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´╗┐Title: The Age of Chivalry
Author: Bulfinch, Thomas
Language: English
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[Editor's Note: The etext contains only THE AGE OF CHIVALRY]


No new edition of Bulfinch's classic work can be considered
complete without some notice of the American scholar to whose wide
erudition and painstaking care it stands as a perpetual monument.
"The Age of Fable" has come to be ranked with older books like
"Pilgrim's Progress," "Gulliver's Travels," "The Arabian Nights,"
"Robinson Crusoe," and five or six other productions of world-wide
renown as a work with which every one must claim some acquaintance
before his education can be called really complete. Many readers
of the present edition will probably recall coming in contact with
the work as children, and, it may be added, will no doubt discover
from a fresh perusal the source of numerous bits of knowledge that
have remained stored in their minds since those early years. Yet
to the majority of this great circle of readers and students the
name Bulfinch in itself has no significance.

Thomas Bulfinch was a native of Boston, Mass., where he was born
in 1796. His boyhood was spent in that city, and he prepared for
college in the Boston schools. He finished his scholastic training
at Harvard College, and after taking his degree was for a period a
teacher in his home city. For a long time later in life he was
employed as an accountant in the Boston Merchants' Bank. His
leisure time he used for further pursuit of the classical studies
which he had begun at Harvard, and his chief pleasure in life lay
in writing out the results of his reading, in simple, condensed
form for young or busy readers. The plan he followed in this work,
to give it the greatest possible usefulness, is set forth in the
Author's Preface.

"Age of Fable," First Edition, 1855; "The Age of Chivalry," 1858;
"The Boy Inventor," 1860; "Legends of Charlemagne, or Romance of
the Middle Ages," 1863; "Poetry of the Age of Fable," 1863;
"Oregon and Eldorado, or Romance of the Rivers,"1860.

In this complete edition of his mythological and legendary lore
"The Age of Fable," "The Age of Chivalry," and "Legends of
Charlemagne" are included. Scrupulous care has been taken to
follow the original text of Bulfinch, but attention should be
called to some additional sections which have been inserted to add
to the rounded completeness of the work, and which the publishers
believe would meet with the sanction of the author himself, as in
no way intruding upon his original plan but simply carrying it out
in more complete detail. The section on Northern Mythology has
been enlarged by a retelling of the epic of the "Nibelungen Lied,"
together with a summary of Wagner's version of the legend in his
series of music-dramas. Under the head of "Hero Myths of the
British Race" have been included outlines of the stories of
Beowulf, Cuchulain, Hereward the Wake, and Robin Hood. Of the
verse extracts which occur throughout the text, thirty or more
have been added from literature which has appeared since
Bulfinch's time, extracts that he would have been likely to quote
had he personally supervised the new edition.

Finally, the index has been thoroughly overhauled and, indeed,
remade. All the proper names in the work have been entered, with
references to the pages where they occur, and a concise
explanation or definition of each has been given. Thus what was a
mere list of names in the original has been enlarged into a small
classical and mythological dictionary, which it is hoped will
prove valuable for reference purposes not necessarily connected
with "The Age of Fable."

Acknowledgments are due the writings of Dr. Oliver Huckel for
information on the point of Wagner's rendering of the Nibelungen
legend, and M. I. Ebbutt's authoritative volume on "Hero Myths and
Legends of the British Race," from which much of the information
concerning the British heroes has been obtained


If no other knowledge deserves to be called useful but that which
helps to enlarge our possessions or to raise our station in
society, then Mythology has no claim to the appellation. But if
that which tends to make us happier and better can be called
useful, then we claim that epithet for our subject. For Mythology
is the handmaid of literature; and literature is one of the best
allies of virtue and promoters of happiness.

Without a knowledge of mythology much of the elegant literature of
our own language cannot be understood and appreciated. When Byron
calls Rome "the Niobe of nations," or says of Venice, "She looks a
Sea-Cybele fresh from ocean," he calls up to the mind of one
familiar with our subject, illustrations more vivid and striking
than the pencil could furnish, but which are lost to the reader
ignorant of mythology. Milton abounds in similar allusions. The
short poem "Comus" contains more than thirty such, and the ode "On
the Morning of the Nativity" half as many. Through "Paradise Lost"
they are scattered profusely. This is one reason why we often hear
persons by no means illiterate say that they cannot enjoy Milton.
But were these persons to add to their more solid acquirements the
easy learning of this little volume, much of the poetry of Milton
which has appeared to them "harsh and crabbed" would be found
"musical as is Apollo's lute." Our citations, taken from more than
twenty-five poets, from Spenser to Longfellow, will show how
general has been the practice of borrowing illustrations from

The prose writers also avail themselves of the same source of
elegant and suggestive illustration. One can hardly take up a
number of the "Edinburgh" or "Quarterly Review" without meeting
with instances. In Macaulay's article on Milton there are twenty

But how is mythology to be taught to one who does not learn it
through the medium of the languages of Greece and Rome? To devote
study to a species of learning which relates wholly to false
marvels and obsolete faiths is not to be expected of the general
reader in a practical age like this. The time even of the young is
claimed by so many sciences of facts and things that little can be
spared for set treatises on a science of mere fancy.

But may not the requisite knowledge of the subject be acquired by
reading the ancient poets in translations? We reply, the field is
too extensive for a preparatory course; and these very
translations require some previous knowledge of the subject to
make them intelligible. Let any one who doubts it read the first
page of the "Aeneid," and see what he can make of "the hatred of
Juno," the "decree of the Parcae," the "judgment of Paris," and
the "honors of Ganymede," without this knowledge.

Shall we be told that answers to such queries may be found in
notes, or by a reference to the Classical Dictionary? We reply,
the interruption of one's reading by either process is so annoying
that most readers prefer to let an allusion pass unapprehended
rather than submit to it. Moreover, such sources give us only the
dry facts without any of the charm of the original narrative; and
what is a poetical myth when stripped of its poetry? The story of
Ceyx and Halcyone, which fills a chapter in our book, occupies but
eight lines in the best (Smith's) Classical Dictionary; and so of

Our work is an attempt to solve this problem, by telling the
stories of mythology in such a manner as to make them a source of
amusement. We have endeavored to tell them correctly, according to
the ancient authorities, so that when the reader finds them
referred to he may not be at a loss to recognize the reference.
Thus we hope to teach mythology not as a study, but as a
relaxation from study; to give our work the charm of a story-book,
yet by means of it to impart a knowledge of an important branch of
education. The index at the end will adapt it to the purposes of
reference, and make it a Classical Dictionary for the parlor.

Most of the classical legends in "Stories of Gods and Heroes" are
derived from Ovid and Virgil. They are not literally translated,
for, in the author's opinion, poetry translated into literal prose
is very unattractive reading. Neither are they in verse, as well
for other reasons as from a conviction that to translate
faithfully under all the embarrassments of rhyme and measure is
impossible. The attempt has been made to tell the stories in
prose, preserving so much of the poetry as resides in the thoughts
and is separable from the language itself, and omitting those
amplifications which are not suited to the altered form.

The Northern mythological stories are copied with some abridgment
from Mallet's "Northern Antiquities." These chapters, with those
on Oriental and Egyptian mythology, seemed necessary to complete
the subject, though it is believed these topics have not usually
been presented in the same volume with the classical fables.

The poetical citations so freely introduced are expected to answer
several valuable purposes. They will tend to fix in memory the
leading fact of each story, they will help to the attainment of a
correct pronunciation of the proper names, and they will enrich
the memory with many gems of poetry, some of them such as are most
frequently quoted or alluded to in reading and conversation.

Having chosen mythology as connected with literature for our
province, we have endeavored to omit nothing which the reader of
elegant literature is likely to find occasion for. Such stories
and parts of stories as are offensive to pure taste and good
morals are not given. But such stories are not often referred to,
and if they occasionally should be, the English reader need feel
no mortification in confessing his ignorance of them.

Our work is not for the learned, nor for the theologian, nor for
the philosopher, but for the reader of English literature, of
either sex, who wishes to comprehend the allusions so frequently
made by public speakers, lecturers, essayists, and poets, and
those which occur in polite conversation.

In the "Stories of Gods and Heroes" the compiler has endeavored to
impart the pleasures of classical learning to the English reader,
by presenting the stories of Pagan mythology in a form adapted to
modern taste. In "King Arthur and His Knights" and "The
Mabinogeon" the attempt has been made to treat in the same way the
stories of the second "age of fable," the age which witnessed the
dawn of the several states of Modern Europe.

It is believed that this presentation of a literature which held
unrivalled sway over the imaginations of our ancestors, for many
centuries, will not be without benefit to the reader, in addition
to the amusement it may afford. The tales, though not to be
trusted for their facts, are worthy of all credit as pictures of
manners; and it is beginning to be held that the manners and modes
of thinking of an age are a more important part of its history
than the conflicts of its peoples, generally leading to no result.
Besides this, the literature of romance is a treasure-house of
poetical material, to which modern poets frequently resort. The
Italian poets, Dante and Ariosto, the English, Spenser, Scott, and
Tennyson, and our own Longfellow and Lowell, are examples of this.

These legends are so connected with each other, so consistently
adapted to a group of characters strongly individualized in
Arthur, Launcelot, and their compeers, and so lighted up by the
fires of imagination and invention, that they seem as well adapted
to the poet's purpose as the legends of the Greek and Roman
mythology. And if every well-educated young person is expected to
know the story of the Golden Fleece, why is the quest of the
Sangreal less worthy of his acquaintance? Or if an allusion to the
shield of Achilles ought not to pass unapprehended, why should one
to Excalibar, the famous sword of Arthur?--

    "Of Arthur, who, to upper light restored,
     With that terrific sword,
     Which yet he brandishes for future war,
     Shall lift his country's fame above the polar star."

[Footnote: Wordsworth]

It is an additional recommendation of our subject, that it tends
to cherish in our minds the idea of the source from which we
sprung. We are entitled to our full share in the glories and
recollections of the land of our forefathers, down to the time of
colonization thence. The associations which spring from this
source must be fruitful of good influences; among which not the
least valuable is the increased enjoyment which such associations
afford to the American traveller when he visits England, and sets
his foot upon any of her renowned localities.

The legends of Charlemagne and his peers are necessary to complete
the subject.

In an age when intellectual darkness enveloped Western Europe, a
constellation of brilliant writers arose in Italy. Of these, Pulci
(born in 1432), Boiardo (1434), and Ariosto (1474) took for their
subjects the romantic fables which had for many ages been
transmitted in the lays of bards and the legends of monkish
chroniclers. These fables they arranged in order, adorned with the
embellishments of fancy, amplified from their own invention, and
stamped with immortality. It may safely be asserted that as long
as civilization shall endure these productions will retain their
place among the most cherished creations of human genius.

In "Stories of Gods and Heroes," "King Arthur and His Knights" and
"The Mabinogeon" the aim has been to supply to the modern reader
such knowledge of the fables of classical and mediaeval literature
as is needed to render intelligible the allusions which occur in
reading and conversation. The "Legends of Charlemagne" is intended
to carry out the same design. Like the earlier portions of the
work, it aspires to a higher character than that of a piece of
mere amusement. It claims to be useful, in acquainting its readers
with the subjects of the productions of the great poets of Italy.
Some knowledge of these is expected of every well-educated young

In reading these romances, we cannot fail to observe how the
primitive inventions have been used, again and again, by
successive generations of fabulists. The Siren of Ulysses is the
prototype of the Siren of Orlando, and the character of Circe
reappears in Alcina. The fountains of Love and Hatred may be
traced to the story of Cupid and Psyche; and similar effects
produced by a magic draught appear in the tale of Tristram and
Isoude, and, substituting a flower for the draught, in
Shakspeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream." There are many other
instances of the same kind which the reader will recognize without
our assistance.

The sources whence we derive these stories are, first, the Italian
poets named above; next, the "Romans de Chevalerie" of the Comte
de Tressan; lastly, certain German collections of popular tales.
Some chapters have been borrowed from Leigh Hunt's Translations
from the Italian Poets. It seemed unnecessary to do over again
what he had already done so well; yet, on the other hand, those
stories could not be omitted from the series without leaving it




    I. Introduction
   II. The Mythical History of England
  III. Merlin
   IV. Arthur
    V. Arthur (Continued)
   VI. Sir Gawain
  VII. Caradoc Briefbras; or, Caradoc with the Shrunken Arm
 VIII. Launcelot of the Lake
   IX. The Adventure of the Cart
    X. The Lady of Shalott
   XI. Queen Guenever's Peril
  XII. Tristram and Isoude
 XIII. Tristram and Isoude (Continued)
  XIV. Sir Tristram's Battle with Sir Launcelot
   XV. The Round Table
  XVI. Sir Palamedes
 XVII. Sir Tristram
XVIII. Perceval
  XIX. The Sangreal, or Holy Graal
   XX. The Sangreal (Continued)
  XXI. The Sangreal (Continued)
 XXII. Sir Agrivain's Treason
XXIII. Morte d'Arthur


      Introductory Note
   I. The Britons
  II. The Lady of the Fountain
 III. The Lady of the Fountain (Continued)
  IV. The Lady of the Fountain (Continued)
   V. Geraint, the Son of Erbin
  VI. Geraint, the Son of Erbin (Continued)
 VII. Geraint, the Son of Erbin (Continued)
VIII. Pwyll, Prince of Dyved
  IX. Branwen, the Daughter of Llyr
   X. Manawyddan
  XI. Kilwich and Olwen
 XII. Kilwich and Olwen (Continued)
XIII. Taliesin


Cuchulain, Champion of Ireland
Hereward the Wake
Robin Hood





On the decline of the Roman power, about five centuries after
Christ, the countries of Northern Europe were left almost
destitute of a national government. Numerous chiefs, more or less
powerful, held local sway, as far as each could enforce his
dominion, and occasionally those chiefs would unite for a common
object; but, in ordinary times, they were much more likely to be
found in hostility to one another. In such a state of things the
rights of the humbler classes of society were at the mercy of
every assailant; and it is plain that, without some check upon the
lawless power of the chiefs, society must have relapsed into
barbarism. Such checks were found, first, in the rivalry of the
chiefs themselves, whose mutual jealousy made them restraints upon
one another; secondly, in the influence of the Church, which, by
every motive, pure or selfish, was pledged to interpose for the
protection of the weak; and lastly, in the generosity and sense of
right which, however crushed under the weight of passion and
selfishness, dwell naturally in the heart of man. From this last
source sprang Chivalry, which framed an ideal of the heroic
character, combining invincible strength and valor, justice,
modesty, loyalty to superiors, courtesy to equals, compassion to
weakness, and devotedness to the Church; an ideal which, if never
met with in real life, was acknowledged by all as the highest
model for emulation.

The word "Chivalry" is derived from the French "cheval," a horse.
The word "knight," which originally meant boy or servant, was
particularly applied to a young man after he was admitted to the
privilege of bearing arms. This privilege was conferred on youths
of family and fortune only, for the mass of the people were not
furnished with arms. The knight then was a mounted warrior, a man
of rank, or in the service and maintenance of some man of rank,
generally possessing some independent means of support, but often
relying mainly on the gratitude of those whom he served for the
supply of his wants, and often, no doubt, resorting to the means
which power confers on its possessor.

In time of war the knight was, with his followers, in the camp of
his sovereign, or commanding in the field, or holding some castle
for him. In time of peace he was often in attendance at his
sovereign's court, gracing with his presence the banquets and
tournaments with which princes cheered their leisure. Or he was
traversing the country in quest of adventure, professedly bent on
redressing wrongs and enforcing rights, sometimes in fulfilment of
some vow of religion or of love. These wandering knights were
called knights-errant; they were welcome guests in the castles of
the nobility, for their presence enlivened the dulness of those
secluded abodes, and they were received with honor at the abbeys,
which often owed the best part of their revenues to the patronage
of the knights; but if no castle or abbey or hermitage were at
hand their hardy habits made it not intolerable to them to lie
down, supperless, at the foot of some wayside cross, and pass the

It is evident that the justice administered by such an
instrumentality must have been of the rudest description. The
force whose legitimate purpose was to redress wrongs might easily
be perverted to inflict them Accordingly, we find in the romances,
which, however fabulous in facts, are true as pictures of manners,
that a knightly castle was often a terror to the surrounding
country; that is, dungeons were full of oppressed knights and
ladies, waiting for some champion to appear to set them free, or
to be ransomed with money; that hosts of idle retainers were ever
at hand to enforce their lord's behests, regardless of law and
justice; and that the rights of the unarmed multitude were of no
account. This contrariety of fact and theory in regard to chivalry
will account for the opposite impressions which exist in men's
minds respecting it. While it has been the theme of the most
fervid eulogium on the one part, it has been as eagerly denounced
on the other. On a cool estimate, we cannot but see reason to
congratulate ourselves that it has given way in modern times to
the reign of law, and that the civil magistrate, if less
picturesque, has taken the place of the mailed champion.


The preparatory education of candidates for knighthood was long
and arduous. At seven years of age the noble children were usually
removed from their father's house to the court or castle of their
future patron, and placed under the care of a governor, who taught
them the first articles of religion, and respect and reverence for
their lords and superiors, and initiated them in the ceremonies of
a court. They were called pages, valets, or varlets, and their
office was to carve, to wait at table, and to perform other menial
services, which were not then considered humiliating. In their
leisure hours they learned to dance and play on the harp, were
instructed in the mysteries of woods and rivers, that is, in
hunting, falconry, and fishing, and in wrestling, tilting with
spears, and performing other military exercises on horseback. At
fourteen the page became an esquire, and began a course of severer
and more laborious exercises. To vault on a horse in heavy armor;
to run, to scale walls, and spring over ditches, under the same
encumbrance; to wrestle, to wield the battle-axe for a length of
time, without raising the visor or taking breath; to perform with
grace all the evolutions of horsemanship,--were necessary
preliminaries to the reception of knighthood, which was usually
conferred at twenty-one years of age, when the young man's
education was supposed to be completed. In the meantime, the
esquires were no less assiduously engaged in acquiring all those
refinements of civility which formed what was in that age called
courtesy. The same castle in which they received their education
was usually thronged with young persons of the other sex, and the
page was encouraged, at a very early age, to select some lady of
the court as the mistress of his heart, to whom he was taught to
refer all his sentiments, words, and actions. The service of his
mistress was the glory and occupation of a knight, and her smiles,
bestowed at once by affection and gratitude, were held out as the
recompense of his well-directed valor. Religion united its
influence with those of loyalty and love, and the order of
knighthood, endowed with all the sanctity and religious awe that
attended the priesthood, became an object of ambition to the
greatest sovereigns.

The ceremonies of initiation were peculiarly solemn. After
undergoing a severe fast, and spending whole nights in prayer, the
candidate confessed, and received the sacrament. He then clothed
himself in snow-white garments, and repaired to the church, or the
hall, where the ceremony was to take place, bearing a knightly
sword suspended from his neck, which the officiating priest took
and blessed, and then returned to him. The candidate then, with
folded arms, knelt before the presiding knight, who, after some
questions about his motives and purposes in requesting admission,
administered to him the oaths, and granted his request. Some of
the knights present, sometimes even ladies and damsels, handed to
him in succession the spurs, the coat of mail, the hauberk, the
armlet and gauntlet, and lastly he girded on the sword. He then
knelt again before the president, who, rising from his seat, gave
him the "accolade," which consisted of three strokes, with the
flat of a sword, on the shoulder or neck of the candidate,
accompanied by the words: "In the name of God, of St. Michael, and
St. George, I make thee a knight; be valiant, courteous, and
loyal!" Then he received his helmet, his shield, and spear; and
thus the investiture ended.


The other classes of which society was composed were, first,
FREEMEN, owners of small portions of land independent, though they
sometimes voluntarily became the vassals of their more opulent
neighbors, whose power was necessary for their protection. The
other two classes, which were much the most numerous, were either
serfs or villains, both of which were slaves.

The SERFS were in the lowest state of slavery. All the fruits of
their labor belonged to the master whose land they tilled, and by
whom they were fed and clothed.

The VILLIANS were less degraded. Their situation seems to have
resembled that of the Russian peasants at this day. Like the
serfs, they were attached to the soil, and were transferred with
it by purchase; but they paid only a fixed rent to the landlord,
and had a right to dispose of any surplus that might arise from
their industry.

The term "clerk" was of very extensive import. It comprehended,
originally, such persons only as belonged to the clergy, or
clerical order, among whom, however, might be found a multitude of
married persons, artisans or others. But in process of time a much
wider rule was established; every one that could read being
accounted a clerk or clericus, and allowed the "benefit of
clergy," that is, exemption from capital and some other forms of
punishment, in case of crime.


The splendid pageant of a tournament between knights, its gaudy
accessories and trappings, and its chivalrous regulations,
originated in France. Tournaments were repeatedly condemned by the
Church, probably on account of the quarrels they led to, and the
often fatal results. The "joust," or "just," was different from
the tournament. In these, knights fought with their lances, and
their object was to unhorse their antagonists; while the
tournaments were intended for a display of skill and address in
evolutions, and with various weapons, and greater courtesy was
observed in the regulations. By these it was forbidden to wound
the horse, or to use the point of the sword, or to strike a knight
after he had raised his vizor, or unlaced his helmet. The ladies
encouraged their knights in these exercises; they bestowed prizes,
and the conqueror's feats were the theme of romance and song. The
stands overlooking the ground, of course, were varied in the
shapes of towers, terraces, galleries, and pensile gardens,
magnificently decorated with tapestry, pavilions, and banners.
Every combatant proclaimed the name of the lady whose servant
d'amour he was. He was wont to look up to the stand, and
strengthen his courage by the sight of the bright eyes that were
raining their influence on him from above. The knights also
carried FAVORS, consisting of scarfs, veils, sleeves, bracelets,
clasps,--in short, some piece of female habiliment,--attached to
their helmets, shields, or armor. If, during the combat, any of
these appendages were dropped or lost the fair donor would at
times send her knight new ones, especially if pleased with his


Mail armor, of which the hauberk is a species, and which derived
its name from maille, a French word for MESH, was of two kinds,
PLATE or SCALE mail, and CHAIN mail. It was originally used for
the protection of the body only, reaching no lower than the knees.
It was shaped like a carter's frock, and bound round the waist by
a girdle. Gloves and hose of mail were afterwards added, and a
hood, which, when necessary, was drawn over the head, leaving the
face alone uncovered. To protect the skin from the impression of
the iron network of the chain mail, a quilted lining was employed,
which, however, was insufficient, and the bath was used to efface
the marks of the armor.

The hauberk was a complete covering of double chain mail. Some
hauberks opened before, like a modern coat; others were closed
like a shirt.

The chain mail of which they were composed was formed by a number
of iron links, each link having others inserted into it, the whole
exhibiting a kind of network, of which (in some instances at
least) the meshes were circular, with each link separately

The hauberk was proof against the most violent blow of a sword;
but the point of a lance might pass through the meshes, or drive
the iron into the flesh. To guard against this, a thick and well-
stuffed doublet was worn underneath, under which was commonly
added an iron breastplate. Hence the expression "to pierce both
plate and mail," so common in the earlier poets.

Mail armor continued in general use till about the year 1300, when
it was gradually supplanted by plate armor, or suits consisting of
pieces or plates of solid iron, adapted to the different parts of
the body.

Shields were generally made of wood, covered with leather, or some
similar substance. To secure them, in some sort, from being cut
through by the sword, they were surrounded with a hoop of metal.


The helmet was composed of two parts: the HEADPIECE, which was
strengthened within by several circles of iron, and the VISOR,
which, as the name implies, was a sort of grating to see through,
so contrived as, by sliding in a groove, or turning on a pivot, to
be raised or lowered at pleasure. Some helmets had a further
improvement called a BEVER, from the Italian bevere, to drink. The
VENTAYLE, or "air-passage," is another name for this.

To secure the helmet from the possibility of falling, or of being
struck off, it was tied by several laces to the meshes of the
hauberk; consequently, when a knight was overthrown it was
necessary to undo these laces before he could be put to death;
though this was sometimes effected by lifting up the skirt of the
hauberk, and stabbing him in the belly. The instrument of death
was a small dagger, worn on the right side.


In ages when there were no books, when noblemen and princes
themselves could not read, history or tradition was monopolized by
the story-tellers. They inherited, generation after generation,
the wondrous tales of their predecessors, which they retailed to
the public with such additions of their own as their acquired
information supplied them with. Anachronisms became of course very
common, and errors of geography, of locality, of manners, equally
so. Spurious genealogies were invented, in which Arthur and his
knights, and Charlemagne and his paladins, were made to derive
their descent from Aeneas, Hector, or some other of the Trojan

With regard to the derivation of the word "Romance," we trace it
to the fact that the dialects which were formed in Western Europe,
from the admixture of Latin with the native languages, took the
name of Langue Romaine. The French language was divided into two
dialects. The river Loire was their common boundary. In the
provinces to the south of that river the affirmative, YES, was
expressed by the word oc; in the north it was called oil (oui);
and hence Dante has named the southern language langue d'oc, and
the northern langue d'oil. The latter, which was carried into
England by the Normans, and is the origin of the present French,
may be called the French Romane; and the former the Provencal, or
Provencial Romane, because it was spoken by the people of Provence
and Languedoc, southern provinces of France.

These dialects were soon distinguished by very opposite
characters. A soft and enervating climate, a spirit of commerce
encouraged by an easy communication with other maritime nations,
the influx of wealth, and a more settled government, may have
tended to polish and soften the diction of the Provencials, whose
poets, under the name of Troubadours, were the masters of the
Italians, and particularly of Petrarch. Their favorite pieces were
Sirventes (satirical pieces), love-songs, and Tensons, which last
were a sort of dialogue in verse between two poets, who questioned
each other on some refined points of loves' casuistry. It seems
the Provencials were so completely absorbed in these delicate
questions as to neglect and despise the composition of fabulous
histories of adventure and knighthood, which they left in a great
measure to the poets of the northern part of the kingdom, called

At a time when chivalry excited universal admiration, and when all
the efforts of that chivalry were directed against the enemies of
religion, it was natural that literature should receive the same
impulse, and that history and fable should be ransacked to furnish
examples of courage and piety that might excite increased
emulation. Arthur and Charlemagne were the two heroes selected for
this purpose. Arthur's pretensions were that he was a brave,
though not always a successful warrior; he had withstood with
great resolution the arms of the infidels, that is to say of the
Saxons, and his memory was held in the highest estimation by his
countrymen, the Britons, who carried with them into Wales, and
into the kindred country of Armorica, or Brittany, the memory of
his exploits, which their national vanity insensibly exaggerated,
till the little prince of the Silures (South Wales) was magnified
into the conqueror of England, of Gaul, and of the greater part of
Europe. His genealogy was gradually carried up to an imaginary
Brutus, and to the period of the Trojan war, and a sort of
chronicle was composed in the Welsh, or Armorican language, which,
under the pompous title of the "History of the Kings of Britain,"
was translated into Latin by Geoffrey of Monmouth, about the year
1150. The Welsh critics consider the material of the work to have
been an older history, written by St. Talian, Bishop of St. Asaph,
in the seventh century.

As to Charlemagne, though his real merits were sufficient to
secure his immortality, it was impossible that his HOLY WARS
against the Saracens should not become a favorite topic for
fiction. Accordingly, the fabulous history of these wars was
written, probably towards the close of the eleventh century, by a
monk, who, thinking it would add dignity to his work to embellish
it with a contemporary name, boldly ascribed it to Turpin, who was
Archbishop of Rheims about the year 773.

These fabulous chronicles were for a while imprisoned in languages
of local only or of professional access. Both Turpin and Geoffrey
might indeed be read by ecclesiastics, the sole Latin scholars of
those times, and Geoffrey's British original would contribute to
the gratification of Welshmen; but neither could become
extensively popular till translated into some language of general
and familiar use. The Anglo-Saxon was at that time used only by a
conquered and enslaved nation; the Spanish and Italian languages
were not yet formed; the Norman French alone was spoken and
understood by the nobility in the greater part of Europe, and
therefore was a proper vehicle for the new mode of composition.

That language was fashionable in England before the Conquest, and
became, after that event, the only language used at the court of
London. As the various conquests of the Normans, and the
enthusiastic valor of that extraordinary people, had familiarized
the minds of men with the most marvellous events, their poets
eagerly seized the fabulous legends of Arthur and Charlemagne,
translated them into the language of the day, and soon produced a
variety of imitations. The adventures attributed to these
monarchs, and to their distinguished warriors, together with those
of many other traditionary or imaginary heroes, composed by
degrees that formidable body of marvellous histories which, from
the dialect in which the most ancient of them were written, were
called "Romances."


The earliest form in which romances appear is that of a rude kind
of verse. In this form it is supposed they were sung or recited at
the feasts of princes and knights in their baronial halls. The
following specimen of the language and style of Robert de
Beauvais, who flourished in 1257, is from Sir Walter Scott's
"Introduction to the Romance of Sir Tristrem":

    "Ne voil pas emmi dire,
    Ici diverse la matyere,
    Entre ceus qui solent cunter,
    E de le cunte Tristran parler."

    "I will not say too much about it,
    So diverse is the matter,
    Among those who are in the habit of telling
    And relating the story of Tristran."

This is a specimen of the language which was in use among the
nobility of England, in the ages immediately after the Norman
conquest. The following is a specimen of the English that existed
at the same time, among the common people. Robert de Brunne,
speaking of his Latin and French authorities, says:

    "Als thai haf wryten and sayd
    Haf I alle in myn Inglis layd,
    In symple speche as I couthe,
    That is lightest in manne's mouthe.
    Alle for the luf of symple men,
    That strange Inglis cannot ken."

The "strange Inglis" being the language of the previous specimen.

It was not till toward the end of the thirteenth century that the
PROSE romances began to appear. These works generally began with
disowning and discrediting the sources from which in reality they
drew their sole information. As every romance was supposed to be a
real history, the compilers of those in prose would have forfeited
all credit if they had announced themselves as mere copyists of
the minstrels. On the contrary, they usually state that, as the
popular poems upon the matter in question contain many "lesings,"
they had been induced to translate the real and true history of
such or such a knight from the original Latin or Greek, or from
the ancient British or Armorican authorities, which authorities
existed only in their own assertion.

A specimen of the style of the prose romances may be found in the
following extract from one of the most celebrated and latest of
them, the "Morte d'Arthur" of Sir Thomas Mallory, of the date of
1485. From this work much of the contents of this volume has been
drawn, with as close an adherence to the original style as was
thought consistent with our plan of adapting our narrative to the
taste of modern readers.

"It is notoyrly knowen thorugh the vnyuersal world that there been
ix worthy and the best that ever were. That is to wete thre
paynyms, three Jewes, and three crysten men. As for the paynyms,
they were tofore the Incarnacyon of Cryst whiche were named, the
fyrst Hector of Troye; the second Alysaunder the grete, and the
thyrd Julyus Cezar, Emperour of Rome, of whome thystoryes ben wel
kno and had. And as for the thre Jewes whyche also were tofore
thyncarnacyon of our Lord, of whome the fyrst was Duc Josue,
whyche brought the chyldren of Israhel into the londe of beheste;
the second Dauyd, kyng of Jherusalem, and the thyrd Judas
Machabeus; of these thre the byble reherceth al theyr noble
hystoryes and actes. And sythe the sayd Incarnacyon haue ben the
noble crysten men stalled and admytted thorugh the vnyuersal world
to the nombre of the ix beste and worthy, of whome was fyrst the
noble Arthur, whose noble actes I purpose to wryte in this person
book here folowyng. The second was Charlemayn, or Charles the
grete, of whome thystorye is had in many places both in frensshe
and englysshe, and the thyrd and last was Godefray of boloyn."



The illustrious poet, Milton, in his "History of England," is the
author whom we chiefly follow in this chapter.

According to the earliest accounts, Albion, a giant, and son of
Neptune, a contemporary of Hercules, ruled over the island, to
which he gave his name. Presuming to oppose the progress of
Hercules in his western march, he was slain by him.

Another story is that Histion, the son of Japhet, the son of Noah,
had four sons, Francus, Romanus, Alemannus, and Britto, from whom
descended the French, Roman, German, and British people.

Rejecting these and other like stories, Milton gives more regard
to the story of Brutus, the Trojan, which, he says, is supported
by "descents of ancestry long continued, laws and exploits not
plainly seeming to be borrowed or devised, which on the common
belief have wrought no small impression; defended by many, denied
utterly by few." The principal authority is Geoffrey of Monmouth,
whose history, written in the twelfth century, purports to be a
translation of a history of Britain brought over from the opposite
shore of France, which, under the name of Brittany, was chiefly
peopled by natives of Britain who, from time to time, emigrated
thither, driven from their own country by the inroads of the Picts
and Scots. According to this authority, Brutus was the son of
Silvius, and he of Ascanius, the son of Aeneas, whose flight from
Troy and settlement in Italy are narrated in "Stories of Gods and

Brutus, at the age of fifteen, attending his father to the chase,
unfortunately killed him with an arrow. Banished therefor by his
kindred, he sought refuge in that part of Greece where Helenus,
with a band of Trojan exiles, had become established. But Helenus
was now dead and the descendants of the Trojans were oppressed by
Pandrasus, the king of the country. Brutus, being kindly received
among them, so throve in virtue and in arms as to win the regard
of all the eminent of the land above all others of his age. In
consequence of this the Trojans not only began to hope, but
secretly to persuade him to lead them the way to liberty. To
encourage them, they had the promise of help from Assaracus, a
noble Greek youth, whose mother was a Trojan. He had suffered
wrong at the hands of the king, and for that reason the more
willingly cast in his lost with the Trojan exiles.

Choosing a fit opportunity, Brutus with his countrymen withdrew to
the woods and hills, as the safest place from which to
expostulate, and sent this message to Pandrasus: "That the
Trojans, holding it unworthy of their ancestors to serve in a
foreign land, had retreated to the woods, choosing rather a savage
life than a slavish one. If that displeased him, then, with his
leave, they would depart to some other country." Pandrasus, not
expecting so bold a message from the sons of captives, went in
pursuit of them, with such forces as he could gather, and met them
on the banks of the Achelous, where Brutus got the advantage, and
took the king captive. The result was, that the terms demanded by
the Trojans were granted; the king gave his daughter Imogen in
marriage to Brutus, and furnished shipping, money, and fit
provision for them all to depart from the land.

The marriage being solemnized, and shipping from all parts got
together, the Trojans, in a fleet of no less than three hundred
and twenty sail, betook themselves to the sea. On the third day
they arrived at a certain island, which they found destitute of
inhabitants, though there were appearances of former habitation,
and among the ruins a temple of Diana. Brutus, here performing
sacrifice at the shrine of the goddess, invoked an oracle for his
guidance, in these lines:

    "Goddess of shades, and huntress, who at will
    Walk'st on the rolling sphere, and through the deep;
    On thy third realm, the earth, look now, and tell
    What land, what seat of rest, thou bidd'st me seek;
    What certain seat where I may worship thee
    For aye, with temples vowed and virgin choirs."

To whom, sleeping before the altar, Diana in a vision thus

    "Brutus! far to the west, in the ocean wide,
    Beyond the realm of Gaul, a land there lies,
    Seagirt it lies, where giants dwelt of old;
    Now, void, it fits thy people: thither bend
    Thy course; there shalt thou find a lasting seat;
    There to thy sons another Troy shall rise,
    And kings be born of thee, whose dreaded might
    Shall awe the world, and conquer nations bold"

Brutus, guided now, as he thought, by divine direction, sped his
course towards the west, and, arriving at a place on the Tyrrhene
sea, found there the descendants of certain Trojans who, with
Antenor, came into Italy, of whom Corineus was the chief. These
joined company, and the ships pursued their way till they arrived
at the mouth of the river Loire, in France, where the expedition
landed, with a view to a settlement, but were so rudely assaulted
by the inhabitants that they put to sea again, and arrived at a
part of the coast of Britain, now called Devonshire, where Brutus
felt convinced that he had found the promised end of his voyage,
landed his colony, and took possession.

The island, not yet Britain, but Albion, was in a manner desert
and inhospitable, occupied only by a remnant of the giant race
whose excessive force and tyranny had destroyed the others. The
Trojans encountered these and extirpated them, Corineus, in
particular, signalizing himself by his exploits against them; from
whom Cornwall takes its name, for that region fell to his lot, and
there the hugest giants dwelt, lurking in rocks and caves, till
Corineus rid the land of them.

Brutus built his capital city, and called it Trojanova (New Troy),
changed in time to Trinovantus, now London;

    "For noble Britons sprong from Trojans bold,
    And Troynovant was built of old Troy's ashes cold" SPENSER,

    Book III, Canto IX., 38.]

and, having governed the isle twenty-four years, died, leaving
three sons, Locrine, Albanact and Camber. Locrine had the middle
part, Camber the west, called Cambria from him, and Albanact
Albania, now Scotland. Locrine was married to Guendolen, the
daughter of Corineus, but having seen a fair maid named Estrildis,
who had been brought captive from Germany, he became enamoured of
her, and had by her a daughter, whose name was Sabra. This matter
was kept secret while Corineus lived, but after his death Locrine
divorced Guendolen, and made Estrildis his queen. Guendolen, all
in rage, departed to Cornwall, where Madan, her son, lived, who
had been brought up by Corineus, his grandfather. Gathering an
army of her father's friends and subjects, she gave battle to her
husband's forces and Locrine was slain. Guendolen caused her
rival, Estrildis, with her daughter Sabra, to be thrown into the
river, from which cause the river thenceforth bore the maiden's
name, which by length of time is now changed into Sabrina or
Severn. Milton alludes to this in his address to the rivers,--

    "Severn swift, guilty of maiden's death";--

and in his "Comus" tells the story with a slight variation, thus:

    "There is a gentle nymph not far from hence,
    That with moist curb sways the smooth Severn stream;
    Sabrina is her name, a virgin pure:
    Whilom she was the daughter of Locrine,
    That had the sceptre from his father, Brute,
    She, guiltless damsel, flying the mad pursuit
    Of her enraged step-dame, Guendolen,
    Commended her fair innocence to the flood,
    That stayed her night with his cross-flowing course
    The water-nymphs that in the bottom played,
    Held up their pearled wrists and took her in,
    Bearing her straight to aged Nereus' hall,
    Who, piteous of her woes, reared her lank head,
    And gave her to his daughters to imbathe
    In nectared lavers strewed with asphodel,
    And through the porch and inlet of each sense
    Dropped in ambrosial oils till she revived,
    And underwent a quick, immortal change,
    Made goddess of the river," etc.

If our readers ask when all this took place, we must answer, in
the first place, that mythology is not careful of dates; and next,
that, as Brutus was the great-grandson of Aeneas, it must have
been not far from a century subsequent to the Trojan war, or about
eleven hundred years before the invasion of the island by Julius
Caesar. This long interval is filled with the names of princes
whose chief occupation was in warring with one another. Some few,
whose names remain connected with places, or embalmed in
literature, we will mention.


Bladud built the city of Bath, and dedicated the medicinal waters
to Minerva. He was a man of great invention, and practised the
arts of magic, till, having made him wings to fly, he fell down
upon the temple of Apollo, in Trinovant, and so died, after twenty
years' reign.


Leir, who next reigned, built Leicester, and called it after his
name. He had no male issue, but only three daughters. When grown
old he determined to divide his kingdom among his daughters, and
bestow them in marriage. But first, to try which of them loved him
best, he determined to ask them solemnly in order, and judge of
the warmth of their affection by their answers. Goneril, the
eldest, knowing well her father's weakness, made answer that she
loved him "above her soul." "Since thou so honorest my declining
age," said the old man, "to thee and to thy husband I give the
third part of my realm." Such good success for a few words soon
uttered was ample instruction to Regan, the second daughter, what
to say. She therefore to the same question replied that "she loved
him more than all the world beside;" and so received an equal
reward with her sister. But Cordelia, the youngest, and hitherto
the best beloved, though having before her eyes the reward of a
little easy soothing, and the loss likely to attend plain-
dealing, yet was not moved from the solid purpose of a sincere and
virtuous answer, and replied: "Father, my love towards you is as
my duty bids. They who pretend beyond this flatter." When the old
man, sorry to hear this, and wishing her to recall these words,
persisted in asking, she still restrained her expressions so as to
say rather less than more than the truth. Then Leir, all in a
passion, burst forth: "Since thou hast not reverenced thy aged
father like thy sisters, think not to have any part in my kingdom
or what else I have;"--and without delay, giving in marriage his
other daughters, Goneril to the Duke of Albany, and Regan to the
Duke of Cornwall, he divides his kingdom between them, and goes to
reside with his eldest daughter, attended only by a hundred
knights. But in a short time his attendants, being complained of
as too numerous and disorderly, are reduced to thirty. Resenting
that affront, the old king betakes him to his second daughter; but
she, instead of soothing his wounded pride, takes part with her
sister, and refuses to admit a retinue of more than five. Then
back he returns to the other, who now will not receive him with
more than one attendant. Then the remembrance of Cordeilla comes
to his thoughts, and he takes his journey into France to seek her,
with little hope of kind consideration from one whom he had so
injured, but to pay her the last recompense he can render,--
confession of his injustice. When Cordeilla is informed of his
approach, and of his sad condition, she pours forth true filial
tears. And, not willing that her own or others' eyes should see
him in that forlorn condition, she sends one of her trusted
servants to meet him, and convey him privately to some comfortable
abode, and to furnish him with such state as befitted his dignity.
After which Cordeilla, with the king her husband, went in state to
meet him, and, after an honorable reception, the king permitted
his wife, Cordeilla, to go with an army and set her father again
upon his throne. They prospered, subdued the wicked sisters and
their consorts, and Leir obtained the crown and held it three
years. Cordeilla succeeded him and reigned five years; but the
sons of her sisters, after that, rebelled against her, and she
lost both her crown and life.

Shakspeare has chosen this story as the subject of his tragedy of
"King Lear," varying its details in some respects. The madness of
Leir, and the ill success of Cordeilla's attempt to reinstate her
father, are the principal variations, and those in the names will
also be noticed. Our narrative is drawn from Milton's "History;"
and thus the reader will perceive that the story of Leir has had
the distinguished honor of being told by the two acknowledged
chiefs of British literature.


Ferrex and Porrex were brothers, who held the kingdom after Leir.
They quarrelled about the supremacy, and Porrex expelled his
brother, who, obtaining aid from Suard, king of the Franks,
returned and made war upon Porrex. Ferrex was slain in battle and
his forces dispersed. When their mother came to hear of her son's
death, who was her favorite, she fell into a great rage, and
conceived a mortal hatred against the survivor. She took,
therefore, her opportunity when he was asleep, fell upon him, and,
with the assistance of her women, tore him in pieces. This horrid
story would not be worth relating, were it not for the fact that
it has furnished the plot for the first tragedy which was written
in the English language. It was entitled "Gorboduc," but in the
second edition "Ferrex and Porrex," and was the production of
Thomas Sackville, afterwards Earl of Dorset, and Thomas Norton, a
barrister. Its date was 1561.


This is the next name of note. Molmutius established the Molmutine
laws, which bestowed the privilege of sanctuary on temples,
cities, and the roads leading to them, and gave the same
protection to ploughs, extending a religious sanction to the
labors of the field. Shakspeare alludes to him in "Cymbeline," Act
III., Scene 1:

    "... Molmutius made our laws;
     Who was the first of Britain which did put
     His brows within a golden crown, and called
     Himself a king."


The sons of Molmutius, succeeded him. They quarrelled, and Brennus
was driven out of the island, and took refuge in Gaul, where he
met with such favor from the king of the Allobroges that he gave
him his daughter in marriage, and made him his partner on the
throne. Brennus is the name which the Roman historians give to the
famous leader of the Gauls who took Rome in the time of Camillus.
Geoffrey of Monmouth claims the glory of the conquest for the
British prince, after he had become king of the Allobroges.


After Belinus and Brennus there reigned several kings of little
note, and then came Elidure. Arthgallo, his brother, being king,
gave great offence to his powerful nobles, who rose against him,
deposed him, and advanced Elidure to the throne. Arthgallo fled,
and endeavored to find assistance in the neighboring kingdoms to
reinstate him, but found none. Elidure reigned prosperously and
wisely. After five years' possession of the kingdom, one day, when
hunting, he met in the forest his brother, Arthgallo, who had been
deposed. After long wandering, unable longer to bear the poverty
to which he was reduced, he had returned to Britain, with only ten
followers, designing to repair to those who had formerly been his
friends. Elidure, at the sight of his brother in distress,
forgetting all animosities, ran to him, and embraced him. He took
Arthgallo home with him, and concealed him in the palace. After
this he feigned himself sick, and, calling his nobles about him,
induced them, partly by persuasion, partly by force, to consent to
his abdicating the kingdom, and reinstating his brother on the
throne. The agreement being ratified, Elidure took the crown from
his own head, and put it on his brother's head. Arthgallo after
this reigned ten years, well and wisely, exercising strict justice
towards all men.

He died, and left the kingdom to his sons, who reigned with
various fortunes, but were not long-lived, and left no offspring,
so that Elidure was again advanced to the throne, and finished the
course of his life in just and virtuous actions, receiving the
name of THE PIOUS, from the love and admiration of his subjects.

Wordsworth has taken the story of Artegal and Elidure for the
subject of a poem, which is No. 2 of "Poems founded on the


After Elidure, the Chronicle names many kings, but none of special
note, till we come to Lud, who greatly enlarged Trinovant, his
capital, and surrounded it with a wall. He changed its name,
bestowing upon it his own, so that henceforth it was called Lud's
town, afterwards London. Lud was buried by the gate of the city
called after him Ludgate. He had two sons, but they were not old
enough at the time of their father's death to sustain the cares of
government, and therefore their uncle, Caswallaun, or
Cassibellaunus, succeeded to the kingdom. He was a brave and
magnificent prince, so that his fame reached to distant countries.


About this time it happened (as is found in the Roman histories)
that Julius Caesar, having subdued Gaul, came to the shore
opposite Britain. And having resolved to add this island also to
his conquests, he prepared ships and transported his army across
the sea, to the mouth of the River Thames. Here he was met by
Cassibellaun with all his forces, and a battle ensued, in which
Nennius, the brother of Cassibellaun, engaged in single combat
with Csesar. After several furious blows given and received, the
sword of Caesar stuck so fast in the shield of Nennius that it
could not be pulled out, and the combatants being separated by the
intervention of the troops Nennius remained possessed of this
trophy. At last, after the greater part of the day was spent, the
Britons poured in so fast that Caesar was forced to retire to his
camp and fleet. And finding it useless to continue the war any
longer at that time, he returned to Gaul.

Shakspeare alludes to Cassibellaunus, in "Cymbeline":

    "The famed Cassibelan, who was once at point
     (O giglot fortune!) to master Caesar's sword,
     Made Lud's town with rejoicing fires bright,
     And Britons strut with courage."


Caesar, on a second invasion of the island, was more fortunate,
and compelled the Britons to pay tribute. Cymbeline, the nephew of
the king, was delivered to the Romans as a hostage for the
faithful fulfilment of the treaty, and, being carried to Rome by
Caesar, he was there brought up in the Roman arts and
accomplishments. Being afterwards restored to his country, and
placed on the throne, he was attached to the Romans, and continued
through all his reign at peace with them. His sons, Guiderius and
Arviragus, who made their appearance in Shakspeare's play of
"Cymbeline," succeeded their father, and, refusing to pay tribute
to the Romans, brought on another invasion. Guiderius was slain,
but Arviragus afterward made terms with the Romans, and reigned
prosperously many years.


The next event of note is the conquest and colonization of
Armorica, by Maximus, a Roman general, and Conan, lord of Miniadoc
or Denbigh-land, in Wales. The name of the country was changed to
Brittany, or Lesser Britain; and so completely was it possessed by
the British colonists, that the language became assimilated to
that spoken in Wales, and it is said that to this day the
peasantry of the two countries can understand each other when
speaking their native language.

The Romans eventually succeeded in establishing themselves in the
island, and after the lapse of several generations they became
blended with the natives so that no distinction existed between
the two races. When at length the Roman armies were withdrawn from
Britain, their departure was a matter of regret to the
inhabitants, as it left them without protection against the
barbarous tribes, Scots, Picts, and Norwegians, who harassed the
country incessantly. This was the state of things when the era of
King Arthur began.

The adventure of Albion, the giant, with Hercules is alluded to by
Spenser, "Faery Queene," Book IV., Canto xi:

   "For Albion the son of Neptune was;
    Who for the proof of his great puissance,
    Out of his Albion did on dry foot pass
    Into old Gaul that now is cleped France,
    To fight with Hercules, that did advance
    To vanquish all the world with matchless might:
    And there his mortal part by great mischance
    Was slain."



Merlin was the son of no mortal father, but of an Incubus, one of
a class of beings not absolutely wicked, but far from good, who
inhabit the regions of the air. Merlin's mother was a virtuous
young woman, who, on the birth of her son, intrusted him to a
priest, who hurried him to the baptismal fount, and so saved him
from sharing the lot of his father, though he retained many marks
of his unearthly origin.

At this time Vortigern reigned in Britain. He was a usurper, who
had caused the death of his sovereign, Moines, and driven the two
brothers of the late king, whose names were Uther and Pendragon,
into banishment. Vortigern, who lived in constant fear of the
return of the rightful heirs of the kingdom, began to erect a
strong tower for defence. The edifice, when brought by the workmen
to a certain height, three times fell to the ground, without any
apparent cause. The king consulted his astrologers on this
wonderful event, and learned from them that it would be necessary
to bathe the corner-stone of the foundation with the blood of a
child born without a mortal father.

In search of such an infant, Vortigern sent his messengers all
over the kingdom, and they by accident discovered Merlin, whose
lineage seemed to point him out as the individual wanted. They
took him to the king; but Merlin, young as he was, explained to
the king the absurdity of attempting to rescue the fabric by such
means, for he told him the true cause of the instability of the
tower was its being placed over the den of two immense dragons,
whose combats shook the earth above them. The king ordered his
workmen to dig beneath the tower, and when they had done so they
discovered two enormous serpents, the one white as milk the other
red as fire. The multitude looked on with amazement, till the
serpents, slowly rising from their den, and expanding their
enormous folds, began the combat, when every one fled in terror,
except Merlin, who stood by clapping his hands and cheering on the
conflict. The red dragon was slain, and the white one, gliding
through a cleft in the rock, disappeared.

These animals typified, as Merlin afterwards explained, the
invasion of Uther and Pendragon, the rightful princes, who soon
after landed with a great army. Vortigern was defeated, and
afterwards burned alive in the castle he had taken such pains to
construct. On the death of Vortigern, Pendragon ascended the
throne. Merlin became his chief adviser, and often assisted the
king by his magical arts.

   "Merlin, who knew the range of all their arts,
    Had built the King his havens, ships and halls."


Among other endowments, he had the power of transforming himself
into any shape he pleased. At one time he appeared as a dwarf, at
others as a damsel, a page, or even a greyhound or a stag. This
faculty he often employed for the service of the king, and
sometimes also for the diversion of the court and the sovereign.

Merlin continued to be a favorite counsellor through the reigns of
Pendragon, Uther, and Arthur, and at last disappeared from view,
and was no more found among men, through the treachery of his
mistress, Viviane, the Fairy, which happened in this wise.

Merlin, having become enamoured of the fair Viviane, the Lady of
the Lake, was weak enough to impart to her various important
secrets of his art, being impelled by fatal destiny, of which he
was at the same time fully aware. The lady, however, was not
content with his devotion, unbounded as it seems to have been, but
"cast about," the Romance tells us, how she might "detain him for
evermore," and one day addressed him in these terms: "Sir, I would
that we should make a fair place and a suitable, so contrived by
art and by cunning that it might never be undone, and that you and
I should be there in joy and solace." "My lady," said Merlin, "I
will do all this." "Sir," said she, "I would not have you do it,
but you shall teach me, and I will do it, and then it will be more
to my mind." "I grant you this," said Merlin. Then he began to
devise, and the damsel put it all in writing. And when he had
devised the whole, then had the damsel full great joy, and showed
him greater semblance of love than she had ever before made, and
they sojourned together a long while. At length it fell out that,
as they were going one day hand in hand through the forest of
Breceliande, they found a bush of white-thorn, which was laden
with flowers; and they seated themselves under the shade of this
white-thorn, upon the green grass, and Merlin laid his head upon
the damsel's lap, and fell asleep. Then the damsel rose, and made
a ring with her wimple round the bush, and round Merlin, and began
her enchantments, such as he himself had taught her; and nine
times she made the ring, and nine times she made the enchantment,
and then she went and sat down by him, and placed his head again
upon her lap.

                                 "And a sleep
    Fell upon Merlin more like death, so deep
    Her finger on her lips; then Vivian rose,
    And from her brown-locked head the wimple throws,
    And takes it in her hand and waves it over
    The blossomed thorn tree and her sleeping lover.
    Nine times she waved the fluttering wimple round,
    And made a little plot of magic ground."

    --Matthew Arnold.

And when he awoke, and looked round him, it seemed to him that he
was enclosed in the strongest tower in the world, and laid upon a
fair bed. Then said he to the dame: "My lady, you have deceived
me, unless you abide with me, for no one hath power to unmake this
tower but you alone." She then promised she would be often there,
and in this she held her covenant with him. And Merlin never went
out of that tower where his Mistress Viviane had enclosed him; but
she entered and went out again when she listed.

After this event Merlin was never more known to hold converse with
any mortal but Viviane, except on one occasion. Arthur, having for
some time missed him from his court, sent several of his knights
in search of him, and, among the number, Sir Gawain, who met with
a very unpleasant adventure while engaged in this quest. Happening
to pass a damsel on his road, and neglecting to salute her, she
revenged herself for his incivility by transforming him into a
hideous dwarf. He was bewailing aloud his evil fortune as he went
through the forest of Breceliande, when suddenly he heard the
voice of one groaning on his right hand; and, looking that way, he
could see nothing save a kind of smoke, which seemed like air, and
through which he could not pass. Merlin then addressed him from
out the smoke, and told him by what misadventure he was imprisoned
there. "Ah, sir!" he added, "you will never see me more, and that
grieves me, but I cannot remedy it; I shall never more speak to
you, nor to any other person, save only my mistress. But do thou
hasten to King Arthur, and charge him from me to undertake,
without delay, the quest of the Sacred Graal. The knight is
already born, and has received knighthood at his hands, who is
destined to accomplish this quest." And after this he comforted
Gawain under his transformation, assuring him that he should
speedily be disenchanted; and he predicted to him that he should
find the king at Carduel, in Wales, on his return, and that all
the other knights who had been on like quest would arrive there
the same day as himself. And all this came to pass as Merlin had

Merlin is frequently introduced in the tales of chivalry, but it
is chiefly on great occasions, and at a period subsequent to his
death, or magical disappearance. In the romantic poems of Italy,
and in Spenser, Merlin is chiefly represented as a magical artist.
Spenser represents him as the artificer of the impenetrable shield
and other armor of Prince Arthur ("Faery Queene," Book I., Canto
vii.), and of a mirror, in which a damsel viewed her lover's
shade. The Fountain of Love, in the "Orlando Innamorata," is
described as his work; and in the poem of "Ariosto" we are told of
a hall adorned with prophetic paintings, which demons had executed
in a single night, under the direction of Merlin.

The following legend is from Spenser's "Faery Queene," Book III.,
Canto iii.:


   "Forthwith themselves disguising both, in straunge
    And base attire, that none might them bewray,
    To Maridunum, that is now by chaunge
    Of name Caer-Merdin called, they took their way:
    There the wise Merlin whylome wont (they say)
    To make his wonne, low underneath the ground
    In a deep delve, far from the view of day,
    That of no living wight he mote be found,
  Whenso he counselled with his sprights encompassed round.

   "And if thou ever happen that same way
    To travel, go to see that dreadful place;
    It is a hideous hollow cave (they say)
    Under a rock that lies a little space
    From the swift Barry, tombling down apace
    Amongst the woody hills of Dynevor;
    But dare not thou, I charge, in any case,
    To enter into that same baleful bower,
  For fear the cruel fiends should thee unwares devour.

   "But standing high aloft, low lay thine ear,
    And there such ghastly noise of iron chains
    And brazen cauldrons thou shalt rumbling hear,
    Which thousand sprites with long enduring pains
    Do toss, that it will stun thy feeble brains;
    And oftentimes great groans, and grievous stounds,
    When too huge toil and labor them constrains;
    And oftentimes loud strokes and ringing sounds
  From under that deep rock most horribly rebounds.

   "The cause some say is this. A little while
    Before that Merlin died, he did intend
    A brazen wall in compas to compile
    About Caermerdin, and did it commend
    Unto these sprites to bring to perfect end;
    During which work the Lady of the Lake,
    Whom long he loved, for him in haste did send;
    Who, thereby forced his workmen to forsake,
  Them bound till his return their labor not to slack.

   "In the mean time, through that false lady's train,
    He was surprised, and buried under beare,
    He ever to his work returned again;
    Nathless those fiends may not their work forbear,
    So greatly his commandement they fear;
    But there do toil and travail day and night,
    Until that brazen wall they up do rear.
    For Merlin had in magic more insight
  Than ever him before or after living wight."

[Footnote: Buried under beare. Buried under something which
enclosed him like a coffin or bier.]



We shall begin our history of King Arthur by giving those
particulars of his life which appear to rest on historical
evidence; and then proceed to record those legends concerning him
which form the earliest portion of British literature.

Arthur was a prince of the tribe of Britons called Silures, whose
country was South Wales, the son of Uther, named Pendragon, a
title given to an elective sovereign, paramount over the many
kings of Britain. He appears to have commenced his martial career
about the year 500, and was raised to the Pendragonship about ten
years later. He is said to have gained twelve victories over the
Saxons. The most important of them was that of Badon, by some
supposed to be Bath, by others Berkshire. This was the last of his
battles with the Saxons, and checked their progress so
effectually, that Arthur experienced no more annoyance from them,
and reigned in peace, until the revolt of his nephew Modred,
twenty years later, which led to the fatal battle of Camlan, in
Cornwall, in 542. Modred was slain, and Arthur, mortally wounded,
was conveyed by sea to Glastonbury, where he died, and was buried.
Tradition preserved the memory of the place of his interment
within the abbey, as we are told by Giraldus Cambrensis, who was
present when the grave was opened by command of Henry II. about
1150, and saw the bones and sword of the monarch, and a leaden
cross let into his tombstone, with the inscription in rude Roman
letters, "Here lies buried the famous King Arthur, in the island
Avalonia." This story has been elegantly versified by Warton. A
popular traditional belief was long entertained among the Britons,
that Arthur was not dead, but had been carried off to be healed of
his wounds in Fairy-land, and that he would reappear to avenge his
countrymen and reinstate them in the sovereignty of Britain. In
Warton's "Ode" a bard relates to King Henry the traditional story
of Arthur's death, and closes with these lines.

   "Yet in vain a paynim foe
    Armed with fate the mighty blow:
    For when he fell, the Elfin queen,
    All in secret and unseen,
    O'er the fainting hero threw
    Her mantle of ambrosial blue,
    And bade her spirits bear him far,
    In Merlin's agate-axled car,
    To her green isle's enamelled steep,
    Far in the navel of the deep.
    O'er his wounds she sprinkled dew
    From flowers that in Arabia grew.

    There he reigns a mighty king,
    Thence to Britain shall return,
    If right prophetic rolls I learn,
    Borne on victory's spreading plume,
    His ancient sceptre to resume,
    His knightly table to restore,
    And brave the tournaments of yore."

After this narration another bard came forward who recited a
different story:

   "When Arthur bowed his haughty crest,
    No princess veiled in azure vest
    Snatched him, by Merlin's powerful spell,
    In groves of golden bliss to dwell;
    But when he fell, with winged speed,
    His champions, on a milk-white steed,
    From the battle's hurricane,
    Bore him to Joseph's towered fane,
    In the fair vale of Avalon;
    There, with chanted orison
    And the long blaze of tapers clear,
    The stoled fathers met the bier;
    Through the dim aisles, in order dread
    Of martial woe, the chief they led,
    And deep entombed in holy ground,
    Before the altar's solemn bound."

[Footnote: Glastonbury Abbey, said to be founded by Joseph of
Arimathea, in a spot anciently called the island or valley of

Tennyson, in his "Palace of Art," alludes to the legend of
Arthur's rescue by the Faery queen, thus:

   "Or mythic Uther's deeply wounded son,
      In some fair space of sloping greens,
    Lay dozing in the vale of Avalon,
      And watched by weeping queens."]

It must not be concealed that the very existence of Arthur has
been denied by some. Milton says of him: "As to Arthur, more
renowned in songs and romances than in true stories, who he was,
and whether ever any such reigned in Britain, hath been doubted
heretofore, and may again, with good reason." Modern critics,
however, admit that there was a prince of this name, and find
proof of it in the frequent mention of him in the writings of the
Welsh bards. But the Arthur of romance, according to Mr. Owen, a
Welsh scholar and antiquarian, is a mythological person. "Arthur,"
he says, "is the Great Bear, as the name literally implies
(Arctos, Arcturus), and perhaps this constellation, being so near
the pole, and visibly describing a circle in a small space, is the
origin of the famous Round Table."


Constans, king of Britain, had three sons, Moines, Ambrosius,
otherwise called Uther, and Pendragon. Moines, soon after his
accession to the crown, was vanquished by the Saxons, in
consequence of the treachery of his seneschal, Vortigern, and
growing unpopular, through misfortune, he was killed by his
subjects, and the traitor Vortigern chosen in his place.

Vortigern was soon after defeated in a great battle by Uther and
Pendragon, the surviving brothers of Moines, and Pendragon
ascended the throne.

This prince had great confidence in the wisdom of Merlin, and made
him his chief adviser. About this time a dreadful war arose
between the Saxons and Britons. Merlin obliged the royal brothers
to swear fidelity to each other, but predicted that one of them
must fall in the first battle. The Saxons were routed, and
Pendragon, being slain, was succeeded by Uther, who now assumed in
addition to his own name the appellation of Pendragon.

Merlin still continued a favorite counsellor. At the request of
Uther he transported by magic art enormous stones from Ireland, to
form the sepulchre of Pendragon. These stones constitute the
monument now called Stonehenge, on Salisbury plain.

Merlin next proceeded to Carlisle to prepare the Round Table, at
which he seated an assemblage of the great nobles of the country.
The companions admitted to this high order were bound by oath to
assist each other at the hazard of their own lives, to attempt
singly the most perilous adventures, to lead, when necessary, a
life of monastic solitude, to fly to arms at the first summons,
and never to retire from battle till they had defeated the enemy,
unless night intervened and separated the combatants.

Soon after this institution, the king invited all his barons to
the celebration of a great festival, which he proposed holding
annually at Carlisle.

As the knights had obtained the sovereign's permission to bring
their ladies along with them, the beautiful Igerne accompanied her
husband, Gorlois, Duke of Tintadel, to one of these anniversaries.
The king became deeply enamoured of the duchess, and disclosed his
passion; but Igerne repelled his advances, and revealed his
solicitations to her husband. On hearing this, the duke instantly
removed from court with Igerne, and without taking leave of Uther.
The king complained to his council of this want of duty, and they
decided that the duke should be summoned to court, and, if
refractory, should be treated as a rebel. As he refused to obey
the citation, the king carried war into the estates of his vassal
and besieged him in the strong castle of Tintadel. Merlin
transformed the king into the likeness of Gorlois, and enabled him
to have many stolen interviews with Igerne. At length the duke was
killed in battle and the king espoused Igerne.

From this union sprang Arthur, who succeeded his father, Uther,
upon the throne.


Arthur, though only fifteen years old at his father's death, was
elected king, at a general meeting of the nobles. It was not done
without opposition, for there were many ambitious competitors.

   "For while he linger'd there
    A doubt that ever smoulder'd in the hearts
    Of those great Lords and Barons of his realm
    Flash'd forth and into war: for most of these
    Made head against him, crying, 'Who is he
    That he should rule us? who hath proven him
    King Uther's son? for lo! we look at him,
    And find nor face nor bearing, limbs nor voice,
    Are like to those of Uther whom we knew."

    --Coming of Arthur.

But Bishop Brice, a person of great sanctity, on Christmas eve
addressed the assembly, and represented that it would well become
them, at that solemn season, to put up their prayers for some
token which should manifest the intentions of Providence
respecting their future sovereign. This was done, and with such
success, that the service was scarcely ended when a miraculous
stone was discovered before the church door, and in the stone was
firmly fixed a sword, with the following words engraven on its

   "I am hight Escalibore,
    Unto a king fair tresore."

Bishop Brice, after exhorting the assembly to offer up their
thanksgiving for this signal miracle, proposed a law, that whoever
should be able to draw out the sword from the stone, should be
acknowledged as sovereign of the Britons; and his proposal was
decreed by general acclamation. The tributary kings of Uther, and
the most famous knights, successively put their strength to the
proof, but the miraculous sword resisted all their efforts. It
stood till Candlemas; it stood till Easter, and till Pentecost,
when the best knights in the kingdom usually assembled for the
annual tournament. Arthur, who was at that time serving in the
capacity of squire to his foster-brother, Sir Kay, attended his
master to the lists. Sir Kay fought with great valor and success,
but had the misfortune to break his sword, and sent Arthur to his
mother for a new one. Arthur hastened home, but did not find the
lady; but having observed near the church a sword, sticking in a
stone, he galloped to the place, drew out the sword with great
ease, and delivered it to his master. Sir Kay would willingly have
assumed to himself the distinction conferred by the possession of
the sword, but when, to confirm the doubters, the sword was
replaced in the stone he was utterly unable to withdraw it, and it
would yield a second time to no hand but Arthur's. Thus decisively
pointed out by Heaven as their king, Arthur was by general consent
proclaimed as such, and an early day appointed for his solemn

Immediately after his election to the crown, Arthur found himself
opposed by eleven kings and one duke, who with a vast army were
actually encamped in the forest of Rockingham. By Merlin's advice
Arthur sent an embassy to Brittany, to solicit the aid of King Ban
and King Bohort, two of the best knights in the world. They
accepted the call, and with a powerful army crossed the sea,
landing at Portsmouth, where they were received with great
rejoicing. The rebel kings were still superior in numbers; but
Merlin, by a powerful enchantment, caused all their tents to fall
down at once, and in the confusion Arthur with his allies fell
upon them and totally routed them.

