth, that full noble knight.
Alas, I may say I am unhappy, said Sir Launcelot, that ever I should
do thus unhappily, and, alas, yet might I never have hap to slay that
traitor, Sir Mordred.

Leave your complaints, said Sir Bors, and first revenge you of the death
of Sir Gawaine; and it will be well done that ye see Sir Gawaine's tomb,
and secondly that ye revenge my lord Arthur, and my lady, Queen Guenever
I thank you, said Sir Launcelot, for ever ye will my worship.

Then they made them ready in all the haste that might be, with ships and
galleys, with Sir Launcelot and his host to pass into England. And so
he passed over the sea till he came to Dover, and there he landed with
seven kings, and the number was hideous to behold. Then Sir Launcelot
spered of men of Dover where was King Arthur become. Then the people
told him how that he was slain, and Sir Mordred and an hundred thousand
died on a day; and how Sir Mordred gave King Arthur there the first
battle at his landing, and there was good Sir Gawaine slain; and on the
morn Sir Mordred fought with the king upon Barham Down, and there the
king put Sir Mordred to the worse. Alas, said Sir Launcelot, this is
the heaviest tidings that ever came to me. Now, fair sirs, said Sir
Launcelot, shew me the tomb of Sir Gawaine. And then certain people of
the town brought him into the castle of Dover, and shewed him the tomb.
Then Sir Launcelot kneeled down and wept, and prayed heartily for his
soul. And that night he made a dole, and all they that would come had
as much flesh, fish, wine and ale, and every man and woman had twelve
pence, come who would. Thus with his own hand dealt he this money, in a
mourning gown; and ever he wept, and prayed them to pray for the soul
of Sir Gawaine. And on the morn all the priests and clerks that might
be gotten in the country were there, and sang mass of Requiem; and there
offered first Sir Launcelot, and he offered an hundred pound; and
then the seven kings offered forty pound apiece; and also there was a
thousand knights, and each of them offered a pound; and the offering
dured from morn till night, and Sir Launcelot lay two nights on his tomb
in prayers and weeping.

Then on the third day Sir Launcelot called the kings, dukes, earls,
barons, and knights, and said thus: My fair lords, I thank you all of
your coming into this country with me, but we came too late, and that
shall repent me while I live, but against death may no man rebel. But
sithen it is so, said Sir Launcelot, I will myself ride and seek my
lady, Queen Guenever, for as I hear say she hath had great pain and much
disease; and I heard say that she is fled into the west. Therefore ye
all shall abide me here, and but if I come again within fifteen days,
then take your ships and your fellowship, and depart into your country,
for I will do as I say to you.



CHAPTER IX. How Sir Launcelot departed to seek the Queen Guenever, and
how he found her at Almesbury.


THEN came Sir Bors de Ganis, and said: My lord Sir Launcelot, what think
ye for to do, now to ride in this realm? wit ye well ye shall find few
friends. Be as be may, said Sir Launcelot, keep you still here, for I
will forth on my journey, and no man nor child shall go with me. So it
was no boot to strive, but he departed and rode westerly, and there he
sought a seven or eight days; and at the last he came to a nunnery,
and then was Queen Guenever ware of Sir Launcelot as he walked in the
cloister. And when she saw him there she swooned thrice, that all the
ladies and gentlewomen had work enough to hold the queen up. So when
she might speak, she called ladies and gentlewomen to her, and said: Ye
marvel, fair ladies, why I make this fare. Truly, she said, it is for
the sight of yonder knight that yonder standeth; wherefore I pray you
all call him to me.

When Sir Launcelot was brought to her, then she said to all the ladies:
Through this man and me hath all this war been wrought, and the death of
the most noblest knights of the world; for through our love that we have
loved together is my most noble lord slain. Therefore, Sir Launcelot,
wit thou well I am set in such a plight to get my soul-heal; and yet
I trust through God's grace that after my death to have a sight of the
blessed face of Christ, and at domesday to sit on his right side, for as
sinful as ever I was are saints in heaven. Therefore, Sir Launcelot, I
require thee and beseech thee heartily, for all the love that ever was
betwixt us, that thou never see me more in the visage; and I command
thee, on God's behalf, that thou forsake my company, and to thy kingdom
thou turn again, and keep well thy realm from war and wrack; for as
well as I have loved thee, mine heart will not serve me to see thee,
for through thee and me is the flower of kings and knights destroyed;
therefore, Sir Launcelot, go to thy realm, and there take thee a wife,
and live with her with joy and bliss; and I pray thee heartily, pray for
me to our Lord that I may amend my misliving. Now, sweet madam, said Sir
Launcelot, would ye that I should now return again unto my country, and
there to wed a lady? Nay, madam, wit you well that shall I never do, for
I shall never be so false to you of that I have promised; but the same
destiny that ye have taken you to, I will take me unto, for to please
Jesu, and ever for you I cast me specially to pray. If thou wilt do so,
said the queen, hold thy promise, but I may never believe but that thou
wilt turn to the world again. Well, madam, said he, ye say as pleaseth
you, yet wist you me never false of my promise, and God defend but
I should forsake the world as ye have done. For in the quest of the
Sangreal I had forsaken the vanities of the world had not your lord
been. And if I had done so at that time, with my heart, will, and
thought, I had passed all the knights that were in the Sangreal except
Sir Galahad, my son. And therefore, lady, sithen ye have taken you to
perfection, I must needs take me to perfection, of right. For I take
record of God, in you I have had mine earthly joy; and if I had found
you now so disposed, I had cast me to have had you into mine own realm.



CHAPTER X. How Sir Launcelot came to the hermitage where the Archbishop
of Canterbury was, and how he took the habit on him.


BUT sithen I find you thus disposed, I ensure you faithfully, I will
ever take me to penance, and pray while my life lasteth, if I may find
any hermit, either gray or white, that will receive me. Wherefore,
madam, I pray you kiss me and never no more. Nay, said the queen, that
shall I never do, but abstain you from such works: and they departed.
But there was never so hard an hearted man but he would have wept to see
the dolour that they made; for there was lamentation as they had been
stung with spears; and many times they swooned, and the ladies bare the
queen to her chamber.

And Sir Launcelot awoke, and went and took his horse, and rode all that
day and all night in a forest, weeping. And at the last he was ware of
an hermitage and a chapel stood betwixt two cliffs; and then he heard a
little bell ring to mass, and thither he rode and alighted, and tied his
horse to the gate, and heard mass. And he that sang mass was the Bishop
of Canterbury. Both the Bishop and Sir Bedivere knew Sir Launcelot, and
they spake together after mass. But when Sir Bedivere had told his
tale all whole, Sir Launcelot's heart almost brast for sorrow, and Sir
Launcelot threw his arms abroad, and said: Alas, who may trust this
world. And then he kneeled down on his knee, and prayed the Bishop to
shrive him and assoil him. And then he besought the Bishop that he might
be his brother. Then the Bishop said: I will gladly; and there he put
an habit upon Sir Launcelot, and there he served God day and night with
prayers and fastings.

Thus the great host abode at Dover. And then Sir Lionel took fifteen
lords with him, and rode to London to seek Sir Launcelot; and there Sir
Lionel was slain and many of his lords. Then Sir Bors de Ganis made the
great host for to go home again; and Sir Bors, Sir Ector de Maris, Sir
Blamore, Sir Bleoberis, with more other of Sir Launcelot's kin, took on
them to ride all England overthwart and endlong, to seek Sir Launcelot.
So Sir Bors by fortune rode so long till he came to the same chapel
where Sir Launcelot was; and so Sir Bors heard a little bell knell, that
rang to mass; and there he alighted and heard mass. And when mass was
done, the Bishop Sir Launcelot, and Sir Bedivere, came to Sir Bors. And
when Sir Bors saw Sir Launcelot in that manner clothing, then he prayed
the Bishop that he might be in the same suit. And so there was an habit
put upon him, and there he lived in prayers and fasting. And within
half a year, there was come Sir Galihud, Sir Galihodin, Sir Blamore, Sir
Bleoberis, Sir Villiars, Sir Clarras, and Sir Gahalantine. So all these
seven noble knights there abode still. And when they saw Sir Launcelot
had taken him to such perfection, they had no lust to depart, but took
such an habit as he had.

Thus they endured in great penance six year; and then Sir Launcelot took
the habit of priesthood of the Bishop, and a twelvemonth he sang mass.
And there was none of these other knights but they read in books, and
holp for to sing mass, and rang bells, and did bodily all manner of
service. And so their horses went where they would, for they took no
regard of no worldly riches. For when they saw Sir Launcelot endure such
penance, in prayers, and fastings, they took no force what pain they
endured, for to see the noblest knight of the world take such abstinence
that he waxed full lean. And thus upon a night, there came a vision to
Sir Launcelot, and charged him, in remission of his sins, to haste
him unto Almesbury: And by then thou come there, thou shalt find Queen
Guenever dead. And therefore take thy fellows with thee, and purvey them
of an horse bier, and fetch thou the corpse of her, and bury her by her
husband, the noble King Arthur. So this avision came to Sir Launcelot
thrice in one night.



CHAPTER XI. How Sir Launcelot went with his seven fellows to Almesbury,
and found there Queen Guenever dead, whom they brought to Glastonbury.