After defeating the rebels, Arthur took the field against the
Saxons. As they were too strong for him unaided, he sent an
embassy to Armorica, beseeching the assistance of Hoel, who soon
after brought over an army to his aid. The two kings joined their
forces, and sought the enemy, whom they met, and both sides
prepared for a decisive engagement. "Arthur himself," as Geoffrey
of Monmouth relates, "dressed in a breastplate worthy of so great
a king, places on his head a golden helmet engraved with the
semblance of a dragon. Over his shoulders he throws his shield
called Priwen, on which a picture of the Holy Virgin constantly
recalled her to his memory. Girt with Caliburn, a most excellent
sword, and fabricated in the isle of Avalon, he graces his right
hand with the lance named Ron. This was a long and broad spear,
well contrived for slaughter." After a severe conflict, Arthur,
calling on the name of the Virgin, rushes into the midst of his
enemies, and destroys multitudes of them with the formidable
Caliburn, and puts the rest to flight. Hoel, being detained by
sickness, took no part in this battle.

This is called the victory of Mount Badon, and, however disguised
by fable, it is regarded by historians as a real event.

The feats performed by Arthur at the battle of Badon Mount are
thus celebrated in Drayton's verse:

    "They sung how he himself at Badon bore, that day,
    When at the glorious goal his British sceptre lay;
    Two daies together how the battel stronglie stood;
    Pendragon's worthie son, who waded there in blood,
    Three hundred Saxons slew with his owne valiant hand."

    --Song IV.


Merlin had planned for Arthur a marriage with the daughter of King
Laodegan of Carmalide. By his advice Arthur paid a visit to the
court of that sovereign, attended only by Merlin and by thirty-
nine knights whom the magician had selected for that service. On
their arrival they found Laodegan and his peers sitting in
council, endeavoring, but with small prospect of success, to
devise means of resisting the impending attack of Ryence, king of
Ireland, who, with fifteen tributary kings and an almost
innumerable army, had nearly surrounded the city. Merlin, who
acted as leader of the band of British knights, announced them as
strangers, who came to offer the king their services in his wars;
but under the express condition that they should be at liberty to
conceal their names and quality until they should think proper to
divulge them. These terms were thought very strange, but were
thankfully accepted, and the strangers, after taking the usual
oath to the king, retired to the lodging which Merlin had prepared
for them.

A few days after this, the enemy, regardless of a truce into which
they had entered with King Laodegan, suddenly issued from their
camp and made an attempt to surprise the city. Cleodalis, the
king's general, assembled the royal forces with all possible
despatch. Arthur and his companions also flew to arms, and Merlin
appeared at their head, bearing a standard on which was emblazoned
a terrific dragon. Merlin advanced to the gate, and commanded the
porter to open it, which the porter refused to do, without the
king's order. Merlin thereupon took up the gate, with all its
appurtenances of locks, bars, bolts, etc., and directed his troops
to pass through, after which he replaced it in perfect order. He
then set spurs to his horse and dashed, at the head of his little
troop, into a body of two thousand pagans. The disparity of
numbers being so enormous, Merlin cast a spell upon the enemy, so
as to prevent their seeing the small number of their assailants;
notwithstanding which the British knights were hard pressed. But
the people of the city, who saw from the walls this unequal
contest, were ashamed of leaving the small body of strangers to
their fate, so they opened the gate and sallied forth. The numbers
were now more nearly equal, and Merlin revoked his spell, so that
the two armies encountered on fair terms. Where Arthur, Ban,
Bohort, and the rest fought the king's army had the advantage; but
in another part of the field the king himself was surrounded and
carried off by the enemy. The sad sight was seen by Guenever, the
fair daughter of the king, who stood on the city wall and looked
at the battle. She was in dreadful distress, tore her hair, and
swooned away.

But Merlin, aware of what passed in every part of the field,
suddenly collected his knights, led them out of the battle,
intercepted the passage of the party who were carrying away the
king, charged them with irresistible impetuosity, cut in pieces or
dispersed the whole escort, and rescued the king. In the fight
Arthur encountered Caulang, a giant fifteen feet high, and the
fair Guenever, who had already began to feel a strong interest in
the handsome young stranger, trembled for the issue of the
contest. But Arthur, dealing a dreadful blow on the shoulder of
the monster, cut through his neck so that his head hung over on
one side, and in this condition his horse carried him about the
field, to the great horror and dismay of the Pagans. Guenever
could not refrain from expressing aloud her wish that the gentle
knight, who dealt with giants so dexterously, were destined to
become her husband, and the wish was echoed by her attendants. The
enemy soon turned their backs and fled with precipitation, closely
pursued by Laodegan and his allies.

After the battle Arthur was disarmed and conducted to the bath by
the princess Guenever, while his friends were attended by the
other ladies of the court. After the bath the knights were
conducted to a magnificent entertainment, at which they were
diligently served by the same fair attendants. Laodegan, more and
more anxious to know the name and quality of his generous
deliverers, and occasionally forming a secret wish that the chief
of his guests might be captivated by the charms of his daughter,
appeared silent and pensive, and was scarcely roused from his
reverie by the banters of his courtiers. Arthur, having had an
opportunity of explaining to Guenever his great esteem for her
merit, was in the joy of his heart, and was still further
delighted by hearing from Merlin the late exploits of Gawain at
London, by means of which his immediate return to his dominions
was rendered unnecessary, and he was left at liberty to protract
his stay at the court of Laodegan. Every day contributed to
increase the admiration of the whole court for the gallant
strangers, and the passion of Guenever for their chief; and when
at last Merlin announced to the king that the object of the visit
of the party was to procure a bride for their leader, Laodegan at
once presented Guenever to Arthur, telling him that, whatever
might be his rank, his merit was sufficient to entitle him to the
possession of the heiress of Carmalide.

   "And could he find a woman in her womanhood
    As great as he was in his manhood--
    The twain together might change the world."


Arthur accepted the lady with the utmost gratitude, and Merlin
then proceeded to satisfy the king of the rank of his son-in-law;
upon which Laodegan, with all his barons, hastened to do homage to
their lawful sovereign, the successor of Uther Pendragon. The fair
Guenever was then solemnly betrothed to Arthur, and a magnificent
festival was proclaimed, which lasted seven days. At the end of
that time, the enemy appearing again with renewed force, it became
necessary to resume military operations. [Footnote: Guenever, the
name of Arthur's queen, also written Genievre and Geneura, is
familiar to all who are conversant with chivalric lore. It is to
her adventures, and those of her true knight, Sir Launcelot, that
Dante alludes in the beautiful episode of Francesca di Rimini.]

We must now relate what took place at and near London, while
Arthur was absent from his capital. At this very time a band of
young heroes were on their way to Arthur's court, for the purpose
of receiving knighthood from him. They were Gawain and his three
brothers, nephews of Arthur, sons of King Lot, and Galachin,
another nephew, son of King Nanters. King Lot had been one of the
rebel chiefs whom Arthur had defeated, but he now hoped by means
of the young men to be reconciled to his brother-in-law. He
equipped his sons and his nephew with the utmost magnificence,
giving them a splendid retinue of young men, sons of earls and
barons, all mounted on the best horses, with complete suits of
choice armor. They numbered in all seven hundred, but only nine
had yet received the order of knighthood; the rest were candidates
for that honor, and anxious to earn it by an early encounter with
the enemy. Gawain, the leader, was a knight of wonderful strength;
but what was most remarkable about him was that his strength was
greater at certain hours of the day than at others. From nine
o'clock till noon his strength was doubled, and so it was from
three to evensong; for the rest of the time it was less
remarkable, though at all times surpassing that of ordinary men.

After a march of three days they arrived in the vicinity of
London, where they expected to find Arthur and his court, and very
unexpectedly fell in with a large convoy belonging to the enemy,
consisting of numerous carts and wagons, all loaded with
provisions, and escorted by three thousand men, who had been
collecting spoil from all the country round. A single charge from
Gawain's impetuous cavalry was sufficient to disperse the escort
and recover the convoy, which was instantly despatched to London.
But before long a body of seven thousand fresh soldiers advanced
to the attack of the five princes and their little army. Gawain,
singling out a chief named Choas, of gigantic size, began the
battle by splitting him from the crown of the head to the breast.
Galachin encountered King Sanagran, who was also very huge, and
cut off his head. Agrivain and Gahariet also performed prodigies
of valor. Thus they kept the great army of assailants at bay,
though hard pressed, till of a sudden they perceived a strong body
of the citizens advancing from London, where the convoy which had
been recovered by Gawain had arrived, and informed the mayor and
citizens of the danger of their deliverer. The arrival of the
Londoners soon decided the contest. The enemy fled in all
directions, and Gawain and his friends, escorted by the grateful
citizens, entered London, and were received with acclamations.


ARTHUR (Continued)

After the great victory of Mount Badon, by which the Saxons were
for the time effectually put down, Arthur turned his arms against
the Scots and Picts, whom he routed at Lake Lomond, and compelled
to sue for mercy. He then went to York to keep his Christmas, and
employed himself in restoring the Christian churches which the
Pagans had rifled and overthrown. The following summer he
conquered Ireland, and then made a voyage with his fleet to
Iceland, which he also subdued. The kings of Gothland and of the
Orkneys came voluntarily and made their submission, promising to
pay tribute. Then he returned to Britain, where, having
established the kingdom, he dwelt twelve years in peace.

During this time he invited over to him all persons whatsoever
that were famous for valor in foreign nations, and augmented the
number of his domestics, and introduced such politeness into his
court as people of the remotest countries thought worthy of their
imitation. So that there was not a nobleman who thought himself of
any consideration unless his clothes and arms were made in the
same fashion as those of Arthur's knights.

Finding himself so powerful at home, Arthur began to form designs
for extending his power abroad. So, having prepared his fleet, he
first attempted Norway, that he might procure the crown of it for
Lot, his sister's husband. Arthur landed in Norway, fought a great
battle with the king of that country, defeated him, and pursued
the victory till he had reduced the whole country under his
dominion, and established Lot upon the throne. Then Arthur made a
voyage to Gaul and laid siege to the city of Paris. Gaul was at
that time a Roman province, and governed by Flollo, the Tribune.
When the siege of Paris had continued a month, and the people
began to suffer from famine, Flollo challenged Arthur to single
combat, proposing to decide the conquest of the province in that
way. Arthur gladly accepted the challenge, and slew his adversary
in the contest, upon which the citizens surrendered the city to
him. After the victory Arthur divided his army into two parts, one
of which he committed to the conduct of Hoel, whom he ordered to
march into Aquitaine, while he with the other part should endeavor
to subdue the other provinces. At the end of nine years, in which
time all the parts of Gaul were entirely reduced, Arthur returned
to Paris, where he kept his court, and, calling an assembly of the
clergy and people, established peace and the just administration
of the laws in that kingdom. Then he bestowed Normandy upon
Bedver, his butler, and the province of Andegavia upon Kay, his
steward, [Footnote: This name, in the French romances, is spelled
Queux, which means head cook. This would seem to imply that it was
a title, and not a name; yet the personage who bore it is never
mentioned by any other. He is the chief, if not the only, comic
character among the heroes of Arthur's court. He is the Seneschal
or Steward, his duties also embracing those of chief of the cooks.
In the romances, his general character is a compound of valor and
buffoonery, always ready to fight, and generally getting the worst
of the battle. He is also sarcastic and abusive in his remarks, by
which he often gets into trouble. Yet Arthur seems to have an
attachment to him, and often takes his advice, which is generally
wrong.] and several other provinces upon his great men that
attended him. And, having settled the peace of the cities and
countries, he returned back in the beginning of spring to Britain.

Upon the approach of the feast of Pentecost, Arthur, the better to
demonstrate his joy after such triumphant successes, and for the
more solemn observation of that festival, and reconciling the
minds of the princes that were now subject to him, resolved during
that season to hold a magnificent court, to place the crown upon
his head, and to invite all the kings and dukes under his
subjection to the solemnity. And he pitched upon Caerleon, the
City of Legions, as the proper place for his purpose. For, besides
its great wealth above the other cities, its situation upon the
river Usk, near the Severn sea, was most pleasant and fit for so
great a solemnity. For on one side it was washed by that noble
river, so that the kings and princes from the countries beyond the
seas might have the convenience of sailing up to it. On the other
side the beauty of the meadows and groves, and magnificence of the
royal palaces, with lofty gilded roofs that adorned it, made it
even rival the grandeur of Rome. It was also famous for two
churches, whereof one was adorned with a choir of virgins, who
devoted themselves wholly to the service of God, and the other
maintained a convent of priests. Besides, there was a college of
two hundred philosophers, who, being learned in astronomy and the
other arts, were diligent in observing the courses of the stars,
and gave Arthur true predictions of the events that would happen.
In this place, therefore, which afforded such delights, were
preparations made for the ensuing festival.

[Footnote: Several cities are allotted to King Arthur by the
romance-writers. The principal are Caerleon, Camelot, and

Caerleon derives its name from its having been the station of one
of the legions, during the dominion of the Romans. It is called by
Latin writers Urbs Legionum, the City of Legions. The former word
being rendered into Welsh by Caer, meaning city, and the latter
contracted into lleon. The river Usk retains its name in modern
geography, and there is a town or city of Caerleon upon it, though
the city of Cardiff is thought to be the scene of Arthur's court.
Chester also bears in Welsh the name of Caerleon; for Chester,
derived from castra, Latin for camp, is the designation of
military headquarters.

Camelot is thought to be Winchester.

Shalott is Guilford.

Hamo's Port is Southampton.

Carlisle is the city still retaining that name, near the Scottish
border. But this name is also sometimes applied to other places,
which were, like itself, military stations.]

Ambassadors were then sent into several kingdoms, to invite to
court the princes both of Gaul and of the adjacent islands.
Accordingly there came Augusel, king of Albania, now Scotland,
Cadwallo, king of Venedotia, now North Wales, Sater, king of
Demetia, now South Wales; also the archbishops of the metropolitan
sees, London and York, and Dubricius, bishop of Caerleon, the City
of Legions. This prelate, who was primate of Britain, was so
eminent for his piety that he could cure any sick person by his
prayers. There were also the counts of the principal cities, and
many other worthies of no less dignity.

From the adjacent islands came Guillamurius, king of Ireland,
Gunfasius, king of the Orkneys, Malvasius, king of Iceland, Lot,
king of Norway, Bedver, the butler, Duke of Normandy, Kay, the
sewer, Duke of Andegavia; also the twelve peers of Gaul, and Hoel,
Duke of the Armorican Britons, with his nobility, who came with
such a train of mules, horses, and rich furniture as it is
difficult to describe. Besides these there remained no prince of
any consideration on this side of Spain who came not upon this
invitation. And no wonder, when Arthur's munificence, which was
celebrated over the whole world, made him beloved by all people.

When all were assembled upon the day of the solemnity the
archbishops were conducted to the palace, in order to place the
crown upon the king's head. Then Dubricius, inasmuch as the court
was held in his diocese, made himself ready to celebrate the
office. As soon as the king was invested with his royal
habiliments he was conducted in great pomp to the metropolitan
church, having four kings, viz., of Albania, Cornwall, Demetia,
and Venedotia, bearing four golden swords before him. On another
part was the queen, dressed out in her richest ornaments,
conducted by the archbishops and bishops to the Church of Virgins;
the four queens, also, of the kings last mentioned, bearing before
her four white doves, according to ancient custom. When the whole
procession was ended so transporting was the harmony of the
musical instruments and voices, whereof there was a vast variety
in both churches, that the knights who attended were in doubt
which to prefer, and therefore crowded from the one to the other
by turns, and were far from being tired of the solemnity, though
the whole day had been spent in it. At last, when divine service
was over at both churches, the king and queen put off their
crowns, and, putting on their lighter ornaments, went to the
banquet. When they had all taken their seats according to
precedence, Kay, the sewer, in rich robes of ermine, with a
thousand young noblemen all in like manner clothed in rich attire,
served up the dishes. From another part Bedver, the butler, was
followed by the same number of attendants, who waited with all
kinds of cups and drinking-vessels. And there was food and drink
in abundance, and everything was of the best kind, and served in
the best manner. For at that time Britain had arrived at such a
pitch of grandeur that in riches, luxury, and politeness it far
surpassed all other kingdoms.

As soon as the banquets were over they went into the fields
without the city to divert themselves with various sports, such as
shooting with bows and arrows, tossing the pike, casting of heavy
stones and rocks, playing at dice, and the like, and all these
inoffensively, and without quarrelling. In this manner were three
days spent, and after that they separated, and the kings and
noblemen departed to their several homes.

After this Arthur reigned five years in peace. Then came
ambassadors from Lucius Tiberius, Procurator under Leo, Emperor of
Rome, demanding tribute. But Arthur refused to pay tribute, and
prepared for war. As soon as the necessary dispositions were made
he committed the government of his kingdom to his nephew Modred
and to Queen Guenever, and marched with his army to Hamo's Port,
where the wind stood fair for him. The army crossed over in
safety, and landed at the mouth of the river Barba. And there they
pitched their tents to wait the arrival of the kings of the

As soon as all the forces were arrived Arthur marched forward to
Augustodunum, and encamped on the banks of the river Alba. Here
repeated battles were fought, in all which the Britons, under
their valiant leaders, Hoel, Duke of Armorica, and Gawain, nephew
to Arthur, had the advantage. At length Lucius Tiberius determined
to retreat, and wait for the Emperor Leo to join him with fresh
troops. But Arthur, anticipating this event, took possession of a
certain valley, and closed up the way of retreat to Lucius,
compelling him to fight a decisive battle, in which Arthur lost
some of the bravest of his knights and most faithful followers.
But on the other hand Lucius Tiberius was slain, and his army
totally defeated. The fugitives dispersed over the country, some
to the by-ways and woods, some to cities and towns, and all other
places where they could hope for safety.

Arthur stayed in those parts till the next winter was over, and
employed his time in restoring order and settling the government.
He then returned into England, and celebrated his victories with
great splendor.

Then the king stablished all his knights, and to them that were
not rich he gave lands, and charged them all never to do outrage
nor murder, and always to flee treason; also, by no means to be
cruel, but to give mercy unto him that asked mercy, upon pain of
forfeiture of their worship and lordship; and always to do ladies,
damosels, and gentlewomen service, upon pain of death. Also that
no man take battle in a wrongful quarrel, for no law, nor for any
world's goods. Unto this were all the knights sworn of the Table
Round, both old and young. And at every year were they sworn at
the high feast of Pentecost.


While the army was encamped in Brittany, awaiting the arrival of
the kings, there came a countryman to Arthur, and told him that a
giant, whose cave was on a neighboring mountain, called St.
Michael's Mount, had for a long time been accustomed to carry off
the children of the peasants to devour them. "And now he hath
taken the Duchess of Brittany, as she rode with her attendants,
and hath carried her away in spite of all they could do." "Now,
fellow," said King Arthur, "canst thou bring me there where this
giant haunteth?" "Yea, sure," said the good man; "lo, yonder where
thou seest two great fires, there shalt thou find him, and more
treasure than I suppose is in all France beside." Then the king
called to him Sir Bedver and Sir Kay, and commanded them to make
ready horse and harness for himself and them; for after evening he
would ride on pilgrimage to St. Michael's Mount.

So they three departed, and rode forth till they came to the foot
of the mount. And there the king commanded them to tarry, for he
would himself go up into that mount. So he ascended the hill till
he came to a great fire, and there he found an aged woman sitting
by a new-made grave, making great sorrow. Then King Arthur saluted
her, and demanded of her wherefore she made such lamentation; to
whom she answered: "Sir knight, speak low, for yonder is a devil,
and if he hear thee speak, he will come and destroy thee. For ye
cannot make resistance to him, he is so fierce and so strong. He
hath murdered the Duchess, which here lieth, who was the fairest
of all the world, wife to Sir Hoel, Duke of Brittany." "Dame,"
said the king, "I come from the noble conqueror, King Arthur, to
treat with that tyrant." "Fie on such treaties," said she; "he
setteth not by the king, nor by no man else." "Well," said Arthur,
"I will accomplish my message for all your fearful words." So he
went forth by the crest of the hill, and saw where the giant sat
at supper, gnawing on the limb of a man, and baking his broad
limbs at the fire, and three fair damsels lying bound, whose lot
it was to be devoured in their turn. When King Arthur beheld that,
he had great compassion on them, so that his heart bled for
sorrow. Then he hailed the giant, saying, "He that all the world
ruleth give thee short life and shameful death. Why hast thou
murdered this Duchess? Therefore come forth, for this day thou
shalt die by my hand." Then the giant started up, and took a great
club, and smote at the king, and smote off his coronal; and then
the king struck him in the belly with his sword, and made a
fearful wound. Then the giant threw away his club, and caught the
king in his arms, so that he crushed his ribs. Then the three
maidens kneeled down and prayed for help and comfort for Arthur.
And Arthur weltered and wrenched, so that he was one while under,
and another time above. And so weltering and wallowing they rolled
down the hill, and ever as they weltered Arthur smote him with his
dagger; and it fortuned they came to the place where the two
knights were. And when they saw the king fast in the giant's arms
they came and loosed him. Then the king commanded Sir Kay to smite
off the giant's head, and to set it on the truncheon of a spear,
and fix it on the barbican, that all the people might see and
behold it. This was done, and anon it was known through all the
country, wherefor the people came and thanked the king. And he
said, "Give your thanks to God; and take ye the giant's spoil and
divide it among you." And King Arthur caused a church to be
builded on that hill, in honor of St. Michael.


One day King Arthur rode forth, and on a sudden he was ware of
three churls chasing Merlin, to have slain him. And the king rode
unto them and bade them, "Flee, churls!" Then were they afraid
when they saw a knight, and fled. "O Merlin," said Arthur, "here
hadst thou been slain, for all thy crafts, had I not been by."
"Nay," said Merlin, "not so, for I could save myself if I would;
but thou art more near thy death than I am." So, as they went thus
talking, King Arthur perceived where sat a knight on horseback, as
if to guard the pass. "Sir knight," said Arthur, "for what cause
abidest thou here?" Then the knight said, "There may no knight
ride this way unless he just with me, for such is the custom of
the pass." "I will amend that custom," said the king. Then they
ran together, and they met so hard that their spears were
shivered. Then they drew their swords and fought a strong battle,
with many great strokes. But at length the sword of the knight
smote King Arthur's sword in two pieces. Then said the knight unto
Arthur, "Thou art in my power, whether to save thee or slay thee,
and unless thou yield thee as overcome and recreant, thou shalt
die." "As for death," said King Arthur, "welcome be it when it
cometh; but to yield me unto thee as recreant, I will not." Then
he leapt upon the knight, and took him by the middle and threw him
down; but the knight was a passing strong man, and anon he brought
Arthur under him, and would have razed off his helm to slay him.
Then said Merlin, "Knight, hold thy hand, for this knight is a man
of more worship than thou art aware of." "Why, who is he?" said
the knight. "It is King Arthur." Then would he have slain him for
dread of his wrath, and lifted up his sword to slay him; and
therewith Merlin cast an enchantment on the knight, so that he
fell to the earth in a great sleep. Then Merlin took up King
Arthur, and set him on his horse. "Alas!" said Arthur, "what hast
thou done, Merlin? hast thou slain this good knight by thy
crafts?" "Care ye not," said Merlin; "he is wholer than ye be. He
is only asleep, and will wake in three hours."

Then the king and he departed, and went till they came to a
hermit, that was a good man and a great leech. So the hermit
searched all his wounds, and applied good salves; and the king was
there three days, and then were his wounds well amended, that he
might ride and go. So they departed, and as they rode Arthur said,
"I have no sword." "No matter," said Merlin; "hereby is a sword
that shall be yours." So they rode till they came to a lake, which
was a fair water and broad. And in the midst of the lake Arthur
was aware of an arm clothed in white samite, [Footnote: Samite, a
sort of silk stuff.] that held a fair sword in the hand. "Lo!"
said Merlin, "yonder is that sword that I spake of. It belongeth
to the Lady of the Lake, and, if she will, thou mayest take it;
but if she will not, it will not be in thy power to take it."

So Sir Arthur and Merlin alighted from their horses, and went into
a boat. And when they came to the sword that the hand held Sir
Arthur took it by the handle and took it to him, and the arm and
the hand went under the water.

Then they returned unto the land and rode forth. And Sir Arthur
looked on the sword and liked it right well.

So they rode unto Caerleon, whereof his knights were passing glad.
And when they heard of his adventures they marvelled that he would
jeopard his person so alone. But all men of worship said it was a
fine thing to be under such a chieftain as would put his person in
adventure as other poor knights did.



Sir Gawain was nephew to King Arthur, by his sister Morgana,
married to Lot, king of Orkney, who was by Arthur made king of
Norway. Sir Gawain was one of the most famous knights of the Round
Table, and is characterized by the romancers as the SAGE and
COURTEOUS Gawain. To this Chaucer alludes in his "Squiere's Tale,"
where the strange knight "salueth" all the court

    "With so high reverence and observance,
    As well in speeche as in countenance,
    That Gawain, with his olde curtesie,
    Though he were come agen out of faerie,
    Ne coude him not amenden with a word."

Gawain's brothers were Agrivain, Gahariet, and Gareth.


Once upon a time King Arthur held his court in merry Carlisle,
when a damsel came before him and craved a boon. It was for
vengeance upon a caitiff knight, who had made her lover captive
and despoiled her of her lands. King Arthur commanded to bring him
his sword, Excalibar, and to saddle his steed, and rode forth
without delay to right the lady's wrong. Ere long he reached the
castle of the grim baron, and challenged him to the conflict. But
the castle stood on magic ground, and the spell was such that no
knight could tread thereon but straight his courage fell and his
strength decayed. King Arthur felt the charm, and before a blow
was struck, his sturdy limbs lost their strength, and his head
grew faint. He was fain to yield himself prisoner to the churlish
knight, who refused to release him except upon condition that he
should return at the end of a year, and bring a true answer to the
question, "What thing is it which women most desire?" or in
default thereof surrender himself and his lands. King Arthur
accepted the terms, and gave his oath to return at the time
appointed. During the year the king rode east, and he rode west,
and inquired of all whom he met what thing it is which all women
most desire. Some told him riches; some, pomp and state; some,
mirth; some, flattery; and some, a gallant knight. But in the
diversity of answers he could find no sure dependence. The year
was well-nigh spent, when one day, as he rode thoughtfully through
a forest, he saw sitting beneath a tree a lady of such hideous
aspect that he turned away his eyes, and when she greeted him in
seemly sort, made no answer. "What wight art thou," the lady said,
"that will not speak to me? It may chance that I may resolve thy
doubts, though I be not fair of aspect." "If thou wilt do so,"
said King Arthur, "choose what reward thou wilt, thou grim lady,
and it shall be given thee." "Swear me this upon thy faith," she
said, and Arthur swore it. Then the lady told him the secret, and
demanded her reward, which was that the king should find some fair
and courtly knight to be her husband.

King Arthur hastened to the grim baron's castle and told him one
by one all the answers which he had received from his various
advisers, except the last, and not one was admitted as the true
one. "Now yield thee, Arthur," the giant said, "for thou hast not
paid thy ransom, and thou and thy lands are forfeited to me." Then
King Arthur said:

    "Yet hold thy hand, thou proud baron,
      I pray thee hold thy hand,
    And give me leave to speak once more,
      In rescue of my land.
    This morn as I came over a moor,
      I saw a lady set,
    Between an oak and a green holly,
      All clad in red scarlett.
      This is their chief desire;
    Now yield, as thou art a baron true,
      That I have paid my hire."

"It was my sister that told thee this," the churlish baron
exclaimed. "Vengeance light on her! I will some time or other do
her as ill a turn."

King Arthur rode homeward, but not light of heart, for he
remembered the promise he was under to the loathly lady to--give
her one of his young and gallant knights for a husband. He told
his grief to Sir Gawain, his nephew, and he replied, "Be not sad,
my lord, for I will marry the loathly lady." King Arthur replied:

    "Now nay, now nay, good Sir Gawaine,
      My sister's son ye be;
    The loathly lady's all too grim,
      And all too foule for thee."

But Gawain persisted, and the king at last, with sorrow of heart,
consented that Gawain should be his ransom. So one day the king
and his knights rode to the forest, met the loathly lady, and
brought her to the court. Sir Gawain stood the scoffs and jeers of
his companions as he best might, and the marriage was solemnized,
but not with the usual festivities. Chaucer tells us:

    "... There was no joye ne feste at alle;
    There n' as but hevinesse and mochel sorwe,
    For prively he wed her on the morwe,
    And all day after hid him as an owle,
    So wo was him his wife loked so foule!"

[Footnote: N'AS is NOT WAS, contracted; in modern phrase, THERE

When night came, and they were alone together, Sir Gawain could
not conceal his aversion; and the lady asked him why he sighed so
heavily, and turned away his face. He candidly confessed it was on
account of three things, her age, her ugliness, and her low
degree. The lady, not at all offended, replied with excellent
arguments to all his objections. She showed him that with age is
discretion, with ugliness security from rivals, and that all true
gentility depends, not upon the accident of birth, but upon the
character of the individual.

Sir Gawain made no reply; but, turning his eyes on his bride, what
was his amazement to perceive that she wore no longer the unseemly
aspect that had so distressed him. She then told him that the form
she had worn was not her true form, but a disguise imposed upon
her by a wicked enchanter, and that she was condemned to wear it
until two things should happen: one, that she should obtain some
young and gallant knight to be her husband. This having been done,
one-half of the charm was removed. She was now at liberty to wear
her true form for half the time, and she bade him choose whether
he would have her fair by day, and ugly by night, or the reverse.
Sir Gawain would fain have had her look her best by night, when he
alone would see her, and show her repulsive visage, if at all, to
others. But she reminded him how much more pleasant it would be to
her to wear her best looks in the throng of knights and ladies by
day. Sir Gawain yielded, and gave up his will to hers. This alone
was wanting to dissolve the charm. The lovely lady now with joy
assured him that she should change no more, but as she now was, so
would she remain by night as well as by day.

    "Sweet blushes stayned her rud-red cheek,
      Her eyen were black as sloe,
    The ripening cherrye swelled her lippe,
      And all her neck was snow.
    Sir Gawain kist that ladye faire
      Lying upon the sheete,
    And swore, as he was a true knight,
      The spice was never so swete."

The dissolution of the charm which had held the lady also released
her brother, the "grim baron," for he too had been implicated in
it. He ceased to be a churlish oppressor, and became a gallant and
generous knight as any at Arthur's court.



Caradoc was the son of Ysenne, the beautiful niece of Arthur. He
was ignorant who his father was, till it was discovered in the
following manner: When the youth was of proper years to receive
the honors of knighthood, King Arthur held a grand court for the
purpose of knighting him. On this occasion a strange knight
presented himself, and challenged the knights of Arthur's court to
exchange blow for blow with him. His proposal was this--to lay his
neck on a block for any knight to strike, on condition that, if he
survived the blow, the knight should submit in turn to the same
experiment. Sir Kay, who was usually ready to accept all
challenges, pronounced this wholly unreasonable, and declared that
he would not accept it for all the wealth in the world. And when
the knight offered his sword, with which the operation was to be
performed, no person ventured to accept it, till Caradoc, growing
angry at the disgrace which was thus incurred by the Round Table,
threw aside his mantle and took it. "Do you do this as one of the
best knights?" said the stranger. "No," he replied, "but as one of
the most foolish." The stranger lays his head upon the block,
receives a blow which sends it rolling from his shoulders, walks
after it, picks it up, replaces it with great success, and says he
will return when the court shall be assembled next year, and claim
his turn. When the anniversary arrived, both parties were punctual
to their engagement. Great entreaties were used by the king and
queen, and the whole court, in behalf of Caradoc, but the stranger
was inflexible. The young knight laid his head upon the block, and
more than once desired him to make an end of the business, and not
keep him longer in so disagreeable a state of expectation. At last
the stranger strikes him gently with the side of the sword, bids
him rise, and reveals to him the fact that he is his father, the
enchanter Eliaures, and that he gladly owns him for a son, having
proved his courage and fidelity to his word.

But the favor of enchanters is short-lived and uncertain. Eliaures
fell under the influence of a wicked woman, who, to satisfy her
pique against Caradoc, persuaded the enchanter to fasten on his
arm a serpent, which remained there sucking at his flesh and
blood, no human skill sufficing either to remove the reptile or
alleviate the torments which Caradoc endured.

Caradoc was betrothed to Guimier, sister to his bosom friend,
Cador, and daughter to the king of Cornwall. As soon as they were
informed of his deplorable condition, they set out for Nantes,
where Caradoc's castle was, that Guimier might attend upon him.
When Caradoc heard of their coming, his first emotion was that of
joy and love. But soon he began to fear that the sight of his
emaciated form, and of his sufferings, would disgust Guimier; and
this apprehension became so strong, that he departed secretly from
Nantes, and hid himself in a hermitage. He was sought far and near
by the knights of Arthur's court, and Cador made a vow never to
desist from the quest till he should have found him. After long
wandering, Cador discovered his friend in the hermitage, reduced
almost to a skeleton, and apparently near his death. All other
means of relief having already been tried in vain, Cador at last
prevailed on the enchanter Eliaures to disclose the only method
which could avail for his rescue. A maiden must be found, his
equal in birth and beauty, and loving him better than herself, so
that she would expose herself to the same torment to deliver him.
Two vessels were then to be provided, the one filled with sour
wine, and the other with milk. Caradoc must enter the first, so
that the wine should reach his neck, and the maiden must get into
the other, and, exposing her bosom upon the edge of the vessel,
invite the serpent to forsake the withered flesh of his victim for
this fresh and inviting food. The vessels were to be placed three
feet apart, and as the serpent crossed from one to the other. a
knight was to cut him in two. If he failed in his blow, Caradoc
would indeed be delivered, but it would be only to see his fair
champion suffering the same cruel and hopeless torment. The sequel
may be easily foreseen. Guimier willingly exposed herself to the
perilous adventure, and Cador, with a lucky blow, killed the
serpent. The arm in which Caradoc had suffered so long recovered
its strength, but not its shape, in consequence of which he was
called Caradoc Briefbras, Caradoc of the Shrunken Arm.

Caradoc and Guimier are the hero and heroine of the ballad Of the
"Boy and the Mantle," which follows:


    "In Carlisle dwelt King Arthur,
      A prince of passing might,
    And there maintained his Table Round,
      Beset with many a knight.

    "And there he kept his Christmas,
      With mirth and princely cheer,
    When lo! a strange and cunning boy
      Before him did appear.

    "A kirtle and a mantle
      This boy had him upon,
    With brooches, rings, and ouches,
      Full daintily bedone.

    "He had a sash of silk
      About his middle meet;
    And thus with seemly curtesie
      He did King Arthur greet:

    "'God speed thee, brave King Arthur.
      Thus feasting in thy bower,
    And Guenever, thy goodly queen,
      That fair and peerless flower.

    "'Ye gallant lords and lordlings,
      I wish you all take heed,
    Lest what ye deem a blooming rose
      Should prove a cankered weed.'

    "Then straightway from his bosom
      A little wand he drew;
    And with it eke a mantle,
      Of wondrous shape and hue.

    "'Now have thou here, King Arthur,
      Have this here of me,
    And give unto thy comely queen,
      All shapen as you see.

    "'No wife it shall become,
      That once hath been to blame.'
    Then every knight in Arthur's court
      Sly glanced at his dame.

    "And first came Lady Guenever,
      The mantle she must try.
    This dame she was new-fangled, [1]
      And of a roving eye.

    "When she had taken the mantle,
      And all with it was clad,
    From top to toe it shivered down,
      As though with shears beshred.

    "One while it was too long,
      Another while too short,
    And wrinkled on her shoulders,
      In most unseemly sort.

    "Now green, now red it seemed,
      Then all of sable hue;
    'Beshrew me,' quoth King Arthur,
      'I think thou be'st not true!'

    "Down she threw the mantle,
      No longer would she stay;
    But, storming like a fury,
      To her chamber flung away.

    "She cursed the rascal weaver,
      That had the mantle wrought;
    And doubly cursed the froward imp
      Who thither had it brought.

    I had rather live in deserts,
      Beneath the greenwood tree,
    Than here, base king, among thy grooms
      The sport of them and thee.'

    "Sir Kay called forth his lady,
      And bade her to come near:
    'Yet dame, if thou be guilty,
      I pray thee now forbear.'

    "This lady, pertly giggling,
      With forward step came on,
    And boldly to the little boy
      With fearless face is gone.

    "When she had taken the mantle,
      With purpose for to wear,
    It shrunk up to her shoulder,
      And left her back all bare.

    "Then every merry knight,
      That was in Arthur's court,
    Gibed and laughed and flouted,
      To see that pleasant sport.

    "Down she threw the mantle,
      No longer bold or gay,
    But, with a face all pale and wan
      To her chamber slunk away.

    "Then forth came an old knight
      A pattering o'er his creed,
    And proffered to the little boy
       Five nobles to his meed:

    "'And all the time of Christmas
      Plum-porridge shall be thine,
    If thou wilt let my lady fair
      Within the mantle shine.'

    "A saint his lady seemed,
      With step demure and slow,
    And gravely to the mantle
      With mincing face doth go.

    "When she the same had taken
      That was so fine and thin,
    It shrivelled all about her,
      And showed her dainty skin.

    "Ah! little did her mincing,
      Or his long prayers bestead;
     She had no more hung on her
      Than a tassel and a thread.

    "Down she threw the mantle,
      With terror and dismay,
    And with a face of scarlet
      To her chamber hied away.

    "Sir Cradock called his lady,
      And bade her to come near:
    'Come win this mantle, lady,
       And do me credit here:

    "'Come win this mantle, lady,
      For now it shall be thine,
    If thou hast never done amiss,
      Since first I made thee mine.'

    "The lady, gently blushing,
      With modest grace came on;
    And now to try the wondrous charm
      Courageously is gone.

    "When she had ta'en the mantle,
      And put it on her back,
    About the hem it seemed
      To wrinkle and to crack.

    "'Lie still,' she cried, 'O mantle!
      And shame me not for naught;
    I'll freely own whate'er amiss
      Or blameful I have wrought.

    "'Once I kissed Sir Cradock
      Beneath the greenwood tree;
    Once I kissed Sir Cradock's mouth,
      Before he married me.'

    "When she had thus her shriven,
      And her worst fault had told,
    The mantle soon became her,
      Right comely as it should.

    "Most rich and fair of color,
      Like gold it glittering shone,
    And much the knights in Arthur's court
      Admired her every one."

[Footnote 1: New-fangled--fond of novelty.]

The ballad goes on to tell of two more trials of a similar kind,
made by means of a boar's head and a drinking horn, in both of
which the result was equally favorable with the first to Sir
Cradock and his lady. It then concludes as follows:

    "Thus boar's head, horn, and mantle
      Were this fair couple's meed;
    And all such constant lovers,
      God send them well to speed"

    --Percy's Reliques.



King Ban, of Brittany, the faithful ally of Arthur was attacked by
his enemy Claudas, and after a long war saw himself reduced to the
possession of a single fortress, where he was besieged by his
enemy. In this extremity he determined to solicit the assistance
of Arthur, and escaped in a dark night, with his wife Helen and
his infant son Launcelot, leaving his castle in the hands of his
seneschal, who immediately surrendered the place to Claudas. The
flames of his burning citadel reached the eyes of the unfortunate
monarch during his flight and he expired with grief. The wretched
Helen, leaving her child on the brink of a lake, flew to receive
the last sighs of her husband, and on returning perceived the
little Launcelot in the arms of a nymph, who, on the approach of
the queen, threw herself into the lake with the child. This nymph
was Viviane, mistress of the enchanter Merlin, better known by the
name of the Lady of the Lake. Launcelot received his appellation
from having been educated at the court of this enchantress, whose
palace was situated in the midst, not of a real, but, like the
appearance which deceives the African traveller, of an imaginary
lake, whose deluding resemblance served as a barrier to her
residence. Here she dwelt not alone, but in the midst of a
numerous retinue, and a splendid court of knights and damsels.

The queen, after her double loss, retired to a convent, where she
was joined by the widow of Bohort, for this good king had died of
grief on hearing of the death of his brother Ban. His two sons,
Lionel and Bohort, were rescued by a faithful knight, and arrived
in the shape of greyhounds at the palace of the lake, where,
having resumed their natural form, they were educated along with
their cousin Launcelot.

The fairy, when her pupil had attained the age of eighteen,
conveyed him to the court of Arthur for the purpose of demanding
his admission to the honor of knighthood; and at the first
appearance of the youthful candidate the graces of his person,
which were not inferior to his courage and skill in arms, made an
instantaneous and indelible impression on the heart of Guenever,
while her charms inspired him with an equally ardent and constant
passion. The mutual attachment of these lovers exerted, from that
time forth, an influence over the whole history of Arthur. For the
sake of Guenever, Launcelot achieved the conquest of
Northumberland, defeated Gallehaut, King of the Marches, who
afterwards became his most faithful friend and ally, exposed
himself in numberless encounters, and brought hosts of prisoners
to the feet of his sovereign.


After King Arthur was come from Rome into England all the knights
of the Table Round resorted unto him and made him many justs and
tournaments. And in especial Sir Launcelot of the Lake in all
tournaments and justs and deeds of arms, both for life and death,
passed all other knights, and was never overcome, except it were
by treason or enchantment; and he increased marvellously in
worship, wherefore Queen Guenever had him in great favor, above
all other knights. And for certain he loved the queen again above
all other ladies; and for her he did many deeds of arms, and saved
her from peril, through his noble chivalry. Thus Sir Launcelot
rested him long with play and game, and then he thought to prove
himself in strange adventures; so he bade his nephew, Sir Lionel,
to make him ready,-- "for we two will seek adventures." So they
mounted on their horses, armed at all sights, and rode into a
forest, and so into a deep plain. And the weather was hot about
noon, and Sir Launcelot had great desire to sleep. Then Sir Lionel
espied a great apple-tree that stood by a hedge, and he said:
"Brother, yonder is a fair shadow--there may we rest us and our
horses." "It is well said," replied Sir Launcelot. So they there
alighted, and Sir Launcelot laid him down, and his helm under his
head, and soon was asleep passing fast. And Sir Lionel waked while
he slept. And presently there came three knights riding as fast as
ever they might ride, and there followed them but one knight. And
Sir Lionel thought he never saw so great a knight before. So
within a while this great knight overtook one of those knights,
and smote him so that he fell to the earth. Then he rode to the
second knight and smote him, and so he did to the third knight.
Then he alighted down and bound all the three knights fast with
their own bridles. When Sir Lionel saw him do thus, he thought to
assay him, and made him ready silently, not to awake Sir
Launcelot, and rode after the strong knight, and bade him turn.
And the other smote Sir Lionel so hard that horse and man fell to
the earth; and then he alighted down and bound Sir Lionel, and
threw him across his own horse; and so he served them all four,
and rode with them away to his own castle. And when he came there
he put them in a deep prison, in which were many more knights in
great distress.

Now while Sir Launcelot lay under the apple-tree sleeping, there
came by him four queens of great estate. And that the heat should
not grieve them, there rode four knights about them, and bare a
cloth of green silk on four spears, betwixt them and the sun. And
the queens rode on four white mules.

Thus as they rode they heard by them a great horse grimly neigh.
Then they were aware of a sleeping knight, that lay all armed
under an apple-tree; and as the queens looked on his face, they
knew it was Sir Launcelot. Then they began to strive for that
knight, and each one said she would have him for her love. "We
will not strive," said Morgane le Fay, that was King Arthur's
sister, "for I will put an enchantment upon him, that he shall not
wake for six hours, and we will take him away to my castle; and
then when he is surely within my hold, I will take the enchantment
from him, and then let him choose which of us he will have for his
love." So the enchantment was cast upon Sir Launcelot. And then
they laid him upon his shield, and bare him so on horseback
between two knights, and brought him unto the castle and laid him
in a chamber, and at night they sent him his supper. And on the
morning came early those four queens, richly dight, and bade him
good morning, and he them again. "Sir knight," they said, "thou
must understand thou art our prisoner; and we know thee well, that
thou art Sir Launcelot of the Lake, King Ban's son, and that thou
art the noblest knight living. And we know well that there can no
lady have thy love but one, and that is Queen Guenever; and now
thou shalt lose her for ever, and she thee; and therefore it
behooveth thee now to choose one of us. I am the Queen Morgane le
Fay, and here is the Queen of North Wales, and the Queen of
Eastland, and the Queen of the Isles. Now choose one of us which
thou wilt have, for if thou choose not, in this prison thou shalt
die." "This is a hard case," said Sir Launcelot, "that either I
must die, or else choose one of you; yet had I liever to die in
this prison with worship, than to have one of you for my paramour,
for ye be false enchantresses." "Well," said the queens, "is this
your answer, that ye will refuse us." "Yea, on my life it is,"
said Sir Launcelot. Then they departed, making great sorrow.

Then at noon came a damsel unto him with his dinner, and asked
him, "What cheer?" "Truly, fair damsel," said Sir Launcelot,
"never so ill." "Sir," said she, "if you will be ruled by me, I
will help you out of this distress. If ye will promise me to help
my father on Tuesday next, who hath made a tournament betwixt him
and the king of North Wales; for last Tuesday my father lost the
field." "Fair maiden," said Sir Launcelot, "tell me what is your
father's name, and then will I give you an answer." "Sir knight,"
she said, "my father is King Bagdemagus." "I know him well," said
Sir Launcelot, "for a noble king and a good knight; and, by the
faith of my body, I will be ready to do your father and you
service at that day."

So she departed, and came on the next morning early and found him
ready, and brought him out of twelve locks, and brought him to his
own horse, and lightly he saddled him, and so rode forth.

And on the Tuesday next he came to a little wood where the
tournament should be. And there were scaffolds and holds, that
lords and ladies might look on, and give the prize. Then came into
the field the king of North Wales, with eightscore helms, and King
Badgemagus came with fourscore helms. And then they couched their
spears, and came together with a great dash, and there were
overthrown at the first encounter twelve of King Bagdemagus's
party and six of the king of North Wales's party, and King
Bagdemagus's party had the worse.

With that came Sir Launcelot of the Lake, and thrust in with his
spear in the thickest of the press; and he smote down five knights
ere he held his hand; and he smote down the king of North Wales,
and he brake his thigh in that fall. And then the knights of the
king of North Wales would just no more; and so the gree was given
to King Bagdemagus.

And Sir Launcelot rode forth with King Bagdemagus unto his castle;
and there he had passing good cheer, both with the king and with
his daughter. And on the morn he took his leave, and told the king
he would go and seek his brother, Sir Lionel, that went from him
when he slept. So he departed, and by adventure he came to the
same forest where he was taken sleeping. And in the highway he met
a damsel riding on a white palfrey, and they saluted each other.
"Fair damsel," said Sir Launcelot, "know ye in this country any
adventures?" "Sir knight," said the damsel, "here are adventures
near at hand, if thou durst pursue them." "Why should I not prove
adventures?" said Sir Launcelot, "since for that cause came I
hither." "Sir," said she, "hereby dwelleth a knight that will not
be overmatched for any man I know, except thou overmatch him. His
name is Sir Turquine, and, as I understand, he is a deadly enemy
of King Arthur, and he has in his prison good knights of Arthur's
court, threescore and more, that he hath won with his own hands."
"Damsel," said Launcelot, "I pray you bring me unto this knight."
So she told him, "Hereby, within this mile, is his castle, and by
it on the left hand is a ford for horses to drink of, and over
that ford there groweth a fair tree, and on that tree hang many
shields that good knights wielded aforetime, that are now
prisoners; and on the tree hangeth a basin of copper and latten,
and if thou strike upon that basin thou shalt hear tidings." And
Sir Launcelot departed, and rode as the damsel had shown him, and
shortly he came to the ford, and the tree where hung the shields
and the basin. And among the shields he saw Sir Lionel's and Sir
Hector's shields, besides many others of knights that he knew.

Then Sir Launcelot struck on the basin with the butt of his spear;
and long he did so, but he saw no man. And at length he was ware
of a great knight that drove a horse before him, and across the
horse there lay an armed knight bounden. And as they came near,
Sir Launcelot thought he should know the captive knight. Then Sir
Launcelot saw that it was Sir Gaheris, Sir Gawain's brother, a
knight of the Table Round. "Now, fair knight," said Sir Launcelot,
"put that wounded knight off the horse, and let him rest awhile,
and let us two prove our strength. For, as it is told me, thou
hast done great despite and shame unto knights of the Round Table,
therefore now defend thee." "If thou be of the Table Round," said
Sir Turquine, "I defy thee and all thy fellowship." "That is
overmuch said," said Sir Launcelot.

Then they put their spears in the rests, and came together with
their horses as fast as they might run. And each smote the other
in the middle of their shields, so that their horses fell under
them, and the knights were both staggered; and as soon as they
could clear their horses they drew out their swords and came
together eagerly, and each gave the other many strong strokes, for
neither shield nor harness might withstand their strokes. So
within a while both had grimly wounds, and bled grievously. Then
at the last they were breathless both, and stood leaning upon
their swords. "Now, fellow," said Sir Turquine, "thou art the
stoutest man that ever I met with, and best breathed; and so be it
thou be not the knight that I hate above all other knights, the
knight that slew my brother, Sir Carados, I will gladly accord
with thee; and for thy love I will deliver all the prisoners that
I have."

"What knight is he that thou hatest so above others?" "Truly,"
said Sir Turquine, "his name is Sir Launcelot of the Lake." "I am
Sir Launcelot of the Lake, King Ban's son of Benwick, and very
knight of the Table Round; and now I defy thee do thy best." "Ah!"
said Sir Turquine, "Launcelot, thou art to me the most welcome
that ever was knight; for we shall never part till the one of us
be dead." And then they hurtled together like two wild bulls,
rashing and lashing with their swords and shields, so that
sometimes they fell, as it were, headlong. Thus they fought two
hours and more, till the ground where they fought was all
bepurpled with blood.

Then at the last Sir Turquine waxed sore faint, and gave somewhat
aback, and bare his shield full low for weariness. That spied Sir
Launcelot, and leapt then upon him fiercely as a lion, and took
him by the beaver of his helmet, and drew him down on his knees.
And he raised off his helm, and smote his neck in sunder.

And Sir Gaheris, when he saw Sir Turquine slain, said, "Fair lord,
I pray you tell me your name, for this day I say ye are the best
knight in the world, for ye have slain this day in my sight the
mightiest man and the best knight except you that ever I saw."
"Sir, my name is Sir Launcelot du Lac, that ought to help you of
right for King Arthur's sake, and in especial for Sir Gawain's
sake, your own dear brother. Now I pray you, that ye go into
yonder castle, and set free all the prisoners ye find there, for I
am sure ye shall find there many knights of the Table Round, and
especially my brother Sir Lionel. I pray you greet them all from
me, and tell them I bid them take there such stuff as they find;
and tell my brother to go unto the court and abide me there, for
by the feast of Pentecost I think to be there; but at this time I
may not stop, for I have adventures on hand." So he departed, and
Sir Gaheris rode into the castle, and took the keys from the
porter, and hastily opened the prison door and let out all the
prisoners. There was Sir Kay, Sir Brandeles, and Sir Galynde, Sir
Bryan, and Sir Alyduke, Sir Hector de Marys, and Sir Lionel, and
many more. And when they saw Sir Gaheris they all thanked him, for
they thought, because he was wounded, that he had slain Sir
Turquine. "Not so," said Sir Gaheris; "it was Sir Launcelot that
slew him, right worshipfully; I saw it with mine eyes."

Sir Launcelot rode till at nightfall he came to a fair castle, and
therein he found an old gentlewoman, who lodged him with good-
will, and there he had good cheer for him and his horse. And when
time was, his host brought him to a fair chamber over the gate to
his bed. Then Sir Launcelot unarmed him, and set his harness by
him, and went to bed, and anon he fell asleep. And soon after,
there came one on horseback and knocked at the gate in great
haste; and when Sir Launcelot heard this, he arose and looked out
of the window, and saw by the moonlight three knights riding after
that one man, and all three lashed on him with their swords, and
that one knight turned on them knightly again and defended
himself. "Truly," said Sir Launcelot, "yonder one knight will I
help, for it is shame to see three knights on one." Then he took
his harness and went out at the window by a sheet down to the four
knights; and he said aloud, "Turn you knights unto me, and leave
your fighting with that knight." Then the knights left Sir Kay,
for it was he they were upon, and turned unto Sir Launcelot, and
struck many great strokes at Sir Launcelot, and assailed him on
every side. Then Sir Kay addressed him to help Sir Launcelot, but
he said, "Nay, sir, I will none of your help; let me alone with
them." So Sir Kay suffered him to do his will, and stood one side.
And within six strokes Sir Launcelot had stricken them down.

Then they all cried, "Sir knight, we yield us unto you." "As to
that," said Sir Launcelot, "I will not take your yielding unto me.
If so be ye will yield you unto Sir Kay the Seneschal, I will save
your lives, but else not." "Fair knight," then they said, "we will
do as thou commandest us." "Then shall ye," said Sir Launcelot,
"on Whitsunday next, go unto the court of King Arthur, and there
shall ye yield you unto Queen Guenever, and say that Sir Kay sent
you thither to be her prisoners." "Sir," they said, "it shall be
done, by the faith of our bodies;" and then they swore, every
knight upon his sword. And so Sir Launcelot suffered them to

On the morn Sir Launcelot rose early and left Sir Kay sleeping;
and Sir Launcelot took Sir Kay's armor, and his shield, and armed
him, and went to the stable and took his horse, and so he
departed. Then soon after arose Sir Kay, and missed Sir Launcelot.
And then he espied that he had taken his armor and his horse.
"Now, by my faith, I know well," said Sir Kay, "that he will
grieve some of King Arthur's knights, for they will deem that it
is I, and will be bold to meet him. But by cause of his armor I am
sure I shall ride in peace." Then Sir Kay thanked his host and

Sir Launcelot rode in a deep forest, and there he saw four
knights, under an oak, and they were of Arthur's court. There was
Sir Sagramour le Desirus, and Hector de Marys, and Sir Gawain, and
Sir Uwaine. As they spied Sir Launcelot they judged by his arms it
had been Sir Kay. "Now, by my faith," said Sir Sagramour, "I will
prove Sir Kay's might;" and got his spear in his hand, and came
towards Sir Launcelot. Therewith Sir Launcelot couched his spear
against him, and smote Sir Sagramour so sore that horse and man
fell both to the earth. Then said Sir Hector, "Now shall ye see
what I may do with him." But he fared worse than Sir Sagramour,
for Sir Launcelot's spear went through his shoulder and bare him
from his horse to the ground. "By my faith," said Sir Uwaine,
"yonder is a strong knight, and I fear he hath slain Sir Kay, and
taken his armor." And therewith Sir Uwaine took his spear in hand,
and rode toward Sir Launcelot; and Sir Launcelot met him on the
plain and gave him such a buffet that he was staggered, and wist
not where he was. "Now see I well," said Sir Gawain, "that I must
encounter with that knight." Then he adjusted his shield, and took
a good spear in his hand, and Sir Launcelot knew him well. Then
they let run their horses with all their mights, and each knight
smote the other in the middle of his shield. But Sir Gawain's
spear broke, and Sir Launcelot charged so sore upon him that his
horse fell over backward. Then Sir Launcelot passed by smiling
with himself, and he said, "Good luck be with him that made this
spear, for never came a better into my hand." Then the four
knights went each to the other and comforted one another. "What
say ye to this adventure," said Sir Gawain, "that one spear hath
felled us all four?" "I dare lay my head it is Sir Launcelot,"
said Sir Hector; "I know it by his riding."

And Sir Launcelot rode through many strange countries, till by
fortune he came to a fair castle; and as he passed beyond the
castle he thought he heard two bells ring. And then he perceived
how a falcon came flying over his head, toward a high elm; and she
had long lunys [Footnote: LUNYS, the string with which the falcon
is held.] about her feet, and she flew unto the elm to take her
perch, and the lunys got entangled in the bough; and when she
would have taken her flight, she hung by the legs fast, and Sir
Launcelot saw how she hung, and beheld the fair falcon entangled,
and he was sorry for her. Then came a lady out of the castle and
cried aloud, "O Launcelot, Launcelot, as thou art the flower of
all knights, help me to get my hawk; for if my hawk be lost, my
lord will slay me, he is so hasty." "What is your lord's name?"
said Sir Launcelot. "His name is Sir Phelot, a knight that
belongeth to the king of North Wales." "Well, fair lady, since ye
know my name, and require me of knighthood to help you, I will do
what I may to get your hawk; and yet in truth I am an ill climber,
and the tree is passing high, and few boughs to help me." And
therewith Sir Launcelot alighted and tied his horse to the tree,
and prayed the lady to unarm him. And when he was unarmed, he put
off his jerkin, and with might and force he clomb up to the
falcon, and tied the lunys to a rotten bough, and threw the hawk
down with it; and the lady got the hawk in her hand. Then suddenly
there came out of the castle her husband, all armed, and with his
naked sword in his hand, and said, "O Knight Launcelot, now have I
got thee as I would," and stood at the boll of the tree to slay
him. "Ah, lady!" said Sir Launcelot, "why have ye betrayed me?"
"She hath done," said Sir Phelot, "but as I commanded her; and
therefore there is none other way but thine hour is come, and thou
must die." "That were shame unto thee," said Sir Launcelot; "thou
an armed knight to slay a naked man by treason." "Thou gettest
none other grace," said Sir Phelot, "and therefore help thyself if
thou canst." "Alas!" said Sir Launcelot, "that ever a knight
should die weaponless!" And therewith he turned his eyes upward
and downward; and over his head he saw a big bough leafless, and
he brake it off from the trunk. And then he came lower, and
watched how his own horse stood; and suddenly he leapt on the
further side of his horse from the knight. Then Sir Phelot lashed
at him eagerly, meaning to have slain him. But Sir Launcelot put
away the stroke, with the big bough, and smote Sir Phelot
therewith on the side of the head, so that he fell down in a swoon
to the ground. Then Sir Launcelot took his sword out of his hand
and struck his head from the body. Then said the lady, "Alas! why
hast thou slain my husband?" "I am not the cause," said Sir
Launcelot, "for with falsehood ye would have slain me, and now it
is fallen on yourselves." Thereupon Sir Launcelot got all his
armor, and put it upon him hastily, for fear of more resort, for
the knight's castle was so nigh. And as soon as he might, he took
his horse and departed, and thanked God he had escaped that

And two days before the feast of Pentecost, Sir Launcelot came
home; and the king and all the court were passing glad of his
coming. And when Sir Gawain, Sir Uwaine, Sir Sagramour, and Sir
Hector de Marys saw Sir Launcelot in Sir Kay's armor then they
wist well it was he that smote them down, all with one spear. Then
there was laughing and merriment among them; and from time to time
came all the knights that Sir Turquine had prisoners, and they all
honored and worshipped Sir Launcelot. Then Sir Gaheris said, "I
saw all the battle from the beginning to the end," and he told
King Arthur all how it was. Then Sir Kay told the king how Sir
Launcelot had rescued him, and how he "made the knights yield to
me, and not to him." And there they were, all three, and confirmed
it all "And, by my faith," said Sir Kay, "because Sir Launcelot
took my harness and left me his, I rode in peace, and no man would
have to do with me."

And so at that time Sir Launcelot had the greatest name of any
knight of the world, and most was he honored of high and low.



It befell in the month of May, Queen Guenever called to her
knights of the Table Round, and gave them warning that early upon
the morrow she would ride a-maying into the woods and fields
beside Westminster; "and I warn you that there be none of you but
he be well horsed, and that ye all be clothed in green, either
silk or 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 yeoman, and all well horsed."

    "For thus it chanced one morn when all the court,
     Green-suited, but with plumes that mock'd the May,
     Had been, their wont, a-maying"


So they made them ready; and these were the names of the knights:
Sir Kay the Seneschal, Sir Agrivaine, Sir Brandiles, Sir Sagramour
le Desirus, Sir Dodynas le Sauvage, Sir Ozanna, Sir Ladynas, Sir
Persant of Inde, Sir Ironside, and Sir Pelleas; and these ten
knights made them ready, in the freshest manner, to ride with the
queen. 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 delight. Now there was a knight named Maleagans, son to
King Brademagus, who loved Queen Guenever passing well, and so had
he done long and many years. Now this knight, Sir Maleagans,
learned the queen's purpose, and that she had no men of arms with
her but the ten noble knights all arrayed in green for maying; so
he prepared him twenty men of arms, and a hundred archers, to take
captive the queen and her knights.

    "In the merry month of May,
     In a morn at break of day,
     With a troop of damsels playing,
     The Queen, forsooth, went forth a-maying."

    --Old Song.

So when the queen had mayed, and all were bedecked with herbs,
mosses, and flowers in the best manner and freshest, right then
came out of a wood Sir Maleagans with eightscore men well
harnessed, and bade the queen and her knights yield them
prisoners. "Traitor knight," said Queen Guenever, "what wilt thou
do? Wilt thou shame thyself? Bethink thee how thou art a king's
son, and a knight of the Table Round, and how thou art about to
dishonor all knighthood and thyself?" "Be it as it may," said Sir
Maleagans, "know you well, madam, I have loved you many a year and
never till now could I get you to such advantage as I do now; and
therefore I will take you as I find you." Then the ten knights of
the Round Table drew their swords, and the other party run at them
with their spears, and the ten knights manfully abode them, and
smote away their spears. Then they lashed together with swords
till several were smitten to the earth. So when the queen saw her
knights thus dolefully oppressed, and needs must be slain at the
last, then for pity and sorrow she cried, "Sir Maleagans, slay not
my noble knights and I will go with you, upon this covenant, that
they be led with me wheresoever thou leadest me." "Madame," said
Maleagans, "for your sake they shall be led with you into my own
castle, if that ye will be ruled, and ride with me." Then Sir
Maleagans charged them all that none should depart from the queen,
for he dreaded lest Sir Launcelot should have knowledge of what
had been done.

Then the queen privily called unto her a page 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, and pray him as he
loveth me, that he will see me and rescue me. And spare not thy
horse," said the queen, "neither for water nor 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 Maleagans 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 the child went from them all. Then Sir
Maleagans said to the queen, "Madam, ye are about to betray me,
but I shall arrange for Sir Launcelot that he shall not come
lightly at you." Then he rode with her and them all to his castle,
in all the haste that they might. And by the way Sir Maleagans
laid in ambush the best archers that he had to wait for Sir
Launcelot. And the child came to Westminster and found Sir
Launcelot and told his message and delivered him the queen's ring.
"Alas!" said Sir Launcelot, "now am I shamed for ever, unless I
may rescue that noble lady." Then eagerly he asked his armor and
put it on him, and mounted his horse and rode as fast as he might;
and men say he took the water at Westminster Bridge, and made his
horse swim over Thames unto Lambeth. Then within a while he came
to a wood where was a narrow way; and there the archers were laid
in ambush. And they shot at him and smote his horse so that he
fell. Then Sir Launcelot left his horse and went on foot, but
there lay so many ditches and hedges betwixt the archers and him
that he might not meddle with them. "Alas! for shame," said Sir
Launcelot, "that ever one knight should betray another! but it is
an old saw, a good man is never in danger, but when he is in
danger of a coward." Then Sir Launcelot went awhile and he was
exceedingly cumbered by his armor, his shield, and his spear, and
all that belonged to him. Then by chance there came by him a cart
that came thither to fetch wood.

Now at this time carts were little used except for carrying offal
and for conveying criminals to execution. But Sir Launcelot took
no thought of anything but the necessity of haste for the purpose
of rescuing the queen; so he demanded of the carter that he should
take him in and convey him as speedily as possible for a liberal
reward. The carter consented, and Sir Launcelot placed himself in
the cart and only lamented that with much jolting he made but
little progress. Then it happened Sir Gawain passed by and seeing
an armed knight travelling in that unusual way he drew near to see
who it might be. Then Sir Launcelot told him how the queen had
been carried off, and how, in hastening to her rescue, his horse
had been disabled and he had been compelled to avail himself of
the cart rather than give up his enterprise. Then Sir Gawain said,
"Surely it is unworthy of a knight to travel in such sort;" but
Sir Launcelot heeded him not.

At nightfall they arrived at a castle and the lady thereof came
out at the head of her damsels to welcome Sir Gawain. But to admit
his companion, whom she supposed to be a criminal, or at least a
prisoner, it pleased her not; however, to oblige Sir Gawain, she
consented. At supper Sir Launcelot came near being consigned to
the kitchen and was only admitted to the lady's table at the
earnest solicitation of Sir Gawain. Neither would the damsels
prepare a bed for him. He seized the first he found unoccupied and
was left undisturbed.