THEN Sir Launcelot rose up or day, and told the hermit. It were well
done, said the hermit, that ye made you ready, and that you disobey not
the avision. Then Sir Launcelot took his eight fellows with him, and on
foot they yede from Glastonbury to Almesbury, the which is little more
than thirty mile. And thither they came within two days, for they were
weak and feeble to go. And when Sir Launcelot was come to Almesbury
within the nunnery, Queen Guenever died but half an hour afore. And
the ladies told Sir Launcelot that Queen Guenever told them all or
she passed, that Sir Launcelot had been priest near a twelvemonth, And
hither he cometh as fast as he may to fetch my corpse; and beside my
lord, King Arthur, he shall bury me. Wherefore the queen said in hearing
of them all: I beseech Almighty God that I may never have power to see
Sir Launcelot with my worldly eyen; and thus, said all the ladies, was
ever her prayer these two days, till she was dead. Then Sir Launcelot
saw her visage, but he wept not greatly, but sighed. And so he did all
the observance of the service himself, both the dirige, and on the
morn he sang mass. And there was ordained an horse bier; and so with an
hundred torches ever brenning about the corpse of the queen, and ever
Sir Launcelot with his eight fellows went about the horse bier, singing
and reading many an holy orison, and frankincense upon the corpse
incensed. Thus Sir Launcelot and his eight fellows went on foot from
Almesbury unto Glastonbury.

And when they were come to the chapel and the hermitage, there she had
a dirige, with great devotion. And on the morn the hermit that sometime
was Bishop of Canterbury sang the mass of Requiem with great devotion.
And Sir Launcelot was the first that offered, and then also his eight
fellows. And then she was wrapped in cered cloth of Raines, from the top
to the toe, in thirtyfold, and after she was put in a web of lead,
and then in a coffin of marble. And when she was put in the earth Sir
Launcelot swooned, and lay long still, while the hermit came and awaked
him, and said: Ye be to blame, for ye displease God with such manner
of sorrow-making. Truly, said Sir Launcelot, I trust I do not displease
God, for He knoweth mine intent. For my sorrow was not, nor is not
for any rejoicing of sin, but my sorrow may never have end. For when I
remember of her beauty, and of her noblesse, that was both with her king
and with her, so when I saw his corpse and her corpse so lie together,
truly mine heart would not serve to sustain my careful body. Also when I
remember me how by my default, mine orgule and my pride, that they were
both laid full low, that were peerless that ever was living of Christian
people, wit you well, said Sir Launcelot, this remembered, of their
kindness and mine unkindness, sank so to mine heart, that I might not
sustain myself. So the French book maketh mention.



CHAPTER XII. How Sir Launcelot began to sicken, and after died, whose
body was borne to Joyous Gard for to be buried.


THEN Sir Launcelot never after ate but little meat, ne drank, till he
was dead. For then he sickened more and more, and dried, and dwined
away. For the Bishop nor none of his fellows might not make him to eat,
and little he drank, that he was waxen by a cubit shorter than he was,
that the people could not know him. For evermore, day and night, he
prayed, but sometime he slumbered a broken sleep; ever he was lying
grovelling on the tomb of King Arthur and Queen Guenever. And there was
no comfort that the Bishop, nor Sir Bors, nor none of his fellows, could
make him, it availed not. So within six weeks after, Sir Launcelot fell
sick, and lay in his bed; and then he sent for the Bishop that there was
hermit, and all his true fellows. Then Sir Launcelot said with dreary
steven: Sir Bishop, I pray you give to me all my rites that longeth to
a Christian man. It shall not need you, said the hermit and all his
fellows, it is but heaviness of your blood, ye shall be well mended by
the grace of God to-morn. My fair lords, said Sir Launcelot, wit you
well my careful body will into the earth, I have warning more than now
I will say; therefore give me my rites. So when he was houseled and
anealed, and had all that a Christian man ought to have, he prayed the
Bishop that his fellows might bear his body to Joyous Gard. Some men say
it was Alnwick, and some men say it was Bamborough. Howbeit, said Sir
Launcelot, me repenteth sore, but I made mine avow sometime, that in
Joyous Gard I would be buried. And because of breaking of mine avow, I
pray you all, lead me thither. Then there was weeping and wringing of
hands among his fellows.

So at a season of the night they all went to their beds, for they all
lay in one chamber. And so after midnight, against day, the Bishop
[that] then was hermit, as he lay in his bed asleep, he fell upon a
great laughter. And therewith all the fellowship awoke, and came to the
Bishop, and asked him what he ailed. Ah Jesu mercy, said the Bishop,
why did ye awake me? I was never in all my life so merry and so well
at ease. Wherefore? said Sir Bors. Truly said the Bishop, here was Sir
Launcelot with me with mo angels than ever I saw men in one day. And
I saw the angels heave up Sir Launcelot unto heaven, and the gates of
heaven opened against him. It is but dretching of swevens, said Sir
Bors, for I doubt not Sir Launcelot aileth nothing but good. It may
well be, said the Bishop; go ye to his bed, and then shall ye prove the
sooth. So when Sir Bors and his fellows came to his bed they found him
stark dead, and he lay as he had smiled, and the sweetest savour about
him that ever they felt.