Next morning he saw from the turrets of the castle a train
accompanying a lady, whom he imagined to be the queen. Sir Gawain
thought it might be so, and became equally eager to depart. The
lady of the castle supplied Sir Launcelot with a horse and they
traversed the plain at full speed. They learned from some
travellers whom they met, that there were two roads which led to
the castle of Sir Maleagans. Here therefore the friends separated.
Sir Launcelot found his way beset with obstacles, which he
encountered successfully, but not without much loss of time. As
evening approached he was met by a young and sportive damsel, who
gayly proposed to him a supper at her castle. The knight, who was
hungry and weary, accepted the offer, though with no very good
grace. He followed the lady to her castle and ate voraciously of
her supper, but was quite impenetrable to all her amorous
advances. Suddenly the scene changed and he was assailed by six
furious ruffians, whom he dealt with so vigorously that most of
them were speedily disabled, when again there was a change and he
found himself alone with his fair hostess, who informed him that
she was none other than his guardian fairy, who had but subjected
him to tests of his courage and fidelity. The next day the fairy
brought him on his road, and before parting gave him a ring, which
she told him would by its changes of color disclose to him all
enchantments, and enable him to subdue them.

Sir Launcelot pursued his journey, without being much incommoded
except by the taunts of travellers, who all seemed to have
learned, by some means, his disgraceful drive in the cart. One,
more insolent than the rest, had the audacity to interrupt him
during dinner, and even to risk a battle in support of his
pleasantry. Launcelot, after an easy victory, only doomed him to
be carted in his turn.

At night he was received at another castle, with great apparent
hospitality, but found himself in the morning in a dungeon, and
loaded with chains. Consulting his ring, and finding that this was
an enchantment, he burst his chains, seized his armor in spite of
the visionary monsters who attempted to defend it, broke open the
gates of the tower, and continued his journey. At length his
progress was checked by a wide and rapid torrent, which could only
be passed on a narrow bridge, on which a false step would prove
his destruction. Launcelot, leading his horse by the bridle, and
making him swim by his side, passed over the bridge, and was
attacked as soon as he reached the bank by a lion and a leopard,
both of which he slew, and then, exhausted and bleeding, seated
himself on the grass, and endeavored to bind up his wounds, when
he was accosted by Brademagus, the father of Maleagans, whose
castle was then in sight, and at no great distance. This king, no
less courteous than his son was haughty and insolent, after
complimenting Sir Launcelot on the valor and skill he had
displayed in the perils of the bridge and the wild beasts, offered
him his assistance, and informed him that the queen was safe in
his castle, but could only be rescued by encountering Maleagans.
Launcelot demanded the battle for the next day, and accordingly it
took place, at the foot of the tower, and under the eyes of the
fair captive. Launcelot was enfeebled by his wounds, and fought
not with his usual spirit, and the contest for a time was
doubtful; till Guenever exclaimed, "Ah, Launcelot! my knight,
truly have I been told that thou art no longer worthy of me!"
These words instantly revived the drooping knight; he resumed at
once his usual superiority, and soon laid at his feet his haughty

He was on the point of sacrificing him to his resentment, when
Guenever, moved by the entreaties of Brademagus, ordered him to
withhold the blow, and he obeyed. The castle and its prisoners
were now at his disposal. Launcelot hastened to the apartment of
the queen, threw himself at her feet, and was about to kiss her
hand, when she exclaimed, "Ah, Launcelot! why do I see thee again,
yet feel thee to be no longer worthy of me, after having been
disgracefully drawn about the country in a--" She had not time to
finish the phrase, for her lover suddenly started from her, and,
bitterly lamenting that he had incurred the displeasure of his
sovereign lady, rushed out of the castle, threw his sword and his
shield to the right and left, ran furiously into the woods, and

It seems that the story of the abominable cart, which haunted
Launcelot at every step, had reached the ears of Sir Kay, who had
told it to the queen, as a proof that her knight must have been
dishonored. But Guenever had full leisure to repent the haste with
which she had given credit to the tale. Three days elapsed, during
which Launcelot wandered without knowing where he went, till at
last he began to reflect that his mistress had doubtless been
deceived by misrepresentation, and that it was his duty to set her
right. He therefore returned, compelled Maleagans to release his
prisoners, and, taking the road by which they expected the arrival
of Sir Gawain, had the satisfaction of meeting him the next day;
after which the whole company proceeded gayly towards Camelot.



King Arthur proclaimed a solemn tournament to be held at
Winchester. The king, not less impatient than his knights for this
festival, set off some days before to superintend the
preparations, leaving the queen with her court at Camelot. Sir
Launcelot, under pretence of indisposition, remained behind also.
His intention was to attend the tournament--in disguise; and
having communicated his project to Guenever, he mounted his horse,
set off without any attendant, and, counterfeiting the feebleness
of age, took the most unfrequented road to Winchester, and passed
unnoticed as an old knight who was going to be a spectator of the
sports. Even Arthur and Gawain, who happened to behold him from
the windows of a castle under which he passed, were the dupes of
his disguise. But an accident betrayed him. His horse happened to
stumble, and the hero, forgetting for a moment his assumed
character, recovered the animal with a strength and agility so
peculiar to himself, that they instantly recognized the inimitable
Launcelot. They suffered him, however, to proceed on his journey
without interruption, convinced that his extraordinary feats of
arms must discover him at the approaching festival.

In the evening Launcelot was magnificently entertained as a
stranger knight at the neighboring castle of Shalott. The lord of
this castle had a daughter of exquisite beauty, and two sons
lately received into the order of knighthood, one of whom was at
that time ill in bed, and thereby prevented from attending the
tournament, for which both brothers had long made preparation.
Launcelot offered to attend the other, if he were permitted to
borrow the armor of the invalid, and the lord of Shalott, without
knowing the name of his guest, being satisfied from his appearance
that his son could not have a better assistant in arms, most
thankfully accepted the offer. In the meantime the young lady, who
had been much struck by the first appearance of the stranger
knight, continued to survey him with increased attention, and,
before the conclusion of supper, became so deeply enamoured of
him, that after frequent changes of color, and other symptoms
which Sir Launcelot could not possibly mistake, she was obliged to
retire to her chamber, and seek relief in tears. Sir Launcelot
hastened to convey to her, by means of her brother, the
information that his heart was already disposed of, but that it
would be his pride and pleasure to act as her knight at the
approaching tournament. The lady, obliged to be satisfied with
that courtesy, presented him her scarf to be worn at the

Launcelot set off in the morning with the young knight, who, on
their approaching Winchester, carried him to the castle of a lady,
sister to the lord of Shalott, by whom they were hospitably
entertained. The next day they put on their armor, which was
perfectly plain and without any device, as was usual to youths
during the first year of knighthood, their shields being only
painted red, as some color was necessary to enable them to be
recognized by their attendants. Launcelot wore on his crest the
scarf of the maid of Shalott, and, thus equipped, proceeded to the
tournament, where the knights were divided into two companies, the
one commanded by Sir Galehaut, the other by King Arthur. Having
surveyed the combat for a short time from without the lists, and
observed that Sir Galehaut's party began to give way, they joined
the press and attacked the royal knights, the young man choosing
such adversaries as were suited to his strength, while his
companion selected the principal champions of the Round Table, and
successively overthrew Gawain, Bohort, and Lionel. The
astonishment of the spectators was extreme, for it was thought
that no one but Launcelot could possess such invincible force; yet
the favor on his crest seemed to preclude the possibility of his
being thus disguised, for Launcelot had never been known to wear
the badge of any but his sovereign lady. At length Sir Hector,
Launcelot's brother, engaged him, and, after a dreadful combat,
wounded him dangerously in the head, but was himself completely
stunned by a blow on the helmet, and felled to the ground; after
which the conqueror rode off at full speed, attended by his

They returned to the castle of Shalott, where Launcelot was
attended with the greatest care by the good earl, by his two sons,
and, above all, by his fair daughter, whose medical skill probably
much hastened the period of his recovery. His health was almost
completely restored, when Sir Hector, Sir Bohort, and Sir Lionel,
who, after the return of the court to Camelot, had undertaken the
quest of their relation, discovered him walking on the walls of
the castle. Their meeting was very joyful; they passed three days
in the castle amidst constant festivities, and bantered each other
on the events of the tournament. Launcelot, though he began by
vowing vengeance against the author of his wound, yet ended by
declaring that he felt rewarded for the pain by the pride he took
in witnessing his brother's extraordinary prowess. He then
dismissed them with a message to the queen, promising to follow
immediately, it being necessary that he should first take a formal
leave of his kind hosts, as well as of the fair maid of Shalott.

The young lady, after vainly attempting to detain him by her tears
and solicitations, saw him depart without leaving her any ground
for hope.

It was early summer when the tournament took place; but some
months had passed since Launcelot's departure, and winter was now
near at hand. The health and strength of the Lady of Shalott had
gradually sunk, and she felt that she could not live apart from
the object of her affections. She left the castle, and descending
to the river's brink placed herself in a boat, which she loosed
from its moorings, and suffered to bear her down the current
toward Camelot.

One morning, as Arthur and Sir Lionel looked from the window of
the tower, the walls of which were washed by a river, they
descried a boat richly ornamented, and covered with an awning of
cloth of gold, which appeared to be floating down the stream
without any human guidance. It struck the shore while they watched
it, and they hastened down to examine it. Beneath the awning they
discovered the dead body of a beautiful woman, in whose features
Sir Lionel easily recognized the lovely maid of Shalott. Pursuing
their search, they discovered a purse richly embroidered with gold
and jewels, and within the purse a letter, which Arthur opened,
and found addressed to himself and all the knights of the Round
Table, stating that Launcelot of the Lake, the most accomplished
of knights and most beautiful of men, but at the same time the
most cruel and inflexible, had by his rigor produced the death of
the wretched maiden, whose love was no less invincible than his
cruelty. The king immediately gave orders for the interment of the
lady with all the honors suited to her rank, at the same time
explaining to the knights the history of her affection for
Launcelot, which moved the compassion and regret of all.

Tennyson has chosen the story of the "Lady of Shalott" for the
subject of a poem. The catastrophe is told thus:

      "Under tower and balcony,
      By garden-wall and gallery,
      A gleaming shape she floated by,
      A corse between the houses high,
          Silent into Camelot.
      Out upon the wharfs they came,
      Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
      And round the prow they read her name,
          'The Lady of Shalott'

      "Who is this? and what is here?
      And in the lighted palace near
      Died the sound of royal cheer;
      And they crossed themselves for fear,

      All the knights at Camelot.
      But Launcelot mused a little space;
      He said, 'She has a lovely face;
      God in his mercy lend her grace,
          The Lady of Shalott.'"



It happened at this time that Queen Guenever was thrown into great
peril of her life. A certain squire who was in her immediate
service, having some cause of animosity to Sir Gawain, determined
to destroy him by poison, at a public entertainment. For this
purpose he concealed the poison in an apple of fine appearance,
which he placed on the top of several others, and put the dish
before the queen, hoping that, as Sir Gawain was the knight of
greatest dignity, she would present the apple to him. But it
happened that a Scottish knight of high distinction, who arrived
on that day, was seated next to the queen, and to him as a
stranger she presented the apple, which he had no sooner eaten
than he was seized with dreadful pain, and fell senseless. The
whole court was, of course, thrown into confusion; the knights
rose from table, darting looks of indignation at the wretched
queen, whose tears and protestations were unable to remove their
suspicions. In spite of all that could be done the knight died,
and nothing remained but to order a magnificent funeral and
monument for him, which was done.

Some time after Sir Mador, brother of the murdered knight, arrived
at Arthur's court in quest of him. While hunting in the forest he
by chance came to the spot where the monument was erected, read
the inscription, and returned to court determined on immediate and
signal vengeance. He rode into the hall, loudly accused the queen
of treason, and insisted on her being given up for punishment,
unless she should find by a certain day a knight hardy enough to
risk his life in support of her innocence. Arthur, powerful as he
was, did not dare to deny the appeal, but was compelled with a
heavy heart to accept it, and Mador sternly took his departure,
leaving the royal couple plunged in terror and anxiety.

During all this time Launcelot was absent, and no one knew where
he was. He fled in anger from his fair mistress, upon being
reproached by her with his passion for the Lady of Shalott, which
she had hastily inferred from his wearing her scarf at the
tournament. He took up his abode with a hermit in the forest, and
resolved to think no more of the cruel beauty, whose conduct he
thought must flow from a wish to get rid of him. Yet calm
reflection had somewhat cooled his indignation, and he had begun
to wish, though hardly able to hope, for a reconciliation when the
news of Sir Mador's challenge fortunately reached his ears. The
intelligence revived his spirits, and he began to prepare with the
utmost cheerfulness for a contest which, if successful, would
insure him at once the affection of his mistress and the gratitude
of his sovereign.

The sad fate of the Lady of Shalott had ere this completely
acquitted Launcelot in the queen's mind of all suspicion of his
fidelity, and she lamented most grievously her foolish quarrel
with him, which now, at her time of need, deprived her of her most
efficient champion.

As the day appointed by Sir Mador was fast approaching, it became
necessary that she should procure a champion for her defence; and
she successively adjured Sir Hector, Sir Lionel, Sir Bohort, and
Sir Gawain to undertake the battle. She fell on her knees before
them, called heaven to witness her innocence of the crime alleged
against her, but was sternly answered by all that they could not
fight to maintain the innocence of one whose act, and the fatal
consequence of it, they had seen with their own eyes. She retired,
therefore, dejected and disconsolate; but the sight of the fatal
pile on which, if guilty, she was doomed to be burned, exciting
her to fresh effort, she again repaired to Sir Bohort, threw
herself at his feet, and piteously calling on him for mercy, fell
into a swoon. The brave knight was not proof against this. He
raised her up, and hastily promised that he would undertake her
cause, if no other or better champion should present himself. He
then summoned his friends, and told them his resolution; and as a
mortal combat with Sir Mador was a most fearful enterprise, they
agreed to accompany him in the morning to the hermitage in the
forest, where he proposed to receive absolution from the hermit,
and to make his peace with Heaven before he entered the lists. As
they approached the hermitage, they espied a knight riding in the
forest, whom they at once recognized as Sir Launcelot. Overjoyed
at the meeting, they quickly, in answer to his questions,
confirmed the news of the queen's imminent danger, and received
his instructions to return to court, to comfort her as well as
they could, but to say nothing of his intention of undertaking her
defence, which he meant to do in the character of an unknown

On their return to the castle they found that mass was finished,
and had scarcely time to speak to the queen before they were
summoned into the hall to dinner. A general gloom was spread over
the countenances of all the guests. Arthur himself was unable to
conceal his dejection, and the wretched Guenever, motionless and
bathed in tears, sat in trembling expectation of Sir Mador's
appearance. Nor was it long ere he stalked into the hall, and with
a voice of thunder, rendered more impressive by the general
silence, demanded instant justice on the guilty party. Arthur
replied with dignity, that little of the day was yet spent, and
that perhaps a champion might yet be found capable of satisfying
his thirst for battle. Sir Bohort now rose from table, and shortly
returning in complete armor, resumed his place, after receiving
the embraces and thanks of the king, who now began to resume some
degree of confidence. Sir Mador, growing impatient, again repeated
his denunciations of vengeance, and insisted that the combat
should no longer be postponed.

In the height of the debate there came riding into the hall a
knight mounted on a black steed, and clad in black armor, with his
visor down, and lance in hand. "Sir," said the king, "is it your
will to alight and partake of our cheer?" "Nay, sir," he replied;
"I come to save a lady's life. The queen hath ill bestowed her
favors, and honored many a knight, that in her hour of need she
should have none to take her part. Thou that darest accuse her of
treachery, stand forth, for to-day shalt thou need all thy might."

Sir Mador, though surprised, was not appalled by the stern
challenge and formidable appearance of his antagonist, but
prepared for the encounter. At the first shock both were unhorsed.
They then drew their swords, and commenced a combat which lasted
from noon till evening, when Sir Mador, whose strength began to
fail, was felled to the ground by Launcelot, and compelled to sue
for mercy. The victor, whose arm was already raised to terminate
the life of his opponent, instantly dropped his sword, courteously
lifted up the fainting Sir Mador, frankly confessing that he had
never before encountered so formidable an enemy. The other, with
similar courtesy, solemnly renounced all further projects of
vengeance for his brother's death; and the two knights, now become
fast friends, embraced each other with the greatest cordiality. In
the meantime Arthur, having recognized Sir Launcelot, whose helmet
was now unlaced, rushed down into the lists, followed by all his
knights, to welcome and thank his deliverer. Guenever swooned with
joy, and the place of combat suddenly exhibited a scene of the
most tumultuous delight.

The general satisfaction was still further increased by the
discovery of the real culprit. Having accidentally incurred some
suspicion, he confessed his crime, and was publicly punished in
the presence of Sir Mador.

The court now returned to the castle, which, with the title of "La
Joyeuse Garde" bestowed upon it in memory of the happy event, was
conferred on Sir Launcelot by Arthur, as a memorial of his



Meliadus was king of Leonois, or Lionesse, a country famous in the
annals of romance, which adjoined the kingdom of Cornwall, but has
now disappeared from the map, having been, it is said, overwhelmed
by the ocean. Meliadus was married to Isabella, sister of Mark,
king of Cornwall. A fairy fell in love with him, and drew him away
by enchantment while he was engaged in hunting. His queen set out
in quest of him, but was taken ill on her journey, and died,
leaving an infant son, whom, from the melancholy circumstances of
his birth, she called Tristram.

Gouvernail, the queen's squire, who had accompanied her, took
charge of the child, and restored him to his father, who had at
length burst the enchantments of the fairy, and returned home.

Meliadus after seven years married again, and the new queen, being
jealous of the influence of Tristram with his father, laid plots
for his life, which were discovered by Gouvernail, who in
consequence fled with the boy to the court of the king of France,
where Tristram was kindly received, and grew up improving in every
gallant and knightly accomplishment, adding to his skill in arms
the arts of music and of chess. In particular, he devoted himself
to the chase and to all woodland sports, so that he became
distinguished above all other chevaliers of the court for his
knowledge of all that relates to hunting. No wonder that Belinda,
the king's daughter, fell in love with him; but as he did not
return her passion, she, in a sudden impulse of anger, excited her
father against him, and he was banished the kingdom. The princess
soon repented of her act, and in despair destroyed herself, having
first written a most tender letter to Tristram, sending him at the
same time a beautiful and sagacious dog, of which she was very
fond, desiring him to keep it as a memorial of her. Meliadus was
now dead, and as his queen, Tristram's stepmother, held the
throne, Gouvernail was afraid to carry his pupil to his native
country, and took him to Cornwall, to his uncle Mark, who gave him
a kind reception.

King Mark resided at the castle of Tintadel, already mentioned in
the history of Uther and Igerne. In this court Tristram became
distinguished in all the exercises incumbent on a knight; nor was
it long before he had an opportunity of practically employing his
valor and skill. Moraunt, a celebrated champion, brother to the
queen of Ireland, arrived at the court, to demand tribute of King
Mark. The knights of Cornwall are in ill repute in romance for
their cowardice, and they exhibited it on this occasion. King Mark
could find no champion who dared to encounter the Irish knight,
till his nephew Tristram, who had not yet received the honors of
knighthood, craved to be admitted to the order, offering at the
same time to fight the battle of Cornwall against the Irish
champion. King Mark assented with reluctance; Tristram received
the accolade, which conferred knighthood upon him, and the place
and time were assigned for the encounter.

Without attempting to give the details of this famous combat, the
first and one of the most glorious of Tristram's exploits, we
shall only say that the young knight, though severely wounded,
cleft the head of Moraunt, leaving a portion of his sword in the
wound. Moraunt, half dead with his wound and the disgrace of his
defeat, hastened to hide himself in his ship, sailed away with all
speed for Ireland, and died soon after arriving in his own

The kingdom of Cornwall was thus delivered from its tribute.
Tristram, weakened by loss of blood, fell senseless. His friends
flew to his assistance. They dressed his wounds, which in general
healed readily; but the lance of Moraunt was poisoned, and one
wound which it made yielded to no remedies, but grew worse day by
day. The surgeons could do no more. Tristram asked permission of
his uncle to depart, and seek for aid in the kingdom of Loegria
(England). With his consent he embarked, and after tossing for
many days on the sea, was driven by the winds to the coast of
Ireland. He landed, full of joy and gratitude that he had escaped
the peril of the sea; took his rote,[Footnote: A musical
instrument.] and began to play. It was a summer evening, and the
king of Ireland and his daughter, the beautiful Isoude, were at a
window which overlooked the sea. The strange harper was sent for,
and conveyed to the palace, where, finding that he was in Ireland,
whose champion he had lately slain, he concealed his name, and
called himself Tramtris. The queen undertook his cure, and by a
medicated bath gradually restored him to health. His skill in
music and in games occasioned his being frequently called to
court, and he became the instructor of the princess Isoude in
minstrelsy and poetry, who profited so well under his care, that
she soon had no equal in the kingdom, except her instructor.

At this time a tournament was held, at which many knights of the
Round Table, and others, were present. On the first day a Saracen
prince, named Palamedes, obtained the advantage over all. They
brought him to the court, and gave him a feast, at which Tristram,
just recovering from his wound, was present. The fair Isoude
appeared on this occasion in all her charms. Palamedes could not
behold them without emotion, and made no effort to conceal his
love. Tristram perceived it, and the pain he felt from jealousy
taught him how dear the fair Isoude had already become to him.

Next day the tournament was renewed. Tristram, still feeble from
his wound, rose during the night, took his arms, and concealed
them in a forest near the place of the contest, and, after it had
begun, mingled with the combatants. He overthrew all that
encountered him, in particular Palamedes, whom he brought to the
ground with a stroke of his lance, and then fought him hand to
hand, bearing off the prize of the tourney. But his exertions
caused his wound to reopen; he bled fast, and in this sad state,
yet in triumph, they bore him to the palace. The fair Isoude
devoted herself to his relief with an interest which grew more
vivid day by day; and her skilful care soon restored him to

It happened one day that a damsel of the court, entering the
closet where Tristram's arms were deposited, perceived that a part
of the sword had been broken off. It occurred to her that the
missing portion was like that which was left in the skull of
Moraunt, the Irish champion. She imparted her thought to the
queen, who compared the fragment taken from her brother's wound
with the sword of Tristram, and was satisfied that it was part of
the same, and that the weapon of Tristram was that which reft her
brother's life. She laid her griefs and resentment before the
king, who satisfied himself with his own eyes of the truth of her
suspicions. Tristram was cited before the whole court, and
reproached with having dared to present himself before them after
having slain their kinsman. He acknowledged that he had fought
with Moraunt to settle the claim for tribute, and said that it was
by force of winds and waves alone that he was thrown on their
coast. The queen demanded vengeance for the death of her brother;
the fair Isoude trembled and grew pale, but a murmur rose from all
the assembly that the life of one so handsome and so brave should
not be taken for such a cause, and generosity finally triumphed
over resentment in the mind of the king. Tristram was dismissed in
safety, but commanded to leave the kingdom without delay, and
never to return thither under pain of death Tristram went back,
with restored health, to Cornwall.

King Mark made his nephew give him a minute recital of his
adventures. Tristram told him all minutely; but when he came to
speak of the fair Isoude he described her charms with a warmth and
energy such as none but a lover could display. King Mark was
fascinated with the description, and, choosing a favorable time,
demanded a boon[Footnote: "Good faith was the very corner-stone of
chivalry. Whenever a knight's word was pledged (it mattered not
how rashly) it was to be redeemed at any price. Hence the sacred
obligation of the boon granted by a knight to his suppliant.
Instances without number occur in romance, in which a knight, by
rashly granting an indefinite boon, was obliged to do or suffer
something extremely to his prejudice. But it is not in romance
alone that we find such singular instances of adherence to an
indefinite promise. The history of the times presents authentic
transactions equally embarrassing and absurd"--SCOTT, note to Sir
Tristram.] of his nephew, who readily granted it. The king made
him swear upon the holy reliques that he would fulfil his
commands. Then Mark directed him to go to Ireland, and obtain for
him the fair Isoude to be queen of Cornwall.

Tristram believed it was certain death for him to return to
Ireland; and how could he act as ambassador for his uncle in such
a cause? Yet, bound by his oath, he hesitated not for an instant.
He only took the precaution to change his armor. He embarked for
Ireland; but a tempest drove him to the coast of England, near
Camelot, where King Arthur was holding his court, attended by the
knights of the Round Table, and many others, the most illustrious
in the world.

Tristram kept himself unknown. He took part in many justs; he
fought many combats, in which he covered himself with glory. One
day he saw among those recently arrived the king of Ireland,
father of the fair Isoude. This prince, accused of treason against
his liege sovereign, Arthur, came to Camelot to free himself from
the charge. Blaanor, one of the most redoubtable warriors of the
Round Table, was his accuser, and Argius, the king, had neither
youthful vigor nor strength to encounter him. He must therefore
seek a champion to sustain his innocence. But the knights of the
Round Table were not at liberty to fight against one another,
unless in a quarrel of their own. Argius heard of the great renown
of the unknown knight; he also was witness of his exploits. He
sought him, and conjured him to adopt his defence, and on his oath
declared that he was innocent of the crime of which he was
accused. Tristram readily consented, and made himself known to the
king, who on his part promised to reward his exertions, if
successful, with whatever gift he might ask.

Tristram fought with Blaanor, and overthrew him, and held his life
in his power. The fallen warrior called on him to use his right of
conquest, and strike the fatal blow. "God forbid," said Tristram,
"that I should take the life of so brave a knight!" He raised him
up and restored him to his friends. The judges of the field
decided that the king of Ireland was acquitted of the charge
against him, and they led Tristram in triumph to his tent. King
Argius, full of gratitude, conjured Tristram to accompany him to
his kingdom. They departed together, and arrived in Ireland; and
the queen, forgetting her resentment for her brother's death,
exhibited to the preserver of her husband's life nothing but
gratitude and good-will.

How happy a moment for Isoude, who knew that her father had
promised his deliverer whatever boon he might ask! But the unhappy
Tristram gazed on her with despair, at the thought of the cruel
oath which bound him. His magnanimous soul subdued the force of
his love. He revealed the oath which he had taken, and with
trembling voice demanded the fair Isoude for his uncle.

Argius consented, and soon all was prepared for the departure of
Isoude. Brengwain, her favorite maid of honor, was to accompany
her. On the day of departure the queen took aside this devoted
attendant, and told her that she had observed that her daughter
and Tristram were attached to one another, and that to avert the
bad effects of this inclination she had procured from a powerful
fairy a potent philter (love-draught), which she directed
Brengwain to administer to Isoude and to King Mark on the evening
of their marriage.

Isoude and Tristram embarked together. A favorable wind filled the
sails, and promised them a fortunate voyage. The lovers gazed upon
one another, and could not repress their sighs. Love seemed to
light up all his fires on their lips, as in their hearts. The day
was warm; they suffered from thirst. Isoude first complained.
Tristram descried the bottle containing the love-draught, which
Brengwain had been so imprudent as to leave in sight. He took it,
gave some of it to the charming Isoude, and drank the remainder
himself. The dog Houdain licked the cup. The ship arrived in
Cornwall, and Isoude was married to King Mark, The old monarch was
delighted with his bride, and his gratitude to Tristram was
unbounded. He loaded him with honors, and made him chamberlain of
his palace, thus giving him access to the queen at all times.

In the midst of the festivities of the court which followed the
royal marriage, an unknown minstrel one day presented himself,
bearing a harp of peculiar construction. He excited the curiosity
of King Mark by refusing to play upon it till he should grant him
a boon. The king having promised to grant his request, the
minstrel, who was none other than the Saracen knight, Sir
Palamedes, the lover of the fair Isoude, sung to the harp a lay,
in which he demanded Isoude as the promised gift. King Mark could
not by the laws of knighthood withhold the boon. The lady was
mounted on her horse, and led away by her triumphant lover.
Tristram, it is needless to say, was absent at the time, and did
not return until their departure. When he heard what had taken
place he seized his rote, and hastened to the shore, where Isoude
and her new master had already embarked. Tristram played upon his
rote, and the sound reached the ears of Isoude, who became so
deeply affected, that Sir Palamedes was induced to return with her
to land, that they might see the unknown musician. Tristram
watched his opportunity, seized the lady's horse by the bridle,
and plunged with her into the forest, tauntingly informing his
rival that "what he had got by the harp he had lost by the rote."
Palamedes pursued, and a combat was about to commence, the result
of which must have been fatal to one or other of these gallant
knights; but Isoude stepped between them, and, addressing
Palamedes, said, "You tell me that you love me; you will not then
deny me the request I am about to make?" "Lady," he replied, "I
will perform your bidding." "Leave, then," said she, "this
contest, and repair to King Arthur's court, and salute Queen
Guenever from me; tell her that there are in the world but two
ladies, herself and I, and two lovers, hers and mine; and come
thou not in future in any place where I am." Palamedes burst into
tears. "Ah, lady," said he, "I will obey you; but I beseech you
that you will not for ever steel your heart against me."
"Palamedes," she replied, "may I never taste of joy again if I
ever quit my first love." Palamedes then went his way. The lovers
remained a week in concealment, after which Tristram restored
Isoude to her husband, advising him in future to reward minstrels
in some other way.

The king showed much gratitude to Tristram, but in the bottom of
his heart he cherished bitter jealousy of him. One day Tristram
and Isoude were alone together in her private chamber. A base and
cowardly knight of the court, named Andret, spied them through a
keyhole. They sat at a table of chess, but were not attending to
the game. Andret brought the king, having first raised his
suspicions, and placed him so as to watch their motions. The king
saw enough to confirm his suspicions, and he burst into the
apartment with his sword drawn, and had nearly slain Tristram
before he was put on his guard. But Tristram avoided the blow,
drew his sword, and drove before him the cowardly monarch, chasing
him through all the apartments of the palace, giving him frequent
blows with the flat of his sword, while he cried in vain to his
knights to save him. They were not inclined, or did not dare, to
interpose in his behalf.

A proof of the great popularity of the tale of Sir Tristram is the
fact that the Italian poets, Boiardo and Ariosto, have founded
upon it the idea of the two enchanted fountains, which produced
the opposite effects of love and hatred. Boiardo thus describes
the fountain of hatred:

   "Fair was that fountain, sculptured all of gold,
    With alabaster sculptured, rich and rare;
    And in its basin clear thou might'st behold
    The flowery marge reflected fresh and fair.
    Sage Merlin framed the font,--so legends bear,--
    When on fair Isoude doated Tristram brave,
    That the good errant knight, arriving there,
    Might quaff oblivion in the enchanted wave,
  And leave his luckless love, and 'scape his timeless grave.

   'But ne'er the warrior's evil fate allowed
    His steps that fountain's charmed verge to gain.
    Though restless, roving on adventure proud,
    He traversed oft the land and oft the main."



After this affair Tristram was banished from the kingdom, and
Isoude shut up in a tower, which stood on the bank of a river.
Tristram could not resolve to depart without some further
communication with his beloved; so he concealed himself in the
forest, till at last he contrived to attract her attention, by
means of twigs which he curiously peeled, and sent down the stream
under her window. By this means many secret interviews were
obtained. Tristram dwelt in the forest, sustaining himself by
game, which the dog Houdain ran down for him; for this faithful
animal was unequalled in the chase, and knew so well his master's
wish for concealment, that, in the pursuit of his game, he never
barked. At length Tristram departed, but left Houdain with Isoude,
as a remembrancer of him.

Sir Tristram wandered through various countries, achieving the
most perilous enterprises, and covering himself with glory, yet
unhappy at the separation from his beloved Isoude. At length King
Mark's territory was invaded by a neighboring chieftain, and he
was forced to summon his nephew to his aid. Tristram obeyed the
call, put himself at the head of his uncle's vassals, and drove
the enemy out of the country. Mark was full of gratitude, and
Tristram, restored to favor and to the society of his beloved
Isoude, seemed at the summit of happiness. But a sad reverse was
at hand.

Tristram had brought with him a friend named Pheredin, son of the
king of Brittany. This young knight saw Queen Isoude, and could
not resist her charms. Knowing the love of his friend for the
queen, and that that love was returned, Pheredin concealed his
own, until his health failed, and he feared he was drawing near
his end. He then wrote to the beautiful queen that he was dying
for love of her.

The gentle Isoude, in a moment of pity for the friend of Tristram,
returned him an answer so kind and compassionate that it restored
him to life. A few days afterwards Tristram found this letter. The
most terrible jealousy took possession of his soul; he would have
slain Pheredin, who with difficulty made his escape. Then Tristram
mounted his horse, and rode to the forest, where for ten days he
took no rest nor food. At length he was found by a damsel lying
almost dead by the brink of a fountain. She recognized him, and
tried in vain to rouse his attention. At last recollecting his
love for music she went and got her harp, and played thereon.
Tristram was roused from his reverie; tears flowed; he breathed
more freely; he took the harp from the maiden, and sung this lay,
with a voice broken with sobs:

    "Sweet I sang in former days,
     Kind love perfected my lays:
     Now my art alone displays
     The woe that on my being preys.

    "Charming love, delicious power,
     Worshipped from my earliest hour,
     Thou who life on all dost shower,
     Love! my life thou dost devour.

    "In death's hour I beg of thee,
     Isoude, dearest enemy,
     Thou who erst couldst kinder be,
     When I'm gone, forget not me.

    "On my gravestone passers-by
     Oft will read, as low I lie,
     'Never wight in love could vie
     With Tristram, yet she let him die.'"

Tristram, having finished his lay, wrote it off and gave it to the
damsel, conjuring her to present it to the queen.

Meanwhile Queen Isoude was inconsolable at the absence of
Tristram. She discovered that it was caused by the fatal letter
which she had written to Pheredin. Innocent, but in despair at the
sad effects of her letter, she wrote another to Pheredin, charging
him never to see her again. The unhappy lover obeyed this cruel
decree. He plunged into the forest, and died of grief and love in
a hermit's cell.

Isoude passed her days in lamenting the absence and unknown fate
of Tristram. One day her jealous husband, having entered her
chamber unperceived, overheard her singing the following lay:

    "My voice to piteous wail is bent,
     My harp to notes of languishment;
     Ah, love! delightsome days be meant
     For happier wights, with hearts content.

    "Ah, Tristram' far away from me,
     Art thou from restless anguish free?
     Ah! couldst thou so one moment be,
     From her who so much loveth thee?"

The king hearing these words burst forth in a rage; but Isoude was
too wretched to fear his violence. "You have heard me," she said;
"I confess it all. I love Tristram, and always shall love him.
Without doubt he is dead, and died for me. I no longer wish to
live. The blow that shall finish my misery will be most welcome."

The king was moved at the distress of the fair Isoude, and perhaps
the idea of Tristram's death tended to allay his wrath. He left
the queen in charge of her women, commanding them to take especial
care lest her despair should lead her to do harm to herself.

Tristram meanwhile, distracted as he was, rendered a most
important service to the shepherds by slaying a gigantic robber
named Taullas, who was in the habit of plundering their flocks and
rifling their cottages. The shepherds, in their gratitude to
Tristram, bore him in triumph to King Mark to have him bestow on
him a suitable reward. No wonder Mark failed to recognize in the
half-clad, wild man, before him his nephew Tristram; but grateful
for the service the unknown had rendered he ordered him to be well
taken care of, and gave him in charge to the queen and her women.
Under such care Tristram rapidly recovered his serenity and his
health, so that the romancer tells us he became handsomer than
ever. King Mark's jealousy revived with Tristram's health and good
looks, and, in spite of his debt of gratitude so lately increased,
he again banished him from the court.

Sir Tristram left Cornwall, and proceeded into the land of Loegria
(England) in quest of adventures. One day he entered a wide
forest. The sound of a little bell showed him that some inhabitant
was near. He followed the sound, and found a hermit, who informed
him that he was in the forest of Arnantes, belonging to the fairy
Viviane, the Lady of the Lake, who, smitten with love for King
Arthur, had found means to entice him to this forest, where by
enchantments she held him a prisoner, having deprived him of all
memory of who and what he was. The hermit informed him that all
the knights of the Round Table were out in search of the king, and
that he (Tristram) was now in the scene of the most grand and
important adventures.

This was enough to animate Tristram in the search. He had not
wandered far before he encountered a knight of Arthur's court, who
proved to be Sir Kay the Seneschal, who demanded of him whence he
came. Tristram answering, "From Cornwall," Sir Kay did not let
slip the opportunity of a joke at the expense of the Cornish
knight. Tristram chose to leave him in his error, and even
confirmed him in it; for meeting some other knights Tristram
declined to just with them. They spent the night together at an
abbey, where Tristram submitted patiently to all their jokes. The
Seneschal gave the word to his companions that they should set out
early next day, and intercept the Cornish knight on his way, and
enjoy the amusement of seeing his fright when they should insist
on running a tilt with him. Tristram next morning found himself
alone; he put on his armor, and set out to continue his quest. He
soon saw before him the Seneschal and the three knights, who
barred the way, and insisted on a just. Tristram excused himself a
long time; at last he reluctantly took his stand. He encountered
them, one after the other, and overthrew them all four, man and
horse, and then rode off, bidding them not to forget their friend
the knight of Cornwall.

Tristram had not ridden far when he met a damsel, who cried out,
"Ah, my lord! hasten forward, and prevent a horrid treason!"
Tristram flew to her assistance, and soon reached a spot where he
beheld a knight, whom three others had borne to the ground, and
were unlacing his helmet in order to cut off his head.

Tristram flew to the rescue, and slew with one stroke of his lance
one of the assailants. The knight, recovering his feet, sacrificed
another to his vengeance, and the third made his escape. The
rescued knight then raised the visor of his helmet, and a long
white beard fell down upon his breast. The majesty and venerable
air of this knight made Tristram suspect that it was none other
than Arthur himself, and the prince confirmed his conjecture.
Tristram would have knelt before him, but Arthur received him in
his arms, and inquired his name and country; but Tristram declined
to disclose them, on the plea that he was now on a quest requiring
secrecy. At this moment the damsel who had brought Tristram to the
rescue darted forward, and, seizing the king's hand, drew from his
finger a ring, the gift of the fairy, and by that act dissolved
the enchantment. Arthur, having recovered his reason and his
memory, offered to Tristram to attach him to his court, and to
confer honors and dignities upon him; but Tristram declined all,
and only consented to accompany him till he should see him safe in
the hands of his knights. Soon after, Hector de Marys rode up, and
saluted the king, who on his part introduced him to Tristram as
one of the bravest of his knights. Tristram took leave of the king
and his faithful follower, and continued his quest.

We cannot follow Tristram through all the adventures which filled
this epoch of his history. Suffice it to say, he fulfilled on all
occasions the duty of a true knight, rescuing the oppressed,
redressing wrongs, abolishing evil customs, and suppressing
injustice, thus by constant action endeavoring to lighten the
pains of absence from her he loved. In the meantime Isoude,
separated from her dear Tristram, passed her days in languor and
regret. At length she could no longer resist the desire to hear
some news of her lover. She wrote a letter, and sent it by one of
her damsels, niece of her faithful Brengwain. One day Tristram,
weary with his exertions, had dismounted and laid himself down by
the side of a fountain and fallen asleep. The damsel of Queen
Isoude arrived at the same fountain, and recognized Passebreul,
the horse of Tristram, and presently perceived his master asleep.
He was thin and pale, showing evident marks of the pain he
suffered in separation from his beloved. She awakened him, and
gave him the letter which she bore, and Tristram enjoyed the
pleasure, so sweet to a lover, of hearing from and talking about
the object of his affections. He prayed the damsel to postpone her
return till after the magnificent tournament which Arthur had
proclaimed should have taken place, and conducted her to the
castle of Persides, a brave and loyal knight, who received her
with great consideration.

Tristram conducted the damsel of Queen Isoude to the tournament,
and had her placed in the balcony among the ladies of the queen.

    "He glanced and saw the stately galleries,
    Dame, damsel, each through worship of their Queen
    White-robed in honor of the stainless child,
    And some with scatter'd jewels, like a bank
    Of maiden snow mingled with sparks of fire.
    He looked but once, and veiled his eyes again."

    --The Last Tournament.

He then joined the tourney. Nothing could exceed his strength and
valor. Launcelot admired him, and by a secret presentiment
declined to dispute the honor of the day with a knight so gallant
and so skilful. Arthur descended from the balcony to greet the
conqueror; but the modest and devoted Tristram, content with
having borne off the prize in the sight of the messenger of
Isoude, made his escape with her, and disappeared.

The next day the tourney recommenced. Tristram assumed different
armor, that he might not be known; but he was soon detected by the
terrible blows that he gave, Arthur and Guenever had no doubt that
it was the same knight who had borne off the prize of the day
before. Arthur's gallant spirit was roused. After Launcelot of the
Lake and Sir Gawain he was accounted the best knight of the Round
Table. He went privately and armed himself, and came into the
tourney in undistinguished armor. He ran a just with Tristram,
whom he shook in his seat; but Tristram, who did not know him,
threw him out of the saddle. Arthur recovered himself, and content
with having made proof of the stranger knight bade Launcelot
finish the adventure, and vindicate the honor of the Round Table.
Sir Launcelot, at the bidding of the monarch, assailed Tristram,
whose lance was already broken in former encounters. But the law
of this sort of combat was that the knight after having broken his
lance must fight with his sword, and must not refuse to meet with
his shield the lance of his antagonist. Tristram met Launcelot's
charge upon his shield, which that terrible lance could not fail
to pierce. It inflicted a wound upon Tristram's side, and,
breaking, left the iron in the wound. But Tristram also with his
sword smote so vigorously on Launcelot's casque that he cleft it,
and wounded his head. The wound was not deep, but the blood flowed
into his eyes, and blinded him for a moment, and Tristram, who
thought himself mortally wounded, retired from the field.
Launcelot declared to the king that he had never received such a
blow in his life before.

Tristram hastened to Gouvernail, his squire, who drew forth the
iron, bound up the wound, and gave him immediate ease. Tristram
after the tournament kept retired in his tent, but Arthur, with
the consent of all the knights of the Round Table, decreed him the
honors of the second day. But it was no longer a secret that the
victor of the two days was the same individual, and Gouvernail,
being questioned, confirmed the suspicions of Launcelot and Arthur
that it was no other than Sir Tristram of Leonais, the nephew of
the king of Cornwall.

King Arthur, who desired to reward his distinguished valor, and
knew that his Uncle Mark had ungratefully banished him, would have
eagerly availed himself of the opportunity to attach Tristram to
his court,--all the knights of the Round Table declaring with
acclamation that it would be impossible to find a more worthy
companion. But Tristram had already departed in search of
adventures, and the damsel of Queen Isoude returned to her



Sir Tristram rode through a forest and saw ten men fighting, and
one man did battle against nine. So he rode to the knights and
cried to them, bidding them cease their battle, for they did
themselves great shame, so many knights to fight against one. Then
answered the master of the knights (his name was Sir Breuse sans
Pitie, who was at that time the most villanous knight living):
"Sir knight, what have ye to do to meddle with us? If ye be wise
depart on your way as you came, for this knight shall not escape
us." "That were pity," said Sir Tristram, "that so good a knight
should be slain so cowardly; therefore I warn you I will succor
him with all my puissance."

Then Sir Tristram alighted off his horse, because they were on
foot, that they should not slay his horse. And he smote on the
right hand and on the left so vigorously that well-nigh at every
stroke he struck down a knight. At last they fled, with Breuse
sans Pitie, into the tower, and shut Sir Tristram without the
gate. Then Sir Tristram returned back to the rescued knight, and
found him sitting under a tree, sore wounded. "Fair knight," said
he, "how is it with you?" "Sir knight," said Sir Palamedes, for he
it was, "I thank you of your great goodness, for ye have rescued
me from death." "What is your name?" said Sir Tristram. He said,
"My name is Sir Palamedes." "Say ye so?" said Sir Tristram; "now
know that thou art the man in the world that I most hate;
therefore make thee ready, for I will do battle with thee." "What
is your name?" said Sir Palamedes. "My name is Sir Tristram, your
mortal enemy." "It may be so," said Sir Palamedes; "but you have
done overmuch for me this day, that I should fight with you.
Moreover, it will be no honor for you to have to do with me, for
you are fresh and I am wounded. Therefore, if you will needs have
to do with me, assign me a day, and I shall meet you without
fail." "You say well, "said Sir Tristram; "now I assign you to
meet me in the meadow by the river of Camelot, where Merlin set
the monument." So they were agreed. Then they departed and took
their ways diverse. Sir Tristram passed through a great forest
into a plain, till he came to a priory, and there he reposed him
with a good man six days.

Then departed Sir Tristram, and rode straight into Camelot to the
monument of Merlin, and there he looked about him for Sir
Palamedes. And he perceived a seemly knight, who came riding
against him all in white, with a covered shield. When he came nigh
Sir Tristram said aloud, "Welcome, sir knight, and well and truly
have you kept your promise." Then they made ready their shields
and spears, and came together with all the might of their horses,
so fiercely, that both the horses and the knights fell to the
earth. And as soon as they might they quitted their horses, and
struck together with bright swords as men of might, and each
wounded the other wonderfully sore, so that the blood ran out upon
the grass. Thus they fought for the space of four hours and never
one would speak to the other one word. Then at last spake the
white knight, and said, "Sir, thou fightest wonderful well, as
ever I saw knight; therefore, if it please you, tell me your
name." "Why dost thou ask my name?" said Sir Tristram; "art thou
not Sir Palamedes?" "No, fair knight," said he, "I am Sir
Launcelot of the Lake." "Alas!" said Sir Tristram, "what have I
done? for you are the man of the world that I love best." "Fair
knight," said Sir Launcelot, "tell me your name." "Truly," said
he, "my name is Sir Tristram de Lionesse." "Alas! alas!" said Sir
Launcelot, "what adventure has befallen me!" And therewith Sir
Launcelot kneeled down and yielded him up his sword; and Sir
Tristram kneeled down and yielded him up his sword; and so either
gave other the degree. And then they both went to the stone, and
sat them down upon it and took off their helms and each kissed the
other a hundred times. And then anon they rode toward Camelot, and
on the way they met with Sir Gawain and Sir Gaheris, that had made
promise to Arthur never to come again to the court till they had
brought Sir Tristram with them.

"Return again," said Sir Launcelot, "for your quest is done; for I
have met with Sir Tristram. Lo, here he is in his own person."
Then was Sir Gawain glad, and said to Sir Tristram, "Ye are
welcome." With this came King Arthur, and when he wist there was
Sir Tristram, 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." Then Sir Tristram told the king how he came thither
for to have had to do with Sir Palamedes, and how he had rescued
him from Sir Breuse sans Pitie and the nine knights. Then King
Arthur took Sir Tristram by the hand, and went to the Table Round,
and Queen Guenever came, and many ladies with her, and all the
ladies said with one voice, "Welcome, Sir Tristram." "Welcome,"
said the knights. "Welcome," said Arthur, "for one of the best of
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 inventor, and of all
instruments of music ye are the best skilled; therefore, gentle
knight," said Arthur, "ye are welcome to this court." And then
King Arthur made Sir Tristram knight of the Table Round with great
nobley and feasting as can be thought.


Tristram is often alluded to by the Romancers as the great
authority and model in all matters relating to the chase. In the
"Faery Queene," Tristram, in answer to the inquiries of Sir
Calidore, informs him of his name and parentage, and concludes:

    "All which my days I have not lewdly spent,
    Nor spilt the blossom of my tender years
    In idlesse; but, as was convenient,
    Have trained been with many noble feres
    In gentle thewes, and such like seemly leers;
    'Mongst which my most delight hath always been
    To hunt the salvage chace, amongst my peers,
    Of all that rangeth in the forest green,
    Of which none is to me unknown that yet was seen.

    "Ne is there hawk which mantleth on her perch,
    Whether high towering or accosting low,
    But I the measure of her flight do search,
    And all her prey, and all her diet know.
    Such be our joys, which in these forests grow."

[Footnote: Feres, companions; thewes, labors; leers, learning.]



The famous enchanter, Merlin, had exerted all his skill in
fabricating the Round Table. Of the seats which surrounded it he
had constructed thirteen, in memory of the thirteen Apostles.
Twelve of these seats only could be occupied, and they only by
knights of the highest fame; the thirteenth represented the seat
of the traitor Judas. It remained always empty. It was called the
PERILOUS SEAT, ever since a rash and haughty Saracen knight had
dared to place himself in it, when the earth opened and swallowed
him up.

    "In our great hall there stood a vacant chair,
    Fashion'd by Merlin ere he past away,
    And carven with strange figures; and in and out
    The figures, like a serpent, ran a scroll
    Of letters in a tongue no man could read
    And Merlin call'd it 'The Siege perilous,'
    Perilous for good and ill; 'for there,' he said,
    'No man could sit but he should lose himself.'"

    --The Holy Grail.

A magic power wrote upon each seat the name of the knight who was
entitled to sit in it. No one could succeed to a vacant seat
unless he surpassed in valor and glorious deeds the knight who had
occupied it before him; without this qualification he would be
violently repelled by a hidden force. Thus proof was made of all
those who presented themselves to replace any companions of the
order who had fallen.

One of the principal seats, that of Moraunt of Ireland, had been
vacant ten years, and his name still remained over it ever since
the time when that distinguished champion fell beneath the sword
of Sir Tristram. Arthur now took Tristram by the hand and led him
to that seat. Immediately the most melodious sounds were heard,
and exquisite perfumes filled the place; the name of Moraunt
disappeared, and that of Tristram blazed forth in light. The rare
modesty of Tristram had now to be subjected to a severe task; for
the clerks charged with the duty of preserving the annals of the
Round Table attended, and he was required by the law of his order
to declare what feats of arms he had accomplished to entitle him
to take that seat. This ceremony being ended, Tristram received
the congratulations of all his companions. Sir Launcelot and
Guenever took the occasion to speak to him of the fair Isoude, and
to express their wish that some happy chance might bring her to
the kingdom of Loegria.

While Tristram was thus honored and caressed at the court of King
Arthur, the most gloomy and malignant jealousy harassed the soul
of Mark. He could not look upon Isoude without remembering that
she loved Tristram, and the good fortune of his nephew goaded him
to thoughts of vengeance. He at last resolved to go disguised into
the kingdom of Loegria, attack Tristram by stealth, and put him to
death. He took with him two knights, brought up in his court, who
he thought were devoted to him; and, not willing to leave Isoude
behind, named two of her maidens to attend her, together with her
faithful Brengwain, and made them accompany him.

Having arrived in the neighborhood of Camelot, Mark imparted his
plan to his two knights, but they rejected it with horror; nay,
more, they declared that they would no longer remain in his
service; and left him, giving him reason to suppose that they
should repair to the court to accuse him before Arthur. It was
necessary for Mark to meet and rebut their accusation; so, leaving
Isoude in an abbey, he pursued his way alone to Camelot.

Mark had not ridden far when he encountered a party of knights of
Arthur's court, and would have avoided them, for he knew their
habit of challenging to a just every stranger knight whom they
met. But it was too late. They had seen his armor, and recognized
him as a Cornish knight, and at once resolved to have some sport
with him. It happened they had with them Daguenet, King Arthur's
fool, who, though deformed and weak of body, was not wanting in
courage. The knights as Mark approached laid their plan that
Daguenet should personate Sir Launcelot of the Lake, and challenge
the Cornish knight. They equipped him in armor belonging to one of
their number who was ill, and sent him forward to the cross-road
to defy the strange knight. Mark, who saw that his antagonist was
by no means formidable in appearance, was not disinclined to the
combat; but when the dwarf rode towards him, calling out that he
was Sir Launcelot of the Lake, his fears prevailed, he put spurs
to his horse, and rode away at full speed, pursued by the shouts
and laughter of the party.

Meanwhile Isoude, remaining at the abbey with her faithful
Brengwain, found her only amusement in walking occasionally in a
forest adjoining the abbey. There, on the brink of a fountain
girdled with trees, she thought of her love, and sometimes joined
her voice and her harp in lays reviving the memory of its pains or
pleasures. One day the caitiff knight, Breuse the Pitiless, heard
her voice, concealed himself, and drew near. She sang:

    "Sweet silence, shadowy bower, and verdant lair,
       Ye court my troubled spirit to repose,
     Whilst I, such dear remembrance rises there,
       Awaken every echo with my woes

    "Within these woods, by nature's hand arrayed,
       A fountain springs, and feeds a thousand flowers;
    Ah! how my groans do all its murmurs aid!
       How my sad eyes do swell it with their showers!

    "What doth my knight the while? to him is given
       A double meed; in love and arms' emprise,
    Him the Round Table elevates to heaven!
       Tristram! ah me! he hears not Isoude's cries."

Breuse the Pitiless, who like most other caitiffs had felt the
weight of Tristram's arm, and hated him accordingly, at hearing
his name breathed forth by the beautiful songstress, impelled by a
double impulse, rushed forth from his concealment and laid hands
on his victim. Isoude fainted, and Brengwain filled the air with
her shrieks. Breuse carried Isoude to the place where he had left
his horse; but the animal had got away from his bridle, and was at
some distance. He was obliged to lay down his fair burden, and go
in pursuit of his horse. Just then a knight came up, drawn by the
cries of Brengwain, and demanded the cause of her distress. She
could not speak, but pointed to her mistress lying insensible on
the ground.

Breuse had by this time returned, and the cries of Brengwain,
renewed at seeing him, sufficiently showed the stranger the cause
of the distress. Tristram spurred his horse towards Breuse, who,
not unprepared, ran to the encounter. Breuse was unhorsed, and lay
motionless, pretending to be dead; but when the stranger knight
left him to attend to the distressed damsels, he mounted his
horse, and made his escape.

The knight now approached Isoude, gently raised her head, drew
aside the golden hair which covered her countenance, gazed thereon
for an instant, uttered a cry, and fell back insensible. Brengwain
came; her cares soon restored her mistress to life, and they then
turned their attention to the fallen warrior. They raised his
visor, and discovered the countenance of Sir Tristram. Isoude
threw herself on the body of her lover, and bedewed his face with
her tears. Their warmth revived the knight, and Tristram on
awaking found himself in the arms of his dear Isoude.

It was the law of the Round Table that each knight after his
admission should pass the next ten days in quest of adventures,
during which time his companions might meet him in disguised armor
and try their strength with him. Tristram had now been out seven
days, and in that time had encountered many of the best knights of
the Round Table, and acquitted himself with honor. During the
remaining three days, Isoude remained at the abbey, under his
protection, and then set out with her maidens, escorted by Sir
Tristram, to rejoin King Mark at the court of Camelot.

This happy journey was one of the brightest epochs in the lives of
Tristram and Isoude. He celebrated it by a lay upon the harp in a
peculiar measure, to which the French give the name of Triolet.

    "With fair Isoude, and with love,
     Ah! how sweet the life I lead!
     How blest for ever thus to rove,
     With fair Isoude, and with love!
     As she wills, I live and move,
     And cloudless days to days succeed:
     With fair Isoude, and with love,
     Ah! how sweet the life I lead!

    "Journeying on from break of day,
     Feel you not fatigued, my fair?
     Yon green turf invites to play;
     Journeying on from day to day,
     Ah! let us to that shade away,
     Were it but to slumber there!
     Journeying on from break of day,
     Feel you not fatigued, my fair?"

They arrived at Camelot, where Sir Launcelot received them most
cordially. Isoude was introduced to King Arthur and Queen
Guenever, who welcomed her as a sister. As King Mark was held in
arrest under the accusation of the two Cornish knights, Queen
Isoude could not rejoin her husband, and Sir Launcelot placed his
castle of La Joyeuse Garde at the disposal of his friends, who
there took up their abode.

King Mark, who found himself obliged to confess the truth of the
charge against him, or to clear himself by combat with his
accusers, preferred the former, and King Arthur, as his crime had
not been perpetrated, remitted the penalty, only enjoining upon
him, under pain of his signal displeasure, to lay aside all
thoughts of vengeance against his nephew. In the presence of the
king and his court all parties were formally reconciled; Mark and
his queen departed for their home, and Tristram remained at
Arthur's court.



While Sir Tristram and the fair Isoude abode yet at La Joyeuse
Garde, Sir Tristram rode forth one day, without armor, having no
weapon but his spear and his sword. And as he rode he came to a
place where he saw two knights in battle, and one of them had
gotten the better and the other lay overthrown. The knight who had
the better was Sir Palamedes. When Sir Palamedes knew Sir
Tristram, he cried out, "Sir Tristram, now we be met, and ere we
depart we will redress our old wrongs." "As for that," said Sir
Tristram, "there never yet was Christian man that might make his
boast that I ever fled from him, and thou that art a Saracen shalt
never say that of me." And therewith Sir Tristram made his horse
to run, and with all his might came straight upon Sir Palamedes,
and broke his spear upon him. Then he drew his sword and struck at
Sir Palamedes six great strokes, upon his helm. Sir Palamedes saw
that Sir Tristram had not his armor on, and he marvelled at his
rashness and his great folly; and said to himself, "If I meet and
slay him, I am shamed wheresoever I go." Then Sir Tristram cried
out and said, "Thou coward knight, why wilt thou not do battle
with me? for have thou no doubt I shall endure all thy malice."
"Ah, Sir Tristram!" said Sir Palamedes, "thou knowest I may not
fight with thee for shame; for thou art here naked, and I am
armed; now I require that thou answer me a question that I shall
ask you." "Tell me what it is," said Sir Tristram. "I put the
case," said Palamedes, "that you were well armed, 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
Palamedes; and, as God bless me, what I shall say shall not be
said for fear that I have of thee. But if it were so, thou
shouldest depart from me, for I would not have to do with thee."
"No more will I with thee," said Sir Palamedes, "and therefore
ride forth on thy way." "As for that, I may choose," said Sir
Tristram, "either to ride or to abide. But, Sir Palamedes, I
marvel at one thing,--that thou art so good a knight, yet that
thou wilt not be christened." "As for that," said Sir Palamedes,
"I may not yet be christened, for a vow which I made many years
ago; yet in my heart I believe in our Saviour and his mild mother,
Mary; but I have yet one battle to do, and when that is done I
will be christened, with a good will." "By my head," said Sir
Tristram, "as for that one battle, thou shalt seek it no longer;
for yonder is a knight, whom you have smitten down. Now help me to
be clothed in his armor, and I will soon fulfil thy vow." "As ye
will," said Sir Palamedes, "so shall it be." So they rode both
unto that knight that sat on a bank; and Sir Tristram saluted him,
and he full weary saluted him again. "Sir," said Sir Tristram, "I
pray you to lend me your whole armor; for I am unarmed, and I must
do battle with this knight." "Sir," said the hurt knight, "you
shall have it, with a right good will," Then Sir Tristram unarmed
Sir Galleron, for that was the name of the hurt knight, and he as
well as he could helped to arm Sir Tristram. Then Sir Tristram
mounted upon his own horse, and in his hand he took Sir Galleron's
spear. Thereupon Sir Palamedes was ready, and so they came hurling
together, and each smote the other in the midst of their shields.
Sir Palamedes' spear broke, and Sir Tristram smote down the horse.
Then Sir Palamedes leapt from his horse, and drew out his sword.
That saw Sir Tristram, and therewith he alighted and tied his
horse to a tree. Then they came together as two wild beasts,
lashing the one on the other, and so fought more than two hours;
and often Sir Tristram smote such strokes at Sir Palamedes that he
made him to kneel, and Sir Palamedes broke away Sir Tristram's
shield, and wounded him. Then Sir Tristram was wroth out of
measure, and he rushed to Sir Palamedes and wounded him passing
sore through the shoulder, and by fortune smote Sir Palamedes'
sword out of his hand And if Sir Palamedes had stooped for his
sword Sir Tristram had slain him. Then Sir Palamedes stood and
beheld his sword with a full sorrowful heart. "Now," said Sir
Tristram, "I have thee at a vantage, as thou hadst me to-day; but
it shall never be said, in court, or among good knights, that Sir
Tristram did slay any knight that was weaponless; therefore take
thou thy sword, and let us fight this battle to the end." Then
spoke Sir Palamedes to Sir Tristram: "I have no wish to fight this
battle any more. The offence that I have done unto you is not so
great but that, if it please you, we may be friends. All that I
have offended is for the love of the queen, La Belle Isoude, and I
dare maintain that she is peerless among ladies; and for that
offence ye have given me many grievous and sad strokes, and some I
have given you again. Wherefore I require you, my lord Sir
Tristram, forgive me all that I have offended you, and this day
have me unto the next church; and first I will be clean confessed,
and after that see you that I be truly baptized, and then we will
ride together unto the court of my lord, King Arthur, so that we
may be there at the feast of Pentecost." "Now take your horse,"
said Sir Tristram, "and as you have said, so shall it be done." So
they took their horses, and Sir Galleron rode with them. When they
came to the church of Carlisle, the bishop commanded to fill a
great vessel with water; and when he had hallowed it, he then
confessed Sir Palamedes clean, and christened him, and Sir
Tristram and Sir Galleron were his godfathers. Then soon after
they departed, and rode towards Camelot, where the noble King
Arthur and Queen Guenever were keeping a court royal. And the king
and all the court were glad that Sir Palamedes was christened.
Then Sir Tristram returned again to La Joyeuse Garde, and Sir
Palamedes went his way.

Not long after these events Sir Gawain returned from Brittany, and
related to King Arthur the adventure which befell him in the
forest of Breciliande, how Merlin had there spoken to him, and
enjoined him to charge the king to go without delay upon the quest
of the Holy Greal. While King Arthur deliberated Tristram
determined to enter upon the quest, and the more readily, as it
was well known to him that this holy adventure would, if achieved,
procure him the pardon of all his sins. He immediately departed
for the kingdom of Brittany, hoping there to obtain from Merlin
counsel as to the proper course to pursue to insure success.



On arriving in Brittany Tristram found King Hoel engaged in a war
with a rebellious vassal, and hard pressed by his enemy. His best
knights had fallen in a late battle, and he knew not where to turn
for assistance. Tristram volunteered his aid. It was accepted; and
the army of Hoel, led by Tristram, and inspired by his example,
gained a complete victory. The king, penetrated by the most lively
sentiments of gratitude, and having informed himself of Tristram's
birth, offered him his daughter in marriage. The princess was
beautiful and accomplished, and bore the same name with the Queen
of Cornwall; but this one is designated by the Romancers as Isoude
of the White Hands, to distinguish her from Isoude the Fair.

How can we describe the conflict that agitated the heart of
Tristram? He adored the first Isoude, but his love for her was
hopeless, and not unaccompanied by remorse. Moreover, the sacred
quest on which he had now entered demanded of him perfect purity
of life. It seemed as if a happy destiny had provided for him in
the charming princess Isoude of the White Hands the best security
for all his good resolutions. This last reflection determined him.
They were married, and passed some months in tranquil happiness at
the court of King Hoel. The pleasure which Tristram felt in his
wife's society increased day by day. An inward grace seemed to
stir within him from the moment when he took the oath to go on the
quest of the Holy Greal; it seemed even to triumph over the power
of the magic love-potion.

The war, which had been quelled for a time, now burst out anew.
Tristram as usual was foremost in every danger. The enemy was
worsted in successive conflicts, and at last shut himself up in
his principal city. Tristram led on the attack of the city. As he
mounted a ladder to scale the walls he was struck on the head by a
fragment of rock, which the besieged threw down upon him. It bore
him to the ground, where he lay insensible.

As soon as he recovered consciousness he demanded to be carried to
his wife. The princess, skilled in the art of surgery, would not
suffer any one but herself to touch her beloved husband. Her fair
hands bound up his wounds; Tristram kissed them with gratitude,
which began to grow into love. At first the devoted cares of
Isoude seemed to meet with great success; but after a while these
flattering appearances vanished, and, in spite of all her care,
the malady grew more serious day by day.

In this perplexity, an old squire of Tristram's reminded his
master that the princess of Ireland, afterwards queen of Cornwall,
had once cured him under circumstances quite as discouraging. He
called Isoude of the White Hands to him, told her of his former
cure, added that he believed that the Queen Isoude could heal him,
and that he felt sure that she would come to his relief, if sent

Isoude of the White Hands consented that Gesnes, a trusty man and
skilful navigator, should be sent to Cornwall. Tristram called
him, and, giving him a ring, "Take this," he said, "to the Queen
of Cornwall. Tell her that Tristram, near to death, demands her
aid. If you succeed in bringing her with you, place white sails to
your vessel on your return, that we may know of your success when
the vessel first heaves in sight. But if Queen Isoude refuses, put
on black sails; they will be the presage of my impending death."

Gesnes performed his mission successfully. King Mark happened to
be absent from his capital, and the queen readily consented to
return with the bark to Brittany. Gesnes clothed his vessel in the
whitest of sails, and sped his way back to Brittany.

Meantime the wound of Tristram grew more desperate day by day. His
strength, quite prostrated, no longer permitted him to be carried
to the seaside daily, as had been his custom from the first moment
when it was possible for the bark to be on the way homeward. He
called a young damsel, and gave her in charge to keep watch in the
direction of Cornwall, and to come and tell him the color of the
sails of the first vessel she should see approaching.

When Isoude of the White Hands consented that the queen of
Cornwall should be sent for, she had not known all the reasons
which she had for fearing the influence which renewed intercourse
with that princess might have on her own happiness. She had now
learned more, and felt the danger more keenly. She thought, if she
could only keep the knowledge of the queen's arrival from her
husband, she might employ in his service any resources which her
skill could supply, and still avert the dangers which she
apprehended. When the vessel was seen approaching, with its white
sails sparkling in the sun, the damsel, by command of her
mistress, carried word to Tristram that the sails were black.

Tristram, penetrated with inexpressible grief, breathed a profound
sigh, turned away his face, and said, "Alas, my beloved! we shall
never see one another again!" Then he commended himself to God,
and breathed his last.

The death of Tristram was the first intelligence which the queen
of Cornwall heard on landing. She was conducted almost senseless
into the chamber of Tristram, and expired holding him in her arms.

Tristram, before his death, had requested that his body should be
sent to Cornwall, and that his sword, with a letter he had
written, should be delivered to King Mark. The remains of Tristram
and Isoude were embarked in a vessel, along with the sword, which
was presented to the king of Cornwall. He was melted with
tenderness when he saw the weapon which slew Moraunt of Ireland,--
which had so often saved his life, and redeemed the honor of his
kingdom. In the letter Tristram begged pardon of his uncle, and
related the story of the amorous draught.

Mark ordered the lovers to be buried in his own chapel. From the
tomb of Tristram there sprung a vine, which went along the walls,
and descended into the grave of the queen. It was cut down three
times, but each time sprung up again more vigorous than before,
and this wonderful plant has ever since shaded the tombs of
Tristram and Isoude.

Spenser introduces Sir Tristram in his "Faery Queene." In Book
VI., Canto ii., Sir Calidore encounters in the forest a young
hunter, whom he thus describes:

    "Him steadfastly he marked, and saw to be
    A goodly youth of amiable grace,
    Yet but a slender slip, that scarce did see
    Yet seventeen yeares; but tall and faire of face,
    That sure he deemed him borne of noble race.
    All in a woodman's jacket he was clad
    Of Lincoln greene, belayed with silver lace;
    And on his head an hood with aglets sprad,
    And by his side his hunter's horne he hanging had.

[Footnote: Aglets, points or tags]

    "Buskins he wore of costliest cordawayne,
    Pinckt upon gold, and paled part per part,
    As then the guize was for each gentle swayne.
    In his right hand he held a trembling dart,
    Whose fellow he before had sent apart;
    And in his left he held a sharp bore-speare,
    With which he wont to launch the salvage heart
    Of many a lyon, and of many a beare,
  That first unto his hand in chase did happen neare."

[Footnote: PINCKT UPON GOLD, ETC., adorned with golden points, or
eyelets, and regularly intersected with stripes. PALED (in
heraldry), striped]



The father and two elder brothers of Perceval had fallen in battle
or tournaments, and hence, as the last hope of his family, his
mother retired with him into a solitary region, where he was
brought up in total ignorance of arms and chivalry. He was allowed
no weapon but "a lyttel Scots spere," which was the only thing of
all "her lordes faire gere" that his mother carried to the wood
with her. In the use of this he became so skilful, that he could
kill with it not only the animals of the chase for the table, but
even birds on the wing. At length, however, Perceval was roused to
a desire of military renown by seeing in the forest five knights
who were in complete armor. He said to his mother, "Mother, what
are those yonder?" "They are angels, my son," said she. "By my
faith, I will go and become an angel with them." And Perceval went
to the road and met them. "Tell me, good lad," said one of them,
"sawest thou a knight pass this way either today or yesterday?" "I
know not," said he, "what a knight is." "Such an one as I am,"
said the knight. "If thou wilt tell me what I ask thee, I will
tell thee what thou askest me." "Gladly will I do so," said Sir
Owain, for that was the knight's name. "What is this?" demanded
Perceval, touching the saddle. "It is a saddle," said Owain. Then
he asked about all the accoutrements which he saw upon the men and
the horses, and about the arms, and what they were for, and how
they were used. And Sir Owain showed him all those things fully.
And Perceval in return gave him such information as he had

Then Perceval returned to his mother, and said to her, "Mother,
those were not angels, but honorable knights." Then his mother
swooned away. And Perceval went to the place where they kept the
horses that carried firewood and provisions for the castle, and he
took a bony, piebald horse, which seemed to him the strongest of
them. And he pressed a pack into the form of a saddle, and with
twisted twigs he imitated the trappings which he had seen upon the
horses. When he came again to his mother, the countess had
recovered from her swoon. "My son," said she, "desirest thou to
ride forth?" "Yes, with thy leave," said he. "Go forward, then,"
she said, "to the court of Arthur, where there are the best and
the noblest and the most bountiful of men, and tell him thou art
Perceval, the son of Pelenore, and ask of him to bestow knighthood
on thee. And whenever thou seest a church, repeat there thy pater-
noster; and if thou see meat and drink, and hast need of them,
thou mayest take them. If thou hear an outcry of one in distress,
proceed toward it, especially if it be the cry of a woman, and
render her what service thou canst. If thou see a fair jewel, win
it, for thus shalt thou acquire fame; yet freely give it to
another, for thus thou shalt obtain praise. If thou see a fair
woman, pay court to her, for thus thou wilt obtain love."

After this discourse Perceval mounted the horse and taking a
number of sharp-pointed sticks in his hand he rode forth. And he
rode far in the woody wilderness without food or drink. At last he
came to an opening in the wood where he saw a tent, and as he
thought it might be a church he said his pater-noster to it. And
he went towards it; and the door of the tent was open. And
Perceval dismounted and entered the tent. In the tent he found a
maiden sitting, with a golden frontlet on her forehead and a gold
ring on her hand. And Perceval said, "Maiden, I salute you, for my
mother told me whenever I met a lady I must respectfully salute
her." Perceiving in one corner of the tent some food, two flasks
full of wine, and some boar's flesh roasted, he said, "My mother
told me, whenever I saw meat and drink to take it." And he ate
greedily, for he was very hungry. The maiden said, "Sir, thou
hadst best go quickly from here, for fear that my friends should
come, and evil should befall you." But Perceval said, "My mother
told me wheresoever I saw a fair jewel to take it," and he took
the gold ring from her finger, and put it on his own; and he gave
the maiden his own ring in exchange for hers; then he mounted his
horse and rode away.

Perceval journeyed on till he arrived at Arthur's court. And it so
happened that just at that time an uncourteous knight had offered
Queen Guenever a gross insult. For when her page was serving the
queen with a golden goblet, this knight struck the arm of the page
and dashed the wine in the queen's face and over her stomacher.
Then he said, "If any have boldness to avenge this insult to
Guenever, let him follow me to the meadow." So the knight took his
horse and rode to the meadow, carrying away the golden goblet. And
all the household hung down their heads and no one offered to
follow the knight to take vengeance upon him. For it seemed to
them that no one would have ventured on so daring an outrage
unless he possessed such powers, through magic or charms, that
none could be able to punish him. Just then, behold, Perceval
entered the hall upon the bony, piebald horse, with his uncouth
trappings. In the centre of the hall stood Kay the Seneschal.
"Tell me, tall man," said Perceval, "is that Arthur yonder?" "What
wouldst thou with Arthur?" asked Kay. "My mother told me to go to
Arthur and receive knighthood from him." "By my faith," said he,
"thou art all too meanly equipped with horse and with arms." Then
all the household began to jeer and laugh at him. But there was a
certain damsel who had been a whole year at Arthur's court, and
had never been known to smile. And the king's fool [Footnote: A
fool was a common appendage of the courts of those days when this
romance was written. A fool was the ornament held in next
estimation to a dwarf. He wore a white dress with a yellow bonnet,
and carried a bell or bawble in his hand. Though called a fool,
his words were often weighed and remembered as if there were a
sort of oracular meaning in them.] had said that this damsel would
not smile till she had seen him who would be the flower of
chivalry. Now this damsel came up to Perceval and told him,
smiling, that if he lived he would be one of the bravest and best
of knights. "Truly," said Kay, "thou art ill taught to remain a
year at Arthur's court, with choice of society, and smile on no
one, and now before the face of Arthur and all his knights to call
such a man as this the flower of knighthood;" and he gave her a
box on the ear, that she fell senseless to the ground. Then said
Kay to Perceval, "Go after the knight who went hence to the
meadow, overthrow him and recover the golden goblet, and possess
thyself of his horse and arms, and thou shalt have knighthood." "I
will do so, tall man," said Perceval. So he turned his horse's
head toward the meadow. And when he came there, the knight was
riding up and down, proud of his strength and valor and noble
mien. "Tell me," said the knight, "didst thou see any one coming
after me from the court?" "The tall man that was there," said
Perceval, "told me to come and overthrow thee, and to take from
thee the goblet and thy horse and armor for myself." "Silence!"
said the knight; "go back to the court, and tell Arthur either to
come himself, or to send some other to fight with me; and unless
he do so quickly, I will not wait for him." "By my faith," said
Perceval, "choose thou whether it shall be willingly or
unwillingly, for I will have the horse and the arms and the
goblet." Upon this the knight ran at him furiously, and struck him
a violent blow with the shaft of his spear, between the neck and
the shoulder. "Ha, ha, lad!" said Perceval, "my mother's servants
were not used to play with me in this wise; so thus will I play
with thee." And he threw at him one of his sharp-pointed sticks,
and it struck him in the eye, and came out at the back of his
head, so that he fell down lifeless.

"Verily," said Sir Owain, the son of Urien, to Kay the Seneschal,
"thou wast ill-advised to send that madman after the knight, for
he must either be overthrown or flee, and either way it will be a
disgrace to Arthur and his warriors; therefore will I go to see
what has befallen him." So Sir Owain went to the meadow, and he
found Perceval trying in vain to get the dead knight's armor off,
in order to clothe himself with it. Sir Owain unfastened the
armor, and helped Perceval to put it on, and taught him how to put
his foot in the stirrup, and use the spur; for Perceval had never
used stirrup nor spur, but rode without saddle, and urged on his
horse with a stick. Then Owain would have had him return to the
court to receive the praise that was his due; but Perceval said,
"I will not come to the court till I have encountered the tall man
that is there, to revenge the injury he did to the maiden. But
take thou the goblet to Queen Guenever, and tell King Arthur that,
wherever I am, I will be his vassal, and will do him what profit
and service I can." And Sir Owain went back to the court, and
related all these things to Arthur and Guenever, and to all the

And Perceval rode forward. And he came to a lake on the side of
which was a fair castle, and on the border of the lake he saw a
hoary-headed man sitting upon a velvet cushion, and his attendants
were fishing in the lake. When the hoary-headed man beheld
Perceval approaching, he arose and went into the castle. Perceval
rode to the castle, and the door was open, and he entered the
hall. And the hoary-headed man received Perceval courteously, and
asked him to sit by him on the cushion. When it was time the
tables were set, and they went to meat. And when they had finished
their meat the hoary-headed man asked Perceval if he knew how to
fight with the sword "I know not," said Perceval, "but were I to
be taught, doubtless I should." And the hoary-headed man said to
him, "I am thy uncle, thy mother's brother; I am called King
Pecheur.[Footnote: The word means both FISHER and SINNER.] Thou
shalt remain with me a space, in order to learn the manners and
customs of different countries, and courtesy and noble bearing.
And this do thou remember, if thou seest aught to cause thy
wonder, ask not the meaning of it; if no one has the courtesy to
inform thee, the reproach will not fall upon thee, but upon me
that am thy teacher." While Perceval and his uncle discoursed
together, Perceval beheld two youths enter the hall bearing a
golden cup and a spear of mighty size, with blood dropping from
its point to the ground. And when all the company saw this they
began to weep and lament. But for all that, the man did not break
off his discourse with Perceval. And as he did not tell him the
meaning of what he saw, he forebore to ask him concerning it. Now
the cup that Perceval saw was the Sangreal, and the spear the
sacred spear; and afterwards King Pecheur removed with those
sacred relics into a far country.

One evening Perceval entered a valley, and came to a hermit's
cell; and the hermit welcomed him gladly, and there he spent the
night. And in the morning he arose, and when he went forth,
behold! a shower of snow had fallen in the night, and a hawk had
killed a wild-fowl in front of the cell. And the noise of the
horse had scared the hawk away, and a raven alighted on the bird.
And Perceval stood and compared the blackness of the raven and the
whiteness of the snow and the redness of the blood to the hair of
the lady that best he loved, which was blacker than jet, and to
her skin, which was whiter than the snow, and to the two red spots
upon her cheeks, which were redder than the blood upon the snow.

Now Arthur and his household were in search of Perceval, and by
chance they came that way. "Know ye," said Arthur, "who is the
knight with the long spear that stands by the brook up yonder?"
"Lord," said one of them, "I will go and learn who he is." So the
youth came to the place where Perceval was, and asked him what he
did thus, and who he was. But Perceval was so intent upon his
thought that he gave him no answer. Then the youth thrust at
Perceval with his lance; and Perceval turned upon him, and struck
him to the ground. And when the youth returned to the king, and
told how rudely he had been treated, Sir Kay said, "I will go
myself." And when he greeted Perceval, and got no answer, he spoke
to him rudely and angrily. And Perceval thrust at him with his
lance, and cast him down so that he broke his arm and his
shoulder-blade. And while he lay thus stunned his horse returned
back at a wild and prancing pace.

Then said Sir Gawain, surnamed the Golden-Tongued, because he was
the most courteous knight in Arthur's court: "It is not fitting
that any should disturb an honorable knight from his thought
unadvisedly; for either he is pondering some damage that he has
sustained, or he is thinking of the lady whom best he loves. If it
seem well to thee, lord, I will go and see if this knight has
changed from his thought, and if he has, I will ask him
courteously to come and visit thee."

And Perceval was resting on the shaft of his spear, pondering the
same thought, and Sir Gawain came to him, and said: "If I thought
it would be as agreeable to thee as it would be to me, I would
converse with thee. I have also a message from Arthur unto thee,
to pray thee to come and visit him. And two men have been before
on this errand." "That is true," said Perceval; "and uncourteously
they came. They attacked me, and I was annoyed thereat" Then he
told him the thought that occupied his mind, and Gawain said,
"This was not an ungentle thought, and I should marvel if it were
pleasant for thee to be drawn from it." Then said Perceval, "Tell
me, is Sir Kay in Arthur's court?" "He is," said Gawain; "and
truly he is the knight who fought with thee last." "Verily," said
Perceval, "I am not sorry to have thus avenged the insult to the
smiling maiden. "Then Perceval told him his name, and said, "Who
art thou?" And he replied, "I am Gawain." "I am right glad to meet
thee," said Perceval, "for I have everywhere heard of thy prowess
and uprightness; and I solicit thy fellowship." "Thou shalt have
it, by my faith; and grant me thine," said he. "Gladly will I do
so," answered Perceval.

So they went together to Arthur, and saluted him.

"Behold, lord," said Gawain, "him whom thou hast sought so long."
"Welcome unto thee, chieftain," said Arthur. And hereupon there
came the queen and her handmaidens, and Perceval saluted them. And
they were rejoiced to see him, and bade him welcome. And Arthur
did him great honor and respect and they returned towards



The Sangreal was the cup from which our Saviour drank at his last
supper. He was supposed to have given it to Joseph of Arimathea,
who carried it to Europe, together with the spear with which the
soldier pierced the Saviour's side. From generation to generation,
one of the descendants of Joseph of Arimathea had been devoted to
the guardianship of these precious relics; but on the sole
condition of leading a life of purity in thought, word, and deed.
For a long time the Sangreal was visible to all pilgrims, and its
presence conferred blessings upon the land in which it was
preserved. But at length one of those holy men to whom its
guardianship had descended so far forgot the obligation of his
sacred office as to look with unhallowed eye upon a young female
pilgrim whose robe was accidentally loosened as she knelt before
him. The sacred lance instantly punished his frailty,
spontaneously falling upon him, and inflicting a deep wound. The
marvellous wound could by no means be healed, and the guardian of
the Sangreal was ever after called "Le Roi Pescheur,"--The Sinner
King. The Sangreal withdrew its visible presence from the crowds
who came to worship, and an iron age succeeded to the happiness
which its presence had diffused among the tribes of Britain.

       "But then the times
    Grew to such evil that the Holy cup
    Was caught away to heaven and disappear'd."
                             --The Holy Grail.

We have told in the history of Merlin how that great prophet and
enchanter sent a message to King Arthur by Sir Gawain, directing
him to undertake the recovery of the Sangreal, informing him at
the same time that the knight who should accomplish that sacred
quest was already born, and of a suitable age to enter upon it.
Sir Gawain delivered his message, and the king was anxiously
revolving in his mind how best to achieve the enterprise, when, at
the vigil of Pentecost, all the fellowship of the Round Table
being met together at Camelot, as they sat at meat, suddenly there
was heard a clap of thunder, and then a bright light burst forth,
and every knight, as he looked on his fellow, saw him, in seeming,
fairer than ever before. All the hall was filled with sweet odors,
and every knight had such meat and drink as he best loved. Then
there entered into the hall the Holy Graal, covered with white
samite, so that none could see it, and it passed through the hall
suddenly, and disappeared. During this time no one spoke a word,
but when they had recovered breath to speak King Arthur said,
"Certainly we ought greatly to thank the Lord for what he hath
showed us this day." Then Sir Gawain rose up, and made a vow that
for twelve months and a day he would seek the Sangreal, and not
return till he had seen it, if so he might speed. When they of the
Round Table heard Sir Gawain say so, they arose, the most part of
them, and vowed the same. When King Arthur heard this, he was
greatly displeased, for he knew well that they might not gainsay
their vows. "Alas!" said he to Sir Gawain, "you have nigh slain me
with the vow and promise that ye have made, for ye have bereft me
of the fairest fellowship that ever were seen together in any
realm of the world; for when they shall depart hence, I am sure
that all shall never meet more in this world."


At that time there entered the hall a good old man, and with him
he brought a young knight, and these words he said: "Peace be with
you, fair lords." Then the old man said unto King Arthur, "Sir, I
bring you here a young knight that is of kings' lineage, and of
the kindred of Joseph of Arimathea, being the son of Dame Elaine,
the daughter of King Pelles, king of the foreign country." Now the
name of the young knight was Sir Galahad, and he was the son of
Sir Launcelot du Lac; but he had dwelt with his mother, at the
court of King Pelles, his grandfather, till now he was old enough
to bear arms, and his mother had sent him in the charge of a holy
hermit to King Arthur's court. Then Sir Launcelot beheld his son,
and had great joy of him. And Sir Bohort told his fellows, "Upon
my life, this young knight shall come to great worship." The noise
was great in all the court, so that it came to the queen. And she
said, "I would fain see him, for he must needs be a noble knight,
for so is his father." And the queen and her ladies all said that
he resembled much unto his father; and he was seemly and demure as
a dove, with all manner of good features, that in the whole world
men might not find his match. And King Arthur said, "God make him
a good man, for beauty faileth him not, as any that liveth."

Then the hermit led the young knight to the Siege Perilous; and he
lifted up the cloth, and found there letters that said, "This is
the seat of Sir Galahad, the good knight;" and he made him sit in
that seat. And all the knights of the Round Table marvelled
greatly at Sir Galahad, seeing him sit securely in that seat, and
said, "This is he by whom the Sangreal shall be achieved, for
there never sat one before in that seat without being mischieved."

On the next day the king said, "Now, at this quest of the Sangreal
shall all ye of the Round Table depart, and never shall I see you
again altogether; therefore I will that ye all repair to the
meadow of Camelot, for to just and tourney yet once more before ye
depart." But all the meaning of the king was to see Sir Galahad
proved. So then were they all assembled in the meadow. Then Sir
Galahad, by request of the king and queen, put on his harness and
his helm, but shield would he take none for any prayer of the
king. And the queen was in a tower, with all her ladies, to behold
that tournament. Then Sir Galahad rode into the midst of the
meadow; and there he began to break spears marvellously, so that
all men had wonder of him, for he surmounted all knights that
encountered with him, except two, Sir Launcelot and Sir Perceval.

    "So many knights, that all the people cried,
    And almost burst the barriers in their heat,
    Shouting 'Sir Galahad and Sir Perceval!'"

    --Sir Galahad

Then the king, at the queen's request, made him to alight, and
presented him to the queen; and she said, "Never two men resembled
one another more than he and Sir Launcelot, and therefore it is no
marvel that he is like him in prowess."

Then the king and the queen went to the minster, and the knights
followed them. And after the service was done they put on their
helms and departed, and there was great sorrow. They rode through
the streets of Camelot, and there was weeping of the rich and
poor; and the king turned away, and might not speak for weeping.
And so they departed, and every knight took the way that him best

Sir Galahad rode forth without shield, and rode four days, and
found no adventure. And on the fourth day he came to a white
abbey; and there he was received with great reverence, and led to
a chamber. He met there two knights, King Bagdemagus and Sir
Uwaine, and they made of him great solace. "Sirs," said Sir
Galahad, "what adventure brought you hither?" "Sir," said they,
"it is told us that within this place is a shield, which no man
may bear unless he be worthy; and if one unworthy should attempt
to bear it, it shall surely do him a mischief." Then King
Bagdemagus said, "I fear not to bear it, and that shall ye see to-

So on the morrow they arose, and heard mass; then King Bagdemagus
asked where the adventurous shield was. Anon a monk led him behind
an altar, where the shield hung, as white as snow; but in the
midst there was a red cross. Then King Bagdemagus took the shield,
and bare it out of the minster; and he said to Sir Galahad, "If it
please you, abide here till ye know how I shall speed."

Then King Bagdemagus and his squire rode forth: and when they had
ridden a mile or two, they saw a goodly knight come towards them,
in white armor, horse and all; and he came as fast as his horse
might run, with his spear in the rest; and King Bagdemagus
directed his spear against him, and broke it upon the white
knight, but the other struck him so hard that he broke the mails,
and thrust him through the right shoulder, for the shield covered
him not, and so he bare him from his horse. Then the white knight
turned his horse and rode away.

Then the squire went to King Bagdemagus, and asked him whether he
were sore wounded or not. "I am sore wounded," said he, "and full
hardly shall I escape death." Then the squire set him on his
horse, and brought him to an abbey; and there he was taken down
softly, and unarmed, and laid in a bed, and his wound was looked
to, for he lay there long, and hardly escaped with his life. And
the squire brought the shield back to the abbey.

The next day Sir Galahad took the shield, and within a while he
came to the hermitage, where he met the white knight, and each
saluted the other courteously. "Sir," said Sir Galahad, "can you
tell me the marvel of the shield?" "Sir," said the white knight,
"that shield belonged of old to the gentle knight, Joseph of
Arimathea; and when he came to die he said, 'Never shall man bear
this shield about his neck but he shall repent it, unto the time
that Sir Galahad the good knight bear it, the last of my lineage,
the which shall do many marvellous deeds.'" And then the white
knight vanished away.


After Sir Gawain departed, he rode many days, both toward and
forward, and at last he came to the abbey where Sir Galahad took
the white shield. And they told Sir Gawain of the marvellous
adventure that Sir Galahad had done. "Truly," said Sir Gawain, "I
am not happy that I took not the way that he went, for, if I may
meet with him, I will not part from him lightly, that I may
partake with him all the marvellous adventures which he shall
achieve." "Sir," said one of the monks, "he will not be of your
fellowship." "Why?" said Sir Gawain. "Sir," said he, "because ye
be sinful, and he is blissful." Then said the monk, "Sir Gawain,
thou must do penance for thy sins." "Sir, what penance shall I
do?" "Such as I will show," said the good man. "Nay," said Sir
Gawain, "I will do no penance, for we knights adventurous often
suffer great woe and pain." "Well," said the good man; and he held
his peace. And Sir Gawain departed.

Now it happened, not long after this, that Sir Gawain and Sir
Hector rode together, and they came to a castle where was a great
tournament. And Sir Gawain and Sir Hector joined themselves to the
party that seemed the weaker, and they drove before them the other
party. Then suddenly came into the lists a knight, bearing a white
shield with a red cross, and by adventure he came by Sir Gawain,
and he smote him so hard that he clave his helm and wounded his
head, so that Sir Gawain fell to the earth. When Sir Hector saw
that, he knew that the knight with the white shield was Sir
Galahad, and he thought it no wisdom to abide him, and also for
natural love, that he was his uncle. Then Sir Galahad retired
privily, so that none knew where he had gone. And Sir Hector
raised up Sir Gawain, and said, "Sir, me seemeth your quest is
done." "It is done," said Sir Gawain; "I shall seek no further."
Then Gawain was borne into the castle, and unarmed, and laid in a
rich bed, and a leech found to search his wound. And Sir Gawain
and Sir Hector abode together, for Sir Hector would not away till
Sir Gawain were whole.


THE SANGREAL (Continued)


Sir Launcelot rode overthwart and endlong in a wide forest, and
held no path but as wild adventure lee him.

    "My golden spurs now bring to me,
       And bring to me my richest mail,
     For to-morrow I go over land and sea
       In search of the Holy, Holy Grail

    Shall never a bed for me be spread,
    Nor shall a pillow be under my head,
    Till I begin my vow to keep.
    Here on the rushes will I sleep,
    And perchance there may come a vision true
    Ere day create the world anew"

                             --Lowell's Holy Grail.

And at last he came to a stone cross. Then Sir Launcelot looked
round him, and saw an old chapel. So he tied his horse to a tree,
and put off his shield, and hung it upon a tree; and then he went
into the chapel, and looked through a place where the wall was
broken. And within he saw a fair altar, full richly arrayed with
cloth of silk; and there stood a fair candlestick, which bare six
great candles, and the candlestick was of silver. When Sir
Launcelot saw this sight, he had a great wish to enter the chapel,
but he could find no place where he might enter. Then was he
passing heavy and dismayed. And he returned and came again to his
horse, and took off his saddle and his bridle, and let him
pasture; and unlaced his helm, and ungirded his sword, and laid
him down to sleep upon his shield before the cross.

And as he lay, half waking and half sleeping, he saw come by him
two palfreys, both fair and white, which bare a litter, on which
lay a sick knight. And when he was nigh the cross, he there abode
still. And Sir Launcelot heard him say, "O sweet Lord, when shall
this sorrow leave me, and when shall the holy vessel come by me
whereby I shall be healed?" And thus a great while complained the
knight, and Sir Launcelot heard it. Then Sir Launcelot saw the
candlestick, with the lighted tapers, come before the cross, but
he could see nobody that brought it. Also there came a salver of
silver and the holy vessel of the Sangreal; and therewithal the
sick knight sat him upright, and held up both his hands, and said,
"Fair, sweet Lord, which is here within the holy vessel, take heed
to me, that I may be whole of this great malady." And therewith,
upon his hands and upon his knees, he went so nigh that he touched
the holy vessel and kissed it. And anon he was whole. Then the
holy vessel went into the chapel again, with the candlestick and
the light, so that Sir Launcelot wist not what became of it.

Then the sick knight rose up and kissed the cross; and anon his
squire brought him his arms and asked his lord how he did. "I
thank God right heartily," said he, "for, through the holy vessel,
I am healed. But I have great marvel of this sleeping knight, who
hath had neither grace nor power to awake during the time that the
holy vessel hath been here present." "I dare it right well say,"
said the squire, "that this same knight is stained with some
manner of deadly sin, whereof he was never confessed." So they

Then anon Sir Launcelot waked, and set himself upright, and
bethought him of what he had seen and whether it were dreams or
not. And he was passing heavy, and wist not what to do. And he
said: "My sin and my wretchedness hath brought me into great
dishonor. For when I sought worldly adventures and worldly
desires, I ever achieved them, and had the better in every place,
and never was I discomfited in any quarrel, were it right or
wrong. And now I take upon me the adventure of holy things, I see
and understand that mine old sin hindereth me, so that I had no
power to stir nor to speak when the holy blood appeared before
me." So thus he sorrowed till it was day, and heard the fowls of
the air sing. Then was he somewhat comforted.

Then he departed from the cross into the forest. And there he
found a hermitage, and a hermit therein, who was going to mass. So
when mass was done Sir Launcelot called the hermit to him, and
prayed him for charity to hear his confession. "With a good will,"
said the good man. And then he told that good man all his life,
and how he had loved a queen unmeasurably many years. "And all my
great deeds of arms that I have done I did 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 better beloved; and little or
naught I thanked God for it. I pray you counsel me."

"I will counsel you," said the hermit, "if ye will insure me that
ye will never come in that queen's fellowship as much as ye may
forbear." And then Sir Launcelot promised the hermit, by his
faith, that he would no more come in her company. "Look that your
heart and your mouth accord," said the good man, "and I shall
insure you that ye shall have more worship than ever ye had."

Then the good man enjoined Sir Launcelot such penance as he might
do, and he assailed Sir Launcelot and made him abide with him all
that day. And Sir Launcelot repented him greatly.


Sir Perceval departed and rode till the hour of noon; and he met
in a valley about twenty men of arms. And when they saw Sir
Perceval, they asked him whence he was; and he answered: "Of the
court of King Arthur." Then they cried all at once, "Slay him."
But Sir Perceval smote the first to the earth, and his horse upon
him. 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 cross, come there by adventure. And when he
saw all the knights upon one, he cried out, "Save me that knight's
life." Then he rode 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, that it was marvel to see; and at every stroke he
smote down one, or put him to rebuke, so that they would fight no
more, but fled to a thick forest, and Sir Galahad followed them.
And when Sir Perceval saw him chase them so, he made great sorrow
that his horse was slain. And he wist well it was Sir Galahad.
Then he cried aloud, "Ah, fair knight, abide, and suffer me to do
thanks unto thee; for right well have ye done for me." But Sir
Galahad rode so fast that at last he passed out of his sight. When
Sir Perceval saw that he would not turn, he said, "Now am I a very
wretch, and most unhappy above all other knights." So in his
sorrow he abode all that day till it was night; and then he was
faint, and laid him down and slept till midnight; and then he
awaked and saw before him a woman, who said unto him, "Sir
Perceval, what dost thou here?" He answered, "I do neither good,
nor great ill." "If thou wilt promise me," said she, "that thou
wilt fulfil my will when I summon thee, I will lend thee my own
horse, which shall bear thee whither thou wilt." Sir Perceval was
glad of her proffer, and insured her to fulfil all her desire.
"Then abide me here, and I will go fetch you a horse." And so she
soon came again, and brought a horse with her that was inky black.
When Perceval beheld that horse he marvelled, it was so great and
so well apparelled. And he leapt upon him and took no heed of
himself. And he thrust him with his spurs, and within an hour and
less he bare him four days' journey thence, until he came to a
rough water, which roared, and his horse would have borne him into
it. And when Sir Perceval came nigh the brim and saw the water so
boisterous he doubted to overpass it. And then he made the sign of
the cross on his forehead. When the fiend felt him so charged, he
shook off Sir Perceval, and went into the water crying and
roaring; and it seemed unto him that the water burned. Then Sir
Perceval perceived it was a fiend that 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 it was day. Then he saw that he was in a wild
place, that was closed with the sea nigh all about. And Sir
Perceval looked forth over the sea, and saw a ship come sailing
towards him; and it came and stood still under the rock. And when
Sir Perceval saw this, he hied him thither, and found the ship
covered with silk; and therein was a lady of great beauty, and
clothed so richly that none might be better.

And when she saw Sir Perceval, she saluted him, and Sir Perceval
returned her salutation. Then he asked her of her country and her
lineage. And she said, "I am a gentlewoman that am disinherited,
and was once the richest woman of the world." "Damsel," said Sir
Perceval, "who hath disinherited you? for I have great pity of
you." "Sir," said she, "my enemy is a great and powerful lord, and
aforetime he made much of me, so that of his favor and of my
beauty I had a little pride more than I ought to have had. Also I
said a word that pleased him not. So he drove me from his company
and from mine heritage. Therefore I know no good knight nor good
man, but I get him on my side if I may. And for that I know that
thou art a good knight, I beseech thee to help me."

Then Sir Perceval promised her all the help that he might, and she
thanked him.

And at that time the weather was hot, and she called to her a
gentlewoman, and bade her bring forth a pavilion. And she did so,
and pitched 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. Then he
awoke, and asked her if she had any meat, and she said yea, and so
there was set upon the table all manner of meats that he could
think on. Also he drank there the strongest wine that ever he
drank, and therewith he was a little chafed more than he ought to
be. With that he beheld the lady, and he thought she was the
fairest creature that ever he saw. And then Sir Perceval proffered
her love, and prayed her that she would be his. Then she refused
him in a manner, 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 Perceval, wit you well I
shall not give ye my love, unless you swear from henceforth you
will be my true servant, and do no thing but that I shall command
you. Will you insure me this, as ye be a true knight?" "Yea," said
he, "fair lady, by the faith of my body." And as he said this, 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
thereon. Then he made the sign of the cross on his forehead, and
therewith the pavilion shrivelled up, and changed into a smoke and
a black cloud. And the damsel cried aloud, and hasted into the
ship, and so she went with the wind roaring and yelling that it
seemed all the water burned after her. Then Sir Perceval made
great sorrow, and called himself a wretch, saying, "How nigh was I
lost!" Then he took his arms, and departed thence.


THE SANGREAL (Continued)


When Sir Boliort departed from Camelot he met with a religious
man, riding upon an ass; and Sir Bohort saluted him. "What are
ye?" said the good man. "Sir," said Sir Bohort, "I am a knight
that fain would be counselled in the quest of the Sangreal." So
rode they both together till they came to a hermitage; and there
he prayed Sir Bohort to dwell that night with him. So he alighted,
and put away his armor, and prayed him that he might be confessed.
And they went both 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 thou
sit at the table where the Sangreal shall be." "Sir," said Sir
Bohort, "but how know ye that I shall sit there?" "Yea," said the
good man, "that I know well; but there shall be few of your
fellows with you." Then said Sir Bohort, "I agree me thereto" And
the good man when he had heard his confession found him in so pure
a life and so stable that he marvelled thereof.

On the morrow, as soon as the day appeared, Sir Bohort departed
thence, and rode into a forest unto the hour of midday. And there
befell him a marvellous adventure. For he met, at the parting of
two ways, two knights that led Sir Lionel, his brother, all naked,
bound upon a strong hackney, and his hands bound before his
breast; and each of them held in his hand thorns wherewith they
went beating him, so that he was all bloody before and behind; but
he said never a word, but, as he was great of heart, he suffered
all that they did to him as though he had felt none anguish. Sir
Bohort prepared to rescue his brother. But he looked on the other
side of him, and saw a knight dragging along a fair gentlewoman,
who cried out, "Saint Mary! succor your maid!" And when she saw
Sir Bohort, she called to him, and said, "By the faith that ye owe
to knighthood, help me!" When Sir Bohort heard her say thus he had
such sorrow that he wist not what to do. "For if I let my brother
be he must be slain, and that would I not for all the earth; and
if I help not the maid I am shamed for ever." Then lift he up his
eyes and said, weeping, "Fair Lord, whose liegeman I am, keep Sir
Lionel, my brother, that none of these knights slay him, and for
pity of you, and our Lady's sake, I shall succor this maid."

Then he cried out to the knight, "Sir knight, lay your hand off
that maid, or else ye be but dead." Then the knight set down the
maid, and took his shield, and drew out his sword. And Sir Bohort
smote him so hard that it went through his shield and habergeon,
on the left shoulder, and he fell down to the earth. Then came Sir
Bohort to the maid, "Ye be delivered of this knight this time."
"Now," said she, "I pray you lead me there where this knight took
me." "I shall gladly do it," said Sir Bohort. So he took the horse
of the wounded knight, and set the gentlewoman upon it, and
brought her there where she desired to be. And there he found
twelve knights seeking after her; and when she told them how Sir
Bohort had delivered her, they made great joy, and besought him to
come to her father, a great lord, and he should be right welcomed.
"Truly," said Sir Bohort, "that may not be; for I have a great
adventure to do." So he commended them to God and departed.

Then Sir Bohort rode after Sir 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, who said, "Sir
Knight, what seek ye?" "Sir," said Sir Bohort, "I seek my brother,
that I saw within a little space beaten of two knights." "Ah, Sir
Bohort, trouble not thyself to seek for him, for truly he is
dead." Then he showed him a new-slain body, lying in a thick bush;
and it seemed him that it was the body of Sir Lionel. And then he
made such sorrow that he fell to the ground in a swoon, and lay
there long. And when he came to himself again, he said, "Fair
brother, since the fellowship of you and me is sundered, shall I
never have joy again; and now He that I have taken for my Master,
He be my help!" And when he had said thus he took up the body in
his arms, and put it upon the horse. And then he said to the man,
"Canst thou tell me the way to some chapel, where I may bury this
body?" "Come on," said the man, "here is one fast by." And so they
rode till they saw a fair tower, and beside it a chapel. Then they
alighted both, and put the body into a tomb of marble.

Then Sir Bohort commended the good man unto God, and departed. And
he rode all that day, and harbored with an old lady. And on the
morrow he rode unto the castle in a valley, and there he met with
a yeoman. "Tell me," said Sir Bohort, "knowest thou of any
adventure?" "Sir," said he, "here shall be, under this castle, a
great and marvellous tournament." Then Sir Bohort thought to be
there, if he might meet with any of the fellowship that were in
quest of the Sangreal; so he turned to a hermitage that was on the
border of the forest. And when he was come hither, he found there
Sir Lionel his brother, who sat all armed at the entry of the
chapel door. And when Sir Bohort saw him, he had great joy, and he
alighted off his horse, and said. "Fair brother, when came ye
hither?" As soon as Sir Lionel saw him he said, "Ah, Sir Bohort,
make ye no false show, for, as for you, I might have been slain,
for ye left me in peril of death to go succor a gentlewoman; and
for that misdeed I now assure you but death, for ye have right
well deserved it." When Sir Bohort perceived 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. "Nay," said Sir Lionel,
"thou shalt have but death for it, if I have the upper hand;
therefore leap upon thy horse and keep thyself, and if thou do not
I will run upon thee there as thou standest on foot, and so the
shame shall be mine, and the harm thine, but of that I reck not."
When Sir Bohort saw that he must fight with his brother or else
die, he wist not what to do. Then his heart counselled him not so
to do, inasmuch as Sir Lionel was his elder brother, wherefore he
ought to bear him reverence. Yet kneeled he down before Sir
Lionel's horse's feet, and said, "Fair brother, have mercy upon me
and slay me not." But Sir Lionel cared not, for the fiend had
brought him in such a will that he should slay him. When he saw
that Sir Bohort would not rise to give him battle, he rushed over
him, so that he smote him with his horse's feet to the earth, and
hurt him sore, that he swooned of distress. When Sir Lionel saw
this he alighted from his horse for to have smitten off his head;
and so he took him by the helm, and would have rent it from his
head. But it happened that Sir Colgrevance, a knight of the Round
Table, came at that time thither, as it was our Lord's will; and
then he beheld how Sir Lionel would have slain his brother, and he
knew Sir Bohort, whom he loved right well.

Then leapt he down from his horse and took Sir Lionel by the
shoulders, and drew him strongly back from Sir Bohort, and said,
"Sir Lionel, will ye slay your brother?" "Why," said Sir Lionel,
"will ye stay me? If ye interfere in this I will slay you, and him
after." Then he ran upon Sir Bohort, and would have smitten him;
but Sir Colgrevance ran between them, and said, "If ye persist to
do so any more, we two shall meddle together." Then Sir 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
himself right manfully. So long endured the battle, that Sir
Bohort rose up all anguishly, and beheld Sir Colgrevance, the good
knight, fight with his brother for his quarrel. Then was he full
sorry and heavy, and thought that if Sir Colgrevance slew him that
was his brother he should never have joy, and if his brother slew
Sir Colgrevance the shame should ever be his.

Then would he have risen for to have parted them, but he had not
so much strength to stand on his feet; so he staid so long that
Sir Colgrevance had the worse; for Sir Lionel was of great
chivalry and right hardy. Then cried Sir Colgrevance, "Ah, Sir
Bohort, why come ye not to bring me out of peril of death, wherein
I have put me to succor you?" With that, Sir Lionel smote off his
helm and bore him to the earth. And when he had slain Sir
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 sake leave this battle, for if it
befell, fair brother, that I slew you, or ye me, we should be dead
of that sin." "Pray ye not me for mercy," said Sir Lionel. Then
Sir Bohort, all weeping, drew his sword, and said, "Now God have
mercy upon me, though I defend my life against my brother." With
that Sir Bohort lifted up his sword, and would have smitten his
brother. Then he heard a voice that said, "Flee, Sir Bohort, and
touch him not." Right so alighted a cloud between them, in the
likeness of a fire and a marvellous flame, so that they both fell
to the earth, and lay there a great while in a swoon. And when
they came to themselves, Sir Bohort saw that his brother had no
harm; and he was right glad, for he dread sore that God had taken
vengeance upon him. Then Sir Lionel said to his brother, "Brother,
forgive me, for God's sake, all that I have trespassed against
you." And Sir Bohort answered, "God forgive it thee, and I do."

With that Sir Bohort heard a voice say, "Sir Bohort, take thy way
anon, right to the sea, for Sir Perceval abideth thee there." So
Sir Bohort departed, and rode the nearest way to the sea. And at
last he came to an abbey that was nigh the sea. That night he
rested him there, and in his sleep there came a voice unto him and
bade him go to the sea-shore. He started up, and made a sign of
the cross on his forehead, and armed himself, and made ready his
horse and mounted him, and at a broken wall he rode out, and came
to the sea-shore. And there he found a ship, covered all with
white samite. And he entered into the ship; but it was anon so
dark that he might see no man, and he laid him down and slept till
it was day. Then he awaked, and saw in the middle of the ship a
knight all armed, save his helm. And then he knew it was Sir
Perceval de Galis, and each made of other right great joy. Then
said Sir Perceval, "We lack nothing now but the good knight Sir


It befell upon a night Sir Launcelot arrived before a castle,
which was rich and fair. And there was a postern that was opened
toward the sea, and was open without any keeping, save two lions
kept the entry; and the moon shined clear. Anon Sir Launcelot
heard a voice that said, "Launcelot, enter into the castle, where
thou shalt see a great part of thy desire." So he went unto the
gate, and saw the two lions; then he set hands to his sword, and
drew it. Then there came suddenly as it were a stroke upon the
arm, so sore that the sword fell out of his hand, and he heard a
voice that said, "O man of evil faith, wherefore believest thou
more in thy armor than in thy Maker?" Then said Sir Launcelot,
"Fair Lord, I thank thee of thy great mercy, that thou reprovest
me of my misdeed; now see I well that thou holdest me for thy
servant." Then he made a cross on his forehead, and came to the
lions; and they made semblance to do him harm, but he passed them
without hurt, and entered into the castle, and he found no gate
nor door but it was open. But 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. Then he listened, and heard a voice
which sung so sweetly that it seemed none earthly thing; and the
voice said, "Joy and honor be to the Father of heaven." Then Sir
Launcelot kneeled down before the chamber, for well he wist that
there was the Sangreal in that chamber. Then said he, "Fair, sweet
Lord, if ever I did anything that pleased thee, for thy pity show
me something of that which 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 though all the torches of the world had
been there. So he came to the chamber door, and would have
entered; and anon a voice said unto him, "Stay, Sir Launcelot, and
enter not." And he withdrew him back, and was right heavy in his
mind. Then looked he 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
another held a cross, and the ornaments of the altar.

    "O, yet methought I saw the Holy Grail,
    All pall'd in crimson samite, and around
    Great angels, awful shapes, and wings and eyes"

                                      --The Holy Grail.

Then for very wonder and thankfulness Sir Launcelot forgot himself
and he stepped forward and entered the chamber. And suddenly a
breath that seemed intermixed with fire smote him so sore in the
visage that therewith he fell to the ground, and had no power to
rise. Then felt he many hands about him, which took him up and
bare him out of the chamber, without any amending of his swoon,
and left him there, seeming dead to all the people. So on the
morrow, when it was fair daylight, and they within were arisen,
they found Sir Launcelot lying before the chamber door. And they
looked upon him and felt his pulse, to know if there were any life
in him. And they found life in him, but he might neither stand nor
stir any member that he had. So they took him and bare him into a
chamber, and laid him upon a bed, far from all folk, and there he
lay many days. Then the one said he was alive, and the others said
nay. But said an old man, "He is as full of life as the mightiest
of you all, and therefore I counsel you that he be well kept till
God bring him back again." And after twenty-four days he opened
his eyes; and when he saw folk he made great sorrow, and said,
"Why have ye wakened me? for I was better at ease than I am now."
"What have ye seen?" said they about him. "I have seen," said he,
"great marvels that no tongue can tell, and more than any heart
can think." Then they said, "Sir, the quest of the Sangreal is
achieved right now in you, and never shall ye see more of it than
ye have seen." "I thank God," said Sir Launcelot, "of his great
mercy, for that I have seen, for it sufficeth me." Then he rose up
and clothed himself; and when he was so arrayed they marvelled
all, for they knew it was Sir Launcelot the good knight. And after
four days he took his leave of the lord of the castle, and of all
the fellowship that were there, and thanked them for their great
labor and care of him. Then he departed, and turned to Camelot,
where he found King Arthur and Queen Guenever; but many of the
knights of the Round Table were slain and destroyed, more than
half. Then all the court was passing glad of Sir Launcelot; and he
told the king all his adventures that had befallen him since he


Now, when Sir Galahad had rescued Perceval from the twenty
knights, he rode into a vast forest, wherein he abode many days.
Then he took his way to the sea, and it befell him that he was
benighted in a hermitage. And the good man was glad when he saw he
was a knight-errant. And when they were at rest, there came a
gentlewoman knocking at the door; and the good man came to the
door to wit what she would. Then she said, "I would speak with the
knight which is with you." Then Galahad went to her, and asked her
what she would. "Sir Galahad," said she, "I will that ye arm you,
and mount upon your horse, and follow me; for I will show you the
highest adventure that ever knight saw." Then Galahad armed
himself and commended himself to God, and bade the damsel go
before, and he would follow where she led.

So she rode as fast as her palfrey might bear her, till she came
to the sea; and there they found the ship where Sir Bohort and Sir
Perceval were, who cried from the ship, "Sir Galahad, you are
welcome; we have waited you long." And when he heard them, he
asked the damsel who they were. "Sir," said she, "leave your horse
here, and I shall leave mine, and we will join ourselves to their
company." So they entered into the ship, and the two knights
received them both with great joy. For they knew the damsel, that
she was Sir Perceval's sister. Then the wind arose and drove them
through the sea all that day and the next, till the ship arrived
between two rocks, passing great and marvellous; but there they
might not land, for there was a whirlpool; but there was another
ship, and upon it they might go without danger. "Go we thither,"
said the gentlewoman, "and there we shall see adventures, for such
is our Lord's will." Then Sir Galahad blessed him, and entered
therein, and then next the gentlewoman, and then Sir Bohort and
Sir Perceval. And when they came on board they found there the
table of silver, and the Sangreal, which was covered with red
samite. And they made great reverence thereto, and Sir Galahad
prayed a long time to our Lord, that at what time he should ask to
pass out of this world he should do so; and 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 thy soul."

And anon the wind drove them across the sea, till they came to the
city of Sarras. Then took they out of the ship the table of
silver, and Sir Perceval and Sir Bohort took it before, and Sir
Galahad came behind, and right so they went to the city. And at
the gate of the city they saw an old man, a cripple.

    "And Sir Launfal said, 'I behold in thee
    An image of Him who died on the tree
    Thou also hast had thy crown of thorns,
    Thou also hast had the world's buffets and scorns;
    And to thy life were not denied
    The wounds in thy hands and feet and side
    Mild Mary's son, acknowledge me;
    Behold, through Him I give to thee!'"

                                 --Lowell's Holy Grail.

Then Galahad called him, and bade him help to bear this heavy
thing. "Truly," said the old man, "it is ten years since I could
not go but with crutches." "Care thou not," said Sir Galahad, "but
arise up, and show thy good will." Then the old man rose up, and
assayed, and found himself as whole as ever he was; and he ran to
the table, and took one part with Sir Galahad.

When they came to the city it chanced that the king was just dead,
and 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 those three to
be their king. So they made Sir Galahad king, by all the assent of
the city. And when he was made king, he commanded to make a chest
of gold and of precious stones to hold the holy vessel. And every
day the three companions would come before it and make their

Now at the year's end, and the same day of the year that Sir
Galahad received the crown, he got up early, and, with his
fellows, came to where the holy vessel was; and they saw one
kneeling before it that had about him a great fellowship of
angels; and he called Sir Galahad, and said, "Come, thou servant
of the Lord, and thou shalt see what thou hast much desired to
see." And Sir Galahad's mortal flesh trembled right hard when he
began to behold the spiritual things. Then said the good man, "Now
wottest thou who I am?" "Nay," said Sir Galahad. "I am Joseph of
Arimathea, whom our Lord hath sent here to thee, to bear thee
fellowship." Then Sir Galahad held up his hands toward heaven, and
said, "Now, blessed Lord, would I not longer live, if it might
please thee." And when he had said these words, Sir Galahad went
to Sir Perceval and to Sir Bohort and kissed them, and commended
them to God. And then he kneeled down before the table, and made
his prayers, and suddenly his soul departed, and a great multitude
of angels bare his soul up to heaven, so as the two fellows could
well behold it. Also they saw come from heaven a hand, but they
saw not the body; and the hand came right to the vessel and bare
it up to heaven. Since then was there never one so hardy as to say
that he had seen the Sangreal on earth any more.



When Sir Perceval and Sir Bohort saw Sir Galahad dead they made as
much sorrow as ever did two men. And if they had not been good men
they might have fallen into despair. As soon as Sir Galahad was
buried Sir Perceval retired to a hermitage out of the city, and
took a religious clothing; and Sir Bohort was always with him, but
did not change his secular clothing, because he purposed to return
to the realm of Loegria. Thus a year and two months lived Sir
Perceval in the hermitage a full holy life, and then passed out of
this world, and Sir Bohort buried him by his sister and Sir
Galahad. Then Sir Bohort armed himself and departed from Sarras,
and entered into a ship, and sailed to the kingdom of Loegria, and
in due time arrived safe at Camelot, where the king was. Then was
there great joy made of him in the whole court, for they feared he
had been dead. Then the king made great clerks to come before him,
that they should chronicle of the high adventures of the good
knights. And Sir Bohort told him of the adventures that had
befallen him, and his two fellows, Sir Perceval and Sir Galahad.
And Sir Launcelot told the adventures of the Sangreal that he had
seen. All this was made in great books, and put up in the church
at Salisbury.

So King Arthur and Queen Guenever made great joy of the remnant
that were come home, and chiefly of Sir Launcelot and Sir Bohort.
Then Sir Launcelot began to resort unto Queen Guenever again, and
forgot the promise that he made in the quest: so that many in the
court spoke of it, and in especial Sir Agrivain, Sir Gawain's
brother, for he was ever open-mouthed. So it happened Sir Gawain
and all his brothers were in King Arthur's chamber, and then Sir
Agrivain said thus openly, "I marvel that we all are not ashamed
to see and to know so noble a knight as King Arthur so to be
shamed by the conduct of Sir Launcelot and the queen. "Then spoke
Sir Gawain, and said, "Brother, Sir Agrivain, I pray you and
charge you move not such matters any more before me, for be ye
assured I will not be of your counsel." "Neither will we," said
Sir Gaheris and Sir Gareth. "Then will I," said Sir Modred. "I
doubt you not," said Sir Gawain, "for to all mischief ever were ye
prone; yet I would that ye left all this, for I know what will
come of it."

            "Modred's narrow foxy face,
    Heart-hiding smile, and gray persistent eye:
    Henceforward, too, the Powers that tend the soul
    To help it from the death that cannot die,
    And save it even in extremes, began
    To vex and plague."


"Fall of it what fall may," said Sir Agrivain, "I will disclose it
to the king." With that came to them King Arthur. "Now, brothers,
hold your peace," said Sir Gawain. "We will not," said Sir
Agrivain. Then said Sir Gawain, "I will not hear your tales nor be
of your counsel." "No more will I," said Sir Gareth and Sir
Gaheris, and therewith they departed, making great sorrow.

Then Sir Agrivain told the king all that was said in the court of
the conduct of Sir Launcelot and the queen, and it grieved the
king very much. But he would not believe it to be true without
proof. So Sir Agrivain laid a plot to entrap Sir Launcelot and the
queen, intending to take them together unawares. Sir Agrivain and
Sir Modred led a party for this purpose, but Sir Launcelot escaped
from them, having slain Sir Agrivain and wounded Sir Modred. Then
Sir Launcelot hastened to his friends, and told them what had
happened, and withdrew with them to the forest; but he left spies
to bring him tidings of whatever might be done.

So Sir Launcelot escaped, but the queen remained in the king's
power, and Arthur could no longer doubt of her guilt. And the law
was such in those days that they who committed such crimes, of
what estate or condition soever they were, must be burned to
death, and so it was ordained for Queen Guenever. Then said King
Arthur to Sir Gawain, "I pray you make you ready, in your best
armor, with your brethren, Sir Gaheris and Sir Gareth, to bring my
queen to the fire, there to receive her death." "Nay, my most
noble lord," said Sir Gawain, "that will I never do; for know thou
well, my heart will never serve me to see her die, and it shall
never be said that I was of your counsel in her death." Then the
king commanded Sir Gaheris and Sir Gareth to be there, and they
said, "We will be there, as ye command us, sire, but in peaceable
wise, and bear no armor upon us."

So the queen was led forth, and her ghostly father was brought to
her to shrive her, and there was weeping and wailing of many lords
and ladies. And one went and told Sir Launcelot that the queen was
led forth to her death. Then Sir Launcelot and the knights that
were with him fell upon the troop that guarded the queen, and
dispersed them, and slew all who withstood them. And in the
confusion Sir Gareth and Sir Gaheris were slain, for they were
unarmed and defenceless. And Sir Launcelot carried away the queen
to his castle of La Joyeuse Garde.

Then there came one to Sir Gawain and told him how that Sir
Launcelot had slain the knights and carried away the queen. "O
Lord, defend my brethren!" said Sir Gawain. "Truly," said the man,
"Sir Gareth and Sir Gaheris are slain." "Alas!" said Sir Gawain,
"now is my joy gone." And then he fell down and swooned, and long
he lay there as he had been dead.

When he arose out of his swoon Sir Gawain ran to the king, crying,
"O King Arthur, mine uncle, my brothers are slain." Then the king
wept and he both. "My king, my lord, and mine uncle," said Sir
Gawain, "bear witness now that I make you a promise that I shall
hold by my knighthood, and from this day I will never fail Sir
Launcelot until the one of us have slain the other. I will seek
Sir Launcelot throughout seven kings' realms, but I shall slay him
or he shall slay me." "Ye shall not need to seek him," said the
king, "for as I hear, Sir Launcelot will abide me and you in the
Joyeuse Garde; and much people draweth unto him, as I hear say."
"That may I believe," said Sir Gawain; "but, my lord, summon your
friends, and I will summon mine." "It shall be done," said the
king. So then the king sent letters and writs throughout all
England, both in the length and breadth, to summon all his
knights. And unto Arthur drew many knights, dukes, and earls, so
that he had a great host. Thereof heard Sir Launcelot, and
collected all whom he could; and many good knights held with him,
both for his sake and for the queen's sake. But King Arthur's host
was too great for Sir Launcelot to abide him in the field; and he
was full loath to do battle against the king. So Sir Launcelot
drew him to his strong castle, with all manner of provisions. Then
came King Arthur with Sir Gawain, and laid siege all about La
Joyeuse Garde, both the town and the castle; but in no wise would
Sir Launcelot ride out of his castle, neither suffer any of his
knights to issue out, until many weeks were past.

Then it befell upon a day in harvest-time, Sir Launcelot looked
over the wall, and spoke aloud to King Arthur and Sir Gawain, "My
lords both, all is in vain that ye do at this siege, for here ye
shall win no worship, but only dishonor; for if I list to come
out, and my good knights, I shall soon make an end of this war."
"Come forth," said Arthur, "if thou darest, and I promise thee I
shall meet thee in the midst of the field." "God forbid me," said
Sir Launcelot, "that I should encounter with the most noble king
that made me knight." "Fie upon thy fair language," said the king,
"for know thou well I am thy mortal foe, and ever will be to my
dying day." And Sir Gawain said, "What cause hadst thou to slay my
brother, Sir Gaheris, who bore no arms against thee, and Sir
Gareth, whom thou madest knight, and who loved thee more than all
my kin? Therefore know thou well I shall make war to thee all the
while that I may live."

When Sir Bohort, and Sir Hector de Marys, and Sir Lionel heard
this outcry, they called to them Sir Palamedes, and Sir Saffire
his brother, and Sir Lawayn, with many more, and all went to Sir
Launcelot. And they said, "My lord, Sir Launcelot, we pray you, if
you will have our service keep us no longer within these walls,
for know well all your fair speech and forbearance will not avail
you." "Alas!" said Sir Launcelot, "to ride forth and to do battle
I am full loath." Then he spake again unto the king and Sir
Gawain, and willed them to keep out of the battle; but they
despised his words. So then Sir Launcelot's fellowship came out of
the castle in full good array. And always Sir Launcelot charged
all his knights, in any wise, to save King Arthur and Sir Gawain.

Then came forth Sir Gawain from the king's host and offered
combat, and Sir Lionel encountered with him, and there Sir Gawain
smote Sir Lionel through the body, that he fell to the earth as if
dead. Then there began a great conflict, and much people were
slain; but ever Sir Launcelot did what he might to save the people
on King Arthur's party, and ever King Arthur followed Sir
Launcelot to slay him; but Sir Launcelot suffered him, and would
not strike again. Then Sir Bohort encountered with King Arthur,
and smote him down; and he alighted and drew his sword, and said
to Sir Launcelot, "Shall I make an end of this war?" for he meant
to have slain King Arthur. "Not so," said Sir Launcelot, "touch
him no more, for I will never see that most noble king that made
me knight either slain or shamed;" and therewith 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, cease this
strife." And King Arthur looked upon Sir Launcelot, and the tears
burst from his eyes, thinking on the great courtesy that was in
Sir Launcelot more than in any other man; and therewith the king
rode his way. Then anon both parties withdrew to repose them, and
buried the dead.

But the war continued, and it was noised abroad through all
Christendom, and at last it was told afore the pope; and he,
considering the great goodness of King Arthur, and of Sir
Launcelot, called unto him a noble clerk, which was the Bishop of
Rochester, who was then in his dominions, and sent him to King
Arthur, charging him that he take his queen, dame Guenever, unto
him again, and make peace with Sir Launcelot.

So, by means of this bishop, peace was made for the space of one
year; and King Arthur received back the queen, and Sir Launcelot
departed from the kingdom with all his knights, and went to his
own country. So they shipped at Cardiff, and sailed unto Benwick,
which some men call Bayonne. And all the people of those lands
came to Sir Launcelot, and received him home right joyfully. And
Sir Launcelot stablished and garnished all his towns and castles,
and he greatly advanced all his noble knights, Sir Lionel and Sir
Bohort, and Sir Hector de Marys, Sir Blamor, Sir Lawayne, and many
others, and made them lords of lands and castles; till he left
himself no more than any one of them.

      "Then Arthur made vast banquets, and strange knights
    From the four winds came in: and each one sat,
    Tho' served with choice from air, land, stream and sea,
    Oft in mid-banquet measuring with his eyes
    His neighbor's make and might."

                                    --Pelleas and Ettarre.

But when the year was passed, King Arthur and Sir Gawain came with
a great host, and landed upon Sir Launcelot's lands, and burned
and wasted all that they might overrun. Then spake Sir Bohort and
said, "My lord, Sir Launcelot, give us leave to meet them in the
field, and we shall make them rue the time that ever they came to
this country." Then said Sir Launcelot, "I am full loath to ride
out with my knights for shedding of Christian blood; so we will
yet a while keep our walls, and I will send a messenger unto my
lord Arthur, to propose a treaty; for better is peace than always
war." So Sir Launcelot sent forth a damsel, and a dwarf with her,
requiring King Arthur to leave his warring upon his lands; and so
she started on a palfrey, and the dwarf ran by her side. And when
she came to the pavilion of King Arthur, she alighted, and there
met her a gentle knight, Sir Lucan, the butler, and said, "Fair
damsel, come ye from Sir Launcelot du Lac?" "Yea, sir," she said,
"I come hither to speak with the king." "Alas!" said Sir Lucan,
"my lord Arthur would be reconciled to Sir Launcelot, but Sir
Gawain will not suffer him." And with this Sir Lucan led the
damsel to the king, where he sat with Sir Gawain, to hear what she
would say. So when she had told her tale, the tears ran out of the
king's eyes; and all the lords were forward to advise the king to
be accorded with Sir Launcelot, save only Sir Gawain; and he said,
"My lord, mine uncle, what will ye do? Will you now turn back, now
you are so far advanced upon your journey? If ye do all the world
will speak shame of you." "Nay," said King Arthur, "I will do as
ye advise me; but do thou give the damsel her answer, for I may
not speak to her for pity."

Then said Sir Gawain, "Damsel, say ye to Sir Launcelot, that it is
waste labor to sue to mine uncle for peace, and say that I, Sir
Gawain, 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 damsel returned; and when Sir Launcelot had
heard this answer the tears ran down his cheeks.

Then it befell on a day Sir Gawain came before the gates, armed at
all points, and 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 traitor knight, and I
will avenge upon thy body the death of my three brethren." All
this language heard Sir Launcelot, and the knights which were
about him; and they said to him, "Sir Launcelot, now must ye
defend you like a knight, or else be shamed for ever, for you have
slept overlong and suffered overmuch." Then Sir Launcelot spake on
high unto King Arthur, and said, "My lord Arthur, now I have
forborne long, and suffered you and Sir Gawain to do what ye
would, and now must I needs defend myself, inasmuch as Sir Gawain
hath appealed me of treason." Then Sir Launcelot armed him and
mounted upon his horse, and the noble knights came out of the
city, and the host without stood all apart; and so the covenant
was made that no man should come near the two knights, nor deal
with them, till one were dead or yielded.

Then Sir Launcelot and Sir Gawain departed a great way asunder,
and then they came together with all their horses' might, and each
smote the other in the middle of their shields, but neither of
them was unhorsed, but their horses fell to the earth. And then
they leapt from their horses, and drew their swords, and gave many
sad strokes, so that the blood burst out in many places. Now Sir
Gawain had this gift from a holy man, that every day in the year,
from morning to noon, his strength was increased threefold, and
then it fell again to its natural measure. Sir Launcelot was aware
of this, and therefore, during the three hours that Sir Gawain's
strength was at the height, Sir Launcelot covered himself with his
shield, and kept his might in reserve. And during that time Sir
Gawain gave him many sad brunts, that all the knights that looked
on marvelled how Sir Launcelot might endure them. Then, when it
was past noon, Sir Gawain had only his own might; and when Sir
Launcelot felt him so brought down he stretched himself up, and
doubled his strokes, and gave Sir Gawain such a buffet that he
fell down on his side; and Sir Launcelot drew back and would
strike no more. "Why withdrawest thou, false traitor?" then said
Sir Gawain; "now turn again and slay me, for if thou leave me thus
when I am whole again, I shall do battle with thee again." "I
shall endure you, sir, by God's grace," said Sir Launcelot, "but
know thou well Sir Gawain, I will never smite a felled knight."
And so Sir Launcelot went into the city, and Sir Gawain was borne
into King Arthur's pavilion, and his wounds were looked to.

Thus the siege endured, and Sir Gawain lay helpless near a month;
and when he was near recovered came tidings unto King Arthur that
made him return with all his host to England.



Sir Modred was left ruler of all England, and he caused letters to
be written, as if from beyond sea, that King Arthur was slain in
battle. So he called a Parliament, and made himself be crowned
king; and he took the queen Guenever, and said plainly that he
would wed her, but she escaped from him and took refuge in the
Tower of London. And Sir Modred went and laid siege about the
Tower of London, and made great assaults thereat, but all might
not avail him. Then came word to Sir Modred that King Arthur had
raised the siege of Sir Launcelot, and was coming home. Then Sir
Modred summoned all the barony of the land; and much people drew
unto Sir Modred, and said they would abide with him for better and
for worse; and he drew a great host to Dover, for there he heard
say that King Arthur would arrive.

    "I hear the steps of Modred in the west,
    And with him many of thy people, and knights
    Once thine, whom thou hast loved, but grosser grown
    Than heathen, spitting at their vows and thee"

                                 --The Passing of Arthur.

And as Sir Modred was at Dover with his host, came King Arthur,
with a great number of ships and galleys, and there was Sir Modred
awaiting upon the landing. Then was there launching of great boats
and small, full of noble men of arms, and there was much slaughter
of gentle knights on both parts. But King Arthur was so
courageous, there might no manner of knights prevent him to land,
and his knights fiercely followed him; and so they landed, and put
Sir Modred aback so that he fled, and all his people. And when the
battle was done, King Arthur commanded to bury his people that
were dead. And then was noble Sir Gawain found, in a great boat,
lying more than half dead. And King Arthur went to him, and made
sorrow out of measure. "Mine uncle," said Sir Gawain, "know thou
well my death-day is come, and all is through mine own hastiness
and wilfulness, for I am smitten upon the old wound which Sir
Launcelot gave me, of which I feel I must die. And had Sir
Launcelot been with you as of old, this war had never begun, and
of all this I am the cause." Then Sir Gawain prayed the king to
send for Sir Launcelot, and to cherish him above all other
knights. And so at the hour of noon Sir Gawain yielded up his
spirit, and then the king bade inter him in a chapel within Dover
Castle; and there 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 Modred had pitched his camp
upon Barrendown; and the king rode thither, and there was a great
battle betwixt them, and King Arthur's party stood best, and Sir
Modred and his party fled unto Canterbury.