Then was there weeping and wringing of hands, and the greatest dole
they made that ever made men. And on the morn the Bishop did his mass
of Requiem, and after, the Bishop and all the nine knights put Sir
Launcelot in the same horse bier that Queen Guenever was laid in to-fore
that she was buried. And so the Bishop and they all together went with
the body of Sir Launcelot daily, till they came to Joyous Gard; and ever
they had an hundred torches brenning about him. And so within fifteen
days they came to Joyous Gard. And there they laid his corpse in the
body of the quire, and sang and read many psalters and prayers over him
and about him.

And ever his visage was laid open and naked, that all folks might behold
him. For such was the custom in those days, that all men of worship
should so lie with open visage till that they were buried. And right
thus as they were at their service, there came Sir Ector de Maris, that
had seven years sought all England, Scotland, and Wales, seeking his
brother, Sir Launcelot.



CHAPTER XIII. How Sir Ector found Sir Launcelot his brother dead, and
how Constantine reigned next after Arthur; and of the end of this book.


AND when Sir Ector heard such noise and light in the quire of Joyous
Gard, he alighted and put his horse from him, and came into the quire,
and there he saw men sing and weep. And all they knew Sir Ector, but he
knew not them. Then went Sir Bors unto Sir Ector, and told him how
there lay his brother, Sir Launcelot, dead; and then Sir Ector threw
his shield, sword, and helm from him. And when he beheld Sir Launcelot's
visage, he fell down in a swoon. And when he waked it were hard any
tongue to tell the doleful complaints that he made for his brother. Ah
Launcelot, he said, thou were head of all Christian knights, and now
I dare say, said Sir Ector, thou Sir Launcelot, there thou liest, that
thou were never matched of earthly knight's hand. And thou were the
courteoust knight that ever bare shield. And thou were the truest friend
to thy lover that ever bestrad horse. And thou were the truest lover of
a sinful man that ever loved woman. And thou were the kindest man that
ever struck with sword. And thou were the goodliest person that ever
came among press of knights. And thou was the meekest man and the
gentlest that ever ate in hall among ladies. And thou were the sternest
knight to thy mortal foe that ever put spear in the rest. Then there was
weeping and dolour out of measure.

Thus they kept Sir Launcelot's corpse aloft fifteen days, and then they
buried it with great devotion. And then at leisure they went all with
the Bishop of Canterbury to his hermitage, and there they were together
more than a month. Then Sir Constantine, that was Sir Cador's son of
Cornwall, was chosen king of England. And he was a full noble knight,
and worshipfully he ruled this realm. And then this King Constantine
sent for the Bishop of Canterbury, for he heard say where he was. And
so he was restored unto his Bishopric, and left that hermitage. And Sir
Bedivere was there ever still hermit to his life's end. Then Sir Bors de
Ganis, Sir Ector de Maris, Sir Gahalantine, Sir Galihud, Sir Galihodin,
Sir Blamore, Sir Bleoberis, Sir Villiars le Valiant, Sir Clarrus of
Clermont, all these knights drew them to their countries. Howbeit King
Constantine would have had them with him, but they would not abide in
this realm. And there they all lived in their countries as holy men.
And some English books make mention that they went never out of England
after the death of Sir Launcelot, but that was but favour of makers. For
the French book maketh mention, and is authorised, that Sir Bors, Sir
Ector, Sir Blamore, and Sir Bleoberis, went into the Holy Land thereas
Jesu Christ was quick and dead, and anon as they had stablished their
lands. For the book saith, so Sir Launcelot commanded them for to do,
or ever he passed out of this world. And these four knights did many
battles upon the miscreants or Turks. And there they died upon a Good
Friday for God's sake.

_Here is the end of the book of King Arthur, and of his noble knights
of the Round Table, that when they were whole together there was ever
an hundred and forty. And here is the end of the death of Arthur. I pray
you all, gentlemen and gentlewomen that readeth this book of Arthur and
his knights, from the beginning to the ending, pray for me while I am
alive, that God send me good deliverance, and when I am dead, I pray
you all pray for my soul. For this book was ended the ninth year of the
reign of King Edward the Fourth, by Sir Thomas Maleore, knight, as Jesu
help him for his great might, as he is the servant of Jesu both day and
night._

_Thus endeth this noble and joyous book entitled Le Morte Darthur.
Notwithstanding it treateth of the birth, life, and acts of the said
King Arthur, of his noble knights of the Round Table, their marvellous
enquests and adventures, the achieving of the Sangreal, and in the end
the dolorous death and departing out of this world of them all. Which
book was reduced into English by Sir Thomas Malory, knight, as afore is
said, and by me divided into twenty-one books, chaptered and emprinted,
and finished in the abbey, Westminster, the last day of July the year of
our Lord MCCCCLXXX{?}._

_Caxton me fieri fecit._



GLOSSARY


     Abashed, abased, lowered,
     Abate, depress, calm,
     Abought, paid for,
     Abraid, started,
     Accompted, counted,
     Accorded, agreed,
     Accordment, agreement,
     Acquit, repay,
     Actually, actively,
     Adoubted, afraid,
     Advision, vision,
     Afeard, afraid,
     Afterdeal, disadvantage,
     Againsay, retract,
     Aknown, known,
     Aligement, alleviation,
     Allegeance, alleviation,
     Allow, approve,
     Almeries, chests,
     Alther, gen. pl., of all,
     Amounted, mounted,
     Anealed, anointed,
     Anguishly, in pain,
     Anon, at once,
     Apair, weaken,
     Apparelled, fitted up,
     Appeach, impeach,
     Appealed, challenged, accused,
     Appertices, displays,
     Araged, enraged, ; confused,
     Araised, raised,
     Arase, obliterate,
     Areared, reared,
     Armyvestal, martial,
     Array, plight, state of affairs,
     Arrayed, situated,
     Arson, saddle-bow,
     Askance, casually,
     Assoiled, absolved,
     Assotted, infatuated,
     Assummon, summon,
     Astonied, amazed, stunned,
     At, of, by,
     At-after, after,
     Attaint, overcome,
     Aumbries, chests,
     Avail (at), at an advantage,
     Avaled, lowered,
     Avaunt, boast,
     Aventred, couched,
     Avised, be advised, take thought,
     Avision, vision,
     Avoid, quit,
     Avoided, got clear off,
     Avow, vow,
     Await of (in), in watch for,
     Awayward, away,
     Awke, sideways,

     Bachelors, probationers for knighthood
     Bain, bath,
     Barbican, gate-tower,
     Barget, little ship,
     Battle, division of an army,
     Bawdy, dirty,
     Beams, trumpets,
     Be-closed, enclosed,
     Become, pp., befallen, gone to,
     Bedashed, splashed,
     Behests, promises,
     Behight, promised,
     Beholden (beholding) to, obliged to,
     Behote, promised,
     Benome, deprived, taken away,
     Besants, gold coins,
     Beseek, beseech,
     Beseen, appointed, arrayed,
     Beskift, shove off,
     Bested, beset,
     Betaken, entrusted,
     Betaught, entrusted, recommended,
     Betid, happened,
     Betook, committed, entrusted,
     Bevered, quivered,
     Board, sb., deck,
     Bobaunce, boasting, pride,
     Boishe, bush, branch of a tree,

     Boistous, rough,
     Bole, trunk of a tree,
     Boot, remedy,
     Borrow out, redeem,
     Borrows, pledges,
     Bote, remedy,
     Bound, ready,
     Bourded, jested,
     Bourder, jester,
     Braced, embraced,
     Brachet, little hound,
     Braide, quick movement,
     Brast, burst, break,
     Breaths, breathing holes,
     Brief, shorten,
     Brim, fierce, furious,
     Brised, broke,
     Broached, pierced,
     Broaches, spits,
     Bur, hand-guard of a spear,
     Burble, bubble,
     Burbling, bubbling,
     Burgenetts, buds, blossoms,
     Bushment, ambush,
     By and by, immediately,
     Bywaryed, expended, bestowed,

     Canel bone, collar bone,
     Cankered, inveterate,
     Cantel, slice, strip,
     Careful, sorrowful, full of troubles,
     Cast (of bread), loaves baked at the same time,
     Cast, ref: v., propose,
     Cedle, schedule, note,
     Cere, wax over, embalm,; cerel,
     Certes, certainly,
     Chafe, heat, decompose,; chafed, heated,
     Chaflet, platform, scaffold,
     Champaign, open country,
     Chariot (Fr charette), cart,
     Cheer, countenance,  entertainment,
     Chierte, dearness,
     Chrism, anointing oil,
     Clatter, talk confusedly,
     Cleight, clutched,
     Cleped, called,
     Clipping, embracing,
     Cog, small boat,
     Cognisance, badge, mark of distinction,
     Coif, head-piece,
     Comfort, strengthen, help,
     Cominal, common,
     Complished, complete,
     Con, know, be able, ; con thanlt, be grateful,
     Conserve, preserve,
     Conversant, abiding in,
     Cording, agreement,
     Coronal, circlet,
     Cost, side,
     Costed, kept up with,
     Couched, lay,
     Courage, encourage,
     Courtelage, courtyard,
     Covert, sheltered,
     Covetise, covetousness,
     Covin, deceit,
     Cream, oil,
     Credence, faith,
     Croup, crupper,
     Curteist, most courteous,

     Daffish, foolish,
     Danger (in), under obligation to, in the power of,
     Dawed, v tr., revived,  intr. dawned,
     Deadly, mortal, human,
     Deal, part, portion,
     Debate, quarrel, strife,
     Debonair, courteous,
     Deceivable, deceitful,
     Defaded, faded,
     Default, fault,
     Defend, forbid,; defended,; forbidden,
     Defoiled, trodden down, fouled, deflowered,
     Degree (win the), rank, superiority,
     Delibered, determined,
     Deliverly, adroitly,
     Departed, divided,
     Departition, departure,
     Dere, harm,
     Descrive, describe,
     Despoiled, stripped,
     Detrenched, cut to pieces,
     Devised, looked carefully at,
     Devoir, duty, service,
     Did off, doffed,
     Dight, prepared,
     Dindled, trembled,
     Disadventure, misfortune,
     Discover, reveal,
     Disherited, disinherited,
     Disparpled, scattered,
     Dispenses, expenses,
     Disperplyd, scattered,
     Dispoiled, stripped,
     Distained, sullied, dishonoured,
     Disworship, shame,
     Dole, gift of alms,
     Dole, sorrow,
     Domineth, dominates, rules,
     Don, gift,
     Doted, foolish,