And there was a day assigned betwixt King Arthur and Sir Modred
that they should meet upon a down beside Salisbury, and not far
from the sea-side, to do battle yet again. And at night, as the
king slept, he dreamed a wonderful dream. It seemed him verily
that there came Sir Gawain unto him, with a number of fair ladies
with him. And when King Arthur saw him, he said, "Welcome, my
sister's son; I weened thou hadst been dead; and now I see thee
alive great is my joy. But, O fair nephew, what be these ladies
that hither be come with you?" "Sir," said Sir Gawain, "all these
be ladies for whom I have fought when I was a living man; and
because I did battle for them in righteous quarrel they have given
me grace to bring me hither unto you to warn you of your death, if
ye fight to-morrow with Sir Modred. Therefore take ye treaty, and
proffer you largely for a month's delay; for within a month shall
come Sir Launcelot and all his noble knights, and rescue you
worshipfully, and slay Sir Modred and all that hold with him." And
then Sir Gawain and all the ladies vanished. And anon the king
called to fetch his noble lords and wise bishops unto him. And
when they were come, the king told them his vision, and what Sir
Gawain had told him. Then the king sent Sir Lucan, the butler, and
Sir Bedivere, with two bishops, and charged them in any wise to
take a treaty for a month and a day with Sir Modred. So they
departed, and came to Sir Modred; and so, at the last, Sir Modred
was agreed to have Cornwall and Kent during Arthur's life, and all
England after his death.

    "Sir Modred; he the nearest to the king,
    His nephew, ever like a subtle beast
    Lay couchant with his eyes upon the throne,
    Ready to spring, waiting a chance."


Then was it agreed that King Arthur and Sir Modred should meet
betwixt both their hosts, and each of them should bring fourteen
persons, and then and there they should sign the treaty. And when
King Arthur and his knights were prepared to go forth, he warned
all his host, "If so be ye see any sword drawn, look ye come on
fiercely, and slay whomsoever withstandeth, for I in no wise trust
that traitor, Sir Modred." In like wise Sir Modred warned his
host. So they met, and were agreed and accorded thoroughly. And
wine was brought, and they drank. Right then came an adder out of
a little heath-bush, and stung a knight on the foot. And when the
knight felt him sting, he looked down and saw the adder, and then
he drew his sword to slay the adder, and thought of no other harm.
And when the host on both sides saw that sword drawn, they blew
trumpets and horns, and shouted greatly. And King Arthur took his
horse, and rode to his party, saying, "Alas, this unhappy day!"
And Sir Modred did in like wise. And never was there a more
doleful battle in Christian land. And ever King Arthur rode
throughout the battle, and did full nobly, as a worthy king
should, and Sir Modred that day did his devoir, and put himself in
great peril. And thus they fought all the long day, till the most
of all the noble knights lay dead upon the ground. Then the king
looked about him, and saw of all his host were left alive but two
knights, Sir Lucan, the butler, and Sir Bedivere, his brother, and
they were full sore wounded. Then King Arthur saw where Sir Modred
leaned upon his sword among a great heap of dead men. "Now give me
my spear," said Arthur unto Sir Lucan; "for yonder I espy the
traitor that hast wrought all this woe." "Sir, let him be," said
Sir Lucan; "for if ye pass this unhappy day, ye shall be right
well revenged upon him. Remember what the sprite of Sir Gawain
told you, and leave off now, for ye have won the field; and if ye
leave off now this evil day of destiny is past." "Betide me life,
betide me death," said King Arthur, "he shall not now escape my
hands." Then the king took his spear in both hands, and ran toward
Sir Modred, crying, "Traitor, now is thy death-day come." And
there King Arthur smote Sir Modred under the shield, with a thrust
of his spear through the body. And when Sir Modred felt that he
had his death-wound, with the might that he had he smote King
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
then Sir Modred fell stark dead upon the earth. And the noble
Arthur fell in a swoon to the earth. And Sir Lucan, the butler,
and Sir Bedivere raised him up, and gently led him betwixt them
both to a little chapel not far from the sea-side. And when the
king was there he thought him well eased. Then heard they people
cry in the field. And Sir Lucan went to see what that cry
betokened; and he saw by the moonlight that pillers and robbers
were come to rob the dead. And he returned, and said to the king,
"By my rede, it is best that we bring you to some town." "I would
it were so," said the king. And when the king tried to go he
fainted. Then Sir Lucan took up the king on the one part, and Sir
Bedivere on the other part; and in the lifting, Sir Lucan fell in
a swoon to the earth, for he was grievously wounded. And then the
noble knight's heart burst. And when the king awoke he beheld Sir
Lucan how he lay foaming at the mouth, and speechless. "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, and he would not complain, his heart
was so set to help me." Then Sir Bedivere wept for his brother.
"Leave this mourning and weeping," said the king, "for wilt thou
well, if I might live myself, the death of Sir Lucan would grieve
me evermore; but my time hieth fast. Therefore," said Arthur unto
Sir Bedivere, "take thou Excalibar, 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 Sir Bedivere, "your commandment
shall be done." So Sir Bedivere departed, and by the way he beheld
that noble sword, that the pommel and the haft were all of
precious stones; and then he said to himself, "If I throw this
rich sword into the water no good shall come thereof, but only
harm and loss." And then Sir Bedivere hid Excalibar under a tree.
And so, as soon as he might, he came again to the king. "What
sawest thou there?" said the king. "Sir," he said, "I saw
nothing." "Alas! thou hast deceived me," said the king. "Go thou
lightly again, and as thou love me, spare not to throw it in."
Then Sir Bedivere went again, and took the sword in his hand to
throw it; but again it beseemed him but sin and shame to throw
away that noble sword, and he hid it away again, and returned, and
told the king he had done his commandment. "What sawest thou
there?" said the king. "Sir," he said, "I saw nothing but waters
deep and waves wan." "Ah, traitor untrue!" said King Arthur, "now
hast thou betrayed me twice. And yet thou art named a noble
knight, and hast been lief and dear to me. But now go again, and
do as I bid thee, for thy long tarrying putteth me in jeopardy of
my life." Then Sir Bedivere went to the sword, and lightly took it
up, and went to the water-side, and he bound the girdle about the
hilt, and then he threw the sword as far into the water as he
might. And there came an arm and a hand out of the water, and met
it, and caught it, and shook it thrice and brandished it, and then
vanished away the hand with the sword in the water.

Then Sir Bedivere came again to the king, and told him what he
saw. "Help me hence," said the king, "for I fear I have tarried
too long." Then Sir Bedivere took the king on his back, and so
went with him to that water-side; and when they came there, even
fast by the bank there rode a little barge with many fair ladies
in it, and among them was a queen; and all had black hoods, and
they wept and shrieked when they saw King Arthur.

"Now put me in the barge," said the king. And there received him
three queens with great mourning, and in one of their laps King
Arthur laid his head. And the queen said, "Ah, dear brother, why
have ye tarried so long? Alas! this wound on your head hath caught
over-much cold." And then they rowed from the land, and Sir
Bedivere beheld them go from him. Then he cried: "Ah, my lord
Arthur, will ye leave me here alone among mine enemies?" "Comfort
thyself," said the king, "for in me is no further help; for I will
to the Isle of Avalon, to heal me of my grievous wound." And as
soon as Sir Bedivere had lost sight of the barge, he wept and
wailed; then he took the forest, and went all that night, and in
the morning he was ware of a chapel and a hermitage.

Then went Sir Bedivere thither; and when he came into the chapel,
he saw where lay an hermit on the ground, near a tomb that was
newly graven. "Sir," said Sir Bedivere, "what man is there buried
that ye pray so near unto?" "Fair son," said the hermit, "I know
not verily. But this night there came a number of ladies, and
brought hither one dead, and prayed me to bury him." "Alas!" said
Sir Bedivere, "that was my lord, King Arthur." Then Sir Bedivere
swooned; and when he awoke he prayed the hermit he might abide
with him, to live with fasting and prayers. "Ye are welcome," said
the hermit. So there bode Sir Bedivere with the hermit; and he put
on 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
authorized, nor more of the very certainty of his death; but thus
was he led away in a ship, wherein were three queens; the one was
King Arthur's sister, Queen Morgane le Fay; the other was Viviane,
the Lady of the Lake; and the third was the queen of North Galis.
And this tale Sir Bedivere, knight of the Table Round, made to be

Yet some men say that King Arthur is not dead, but hid away into
another place, and men say that he shall come again and reign over
England. But many say that there is written on his tomb this

    "Hie facet Arthurus, Rex quondam, Rexque futurus."
        Here Arthur lies, King once and King to be.

And when Queen Guenever understood that King Arthur was slain, and
all the noble knights with him, she stole away, and five ladies
with her; and so she went to Almesbury, and made herself a nun,
and ware white clothes and black, and took great penance as ever
did sinful lady, and lived in fasting, prayers, and alms-deeds.
And there she was abbess and ruler of the nuns.

     "And when she came to Almesbury she spake
    There to the nuns, and said, 'Mine enemies
    Pursue me, but, O peaceful Sisterhood,
    Receive, and yield me sanctuary, nor ask
    Her name to whom ye yield it, till her time
    To tell you;' and her beauty, grace and power
    Wrought as a charm upon them, and they spared
    To ask it."


Now turn we from her, and speak of Sir Launcelot of the Lake.

When Sir Launcelot heard in his country that Sir Modred was
crowned king of England, and made war against his own uncle, King
Arthur, then was Sir Launcelot wroth out of measure, and said to
his kinsmen: "Alas, that double traitor, Sir Modred! now it
repenteth me that ever he escaped out of my hands." Then Sir
Launcelot and his fellows made ready in all haste, with ships and
galleys, to pass into England; and so he passed over till he came
to Dover, and there he landed with a great army. Then Sir
Launcelot was told that King Arthur was slain. "Alas!" said Sir
Launcelot, "this is the heaviest tidings that ever came to me."
Then he called the kings, dukes, barons, and knights, and said
thus: "My fair lords, I thank you all for coming into this country
with me, but we came too late, and that shall repent me while I
live. But since it is so," said Sir Launcelot, "I will myself ride
and seek my lady, Queen Guenever, for I have heard say she hath
fled into the west; therefore ye shall abide me here fifteen days,
and if I come not within that time, then take your ships and your
host, and depart into your country."

So Sir Launcelot departed and rode westerly, and there he sought
many days; and at last he came to a nunnery, and was seen of Queen
Guenever as he walked in the cloister; and when she saw him she
swooned away. And when she might speak she bade him to be called
to her. And when Sir Launcelot was brought to her she said: "Sir
Launcelot, I require thee and beseech thee, for all the love that
ever was betwixt us, that thou never see me more, but return to
thy kingdom and take thee a wife, and live with her with joy and
bliss; and pray for me to my Lord, that I may get my soul's
health." "Nay, madam," said Sir Launcelot, "wit you well that I
shall never do; but the same destiny that ye have taken you to
will I take me unto, for to please and serve God." And so they
parted, with tears and much lamentation; and the ladies bare the
queen to her chamber, and Sir Launcelot took his horse and rode
away, weeping.

And at last Sir Launcelot was ware of a hermitage and a chapel,
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 the mass was the hermit with whom Sir Bedivere had
taken up his abode; and Sir Bedivere knew Sir Launcelot, and they
spake together after mass. But when Sir Bedivere had told his
tale, Sir Launcelot's heart almost burst for sorrow. Then he
kneeled down, and prayed the hermit to shrive him, and besought
that he might be his brother. Then the hermit said, "I will
gladly;" and then he put a habit upon Sir Launcelot, and there he
served God day and night, with prayers and fastings.

And the great host abode at Dover till the end of the fifteen days
set by Sir Launcelot, and then Sir Bohort made them to go home
again to their own country; and Sir Bohort, Sir Hector de Marys,
Sir Blamor, and many others, took on them to ride through all
England to seek Sir Launcelot. So Sir Bohort by fortune rode until
he came to the same chapel where Sir Launcelot was; and when he
saw Sir Launcelot in that manner of clothing he, prayed the hermit
that he might be in that same. And so there was an habit put upon
him, and there he lived in prayers and fasting. And within half a
year came others of the knights, their fellows, and took such a
habit as Sir Launcelot and Sir Bohort had. Thus they endured in
great penance six years.

And upon a night there came a vision to Sir Launcelot, and charged
him to haste toward Almesbury, and "by the time thou come there,
thou shalt find Queen Guenever dead." Then Sir Launcelot rose up
early and told the hermit thereof. Then said the hermit, "It were
well that ye disobey not this vision." And Sir Launcelot took his
seven companions with him, and on foot they went from Glastonbury
to Almesbury, which is more than thirty miles. And when they were
come to Almesbury, they found that Queen Guenever died but half an
hour before. 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" at night, and at morn he sang
mass. And there was prepared an horse-bier, and Sir Launcelot and
his fellows followed the bier on foot from Almesbury until they
came to Glastonbury; and she was wrapped in cered clothes, and
laid in a coffin of marble. And when she was put in the earth Sir
Launcelot swooned, and lay long as one dead.

And Sir Launcelot never after ate but little meat, nor drank; but
continually mourned. And within six weeks Sir Launcelot fell sick;
and he sent for the hermit and all his true fellows, and said,
"Sir hermit, I pray you give me all my rights that a Christian man
ought to have." "It shall not need," said the hermit and all his
fellows; "it is but heaviness of your blood, and to-morrow morn
you shall be well" "My fair lords," said Sir Launcelot, "my
careful body will into the earth; I have warning more than now I
will say; therefore give me my rights." So when he was houseled
and aneled, and had all that a Christian man ought to have, he
prayed the hermit that his fellows might bear his body to Joyous
Garde. (Some men say it was Alnwick, and some say it was
Bamborough.) "It repenteth me sore," said Sir Launcelot, "but I
made a vow aforetime that in Joyous Garde I would be buried." Then
there was weeping and wringing of hands among his fellows. And
that night Sir Launcelot died; and when Sir Bohort and his fellows
came to his bedside the next morning they found him stark dead;
and he lay as if he had smiled, and the sweetest savor all about
him that ever they knew.

And they put Sir Launcelot into the same horse-bier that Queen
Guenever was laid in, and the hermit and they altogether went with
the body till they came to Joyous Garde. And there they laid his
corpse in the body of the quire, and sang and read many psalms and
prayers over him. And ever his visage was laid open and naked,
that all folks might behold him. And right thus, as they were at
their service, there came Sir Hector de Maris, that had seven
years sought Sir Launcelot, his brother, through all England,
Scotland and Wales. And when Sir Hector heard such sounds in the
chapel of Joyous Garde he alighted and came into the quire. And
all they knew Sir Hector. Then went Sir Bohort, and told him how
there lay Sir Launcelot, his brother, dead. Then Sir Hector threw
his shield, his sword, and helm from him. And when he beheld Sir
Launcelot's visage it were hard for any tongue to tell the doleful
complaints he made for his brother. "Ah, Sir Launcelot!" he said,
"there thou liest. And now I dare to say thou wert never matched
of none earthly knight's hand. And thou wert the courteousest
knight that ever bare shield; and thou wert the truest friend to
thy lover that ever bestrode horse; and thou wert the truest
lover, of a sinful man, that ever loved woman; and thou wert the
kindest man that ever struck with sword. And thou wert the
goodliest person that ever came among press of knights. And thou
wert the meekest man, and the gentlest, that ever ate in hall
among ladies. And thou wert the sternest knight to thy mortal foe
that ever put spear in the rest." Then there was weeping and dolor
out of measure. Thus they kept Sir Launcelot's corpse fifteen
days, and then they buried it with great devotion.

Then they went back with the hermit to his hermitage. And Sir
Bedivere was there ever still hermit to his life's end. And Sir
Bohort, Sir Hector, Sir Blamor, and Sir Bleoberis went into the
Holy Land. And these four knights did many battles upon the
miscreants, the Turks; and there they died upon a Good Friday, as
it pleased God.

Thus endeth this noble and joyous book, entitled "La Morte
d'Arthur;" notwithstanding it treateth of the birth, life, and
acts of the said King Arthur, and of his noble Knights of the
Round Table, their marvellous enquests and adventures, the
achieving of the Sangreal, and, in the end, le Morte d'Arthur,
with the dolorous death and departing out of this world of them
all. Which book was reduced into English by Sir Thomas Mallory,
Knight, and divided into twenty-one books, chaptered and imprinted
and finished in the Abbey Westmestre, the last day of July, the
year of our Lord MCCCCLXXXV.

Caxton me fieri fecit.



It has been well known to the literati and antiquarians of Europe
that there exist in the great public libraries voluminous
manuscripts of romances and tales once popular, but which on the
invention of printing had already become antiquated, and fallen
into neglect. They were therefore never printed, and seldom
perused even by the learned, until about half a century ago, when
attention was again directed to them, and they were found very
curious monuments of ancient manners, habits, and modes of
thinking. Several have since been edited, some by individuals, as
Sir Walter Scott and the poet Southey, others by antiquarian
societies. The class of readers which could be counted on for such
publications was so small that no inducement of profit could be
found to tempt editors and publishers to give them to the world.
It was therefore only a few, and those the most accessible, which
were put in print. There was a class of manuscripts of this kind
which were known, or rather suspected, to be both curious and
valuable, but which it seemed almost hopeless to expect ever to
see in fair printed English. These were the Welsh popular tales
called Mabinogeon, a plural word, the singular being Mabinogi, a
tale. Manuscripts of these were contained in the Bodleian Library
at Oxford and elsewhere, but the difficulty was to find
translators and editors. The Welsh is a spoken language among the
peasantry of Wales, but is entirely neglected by the learned,
unless they are natives of the principality. Of the few Welsh
scholars none were found who took sufficient interest in this
branch of learning to give these productions to the English
public. Southey and Scott, and others, who like them, loved the
old romantic legends of their country, often urged upon the Welsh
literati the duty of reproducing the Mabinogeon. Southey, in the
preface of his edition of "Moted'Arthur," says: "The specimens
which I have seen are exceedingly curious; nor is there a greater
desideratum in British literature than an edition of these tales,
with a literal version, and such comments as Mr. Davies of all men
is best qualified to give. Certain it is that many of the round
table fictions originated in Wales, or in Bretagne, and probably
might still be traced there."

Again, in a letter to Sir Charles W. W. Wynn, dated 1819, he says:

"I begin almost to despair of ever seeing more of the Mabinogeon;
and yet if some competent Welshman could be found to edit it
carefully, with as literal a version as possible, I am sure it
might be made worth his while by a subscription, printing a small
edition at a high price, perhaps two hundred at five guineas. I
myself would gladly subscribe at that price per volume for such an
edition of the whole of your genuine remains in prose and verse.
Till some such collection is made, the 'gentlemen of Wales' ought
to be prohibited from wearing a leek; ay, and interdicted from
toasted cheese also. Your bards would have met with better usage
if they had been Scotchmen."

Sharon Turner and Sir Walter Scott also expressed a similar wish
for the publication of the Welsh manuscripts. The former took part
in an attempt to effect it, through the instrumentality of a Mr.
Owen, a Welshman, but, we judge, by what Southey says of him,
imperfectly acquainted with English. Southey's language is
"William Owen lent me three parts of the Mabinogeon, delightfully
translated into so Welsh an idiom and syntax that such a
translation is as instructive as an original." In another letter
he adds, "Let Sharon make his language grammatical, but not alter
their idiom in the slightest point."

It is probable Mr. Owen did not proceed far in an undertaking
which, so executed, could expect but little popular patronage. It
was not till an individual should appear possessed of the
requisite knowledge of the two languages, of enthusiasm sufficient
for the task, and of pecuniary resources sufficient to be
independent of the booksellers and of the reading public, that
such a work could be confidently expected. Such an individual has,
since Southey's day and Scott's, appeared in the person of Lady
Charlotte Guest, an English lady united to a gentleman of property
in Wales, who, having acquired the language of the principality,
and become enthusiastically fond of its literary treasures, has
given them to the English reader, in a dress which the printer's
and the engraver's arts have done their best to adorn. In four
royal octavo volumes containing the Welsh originals, the
translation, and ample illustrations from French, German, and
other contemporary and affiliated literature, the Mabinogeon is
spread before us. To the antiquarian and the student of language
and ethnology an invaluable treasure, it yet can hardly in such a
form win its way to popular acquaintance. We claim no other merit
than that of bringing it to the knowledge of our readers, of
abridging its details, of selecting its most attractive portions,
and of faithfully preserving throughout the style in which Lady
Guest has clothed her legends. For this service we hope that our
readers will confess we have laid them under no light obligation.



The earliest inhabitants of Britain are supposed to have been a
branch of that great family known in history by the designation of
Celts. Cambria, which is a frequent name for Wales, is thought to
be derived from Cymri, the name which the Welsh traditions apply
to an immigrant people who entered the island from the adjacent
continent. This name is thought to be identical with those of
Cimmerians and Cimbri, under which the Greek and Roman historians
describe a barbarous people, who spread themselves from the north
of the Euxine over the whole of Northwestern Europe.

The origin of the names Wales and Welsh has been much canvassed.
Some writers make them a derivation from Gael or Gaul, which names
are said to signify "woodlanders;" others observe that Walsh, in
the northern languages, signifies a stranger, and that the
aboriginal Britons were so called by those who at a later era
invaded the island and possessed the greater part of it, the
Saxons and Angles.

The Romans held Britain from the invasion of Julius Caesar till
their voluntary withdrawal from the island, A.D. 420,--that is,
about five hundred years. In that time there must have been a wide
diffusion of their arts and institutions among the natives. The
remains of roads, cities, and fortifications show that they did
much to develop and improve the country, while those of their
villas and castles prove that many of the settlers possessed
wealth and taste for the ornamental arts. Yet the Roman sway was
sustained chiefly by force, and never extended over the entire
island. The northern portion, now Scotland, remained independent,
and the western portion, constituting Wales and Cornwall, was only
nominally subjected.

Neither did the later invading hordes succeed in subduing the
remoter sections of the island. For ages after the arrival of the
Saxons under Hengist and Horsa, A.D. 449, the whole western coast
of Britain was possessed by the aboriginal inhabitants, engaged in
constant warfare with the invaders.

It has, therefore, been a favorite boast of the people of Wales
and Cornwall that the original British stock flourishes in its
unmixed purity only among them. We see this notion flashing out in
poetry occasionally, as when Gray, in "The Bard," prophetically
describing Queen Elizabeth, who was of the Tudor, a Welsh race,

    "Her eye proclaims her of the Briton line;"

and, contrasting the princes of the Tudor with those of the Norman
race, he exclaims:

    "All hail, ye genuine kings, Britannia's issue, hail!"


The Welsh language is one of the oldest in Europe. It possesses
poems the origin of which is referred with probability to the
sixth century. The language of some of these is so antiquated that
the best scholars differ about the interpretation of many
passages; but, generally speaking, the body of poetry which the
Welsh possess, from the year 1000 downwards, is intelligible to
those who are acquainted with the modern language.

Till within the last half-century these compositions remained
buried in the libraries of colleges or of individuals, and so
difficult of access that no successful attempt was made to give
them to the world. This reproach was removed after ineffectual
appeals to the patriotism of the gentry of Wales, by Owen Jones, a
furrier of London, who at his own expense collected and published
the chief productions of Welsh literature, under the title of the
Myvyrian Archaeology of Wales. In this task he was assisted by Dr.
Owen and other Welsh scholars.

After the cessation of Jones' exertions the old apathy returned,
and continued till within a few years. Dr. Owen exerted himself to
obtain support for the publication of the Mabinogeon or Prose
Tales of the Welsh, but died without accomplishing his purpose,
which has since been carried into execution by Lady Charlotte
Guest. The legends which fill the remainder of this volume are
taken from this work, of which we have already spoken more fully
in the introductory chapter to the First Part.


The authors to whom the oldest Welsh poems are attributed are
Aneurin, who is supposed to have lived A.D. 500 to 550, and
Taliesin, Llywarch Hen (Llywarch the Aged), and Myrddin or Merlin,
who were a few years later. The authenticity of the poems which
bear their names has been assailed, and it is still an open
question how many and which of them are authentic, though it is
hardly to be doubted that some are so. The poem of Aneurin
entitled the "Gododin" bears very strong marks of authenticity.
Aneurin was one of the Northern Britons of Strath-Clyde, who have
left to that part of the district they inhabited the name of
Cumberland, or Land of the Cymri. In this poem he laments the
defeat of his countrymen by the Saxons at the battle of Cattraeth,
in consequence of having partaken too freely of the mead before
joining in combat. The bard himself and two of his fellow-warriors
were all who escaped from the field. A portion of this poem has
been translated by Gray, of which the following is an extract:

    "To Cattraeth's vale, in glittering row,
    Twice two hundred warriors go;
    Every warrior's manly neck
    Chains of regal honor deck,
    Wreathed in many a golden link;
    From the golden cup they drink
    Nectar that the bees produce,
    Or the grape's exalted juice.
    Flushed with mirth and hope they burn,
    But none to Cattraeth's vale return,
    Save Aeron brave, and Conan strong,
    Bursting through the bloody throng,
    And I, the meanest of them all,
    That live to weep, and sing their fall."

The works of Taliesin are of much more questionable authenticity.
There is a story of the adventures of Taliesin so strongly marked
with mythical traits as to cast suspicion on the writings
attributed to him. This story will be found in the subsequent


The Triads are a peculiar species of poetical composition, of
which the Welsh bards have left numerous examples. They are
enumerations of a triad of persons, or events, or observations,
strung together in one short sentence. This form of composition,
originally invented, in all likelihood, to assist the memory, has
been raised by the Welsh to a degree of elegance of which it
hardly at first sight appears susceptible. The Triads are of all
ages, some of them probably as old as anything in the language.
Short as they are individually, the collection in the Myvyrian
Archaeology occupies more than one hundred and seventy pages of
double columns. We will give some specimens, beginning with
personal triads, and giving the first place to one of King
Arthur's own composition:

   "I have three heroes in battle:
    Mael the tall, and Llyr, with his army,
    And Caradoc, the pillar of Wales."

"The three principal bards of the island of Britain:--
  Merlin Ambrose
  Merlin the son of Mprfyn, called also Merlin the Wild,
  And Taliesin, the chief of the bards."

"The three golden-tongued knights of the court of Arthur:--
  Gawain, son of Gwyar,
  Drydvas, son of Tryphin,
  And Ehwlod, son of Madag, ap Uther."

"The three honorable feasts of the island of Britain:--
The feast of Caswallaun, after repelling Julius Caesar from this
The feast of Aurelius Ambrosius, after he had conquered the
And the feast of King Arthur, at Carleon upon Usk."

    "Guenever, the daughter of Laodegan the giant,
     Bad when little, worse when great."

Next follow some moral triads:

    "Hast thou heard what Dremhidydd sung,
     An ancient watchman on the castle walls?
     A refusal is better than a promise unperformed."

    "Hast thou heard what Llenleawg sung,
     The noble chief wearing the golden torques?
     The grave is better than a life of want."

    "Hast thou heard what Garselit sung,
     The Irishman whom it is safe to follow?
     Sin is bad, if long pursued."

    "Hast thou heard what Avaon sung,
     The son of Taliesin, of the recording verse?
     The cheek will not conceal the anguish of the heart."

    "Didst thou hear what Llywarch sung,
     The intrepid and brave old man?
     Greet kindly, though there be no acquaintance."




King Arthur was at Caerleon upon Usk; and one day he sat in his
chamber, and with him were Owain, the son of Urien, and Kynon, the
son of Clydno, and Kay, the son of Kyner, and Guenever and her
handmaidens at needlework by the window. In the centre of the
chamher King Arthur sat, upon a seat of green rushes, [Footnote:
The use of green rushes in apartments was by no means peculiar to
the court of Carleon upon Usk. Our ancestors had a great
predilection for them, and they seem to have constituted an
essential article, not only of comfort, but of luxury. The custom
of strewing the floor with rushes is well known to have existed in
England during the Middle Ages, and also in France.] over which
was spread a covering of flame-covered satin, and a cushion of red
satin was under his elbow.

Then Arthur spoke. "If I thought you would not disparage me," said
he, "I would sleep while I wait for my repast; and you can
entertain one another with relating tales, and can obtain a flagon
of mead and some meat from Kay." And the king went to sleep. And
Kynon the son of Clydno asked Kay for that which Arthur had
promised them. "I too will have the good tale which he promised
me," said Kay. "Nay," answered Kynon; "fairer will it be for thee
to fulfil Arthur's behest in the first place, and then we will
tell thee the best tale that we know." So Kay went to the kitchen
and to the mead-cellar, and returned, bearing a flagon of mead,
and a golden goblet, and a handful of skewers, upon which were
broiled collops of meat. Then they ate the collops, and began to
drink the mead. "Now," said Kay, "it is time for you to give me my
story." "Kynon," said Owain, "do thou pay to Kay the tale that is
his due." "I will do so," answered Kynon.

"I was the only son of my mother and father, and I was exceedingly
aspiring, and my daring was very great. I thought there was no
enterprise in the world too mighty for me: and after I had
achieved all the adventures that were in my own country, I
equipped myself, and set forth to journey through deserts and
distant regions. And at length it chanced that I came to the
fairest valley in the world, wherein were trees all of equal
growth; and a river ran through the valley, and a path was by the
side of the river. And I followed the path until midday, and
continued my journey along the remainder of the valley until the
evening; and at the extremity of the plain I came to a large and
lustrous castle, at the foot of which was a torrent. And I
approached the castle, and there I beheld two youths with yellow
curling hair, each with a frontlet of gold upon his head, and clad
in a garment of yellow satin; and they had gold clasps upon their
insteps. In the hand of each of them was an ivory bow, strung with
the sinews of the stag, and their arrows and their shafts were of
the bone of the whale, and were winged with peacock's feathers.
The shafts also had golden heads. And they had daggers with blades
of gold, and with hilts of the bone of the whale. And they were
shooting at a mark.

"And a little away from them I saw a man in the prime of life,
with his beard newly shorn, clad in a robe and mantle of yellow
satin, and round the top of his mantle was a band of gold lace. On
his feet were shoes of variegated leather, [Footnote: Cordwal is
the word in the original, and from the manner in which it is used
it is evidently intended for the French Cordouan or Cordovan
leather, which derived its name from Cordova, where it was
manufactured. From this comes also our English word cordwainer.]
fastened by two bosses of gold. When I saw him I went towards him
and saluted him; and such was his courtesy, that he no sooner
received my greeting than he returned it. And he went with me
towards the castle. Now there were no dwellers in the castle,
except those who were in one hall. And there I saw four and twenty
damsels, embroidering satin at a window. And this I tell thee,
Kay, that the least fair of them was fairer than the fairest maid
thou didst ever behold in the island of Britain; and the least
lovely of them was more lovely than Guenever, the wife of Arthur,
when she appeared loveliest, at the feast of Easter. They rose up
at my coming, and six of them took my horse, and divested me of my
armor, and six others took my arms and washed them in a vessel
till they were perfectly bright. And the third six spread cloths
upon the tables and prepared meat. And the fourth six took off my
soiled garments and placed others upon me, namely, an under vest
and a doublet of fine linen, and a robe and a surcoat, and a
mantle of yellow satin, with a broad gold band upon the mantle.
And they placed cushions both beneath and around me, with
coverings of red linen, and I sat down. Now the six maidens who
had taken my horse unharnessed him as well as if they had been the
best squires in the island of Britain.

"Then behold they brought bowls of silver, wherein was water to
wash and towels of linen, some green and some white; and I washed.
And in a little while the man sat down at the table. And I sat
next to him, and below me sat all the maidens, except those who
waited on us. And the table was of silver, and the cloths upon the
table were of linen. And no vessel was served upon the table that
was not either of gold or of silver or of buffalo horn. And our
meat was brought to us. And verily, Kay, I saw there every sort of
meat, and every sort of liquor that I ever saw elsewhere; but the
meat and the liquor were better served there than I ever saw them
in any other place.

"Until the repast was half over, neither the man nor any one of
the damsels spoke a single word to me; but when the man perceived
that it would be more agreeable for me to converse than to eat any
more, he began to inquire of me who I was. Then I told the man who
I was and what was the cause of my journey, and said that I was
seeking whether any one was superior to me, or whether I could
gain mastery over all. The man looked upon me, and he smiled and
said, 'If I did not fear to do thee a mischief, I would show thee
that which thou seekest.' Then I desired him to speak freely. And
he said: 'Sleep here to-night, and in the morning arise early, and
take the road upwards through the valley, until thou readiest the
wood. A little way within the wood thou wilt come to a large
sheltered glade, with a mound in the centre. And thou wilt see a
black man of great stature on the top of the mound. He has but one
foot, and one eye in the middle of his forehead. He is the wood-
ward of that wood. And thou wilt see a thousand wild animals
grazing around him. Inquire of him the way out of the glade, and
he will reply to thee briefly, and will point out the road by
which thou shalt find that which thou art in quest of.'

"And long seemed that night to me. And the next morning I arose
and equipped myself, and mounted my horse, and proceeded straight
through the valley to the wood, and at length I arrived at the
glade. And the black man was there, sitting upon the top of the
mound; and I was three times more astonished at the number of wild
animals that I beheld than the man had said I should be. Then I
inquired of him the way and he asked me roughly whither I would
go. And when I had told him who I was and what I sought, 'Take,'
said he, 'that path that leads toward the head of the glade, and
there thou wilt find an open space like to a large valley, and in
the midst of it a tall tree. Under this tree is a fountain, and by
the side of the fountain a marble slab, and on the marble slab a
silver bowl, attached by a chain of silver, that it may not be
carried away. Take, the bowl and throw a bowlful of water on the
slab. And if thou dost not find trouble in that adventure, thou
needest not seek it during the rest of thy life.'

"So I journeyed on until I reached the summit of the steep. And
there I found everything as the black man had described it to me.
And I went up to the tree, and beneath it I saw the fountain, and
by its side the marble slab, and the silver bowl fastened by the
chain. Then I took the bowl, and cast a bowlful of water upon the
slab, and immediately I heard a mighty peal of thunder, so that
heaven and earth seemed to tremble with its fury. And after the
thunder came a, shower; and of a truth I tell thee, Kay, that it
was such a shower as neither man nor beast could endure and live.
I turned my horse's flank toward the shower, and placed the beak
of my shield over his head and neck, while I held the upper part
of it over my own neck. And thus I withstood the shower. And
presently the sky became clear, and with that, behold, the birds
lighted upon the tree, and sang. And truly, Kay, I never heard any
melody equal to that, either before or since. And when I was most
charmed with listening to the birds, lo! a chiding voice was heard
of one approaching me and saying: 'O knight, what has brought thee
hither? What evil have I done to thee that thou shouldst act
towards me and my possessions as thou hast this day? Dost thou not
know that the shower to-day has left in my dominions neither man
nor beast alive that was exposed to it?' And thereupon, behold, a
knight on a black horse appeared, clothed in jet-black velvet, and
with a tabard of black linen about him. And we charged each other,
and, as the onset was furious, it was not long before I was
overthrown. Then the knight passed the shaft of his lance through
the bridle-rein of my horse, and rode off with the two horses,
leaving me where I was. And he did not even bestow so much notice
upon me as to imprison me, nor did he despoil me of my arms. So I
returned along the road by which I had come. And when I reached
the glade where the black man was, I confess to thee, Kay, it is a
marvel that I did not melt down into a liquid pool, through the
shame that I felt at the black man's derision. And that night I
came to the same castle where I had spent the night preceding. And
I was more agreeably entertained that night than I had been the
night before. And I conversed freely with the inmates of the
castle; and none of them alluded to my expedition to the fountain,
neither did I mention it to any. And I remained there that night.
When I arose on the morrow I found ready saddled a dark bay
palfrey, with nostrils as red as scarlet. And after putting on my
armor, and leaving there my blessing, I returned to my own court.
And that horse I still possess, and he is in the stable yonder.
And I declare that I would not part with him for the best palfrey
in the island of Britain.

"Now, of a truth, Kay, no man ever before confessed to an
adventure so much to his own discredit; and verily it seems
strange to me that neither before nor since have I heard of any
person who knew of this adventure, and that the subject of it
should exist within King Arthur's dominions without any other
person lighting upon it."




[Footnote: Amongst all the characters of early British history
none is the more interesting, or occupies more conspicuous place,
than the hero of this tale. Urien, his father, was prince of
Rheged, a district comprising the present Cumberland and part of
the adjacent country. His valor, and the consideration in which he
was held, are a frequent theme of Bardic song, and form the
subject of several very spirited odes by Taliesin. Among the
Triads there is one relating to him; it is thus translated:

"Three Knights of Battle were in court of Arthur Cadwr, the Earl
of Cornwall, Launcelot du Lac, and Owain, the son of Urien. And
this was their characteristic--that they would not retreat from
battle, neither for spear, nor for arrow, nor for sword. And
Arthur never had shame in battle the day he saw their faces there.
And they were called the Knights of Battle."]

"Now," quoth Owain, "would it not be well to go and endeavor to
discover that place?"

"By the hand of my friend," said Kay, "often dost thou utter that
with thy tongue which thou wouldest not make good with thy deeds."

"In very truth," said Guenever, "it were better thou wert hanged,
Kay, than to use such uncourteous speech towards a man like

"By the hand of my friend, good lady," said Kay, "thy praise of
Owain is not greater than mine."

With that Arthur awoke, and asked if he had not been sleeping a

"Yes, lord," answered Owain, "thou hast slept awhile."

"Is it time for us to go to meat?"

"It is, lord," said Owain.

Then the horn for washing was sounded, and the king and all his
household sat down to eat. And when the meal was ended Owain
withdrew to his lodging, and made ready his horse and his arms.

On the morrow with the dawn of day he put on his armor, and
mounted his charger, and travelled through distant lands, and over
desert mountains. And at length he arrived at the valley which
Kynon had described to him, and he was certain that it was the
same that he sought. And journeying along the valley, by the side
of the river, he followed its course till he came to the plain,
and within sight of the castle. When he approached the castle he
saw the youths shooting with their bows, in the place where Kynon
had seen them, and the yellow man, to whom the castle belonged,
standing hard by. And no sooner had Owain saluted the yellow man,
than he was saluted by him in return.

And he went forward towards the castle, and there he saw the
chamber; and when he had entered the chamber, he beheld the
maidens working at satin embroidery, in chains of gold. And their
beauty and their comeliness seemed to Owain far greater than Kynon
had represented to him. And they arose to wait upon Owain, as they
had done to Kynon. And the meal which they set before him gave
even more satisfaction to Owain than it had done to Kynon.

About the middle of the repast the yellow man asked Owain the
object of his journey. And Owain made it known to him, and said,
"I am in quest of the knight who guards the fountain." Upon this
the yellow man smiled, and said that he was as loth to point out
that adventure to him as he had been to Kynon. However, he
described the whole to Owain, and they retired to rest.

The next morning Owain found his horse made ready for him by the
damsels, and he set forward and came to the glade where the black
man was. And the stature of the black man seemed more wonderful to
Owain than it had done to Kynon; and Owain asked of him his road,
and he showed it to him. And Owain followed the road till he came
to the green tree; and he beheld the fountain, and the slab beside
the fountain, with the bowl upon it. And Owain took the bowl and
threw a bowlful of water upon the slab. And, lo! the thunder was
heard, and after the thunder came the shower, more violent than
Kynon had described, and after the shower the sky became bright.
And immediately the birds came and settled upon the tree and sang.
And when their song was most pleasing to Owain he beheld a knight
coming towards him through the valley; and he prepared to receive
him, and encountered him violently. Having broken both their
lances, they drew their swords and fought blade to blade. Then
Owain struck the knight a blow through his helmet, head-piece, and
visor, and through the skin, and the flesh, and the bone, until it
wounded the very brain. Then the black knight felt that he had
received a mortal wound, upon which he turned his horse's head and
fled. And Owain pursued him and followed close upon him, although
he was not near enough to strike him with his sword. Then Owain
descried a vast and resplendent castle; and they came to the
castle gate. And the black knight was allowed to enter, and the
portcullis was let fall upon Owain; and it struck his horse behind
the saddle, and cut him in two, and carried away the rowels of the
spurs that were upon Owains' heels. And the portcullis descended
to the floor. And the rowels of the spurs and part of the horse
were without, and Owain with the other part of the horse remained
between the two gates, and the inner gate was closed, so that
Owain could not go thence; and Owain was in a perplexing
situation. And while he was in this state, he could see through an
aperture in the gate a street facing him, with a row of houses on
each side. And he beheld a maiden, with yellow, curling hair, and
a frontlet of gold upon her head; and she was clad in a dress of
yellow satin, and on her feet were shoes of variegated leather.
And she approached the gate, and desired that it should be opened.
"Heaven knows, lady," said Owain, "it is no more possible for me
to open to thee from hence, than it is for thee to set me free."
And he told her his name, and who he was. "Truly," said the
damsel, "it is very sad that thou canst not be released; and every
woman ought to succor thee, for I know there is no one more
faithful in the service of ladies than thou. Therefore," quoth
she, "whatever is in my power to do for thy release, I will do it.
Take this ring and put it on thy finger, with the stone inside thy
hand, and close thy hand upon the stone. And as long as thou
concealest it, it will conceal thee. When they come forth to fetch
thee, they will be much grieved that they cannot find thee. And I
will await thee on the horseblock yonder, and thou wilt be able to
see me, though I cannot see thee. Therefore come and place thy
hand upon my shoulder, that I may know that thou art near me. And
by the way that I go hence do thou accompany me."

Then the maiden went away from Owain, and he did all that she had
told him. And the people of the castle came to seek Owain to put
him to death; and when they found nothing but the half of his
horse, they were sorely grieved.

And Owain vanished from among them, and went to the maiden, and
placed his hand upon her shoulder; whereupon she set off, and
Owain followed her, until they came to the door of a large and
beautiful chamber, and the maiden opened it, and they went in. And
Owain looked around the chamber, and behold there was not a single
nail in it that was not painted with gorgeous colors, and there
was not a single panel that had not sundry images in gold
portrayed upon it.

The maiden kindled a fire, and took water in a silver bowl, and
gave Owain water to wash. Then she placed before him a silver
table, inlaid with gold; upon which was a cloth of yellow linen,
and she brought him food. And, of a truth, Owain never saw any
kind of meat that was not there in abundance, but it was better
cooked there than he had ever found it in any other place. And
there was not one vessel from which he was served that was not of
gold or of silver. And Owain eat and drank until late in the
afternoon, when lo! they heard a mighty clamor in the castle, and
Owain asked the maiden what it was. "They are administering
extreme unction," said she, "to the nobleman who owns the castle."
And she prepared a couch for Owain which was meet for Arthur
himself, and Owain went to sleep.

And a little after daybreak he heard an exceeding loud clamor and
wailing, and he asked the maiden what was the cause of it. "They
are bearing to the church the body of the nobleman who owned the

And Owain rose up, and clothed himself, and opened a window of the
chamber, and looked towards the castle; and he could see neither
the bounds nor the extent of the hosts that filled the streets.
And they were fully armed; and a vast number of women were with
them, both on horseback and on foot, and all the ecclesiastics in
the city singing. In the midst of the throng he beheld the bier,
over which was a veil of white linen; and wax tapers were burning
beside and around it; and none that supported the bier was lower
in rank than a powerful baron.

Never did Owain see an assemblage so gorgeous with silk [Footnote:
Before the sixth century all the silk used by Europeans had been
brought to them by the Seres, the ancestors of the present
Boukharians, whence it derived its Latin name of Serica. In 551
the silkworm was brought by two monks to Constantinople, but the
manufacture of silk was confined to the Greek empire till the year
1130, when Roger, king of Sicily, returning from a crusade,
collected some manufacturers from Athens and Corinth, and
established them at Palermo, whence the trade was gradually
disseminated over Italy. The varieties of silk stuffs known at
this time were velvet, satin (which was called samite), and
taffety (called cendal or sendall), all of which were occasionally
stitched with gold and silver.] and satin. And, following the
train, he beheld a lady with yellow hair falling over her
shoulders, and stained with blood; and about her a dress of yellow
satin, which was torn. Upon her feet were shoes of variegated
leather. And it was a marvel that the ends of her fingers were not
bruised from the violence with which she smote her hands together.
Truly she would have been the fairest lady Owain ever saw, had she
been in her usual guise. And her cry was louder than the shout of
the men or the clamor of the trumpets. No sooner had he beheld the
lady than he became inflamed with her love, so that it took entire
possession of him.

Then he inquired of the maiden who the lady was. "Heaven knows,"
replied the maiden, "she is the fairest and the most chaste, and
the most liberal, and the most noble of women. She is my mistress,
and she is called the Countess of the Fountain, the wife of him
whom thou didst slay yesterday." "Verily," said Owain, "she is the
woman that I love best." "Verily," said the maiden, "she shall
also love thee, not a little."

Then the maiden prepared a repast for Owain, and truly he thought
he had never before so good a meal, nor was he ever so well
served. Then she left him, and went towards the castle. When she
came there, she found nothing but mourning and sorrow; and the
Countess in her chamber could not bear the sight of any one
through grief. Luned, for that was the name of the maiden, saluted
her, but the Countess answered her not. And the maiden bent down
towards her, and said, "What aileth thee, that thou answereth no
one to-day?" "Luned," said the Countess, "what change hath
befallen thee, that thou hast not come to visit me in my grief. It
was wrong in thee, and I so sorely afflicted." "Truly," said
Luned, "I thought thy good sense was greater than I find it to be.
Is it well for thee to mourn after that good man, or for anything
else that thou canst not have?" "I declare to Heaven," said the
Countess, "that in the whole world there is not a man equal to
him." "Not so," said Luned, "for an ugly man would be as good as
or better than he." "I declare to Heaven," said the Countess,
"that were it not repugnant to me to put to death one whom I have
brought up, I would have thee executed for making such a
comparison to me. As it is, I will banish thee." "I am glad," said
Luned, "that thou hast no other cause to do so than that I would
have been of service to thee, where thou didst not know what was
to thine advantage. Henceforth, evil betide whichever of us shall
make the first advance towards reconciliation to the other,
whether I should seek an invitation from thee, or thou of thine
own accord should send to invite."

With that Luned went forth; and the Countess arose and followed
her to the door of the chamber, and began coughing loudly. And
when Luned looked back, the Countess beckoned to her, and she
returned to the Countess. "In truth," said the Countess, "evil is
thy disposition; but if thou knowest what is to my advantage,
declare it to me." "I will do so," said she.

"Thou knowest that, except by warfare and arms, it is impossible
for thee to preserve thy possessions; delay not, therefore, to
seek some one who can defend them." "And how can I do that?" said
the Countess. "I will tell thee," said Luned; "unless thou canst
defend the fountain, thou canst not maintain thy dominions; and no
one can defend the fountain except it be a knight of Arthur's
household. I will go to Arthur's court, and ill betide me if I
return not thence with a warrior who can guard the fountain as
well as, or even better than, he who defended it formerly." "That
will be hard to perform," said the Countess. "Go, however, and
make proof of that which thou hast promised,"

Luned set out under the pretence of going to Arthur's court; but
she went back to the mansion where she had left Owain, and she
tarried there as long as it might have taken her to travel to the
court of King Arthur and back. And at the end of that time she
apparelled herself, and went to visit the Countess. And the
Countess was much rejoiced when she saw her, and inquired what
news she brought from the court. "I bring thee the best of news,"
said Luned, "for I have compassed the object of my mission. When
wilt thou that I should present to thee the chieftain who has come
with me hither?" "Bring him here to visit me to-morrow," said the
Countess, "and I will cause the town to be assembled by that

And Luned returned home. And the next day at noon, Owain arrayed
himself in a coat and a surcoat, and a mantle of yellow satin,
upon which was a broad band of gold lace; and on his feet were
high shoes of variegated leather, which were fastened by golden
clasps, in the form of lions. And they proceeded to the chamber of
the Countess.

Right glad was the Countess of their coming. And she gazed
steadfastly upon Owain, and said, "Luned, this knight has not the
look of a traveller." "What harm is there in that, lady?" said
Luned. "I am certain," said the Countess, "that no other man than
this chased the soul from the body of my lord." "So much the
better for thee, lady," said Luned, "for had he not been stronger
than thy lord, he could not have deprived him of life. There is no
remedy for that which is past, be it as it may." "Go back to thine
abode," said the Countess, "and I will take counsel."

The next day the Countess caused all her subjects to assemble, and
showed them that her earldom was left defenceless, and that it
could not be protected but with horse and arms, and military
skill. "Therefore," said she, "this is what I offer for your
choice: either let one of you take me, or give your consent for me
to take a husband from elsewhere, to defend my dominions."

So they came to the determination that it was better that she
should have permission to marry some one from elsewhere; and
thereupon she sent for the bishops and archbishops, to celebrate
her nuptials with Owain. And the men of the earldom did Owain

And Owain defended the fountain with lance and sword. And this is
the manner in which he defended it. Whensoever a knight came
there, he overthrew him, and sold him for his full worth. And what
he thus gained he divided among his barons and his knights, and no
man in the whole world could be more beloved than he was by his
subjects. And it was thus for the space of three years.

[Footnote: There exists an ancient poem, printed among those of
Taliesin, called the "Elegy of Owain ap Urien," and containing
several very beautiful and spirited passages It commences

   "The soul of Owain ap Urien,
   May its Lord consider its exigencies'
   Reged's chief the green turf covers."

In the course of this Elegy the bard, alluding to the incessant
warfare with which this chieftain harassed his Saxon foes,

"Could England sleep with the light upon her eyes'"]




It befell that, as Gawain went forth one day with King Arthur, he
perceived him to be very sad and sorrowful. And Gawain was much
grieved to see Arthur in his state, and he questioned him, saying,
"O my lord, what has befallen thee?" "In sooth, Gawain," said
Arthur, "I am grieved concerning Owain, whom I have lost these
three years; and I shall certainly die if the fourth year pass
without my seeing him. Now I am sure that it is through the tale
which Kynon, the son of Clydno, related, that I have lost Owain."
"There is no need for thee," said Gawain, "to summon to arms thy
whole dominions on this account, for thou thyself, and the men of
thy household, will be able to avenge Owain if he be slain or to
set him free if he be in prison; and, if alive, to bring him back
with thee." And it was settled according to what Gawain had said.

Then Arthur and the men of his household prepared to go and seek
Owain. And Kynon, the son of Clydno, acted as their guide. And
Arthur came to the castle where Kynon had been before. And when he
came there, the youths were shooting in the same place, and the
yellow man was standing hard by. When the yellow man saw Arthur,
he greeted him, and invited him to the castle. And Arthur accepted
his invitation, and they entered the castle together. And great as
was the number of his retinue, their presence was scarcely
observed in the castle, so vast was its extent. And the maidens
rose up to wait on them. And the service of the maidens appeared
to them all to excel any attendance they had ever met with; and
even the pages, who had charge of the horses, were no worse served
that night than Arthur himself would have been in his own palace.

The next morning Arthur set out thence, with Kynon for his guide,
and came to the place where the black man was. And the stature of
the black man was more surprising to Arthur than it had been
represented to him. And they came to the top of the wooded steep,
and traversed the valley, till they reached the green tree, where
they saw the fountain and the bowl and the slab. And upon that Kay
came to Arthur, and spoke to him. "My lord," said he, "I know the
meaning of all this, and my request is that thou wilt permit me to
throw the water on the slab, and to receive the first adventure
that may befall." And Arthur gave him leave.

Then Kay threw a bowlful of water upon the slab, and immediately
there came the thunder, and after the thunder the shower. And such
a thunder-storm they had never known before. After the shower had
ceased, the sky became clear, and on looking at the tree, they
beheld it completely leafless. Then the birds descended upon the
tree. And the song of the birds was far sweeter than any strain
they had ever heard before. Then they beheld a knight, on a coal-
black horse, clothed in black satin, coming rapidly towards them.
And Kay met him and encountered him, and it was not long before
Kay was overthrown. And the knight withdrew. And Arthur and his
host encamped for the night.

And when they arose in the morning, they perceived the signal of
combat upon the lance of the knight. Then, one by one, all the
household of Arthur went forth to combat the knight, until there
was not one that was not overthrown by him, except Arthur and
Gawain. And Arthur armed himself to encounter the knight. "O my
lord," said Gawain, "permit me to fight with him first." And
Arthur permitted him. And he went forth to meet the knight, having
over himself and his horse a satin robe of honor, which had been
sent him by the daughter of the Earl of Rhangyr, and in this dress
he was not known by any of the host. And they charged each other,
and fought all that day until the evening. And neither of them was
able to unhorse the other. And so it was the next day; they broke
their lances in the shock, but neither of them could obtain the

And the third day they fought with exceeding strong lances. And
they were incensed with rage, and fought furiously, even until
noon. And they gave each other such a shock that the girths of
their horses were broken, so that they fell over their horses'
cruppers to the ground. And they rose up speedily and drew their
swords, and resumed the combat. And all they that witnessed their
encounter felt assured that they had never before seen two men so
valiant or so powerful. And had it been midnight, it would have
been light, from the fire that flashed from their weapons. And the
knight gave Gawain a blow that turned his helmet from off his
face, so that the knight saw that it was Gawain. Then Owain said,
"My lord Gawain, I did not know thee for my cousin, owing to the
robe of honor that enveloped thee; take my sword and my arms."
Said Gawain, "Thou, Owain, art the victor; take thou my sword."
And with that Arthur saw that they were conversing, and advanced
toward them. "My lord Arthur," said Gawain, "here is Owain who has
vanquished me, and will not take my arms." "My lord," said Owain,
"it is he that has vanquished me, and he will not take my sword."
"Give me your swords," said Arthur, "and then neither of you has
vanquished the other." Then Owain put his arms around Arthur's
neck, and they embraced. And all the host hurried forward to see
Owain, and to embrace him. And there was nigh being a loss of
life, so great was the press.

And they retired that night, and the next day Arthur prepared to
depart. "My lord," said Owain, "this is not well of thee. For I
have been absent from thee these three years, and during all that
time, up to this very day, I have been preparing a banquet for
thee, knowing that thou wouldst come to seek me. Tarry with me,
therefore, until thou and thy attendants have recovered the
fatigues of the journey, and have been anointed."

And they all proceeded to the castle of the Countess of the
Fountain, and the banquet which had been three years preparing was
consumed in three months. Never had they a more delicious or
agreeable banquet. And Arthur prepared to depart. Then he sent an
embassy to the Countess to beseech her to permit Owain to go with
him, for the space of three months, that he might show him to the
nobles and the fair dames of the island of Britain. And the
Countess gave her consent, although it was very painful to her. So
Owain came with Arthur to the island of Britain. And when he was
once more amongst his kindred and friends, he remained three
years, instead of three months, with them.


And as Owain one day sat at meat, in the city of Caerleon upon
Usk, behold a damsel entered the hall, upon a bay horse, with a
curling mane, and covered with foam; and the bridle, and as much
as was seen of the saddle, were of gold. And the damsel was
arrayed in a dress of yellow satin. And she came up to Owain, and
took the ring from off his hand. "Thus," said she, "shall be
treated the deceiver, the traitor, the faithless, the disgraced,
and the beardless." And she turned her horse's head and departed.

[Footnote: The custom of riding into a hall while the lord and his
guests sat at meat might be illustrated by numerous passages of
ancient romance and history. But a quotation from Chaucer's
beautiful and half-told tale of "Cambuscan" is sufficient:

    "And so befell that after the thridde cours,
    While that this king sat thus in his nobley,
    Herking his minstralles thir thinges play,
    Beforne him at his bord deliciously,
    In at the halle door all sodenly
    Ther came a knight upon a stede of bras,
    And in his hond a brod mirrour of glas;
    Upon his thombe he had of gold a ring,
    And by his side a naked sword hanging;
    And up he rideth to the highe bord.
    In all the halle ne was ther spoke a word,
    For meryaille of this knight; him to behold
    Full besily they waiten, young and old."]

Then his adventure came to Owain's remembrance, and he was
sorrowful. And having finished eating, he went to his own abode,
and made preparations that night. And the next day he arose, but
did not go to the court, nor did he return to the Countess of the
Fountain, but wandered to the distant parts of the earth and to
uncultivated mountains. And he remained there until all his
apparel was worn out, and his body was wasted away, and his hair
was grown long. And he went about with the wild beasts, and fed
with them, until they became familiar with him. But at length he
became so weak that he could no longer bear them company. Then he
descended from the mountains to the valley, and came to a park,
that was the fairest in the world, and belonged to a charitable

One day the lady and her attendants went forth to walk by a lake
that was in the middle of the park. And they saw the form of a
man, lying as if dead. And they were terrified. Nevertheless they
went near him, and touched him, and they saw that there was life
in him. And the lady returned to the castle, and took a flask full
of precious ointment and gave it to one of her maidens. "Go with
this," said she, "and take with thee yonder horse, and clothing,
and place them near the man we saw just now; and anoint him with
this balsam near his heart; and if there is life in him, he will
revive, through the efficiency of this balsam. Then watch what he
will do."

And the maiden departed from her, and went and poured of the
balsam upon Owain, and left the horse and the garments hard by,
and went a little way off and hid herself to watch him. In a short
time, she saw him begin to move; and he rose up, and looked at his
person, and became ashamed of the unseemliness of his appearance.
Then he perceived the horse and the garments that were near him.
And he clothed himself, and with difficulty mounted the horse.
Then the damsel discovered herself to him, and saluted him. And he
and the maiden proceeded to the castle, and the maiden conducted
him to a pleasant chamber, and kindled a fire, and left him.

And he stayed at the castle three months, till he was restored to
his former guise, and became even more comely than he had ever
been before. And Owain rendered signal service to the lady, in a
controversy with a powerful neighbor, so that he made ample
requital to her for her hospitality; and he took his departure.

And as he journeyed he heard a loud yelling in a wood. And it was
repeated a second and a third time. And Owain went towards the
spot, and beheld a huge craggy mound, in the middle of the wood,
on the side of which was a gray rock. And there was a cleft in the
rock, and a serpent was within the cleft. And near the rock stood
a black lion, and every time the lion sought to go thence the
serpent darted towards him to attack him. And Owain unsheathed his
sword, and drew near to the rock; and as the serpent sprung out he
struck him with his sword and cut him in two. And he dried his
sword, and went on his way as before. But behold the lion followed
him, and played about him, as though it had been a greyhound that
he had reared.

They proceeded thus throughout the day, until the evening. And
when it was time for Owain to take his rest he dismounted, and
turned his horse loose in a flat and wooded meadow. And he struck
fire, and when the fire was kindled, the lion brought him fuel
enough to last for three nights. And the lion disappeared. And
presently the lion returned, bearing a fine large roebuck. And he
threw it down before Owain, who went towards the fire with it.

And Owain took the roebuck, and skinned it, and placed collops of
its flesh upon skewers round the fire. The rest of the buck he
gave to the lion to devour. While he was so employed, he heard a
deep groan near him, and a second, and a third. And the place
whence the groans proceeded was a cave in the rock; and Owain went
near, and called out to know who it was that groaned so piteously.
And a voice answered, "I am Luned, the hand-maiden of the Countess
of the Fountain." "And what dost thou here?" said he. "I am
imprisoned," said she, "on account of the knight who came from
Arthur's court, and married the Countess. And he staid a short
time with her, but he afterwards departed for the court of Arthur,
and has not returned since. And two of the Countess's pages
traduced him, and called him a deceiver. And because I said I
would vouch for it he would come before long and maintain his
cause against both of them, they imprisoned me in this cave, and
said that I should be put to death, unless he came to deliver me,
by a certain day; and that is no further off than to-morrow, and I
have no one to send to seek him for me. His name is Owain, the son
of Urien." "And art thou certain that if that knight knew all
this, he would come to thy rescue?" "I am most certain of it,"
said she.

When the collops were cooked, Owain divided them into two parts,
between himself and the maiden, and then Owain laid himself down
to sleep; and never did sentinel keep stricter watch over his lord
than the lion that night over Owain.

And the next day there came the two pages with a great troop of
attendants to take Luned from her cell, and put her to death. And
Owain asked them what charge they had against her. And they told
him of the compact that was between them; as the maiden had done
the night before. "And," said they, "Owain has failed her,
therefore we are taking her to be burnt." "Truly," said Owain, "he
is a good knight; and if he knew that the maiden was in such
peril, I marvel that he came not to her rescue. But if you will
accept me in his stead, I will do battle with you." "We will,"
said the youth.

And they attacked Owain, and he was hard beset by them. And with
that, the lion came to Owain's assistance, and they two got the
better of the young men And they said to him, "Chieftain, it was
not agreed that we should fight save with thyself alone, and it is
harder for us to contend with yonder animal than with thee." And
Owain put the lion in the place where Luned had been imprisoned,
and blocked up the door with stones. And he went to fight with the
young men as before. But Owain had not his usual strength, and the
two youths pressed hard upon him. And the lion roared incessantly
at seeing Owain in trouble. And he brust through the wall, until
he found a way out, and rushed upon the young men and instantly
slew them. So Luned was saved from being burned.

Then Owain returned with Luned to the castle of the Lady of the
Fountain. And when he went thence, he took the Countess with him
to Arthur's court, and she was his wife as long as she lived.



Arthur was accustomed to hold his court at Caerleon upon Usk. And
there he held it seven Easters and five Christmases. And once upon
a time he held his court there at Whitsuntide. For Caerleon was
the place most easy of access in his dominions, both by sea and by
land. And there were assembled nine crowned kings, who were his
tributaries, and likewise earls and barons. For they were his
invited guests at all the high festivals, unless they were
prevented by any great hinderatice. And when he was at Caerleon
holding his court, thirteen churches were set apart for mass. And
thus they were appointed: one church for Arthur and his kings, and
his guests; and the second for Guenever and her ladies; and the
third for the steward of the household and the suitors; and the
fourth for the Franks and the other officers; and the other nine
churches were for the nine masters of the household, and chiefly
for Gawain, for he, from the eminence of his warlike fame, and
from the nobleness of his birth, was the most exalted of the nine.
And there was no other arrangement respecting the churches than
that which we have here mentioned.

And on Whit-Tuesday, as the king sat at the banquet, lo, there
entered a tall, fair-headed youth, clad in a coat and surcoat of
satin, and a golden-hilted sword about his neck, and low shoes of
leather upon his feet. And he came and stood before Arthur. "Hail
to thee, lord," said he. "Heaven prosper thee," he answered, "and
be thou welcome. Dost thou bring any new tidings?" "I do, lord,"
he said. "I am one of thy foresters, lord, in the forest of Dean,
and my name is Madoc, son of Turgadarn. In the forest I saw a
stag, the like of which beheld I never yet." "What is there about
him," asked Arthur, "that thou never yet didst see his like?" "He
is of pure white, lord, and he does not herd with any other
animal, through stateliness and pride, so royal is his bearing.
And I come to seek thy counsel, lord, and to know thy will
concerning him." "It seems best to me," said Arthur, "to go and
hunt him to-morrow at break of day, and to cause general notice
thereof to be given to-night, in all quarters of the court."

   "For Arthur on the Whitsuntide before
   Held court at old Caerleon upon Usk.
   There on a day, he sitting high in hall,
   Before him came a forester of Dean,
   Wet from the woods, with notice of a hart

   Taller than all his fellows, milky-white,
   First seen that day: these things he told the king.
   Then the good king gave order to let blow
   His horns for hunting on the morrow morn."


And Arryfuerys was Arthur's chief huntsman, and Arelivri his chief
page. And all received notice; and thus it was arranged.

Then Guenever said to Arthur, "Wilt thou permit me, lord, to go
to-morrow to see and hear the hunt of the stag of which the young
man spoke?" "I will gladly," said Arthur. And Gawain said to
Arthur, "Lord, if it seem well to thee, permit that into whose
hunt soever the stag shall come, that one, be he a knight or one
on foot, may cut off his head, and give it to whom he pleases,
whether to his own lady-love, or to the lady of his friend." "I
grant it gladly," said Arthur, "and let the steward of the
household be chastised, if all things are not ready to-morrow for
the chase."

And they passed the night with songs, and diversions, and
discourse, and ample entertainment. And when it was time for them
all to go to sleep, they went. And when the next day came, they
arose. And Arthur called the attendants who guarded his couch. And
there were four pages whose names were Cadyrnerth, the son of
Gandwy, and Ambreu, the son of Bedwor and Amhar, the son of Arthur
and Goreu, the son of Custennin. And these men came to Arthur and
saluted him, and arrayed him in his garments. And Arthur wondered
that Guenever did not awake, and the attendants wished to awaken
her. "Disturb her not," said Arthur, "for she had rather sleep
than go to see the hunting."

Then Arthur went forth, and he heard two horns sounding, one from
near the lodging of the chief huntsman, and the other from near
that of the chief page. And the whole assembly of the multitudes
came to Arthur, and they took the road to the forest.

And after Arthur had gone forth from the palace, Guenever awoke,
and called to her maidens, and apparalled herself. "Maidens," said
she, "I had leave last night to go and see the hunt. Go one of you
to the stable, and order hither a horse such as a woman may ride."
And one of them went, and she found but two horses in the stable;
and Guenever and one of her maidens mounted them, and went through
the Usk, and followed the track of the men and the horses. And as
they rode thus, they heard a loud and rushing sound; and they
looked behind them, and beheld a knight upon a hunter foal of
mighty size. And the rider was a fairhaired youth, bare-legged,
and of princely mien; and a golden-hilted sword was at his side,
and a robe and a surcoat of satin were upon him, and two low shoes
of leather upon his feet; and around him was a scarf of blue
purple, at each corner of which was a golden apple.

      "For Prince Geraint,
   Late also, wearing neither hunting-dress
   Nor weapon, save a golden-hilted brand,
   Came quickly flashing through the shallow ford."

And his horse stepped stately, and swift, and proud; and he
overtook Guenever, and saluted her. "Heaven prosper thee,
Geraint," said she; "and why didst thou not go with thy lord to
hunt?" "Because I knew not when he went," said he. "I marvel too,"
said she, "how he could go, unknown to me. But thou, O young man,
art the most agreeable companion I could have in the whole
kingdom; and it may be I shall be more amused with the hunting
than they; for we shall hear the horns when they sound and we
shall hear the dogs when they are let loose and begin to cry."