     Doubted, redoubtable,
     Draughts, privities, secret interviews, recesses,
     Drenched, drowned,
     Dress, make ready,
     Dressed up, raised,
     Dretched, troubled in sleep,
     Dretching, being troubled in sleep,
     Dromounds, war vessels,
     Dure, endure, last,; dured,; during,
     Duresse, bondage, hardship,
     Dwined, dwindled,

     Eased, entertained,
     Eft, after, again,
     Eftures, passages,
     Embattled, ranged for battle,
     Embushed, concealed in the woods,
     Eme, uncle,
     Empoison, poison,
     Emprised, undertook,
     Enbraid,
     Enchafe, heat,; enchafed, heated,
     Enchieve, achieve,
     Endlong, alongside of,
     Enewed, painted,
     Enforce, constrain,
     Engine, device,
     Enow, enough,
     Enquest, enterprise,
     Ensured, assured,
     Entermete, intermeddle,
     Errant, wandering,
     Estates, ranks,
     Even hand, at an equality,
     Evenlong, along,
     Everych, each, every one,

     Faiter, vagabond,
     Fare, sb., ado, commotion,
     Faren, pp., treated,
     Faute, lack,; fauted, lacked,
     Fealty, oath of fidelity,
     Fear, frighten,
     Feute, trace, track,
     Feuter, set in rest, couch,
     Feutred, set in socket,
     Fiaunce, affiance, promise,
     Flang, flung,; rushed,
     Flatling, prostrate,
     Fleet, float,
     Flemed, put to flight,
     Flittered, fluttered,
     Foiled, defeated, shamed,
     Foined, thrust,
     Foining, thrusting,
     Foins, thrusts,

     Foot-hot, hastily,
     For-bled, spent with bleeding,
     Force (no), no concern,
     Fordeal, advantage,
     Fordo, destroy,; fordid,
     Forecast, preconcerted plot,
     For-fared, worsted,
     Forfend, forbid,
     Forfoughten, weary with fighting,
     Forhewn, hewn to pieces,
     Forjousted, tired with jousting,
     Forthinketh, repents,
     Fortuned, happened,
     Forward, vanguard,
     Forwowmded, sorely wounded,
     Free, noble,
     Freshed,
     Froward, away from,

     Gad, wedge or spike of iron,
     Gainest, readiest,
     Gar, cause,
     Gart, compelled,
     Gentily, like a gentleman,
     Gerfalcon, a fine hawk,
     Germane, closely allied,
     Gest, deed, story,
     Gisarm, halberd, battle-axe,
     Glaive, sword,
     Glasting, barking,
     Glatisant, barking, yelping,
     Gobbets, lumps,
     Graithed, made ready,
     Gree, degree, superiority,
     Greed, pp., pleased, content,
     Grescs, steps,
     Grimly, ugly,
     Grovelling, on his face,
     Guerdonless, without reward,
     Guise, fashion,

     Habergeon, hauberk with leggings attached,
     Hair, a hair-shirt,
     Hale and how, a sailor's cry,
     Halp, helped,
     Halsed, embraced,
     Halsing, embracing,
     Handfast, betrothed,
     Handsel, earnest-money,
     Hangers, testicles,
     Harbingers, messengers sent to prepare lodgings,
     Harness, armour,
     Hart of greese, fat deer,
     Hauberk, coat of mail,
     Haut, high, noble,
     Hauteyn, haughty,
     Heavy, sad,
     Hete, command,
     Hide, skin,
     Hied, hurried,
     High (on), aloud,
     Higher hand, the uppermost,
     Hight, called,
     Hilled, covered, concealed,
     Holden, held,
     Holp, helped,
     Holts, woods,
     Hough-bone, back part of kneejoint,
     Houselled, to be given the Eucharist,
     Hoved, hovered, waited about,
     Hurled, dashed, staggered,; hurling,
     Hurtle, dash,

     Incontinent, forthwith,
     Ind, dark blue,
     Infellowship, join in fellowship,
     In like, alike,
     Intermit, interpose,

     Japer, jester,
     Japes, jests,
     Jesseraunt, a short cuirass,

     Keep, sb., care,
     Keep, s., care, reck,
     Kemps, champions,
     Kind, nature,
     Kindly, natural,
     Knights parters, marshals,
     Know, acknowledge,
     Knowledging, acknowledgment, confession,

     Lain, conceal,
     Langering, sauntering,
     Lapped, took in her lap,
     Large, generous,
     Largeness, liberality,
     Laton, latten, brass,
     Laund, waste plain,
     Layne, conceal,
     Lazar-cot, leper-house,
     Learn, teach,
     Lears, cheeks,
     Leaved, leafy,
     Lecher, fornicator,
     Leech, physician,
     Leman, lover,
     Let, caused to,
     Let, hinder,
     Lewdest, most ignorant,
     Licours lecherous,
     Lief, dear,
     Liefer, more gladly,
     Lieve, believe,
     Limb-meal, limb from limb,
     List, desire, pleasure,
     Lithe, joint,
     Longing unto, belonging to,
     Long on (upon), because of,
     Loos, praise,
     Lotless, without a share,
     Loveday, day for. settling disputes,
     Loving, praising,
     Lunes, leashes, strings,
     Lusk, lubber,
     Lusts, inclinations,

     Maims, wounds,
     Makeless, matchless,
     Makers, authors, poets,
     Mas,ease, discomfort,
     Mal engine, evil design,
     Mal-fortune, ill-luck, mishap,
     Marches, borders,
     Mass-penny, offering at mass for the dead,
     Matche old, machicolated, with holes for defence,
     Maugre, sb., despite,
     Measle, disease,
     Medled, mingled,
     Medley, melee, general encounter,
     Meiny, retinue,
     Mickle, much,
     Minever, ermine,
     Mischieved, hurt,
     Mischievous, painful,
     Miscorr fort, discomfort,
     Miscreature, unbeliever,
     Missay, revile,; missaid,
     Mo, more,
     More and less, rich and poor,
     Motes, notes on a horn,
     Mount~ lance, amount of, extent,
     Much, great,

     Naked, unarmed,
     Namely, especially,
     Ne, nor,
     Near-hand, nearly,; near,
     Needly, needs, on your own compulsion,
     Nesh, soft, tender,
     Nigh-hand, nearly,
     Nill, will not,
     Nilt, will not,
     Nis, ne is, is not,
     Nist, ne wist, knew not,
     Noblesse, nobleness,
     Nobley, nobility, splendour,
     Noised, reported,
     Nold, would not,
     Noseling, on his nose,
     Not for then, nevertheless,
     Notoyrly, notoriously,
     Noyous, hurtful,

     Obeissance, obedience,
     Or, before,
     Orgule, haughtiness,
     Orgulist, haughtiest,
     Orgulite, pride, arrogance,
     Orgulous, proud,
     Other, or,
     Ouches, jewels,
     Ought, owned,
     Outcept, except,
     Outher, or,
     Out-taken, except,
     Over-evening, last night,
     Overget, overtake,
     Overhylled, covered,
     Over-led, domineered over,
     Overlong, the length of,
     Overslip, pass,
     Overthwart, adj., cross,
     Overthwart, sb., mischance,
     Overthwart and endlong, by the breadth and length,

     Painture, painting,
     Paitrelles, breastplate of a horse,
     Paltocks, short coats,
     Parage, descent,
     Pareil, like,
     Passing, surpassingly,
     Paynim, pagan,
     Pensel, pennon,
     Perclos, partition,
     Perdy, par Dieu,
     Perigot, falcon,
     Perish, destroy,
     Peron, tombstone,
     Pight, pitched,
     Pike, steal away,
     Piked, stole,
     Pillers, plunderers,
     Pilling, plundering,
     Pleasaunce, pleasure,
     Plenour, complete,
     Plump, sb., cluster,
     Pointling, aiming,
     Pont, bridge,
     Port, gate,
     Posseded, possessed,
     Potestate, governor,
     Precessours, predecessors,
     Press, throng,
     Pretendeth, belongs to,
     Pricker, hard rider,
     Pricking, spurring,
     Prime, A.M.,
     Prise, capture,
     Puissance, power,
     Purfle, trimming,
     Purfled, embroidered,
     Purvey, provide,

     Quarrels, arrowheads,
     Questing, barking,
     Quick, alive,
     Quit, repaid,; acquitted, behaved,
     Raced (rased), tore,
     Rack (of bulls), herd,
     Raines, a town in Brittany famous for its cloth,
     Ramping, raging,
     Range, rank, station,
     Ransacked, searched,
     Rashed, fell headlong,
     Rashing, rushing,
     Rasing, rushing,
     Rasure,
     Raundon, impetuosity,
     Rear, raise,
     Rechate, note of recall,
     Recomforted, comforted, cheered,
     Recounter, rencontre, encounter,
     Recover, rescue,
     Rede, advise, ; sb., counsel,
     Redounded, glanced back,
     Religion, religious order,
     Reneye, deny,
     Report, refer,
     Resemblaunt; semblance,
     Retrayed, drew back,
     Rightwise, rightly,
     Rivage, shore,
     Romed, roared,
     Roted, practised,
     Rove, cleft,
     Rownsepyk, a branch,