So they went to the edge of the forest, and there they stood.
"From this place," said she, "we shall hear when the dogs are let
loose." And thereupon they heard a loud noise; and they looked
towards the spot whence it came, and they beheld a dwarf riding
upon a horse, stately and foaming and prancing and strong and
spirited. And in the hand of the dwarf was a whip. And near the
dwarf they saw a lady upon a beautiful white horse, of steady and
stately pace; and she was clothed in a garment of gold brocade.
And near her was a knight upon a war-horse of large size, with
heavy and bright armor both upon himself and upon his horse. And
truly they never before saw a knight, or a horse, or armor, of
such remarkable size.

"Geraint," said Guenever, "knowest thou the name of that tall
knight yonder?" "I know him not," said he, "and the strange armor
that he wears prevents my either seeing his face or his features."
"Go, maiden," said Guenever, "and ask the dwarf who that knight
is." Then the maiden went up to the dwarf; and she inquired of the
dwarf who the knight was. "I will not tell thee," he answered.
"Since thou art so churlish," said she, "I will ask him, himself."
"Thou shalt not ask him, by my faith," said he. "Wherefore not?"
said she. "Because thou art not of honor sufficient to befit thee
to speak to my lord." Then the maiden turned her horse's head
towards the knight, upon which the dwarf struck her with the whip
that was in his hand across the face and the eyes, so that the
blood flowed forth. And the maiden returned to Guenever,
complaining of the hurt she had received. "Very rudely has the
dwarf treated thee," said Geraint, and he put his hand upon the
hilt of his sword. But he took counsel with himself, and
considered that it would be no vengeance for him to slay the
dwarf, and to be attacked unarmed by the armed knight; so he

"Lady," said he, "I will follow him, with thy permission, and at
last he will come to some inhabited place, where I may have arms,
either as a loan or for a pledge, so that I may encounter the
knight." "Go," said she, "and do not attack him until thou hast
good arms; and I shall be very anxious concerning thee, until I
hear tidings of thee." "If I am alive," said he, "thou shalt hear
tidings of me by to-morrow afternoon;" and with that he departed.

And the road they took was below the palace of Caerleon, and
across the ford of the Usk; and they went along a fair and even
and lofty ridge of ground, until they came to a town, and at the
extremity of the town they saw a fortress and a castle. And as the
knight passed through the town all the people arose and saluted
him, and bade him welcome. And when Geraint came into the town, he
looked at every house to see if he knew any of those whom he saw.
But he knew none, and none knew him, to do him the kindness to let
him have arms, either as a loan or for a pledge. And every house
he saw was full of men, and arms, and horses. And they were
polishing shields, and burnishing swords, and washing armor, and
shoeing horses. And the knight and the lady and the dwarf rode up
to the castle, that was in the town, and every one was glad in the
castle. And from the battlements and the gates they risked their
necks, through their eagerness to greet them, and to show their

Geraint stood there to see whether the knight would remain in the
castle; and when he was certain that he would do so, he looked
around him. And at a little distance from the town he saw an old
palace in ruins, wherein was a hall that was falling to decay.

   "And high above a piece of turret-stair,
   Worn by the feet that now were silent, wound
   Bare to the sun"


And as he knew not any one in the town, he went towards the old
palace. And when he came near to the palace, he saw a hoary-headed
man, standing by it, in tattered garments. And Geraint gazed
steadfastly upon him. Then the hoary-headed man said to him,
"Young man, wherefore art thou thoughtful?" "I am thoughtful,"
said he, "because I know not where to pass the night." "Wilt thou
come forward this way, chieftain," said he, "and thou shalt have
of the best that can be procured for thee." So Geraint went
forward. And the hoary-headed man led the way into the hall. And
in the hall he dismounted, and he left there his horse. Then he
went on to the upper chamber with the hoary-headed man. And in the
chamber he beheld an old woman, sitting on a cushion, with old,
worn-out garments upon her; yet it seemed to him that she must
have been comely when in the bloom of youth. And beside her was a
maiden, upon whom were a vest and a veil that were old and
beginning to be worn out. And truly he never saw a maiden more
full of comeliness and grace and beauty than she. And the hoary-
headed man said to the maiden, "There is no attendant for the
horse of this youth but thyself." "I will render the best service
I am able," said she, "both to him and to his horse." And the
maiden disarrayed the youth, and then she furnished his horse with
straw and corn; and then she returned to the chamber. And the
hoary-headed man said to the maiden, "Go to the town and bring
hither the best that thou canst find, both of food and of liquor."
"I will gladly, lord," said she. And to the town went the maiden.
And they conversed together while the maiden was at the town. And,
behold, the maiden came back, and a youth with her, bearing on his
back a costrel full of good purchased mead, and a quarter of a
young bullock. And in the hands of the maiden was a quantity of
white bread, and she had some manchet bread in her veil, and she
came into the chamber. "I would not obtain better than this," said
she, "nor with better should I have been trusted." "It is good
enough," said Geraint. And they caused the meat to be boiled; and
when their food was ready, they sat down. And it was in this wise.
Geraint sat between the hoary-headed man and his wife, and the
maiden served them. And they ate and drank.

And when they had finished eating, Geraint talked with the hoary-
headed man, and he asked him in the first place to whom belonged
the palace that he was in. "Truly," said he, "it was I that built
it, and to me also belonged the city and the castle which thou
sawest." "Alas!" said Geraint, "how is it that thou hast lost them
now?" "I lost a great earldom as well as these," said he, "and
this is how I lost them. I had a nephew, the son of my brother,
and I took care of his possessions; but he was impatient to enter
upon them, so he made war upon me, and wrested from me not only
his own, but also my estates, except this castle." "Good sir,"
said Geraint, "wilt thou tell me wherefore came the knight and the
lady and the dwarf just now into the town, and what is the
preparation which I saw, and the putting of arms in order?" "I
will do so," said he. "The preparations are for the game that is
to be held to-morrow by the young earl, which will be on this
wise. In the midst of a meadow which is here, two forks will be
set up, and upon the two forks a silver rod, and upon the silver
rod a sparrow-hawk, and for the sparrow-hawk there will be a
tournament. And to the tournament will go all the array thou didst
see in the city, of men and of horses and of arms. And with each
man will go the lady he loves best; and no man can joust for the
sparrow-hawk, except the lady he loves best be with him. And the
knight that thou sawest has gained the sparrow-hawk these two
years; and if he gains it the third year, he will be called the
Knight of the Sparrow-hawk from that time forth." "Sir," said
Geraint, "what is thy counsel to me concerning this knight, on
account of the insult which the maiden of Guenever received from
the dwarf?" And Geraint told the hoary-headed man what the insult
was that the maiden had received. "It is not easy to counsel thee,
inasmuch as thou hast neither dame nor maiden belonging to thee,
for whom thou canst joust. Yet I have arms here, which thou
couldst have, and there is my horse also, if he seem to thee
better than thine own." "Ah, sir," said he, "Heaven reward thee!
But my own horse to which I am accustomed, together with thine
arms, will suffice me. And if, when the appointed time shall come
to-morrow thou wilt permit me, sir, to challenge for yonder maiden
that is thy daughter, I will engage, if I escape from the
tournament, to love the maiden as long as I live." "Gladly will I
permit thee," said the hoary-headed man; "and since thou dost thus
resolve, it is necessary that thy horse and arms should be ready
to-morrow at break of day. For then the Knight of the Sparrow-hawk
will make proclamation, and ask the lady he loves best to take the
sparrow-hawk; and if any deny it to her, by force will he defend
her claim. And therefore," said the hoary-headed man, "it is
needful for thee to be there at daybreak, and we three will be
with thee." And thus was it settled.

And at night they went to sleep. And before the dawn they arose
and arrayed themselves; and by the time that it was day, they were
all four in the meadow. And there was the Knight of the Sparrow-
hawk making the proclamation, and asking his lady-love to take the
sparrow-hawk. "Take it not," said Geraint, "for here is a maiden
who is fairer, and more noble, and more comely, and who has a
better claim to it than thou." Then said the knight, "If thou
maintainest the sparrow-hawk to be due to her, come forward and do
battle with me." And Geraint went forward to the top of the
meadow, having upon himself and upon his horse armor which was
heavy and rusty, and of uncouth shape. Then they encountered each
other, and they broke a set of lances; and they broke a second
set, and a third. And when the earl and his company saw the Knight
of the Sparrow-hawk gaining the mastery, there was shouting and
joy and mirth amongst them; and the hoary-headed man and his wife
and his daughter were sorrowful. And the hoary-headed man served
Geraint with lances as often as he broke them, and the dwarf
served the Knight of the Sparrow-hawk. Then the hoary-headed man
said to Geraint, "O chieftain, since no other will hold with thee,
behold, here is the lance which was in my hand on the day when I
received the honor of knighthood, and from that time to this I
never broke it, and it has an excellent point." Then Geraint took
the lance, thanking the hoary-headed man. And thereupon the dwarf
also brought a lance to his lord. "Behold, here is a lance for
thee, not less good than his," said the dwarf. "And bethink thee
that no knight ever withstood thee so long as this one has done."
"I declare to Heaven," said Geraint, "that unless death takes me
quickly hence, he shall fare never the better for thy service."
And Geraint pricked his horse towards him from afar, and, warning
him, he rushed upon him, and gave him a blow so severe, and
furious, and fierce, upon the face of his shield, that he cleft it
in two, and broke his armor, and burst his girths, so that both he
and his saddle were borne to the ground over the horse's crupper.
And Geraint dismounted quickly. And he was wroth, and he drew his
sword, and rushed fiercely upon him. Then the knight also arose,
and drew his sword against Geraint. And they fought on foot with
their swords until their arms struck sparks of fire like stars
from one another; and thus they continued fighting until the blood
and sweat obscured the light from their eyes. At length Geraint
called to him all his strength, and struck the knight upon the
crown of his head, so that he broke all his head-armor, and cut
through all the flesh and the skin, even to the skull, until he
wounded the bone.

Then the knight fell upon his knees, and cast his sword from his
hand, and besought mercy from Geraint. "Of a truth," said he, "I
relinquish my overdaring and my pride, and crave thy mercy; and
unless I have time to commit myself to Heaven for my sins, and to
talk with a priest, thy mercy will avail me little." "I will grant
thee grace upon this condition," said Geraint, "that thou go to
Guenever, the wife of Arthur, to do her satisfaction for the
insult which her maiden received from thy dwarf. Dismount not from
the time thou goest hence until thou comest into the presence of
Guenever, to make her what atonement shall be adjudged at the
court of Arthur." "This will I do gladly; and who art thou?" "I am
Geraint, the son of Erbin; and declare thou also who thou art." "I
am Edeym, the son of Nudd." Then he threw himself upon his horse,
and went forward to Arthur's court; and the lady he loved best
went before him, and the dwarf, with much lamentation.

Then came the young earl and his hosts to Geraint, and saluted
him, and bade him to his castle. "I may not go," said Geraint;
"but where I was last night, there will I be to-night also."
"Since thou wilt none of my inviting, thou shalt have abundance of
all that I can command for thee; and I will order ointment for
thee, to recover thee from thy fatigues, and from the weariness
that is upon thee." "Heaven reward thee," said Geraint, "and I
will go to my lodging." And thus went Geraint and Earl Ynywl, and
his wife and his daughter. And when they reached the old mansion,
the household servants and attendants of the young earl had
arrived, and had arranged all the apartments, dressing them with
straw and with fire; and in a short time the ointment was ready,
and Geraint came there, and they washed his head. Then came the
young earl, with forty honorable knights from among his
attendants, and those who were bidden to the tournament. And
Geraint came from the anointing. And the earl asked him to go to
the hall to eat. "Where is the Earl Ynywl," said Geraint, "and his
wife and his daughter?" "They are in the chamber yonder," said the
earl's chamberlain, "arraying themselves in garments which the
earl has caused to be brought for them." "Let not the damsel array
herself," said he, "except in her vest and her veil, until she
come to the court of Arthur, to be clad by Guenever in such
garments as she may choose." So the maiden did not array herself.

Then they all entered the hall, and they washed, and sat down to
meat. And thus were they seated. On one side of Geraint sat the
young earl, and Earl Ynywl beyond him, and on the other side of
Geraint was the maiden and her mother. And after these all sat
according to their precedence in honor. And they ate. And they
were served abundantly, and they received a profusion of divers
kinds of gifts. Then they conversed together. And the young earl
invited Geraint to visit him next day. "I will not, by Heaven,"
said Geraint. "To the court of Arthur will I go with this maiden
to-morrow. And it is enough for me, as long as Earl Ynywl is in
poverty and trouble; and I go chiefly to seek to add to his
maintenance." "Ah, chieftain," said the young earl, "it is not by
my fault that Earl Ynywl is without his possessions." "By my
faith," said Geraint, "he shall not remain without them, unless
death quickly takes me hence." "O chieftain," said he, "with
regard to the disagreement between me and Ynywl, I will gladly
abide by thy counsel, and agree to what thou mayest judge right
between us." "I but ask thee," said Geraint, "to restore to him
what is his, and what he should have received from the time he
lost his possessions even until this day." "That will I do,
gladly, for thee," answered he. "Then," said Geraint, "whosoever
is here who owes homage to Ynywl, let him come forward, and
perform it on the spot." And all the men did so; and by that
treaty they abided. And his castle and his town, and all his
possessions, were restored to Ynywl. And he received back all that
he had lost, even to the smallest jewel.

Then spoke Earl Ynywl to Geraint. "Chieftain," said he, "behold
the maiden for whom thou didst challenge at the tournament; I
bestow her upon thee." "She shall go with me," said Geraint, "to
the court of Arthur, and Arthur and Guenever, they shall dispose
of her as they will." And the next day they proceeded to Arthur's
court. So far concerning Geraint.



Now this is how Arthur hunted the stag. The men and the dogs were
divided into hunting-parties, and the dogs were let loose upon the
stag. And the last dog that was let loose was the favorite dog of
Arthur; Cavall was his name. And he left all the other dogs behind
him and turned the stag. And at the second turn the stag came
toward the hunting-party of Arthur. And Arthur set upon him; and
before he could be slain by any other, Arthur cut off his head.
Then they sounded the death-horn for slaying and they all gathered

They came Kadyriath to Arthur and spoke to him. "Lord," said he,
"behold, yonder is Guenever, and none with her save only one
maiden." "Command Gildas, the son of Caw, and all the scholars of
the court," said Arthur, "to attend Guenever to the palace." And
they did so.

Then they all set forth, holding converse together concerning the
head of the stag, to whom it should be given. One wished that it
should be given to the lady best beloved by him, and another to
the lady whom he loved best. And so they came to the palace. And
when Arthur and Guenever heard them disputing about the head of
the stag, Guenever said to Arthur: "My lord, this is my counsel
concerning the stag's head; let it not be given away until
Geraint, the son of Erbin, shall return from the errand he is
upon." And Guenever told Arthur what that errand was. "Right
gladly shall it be so," said Arthur. And Guenever caused a watch
to be set upon the ramparts for Geraint's coming. And after midday
they beheld an unshapely little man upon a horse, and after him a
dame or a damsel, also on horseback, and after her a knight of
large stature, bowed down, and hanging his head low and
sorrowfully, and clad in broken and worthless armor.

And before they came near to the gate one of the watch went to
Guenever, and told her what kind of people they saw, and what
aspect they bore. "I know not who they are," said he, "But I
know," said Guenever; "this is the knight whom Geraint pursued,
and methinks that he comes not here by his own free will. But
Geraint has overtaken him, and avenged the insult to the maiden to
the uttermost." And thereupon, behold, a porter came to the spot
where Guenever was. "Lady," said he, "at the gate there is a
knight, and I saw never a man of so pitiful an aspect to look upon
as he. Miserable and broken is the armor that he wears, and the
hue of blood is more conspicuous upon it than its own color."
"Knowest thou his name?" said she. "I do," said he; "he tells me
that he is Edeyrn, the son of Nudd." Then she replied, "I know him

So Guenever went to the gate to meet him and he entered. And
Guenever was sorry when she saw the condition he was in, even
though he was accompanied by the churlish dwarf. Then Edeyrn
saluted Guenever. "Heaven protect thee," said she. "Lady," said
he, "Geraint, the son of Erbin, thy best and most valiant servant,
greets thee." "Did he meet with thee?" she asked. "Yes," said he,
"and it was not to my advantage; and that was not his fault, but
mine, lady. And Geraint greets thee well; and in greeting thee he
compelled me to come hither to do thy pleasure for the insult
which thy maiden received from the dwarf." "Now where did he
overtake thee?" "At the place where we were jousting and
contending for the sparrow-hawk, in the town which is now called
Cardiff. And it was for the avouchment of the love of the maiden,
the daughter of Earl Ynywl, that Geraint jousted at the
tournament. And thereupon we encountered each other, and he left
me, lady, as thou seest." "Sir," said she, "when thinkest thou
that Geraint will be here?" "To-morrow, lady, I think he will be
here with the maiden."

Then Arthur came to them. And he saluted Arthur, and Arthur gazed
a long time upon him and was amazed to see him thus. And thinking
that he knew him, he inquired of him, "Art thou Edeyrn, the son of
Nudd?" "I am, lord," said he, "and I have met with much trouble
and received wounds unsupportable." Then he told Arthur all his
adventure. "Well," said Arthur, "from what I hear it behooves
Guenever to be merciful towards thee." "The mercy which thou
desirest, lord," said she. "will I grant to him, since it is as
insulting to thee that an insult should be offered to me as to
thyself." "Thus will it be best to do," said Arthur; "let this man
have medical care until it be known whether he may live. And if he
live, he shall do such satisfaction as shall be judged best by the
men of the court. And if he die, too much will be the death of
such a youth as Edeyrn for an insult to a maiden." "This pleases
me," said Guenever. And Arthur caused Morgan Tud to be called to
him. He was the chief physician. "Take with thee Edeyrn, the son
of Nudd, and cause a chamber to be prepared for him, and let him
have the aid of medicine as thou wouldst do unto myself, if I were
wounded, and let none into his chamber to molest him, but thyself
and thy disciples, to administer to him remedies." "I will do so,
gladly, lord," said Morgan Tud. Then said the steward of the
household, "Whither is it right, lord, to order the maiden?" "To
Guenever and her handmaidens," said he. And the steward of the
household so ordered her.

    "And rising up, he rode to Arthur's court,
    And there the queen forgave him easily.
    And being young, he changed himself, and grew
    To hate the sin that seem'd so like his own
    Of Modred, Arthur's nephew, and fell at last
    In the great battle fighting for the king."


The next day came Geraint towards the court; and there was a watch
set on the ramparts by Guenever, lest he should arrive unawares.
And one of the watch came to Guenever. "Lady," said he, "methinks
that I see Geraint, and a maiden with him. He is on horseback, but
he has his walking gear upon him, and the maiden appears to be in
white, seeming to be clad in a garment of linen." "Assemble all
the women," said Guenever, "and come to meet Geraint, to welcome
him, and wish him joy." And Guenever went to meet Geraint and the
maiden. And when Geraint came to the place where Guenever was, he
saluted her. "Heaven prosper thee," said she, "and welcome to
thee." "Lady," said he, "I earnestly desired to obtain thee
satisfaction, according to thy will; and, behold, here is the
maiden through whom thou hadst thy revenge." "Verily," said
Guenever, "the welcome of Heaven be unto her; and it is fitting
that we should receive her joyfully." Then they went in and
dismounted. And Geraint came to where Arthur was, and saluted him.
"Heaven protect thee," said Arthur, "and the welcome of Heaven be
unto thee. And inasmuch as thou hast vanquished Edeyrn, the son of
Nudd, thou hast had a prosperous career." "Not upon me be the
blame," said Geraint; "it was through the arrogance of Edeyrn, the
son of Nudd, himself, that we were not friends." "Now," said
Arthur, "where is the maiden for whom I heard thou didst give
challenge?" "She is gone with Guenever to her chamber." Then went
Arthur to see the maiden. And Arthur, and all his companions, and
his whole court, were glad concerning the maiden. And certain were
they all, that, had her array been suitable to her beauty, they
had never seen a maid fairer than she. And Arthur gave away the
maiden to Geraint. And the usual bond made between two persons was
made between Geraint and the maiden, and the choicest of all
Guenever's apparel was given to the maiden; and thus arrayed, she
appeared comely and graceful to all who beheld her. And that day
and the night were spent in abundance of minstrelsy, and ample
gifts of liquor, and a multiude of games. And when it was time for
them to go to sleep they went. And in the chamber where the couch
of Arthur and Guenever was, the couch of Geraint and Enid was
prepared. And from that time she became his wife. And the next day
Arthur satisfied all the claimants upon Geraint with bountiful
gifts. And the maiden took up her abode in the palace, and she had
many companions, both men and women, and there was no maiden more
esteemed than she in the island of Britain.

Then spake Guenever. "Rightly did I judge," said she, "concerning
the head of the stag, that it should not be given to any until
Geraint's return; and behold, here is a fit occasion for bestowing
it. Let it be given to Enid, the daughter of Ynywl, the most
illustrious maiden. And I do not believe that any will begrudge it
her, for between her and every one here there exists nothing but
love and friendship." Much applauded was this by them all, and by
Arthur also. And the head of the stag was given to Enid. And
thereupon her fame increased, and her friends became more in
number than before. And Geraint from that time forth loved the
hunt, and the tournament, and hard encounters; and he came
victorious from them all. And a year, and a second, and a third,
he proceeded thus, until his fame had flown over the face of the

And, once upon a time, Arthur was holding his court at Caerleon
upon Usk; and behold, there came to him ambassadors, wise and
prudent, full of knowledge and eloquent of speech, and they
saluted Arthur. "Heaven prosper you!" said Arthur; "and whence do
you come?" "We come, lord," said they, "from Cornwall; and we are
ambassadors from Erbin, the son of Custennin, thy uncle, and our
mission is unto thee. And he greets thee well, as an uncle should
greet his nephew, and as a vassal should greet his lord. And he
represents unto thee that he waxes heavy and feeble, and is
advancing in years. And the neighboring chiefs, knowing this, grow
insolent towards him, and covet his land and possessions. And he
earnestly beseeches thee, lord, to permit Geraint, his son, to
return to him, to protect his possessions, and to become
acquainted with his boundaries. And unto him he represents that it
were better for him to spend the flower of his youth and the prime
of his age in preserving his own boundaries, than in tournaments
which are productive of no profit, although he obtains glory in

"Well," said Arthur, "go and divest yourselves of your
accoutrements, and take food, and refresh yourselves after your
fatigues; and before you go from hence you shall have an answer."
And they went to eat. And Arthur considered that it would go hard
with him to let Geraint depart from him, and from his court;
neither did he think it fair that his cousin should be restrained
from going to protect his dominions and his boundaries, seeing
that his father was unable to do so. No less was the grief and
regret of Guenever, and all her women, and all her damsels,
through fear that the maiden would leave them. And that day and
that night were spent in abundance of feasting. And Arthur told
Geraint the cause of the mission, and of the coming of the
ambassadors to him out of Cornwall. "Truly," said Geraint, "be it
to my advantage or disadvantage, lord, I will do according to thy
will concerning this embassy." "Behold," said Arthur, "though it
grieves me to part with thee, it is my counsel that thou go to
dwell in thine own dominions, and to defend thy boundaries, and
take with thee to accompany thee as many as thou wilt of those
thou lovest best among my faithful ones, and among thy friends,
and among thy companions in arms." "Heaven reward thee! and this
will I do," said Geraint. "What discourse," said Guenever, "do I
hear between you? Is it of those who are to conduct Geraint to his
country?" "It is," said Arthur. "Then is it needful for me to
consider," said she, "concerning companions and a provision for
the lady that is with me." "Thou wilt do well," said Arthur.

And that night they went to sleep. And the next day the
ambassadors were permitted to depart, and they were told that
Geraint should follow them. And on the third day Geraint set
forth, and many went with him--Gawain, the son of Gwyar, and
Riogoned, the son of the king of Ireland, and Ondyaw, the son of
the Duke of Burgundy, Gwilim, the son of the ruler of the Franks,
Howel, the son of the Earl of Brittany, Perceval, the son of
Evrawk, Gwyr, a judge in the court of Arthur, Bedwyr, the son of
Bedrawd, Kai, the son of Kyner, Odyar, the Frank, and Ederyn, the
son of Nudd. Said Geraint, "I think I shall have enough of
knighthood with me." And they set forth. And never was there seen
a fairer host journeying towards the Severn. And on the other side
of the Severn were the nobles of Erbin, the son of Custennin, and
his foster-father at their head, to welcome Geraint with gladness;
and many of the women of the court, with his mother, came to
receive Enid, the daughter of Ynywl, his wife. And there was great
rejoicing and gladness throughout the whole court, and through all
the country, concerning Geraint, because of the greatness of their
love to him, and of the greatness of the fame which he had gained
since he went from amongst them, and because he was come to take
possession of his dominions, and to preserve his boundaries. And
they came to the court. And in the court they had ample
entertainment, and a multitude of gifts, and abundance of liquor,
and a sufficiency of service, and a variety of games. And to do
honor to Geraint, all the chief men of the country were invited
that night to visit him. And they passed that day and that night
in the utmost enjoyment. And at dawn next day Erbin arose and
summoned to him Geraint, and the noble persons who had borne him
company. And he said to Geraint: "I am a feeble and an aged man,
and whilst I was able to maintain the dominion for thee and for
myself, I did so. But thou art young, and in the flower of thy
vigor and of thy youth. Henceforth do thou preserve thy
possessions." "Truly," said Geraint, "with my consent thou shalt
not give the power over thy dominions at this time into my hands,
and thou shalt not take me from Arthur's court." "Into thy hands
will I give them," said Erbin, "and this day also shalt thou
receive the homage of thy subjects."

Then said Gawain, "It were better for thee to satisfy those who
have boons to ask, to-day, and to-morrow thou canst receive the
homage of thy dominions." So all that had boons to ask were
summoned into one place. And Kadyriath came to them to know what
were their requests. And every one asked that which he desired.
And the followers of Arthur began to make gifts, and immediately
the men of Cornwall came, and gave also. And they were not long in
giving, so eager was every one to bestow gifts, and of those who
came to ask gifts, none departed unsatisfied. And that day and
that night were spent in the utmost enjoyment.

And the next day at dawn, Erbin desired Geraint to send messengers
to the men to ask them whether it was displeasing to them that he
should come to receive their homage, and whether they had anything
to object to him. Then Geraint sent ambassadors to the men of
Cornwall to ask them this. And they all said that it would be the
fulness of joy and honor to them for Geraint to come and receive
their homage. So he received the homage of such as were there. And
the day after the followers of Arthur intended to go away. "It is
too soon for you to go away yet," said he; "stay with me until I
have finished receiving the homage of my chief men, who have
agreed to come to me." And they remained with him until he had
done so. Then they set forth towards the court of Arthur. And
Geraint went to bear them company, and Enid also, as far as
Diganwy; there they parted. And Ondyaw, the son of the Duke of
Burgundy, said to Geraint, "Go, now, and visit the uttermost parts
of thy dominions, and see well to the boundaries of thy
territories; and if thou hast any trouble respecting them, send
unto thy companions." "Heaven reward thee!" said Geraint; "and
this will I do." And Geraint journeyed to the uttermost parts of
his dominions. And experienced guides, and the chief men of his
country, went with him. And the furthermost point that they showed
him he kept possession of.



Geraint, as he had been used to do when he was at Arthur's court,
frequented tournaments. And he became acquainted with valiant and
mighty men, until he had gained as much fame there as he had
formerly done elsewhere. And he enriched his court, and his
companions, and his nobles, with the best horses and the best
arms, and with the best and most valuable jewels, and he ceased
not until his fame had flown over the face of the whole kingdom.

   "Before Geraint, the scourge of the enemy,
    I saw steeds white with foam,
    And after the shout of battle a fearful torrent."


When he knew that it was thus, he began to love ease and pleasure,
for there was no one who was worth his opposing. And he loved his
wife, and liked to continue in the palace with minstrelsy and
diversions. So he began to shut himself up in the chamber of his
wife, and he took no delight in anything besides, insomuch that he
gave up the friendship of his nobles, together with his hunting
and his amusements, and lost the hearts of all the host in his
court. And there was murmuring and scoffing concerning him among
the inhabitants of the palace, on account of his relinquishing so
completely their companionship for the love of his wife.

    Began to scoff and jeer and babble of him
    As of a prince whose manhood was all gone,
    And molten down in mere uxoriousness."

These tidings came to Erbin. And when Erbin had heard these
things, he spoke unto Enid, and inquired of her whether it was she
that had caused Geraint to act thus, and to forsake his people and
his hosts. "Not I, by my confession unto Heaven," said she; "there
is nothing more hateful unto me than this." And she knew not what
she should do, for, although it was hard for her to own this to
Geraint, yet was it not more easy for her to listen to what she
heard, without warning Geraint concerning it. And she was very

One morning in the summer-time they were upon their couch, and
Geraint lay upon the edge of it. And Enid was without sleep in the
apartment, which had windows of glass; [Footnote: The terms of
admiration in which the older writers invariably speak of GLASS
WINDOWS would be sufficient proof, if other evidence were wanting,
how rare an article of luxury they were in the houses of our
ancestors. They were first introduced in ecclesiastical
architecture, to which they were for a long time confined. Glass
is said not to have been employed in domestic architecture before
the fourteenth century.] and the sun shone upon the couch. And the
clothes had slipped from off his arms and his breast, and he was
asleep. Then she gazed upon the marvellous beauty of his
appearance, and she said, "Alas! and am I the cause that these
arms and this breast have lost their glory, and the warlike fame
which they once so richly enjoyed!" As she said this the tears
dropped from her eyes, and they fell upon his breast. And the
tears she shed and the words she had spoken, awoke him. And
another thing contributed to awaken him, and that was the idea
that it was not in thinking of him that she spoke thus, but that
it was because she loved some other man more than him, and that
she wished for other society. Thereupon Geraint was troubled in
his mind, and he called his squire; and when he came to him, "Go
quickly," said he, "and prepare my horse and my arms, and make
them ready. And do thou rise," said he to Enid, "and apparel
thyself; and cause thy horse to be accoutred, and clothe thee in
the worst riding-dress that thou hast in thy possession. And evil
betide me," said he, "if thou returnest here until thou knowest
whether I have lost my strength so completely as thou didst say.
And if it be so, it will then be easy for thee to seek the society
thou didst wish for of him of whom thou wast thinking." So she
arose, and clothed herself in her meanest garments. "I know
nothing, lord," said she, "of thy meaning." "Neither wilt thou
know at this time," said he.

Then Geraint went to see Erbin. "Sir," said he, "I am going upon a
quest, and I am not certain when I may come back. Take heed,
therefore, unto thy possessions until my return." "I will do so,"
said he; "but it is strange to me that thou shouldst go so
suddenly. And who will proceed with thee, since thou art not
strong enough to traverse the land of Loegyr alone?" "But one
person only will go with me." "Heaven counsel thee, my son," said
Erbin, "and may many attach themselves to thee in Loegyr." Then
went Geraint to the place where his horse was, and it was equipped
with foreign armor, heavy and shining. And he desired Enid to
mount her horse, and to ride forward, and to keep a long way
before him. "And whatever thou mayst see, and whatever thou mayst
hear concerning me," said he, "do thou not turn back. And unless I
speak unto thee, say not thou one word, either." So they set
forward. And he did not choose the pleasantest and most frequented
road, but that which was the wildest and most beset by thieves and
robbers and venomous animals.

And they came to a high road, which they followed till they saw a
vast forest; and they saw four armed horsemen come forth from the
forest. When the armed men saw them, they said one to another.
"Here is a good occasion for us to capture two horses and armor,
and a lady likewise; for this we shall have no difficulty in doing
against yonder single knight who hangs his head so pensively and
heavily." Enid heard this discourse, and she knew not what she
should do through fear of Geraint, who had told her to be silent.
"The vengeance of Heaven be upon me," said she, "if I would not
rather receive my death from his hand than from the hand of any
other; and though he should slay me, yet will I speak to him, lest
I should have the misery to witness his death." So she waited for
Geraint until he came near to her. "Lord," said she, "didst thou
hear the words of those men concerning thee?" Then he lifted up
his eyes, and looked at her angrily. "Thou hadst only," said he,
"to hold thy peace as I bade thee. I wish but for silence, and not
for warning. And though thou shouldst desire to see my defeat and
my death by the hands of those men, yet do I feel no dread." Then
the foremost of them couched his lance, and rushed upon Geraint.
And he received him, and that not feebly. But he let the thrust go
by him, while he struck the horseman upon the centre of his
shield, in such a manner that his shield was split, and his armor
broken, so that a cubit's length of the shaft of Geraint's lance
passed through his body, and sent him to the earth, the length of
the lance over his horse's crupper. Then the second horseman
attacked him furiously, being wroth at the death of his companion.
But with one thrust Geraint overthrew him also, and killed him as
he had done the other. Then the third set upon him, and he killed
him in like manner. And thus also he slew the fourth. Sad and
sorrowful was the maiden as she saw all this. Geraint dismounted
his horse, and took the arms of the men he had slain, and placed
them upon their saddles, and tied together the reins of their
horses; and he mounted his horse again. "Behold what thou must
do," said he; "take the four horses and drive them before thee,
and proceed forward as I bade thee just now. And say not one word
unto me, unless I speak first unto thee. And I declare unto
Heaven," said he, "if thou doest not thus, it will be to thy
cost." "I will do as far as I can, lord," said she, "according to
thy desire."

So the maiden went forward, keeping in advance of Geraint, as he
had desired her; and it grieved him as much as his wrath would
permit, to see a maiden so illustrious as she having so much
trouble with the care of the horses. Then they reached a wood, and
it was both deep and vast, and in the wood night overtook them.
"Ah, maiden," said he, "it is vain to attempt proceeding forward."
"Well, lord," said she, "whatever thou wishest, we will do." "It
will be best for us," he answered, "to rest and wait for the day,
in order to pursue our journey." "That we will, gladly," said she.
And they did so. Having dismounted himself, he took her down from
her horse. "I cannot by any means refrain from sleep, through
weariness," said he; "do thou therefore watch the horses, and
sleep not." "I will, lord," said she. Then he went to sleep in his
armor, and thus passed the night, which was not long at that
season. And when she saw the dawn of day appear, she looked around
her to see if he were waking, and thereupon he woke. Then he
arose, and said unto her, "Take the horses and ride on, and keep
straight on as thou didst yesterday." And they left the wood, and
they came to an open country, with meadows on one hand, and mowers
mowing the meadows. And there was a river before them, and the
horses bent down and drank of the water. And they went up out of
the river by a lofty steep; and there they met a slender stripling
with a satchel about his neck, and they saw that there was
something in the satchel, but they knew not what it was. And he
had a small blue pitcher in his hand, and a bowl on the mouth of
the pitcher. And the youth saluted Geraint. "Heaven prosper thee!"
said Geraint; "and whence dost thou come?" "I come," said he,
"from the city that lies before thee. My lord," he added, "will it
be displeasing to thee if I ask whence thou comest also?" "By no
means; through yonder wood did I come." "Thou camest not through
the wood to-day." "No," he replied, "we were in the wood last
night." "I warrant," said the youth, "that thy condition there
last night was not the most pleasant, and that thou hadst neither
meat nor drink." "No, by my faith," said he. "Wilt thou follow my
counsel," said the youth, "and take thy meal from me?" "What sort
of meal?" he inquired. "The breakfast which is sent for yonder
mowers, nothing less than bread and meat and wine, and if thou
wilt, sir, they shall have none of it." "I will," said he, "and
Heaven reward thee for it."

So Geraint alighted, and the youth took the maiden from off her
horse. Then they washed, and took their repast. And the youth cut
the bread in slices, and gave them drink, and served them withal.
And when they had finished, the youth arose and said to Geraint,
"My lord, with thy permission, I will now go and fetch some food
for the mowers." "Go first to the town," said Geraint, "and take a
lodging for me in the best place that thou knowest, and the most
commodious one for the horses; and take thou whichever horse and
arms thou choosest, in payment for thy service and thy gift."
"Heaven reward thee, lord!" said the youth; "and this would be
ample to repay services much greater than those I have rendered
unto thee." And to the town went the youth, and he took the best
and the most pleasant lodgings that he knew; and after that he
went to the palace, having the horse and armor with him, and
proceeded to the place where the earl was, and told him all his
adventure. "I go now, lord," said he, "to meet the knight, and to
conduct him to his lodging." "Go, gladly," said the earl; "and
right joyfully shall he be received here, if he so come." And the
youth went to meet Geraint, and told him that he would be received
gladly by the earl in his own palace; but he would go only to his
lodgings. And he had a goodly chamber, in which was plenty of
straw and drapery, and a spacious and commodious place he had for
the horses; and the youth prepared for them plenty of provender.
After they had disarrayed themselves, Geraint spoke thus to Enid:
"Go," said he, "to the other side of the chamber, and come not to
this side of the house; and thou mayst call to thee the woman of
the house, if thou wilt." "I will do, lord," said she, "as thou
sayest." Thereupon the man of the house came to Geraint and
welcomed him. And after they had eaten and drank, Geraint went to
sleep, and so did Enid also.

In the evening, behold, the earl came to visit Geraint, and his
twelve honorable knights with him. And Geraint rose up and
welcomed him. Then they all sat down according to their precedence
in honor. And the earl conversed with Geraint, and inquired of him
the object of his journey. "I have none," he replied, "but to seek
adventures and to follow mine own inclination." Then the earl cast
his eye upon Enid, and he looked at her steadfastly. And he
thought he had never seen a maiden fairer or more comely than she.
And he set all his thoughts and his affections upon her. Then he
asked of Geraint, "Have I thy permission to go and converse with
yonder maiden, for I see that she is apart from thee?" "Thou hast
it gladly," said he. So the earl went to the place where the
maiden was, and spake with her. "Ah! maiden," said he, "it cannot
be pleasant to thee to journey with yonder man." "It is not
unpleasant to me," said she. "Thou hast neither youths nor maidens
to serve thee," said he. "Truly," she replied, "it is more
pleasant for me to follow yonder man, than to be served by youths
and maidens." "I will give thee good counsel," said he: "all my
earldom will I place in thy possession, if thou wilt dwell with

   "Enid, the pilot star of my lone life,
    Enid, my early and my only love."


"That will I not, by Heaven," she said; "yonder man was the first
to whom my faith was ever pledged; and shall I prove inconstant to
him?" "Thou art in the wrong," said the earl; "if I slay the man
yonder, I can keep thee with me as long as I choose; and when thou
no longer pleasest me, I can turn thee away. But if thou goest
with me by thy own good-will, I protest that our union shall
continue as long as I remain alive." Then she pondered those words
of his, and she considered that it was advisable to encourage him
in his request. "Behold then, chieftain, this is most expedient
for thee to do to save me from all reproach; come here to-morrow
and take me away as though I knew nothing thereof." "I will do
so," said he. So he arose and took his leave, and went forth with
his attendants. And she told not then to Geraint any of the
conversation which she had had with the earl, lest it should rouse
his anger, and cause him uneasiness and care.

And at the usual hour they went to sleep. And at the beginning of
the night Enid slept a little; and at midnight she arose, and
placed all Geraint's armor together so that it might be ready to
put on. And although fearful of her errand, she came to the side
of Geraint's bed; and she spoke to him softly and gently, saying,
"My lord, arise, and clothe thyself, for these were the words of
the earl to me and his intention concerning me." So she told
Geraint all that had passed. And although he was wroth with her,
he took warning, and clothed himself. And she lighted a candle,
that he might have light to do so. "Leave there the candle," said
he, "and desire the man of the house to come here." Then she went,
and the man of the house came to him. "Dost thou know how much I
owe thee?" asked Geraint. "I think thou owest but little." "Take
the three horses and the three suits of armor." "Heaven reward
thee, lord," said he, "but I spent not the value of one suit of
armor upon thee." "For that reason," said he, "thou wilt be the
richer. And now, wilt thou come to guide me out of the town?" "I
will gladly," said he; "and in which direction dost thou intend to
go?" "I wish to leave the town by a different way from that by
which I entered it." So the man of the lodgings accompanied him as
far as he desired. Then he bade the maiden to go on before him,
and she did so, and went straight forward, and his host returned

And Geraint and the maiden went forward along the high-road. And
as they journeyed thus, they heard an exceeding loud wailing near
to them. "Stay thou here," said he, "and I will go and see what is
the cause of this wailing." "I will," said she. Then he went
forward into an open glade that was near the road. And in the
glade he saw two horses, one having a man's saddle, and the other
a woman's saddle upon it. And behold there was a knight lying dead
in his armor, and a young damsel in a riding-dress standing over
him lamenting. "Ah, lady," said Geraint, "what hath befallen
thee?" "Behold," she answered, "I journeyed here with my beloved
husband, when lo! three giants came upon us, and without any cause
in the world, they slew him." "Which way went they hence?" said
Geraint. "Yonder by the high-road," she replied. So he returned to
Enid. "Go," said he, "to the lady that is below yonder, and await
me there till I come." She was sad when he ordered her to do thus,
but nevertheless she went to the damsel, whom it was ruth to hear,
and she felt certain that Geraint would never return.

Meanwhile Geraint followed the giants, and overtook them. And each
of them was greater in stature than three other men, and a huge
club was on the shoulder of each. Then he rushed upon one of them,
and thrust his lance through his body. And having drawn it forth
again, he pierced another of them through likewise. But the third
turned upon him and struck him with his club so that he split his
shield and crushed his shoulder. But Geraint drew his sword and
gave the giant a blow on the crown of his head, so severe, and
fierce, and violent, that his head and his neck were split down to
his shoulders, and he fell dead. So Geraint left him thus and
returned to Enid. And when he reached the place where she was he
fell down lifeless from his horse. Piercing and loud and thrilling
was the cry that Enid uttered. And she came and stood over him
where he had fallen. And at the sound of her cries came the Earl
of Limours, and they who journeyed with him, whom her lamentations
brought out of their road. And the earl said to Enid, "Alas, lady,
what hath befallen thee?" "Ah, good sir," said she, "the only man
I have loved, or ever shall love, is slain." Then he said to the
other, "And what is the cause of thy grief?" "They have slain my
beloved husband also," said she. "And who was it that slew them?"
"Some giants," she answered, "slew my best-beloved, and the other
knight went in pursuit of them, and came back in the state thou
seest." The earl caused the knight that was dead to be buried, but
he thought that there still remained some life in Geraint; and to
see if he yet would live, he had him carried with him in the
hollow of his shield, and upon a bier. And the two damsels went to
the court; and when they arrived there, Geraint was placed upon a
little couch in front of the table that was in the hall. Then they
all took off their traveling-gear, and the earl besought Enid to
do the same, and to clothe herself in other garments. "I will not,
by Heaven," said she. "Ah, lady," said he, "be not so sorrowful
for this matter." "It were hard to persuade me to be otherwise,"
said she. "I will act towards thee in such wise that thou needest
not be sorrowful, whether yonder knight live or die. Behold, a
good earldom, together with myself, will I bestow upon thee; be
therefore happy and joyful." "I declare to Heaven," said she,
"that henceforth I shall never be joyful while I live." "Come,"
said he, "and eat." "No, by Heaven, I will not." "But, by Heaven,
thou shalt," said he. So he took her with him to the table against
her will, and many times desired her to eat. "I call Heaven to
witness," said she, "that I will not until the man that is upon
yonder bier shall eat likewise." "Thou canst not fulfil that,"
said the earl, "yonder man is dead already." "I will prove that I
can," said she. Then he offered her a goblet of liquor. "Drink
this goblet," he said, "and it will cause thee to change thy
mind." "Evil betide me," she answered, "if I drink aught until he
drink also." "Truly," said the earl, "it is of no more avail for
me to be gentle with thee than ungentle." And he gave her a box in
the ear. Thereupon she raised a loud and piercing shriek, and her
lamentations were much greater than they had been before; for she
considered in her mind, that, had Geraint been alive, he durst not
have struck her thus. But, behold, at the sound of her cry,
Geraint revived from his swoon, and he sat upon the bier; and
finding his sword in the hollow of his shield, he rushed to the
place where the earl was, and struck him a fiercely-wounding,
severely-venomous, and sternly-smiting blow upon the crown of his
head, so that he clove him in twain, until his sword was staid by
the table. Then all left the board and fled away. And this was not
so much through fear of the living, as through the dread they felt
at seeing the dead man rise up to slay them. And Geraint looked
upon Enid, and he was grieved for two causes; one was to see that
Enid had lost her color and her wonted aspect; and the other, to
know that she was in the right. "Lady," said he, "knowest thou
where our horses are?" "I know, lord, where thy horse is," she
replied, "but I know not where is the other. Thy horse is in the
house yonder." So he went to the house, and brought forth his
horse, and mounted him, and took up Enid, and placed her upon the
horse with him. And he rode forward. And their road lay between
two hedges; and the night was gaining on the day. And lo! they saw
behind them the shafts of spears betwixt them and the sky, and
they heard the tramping of horses, and the noise of a host
approaching. "I hear something following us," said he, "and I will
put thee on the other side of the hedge." And thus he did. And
thereupon, behold a knight pricked towards him, and couched his
lance. When Enid saw this, she cried out, saying, "O chieftain,
whoever thou art, what renown wilt thou gain by slaying a dead
man?" "O Heaven!" said he, "is it Geraint?" "Yes, in truth," said
she; "and who art thou?" "I am Gwiffert Petit," said he, "thy
husband's ally, coming to thy assistance, for I heard that thou
wast in trouble. Come with me to the court of a son-in-law of my
sister, which is near here, and thou shalt have the best medical
assistance in the kingdom." "I will do so gladly," said Geraint.
And Enid was placed upon the horse of one of Gwiffert's squires,
and they went forward to the baron's palace. And they were
received there with gladness, and they met with hospitality and
attention. The next morning they went to seek physicians; and it
was not long before they came, and they attended Geraint until he
was perfectly well. And while Geraint was under medical care
Gwiffert caused his armor to be repaired, until it was as good as
it had ever been. And they remained there a month and a fortnight.
Then they separated, and Geraint went towards his own dominions,
and thenceforth he reigned prosperously, and his warlike fame and
splendor lasted with renown and honor, both to him and to Enid,
from that time forward.

[Footnote: Throughout the broad and varied region of romance it
would be difficult to find a character of greater simplicity and
truth than that of Enid, the daughter of Earl Ynywl. Conspicuous
for her beauty and noble bearing, we are at a loss whether more to
admire the patience with which she bore all the hardships she was
destined to undergo or the constancy and affection which finally
achieved the truimph she so richly deserved.

The character of Enid is admirably sustained through the whole
tale; and as it is more natural, because less overstrained, so
perhaps it is even more touching than that of Griselda, over
which, however, Chaucer has thrown a charm that leads us to forget
the improbability of her story.]



Once upon a time Pwyll was at Narberth, his chief palace, where a
feast had been prepared for him, and with him was a great host of
men. And after the first meal Pwyll arose to walk; and he went to
the top of a mound that was above the palace, and was called
Gorsedd Arberth. "Lord," said one of the court, "it is peculiar to
the mound that whosoever sits upon it cannot go thence without
either receiving wounds or blows, or else seeing a wonder." "I
fear not to receive wounds or blows," said Pwyll; "but as to the
wonder, gladly would I see it. I will therefore go and sit upon
the mound."

And upon the mound he sat. And while he sat there, they saw a
lady, on a pure white horse of large size, with a garment of
shining gold around her, coming along the highway that led from
the mound. "My men," said Pwyll, "is there any among you who knows
yonder lady?" "There is not, lord," said they. "Go one of you and
meet her, that we may know who she is." And one of them arose, and
as he came upon the road to meet her, she passed by; and he
followed as fast as he could, being on foot, and the greater was
his speed, the further was she from him. And when he saw that it
profited him nothing to follow her, he returned to Pwyll, and said
unto him, "Lord, it is idle for any one in the world to follow her
on foot." "Verily," said Pwyll, "go unto the palace, and take the
fleetest horse that thou seest, and go after her."

And he took a horse and went forward. And he came to an open,
level plain, and put spurs to his horse; and the more he urged his
horse, the further was she from him. And he returned to the place
where Pwyll was, and said, "Lord, it will avail nothing for any
one to follow yonder lady. I know of no horse in these realms
swifter than this, and it availed me not to pursue her." "Of a
truth," said Pwyll, "there must be some illusion here; let us go
towards the palace." So to the palace they went, and spent the

And the next day they amused themselves until it was time to go to
meat. And when meat was ended, Pwyll said, "Where are the hosts
that went yesterday to the top of the mound?" "Behold, lord, we
are here," said they. "Let us go," said he, "to the mound, and sit
there. And do thou," said he to the page who tended his horse,
"saddle my horse well, and hasten with him to the road, and bring
also my spurs with thee." And the youth did thus. And they went
and sat upon the mound; and ere they had been there but a short
time, they beheld the lady coming by the same road, and in the
same manner, and at the same pace. "Young man," said Pwyll, "I see
the lady coming; give me my horse." And before he had mounted his
horse she passed him. And he turned after her and followed her.
And he let his horse go bounding playfully, and thought that he
should soon come up with her. But he came no nearer to her than at
first. Then he urged his horse to his utmost speed, yet he found
that it availed not. Then said Pwyll, "O maiden, for the sake of
him whom thou best lovest, stay for me." "I will stay gladly,"
said she; "and it were better for thy horse hadst thou asked it
long since." So the maiden stopped; and she threw back that part
of her head-dress which covered her face. Then he thought that the
beauty of all the maidens and all the ladies that he had ever seen
was as nothing compared to her beauty. "Lady," he said, "wilt thou
tell me aught concerning thy purpose?" "I will tell thee," said
she; "my chief quest was to see thee." "Truly," said Pwyll, "this
is to me the most pleasing quest on which thou couldst have come;
and wilt thou tell me who thou art?" "I will tell thee, lord,"
said she. "I am Rhiannon, the daughter of Heveydd, and they sought
to give me a husband against my will. But no husband would I have,
and that because of my love for thee; neither will I yet have one,
unless thou reject me; and hither have I come to hear thy answer."
"By Heaven," said Pwyll, "behold this is my answer. If I might
choose among all the ladies and damsels in the world, thee would I
choose." "Verily," said she, "if thou art thus minded, make a
pledge to meet me ere I am given to another." "The sooner I may do
so, the more pleasing will it be to me," said Pwyll; "and
wheresoever thou wilt, there will I meet with thee." "I will that
thou meet me this day twelvemonth at the palace of Heveydd."
"Gladly," said he, "will I keep this tryst." So they parted, and
he went back to his hosts, and to them of his household. And
whatsoever questions they asked him respecting the damsel, he
always turned the discourse upon other matters.

And when a year from that time was gone, he caused a hundred
knights to equip themselves, and to go with him to the palace of
Heveydd. And he came to the palace, and there was great joy
concerning him, with much concourse of people, and great
rejoicing, and vast preparations for his coming. And the whole
court was placed under his orders.

And the hall was garnished, and they went to meat, and thus did
they sit: Heveydd was on one side of Pwyll, and Rhiannon on the
other; and all the rest according to their rank. And they ate and
feasted, and talked one with another. And at the beginning of the
carousal after the meat, there entered a tall, auburn-haired
youth, of royal bearing, clothed in a garment of satin. And when
he came into the hall, he saluted Pwyll and his companions. "The
greeting of Heaven be unto thee," said Pwyll; "come thou and sit
down." "Nay," said he, "a suitor am I, and I will do my errand."
"Do so willingly," said Pwyll. "Lord," said he, "my errand is unto
thee, and it is to crave a boon of thee that I come." "What boon
soever thou mayest ask of me, so far as I am able, thou shalt
have." "Ah!" said Rhiannon, "wherefore didst thou give that
answer?" "Has he not given it before the presence of these
nobles?" asked the youth. "My soul," said Pwyll, "what is the boon
thou askest?" "The lady whom best I love is to be thy bride this
night; I come to ask her of thee, with the feast and the banquet
that are in this place." And Pwyll was silent, because of the
promise which he had given. "Be silent as long as thou wilt," said
Rhiannon, "never did man make worse use of his wits than thou hast
done." "Lady," said he, "I knew not who he was." "Behold, this is
the man to whom they would have given me against my will," said
she; "and he is Gawl, the son of Clud, a man of great power and
wealth, and because of the word thou hast spoken, bestow me upon
him, lest shame befall thee." "Lady," said he, "I understand not
thy answer; never can I do as thou sayest." "Bestow me upon him,"
said she, "and I will cause that I shall never be his." "By what
means will that be?" asked Pwyll. Then she told him the thought
that was in her mind. And they talked long together. Then Gawl
said, "Lord, it is meet that I have an answer to my request." "As
much of that thou hast asked as it is in my power to give, thou
shalt have," replied Pwyll. "My soul," said Rhiannon unto Gawl,
"as for the feast and the banquet that are here, I have bestowed
them upon the men of Dyved, and the household and the warriors
that are with us. These can I not suffer to be given to any. In a
year from to-night, a banquet shall be prepared for thee in this
palace, that I may become thy bride."

So Gawl went forth to his possessions, and Pwyll went also back to
Dyved. And they both spent that year until it was the time for the
feast at the palace of Heveydd. Then Gawl, the son of Clud, set
out to the feast that was prepared for him; and he came to the
palace, and was received there with rejoicing. Pwyll, also, the
chief of Dyved, came to the orchard with a hundred knights, as
Rhiannon had commanded him. And Pwyll was clad in coarse and
ragged garments, and wore large, clumsy old shoes upon his feet.
And when he knew that the carousal after the meat had begun, he
went toward the hall; and when he came into the hall he saluted
Gawl, the son of Clud, and his company, both men and women.
"Heaven prosper thee," said Gawl, "and friendly greeting be unto
thee!" "Lord," said he, "may Heaven reward thee! I have an errand
unto thee." "Welcome be thine errand, and if thou ask of me that
which is right, thou shalt have it gladly." "It is fitting,"
answered he; "I crave but from want, and the boon I ask is to have
this small bag that thou seest filled with meat." "A request
within reason is this," said he, "and gladly shalt thou have it.
Bring him food." A great number of attendants arose and began to
fill the bag; but for all they put into it, it was no fuller than
at first. "My soul," said Gawl, "will thy bag ever be full?" "It
will not, I declare to Heaven," said he, "for all that may be put
into it, unless one possessed of lands, and domains, and treasure,
shall arise and tread down with both his feet the food that is
within the bag, and shall say, 'Enough has been put therein.'"
Then said Rhiannon unto Gawl, the son of Clud, "Rise up quickly."
"I will willingly arise," said he. So he rose up, and put his two
feet into the bag. And Pwyll turned up the sides of the bag, so
that Gawl was over his head in it. And he shut it up quickly, and
slipped a knot upon the thongs, and blew his horn. And thereupon,
behold, his knights came down upon the palace. And they seized all
the host that had come with Gawl, and cast them into his own
prison. And Pwyll threw off his rags, and his old shoes, and his
tattered array. And as they came in, every one of Pwyll's knights
struck a blow upon the bag, and asked, "What is here?" "A badger,"
said they. And in this manner they played, each of them striking
the bag, either with his foot or with a staff. And thus played
they with the bag. And then was the game of Badger in the Bag
first played.

"Lord," said the man in the bag, "if thou wouldst but hear me, I
merit not to be slain in a bag." Said Heveydd, "Lord, he speaks
truth; it were fitting that thou listen to him, for he deserves
not this." "Verily," said Pwyll, "I will do thy counsel concerning
him." "Behold, this is my counsel then," said Rhiannon. "Thou art
now in a position in which it behooves thee to satisfy suitors and
minstrels. Let him give unto them in thy stead, and take a pledge
from him that he will never seek to revenge that which has been
done to him. And this will be punishment enough." "I will do this
gladly," said the man in the bag. "And gladly will I accept it,"
said Pwyll, "since it is the counsel of Heveydd and Rhiannon. Seek
thyself sureties." "We will be for him," said Heveydd, "until his
men be free to answer for him." And upon this he was let out of
the bag, and his liegemen were liberated. "Verily, lord," said
Gawl, "I am greatly hurt, and I have many bruises. With thy leave,
I will go forth. I will leave nobles in my stead to answer for me
in all that thou shalt require." "Willingly," said Pwyll, "mayest
thou do this." So Gawl went to his own possessions.

And the hall was set in order for Pwyll and the men of his host,
and for them also of the palace, and they went to the tables and
sat down. And as they had sat that time twelvemonth, so sat they
that night. And they ate and feasted, and spent the night in mirth
and tranquility. And the time came that they should sleep, and
Pwyll and Rhiannon went to their chamber.

And next morning at break of day, "My lord," said Rhiannon, "arise
and begin to give thy gifts unto the minstrels. Refuse no one to-
day that may claim thy bounty." "Thus shall it be gladly," said
Pwyll, "both to-day and every day while the feast shall last." So
Pwyll arose, and he caused silence to be proclaimed, and desired
all the suitors and minstrels to show and to point out what gifts
they desired. And this being done, the feast went on, and he
denied no one while it lasted. And when the feast was ended, Pwyll
said unto Heveydd, "My lord, with thy permission, I will set out
for Dyved to-morrow." "Certainly," said Heveydd; "may Heaven
prosper thee! Fix also a time when Rhiannon shall follow thee."
"By Heaven," said Pwyll, "we will go hence together." "Willest
thou this, lord?" said Heveydd. "Yes, lord," answered Pwyll.

And the next, day they set forward towards Dyved, and journeyed to
the palace of Narberth, where a feast was made ready for them. And
there came to them great numbers of the chief men and the most
noble ladies of the land, and of these there were none to whom
Rhiannon did not give some rich gift, either a bracelet, or a
ring, or a precious stone. And they ruled the land prosperously
that year and the next.



Bendigeid Vran, the son of Llyr, was the crowned king of this
island, and he was exalted from the crown of London. And one
afternoon he was at Harlech, in Ardudwy, at his court; and he sat
upon the rock of Harlech, looking over the sea. And with him were
his brother, Manawyddan, the son of Llyr, and his brothers by the
mother's side, Nissyen and Evnissyen, and many nobles likewise, as
was fitting to see around a king. His two brothers by the mother's
side were the sons of Euroswydd, and one of these youths was a
good youth, and of gentle nature, and would make peace between his
kindred, and cause his family to be friends when their wrath was
at the highest, and this one was Nissyen; but the other would
cause strife between his two brothers when they were most at
peace. And as they sat thus they beheld thirteen ships coming from
the south of Ireland, and making towards them; and they came with
a swift motion, the wind being behind them; and they neared them
rapidly. "I see ships afar," said the king, "coming swiftly
towards the land. Command the men of the court that they equip
themselves, and go and learn their intent." So the men equipped
themselves, and went down towards them. And when they saw the
ships near, certain were they that they had never seen ships
better furnished. Beautiful flags of satin were upon them. And,
behold, one of the ships outstripped the others, and they saw a
shield lifted up above the side of the ship, and the point of the
shield was upwards, in token of peace. And the men drew near, that
they might hold converse. Then they put out boats, and came toward
the land. And they saluted the king. Now the king could hear them
from the place where he was upon the rock above their heads.
"Heaven prosper you." said he, "and be ye welcome! To whom do
these ships belong, and who is the chief amongst you?" "Lord,"
said they, "Matholch, king of Ireland, is here, and these ships
belong to him." "Wherefore comes he?" asked the king, "and will he
come to the land?" "He is a suitor unto thee, lord," said they,
"and he will not land unless he have his boon." "And what may that
be?" inquired the king. "He desires to ally himself, lord, with
thee," said they, "and he comes to ask Branwen, the daughter of
Llyr, that, if it seem well to thee, the Island of the Mighty
[Footnote: The Island of the Mighty is one of the many names
bestowed upon Britain by the Welsh.] may be leagued with Ireland,
and both become more powerful." "Verily," said he, "let him come
to land, and we will take counsel thereupon." And this answer was
brought to Matholch. "I will go willingly," said he. So he landed,
and they received him joyfully; and great was the throng in the
palace that night, between his hosts and those of the court; and
next day they took counsel, and they resolved to bestow Branwen
upon Matholch. Now she was one of the three chief ladies of this
island, and she was the fairest damsel in the world.

And they fixed upon Aberfraw as the place where she should become
his bride. And they went thence, and towards Aberfraw the hosts
proceeded, Matholch and his host in their ships, Bendigeid Vran
and his host by land, until they came to Aberfraw. And at Aberfraw
they began the feast, and sat down. And thus sat they: the king of
the Island of the Mighty and Manawyddan, the son of Llyr, on one
side, and Matholch on the other side, and Branwen, the daughter of
Llyr, beside him. And they were not within a house, but under
tents. No house could ever contain Bendigeid Vran. And they began
the banquet, and caroused and discoursed. And when it was more
pleasing to them to sleep than to carouse, they went to rest, and
Branwen became Matholch's bride.

And next day they arose, and all they of the court, and the
officers began to equip, and to range the horses and the
attendants, and they ranged them in order as far as the sea.

And, behold, one day Evnissyen, the quarrelsome man, of whom it is
spoken above, came by chance into the place where the horses of
Matholch were, and asked whose horses they might be. "They are the
horses of Matholch, king of Ireland, who is married to Branwen,
thy sister; his horses are they." "And is it thus they have done
with a maiden such as she, and moreover my sister, bestowing her
without my consent? They could have offered no greater insult to
me than this," said he. And thereupon he rushed under the horses,
and cut off their lips at the teeth, and their ears close to their
heads, and their tails close to their backs; and he disfigured the
horses, and rendered them useless.

And they came with these tidings unto Matholch, saying that the
horses were disfigured and injured, so that not one of them could
ever be of any use again. "Verily, lord," said one, "it was an
insult unto thee, and as such was it meant." "Of a truth, it is a
marvel to me that, if they desire to insult me, they should have
given me a maiden of such high rank, and so much beloved of her
kindred, as they have done." "Lord," said another, "thou seest
that thus it is, and there is nothing for thee to do but to go to
thy ships." And thereupon towards his ships he set out.

And tidings came to Bendigeid Vran that Matholch was quitting the
court without asking leave, and messengers were sent to inquire of
him wherefore he did so. And the messengers that went were Iddic,
the son of Anarawd, and Heveyd Hir. And these overtook him, and
asked of him what he designed to do, and wherefore he went forth.
"Of a truth," said he, "if I had known, I had not come hither. I
have been altogether insulted; no one had ever worse treatment
than I have had here." "Truly, lord, it was not the will of any
that are of the court," said they, "nor of any that are of the
council, that thou shouldst have received this insult; and as thou
hast been insulted, the dishonor is greater unto Bendigeid Vran
than unto thee." "Verily," said he, "I think so. Nevertheless, he
cannot recall the insult." These men returned with that answer to
the place where Bendigeid Vran was, and they told him what reply
Matholch had given them. "Truly," said he, "there are no means by
which we may prevent his going away at enmity with us that we will
not take." "Well, lord," said they, "send after him another
embassy." "I will do so," said he. "Arise, Manawyddan, son of
Llyr, and Heveyd Hir, and go after him, and tell him that he shall
have a sound horse for every one that has been injured. And beside
that, as an atonement for the insult, he shall have a staff of
silver as large and as tall as himself, and a plate of gold of the
breadth of his face. And show unto him who it was that did this,
and that it was done against my will; but that he who did it is my
brother, and therefore it would be hard for me to put him to
death. And let him come and meet me," said he, "and we will make
peace in any way he may desire."

The embassy went after Matholch, and told him all these sayings in
a friendly manner; and he listened thereunto. "Men," said he, "I
will take counsel." So to the council he went. And in the council
they considered that, if they should refuse this, they were likely
to have more shame rather than to obtain so great an atonement.
They resolved, therefore, to accept it, and they returned to the
court in peace.

Then the pavilions and the tents were set in order, after the
fashion of a hall; and they went to meat, and as they had sat at
the beginning of the feast so sat they there. And Matholch and
Bendigeid Vran began to discourse; and, behold, it seemed to
Bendigeid Vran, while they talked, that Matholch was not so
cheerful as he had been before. And he thought that the chieftain
might be sad because of the smallness of the atonement which he
had for the wrong that had been done him. "O man," said Bendigeid
Vran, "thou dost not discourse to-night so cheerfully as thou wast
wont. And if it be because of the smallness of the atonement, thou
shalt add thereunto whatsoever thou mayest choose, and to-morrow I
will pay thee for the horses." "Lord," said he, "Heaven reward
thee!" "And I will enhance the atonement," said Bendigeid Vran,
"for I will give unto thee a caldron, the property of which is,
that if one of thy men be slain to-day, and be cast therein, to-
morrow he will be as well as ever he was at the best, except that
he will not regain his speech." And thereupon he gave him great
thanks, and very joyful was he for that cause.

That night they continued to discourse as much as they would, and
had minstrelsy and carousing; and when it was more pleasant to
them to sleep than to sit longer, they went to rest. And thus was
the banquet carried on with joyousness; and when it was finished,
Matholch journeyed towards Ireland, and Branwen with him; and they
went from Aber Menei with thirteen ships, and came to Ireland. And
in Ireland was there great joy because of their coming. And not
one great man nor noble lady visited Branwen unto whom she gave
not either a clasp or a ring, or a royal jewel to keep, such as it
was honorable to be seen departing with. And in these things she
spent that year in much renown, and she passed her time
pleasantly, enjoying honor and friendship. And in due time a son
was born unto her, and the name that they gave him was Gwern, the
son of Matholch, and they put the boy out to be nursed in a place
where were the best men of Ireland.