     Sacring, consecrating,
     Sad, serious,
     Sadly, heartily, earnestly,
     Salle, room,
     Samite, silk stuff with gold or silver
     threads,
     Sangreal, Holy Grail,
     Sarps, girdles,
     Saw, proverb,
     Scathes, harms, hurts,
     icripture, writing,
     Search, probe wounds,
     Selar, canopy,
     Semblable, like,
     Semblant, semblance,
     Sendal, fine cloth,
     Sennight, week,
     Servage, slavery,

     Sewer, officer who set on dishes and tasted them,
     Shaft-mon, handbreadth,
     Shaw, thicket,
     Sheef, thrust,
     Sheer-Thursday, Thursday in Holy Week,
     Shend, harm,
     Shenship, disgrace,
     Shent, undone, blamed,
     Shour, attack,
     Shrew, rascal,
     Shrewd, knavish,
     Sib, akin to,
     Sideling, sideways,
     Siege, seat,
     Signified, likened,
     Siker, sure,
     Sikerness, assurance,
     Sith, since,
     Sithen, afterwards, since,
     Skift, changed,
     Slade, valley,
     Slake, glen,
     Soil (to go to), hunting term for taking the water,
     Sonds, messages,
     Sort, company,
     Sperd, bolted,
     Spere, ask, inquire,
     Spered, asked,
     Sperhawk, sparrowhawk,
     Sprent, sprinkled,
     Stale, station,
     Stark, thoroughly,
     Stead, place,
     Stert, started, rose quickly,
     Steven, appointment,; steven ser. appointment made,
     Steven, voice,
     Stigh, path,
     Stilly, silently,
     Stint, fixed revenue,
     Stonied, astonished,; became confused,
     Stour, battle,
     Strain, race, descent,
     Strait, narrow,
     Straked, blew a horn,
     Sue, pursue,
     Sued, pursued,
     Surcingles, saddle girths,
     Swang, swung,
     Sweven, dream,
     Swough, sound of wind,

     Talent, desire,
     Tallages, taxes,
     Tallies, taxes,
     Tamed, crushed,

     Tatches, qualities,
     Tene, sorrow,
     Term, period of time,
     Thilk, that same,
     Tho, then,
     Thrang, pushed,
     Thrulled, pushed,
     Till, to,
     To-brast, burst,
     To-fore, before,
     To-morn, to-morrow,
     Took, gave,
     To-rove, broke up,
     To-shivered, broken to pieces,
     Traced, advanced and retreated,
     Trains, devices, wiles,
     Trasing, pressing forward,
     Travers (met at), came across,
     Traverse, slantwise,
     Traversed, moved sideways,
     Tray, grief,
     Treatise, treaty,
     Tree, timber,
     Trenchant, cutting, sharp,
     Tres:, hunting term,
     Truage, tribute,
     Trussed, packed,

     Ubblie, wafer, Host,
     Umbecast, cast about,
     Umberere, the part of the helmet which shaded the eyes,
     Umbre, shade,
     Unavised, thoughtlessly,
     Uncouth, strange,
     Underne, - A.M.,
     Ungoodly, rudely,
     Unhappy, unlucky,
     Unhilled, uncovered,
     Unr the, scarcely,
     Unsicker, unstable,
     Unwimpled, uncovered,
     Unwrast, untwisted, unbound,
     Upright, flat on the back,
     Up-so-down, upside down,
     Ure, usage,
     Utas, octave of a festival,
     Utterance, uttermost,

     Varlet, servant,
     Venery, hunting,
     Ven ails, breathing holes,
     Villain, man of low birth,
     Visors, the perforated parts of helmets,
     Voided, slipped away from,

     Wagging, shaking,
     Waited, watched,
     Waits, watches,
     Wallop, gallop,
     Wanhope, despair,
     Wap, ripple,
     Ware, aware,
     Warison, reward,
     Warn, forbid, refuse,
     Weeds, garments,
     Weltered, rolled about,
     Wend, thought,
     Wer-wolf, a man turned into a wolf by magic,
     Where, whereas,
     Wide-where, over wide space,
     Wield, possess, have power over,
     Wield himself, come to himself,
     Wight, brave, strong,
     Wightly, swiftly,
     Wildsome, desolate,
     Wimpled, with the head covered,
     Win, make way,
     Wite, v., blame,
     Within-forth, on the inside,
     Without-forth, on the outside,
     Wittiest, cleverest,
     Wittily, cleverly,
     Witting, knowledge,
     Wold or nold, would or would not,
     Wonder, adj., wondrous,
     Wonder, adv., wondrously,
     Wonderly, wonderfully,
     Wood, mad,
     Woodness, madness,
     Wood shaw, thicket of the wood,
     Worship, honour,
     Worshipped, cause to be honoured,
     Worts, roots,
     Wot, know,
     Wrack, destruction,
     Wroken, wreaked,
     Wrothe, twisted,
     Yede, ran,
     Yelden, yielded,
     Yerde, stick, stem,
     Yode, went,
     Yolden, yielded,
     Y-wis, certainly,





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