And, behold, in the second year a tumult arose in Ireland, on
account of the insult which Matholch had received in Wales, and
the payment made him for his horses. And his foster-brothers, and
such as were nearest to him, blamed him openly for that matter.
And he might have no peace by reason of the tumult, until they
should revenge upon him this disgrace. And the vengeance which
they took was to drive away Branwen from the same chamber with
him, and to make her cook for the court; and they caused the
butcher, after he had cut up the meat, to come to her and give her
every day a blow on the ear; and such they made her punishment.

"Verily, lord," said his men to Matholch, "forbid now the ships
and the ferry-boats, and the coracles, that they go not into
Wales, and such as come over from Wales hither, imprison them,
that they go not back for this thing to be known there." And he
did so; and it was thus for no less than three years.

And Branwen reared a starling in the cover of the kneading-trough,
and she taught it to speak, and she taught the bird what manner of
man her brother was. And she wrote a letter of her woes, and the
despite with which she was treated, and she bound the letter to
the root of the bird's wing, and sent it toward Wales. And the
bird came to that island; and one day it found Bendigeid Vran at
Caer Seiont in Arvon, conferring there, and it alighted upon his
shoulder, and ruffled its feathers, so that the letter was seen,
and they knew that the bird had been reared in a domestic manner.

Then Bendigeid Vran took the letter and looked upon it. And when
he had read the letter, he grieved exceedingly at the tidings of
Branwen's woes. And immediately he began sending messengers to
summon the island together. And he caused seven-score and four of
his chief men to come unto him, and he complained to them of the
grief that his sister endured. So they took counsel. And in the
counsel they resolved to go to Ireland, and to leave seven men as
princes at home, and Caradoc, [Footnote: Caractacus.] the son of
Bran, as the chief of them.

Bendigeid Vran, with the host of which we spoke, sailed towards
Ireland; and it was not far across the sea, and he came to shoal
water. Now the swine-herds of Matholch were upon the sea-shore,
and they came to Matholch. "Lord," said they, "greeting be unto
thee." "Heaven protect you!" said he; "have you any news?" "Lord,"
said they, "we have marvellous news. A wood have we seen upon the
sea, in a place where we never yet saw a single tree." "This is
indeed a marvel," said he; "saw you aught else?" "We saw, lord,"
said they, "a vast mountain beside the wood, which moved, and
there was a lofty ridge on the top of the mountain, and a lake on
each side of the ridge. And the wood and the mountain, and all
these things, moved." "Verily," said he, "there is none who can
know aught concerning this unless it be Branwen."

Messengers then went unto Branwen. "Lady," said they, "what
thinkest thou that this is?" "The men of the Island of the Mighty,
who have come hither on hearing of my ill-treatment and of my
woes." "What is the forest that is seen upon the sea?" asked they.
"The yards and the masts of ships," she answered. "Alas!" said
they; "what is the mountain that is seen by the side of the
ships?" "Bendigeid Vran, my brother," she replied, "coming to
shoal water, and he is wading to the land." "What is the lofty
ridge, with the lake on each side thereof?" "On looking towards
this island he is wroth, and his two eyes on each side of his nose
are the two lakes on each side of the ridge."

The warriors and chief men of Ireland were brought together in
haste, and they took counsel. "Lord," said the neighbors unto
Matholch, "there is no other counsel than this alone. Thou shalt
give the kingdom to Gwern, the son of Branwen his sister, as a
compensation for the wrong and despite that have been done unto
Branwen. And he will make peace with thee." And in the council it
was resolved that this message should be sent to Bendigeid Vran,
lest the country should be destroyed. And this peace was made. And
Matholch caused a great house to be built for Bendigeid Vran, and
his host. Thereupon came the hosts into the house. The men of the
island of Ireland entered the house on the one side, and the men
of the Island of the Mighty on the other. And as soon as they had
sat down, there was concord between them; and the sovereignty was
conferred upon the boy. When the peace was concluded, Bendigeid
Vran called the boy unto him, and from Bendigeid Vran the boy went
unto Manawyddan; and he was beloved by all that beheld him. And
from Manawyddan the boy was called by Nissyen, the son of
Euroswydd, and the boy went unto him lovingly. "Wherefore," said
Evnissyen, "comes not my nephew, the son of my sister, unto me?
Though he were not king of Ireland, yet willingly would I fondle
the boy." "Cheerfully let him go to thee," said Bendigeid Vran;
and the boy went unto him cheerfully. "By my confession to
Heaven," said Evnissyen in his heart, "unthought of is the
slaughter that I will this instant commit."

Then he arose and took up the boy, and before any one in the house
could seize hold of him he thrust the boy headlong into the
blazing fire. And when Branwen saw her son burning in the fire,
she strove to leap into the fire also, from the place where she
sat between her two brothers. But Bendigeid Vran grasped her with
one hand, and his shield with the other. Then they all hurried
about the house, and never was there made so great a tumult by any
host in one house as was made by them, as each man armed himself.
And while they all sought their arms Bendigeid Vran supported
Branwen between his shield and his shoulder. And they fought.

Then the Irish kindled a fire under the caldron of renovation, and
they cast the dead bodies into the caldron until it was full; and
the next day they came forth fighting men, as good as before,
except that they were not able to speak. Then when Evnissyen saw
the dead bodies of the men of the Island of the Mighty nowhere
resuscitated, he said in his heart, "Alas! woe is me, that I
should have been the cause of bringing the men of the Island of
the Mighty into so great a strait. Evil betide me if I find not a
deliverance therefrom." And he cast himself among the dead bodies
of the Irish; and two unshod Irishmen came to him, and, taking him
to be one of the Irish, flung him into the caldron. And he
stretched himself out in the caldron, so that he rent the caldron
into four pieces, and burst his own heart also.

In consequence of this, the men of the Island of the Mighty
obtained such success as they had; but they were not victorious,
for only seven men of them all escaped, and Bendigeid Vran himself
was wounded in the foot with a poisoned dart. Now the men that
escaped were Pryderi, Manawyddan, Taliesin, and four others.

And Bendigeid Vran commanded them that they should cut off his
head. "And take you my head," said he, "and bear it even unto the
White Mount in London, and bury it there with the face towards
France. And so long as it lies there, no enemy shall ever land on
the island." So they cut off his head, and these seven went
forward therewith. And Branwen was the eighth with them. And they
came to land on Aber Alaw, and they sat down to rest. And Branwen
looked towards Ireland, and towards the Island of the Mighty, to
see if she could descry them. "Alas!" said she, "woe is me that I
was ever born; two islands have been destroyed because of me."
Then she uttered a groan, and there broke her heart. And they made
her a four-sided grave, and buried her upon the banks of the Alaw.

Then the seven men journeyed forward, bearing the head with them;
and as they went, behold there met them a multitude of men and
women. "Have you any tidings?" said Manawyddan. "We have none,"
said they, "save that Caswallawn, [Footnote: Cassivellaunus.] the
son of Beli, has conquered the Island of the Mighty, and is
crowned king in London." "What has become," said they, "of
Caradoc, the son of Bran, and the seven men who were left with him
in this island?" "Caswallawn came upon them, and slew six of the
men, and Caradoc's heart broke for grief thereof." And the seven
men journeyed on towards London, and they buried the head in the
White Mount, as Bendigeid Vran had directed them. [Footnote: There
is a Triad upon the story of the head buried under the White Tower
of London, as a charm against invasion. Arthur, it seems, proudly
disinterred the head, preferring to hold the island by his own
strength alone.]



Pwyll and Rhiannon had a son, whom they named Pryderi. And when he
was grown up, Pwyll, his father, died. And Pryderi married Kicva,
the daughter of Gwynn Gloy.

Now Manawyddan returned from the war in Ireland, and he found that
his cousin had seized all his possessions, and much grief and
heaviness came upon him. "Alas! woe is me!" he exclaimed; "there
is none save myself without a home and a resting-place." "Lord,"
said Pryderi, "be not so sorrowful. Thy cousin is king of the
Island of the Mighty, and though he has done thee wrong, thou hast
never been a claimant of land or possessions." "Yea," answered he,
"but although this man is my cousin, it grieveth me to see any one
in the place of my brother, Bendigeid Vran; neither can I be happy
in the same dwelling with him." "Wilt thou follow the counsel of
another?" said Pryderi. "I stand in need of counsel," he answered,
"and what may that counsel be?" "Seven cantrevs belong unto me,"
said Pryderi, "wherein Rhiannon, my mother, dwells. I will bestow
her upon thee, and the seven cantrevs with her; and though thou
hadst no possessions but those cantrevs only, thou couldst not
have any fairer than they. Do thou and Rhiannon enjoy them, and if
thou desire any possessions thou wilt not despise these." "I do
not, chieftain," said he. "Heaven reward thee for the friendship!
I will go with thee to seek Rhiannon, and to look at thy
possessions." "Thou wilt do well," he answered; "and I believe
that thou didst never hear a lady discourse better than she, and
when she was in her prime, none was ever fairer. Even now her
aspect is not uncomely."

They set forth, and, however long the journey, they came at last
to Dyved; and a feast was prepared for them by Rhiannon and Kicva.
Then began Manawyddan and Rhiannon to sit and to talk together;
and his mind and his thoughts became warmed towards her, and he
thought in his heart he had never beheld any lady more fulfilled
of grace and beauty than she. "Pryderi," said he, "I will that it
be as thou didst say." "What saying was that?" asked Rhiannon.
"Lady," said Pryderi, "I did offer thee as a wife to Manawyddan,
the son of Llyr." "By that will I gladly abide," said Rhiannon.
"Right glad am I also," said Manawyddan, "may Heaven reward him
who hath shown unto me friendship so perfect as this!"

And before the feast was over she became his bride. Said Pryderi,
"Tarry ye here the rest of the feast, and I will go into England
to tender my homage unto Caswallawn, the son of Beli." "Lord,"
said Rhiannon, "Caswallawn is in Kent; thou mayest therefore tarry
at the feast, and wait until he shall be nearer." "We will wait,"
he answered. So they finished the feast. And they began to make
the circuit of Dyved, and to hunt, and to take their pleasure. And
as they went through the country, they had never seen lands more
pleasant to live in, nor better hunting grounds, nor greater
plenty of honey and fish. And such was the friendship between
these four, that they would not be parted from each other by night
nor by day.

And in the midst of all this he went to Caswallawn at Oxford, and
tendered his homage; and honorable was his reception there, and
highly was he praised for offering his homage.

And after his return Pryderi and Manawyddan feasted and took their
ease and pleasure. And they began a feast at Narberth, for it was
the chief palace. And when they had ended the first meal, while
those who served them ate, they arose and went forth, and
proceeded to the Gorsedd, that is, the Mount of Narberth, and
their retinue with them. And as they sat thus, behold a peal of
thunder, and with the violence of the thunder-storm, lo! there
came a fall of mist, so thick that not one of them could see the
other. And after the mist it became light all around. And when
they looked towards the place where they were wont to see the
cattle and herds and dwellings, they saw nothing now, neither
house, nor beast, nor smoke, nor fire, nor man, nor dwelling, but
the buildings of the court empty, and desert, and uninhabited,
without either man or beast within them. And truly all their
companions were lost to them, without their knowing aught of what
had befallen them, save those four only.

"In the name of Heaven," said Manawyddan, "where are they of the
court, and all my host beside? Let us go and see."

So they came to the castle, and saw no man, and into the hall, and
to the sleeping-place, and there was none; and in the mead-cellar
and in the kitchen there was naught but desolation. Then they
began to go through the land, and all the possessions that they
had; and they visited the houses and dwellings, and found nothing
but wild beasts. And when they had consumed their feast and all
their provisions, they fed upon the prey they killed in hunting,
and the honey of the wild swans.

And one morning Pryderi and Manawyddan rose up to hunt, and they
ranged their dogs and went forth. And some of the dogs ran before
them, and came to a bush which was near at hand; but as soon as
they were come to the bush, they hastily drew back, and returned
to the men, their hair bristling up greatly. "Let us go near to
the bush," said Pryderi, "and see what is in it." And as they came
near, behold, a wild boar of a pure white color rose up from the
bush. Then the dogs, being set on by the men, rushed towards him;
but he left the bush, and fell back a little way from the men, and
made a stand against the dogs, without retreating from them, until
the men had come near. And when the men came up, he fell back a
second time, and betook him to flight. Then they pursued the boar
until they beheld a vast and lofty castle, all newly built, in a
place where they had never before seen either stone or building.
And the boar ran swiftly into the castle, and the dogs after him.
Now when the boar and the dogs had gone into the castle, the men
began to wonder at finding a castle in a place where they had
never before seen any building whatsoever. And from the top of the
Gorsedd they looked and listened for the dogs. But so long as they
were there, they heard not one of the dogs, nor aught concerning

"Lord," said Pryderi, "I will go into the castle to get tidings of
the dogs." "Truly," he replied, "thou wouldst be unwise to go into
this castle, which thou hast never seen till now. If thou wouldst
follow my counsel, thou wouldst not enter therein. Whosoever has
cast a spell over this land, has caused this castle to be here."
"Of a truth," answered Pryderi, "I cannot thus give up my dogs."
And for all the counsel that Manawyddan gave him, yet to the
castle he went.

When he came within the castle, neither man nor beast, nor boar,
nor dogs, nor house, nor dwelling, saw he within it. But in the
centre of the castle-floor he beheld a fountain with marble-work
around it, and on the margin of the fountain a golden bowl upon a
marble slab, and chains hanging from the air, to which he saw no

And he was greatly pleased with the beauty of the gold, and with
the rich workmanship of the bowl; and he went up to the bowl, and
laid hold of it. And when he had taken hold of its his hands stuck
to the bowl, and his feet to the slab on which the bowl was
placed; and all his joyousness forsook him, so that he could not
utter a word. And thus he stood.

And Manawyddan waited for him till near the close of the day. And
late in the evening, being certain that he should have no tidings
of Pryderi or the dogs, he went back to the palace. And as he
entered, Rhiannon looked at him. "Where," said she, "are thy
companion and thy dogs?" "Behold," he answered, "the adventure
that has befallen me." And he related it all unto her. "An evil
companion hast thou been," said Rhiannon, "and a good companion
hast thou lost." And with that word she went out, and proceeded
towards the castle, according to the direction which he gave her.
The gate of the castle she found open. She was nothing daunted,
and she went in. And as she went in, she perceived Pryderi laying
hold of the bowl, and she went towards him. "O my lord," said she,
"what dost thou here?" And she took hold of the bowl with him; and
as she did so, her hands also became fast to the bowl, and her
feet to the slab, and she was not able to utter a word. And with
that, as it became night, lo! there came thunder upon them, and a
fall of mist; and thereupon the castle vanished, and they with it.

When Kicva, the daughter of Gwynn Gloy, saw that there was no one
in the palace but herself and Manawyddan, she sorrowed so that she
cared not whether she lived or died. And Manawyddan saw this.
"Thou art in the wrong," said he, "if through fear of me thou
grievest thus. I call Heaven to witness that thou hast never seen
friendship more pure than that which I will bear thee as long as
Heaven will that thou shouldst be thus. I declare to thee, that,
were I in the dawn of youth, I would keep my faith unto Pryderi,
and unto thee also will I keep it. Be there no fear upon thee,
therefore." "Heaven reward thee!" she said; "and that is what I
deemed of thee." And the damsel thereupon took courage, and was

"Truly, lady," said Manawyddan, "it is not fitting for us to stay
here; we have lost our dogs, and cannot get food. Let us go into
England; it is easiest for us to find support there." "Gladly,
lord," said she, "we will do so." And they set forth together to

"Lord," said she, "what craft wilt thou follow? Take up one that
is seemly." "None other will I take," answered he, "but that of
making shoes." "Lord," said she, "such a craft becomes not a man
so nobly born as thou." "By that however will I abide," said he.
"I know nothing thereof," said Kicva. "But I know," answered
Manawyddan, "and I will teach thee to stitch. We will not attempt
to dress the leather, but we will buy it ready dressed, and will
make the shoes from it."

So they went into England, and went as far as Hereford; and they
betook themselves to making shoes. And he began by buying the best
cordwain that could be had in the town, and none other would buy.
And he associated himself with the best goldsmith in the town, and
caused him to make clasps for the shoes, and to gild the clasps;
and he marked how it was done until he learned the method. And
therefore is he called one of the three makers of gold shoes. And
when they could be had from him, not a shoe nor hose was bought of
any of the cordwainers in the town. But when the cordwainers
perceived that their gains were failing (for as Manawyddan shaped
the work, so Kicva stitched it), they came together and took
counsel, and agreed that they would slay them. And he had warning
thereof, and it was told him how the cordwainers had agreed
together to slay him.

"Lord," said Kicva, "wherefore should this be borne from these
boors?" "Nay," said he, "we will go back unto Dyved." So towards
Dyved they set forth.

Now Manawyddan, when he set out to return to Dyved, took with him
a burden of wheat. And he proceeded towards Narberth, and there he
dwelt. And never was he better pleased than when he saw Narberth
again, and the lands where he had been wont to hunt with Pryderi
and with Rhiannon. And he accustomed himself to fish, and to hunt
the deer in their covert. And then he began to prepare some
ground, and he sowed a croft, and a second, and a third. And no
wheat in the world ever sprung up better. And the three crofts
prospered with perfect growth, and no man ever saw fairer wheat
than it.

And thus passed the seasons of the year until the harvest came.
And he went to look at one of his crofts, and, behold, it was
ripe. "I will reap this to-morrow," said he. And that night he
went back to Narberth, and on the morrow, in the gray dawn, he
went to reap the croft; and when he came there, he found nothing
but the bare straw. Every one of the ears of the wheat was cut off
from the stalk, and all the ears carried entirely away, and
nothing but the straw left. And at this he marvelled greatly.

Then he went to look at another croft, and, behold, that also was
ripe. "Verily," said he, "this will I reap to-morrow." And on the
morrow he came with the intent to reap it; and when he came there,
he found nothing but the bare straw. "O gracious Heaven!" he
exclaimed. "I know that whosoever has begun my ruin is completing
it, and has also destroyed the country with me."

Then he went to look at the third croft; and when he came there,
finer wheat had there never been seen, and this also was ripe.
"Evil betide me," said he, "if I watch not here to-night. Whoever
carried off the other corn will come in like manner to take this,
and I will know who it is." And he told Kicva all that had
befallen. "Verily," said she, "what thinkest thou to do?" "I will
watch the croft to-night," said he. And he went to watch the

And at midnight he heard something stirring among the wheat; and
he looked, and behold, the mightiest host of mice in the world,
which could neither be numbered nor measured. And he knew not what
it was until the mice had made their way into the croft, and each
of them, climbing up the straw, and bending it down with its
weight, had cut off one of the ears of wheat, and had carried it
away, leaving there the stalk; and he saw not a single straw there
that had not a mouse to it. And they all took their way, carrying
the ears with them.

In wrath and anger did he rush upon the mice; but he could no more
come up with them than if they had been gnats or birds of the air,
except one only, which, though it was but sluggish, went so fast
that a man on foot could scarce overtake it. And after this one he
went, and he caught it, and put it in his glove, and tied up the
opening of the glove with a string, and kept it with him, and
returned to the palace. Then he came to the hall where Kicva was,
and he lighted a fire, and hung the glove by the string upon a
peg. "What hast thou there, lord?" said Kicva. "A thief," said he,
"that I found robbing me." "What kind of a thief may it be, lord,
that thou couldst put into thy glove?" said she. Then he told her
how the mice came to the last of the fields in his sight. "And one
of them was less nimble than the rest, and is now in my glove; to-
morrow I will hang it." "My lord," said she, "this is marvellous;
but yet it would be unseemly for a man of dignity like thee to be
hanging such a reptile as this." "Woe betide me," said he, "if I
would not hang them all, could I catch them, and such as I have I
will hang." "Verily, lord," said she, "there is no reason that I
should succor this reptile, except to prevent discredit unto thee.
Do therefore, lord, as thou wilt."

Then he went to the Mound of Narberth, taking the mouse with him.
And he set up two forks on the highest part of the mound. And
while he was doing this, behold, he saw a scholar coming towards
him, in old and poor and tattered garments. And it was now seven
years since he had seen in that place either man or beast, except
those four persons who had remained together until two of them
were lost.

"My lord," said the scholar, "good-day to thee." "Heaven prosper
thee, and my greeting be unto thee! And whence dost thou come,
scholar?" asked he. "I come, lord, from singing in England; and
wherefore dost thou inquire?" "Because for the last seven years,"
answered he, "I have seen no man here save four secluded persons,
and thyself this moment." "Truly, lord," said he, "I go through
this land unto mine own. And what work art thou upon, lord?" "I am
hanging a thief that I caught robbing me," said he. "What manner
of thief is that?" asked the scholar. "I see a creature in thy
hand like unto a mouse, and ill does it become a man of rank equal
to thine to touch a reptile such as this. Let it go forth free."
"I will not let it go free, by Heaven," said he; "I caught it
robbing me, and the doom of a thief will I inflict upon it, and I
will hang it." "Lord," said he, "rather than see a man of rank
equal to thine at such a work as this, I would give thee a pound,
which I have received as alms, to let the reptile go forth free."
"I will not let it go free," said he, "neither will I sell it."
"As thou wilt, lord," he answered; "I care naught." And the
scholar went his way.

And as he was placing the cross-beam upon the two forks, behold, a
priest came towards him, upon a horse covered with trappings.
"Good day to thee, lord," said he. "Heaven prosper thee!" said
Manawyddan; "thy blessing." "The blessing of Heaven be upon thee!
And what, lord, art thou doing?" "I am hanging a thief that I
caught robbing me," said he. "What manner of thief, lord?" asked
he. "A creature," he answered, "in form of a mouse. It has been
robbing me, and I am inflicting upon it the doom of a thief."
"Lord," said he, "rather than see thee touch this reptile, I would
purchase its freedom." "By my confession to Heaven, neither will I
sell it nor set it free." "It is true, lord, that it is worth
nothing to buy; but rather than see thee defile thyself by
touching such a reptile as this, I will give thee three pounds to
let it go." "I will not, by Heaven," said he, "take any price for
it. As it ought, so shall it be hanged." And the priest went his

Then he noosed the string around the mouse's neck, and as he was
about to draw it up, behold, he saw a bishop's retinue, with his
sumpter-horses and his attendants. And the bishop himself came
towards him. And he stayed his work. "Lord Bishop," said he, "thy
blessing." "Heaven's blessing be unto thee!" said he. "What work
art thou upon?" "Hanging a thief that I caught robbing me," said
he. "Is not that a mouse that I see in thy hand?" "Yes," answered
he, "and she has robbed me." "Ay," said he, "since I have come at
the doom of this reptile I will ransom it of thee. I will give
thee seven pounds for it, and that rather than see a man of rank
equal to thine destroying so vile a reptile as this. Let it loose,
and thou shalt have the money." "I declare to Heaven that I will
not let it loose." "If thou wilt not loose it for this, I will
give thee four and twenty pounds of ready money to set it free."
"I will not set it free, by Heaven, for as much again," said he.
"If thou wilt not set it free for this, I will give thee all the
horses that thou seest in this plain, and the seven loads of
baggage, and the seven horses that they are upon." "By Heaven, I
will not," he replied. "Since for this thou wilt not set it free,
do so at what price soever thou wilt." "I will that Rhiannon and
Pryderi be free," said he. "That thou shalt have," he answered.
"Not yet will I loose the mouse, by Heaven." "What then wouldst
thou?" "That the charm and the illusion be removed from the seven
cantrevs of Dyved." "This shalt thou have also; set therefore the
mouse free." "I will not set it free, by Heaven," said he, "till I
know who the mouse may be." "She is my wife." "Wherefore came she
to me?" "To despoil thee," he answered. "I am Lloyd, the son of
Kilwed, and I cast the charm over the seven cantrevs of Dyved. And
it was to avenge Gawl, the son of Clud, from the friendship I had
towards him, that I cast the charm. And upon Pryderi did I avenge
Gawl, the son of Clud, for the game of Badger in the Bag, that
Pwyll, the son of Auwyn, played upon him. And when it was known
that thou wast come to dwell in the land, my household came and
besought me to transform them into mice, that they might destroy
thy corn. And they went the first and the second night, and
destroyed thy two crops. And the third night came unto me my wife
and the ladies of the court, and besought me to transform them.
And I transformed them. Now she is not in her usual health. And
had she been in her usual health, thou wouldst not have been able
to overtake her; but since this has taken place, and she has been
caught, I will restore to thee Pryderi and Rhiannon, and I will
take the charm and illusion from off Dyved. Set her therefore
free." "I will not set her free yet." "What wilt thou more?" he
asked. "I will that there be no more charm upon the seven cantrevs
of Dyved, and that none shall be put upon it henceforth; moreover,
that vengeance be never taken for this, either upon Pryderi or
Rhiannon, or upon me." "All this shalt thou have. And truly thou
hast done wisely in asking this. Upon thy head would have lit all
this trouble." "Yea," said he, "for fear thereof was it that I
required this." "Set now my wife at liberty." "I will not," said
he, "until I see Pryderi and Rhiannon with me free." "Behold, here
they come," he answered.

And thereupon behold Pryderi and Rhiannon. And he rose up to meet
them, and greeted them, and sat down beside them. "Ah, chieftain,
set now my wife at liberty," said the bishop. "Hast thou not
received all thou didst ask?" "I will release her, gladly," said
he. And thereupon he set her free.

Then he struck her with a magic wand, and she was changed back
into a young woman, the fairest ever seen. "Look round upon thy
land," said he, "and thou wilt see it all tilled and peopled as it
was in its best estate." And he rose up and looked forth. And when
he looked he saw all the lands tilled, and full of herds and

And thus ends this portion of the Mabinogi.

The following allusions to the preceding story are found in a
letter of the poet Southey to John Rickman, Esq., dated June 6th,

"You will read the Mabinogeon, concerning which I ought to have
talked to you. In the last, that most odd and Arabian-like story
of the mouse, mention is made of a begging scholar, that helps to
the date; but where did the Cymri get the imagination that could
produce such a tale? That enchantment of the basin hanging by the
chain from heaven is in the wildest spirit of the Arabian Nights.
I am perfectly astonished that such fictions should exist in
Welsh. They throw no light on the origin of romance, everything
being utterly dissimilar to what we mean by that term, but they do
open a new world of fiction; and if the date of their language be
fixed about the twelfth or thirteenth century, I cannot but think
the mythological substance is of far earlier date; very probably
brought from the East by some of the first settlers or



Kilydd, a son of Prince Kelyddon, desired a wife as a helpmate,
and the wife that he chose was Goleudid, the daughter of Prince
Anlawd. And after their union the people put up prayers that they
might have an heir. And they had a son through the prayers of the
people; and called his name Kilwich.

After this the boy's mother, Goleudid, the daughter of Prince
Anlawd, fell sick. Then she called her husband to her, and said to
him, "Of this sickness I shall die, and thou wilt take another
wife. Now wives are the gift of the Lord, but it would be wrong
for thee to harm thy son. Therefore I charge thee that thou take
not a wife until thou see a briar with two blossoms upon my
grave." And this he promised her. Then she besought him to dress
her grave every year, that no weeds might grow thereon. So the
queen died. Now the king sent an attendant every morning to see if
anything were growing upon the grave. And at the end of the
seventh year they neglected that which they had promised to the

One day the king went to hunt; and he rode to the place of burial,
to see the grave, and to know if it were time that he should take
a wife: and the King saw the briar. And when he saw it, the king
took counsel where he should find a wife. Said one of his
counsellors, "I know a wife that will suit thee well; and she is
the wife of King Doged." And they resolved to go to seek her; and
they slew the king, and brought away his wife. And they conquered
the kings' lands. And he married the widow of King Doged, the
sister of Yspadaden Penkawr.

And one day his stepmother said to Kilwich, "It were well for thee
to have a wife." "I am not yet of an age to wed," answered the
youth. Then said she unto him, "I declare to thee that it is thy
destiny not to be suited with a wife until thou obtain Olwen, the
daughter of Yspadaden Penkawr." And the youth blushed, and the
love of the maiden diffused itself through all his frame, although
he had never seen her. And his father inquired of him, "What has
come over thee, my son, and what aileth thee?" "My stepmother has
declared to me that I shall never have a wife until I obtain
Olwen, the daughter of Yspadaden Penkawr." "That will be easy for
thee," answered his father. "Arthur is thy cousin. Go, therefore,
unto Arthur, to cut thy hair, and ask this of him as a boon."

And the youth pricked forth upon a steed with head dappled gray,
four winters old, firm of limb, with shell-formed hoofs, having a
bridle of linked gold on his head, and upon him a saddle of costly
gold. And in the youth's hand were two spears of silver, sharp,
well-tempered, headed with steel, three ells in length, of an
edge to wound the wind, and cause blood to flow, and swifter than
the fall of the dew-drop from the blade of reed-grass, when the
dew of June is at the heaviest. A gold-hilted sword was upon his
thigh, the blade of which was gilded, bearing a cross of inlaid
gold of the hue of the lightning of heaven. His war-horn was of
ivory. Before him were two brindled, white-breasted greyhounds,
having strong collars of rubies about their necks, reaching from
the shoulder to the ear. And the one that was upon the left side
bounded across to the right side, and the one on the right to the
left, and, like two sea-swallows, sported around him. And his
courser cast up four sods, with his four hoofs, like four swallows
in the air, about his head, now above, now below. About him was a
four-cornered cloth of purple, and an apple of gold was at each
corner, and every one of the apples was of the value of an hundred
kine. And there was precious gold of the value of three hundred
kine upon his shoes, and upon his stirrups, from his knee to the
tip of his toe. And the blade of grass bent not beneath him, so
light was his courser's tread, as he journeyed toward the gate of
Arthur's palace.

Spoke the youth: "Is there a porter?" "There is; and if thou
holdest not thy peace, small will be thy welcome. I am Arthur's
porter every first day of January." "Open the portal." "I will not
open it." "Wherefore not?" "The knife is in the meat, and the
drink is in the horn, and there is revelry in Arthur's hall; and
none may enter therein but the son of a king of a privileged
country, or a craftsman bringing his craft. But there will be
refreshment for thy dogs and for thy horse; and for thee there
will be collops cooked and peppered, and luscious wine, and
mirthful songs; and food for fifty men shall be brought unto thee
in the guest-chamber, where the stranger and the sons of other
countries eat, who come not into the precincts of the palace of
Arthur. Thou wilt fare no worse there than thou wouldst with
Arthur in the court. A lady shall smooth thy couch, and shall lull
thee with songs; and early to-morrow morning, when the gate is
open for the multitude that came hither to-day, for thee shall it
be opened first, and thou mayest sit in the place that thou shalt
choose in Arthur's hall, from the upper end to the lower." Said
the youth: "That will I not do. If thou openest the gate, it is
well. If thou dost not open it, I will bring disgrace upon thy
lord, and evil report upon thee. And I will set up three shouts at
this very gate, than which none were ever heard more deadly."
"What clamor soever thou mayest make," said Glewlwyd, the porter,
"against the laws of Arthur's palace, shalt thou not enter
therein, until I first go and speak with Arthur."

Then Glewlwyd went into the hall. And Arthur said to him, "Hast
thou news from the gate?" "Half of my life is passed," said
Glewlwyd, "and half of thine. I was heretofore in Kaer Se and
Asse, in Sach and Salach, in Lotor and Fotor, and I have been in
India the Great and India the Lesser, and I have also been in
Europe and Africa, and in the islands of Corsica, and I was
present when thou didst conquer Greece in the East. Nine supreme
sovereigns, handsome men, saw we there, but never did I behold a
man of equal dignity with him who is now at the door of the
portal." Then said Arthur: "If walking thou didst enter here,
return thou running. It is unbecoming to keep such a man as thou
sayest he is in the wind and the rain." Said Kay: "By the hand of
my friend, if thou wouldst follow my counsel, thou wouldst not
break through the laws of the court because of him." "Not so,
blessed Kay," said Arthur; "it is an honor to us to be resorted
to, and the greater our courtesy, the greater will be our renown
and our fame and our glory."

And Glewlwyd came to the gate, and opened the gate before Kilwich:
and although all dismounted upon the horse-block at the gate, yet
did he not dismount, but he rode in upon his charger. Then said
he, "Greeting be unto thee, sovereign ruler of this island, and be
this greeting no less unto the lowest than unto the highest, and
be it equally unto thy guests, and thy warriors, and thy
chieftains; let all partake of it as completely as thyself. And
complete be thy favor, and thy fame, and thy glory, throughout all
this island." "Greeting unto thee also," said Arthur; "sit thou
between two of my warriors, and thou shalt have minstrels before
thee, and thou shalt enjoy the privileges of a king born to a
throne, as long as thou remainest here. And when I disperse my
presents to the visitors and strangers in this court, they shall
be in thy hand at my commencing." Said the youth, "I came not here
to consume meat and drink; but if I obtain the boon that I seek, I
will requite it thee, and extol thee; but if I have it not, I will
bear forth thy dispraise to the four quarters of the world, as far
as thy renown has extended." Then said Arthur, "Since thou wilt
not remain here, chieftain, thou shalt receive the boon,
whatsoever thy tongue may name, as far as the wind dries, and the
rain moistens, and the sun revolves, and the sea encircles, and
the earth extends; save only my ship Prydwen, and my mantle, and
Caliburn, my sword, and Rhongomyant, my lance, and Guenever, my
wife. By the truth of Heaven, thou shalt have it cheerfuly, name
what thou wilt." "I would that thou bless my hair," said he. "That
shall be granted thee."

And Arthur took a golden comb, and scissors whereof the loops were
of silver, and he combed his hair. And Arthur inquired of him who
he was; "for my heart warms unto thee, and I know that thou art
come of my blood. Tell me, therefore, who thou art." "I will tell
thee," said the youth. "I am Kilwich, the son of Kilydd, the son
of Prince Kelyddon, by Goleudyd, my mother, the daughter of Prince
Anlawd." "That is true," said Arthur; "thou art my cousin.
Whatsoever boon thou mayest ask, thou shalt receive, be it what it
may that thy tongue shall name." "Pledge the truth of Heaven and
the faith of thy kingdom thereof." "I pledge it thee gladly." "I
crave of thee, then, that thou obtain for me Olwen, the daughter
of Yspadaden Penkawr, to wife; and this boon I likewise seek at
the hands of thy warriors. I seek it from Kay and from Bedwyr; and
from Gwynn, the son of Nudd, and Gadwy, the son of Geraint, and
Prince Flewddur Flam and Iona, king of France, and Sel, the son of
Selgi, and Taliesin, the chief of the bards, and Geraint, the son
of Erbin, Garanwyn, the son of Kay, and Amren, the son of Bedwyr,
Ol, the son of Olwyd, Bedwin, the bishop, Guenever, the chief
lady, and Guenhywach, her sister, Morved, the daughter of Urien,
and Gwenlian Deg, the majestic maiden, Creiddylad, [Footnote:
Creiddylad is no other than Shakspeare's Cordelia, whose father,
King Lear, is by the Welsh authorities called indiscriminately
Llyr or Lludd. All the old chronicles give the story of her
devotion to her aged parent, but none of them seem to have been
aware that she is destined to remain with him till the day of
doom, whilst Gwyn ap Nudd, the king of the fairies, and Gwythyr op
Greidiol, fight for her every first of May, and whichever of them
may be fortunate enough to be the conqueror at that time will
obtain her as a bride.] the daughter of Lludd, the constant
maiden, and Ewaedah, the daughter of Kynvelyn, [Footnote: The
Welsh have a fable on the subject of the half man, taken to be
illustrative of the force of habit. In this allegory Arthur is
supposed to be met by a sprite, who appears at first in a small
and indistinct form, but who, on approaching nearer, increases in
size, and, assuming the semblance of half a man, endeavors to
provoke the king to wrestle. Despising his weakness, and
considering that he should gain no credit by the encounter, Arthur
refuses to do so, and delays the contest until at length the half
man (Habit) becomes so strong that it requires his utmost efforts
to overcome him.] the half-man." All these did Kilwich, the son of
Kilydd, adjure to obtain his boon.

Then said Arthur, "O chieftain, I have never heard of the maiden
of whom thou speakest, nor of her kindred, but I will gladly send
messengers in search of her. Give me time to seek her." And the
youth said, "I will willingly grant from this night to that at the
end of the year to do so." Then Arthur sent messengers to every
land within his dominions to seek for the maiden, and at the end
of the year Arthur's messengers returned without having gained any
knowledge or intelligence concerning Olwen, more than on the first
day. Then said Kilwich, "Every one has received his boon, and I
yet lack mine. I will depart, and bear away thy honor with me."
Then said Kay, "Rash chieftain! dost thou reproach Arthur? Go with
us, and we will not part until thou dost either confess that the
maiden exists not in the world, or until we obtain her." Thereupon
Kay rose up. And Arthur called Bedwyr, who never shrank from any
enterprise upon which Kay was bound. None were equal to him in
swiftness throughout this island except Arthur alone; and although
he was one handed; three warriors could not shed blood faster than
he on the field of battle.

And Arthur called to Kyndelig, the guide, "Go thou upon this
expedition with the chieftain." For as good a guide was he in a
land which he had never seen as he was in his own.

He called Gurhyr Gwalstat, because he knew all tongues.

He called Gawain, the son of Gwyar, because he never returned home
without achieving the adventure of which he went in quest.

And Arthur called Meneu, the son of Teirgwed, in order that, if
they went into a savage country, he might cast a charm and an
illusion over them, so that none might see them, whilst they could
see every one.

They journeyed until they came to a vast open plain, wherein they
saw a great castle, which was the fairest of the castles of the
world. And when they came before the castle, they beheld a vast
flock of sheep. And upon the top of a mound there was a herdsman
keeping the sheep. And a rug made of skins was upon him, and by
his side was a shaggy mastiff, larger than a steed nine winters

Then said Kay, "Gurhyr Gwalstat, go thou and salute yonder man."
"Kay," said he, "I engaged not to go further than thou thyself."
"Let us go then together." answered Kay. Said Meneu, "Fear not to
go thither, for I will cast a spell upon the dog, so that he shall
injure no one." And they went up to the mound whereon the herdsman
was, and they said to him, "How dost thou fare, herdsman?" "Not
less fair be it to you than to me." "Whose are the sheep that thou
dost keep, and to whom does yonder castle belong?" "Stupid are ye,
truly! not to know that this is the castle of Yspadaden Penkawr.
And ye also, who are ye?" "We are an embassy from Arthur, come to
seek Olwen, the daughter of Yspadaden Penkawr." "O men! the mercy
of Heaven be upon you; do not that for all the world. None who
ever came hither on this quest has returned alive." And the
herdsman rose up. And as he rose Kilwich gave unto him a ring of
gold. And he went home and gave the ring to his spouse to keep.
And she took the ring when it was given her, and she said, "Whence
came this ring, for thou art not wont to have good fortune." "O
wife, him to whom this ring belonged thou shalt see here this
evening." "And who is he?" asked the woman. "Kilwich, the son of
Kilydd, by Goleudid, the daughter of Prince Anlawd, who is come to
seek Olwen as his wife." And when she heard that, she had joy that
her nephew, the son of her sister, was coming to her, and sorrow,
because she had never known any one depart alive who had come on
that quest.

And the men went forward to the gate of the herdsman's dwelling.
And when she heard their footsteps approaching, she ran out with
joy to meet them. And Kay snatched a billet out of the pile. And
when she met them, she sought to throw her arms about their necks.
And Kay placed the log between her two hands, and she squeezed it
so that it became a twisted coil. "O woman," said Kay, "if thou
hadst squeezed me thus, none could ever again have set their
affections on me. Evil love were this." They entered into the
house and were served; and soon after, they all went forth to
amuse themselves. Then the woman opened a stone chest that was
before the chimney-corner, and out of it arose a youth with
yellow, curling hair. Said Gurhyr, "It is a pity to hide this
youth. I know that it is not his own crime that is thus visited
upon him." "This is but a remnant," said the woman. "Three and
twenty of my sons has Yspadaden Penkawr slain, and I have no more
hope of this one than of the others." Then said Kay, "Let him come
and be a companion with me, and he shall not be slain unless I
also am slain with him." And they ate. And the woman asked them,
"Upon what errand come you here?" "We come to seek Olwen for this
youth." Then said the woman, "In the name of Heaven, since no one
from the castle hath yet seen you, return again whence you came."
"Heaven is our witness, that we will not return until we have seen
the maiden. Does she ever come hither, so that she may be seen?"
"She comes here every Saturday to wash her head, and in the vessel
where she washes she leaves all her rings, and she never either
comes herself or sends any messengers to fetch them." "Will she
come here if she is sent to?" "Heaven knows that I will not
destroy my soul, nor will I betray those that trust me; unless you
will pledge me your faith that you will not harm her, I will not
send to her." "We pledge it," said they. So a message was sent,
and she came.

The maiden was clothed in a robe of flame-colored silk, and about
her neck was a collar of ruddy gold, on which were precious
emeralds and rubies. More yellow was her head than the flower of
the broom, [Footnote: The romancers dwell with great complacency
on the fair hair and delicate complexion of their heroines. This
taste continued for a long time, and to render the hair light was
an object of education. Even when wigs came into fashion they were
all flaxen. Such was the color of the hair of the Gauls and of
their German conquerors. It required some centuries to reconcile
their eyes to the swarthy beauties of their Spanish and Italian
neighbors.] and her skin was whiter than the foam of the wave, and
fairer were her hands and her fingers than the blossoms of the
wood-anemone amidst the spray of the meadow fountain. The eye of
the trained hawk was not brighter than hers. Her bosom was more
snowy than the breast of the white swan, her cheek was redder than
the reddest roses. Whoso beheld her was filled with her love. Four
white trefoils sprung up wherever she trod. And therefore was she
called Olwen.

She entered the house and sat beside Kilwich upon the foremost
bench; and as soon as he saw her, he knew her. And Kilwich said
unto her, "Ah! maiden, thou art she whom I have loved; come away
with me, lest they speak evil of thee and of me. Many a day have I
loved thee." "I cannot do this, for I have pledged my faith to my
father not to go without his counsel, for his life will last only
until the time of my espousals. Whatever is to be, must be. But I
will give thee advice, if thou wilt take it. Go, ask me of my
father, and that which he shall require of thee, grant it, and
thou wilt obtain me; but if thou deny him anything, thou wilt not
obtain me, and it will be well for thee if thou escape with thy
life." "I promise all this, if occasion offer," said he.

She returned to her chamber, and they all rose up, and followed
her to the castle. And they slew the nine porters, that were at
the nine gates, in silence. And they slew the nine watch-dogs
without one of them barking. And they went forward to the hall.

"The greeting of Heaven and of man be unto thee, Yspadaden
Penkawr," said they. "And you, wherefore come you?" "We come to
ask thy daughter Olwen for Kilwich, the son of Kilydd, the son of
Prince Kelyddon." "Where are my pages and my servants? Raise up
the forks beneath my two eyebrows, which have fallen over my eyes,
that I may see the fashion of my son-in-law." And they did so.
"Come hither to-morrow, and you shall have an answer."

They rose to go forth, and Yspadaden Penkawr seized one of the
three poisoned darts that lay beside him, and threw it after them.
And Bedwyr caught it, and flung it, and pierced Yspadaden Penkawr
grievously with it through the knee. Then he said, "A cursed
ungentle son-in-law, truly! I shall ever walk the worse for his
rudeness, and shall ever be without a cure. This poisoned iron
pains me like the bite of a gad-fly. Cursed be the smith who
forged it, and the anvil on which it was wrought! So sharp is it!"

That night also they took up their abode in the house of the
herdsman. The next day, with the dawn, they arrayed themselves and
proceeded to the castle, and entered the hall; and they said,
"Yspadaden Penkawr, give us thy daughter in consideration of her
dower and her maiden fee, which we will pay to thee, and to her
two kinswomen likewise." Then he said, "Her four great-
grandmothers and her four great-grandsires are yet alive; it is
needful that I take counsel of them." "Be it so," they answered,
"we will go to meat." As they rose up he took the second dart that
was beside him, and cast it after them. And Meneu, the son of
Gawedd, caught it, and flung it back at him, and wounded him in
the centre of the breast. "A cursed ungentle son-in-law, truly!"
said he; "the hard iron pains me like the bite of a horse-leech.
Cursed be the hearth whereon it was heated, and the smith who
formed it! So sharp is it! Henceforth, whenever I go up hill, I
shall have a scant in my breath, and a pain in my chest, and I
shall often loathe my food." And they went to meat.

And the third day they returned to the palace. And Yspadaden
Penkawr said to them, "Shoot not at me again unless you desire
death. Where are my attendants? Lift up the forks of my eyebrows,
which have fallen over my eyeballs, that I may see the fashion of
my son-in-law." Then they arose, and, as they did so, Yspadaden
Penkawr took the third poisoned dart and cast it at them. And
Kilwich caught it, and threw it vigorously, and wounded him
through the eyeball. "A cursed ungentle son-in-law, truly! As long
as I remain alive, my eyesight will be the worse. Whenever I go
against the wind, my eyes will water; and peradventure my head
will burn, and I shall have a giddiness every new moon. Like the
bite of a mad dog is the stroke of this poisoned iron. Cursed be
the fire in which it was forged!" And they went to meat.

And the next day they came again to the palace, and they said,
"Shoot not at us any more, unless thou desirest such hurt and harm
and torture as thou now hast, and even more." Said Kilwich, "Give
me thy daughter; and if thou wilt not give her, thou shalt receive
thy death because of her." "Where is he that seeks my daughter?
Come hither where I may see thee." And they placed him a chair
face to face with him.

Said Yspadaden Penkawr, "Is it thou that seekest my daughter?"

"It is I," answered Kilwich.

"I must have thy pledge that thou wilt not do toward me otherwise
than is just; and when I have gotten that which I shall name, my
daughter thou shalt have."

"I promise thee that willingly," said Kilwich; "name what thou

"I will do so," said he. "Seest thou yonder red tilled ground?"

"I see it."

"When first I met the mother of this maiden, nine bushels of flax
were sown therein, and none has yet sprung up, white nor black. I
require to have the flax to sow in the new land yonder, that when
it grows up it may make a white wimple for my daughter's head on
the day of thy wedding."

"It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest
think it will not be easy."

"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get--
the harp of Teirtu, to play to us that night. When a man desires
that it should play, it does so of itself; and when he desires
that it should cease, it ceases. And this he will not give of his
own free will, and thou wilt not be able to compel him."

"It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest
think it will not be easy."

"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get.
I require thee to get me for my huntsman Mabon, the son of Modron.
He was taken from his mother when three nights old, and it is not
known where he now is, nor whether he is living or dead."

"It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest
think it will not be easy."

"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get--
the two cubs of the wolf Gast Rhymhi; no leash in the world will
hold them, but a leash made from the beard of Dillus Varwawc, the
robber. And the leash will be of no avail unless it be plucked
from his beard while he is alive. While he lives he will not
suffer this to be done to him, and the leash will be of no use
should he be dead, because it will be brittle."

"It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest
think it will not be easy."

"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get--
the sword of Gwernach the Giant; of his own free will he will not
give it, and thou wilt never be able to compel him."

"It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest
think it will not be easy."

"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get.
Difficulties shalt thou meet with, and nights without sleep, in
seeking this, and if thou obtain it not, neither shalt thou obtain
my daughter."

"Horses shall I have, and chivalry; and my lord and kinsman,
Arthur, will obtain for me all these things. And I shall gain thy
daughter, and thou shalt lose thy life."

"Go forward. And thou shalt not be chargeable for food or raiment
for my daughter while thou art seeking these things; and when thou
hast compassed all these marvels, thou shalt have my daughter for
thy wife."



All that day they journeyed until the evening, and then they
beheld a vast castle, which was the largest in the world. And lo!
a black man, larger than three of the men of this world, came out
from the castle. And they spoke unto him, and said, "O man, whose
castle is that?" "Stupid are ye, truly, O men! There is no one in
the world that does not know that this is the castle of Gwernach
the Giant." "What treatment is there for guests and strangers that
alight in that castle?" "O chieftain, Heaven protect thee! No
guests ever returned thence alive, and no one may enter therein
unless he brings with him his craft."

Then they proceeded towards the gate. Said Gurhyr Gwalstat, "Is
there a porter?" "There is; wherefore dost thou call?" "Open the
gate." "I will not open it." "Wherefore wilt thou not?" "The knife
is in the meat, and the drink is in the horn, and there is revelry
in the hall of Gwernach the Giant; and except for a craftsman who
brings his craft, the gate will not be opened to-night." "Verily,
porter," then said Kay, "my craft bring I with me." "What is thy
craft?" "The best burnisher of swords am I in the world." "I will
go and tell this unto Gwernach the Giant, and I will bring thee an

So the porter went in, and Gwernach said to him, "Hast thou news
from the gate?" "I have. There is a party at the door of the gate
who desire to come in." "Didst thou inquire of them if they
possessed any art?" "I did inquire," said he, "and one told me
that he was well skilled in the burnishing of swords." "We have
need of him then. For some time have I sought for some one to
polish my sword, and could find no one. Let this man enter, since
he brings with him his craft."

The porter thereupon returned and opened the gate. And Kay went in
by himself, and he saluted Gwernach the Giant. And a chair was
placed for him opposite to Gwernach. And Gwernach said to him, "O
man, is it true that is reported of thee, that thou knowest how to
burnish swords?" "I know full well how to do so," answered Kay.
Then was the sword of Gwernach brought to him. And Kay took a blue
whetstone from under his arm, and asked whether he would have it
burnished white or blue. "Do with it as it seems good to thee, or
as thou wouldst if it were thine own." Then Kay polished one half
of the blade, and put it in his hand. "Will this please thee?"
asked he. "I would rather than all that is in my dominions that
the whole of it were like this. It is a marvel to me that such a
man as thou should be without a companion." "O noble sir, I have a
companion, albeit he is not skilled in this art." "Who may he be?"
"Let the porter go forth, and I will tell him whereby he may know
him. The head of his lance will leave its shaft, and draw blood
from the wind, and will descend upon its shaft again." Then the
gate was opened, and Bedwyr entered. And Kay said, "Bedwyr is very
skilful, though he knows not this art."

And there was much discourse among those who were without, because
that Kay and Bedwyr had gone in. And a young man who was with
them, the only son of the herdsman, got in also; and he contrived
to admit all the rest, but they kept themselves concealed.

The sword was now polished, and Kay gave it unto the hand of
Gwernach the Giant, to see if he were pleased with his work. And
the giant said, "The work is good; I am content therewith." Said
Kay, "It is thy scabbard that hath rusted thy sword; give it to
me, that I may take out the wooden sides of it, and put in new
ones." And he took the scabbard from him, and the sword in the
other hand. And he came and stood over against the giant, as if he
would have put the sword into the scabbard; and with it he struck
at the head of the giant, and cut off his head at one blow. Then
they despoiled the castle, and took from it what goods and jewels
they would. And they returned to Arthur's court, bearing with them
the sword of Gwernach the Giant.

And when they told Arthur how they had sped, Arthur said, "It is a
good beginning." Then they took counsel, and said, "Which of these
marvels will it be best for us to seek next?" "It will be best,"
said one, "to seek Mabon, the son of Modron; and he will not be
found unless we first find Eidoel, the son of Aer, his kinsman."
Then Arthur rose up, and the warriors of the island of Britain
with him, to seek for Eidoel; and they proceeded until they came
to the castle of Glivi, where Eidoel was imprisoned. Glivi stood
on the summit of his castle, and he said, "Arthur, what requirest
thou of me, since nothing remains to me in this fortress, and I
have neither joy nor pleasure in it, neither wheat nor oats? Seek
not, therefore, to do me harm." Said Arthur, "Not to injure thee
came I hither, but to seek for the prisoner that is with thee." "I
will give thee my prisoner, though I had not thought to give him
up to any one, and therewith shalt thou have my support and my

His followers said unto Arthur, "Lord, go thou home, thou canst
not proceed with thy host in quest of such small adventures as
these." Then said Arthur, "It were well for thee, Gurhyr Gwalstat,
to go upon this quest, for thou knowest all languages, and art
familiar with those of the birds and the beasts. Thou, Eidoel,
oughtest likewise to go with thy men in search of thy cousin. And
as for you, Kay and Bedwyr, I have hope of whatever adventure ye
are in quest of, that ye will achieve it. Achieve ye this
adventure for me."

They went forward until they came to the Ousel of Cilgwri. And
Gurhyr adjured her, saying, "Tell me if thou knowest aught of
Mabon, the son of Modron, who was taken when three nights old from
between his mother and the wall?" And the Ousel answered, "When I
first came here, there was a smith's anvil in this place, and I
was then a young bird; and from that time no work has been done
upon it, save the pecking of my beak every evening; and now there
is not so much as the size of a nut remaining thereof; yet during
all that time I have never heard of the man for whom you inquire.
Nevertheless, I will do that which it is fitting that I should for
an embassy from Arthur. There is a race of animals who were formed
before me, and I will be your guide to them."

So they proceeded to the place where was the Stag of Redynvre.
"Stag of Redynvre, behold, we are come to thee, an embassy from
Arthur, for we have not heard of any animal older than thou. Say,
knowest thou aught of Mabon, the son of Modron, who was taken from
his mother when three nights old?" The Stag said, "When first I
came hither there was a plain all around me, without any trees
save one oak sapling, which grew up to be an oak with an hundred
branches; and that oak has since perished, so that now nothing
remains of it but the withered stump; and from that day to this I
have been here, yet have I never heard of the man for whom you
inquire. Nevertheless, being an embassy from Arthur, I will be
your guide to the place where there is an animal which was formed
before I was, and the oldest animal in the world, and the one that
has travelled most, the Eagle of Gwern Abwy."

Gurhyr said, "Eagle of Gwern Abwy, we have come to thee, an
embassy from Arthur, to ask thee if thou knowest aught of Mabon,
the son of Modron, who was taken from his mother when he was three
nights old?" The Eagle said, "I have been here for a great space
of time, and when I first came hither, there was a rock here from
the top of which I pecked at the stars every evening; and it has
crumbled away, and now it is not so much as a span high. All that
time I have been here, and I have never heard of the man for whom
you inquire, except once when I went in search of food as far as
Llyn Llyw. And when I came there, I struck my talons into a
salmon, thinking he would serve me as food for a long time. But he
drew me into the water, and I was scarcely able to escape from
him. After that I made peace with him. And I drew fifty fish-
spears out of his back, and relieved him. Unless he know something
of him whom you seek, I cannot tell who may. However, I will guide
you to the place where he is."

So they went thither; and the Eagle said, "Salmon of Llyn Llyw, I
have come to thee with an embassy from Arthur, to ask thee if thou
knowest aught of Mabon, the son of Modron, who was taken away at
three nights old from his mother." "As much as I know I will tell
thee. With every tide I go along the river upward, until I come
near to the walls of Gloucester, and there have I found such wrong
as I never found elsewhere; and to the end that ye may give
credence thereto, let one of you go thither upon each of my two
shoulders." So Kay and Gurhyr Gwalstat went upon the two shoulders
of the Salmon, and they proceeded until they came unto the wall of
the prison; and they heard a great wailing and lamenting from the
dungeon. Said Gurhyr, "Who is it that laments in this house of
stone?" "Alas! it is Mabon, the son of Modron, who is here
imprisoned; and no imprisonment was ever so grievous as mine."
"Hast thou hope of being released for gold or for silver, or for
any gifts of wealth, or through battle and fighting?" "By fighting
will what ever I may gain be obtained."

Then they went thence, and returned to Arthur, and they told him
where Mabon, the son of Modron, was imprisoned. And Arthur
summoned the warriors of the island, and they journeyed as far as
Gloucester, to the place where Mabon was in prison. Kay and Bedwyr
went upon the shoulders of the fish, whilst the warriors of Arthur
attacked the castle. And Kay broke through the wall into the
dungeon, and brought away the prisoner upon his back, whilst the
fight was going on between the warriors. And Arthur returned home,
and Mabon with him at liberty.

On a certain day as Gurhyr Gwalstat was walking over a mountain,
he heard a wailing and a grievous cry. And when he heard it, he
sprang forward and went towards it. And when he came there, he saw
a fire burning among the turf, and an ant-hill nearly surrounded
with the fire. And he drew his sword, and smote off the ant-hill
close to the earth, so that it escaped being burned in the fire.
And the ants said to him, "Receive from us the blessing of Heaven,
and that which no man can give, we give thee." Then they fetched
the nine bushels of flax-seed which Yspadaden Penkawr had required
of Kilwich, and they brought the full measure, without lacking
any, except one flax-seed, and that the lame pismire brought in
before night.

Then said Arthur, "Which of the marvels will it be best for us to
seek next?" "It will be best to seek for the two cubs of the wolf
Gast Rhymhi."

"Is it known," said Arthur, "where she is?" "She is in Aber
Cleddyf," said one. Then Arthur went to the house of Tringad, in
Aber Cleddyf, and he inquired of him whether he had heard of her
there. "She has often slain my herds, and she is there below in a
cave in Aber Cleddyf."

Ther Arthur went in his ship Prydwen by sea, and the others went
by land to hunt her. And they surrounded her and her two cubs, and
took them and carried them away.

As Kay and Bedwyr sat on a beacon-cairn on the summit of
Plinlimmon, in the highest wind that ever was, they looked around
them and saw a great smoke, afar off. Then said Kay, "By the hand
of my friend, yonder is the fire of a robber." Then they hastened
towards the smoke, and they came so near to it that they could see
Dillus Varwawc scorching a wild boar. "Behold, yonder is the
greatest robber that ever fled from Arthur," said Bedwyr to Kay.
"Dost thou know him?" "I do know him," answered Kay; "he is Dillus
Varwarc, and no leash in the world will be able to hold the cubs
of Gast Rhymi, save a leash made from the beard of him thou seest
yonder. And even that will be useless unless his beard be plucked
out alive, with wooden tweezers; for if dead it will be brittle."
"What thinkest thou that we should do concerning this?" said
Bedwyr. "Let us suffer him." said Kay, "to eat as much as he will
of the meat, and after that he will fall asleep." And during that
time they employed themselves in making the wooden tweezers. And
when Kay knew certainly that he was asleep, he made a pit under
his feet, and he struck him a violent blow, and squeezed him into
the pit. And there they twitched out his beard completely with the
wooden tweezers, and after that they slew him altogether. And from
thence they went, and took the leash made of Dillus Varwawc's
beard, and they gave it into Arthur's hand.

Thus they got all the marvels that Yspadaden Penkawr had required
of Kilwich; and they set forward, and took the marvels to his
court. And Kilwich said to Yspadaden Penkawr, "Is thy daughter
mine now?" "She is thine," said he, "but therefore needest thou
not thank me, but Arthur, who hath accomplished this for thee."
Then Goreu, the son of Custennin, the herdsman, whose brothers
Yspadaden Penkawr had slain, seized him by the hair of his head,
and dragged him after him to the keep, and cut off his head, and
placed it on a stake on the citadel. Then they took possession of
his castle, and of his treasures. And that night Olwen became
Kilwich's bride, and she continued to be his wife as long as she



Gwyddno Garanhir was sovereign of Gwaelod, a territory bordering
on the sea. And he possessed a weir upon the strand between Dyvi
and Aberystwyth, near to his own castle, and the value of an
hundred pounds was taken in that weir every May eve. And Gwyddno
had an only son named Elphin, the most hapless of youths, and the
most needy. And it grieved his father sore, for he thought that he
was born in an evil hour. By the advice of his council, his father
had granted him the drawing of the weir that year, to see if good
luck would ever befall him, and to give him something wherewith to
begin the world. And this was on the twenty-ninth of April.

The next day, when Elphin went to look, there was nothing in the
weir but a leathern bag upon a pole of the weir. Then said the
weir-ward unto Elphin, "All thy ill-luck aforetime was nothing to
this; and now thou hast destroyed the virtues of the weir, which
always yielded the value of an hundred pounds every May eve; and
to-night there is nothing but this leathern skin within it." "How
now," said Elphin, "there may be therein the value of a hundred
pounds." Well! they took up the leathern bag, and he who opened it
saw the forehead of an infant, the fairest that ever was seen; and
he said, "Behold a radiant brow?" (In the Welsh language,
taliesin.) "Taliesin be he called," said Elphin. And he lifted the
bag in his arms, and, lamenting his bad luck, placed the boy
sorrowfully behind him. And he made his horse amble gently, that
before had been trotting, and he carried him as softly as if he
had been sitting in the easiest chair in the world. And presently
the boy made a Consolation, and praise to Elphin; and the
Consolation was as you may here see:

   "Fair Elphin, cease to lament!
    Never in Gwyddno's weir
    Was there such good luck as this night.
    Being sad will not avail;
    Better to trust in God than to forbode ill;
    Weak and small as I am,
    On the foaming beach of the ocean,
    In the day of trouble I shall be
    Of more service to thee than three hundred salmon."

This was the first poem that Taliesin ever sung, being to console
Elphin in his grief for that the produce of the weir was lost, and
what was worse, that all the world would consider that it was
through his fault and ill-luck. Then Elphin asked him what he
was, whether man or spirit. And he sung thus:

   "I have been formed a comely person;
    Although I am but little, I am highly gifted;
    Into a dark leathern bag I was thrown,
    And on a boundless sea I was sent adrift.
    From seas and from mountains
    God brings wealth to the fortunate man."

Then came Elphin to the house of Gwyddno, his father, and Taliesin
with him. Gwyddno asked him if he had had a good haul at the weir,
and he told him that he had got that which was better than fish.
"What was that?" said Gwyddno. "A bard," said Elphin. Then said
Gwyddno, "Alas! what will he profit thee?" And Taliesin himself
replied and said, "He will profit him more than the weir ever
profited thee." Asked Gwyddno, "Art thou able to speak, and thou
so little?" And Taliesin answered him, "I am better able to speak
than thou to question me." "Let me hear what thou canst say,"
quoth Gwyddno. Then Taliesin sang:

   "Three times have I been born, I know by meditation;
   All the sciences of the world are collected in my breast,
   For I know what has been, and what hereafter will occur."

Elphin gave his haul to his wife, and she nursed him tenderly and
lovingly. Thenceforward Elphin increased in riches more and more,
day after day, and in love and favor with the king; and there
abode Taliesin until he was thirteen years old, when Elphin, son
of Gwyddno, went by a Christmas invitation to his uncle, Maelgan
Gwynedd, who held open court at Christmas-tide in the castle of
Dyganwy, for all the number of his lords of both degrees, both
spiritual and temporal, with a vast and thronged host of knights
and squires. And one arose and said, "Is there in the whole world
a king so great as Maelgan, or one on whom Heaven has bestowed so
many gifts as upon him;--form, and beauty, and meekness, and
strength, besides all the powers of the soul?" And together with
these they said that Heaven had given one gift that exceeded all
the others, which was the beauty, and grace, and wisdom, and
modesty of his queen, whose virtues surpassed those of all the
ladies and noble maidens throughout the whole kingdom. And with
this they put questions one to another, Who had braver men? Who
had fairer or swifter horses or greyhounds? Who had more skilful
or wiser bards than Maelgan?

When they had all made an end of their praising the king and his
gifts, it befell that Elphin spoke on this wise. "Of a truth, none
but a king may vie with a king; but were he not a king, I would
say that my wife was as virtuous as any lady in the kingdom, and
also that I have a bard who is more skilful than all the king's
bards." In a short space some of his fellows told the king all the
boastings of Elphin; and the king ordered him to be thrown into a
strong prison, until he might show the truth as to the virtues of
his wife, and the wisdom of his bard.

Now when Elphin had been put in a tower of the castle, with a
thick chain about his feet (it is said that it was a silver chain,
because he was of royal blood), the king, as the story relates,
sent his son Rhun to inquire into the demeanor of Elphin's wife.
Now Rhun was the most graceless man in the world, and there was
neither wife nor maiden with whom he held converse but was evil
spoken of. While Rhun went in haste towards Elphin's dwelling,
being fully minded to bring disgrace upon his wife, Taliesin told
his mistress how that the king had placed his master in durance in
prison, and how that Rhun was coming in haste to strive to bring
disgrace upon her. Wherefore he caused his mistress to array one
of the maids of her kitchen in her apparel; which the noble lady
gladly did, and she loaded her hands with the best rings that she
and her husband possessed.

In this guise Taliesin caused his mistress to put the maiden to
sit at the board in her room at supper; and he made her to seem as
her mistress, and the mistress to seem as the maid. And when they
were in due time seated at their supper, in the manner that has
been said, Rhun suddenly arrived at Elphin's dwelling, and was
received with joy, for the servants knew him; and they brought him
to the room of their mistress, in the semblance of whom the maid
rose up from supper and welcomed him gladly. And afterwards she
sat down to supper again, and Rhun with her. Then Rhun began
jesting with the maid, who still kept the semblance of her
mistress. And verily this story shows that the maiden became so
intoxicated that she fell asleep; and the story relates that it
was a powder that Rhun put into the drink, that made her sleep so
soundly that she never felt it when he cut off from her hand her
little finger, whereon was the signet ring of Elphin, which he had
sent to his wife as a token a short time before. And Rhun returned
to the king with the finger and the ring as a proof, to show that
he had cut it off from her hand without her awaking from her sleep
of intemperance.

The king rejoiced greatly at these tidings, and he sent for his
councillors, to whom he told the whole story from the beginning.
And he caused Elphin to be brought out of prison, and he chided
him because of his boast. And he spake on this wise: "Elphin, be
it known to thee beyond a doubt, that it is but folly for a man to
trust in the virtues of his wife further than he can see her; and
that thou mayest be certain of thy wife's vileness, behold her
finger, with thy signet ring upon it, which was cut from her hand
last night, while she slept the sleep of intoxication." Then thus
spake Elphin: "With thy leave, mighty king, I cannot deny my ring,
for it is known of many; but verily I assert that the finger
around which it is was never attached to the hand of my wife; for
in truth and certainty there are three notable things pertaining
to it, none of which ever belonged to any of my wife's fingers.
The first of the three is, that it is certainly known to me that
this ring would never remain upon her thumb, whereas you can
plainly see that it is hard to draw it over the joint of the
little finger of the hand whence this was cut. The second thing
is, that my wife has never let pass one Saturday since I have
known her, without paring her nails before going to bed, and you
can see fully that the nail of this little finger has not been
pared for a month. The third is, truly, that the hand whence this
finger came was kneading rye dough within three days before the
finger was cut therefrom, and I can assure your highness that my
wife has never kneaded rye dough since my wife she has been."

The king was mightily wroth with Elphin for so stoutly
withstanding him, respecting the goodness of his wife; wherefore
he ordered him to his prison a second time, saying that he should
not be loosed thence until he had proved the truth of his boast,
as well concerning the wisdom of his bard as the virtues of his

In the meantime his wife and Taliesin remained joyful at Elphin's
dwelling. And Taliesin showed his mistress how that Elphin was in
prison because of them; but he bade her be glad, for that he would
go to Maelgan's court to free his master. So he took leave of his
mistress, and came to the court of Maelgan, who was going to sit
in his hall, and dine in his royal state, as it was the custom in
those days for kings and princes to do at every chief feast. As
soon as Taliesin entered the hall he placed himself in a quiet
corner, near the place where the bards and the minstrels were wont
to come, in doing their service and duty to the king, as is the
custom at the high festivals, when the bounty is proclaimed. So,
when the bards and the heralds came to cry largess, and to
proclaim the power of the king, and his strength, at the moment
when they passed by the corner wherein he was crouching, Taliesin
pouted out his lips after them, and played "Blerwm, blerwm!" with
his finger upon his lips. Neither took they much notice of him as
they went by but proceeded forward till they came before the king,
unto whom they made their obeisance with their bodies, as they
were wont, without speaking a single word, but pouting out their
lips, and making mouths at the king, playing, "Blerwm, blerwm!"
upon their lips with their fingers, as they had seen the boy do.
This sight caused the king to wonder, and to deem within himself
that they were drunk with many liquors. Wherefore he commanded one
of his lords, who served at the board, to go to them and desire
them to collect their wits, and to consider where they stood, and
what it was fitting for them to do. And this lord did so gladly.
But they ceased not from their folly any more than before.
Whereupon he sent to them a second time, and a third, desiring
them to go forth from the hall. At the last the king ordered one
of his squires to give a blow to the chief of them, named Heinin
Vardd; and the squire took a broom and struck him on the head, so
that he fell back in his seat. Then he arose, and went on his
knees, and besought leave of the king's grace to show that this
their fault was not through want of knowledge, neither through
drunkenness, but by the influence of some spirit that was in the
hall. And he spoke on this wise: "O honorable king, be it known to
your grace that not from the strength of drink, or of too much
liquor, are we dumb, but through the influence of a spirit that
sits in the corner yonder, in the form of a child." Forthwith the
king commanded the squire to fetch him; and he went to the nook
where Taliesin sat, and brought him before the king, who asked him
what he was, and whence he came. And he answered the king in

    "Primary chief bard am I to Elphin,
     And my native country is the region of the summer stars;
     I have been in Asia with Noah in the ark,
     I have seen the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah,
     I was in India when Rome was built,
     I have now come here to the remnant of Troia."

When the king and his nobles had heard the song, they wondered
much, for they had never heard the like from a boy so young as he.
And when the king knew that he was the bard of Elphin he bade
Heinin, his first and wisest bard, to answer Taliesin, and to
strive with him. But when he came he could do no other than play
"Blerwm!" on his lips; and when he sent for the others of the four
and twenty bards, they all did likewise, and could do no other.
And Maelgan asked the boy Taliesin what was his errand, and he
answered him in song:

    "Elphin, the son of Gwyddno,
    Is in the land of Artro,
    Secured by thirteen locks,
    For praising his instructor.
    Therefore I, Taliesin,
    Chief of the bards of the west,
    Will loosen Elphin
    Out of a golden fetter."

Then he sang to them a riddle:

    "Discover thou what is
     The strong creature from before the flood,
     Without flesh, without bone,
     Without vein, without blood,
     Without head, without feet;
     It will neither be older nor younger
    Than at the beginning.
    Behold how the sea whitens
    When first it comes,
    When it comes from the south,
    When it strikes on coasts
    It is in the field, it is in the wood,
    But the eye cannot perceive it.
    One Being has prepared it,
    By a tremendous blast,
    To wreak vengeance
    On Maelgan Gwynedd."

While he was thus singing his verse, there arose a mighty storm of
wind, so that the king and all his nobles thought that the castle
would fall upon their heads. And the king caused them to fetch
Elphin in haste from his dungeon, and placed him before Taliesin.
And it is said that immediately he sung a verse, so that the
chains opened from about his feet.

After that Taliesin brought Elphin's wife before them, and showed
that she had not one finger wanting. And in this manner did he set
his master free from prison, and protect the innocence of his
mistress, and silence the bards so that not one of them dared to
say a word. Right glad was Elphin, right glad was Taliesin.



Notable among the names of heroes of the British race is that of
Beowulf, which appeals to all English-speaking people in a very
special way, since he is the one hero in whose story we may see
the ideals of our English forefathers before they left their
Continental home to cross to the islands of Britain.

Although this hero had distinguished himself by numerous feats of
strength during his boyhood and early youth, it was as the
deliverer of Hrothgar, king of Denmark, from the monster Grendel
that he first gained wide renown. Grendel was half monster and
half man, and had his abode in the fen-fastnesses in the vicinity
of Hrothgar's residence. Night after night he would steal into the
king's great palace called Heorot and slay sometimes as many as
thirty at one time of the knights sleeping there.

Beowulf put himself at the head of a selected band of warriors,
went against the monster, and after a terrible fight slew it. The
following night Grendel's mother, a fiend scarcely less terrible
than her son, carried off one of Hrothgar's boldest thanes. Once
more Beowulf went to the help of the Danish king, followed the
she-monster to her lair at the bottom of a muddy lake in the midst
of the swamp, and with his good sword Hrunting and his own
muscular arms broke the sea-woman's neck.

Upon his return to his own country of the Geats, loaded with
honors bestowed upon him by Hrothgar, Beowulf served the king of
Geatland as the latter's most trusted counsellor and champion.
When, after many years, the king fell before an enemy, the Geats
unanimously chose Beowulf for their new king. His fame as a
warrior kept his country free from invasion, and his wisdom as a
statesman increased its prosperity and happiness.

In the fiftieth year of Beowulf's reign, however, a great terror
fell upon the land in the way of a monstrous fire-dragon, which
flew forth by night from its den in the rocks, lighting up the
blackness with its blazing breath, and burning houses and
homesteads, men and cattle, with the flames from its mouth. When
the news came to Beowulf that his people were suffering and dying,
and that no warrior dared to risk his life in an effort to deliver
the country from this deadly devastation, the aged king took up
his shield and sword and went forth to his last fight. At the
entrance of the dragon's cave Beowulf raised his voice and shouted
a furious defiance to the awesome guardian of the den. Roaring
hideously and napping his glowing wings together, the dragon
rushed forth and half flew, half sprang, on Beowulf. Then began a
fearful combat, which ended in Beowulf's piercing the dragon's
scaly armor and inflicting a mortal wound, but alas! in himself
being given a gash in the neck by his opponent's poisoned fangs
which resulted in his death. As he lay stretched on the ground,
his head supported by Wiglaf, an honored warrior who had helped in
the fight with the dragon, Beowulf roused himself to say, as he
grasped Wiglaf's hand:

   "Thou must now look to the needs of the nation;
    Here dwell I no longer, for Destiny calleth me!
    Bid thou my warriors after my funeral pyre
    Build me a burial-cairn high on the sea-cliff's head;
    So that the seafarers Beowulf's Barrow
    Henceforth shall name it, they who drive far and wide
    Over the mighty flood their foamy keels.
    Thou art the last of all the kindred of Wagmund!
    Wyrd has swept all my kin, all the brave chiefs away!
    Now must I follow them!"

These last words spoken, the king of the Geats, brave to seek
danger and brave to look on death and Fate undaunted, fell back
dead. According to his last desires, his followers gathered wood
and piled it on the cliff-head. Upon this funeral pyre was laid
Beowulf's body and consumed to ashes. Then, upon the same cliff of
Hronesness, was erected a huge burial cairn, wide-spread and
lofty, to be known thereafter as Beowulf's Barrow.


Among all the early literatures of Europe, there are two which, at
exactly opposite corners of the continent, display most strikingly
similar characteristics. These are the Greek and the Irish, and
the legend of the Irish champion Cuchulain, which well illustrates
the similarity of the literatures, bears so close a resemblance to
the story of Achilles as to win for this hero the title of "the
Irish Achilles." Certainly in reckless courage, power of inspiring
dread, sense of personal merit, and frankness of speech the Irish
hero is fully equal to the mighty Greek.

Cuchulain was the nephew of King Conor of Ulster, son of his
sister Dechtire, and it is said that his father was no mortal man,
but the great god Lugh of the Long Hand. Cuchulain was brought up
by King Conor himself, and even while he was still a boy his fame
spread all over Ireland. His warlike deeds were those of a proved
warrior, not of a child of nursery age; and by the time Cuchulain
was seventeen he was without peer among the champions of Ulster.

Upon Cuchulain's marriage to Emer, daughter of Forgall the Wily, a
Druid of great power, the couple took up their residence at
Armagh, the capital of Ulster, under the protection of King Conor.
Here there was one chief, Bricriu of the Bitter Tongue, who, like
Thersites among the Grecian leaders, delighted in making mischief.
Soon he had on foot plans for stirring up strife among the heroes
of Ulster, leaders among whom were the mighty Laegaire, Conall
Cearnach, cousin of Cuchulain, and Cuchulain himself. Inviting the
members of King Conor's court to dinner, Bricriu arranged that a
contest should arise over who should have the "champion's
portion," and so successful was he that, to avoid a bloody fight,
the three heroes mentioned decided to submit their claims to the
championship of Ireland to King Ailill of Connaught.

Ailill put the heroes to an unexpected test. Their dinner was
served them in a separate room, into which three magic beasts, in
the shape of monstrous cats, were sent by the king. When they saw
them Laegire and Conall rose from their meal, climbed among the
rafters, and stayed there all night. Cuchulain waited until one
cat attacked him, and then, drawing his sword, struck the monster.
It showed no further sign of fight, and at daybreak the magic
beasts disappeared.

As Laegire and Conall claimed that this test was an unfair one,
Ailill sent the three rivals to Curoi of Kerry, a just and wise
man, who set out to discover by wizardry and enchantments the best
among the heroes. In turn they stood watch outside Curoi's castle,
where Laegire and Conall were overcome by a huge giant, who hurled
spears of mighty oak trees, and ended by throwing them over the
wall into the courtyard. Cuchulain alone withstood the giant,
whereupon he was attacked by other magic foes. Among these was a
dragon, which flew on horrible wings from a neighboring lake, and
seemed ready to devour everything in its way. Cuchulain sprang up,
giving his wonderful hero-leap, thrust his arm into the dragon's
mouth and down its throat, and tore out its heart. After the
monster fell dead, he cut off its scaly head.

As even yet Cuchulain's opponents would not admit his
championship, they were all three directed to return to Armagh, to
await Curoi's judgment. Here it happened that all the Ulster
heroes were in the great hall one night, except Cuchulain and his
cousin Conall. As they sat in order of rank, a terrible stranger,
gigantic in stature, hideous of aspect, with ravening yellow eyes,
entered. In his hand he bore an enormous axe, with keen and
shining edge. Upon King Conor's inquiring his business there, the
stranger replied:

"Behold my axe! The man who will grasp it to-day may cut my head
off with it, provided that I may, in like manner, cut off his head
to-morrow. If you have no champion who dare face me, I will say
that Ulster has lost her courage and is dishonored."

At once Laegire accepted the challenge. The giant laid his head on
a block, and at a blow the hero severed it from the body.
Thereupon the giant arose, took the head and the axe, and thus,
headless, strode from the hall. But the following night, when he
returned, sound as ever, to claim the fulfilment of Laegire's
promise, the latter's heart failed him and he did not come
forward. The stranger then jeered at the men of Ulster because
their great champion durst not keep his agreement, nor face the
blow he should receive in return for the one he gave.

The men of Ulster were utterly ashamed, but Conall Cearnach, who
was present that night, made a new agreement with the stranger. He
gave a blow which beheaded the giant, but again, when the latter
returned whole and sound on the following evening, the champion
was not to be found.

Now it was the turn of Cuchulain, who, as the others had done, cut
off the giant's head at one stroke. The next day the members of
Conor's court watched Cuchulain to see what he would do. They
would not have been surprised if he had failed like the others,
who now were present. The champion, however, showed no signs of
failing or retreat. He sat sorrowfully in his place, and with a
sigh said to King Conor as they waited: "Do not leave this place
till all is over. Death is coming to me very surely, but I must
fulfil my agreement, for I would rather die than break my word."

Towards the close of day the stranger strode into the hall

"Where is Cuchulain?" he cried.

"Here I am," was the reply.

"Ah, poor boy! your speech is sad to-night, and the fear of death
lies heavy on you; but at least you have redeemed your word and
have not failed me."

The youth rose from his seat and went towards him, as he stood
with the great axe ready, and knelt to receive the blow.

The hero of Ulster laid his head on the block; but the giant was
not satisfied. "Stretch out your neck better," said he.

"You are playing with me, to torment me," said Cuchulain. "Slay me
now speedily, for I did not keep you waiting last night."

However, he stretched out his neck as ordered, and the stranger
raised his axe till it crashed upwards through the rafters of the
hall, like the crash of trees falling in a storm. When the axe
came down with a terrific sound all men looked fearfully at
Cuchulain. The descending axe had not even touched him; it had
come down with the blunt side on the ground, and the youth knelt
there unharmed. Smiling at him, and leaning on his axe, stood no
terrible and hideous stranger, but Curoi of Kerry, come to give
his decision at last.

"Rise up, Cuchulain," said Curoi. "There is none among all the
heroes of Ulster to equal you in courage and loyalty and truth.
The Championship of the Heroes of Ireland is yours from this day
forth, and the Champion's Portion at all feasts; and to your wife
I adjudge the first place among all the women of Ulster. Woe to
him who dares to dispute this decision!" Thereupon Curoi vanished,
and the warriors gathered around Cuchulain, and all with one voice
acclaimed him the Champion of the Heroes of all Ireland--a title
which has clung to him until this day.

This is one of many stories told of the Irish champion, whose
deeds of bravery would fill many pages. Cuchulain finally came to
his end on the field of battle, after a fight in which he
displayed all his usual gallantry but in which unfair means were
used to overcome him.

For Wales and for England during centuries Arthur has been the
representative "very gentle perfect knight." In a similar way, in
England's sister isle, Cuchulain stands ever for the highest
ideals of the Irish Gaels.


In Hereward the Wake (or "Watchful") is found one of those heroes
whose date can be ascertained with a fair amount of exactness and
yet in whose story occur mythological elements which seem to
belong to all ages. The folklore of primitive races is a great
storehouse whence a people can choose tales and heroic deeds to
glorify its own national hero, careless that the same tales and
deeds have done duty for other peoples and other heroes. Hence it
happens that Hereward the Saxon, a patriot hero as real and actual
as Nelson or George Washington, whose deeds were recorded in prose
and verse within forty years of his death, was even then
surrounded by a cloud of romance and mystery, which hid in
vagueness his family, his marriage, and even his death.

Briefly it may be stated that Hereward was a native of
Lincolnshire, and was in his prime about 1070. In that year he
joined a party of Danes who appeared in England, attacked
Peterborough and sacked the abbey there, and afterward took refuge
in the Isle of Ely. Here he was besieged by William the Conqueror,
and was finally forced to yield to the Norman. He thus came to
stand for the defeated Saxon race, and his name has been passed
down as that of the darling hero of the Saxons. For his splendid
defence of Ely they forgave his final surrender to Duke William;
they attributed to him all the virtues supposed to be inherent in
the free-born, and all the glorious valor on which the English
prided themselves; and, lastly, they surrounded his death with a
halo of desperate fighting, and made his last conflict as
wonderful as that of Roland at Roncesvalles. If Roland is the
ideal of Norman feudal chivalry, Hereward is equally the ideal of
Anglo-Saxon sturdy manliness and knighthood.

An account of one of Hereward's adventures as a youth will serve
as illustration of the stories told of his prowess. On an enforced
visit to Cornwall, he found that King Alef, a petty British chief,
had betrothed his fair daughter to a terrible Pictish giant,
breaking off, in order to do it, her troth-plight with Prince
Sigtryg of Waterford, son of a Danish king in Ireland. Hereward,
ever chivalrous, picked a quarrel with the giant and killed him in
fair fight, whereupon the king threw him into prison. In the
following night, however, the released princess arranged that the
gallant Saxon should be freed and sent hot-foot for her lover,
Prince Sigtryg. After many adventures Hereward reached the prince,
who hastened to return to Cornwall with the young hero. But to the
grief of both, they learned upon their arrival that the princess
had just been betrothed to a wild Cornish hero, Haco, and the
wedding feast was to be held that very day. Sigtryg at once sent a
troop of forty Danes to King Alef demanding the fulfilment of the
troth-plight between himself and his daughter, and threatening
vengeance if it were broken. To this threat the king returned no
answer, and no Dane came back to tell of their reception.

Sigtryg would have waited till morning, trusting in the honor of
the king, but Hereward disguised himself as a minstrel and
obtained admission to the bridal feast, where he soon won applause
by his beautiful singing. The bridegroom, Haco, in a rapture
offered him any boon he liked to ask, but he demanded only a cup
of wine from the hands of the bride. When she brought it to him he
flung into the empty cup the betrothal ring, the token she had
sent to Sigtryg, and said: "I thank thee, lady, and would reward
thee for thy gentleness to a wandering minstrel; I give back the
cup, richer than before by the kind thoughts of which it bears the
token." The princess looked at him, gazed into the goblet, and saw
her ring; then, looking again, she recognized her deliverer and
knew that rescue was at hand.

While men feasted Hereward listened and talked, and found out that
the forty Danes were prisoners, to be released on the morrow when
Haco was sure of his bride, but released useless and miserable,
since they would be turned adrift blinded. Haco was taking his
lovely bride back to his own land, and Hereward saw that any
rescue, to be successful, must be attempted on the march.

Returning to Sigtryg, the young Saxon told all that he had
learned, and the Danes planned an ambush in the ravine where Haco
had decided to blind and set free his captives. The whole was
carried out exactly as Hereward arranged it. The Cornishmen, with
the Danish captives, passed first without attack; next came Haco,
riding grim and ferocious beside his silent bride, he exulting in
his success, she looking eagerly for any signs of rescue. As they
passed Hereward sprang from his shelter, crying, "Upon them,
Danes, and set your brethren free!" and himself struck down Haco
and smote off his head. There was a short struggle, but soon the
rescued Danes were able to aid their deliverers, and the Cornish
guards were all slain; the men of King Alef, never very zealous
for the cause of Haco, fled, and the Danes were left masters of
the field.

Sigtryg had in the meantime seen to the safety of the princess,
and now, placing her between himself and Hereward, he escorted her
to the ship, which soon brought them to Waterford and a happy
bridal. The Prince and Princess of Waterford always recognized in
Hereward their deliverer and best friend, and in their gratitude
wished him to dwell with them always; but the hero's roving and
daring temper forbade his settling down, but rather urged him on
to deeds of arms in other lands, where he quickly won a renown
second to none.


Among the earliest heirlooms of the Anglo-Saxon tongue are the
songs and legends of Robin Hood and his merry outlaws, which have
charmed readers young and old for more than six hundred years.
These entertaining stories date back to the time when Chaucer
wrote his "Canterbury Tales," when the minstrel and scribe stood
in the place of the more prim and precise modern printed book.

The question of whether or not Robin Hood was a real person has
been asked for many years, just as a similar question has been
asked about William Tell and others whom everyone would much
rather accept on faith. It cannot be answered by a brief "yes" or
"no," even though learned men have pored over ancient records and
have written books on the subject. According to the general belief
Robin was an outlaw in the reign of Richard I, when in the depths
of Sherwood Forest he entertained one hundred tall men, all good
archers, with the spoil he took; but "he suffered no woman to be
oppressed or otherwise molested; poore men's goods he spared,
abundantlie relieving them with that which by theft he got from
abbeys and houses of rich carles." Consequently Robin was an
immense favorite with the common people.

This popularity extended from the leader to all the members of his
hardy band. "God save Robin Hood and all his good yeomanry" is the
ending of many old ballads. The clever archer who could outshoot
his fellows, the brave yeoman inured to blows, and the man who
could be true to his friends through thick and thin were favorites
for all time; and they have been idealized in the persons of Robin
Hood and his merry outlaws.

One of the best-known stories of this picturesque figure of early
English times is that given by Sir Walter Scott in "Ivanhoe,"
concerning the archery contest during the rule or misrule of
Prince John, in the absence of Richard from the kingdom. Robin
Hood, under the assumed name of Locksley, boldly presents himself
at a royal tournament at Ashby, as competitor for the prize in
shooting with the long-bow. From the eight or ten archers who
enter the contest, the number finally narrows down to two,--
Hubert, a forester in the service of one of the king's nobles, and
Locksley or Robin Hood. Hubert takes the first shot in the final
trial of skill, and lands his arrow within the inner ring of the
target, but not exactly in the centre.

"'You have not allowed for the wind, Hubert,' said Locksley, 'or
that had been a better shot.'

"So saying, and without showing the least anxiety to pause upon
his aim, Locksley stepped to the appointed station, and shot his
arrow as carelessly in appearance as if he had not even looked at
the mark. He was speaking almost at the instant that the shaft
left the bow-string, yet it alighted in the target two inches
nearer to the white spot which marked the centre than that of

"'By the light of Heaven!' said Prince John to Hubert, 'an thou
suffer that runagate knave to overcome thee, thou art worthy of
the gallows!'

"Hubert had but one set speech for all occasions. 'An your
highness were to hang me,' he said, 'a man can but do his best.
Nevertheless, my grandsire drew a good bow--'

"'The foul fiend on thy grandsire and all his generation!'
interrupted John; 'shoot, knave, and shoot thy best, or it shall
be worse for thee!'

"Thus exhorted, Hubert resumed his place, and not neglecting the
caution which he had received from his adversary, he made the
necessary allowance for a very light air of wind, which had just
risen, and shot so successfully that his arrow alighted in the
very centre of the target.

"'A Hubert! a Hubert!' shouted the populace, more interested in a
known person than in a stranger. 'In the clout!--in the clout!--a
Hubert forever!'

"'Thou canst not mend that shot, Locksley,' said the Prince, with
an insulting smile.

"'I will notch his shaft for him, however,' replied Locksley.

"And letting fly his arrow with a little more precaution than
before, it lighted right upon that of his competitor, which it
split to shivers. The people who stood around were so astonished
at his wonderful dexterity, that they could not even give vent to
their surprise in their usual clamor. 'This must be the devil, and
no man of flesh and blood,' whispered the yeomen to each other;
'such archery was never seen since a bow was first bent in

"'And now,' said Locksley, 'I will crave your Grace's permission
to plant such a mark as is used in the North Country; and welcome
every brave yeoman who shall try a shot at it to win a smile from
the bonny lass he loves best.'"

Locksley thereupon sets up a willow wand, six feet long and as
thick as a man's thumb. Hubert is forced to decline the honor of
taking part in such a trial of archery skill, but his rival easily
splits the wand at a distance of three hundred feet and carries
off the prize.

"Even Prince John, in admiration of Locksley's skill, lost for an
instant his dislike to his person. 'These twenty nobles,' he said,
'which, with the bugle, thou hast fairly won, are thine own; we
will make them fifty, if thou wilt take livery and service with us
as a yeoman of our bodyguard, and be near to our person. For never
did so strong a hand bend a bow, or so true an eye direct a
shaft.'" [Footnote: Ivanhoe, Vol. 1, chap. XIII.]

Locksley, however, declares that it is impossible for him to enter
the Prince's service, generously shares his prize with the worthy
Hubert, and retires once more to his beloved haunts among the
lights and shadows of the good greenwood.


Abdalrahman, founder of the independent Ommiad (Saracenic) power
in Spain, conquered at Tours by Charles Martel

Aberfraw, scene of nuptials of Branwen and Matholch

Absyrtus, younger brother of Medea

Abydos, a town on the Hellespont, nearly opposite to Sestos

Abyla, Mount, or Columna, a mountain in Morocco, near Ceuta, now
called Jebel Musa or Ape's Hill, forming the Northwestern
extremity of the African coast opposite Gibraltar (See Pillars of

Acestes, son of a Trojan woman who was sent by her father to
Sicily, that she might not be devoured by the monsters which
infested the territory of Troy

Acetes, Bacchanal captured by Pentheus

Achates, faithful friend and companion of Aeneas

Achelous, river-god of the largest river in Greece--his Horn of

Achilles, the hero of the Iliad, son of Peleus and of the Nereid
Thetis, slain by Paris

Acis, youth loved by Galatea and slain by Polyphemus

Acontius, a beautiful youth, who fell in love with Cydippe, the
daughter of a noble Athenian.

Acrisius, son of Abas, king of Argos, grandson of Lynceus, the
great-grandson of Danaus.

Actaeon, a celebrated huntsman, son of Aristaeus and Autonoe, who,
having seen Diana bathing, was changed by her to a stag and killed
by his own dogs.

Admeta, daughter of Eurystheus, covets Hippolyta's girdle.

Admetus, king of Thessaly, saved from death by Alcestis

Adonis, a youth beloved by Aphrodite (Venus), and Proserpine;
killed by a boar.

Adrastus, a king of Argos.

Aeacus, son of Zeus (Jupiter) and Aegina, renowned in all Greece
for his justice and piety.

Aeaea, Circe's island, visited by Ulysses.

Aeetes, or Aeeta, son of Helios (the Sun) and Perseis, and father
of Medea and Absyrtus.

Aegeus, king of Athens.

Aegina, a rocky island in the middle of the Saronic gulf.

Aegis, shield or breastplate of Jupiter and Minerva.

Aegisthus, murderer of Agamemnon, slain by Orestes.

Aeneas, Trojan hero, son of Anchises and Aphrodite (Venus), and
born on Mount Ida, reputed first settler of Rome,

Aeneid, poem by Virgil, relating the wanderings of Aeneas from
Troy to Italy,

Ae'olus, son of Hellen and the nymph Orseis, represented in Homer
as the happy ruler of the Aeolian Islands, to whom Zeus had given
dominion over the winds,

Aesculapius, god of the medical art,

Aeson, father of Jason, made young again by Medea,

Aethiopians, inhabitants of the country south of Egypt,

Aethra, mother of Theseus by Aegeus,

Aetna, volcano in Sicily,

Agamedes, brother of Trophonius, distinguished as an architect,

Agamemnon, son of Plisthenis and grandson of Atreus, king of
Mycenae, although the chief commander of the Greeks, is not the
hero of the Iliad, and in chivalrous spirit altogether inferior to

Agave, daughter of Cadmus, wife of Echion, and mother of Pentheus,

Agenor, father of Europa, Cadmus, Cilix, and Phoenix,

Aglaia, one of the Graces,

Agni, Hindu god of fire,

Agramant, a king in Africa,

Agrican, fabled king of Tartary, pursuing Angelica, finally killed
by Orlando,

Agrivain, one of Arthur's knights,

Ahriman, the Evil Spirit in the dual system of Zoroaster, See

Ajax, son of Telamon, king of Salamis, and grandson of Aeacus,
represented in the Iliad as second only to Achilles in bravery,

Alba, the river where King Arthur fought the Romans,

Alba Longa, city in Italy founded by son of Aeneas,

Alberich, dwarf guardian of Rhine gold treasure of the Nibelungs

Albracca, siege of,

Alcestis, wife of Admetus, offered hersell as sacrifice to spare
her husband, but rescued by Hercules,

Alcides (Hercules),

Alcina, enchantress,

Alcinous, Phaeacian king,

Alcippe, daughter of Mars, carried off by Halirrhothrus,

Alcmena, wife of Jupiter, and mother of Hercules,

Alcuin, English prelate and scholar,

Aldrovandus, dwarf guardian of treasure,

Alecto, one of the Furies,

Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia, conqueror of Greece,
Egypt, Persia, Babylonia, and India,

Alfadur, a name for Odin,

Alfheim, abode of the elves of light,

Alice, mother of Huon and Girard, sons of Duke Sevinus,

Alphenor, son of Niobe,

Alpheus, river god pursuing Arethusa, who escaped by being changed
to a fountain,

Althaea, mother of Meleager, whom she slew because he had in a
quarrel killed her brothers, thus disgracing "the house of
Thestius," her father,

Amalthea, nurse of the infant Jupiter in Crete,

Amata, wife of Latinus, driven mad by Alecto,

Amaury of Hauteville, false hearted Knight of Charlemagne,

Amazons, mythical race of warlike women,

Ambrosia, celestial food used by the gods,

Ammon, Egyptian god of life identified by Romans with phases of
Jupiter, the father of gods,

Amphiaraus, a great prophet and hero at Argos,

Amphion, a musician, son of Jupiter and Antiope (See Dirce),

Amphitrite, wife of Neptune,

Amphyrsos, a small river in Thessaly,

Ampyx, assailant of Perseus, turned to stone by seeing Gorgon's

Amrita, nectar giving immortality,

Amun, See Ammon

Amymone, one of the fifty daughters of Danaus, and mother by
Poseidon (Neptune) of Nauplius, the father of Palamedes,

Anaxarete, a maiden of Cyprus, who treated her lover Iphis with
such haughtiness that he hanged himself at her door,

Anbessa, Saracenic governor of Spain (725 AD),

Anceus, one of the Argonauts,

Anchises, beloved by Aphrodite (Venus), by whom he became the
father of Aeneas,

Andraemon, husband of Dryope, saw her changed into a tree,

Andret, a cowardly knight, spy upon Tristram,

Andromache, wife of Hector

Andromeda, daughter of King Cephas, delivered from monster by

Aneurin, Welsh bard

Angelica, Princess of Cathay

Anemone, short lived wind flower, created by Venus from the blood
of the slain Adonis

Angerbode, giant prophetess, mother of Fenris, Hela and the
Midgard Serpent

Anglesey, a Northern British island, refuge of Druids fleeing from

Antaeus, giant wrestler of Libya, killed by Hercules, who, finding
him stronger when thrown to the earth, lifted him into the air and
strangled him

Antea, wife of jealous Proetus

Antenor, descendants of, in Italy

Anteros, deity avenging unrequited love, brother of Eros (Cupid)

Anthor, a Greek

Antigone, daughter of Aedipus, Greek ideal of filial and sisterly

Antilochus, son of Nestor

Antiope, Amazonian queen. See Dirce

Anubis, Egyptian god, conductor of the dead to judgment


Aphrodite See Venus, Dione, etc.

Apis, Egyptian bull god of Memphis

Apollo, god of music and song

Apollo Belvedere, famous antique statue in Vatican at Rome

Apples of the Hesperides, wedding gifts to Juno, guarded by
daughters of Atlas and Hesperis, stolen by Atlas for Hercules,

Aquilo, or Boreas, the North Wind,

Aquitaine, ancient province of Southwestern France,

Arachne, a maiden skilled in weaving, changed to a spider by
Minerva for daring to compete with her,

Arcadia, a country in the middle of Peloponnesus, surrounded on
all sides by mountains,

Arcady, star of, the Pole star,

Arcas, son of Jupiter and Callisto,

Archer, constellation of the,

Areopagus, court of the, at Athens,

Ares, called Mars by the Romans, the Greek god of war, and one of
the great Olympian gods,

Arethusa, nymph of Diana, changed to a fountain,

Argius king of Ireland, father of Isoude the Fair,

Argo, builder of the vessel of Jason for the Argonautic

Argolis, city of the Nemean games,

Argonauts, Jason's crew seeking the Golden Fleece,

Argos, a kingdom in Greece,

Argus, of the hundred eyes, guardian of Io,

Ariadne, daughter of King Minos, who helped Theseus slay the

Arimanes SEE Ahriman.

Arimaspians, one-eyed people of Syria,

Arion, famous musician, whom sailors cast into the sea to rob him,
but whose lyric song charmed the dolphins, one of which bore him
safely to land,

Aristaeus, the bee keeper, in love with Eurydice,

Armorica, another name for Britain,

Arridano, a magical ruffian, slain by Orlando,

Artemis SEE Diana

Arthgallo, brother of Elidure, British king,

Arthur, king in Britain about the 6th century,

Aruns, an Etruscan who killed Camilla,

Asgard, home of the Northern gods,

Ashtaroth, a cruel spirit, called by enchantment to bring Rinaldo
to death,

Aske, the first man, made from an ash tree,

Astolpho of England, one of Charlemagne's knights,

Astraea, goddess of justice, daughter of Astraeus and Eos,

Astyages, an assailant of Perseus,

Astyanax, son of Hector of Troy, established kingdom of Messina in

Asuias, opponents of the Braminical gods,

Atalanta, beautiful daughter of King of Icaria, loved and won in a
foot race by Hippomenes,

Ate, the goddess of infatuation, mischief and guilt,

Athamas, son of Aeolus and Enarete, and king of Orchomenus, in
Boeotia, SEE Ino

Athene, tutelary goddess of Athens, the same as Minerva,

Athens, the capital of Attica, about four miles from the sea,
between the small rivers Cephissus and Ilissus,

Athor, Egyptian deity, progenitor of Isis and Osiris,

Athos, the mountainous peninsula, also called Acte, which projects
from Chalcidice in Macedonia,

Atlantes, foster father of Rogero, a powerful magician,

Atlantis, according to an ancient tradition, a great island west
of the Pillars of Hercules, in the ocean, opposite Mount Atlas,

Atlas, a Titan, who bore the heavens on his shoulders, as
punishment for opposing the gods, one of the sons of Iapetus,

Atlas, Mount, general name for range in northern Africa,

Atropos, one of the Fates

Attica, a state in ancient Greece,

Audhumbla, the cow from which the giant Ymir was nursed. Her milk
was frost melted into raindrops,

Augean stables, cleansed by Hercules,

Augeas, king of Elis,

Augustan age, reign of Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar, famed for
many great authors,

Augustus, the first imperial Caesar, who ruled the Roman Empire 31
BC--14 AD,

Aulis, port in Boeotia, meeting place of Greek expedition against

Aurora, identical with Eos, goddess of the dawn,

Aurora Borealis, splendid nocturnal luminosity in northern sky,
called Northern Lights, probably electrical,

Autumn, attendant of Phoebus, the Sun,

Avalon, land of the Blessed, an earthly paradise in the Western
Seas, burial place of King Arthur,

Avatar, name for any of the earthly incarnations of Vishnu, the
Preserver (Hindu god),

Aventine, Mount, one of the Seven Hills of Rome,

Avernus, a miasmatic lake close to the promontory between Cumae
and Puteoli, filling the crater of an extinct volcano, by the
ancients thought to be the entrance to the infernal regions,

Avicenna, celebrated Arabian physician and philosopher,

Aya, mother of Rinaldo,

Aymon, Duke, father of Rinaldo and Bradamante,


Baal, king of Tyre,

Babylonian River, dried up when Phaeton drove the sun chariot,

Bacchanali a, a feast to Bacchus that was permitted to occur but
once in three years, attended by most shameless orgies,

Bacchanals, devotees and festal dancers of Bacchus,

Bacchus (Dionysus), god of wine and revelry,

Badon, battle of, Arthur's final victory over the Saxons,

Bagdemagus, King, a knight of Arthur's time,

Baldur, son of Odin, and representing in Norse mythology the sun

Balisardo, Orlando's sword,

Ban, King of Brittany, ally of Arthur, father of Launcelot,

Bards, minstrels of Welsh Druids,

Basilisk SEE Cockatrice

Baucis, wife of Philemon, visited by Jupiter and Mercury,

Bayard, wild horse subdued by Rinaldo,

Beal, Druids' god of life,

Bedivere, Arthur's knight,

Bedver, King Arthur's butler, made governor of Normandy,

Bedwyr, knightly comrade of Geraint,

Belisarda, Rogero's sword,

Bellerophon, demigod, conqueror of the Chimaera,

Bellona, the Roman goddess of war, represented as the sister or
wife of Mars,

Beltane, Druidical fire festival,

Belus, son of Poseidon (Neptune) and Libya or Eurynome, twin
brother of Agenor,

Bendigeid Vran, King of Britain,

Beowulf, hero and king of the Swedish Geats,

Beroe, nurse of Semele,

Bertha, mother of Orlando,

Bifrost, rainbow bridge between the earth and Asgard

Bladud, inventor, builder of the city of Bath,

Blamor, a knight of Arthur,

Bleoberis, a knight of Arthur,

Boeotia, state in ancient Greece, capital city Thebes,

Bohort, King, a knight of Arthur,

Bona Dea, a Roman divinity of fertility,

Bootes, also called Areas, son of Jupiter and Calisto, changed to
constellation of Ursa Major,

Boreas, North wind, son of Aeolus and Aurora,

Bosporus (Bosphorus), the Cow-ford, named for Io, when as a heifer
she crossed that strait,

Bradamante, sister to Rinaldo, a female warrior,

Brademagus, King, father of Sir Maleagans,

Bragi, Norse god of poetry,

Brahma, the Creator, chief god of Hindu religion,

Branwen, daughter of Llyr, King of Britain, wife of Mathclch,

Breciliande, forest of, where Vivian enticed Merlin,

Brengwain, maid of Isoude the Fair

Brennus, son of Molmutius, went to Gaul, became King of the

Breuse, the Pitiless, a caitiff knight,

Briareus, hundred armed giant,

Brice, Bishop, sustainer of Arthur when elected king,

Brigliadoro, Orlando's horse,

Briseis, captive maid belonging to Achilles,

Britto, reputed ancestor of British people,

Bruhier, Sultan of Arabia,

Brunello, dwarf, thief, and king

Brunhild, leader of the Valkyrie,

Brutus, great grandson of Aeneas, and founder of city of New Troy
(London), SEE Pandrasus

Bryan, Sir, a knight of Arthur,

Buddha, called The Enlightened, reformer of Brahmanism, deified
teacher of self abnegation, virtue, reincarnation, Karma
(inevitable sequence of every act), and Nirvana (beatific
absorption into the Divine), lived about

Byblos, in Egypt,

Byrsa, original site of Carthage,


Cacus, gigantic son of Vulcan, slain by Hercules, whose captured
cattle he stole,

Cadmus, son of Agenor, king of Phoenicia, and of Telephassa, and
brother of Europa, who, seeking his sister, carried off by
Jupiter, had strange adventures--sowing in the ground teeth of a
dragon he had killed, which sprang up armed men who slew each
other, all but five, who helped Cadmus to found the city of

Caduceus, Mercury's staff,

Cadwallo, King of Venedotia (North Wales),

Caerleon, traditional seat of Arthur's court,

Caesar, Julius, Roman lawyer, general, statesman and author,
conquered and consolidated Roman territory, making possible the

Caicus, a Greek river,

Cairns, Druidical store piles,

Calais, French town facing England,

Calchas, wisest soothsayer among the Greeks at Troy,

Caliburn, a sword of Arthur,

Calliope, one of the nine Muses

Callisto, an Arcadian nymph, mother of Arcas (SEE Bootes), changed
by Jupiter to constellation Ursa Minor,

Calpe, a mountain in the south of Spain, on the strait between the
Atlantic and Mediterranean, now Rock of Gibraltar,

Calydon, home of Meleager,

Calypso, queen of Island of Ogyia, where Ulysses was wrecked and
held seven years,

Camber, son of Brutus, governor of West Albion (Wales),

Camelot, legendary place in England where Arthur's court and
palace were located,

Camenae, prophetic nymphs, belonging to the religion of ancient

Camilla, Volscian maiden, huntress and Amazonian warrior, favorite
of Diana,

Camlan, battle of, where Arthur was mortally wounded,

Canterbury, English city,

Capaneus, husband of Evadne, slain by Jupiter for disobedience,

Capet, Hugh, King of France (987-996 AD),

Caradoc Briefbras, Sir, great nephew of King Arthur,

Carahue, King of Mauretania,

Carthage, African city, home of Dido

Cassandra, daughter of Priam and Hecuba, and twin sister of
Helenus, a prophetess, who foretold the coming of the Greeks but
was not believed,

Cassibellaunus, British chieftain, fought but not conquered by

Cassiopeia, mother of Andromeda,

Castalia, fountain of Parnassus, giving inspiration to Oracular
priestess named Pythia,

Castalian Cave, oracle of Apollo,

Castes (India),

Castor and Pollux--the Dioscuri, sons of Jupiter and Leda,--
Castor a horseman, Pollux a boxer (SEE Gemini),

Caucasus, Mount

Cavall, Arthur's favorite dog,

Cayster, ancient river,

Cebriones, Hector's charioteer,

Cecrops, first king of Athens,

Celestials, gods of classic mythology,

Celeus, shepherd who sheltered Ceres, seeking Proserpine, and
whose infant son Triptolemus was in gratitude made great by Ceres,

Cellini, Benvenuto, famous Italian sculptor and artificer in

Celtic nations, ancient Gauls and Britons, modern Bretons, Welsh,
Irish and Gaelic Scotch,

Centaurs, originally an ancient race, inhabiting Mount Pelion in
Thessaly, in later accounts represented as half horses and half
men, and said to have been the offspring of Ixion and a cloud,

Cephalus, husband of beautiful but jealous Procris,

Cephe us, King of Ethiopians, father of Andromeda,

Cephisus, a Grecian stream,

Cerberus, three-headed dog that guarded the entrance to Hades,
called a son of Typhaon and Echidna

CERES (See Demeter)

CESTUS, the girdle of Venus

CEYX, King of Thessaly (See Halcyone)

CHAOS, original Confusion, personified by Greeks as most ancient
of the gods

CHARLEMAGNE, king of the Franks and emperor of the Romans

CHARLES MARTEL', king of the Franks, grandfather of Charlemagne,
called Martel (the Hammer) from his defeat of the Saracens at

CHARLOT, son of Charlemagne

CHARON, son of Erebos, conveyed in his boat the shades of the dead
across the rivers of the lower world

CHARYB'DIS, whirlpool near the coast of Sicily, See Scylla

CHIMAERA, a fire breathing monster, the fore part of whose body
was that of a lion, the hind part that of a dragon, and the middle
that of a goat, slain by Bellerophon

CHINA, Lamas (priests) of

CHOS, island in the Grecian archipelago

CHIRON, wisest of all the Centaurs, son of Cronos (Saturn) and
Philyra, lived on Mount Pelion, instructor of Grecian heroes

CHRYSEIS, Trojan maid, taken by Agamemnon

CHRYSES, priest of Apollo, father of Chryseis

CICONIANS, inhabitants of Ismarus, visited by Ulysses

CIMBRI, an ancient people of Central Europe

Cimmeria, a land of darkness

Cimon, Athenian general

Circe, sorceress, sister of Aeetes

Cithaeron, Mount, scene of Bacchic worship

Clarimunda, wife of Huon

Clio, one of the Muses

Cloridan, a Moor

Clotho, one of the Fates

Clymene, an ocean nymph

Clytemnestra, wife of Agamemnon, killed by Orestes

Clytie, a water nymph, in love with Apollo

Cnidos, ancient city of Asia Minor, seat of worship of Aphrodite

Cockatrice (or Basilisk), called King of Serpents, supposed to
kill with its look

Cocytus, a river of Hades

Colchis, a kingdom east of the Black Sea

Colophon, one of the seven cities claiming the birth of Homer

Columba, St, an Irish Christian missionary to Druidical parts of

Conan, Welsh king

Constantine, Greek emperor

Cordeilla, daughter of the mythical King Leir

Corineus, a Trojan warrior in Albion

Cornwall, southwest part of Britain

Cortana, Ogier's sword

Corybantes, priests of Cybele, or Rhea, in Phrygia, who
celebrated her worship with dances, to the sound of the drum and
the cymbal, 143

Crab, constellation

Cranes and their enemies, the Pygmies, of Ibycus

Creon, king of Thebes

Crete, one of the largest islands of the Mediterranean Sea, lying
south of the Cyclades

Creusa, daughter of Priam, wife of Aeneas

Crocale, a nymph of Diana

Cromlech, Druidical altar

Cronos, See Saturn

Crotona, city of Italy

Cuchulain, Irish hero, called the "Hound of Ireland,"

Culdees', followers of St. Columba, Cumaean Sibyl, seeress
of Cumae, consulted by Aeneas, sold Sibylline books to Tarquin

Cupid, child of Venus and god of love

Curoi of Kerry, wise man

Cyane, river, opposed Pluto's passage to Hades

Cybele (Rhea)

Cyclopes, creatures with circular eyes, of whom Homer speaks as a
gigantic and lawless race of shepherds in Sicily, who devoured
human beings, they helped Vulcan to forge the thunderbolts of Zeus
under Aetna

Cymbeline, king of ancient Britain

Cynosure (Dog's tail), the Pole star, at tail of Constellation
Ursa Minor

Cynthian mountain top, birthplace of Artemis (Diana) and Apollo

Cyprus, island off the coast of Syria, sacred to Aphrodite

Cyrene, a nymph, mother of Aristaeus

Daedalus, architect of the Cretan Labyrinth, inventor of sails

Daguenet, King Arthur's fool

Dalai Lama, chief pontiff of Thibet

Danae, mother of Perseus by Jupiter

Danaides, the fifty daughters of Danaus, king of Argos, who were
betrothed to the fifty sons of Aegyptus, but were commanded by
their father to slay each her own husband on the marriage night

Danaus (See Danaides)

Daphne, maiden loved by Apollo, and changed into a laurel tree

Dardanelles, ancient Hellespont

Dardanus, progenitor of the Trojan kings

Dardinel, prince of Zumara

Dawn, See Aurora

Day, an attendant on Phoebus, the Sun

Day star (Hesperus)

Death, See Hela

Deiphobus, son of Priam and Hecuba, the bravest brother of Paris

Dejanira, wife of Hercules

Delos, floating island, birthplace of Apollo and Diana

Delphi, shrine of Apollo, famed for its oracles

Demeter, Greek goddess of marriage and human fertility, identified
by Romans with Ceres

Demeha, South Wales

Demodocus, bard of Alomous, king of the Phaeaeians

Deucalion, king of Thessaly, who with his wife Pyrrha were the
only pair surviving a deluge sent by Zeus

Dia, island of

Diana (Artemis), goddess of the moon and of the chase, daughter of
Jupiter and Latona

Diana of the Hind, antique sculpture in the Louvre, Paris

Diana, temple of

Dictys, a sailor

Didier, king of the Lombards

Dido, queen of Tyre and Carthage, entertained the shipwrecked

Diomede, Greek hero during Trojan War

Dione, female Titan, mother of Zeus, of Aphrodite (Venus)

Dionysus See Bacchus

Dioscuri, the Twins (See Castor and Pollux)

Dirce, wife of Lycus, king of Thebes, who ordered Amphion and
Zethus to tie Antiope to a wild bull, but they, learning Antiope
to be their mother, so treated Dirce herself

Dis See Pluto

Discord, apple of, See Eris.

Discordia, See Eris.

Dodona, site of an oracle of Zeus (Jupiter)

Dorceus, a dog of Diana

Doris, wife of Nereus

Dragon's teeth sown by Cadmus

Druids, ancient Celtic priests

Dryades (or Dryads), See Wood nymphs

Dryope, changed to a lotus plant, for plucking a lotus--enchanted
form of the nymph Lotis

Dubricius, bishop of Caerleon,

Dudon, a knight, comrade of Astolpho,

Dunwallo Molmu'tius, British king and lawgiver

Durindana, sword of Orlando or Rinaldo

Dwarfs in Wagner's Nibelungen Ring


Earth (Gaea); goddess of the

Ebudians, the

Echo, nymph of Diana, shunned by Narcissus, faded to nothing but a

Ecklenlied, the

Eddas, Norse mythological records,

Ederyn, son of Nudd

Egena, nymph of the Fountain

Eisteddfod, session of Welsh bards and minstrels

Electra, the lost one of the Pleiades, also, sister of Orestes

Eleusian Mysteries, instituted by Ceres, and calculated to awaken
feelings of piety and a cheerful hope of better life in the future

Eleusis, Grecian city

Elgin Marbles, Greek sculptures from the Parthenon of Athens, now
in British Museum, London, placed there by Lord Elgin

Eliaures, enchanter

Elidure, a king of Britain

Elis, ancient Greek city

Elli, old age; the one successful wrestler against Thor

Elphin, son of Gwyddiro

Elves, spiritual beings, of many powers and dispositions--some
evil, some good

Elvidnir, the ball of Hela

Elysian Fields, the land of the blest

Elysian Plain, whither the favored of the gods were taken without

Elysium, a happy land, where there is neither snow, nor cold, nor
ram. Hither favored heroes, like Menelaus, pass without dying, and
live happy under the rule of Rhadamanthus. In the Latin poets
Elysium is part of the lower world, and the residence of the
shades of the blessed

Embla, the first woman

Enseladus, giant defeated by Jupiter

Endymion, a beautiful youth beloved by Diana

Enid, wife of Geraint

Enna, vale of home of Proserpine

Enoch, the patriarch

Epidaurus, a town in Argolis, on the Saronic gulf, chief seat of
the worship of Aeculapius, whose temple was situated near the town

Epimetheus, son of Iapetus, husband of Pandora, with his brother
Prometheus took part in creation of man

Epirus, country to the west of Thessaly, lying along the Adriatic

Epopeus, a sailor

Erato, one of the Muses

Erbin of Cornwall, father of Geraint

Erebus, son of Chaos, region of darkness, entrance to Hades

Eridanus, river

Erinys, one of the Furies

Eriphyle, sister of Polynices, bribed to decide on war, in which
her husband was slain

Eris (Discordia), goddess of discord. At the wedding of Peleus and
Thetis, Eris being uninvited threw into the gathering an apple
"For the Fairest," which was claimed by Hera (Juno), Aphrodite
(Venus) and Athena (Minerva) Paris, being called upon for
judgment, awarded it to Aphrodite

Erisichthon, an unbeliever, punished by famine

Eros See Cupid

Erytheia, island

Eryx, a mount, haunt of Venus

Esepus, river in Paphlagonia

Estrildis, wife of Locrine, supplanting divorced Guendolen

Eteocles, son of Oeipus and Jocasta

Etruscans, ancient people of Italy,

Etzel, king of the Huns

Euboic Sea, where Hercules threw Lichas, who brought him the
poisoned shirt of Nessus

Eude, king of Aquitaine, ally of Charles Martel

Eumaeus, swineherd of Aeeas

Eumenides, also called Erinnyes, and by the Romans Furiae or
Diraae, the Avenging Deities, See Furies

Euphorbus, a Trojan, killed by Menelaus

Euphros'yne, one of the Graces

Europa, daughter of the Phoenician king Agenor, by Zeus the mother
of Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Sarpedon

Eurus, the East wind

Euyalus, a gallant Trojan soldier, who with Nisus entered the
Grecian camp, both being slain,

Eurydice, wife of Orpheus, who, fleeing from an admirer, was
killed by a snake and borne to Tartarus, where Orpheus sought her
and was permitted to bring her to earth if he would not look back
at her following him, but he did, and she returned to the Shades,

Eurylochus, a companion of Ulysses,

Eurynome, female Titan, wife of Ophlon

Eurystheus, taskmaster of Hercules,

Eurytion, a Centaur (See Hippodamia),

Euterpe, Muse who presided over music,

Evadne, wife of Capaneus, who flung herself upon his funeral pile
and perished with him

Evander, Arcadian chief, befriending Aeneas in Italy,

Evnissyen, quarrelsome brother of Branwen,

Excalibar, sword of King Arthur,


Fafner, a giant turned dragon, treasure stealer, by the Solar
Theory simply the Darkness who steals the day,

Falerina, an enchantress,

Fasolt, a giant, brother of Fafner, and killed by him,

"Fasti," Ovid's, a mythological poetic calendar,

FATA MORGANA, a mirage

FATES, the three, described as daughters of Night--to indicate the
darkness and obscurity of human destiny--or of Zeus and Themis,
that is, "daughters of the just heavens" they were Clo'tho, who
spun the thread of life, Lach'esis, who held the thread and fixed
its length and At'ropos, who cut it off

FAUNS, cheerful sylvan deities, represented in human form, with
small horns, pointed ears, and sometimes goat's tail

FAUNUS, son of Picus, grandson of Saturnus, and father of Latinus,
worshipped as the protecting deity of agriculture and of
shepherds, and also as a giver of oracles

FAVONIUS, the West wind


FENRIS, a wolf, the son of Loki the Evil Principle of Scandinavia,
supposed to have personated the element of fire, destructive
except when chained

FENSALIR, Freya's palace, called the Hall of the Sea, where were
brought together lovers, husbands, and wives who had been
separated by death

FERRAGUS, a giant, opponent of Orlando

FERRAU, one of Charlemagne's knights

FERREX. brother of Porrex, the two sons of Leir

FIRE WORSHIPPERS, of ancient Persia, See Parsees FLOLLO, Roman
tribune in Gaul

FLORA, Roman goddess of flowers and spring

FLORDELIS, fair maiden beloved by Florismart

FLORISMART, Sir, a brave knight,

FLOSSHILDA, one of the Rhine daughters



FORUM, market place and open square for public meetings in Rome,
surrounded by court houses, palaces, temples, etc

FRANCUS, son of Histion, grandson of Japhet, great grandson of
Noah, legendary ancestor of the Franks, or French

FREKI, one of Odin's two wolves

FREY, or Freyr, god of the sun

FREYA, Norse goddess of music, spring, and flowers

FRICKA, goddess of marriage

FRIGGA, goddess who presided over smiling nature, sending
sunshine, rain, and harvest

FROH, one of the Norse gods

FRONTI'NO, Rogero's horse

FURIES (Erinnyes), the three retributive spirits who punished
crime, represented as snaky haired old woman, named Alecto,
Megaeira, and Tisiphone

FUSBERTA, Rinaldo's sword


GAEA, or Ge, called Tellus by the Romans, the personification of
the earth, described as the first being that sprang fiom Chaos,
and gave birth to Uranus (Heaven) and Pontus (Sea)

GAHARIET, knight of Arthur's court

GAHERIS, knight

GALAFRON, King of Cathay, father of Angelica

GALAHAD, Sir, the pure knight of Arthur's Round Table, who safely
took the Siege Perilous (which See)

GALATEA, a Nereid or sea nymph

GALATEA, statue carved and beloved by Pygmalion

GALEN, Greek physician and philosophical writer

GALLEHANT, King of the Marches

GAMES, national athletic contests in Greece--Olympian, at Olympia,
Pythian, near Delphi, seat of Apollo's oracle, Isthmian, on the
Corinthian Isthmus, Nemean, at Nemea in Argolis

GAN, treacherous Duke of Maganza

GANELON of Mayence, one of Charlemagne's knights

GANGES, river in India

GANO, a peer of Charlemagne

GANYMEDE, the most beautiful of all mortals, carried off to
Olympus that he might fill the cup of Zeus and live among the
immortal gods

GARETH, Arthur's knight


GAUL, ancient France

GAUTAMA, Prince, the Buddha

GAWAIN, Arthur's knight

GAWL, son of Clud, suitor for Rhiannon

GEMINI (See Castor), constellation created by Jupiter from the
twin brothers after death, 158

GENGHIS Khan, Tartar conqueror

GENIUS, in Roman belief, the protective Spirit of each individual
man, See Juno

GEOFFREY OF MON'MOUTH, translator into Latin of the Welsh History
of the Kings of Britain (1150)

GERAINT, a knight of King Arthur

GERDA, wife of Frey

GERI, one of Odin's two wolves

GERYON, a three bodied monster

GESNES, navigator sent for Isoude the Fair

GIALLAR HORN, the trumpet that Heimdal will blow at the judgment

GIANTS, beings of monstrous size and of fearful countenances,
represented as in constant opposition to the gods, in Wagner's
Nibelungen Ring

GIBICHUNG RACE, ancestors of Alberich

GIBRALTAR, great rock and town at southwest corner of Spain (See
Pillars of Hercules)

GILDAS, a scholar of Arthur's court

GIRARD, son of Duke Sevinus

GLASTONBURY, where Arthur died

GLAUCUS, a fisherman, loving Scylla

GLEIPNIR, magical chain on the wolf Fenris

GLEWLWYD, Arthur's porter

GOLDEN FLEECE, of ram used for escape of children of Athamas,
named Helle and Phryxus (which See), after sacrifice of ram to
Jupiter, fleece was guarded by sleepless dragon and gained by
Jason and Argonauts (which See, also Helle)

GONERIL, daughter of Leir

GORDIAN KNOT, tying up in temple the wagon of Gordius, he who
could untie it being destined to be lord of Asia, it was cut by
Alexander the Great, 48

Gordius, a countryman who, arriving in Phrygia in a wagon, was
made king by the people, thus interpreting an oracle, 48

Gorgons, three monstrous females, with huge teeth, brazen claws
and snakes for hair, sight of whom turned beholders to stone,
Medusa, the most famous, slain by Perseus

Gorlois, Duke of Tintadel

Gouvernail, squire of Isabella, queen of Lionesse, protector of
her son Tristram while young, and his squire in knighthood

Graal, the Holy, cup from which the Saviour drank at Last Supper,
taken by Joseph of Arimathea to Europe, and lost, its recovery
becoming a sacred quest for Arthur's knights

Graces, three goddesses who enhanced the enjoyments of life by
refinement and gentleness; they were Aglaia (brilliance),
Euphrosyne (joy), and Thalia (bloom)

Gradas'so, king of Sericane

Graeae, three gray haired female watchers for the Gorgons, with
one movable eye and one tooth between the three

Grand Lama, Buddhist pontiff in Thibet

Grendel, monster slain by Beowulf

Gryphon (griffin), a fabulous animal, with the body of a lion and
the head and wings of an eagle, dwelling in the Rhipaean
mountains, between the Hyperboreans and the one eyed Arimaspians,
and guarding the gold of the North,

Guebers, Persian fire worshippers,

Guendolen, wife of Locrine,

Guenevere, wife of King Arthur, beloved by Launcelot,

Guerin, lord of Vienne, father of Oliver,

Guiderius, son of Cymbeline,

Guillamurius, king in Ireland,

Guimier, betrothed of Caradoc,

Gullinbursti, the boar drawing Frey's car,

Gulltopp, Heimdell's horse,

Gunfasius, King of the Orkneys,

Ganther, Burgundian king, brother of Kriemhild,

Gutrune, half sister to Hagen,

Gwern son of Matholch and Branwen,

Gwernach the Giant,

Gwiffert Petit, ally of Geraint,

Gwyddno, Garanhir, King of Gwaelod,

Gwyr, judge in the court of Arthur,

Gyoll, river,


Hades, originally the god of the nether world--the name later
used to designate the gloomy subterranean land of the dead,

Haemon, son of Creon of Thebes, and lover of Antigone,

Haemonian city,

Haemus, Mount, northern boundary of Thrace,

Hagan, a principal character in the Nibelungen Lied, slayer of

HALCYONE, daughter of Aeneas, and the beloved wife of Ceyx, who,
when he was drowned, flew to his floating body, and the pitying
gods changed them both to birds (kingfishers), who nest at sea
during a certain calm week in winter ("halcyon weather")

HAMADRYADS, tree-nymphs or wood-nymphs, See Nymphs

HARMONIA, daughter of Mars and Venus, wife of Cadmus

HAROUN AL RASCHID, Caliph of Arabia, contemporary of Charlemagne

HARPIES, monsters, with head and bust of woman, but wings, legs
and tail of birds, seizing souls of the wicked, or punishing
evildoers by greedily snatching or defiling their food

HARPOCRATES, Egyptian god, Horus

HEBE, daughter of Juno, cupbearer to the gods

HEBRUS, ancient name of river Maritzka

HECATE, a mighty and formidable divinity, supposed to send at
night all kinds of demons and terrible phantoms from the lower

HECTOR, son of Priam and champion of Troy

HECTOR, one of Arthur's knights

HECTOR DE MARYS', a knight

HECUBA, wife of Priam, king of Troy, to whom she bore Hector,
Paris, and many other children

HEGIRA, flight of Mahomet from Mecca to Medina (622 AD), era from
which Mahometans reckon time, as we do from the birth of Christ

HEIDRUN, she goat, furnishing mead for slain heroes in Valhalla

HEIMDALL, watchman of the gods

HEL, the lower world of Scandinavia, to which were consigned those
who had not died in battle

HELA (Death), the daughter of Loki and the mistress of the
Scandinavian Hel

HELEN, daughter of Jupiter and Leda, wife of Menelaus, carried
off by Paris and cause of the Trojan War

HELENUS, son of Priam and Hecuba, celebrated for his prophetic

HELIADES, sisters of Phaeton

HELICON, Mount, in Greece, residence of Apollo and the Muses,
with fountains of poetic inspiration, Aganippe and Hippocrene

HELIOOPOLIS, city of the Sun, in Egypt

HELLAS, Gieece

HELLE, daughter of Thessalian King Athamas, who, escaping from
cruel father with her brother Phryxus, on ram with golden fleece,
fell into the sea strait since named for her (See Golden Fleece)

HELLESPONt, narrow strait between Europe and Asia Minor, named for

HENGIST, Saxon invader of Britain, 449 AD


HERA, called Juno by the Romans, a daughter of Cronos (Saturn)
and Rhea, and sister and wife of Jupiter, See JUNO

HERCULES, athletic hero, son of Jupiter and Alcmena, achieved
twelve vast labors and many famous deeds

HEREWARD THE WAKE, hero of the Saxons

HERMES (Mercury), messenger of the gods, deity of commerce,
science, eloquence, trickery, theft, and skill generally

HERMIONE, daughter of Menelaus and Helen

HERMOD, the nimble, son of Odin

HERO, a priestess of Venus, beloved of Leander

HERODOTUS, Greek historian

HESIOD, Greek poet

HESPERIA, ancient name for Italy

HESPERIDES (See Apples of the Hesperides)

HESPERUS, the evening star (also called Day Star)

HESTIA, cilled Vesta by the Romans, the goddess of the hearth

HILDEBRAND, German magician and champion

HINDU TRIAD, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva

HIPPOCRENE (See Helicon)

HIPPODAMIA, wife of Pirithous, at whose wedding the Centaurs
offered violence to the bride, causing a great battle

HIPPOGRIFF, winged horse, with eagle's head and claws

HIPPOLYTA, Queen of the Amazons

Hippolytus, son of Thesus

HIPPOMENES, who won Atalanta in foot race, beguiling her with
golden apples thrown for her to

HISTION, son of Japhet

HODUR, blind man, who, fooled by

Loki, threw a mistletoe twig at Baldur, killing him

HOEL, king of Brittany

HOMER, the blind poet of Greece, about 850 B C



HORSA, with Hengist, invader of Britain

HORUS, Egyptian god of the sun

HOUDAIN, Tristram's dog

HRINGHAM, Baldur's ship

HROTHGAR, king of Denmark

HUGI, who beat Thialfi in foot races

HUGIN, one of Odin's two ravens

HUNDING, husband of Sieglinda

HUON, son of Duke Sevinus

HYACINTHUS, a youth beloved by Apollo, and accidentally killed by
him, changed in death to the flower, hyacinth

HYADES, Nysaean nymphs, nurses of infant Bacchus, rewarded by
being placed as cluster of stars in the heavens

HYALE, a nymph of Diana

HYDRA, nine headed monster slain by Hercules

HYGEIA, goddess of health, daughter of Aesculapius

HYLAS, a youth detained by nymphs of spring where he sought water

HYMEN, the god of marriage, imagined as a handsome youth and
invoked in bridal songs

HYMETTUS, mountain in Attica, near Athens, celebrated for its
marble and its honey

HYPERBOREANS, people of the far North

HYPERION, a Titan, son of Uranus and Ge, and father of Helios,
Selene, and Eos, cattle of,

Hyrcania, Prince of, betrothed to Clarimunda

Hyrieus, king in Greece,


Iapetus, a Titan, son of Uranus and Ge, and father of Atlas,
Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Menoetius,

Iasius, father of Atalanta

Ibycus, a poet, story of, and the cranes

Icaria, island of the Aegean Sea, one of the Sporades

Icarius, Spartan prince, father of Penelope

Icarus, son of Daedalus, he flew too near the sun with artificial
wings, and, the wax melting, he fell into the sea

Icelos, attendant of Morpheus

Icolumkill SEE Iona

Ida, Mount, a Trojan hill

Idaeus, a Trojan herald

Idas, son of Aphareus and Arene, and brother of Lynceus Idu'na,
wife of Bragi

Igerne, wife of Gorlois, and mother, by Uther, of Arthur

Iliad, epic poem of the Trojan War, by Homer

Ilioheus, a son of Niobe

Ilium SEE Troy

Illyria, Adriatic countries north of Greece

Imogen, daughter of Pandrasus, wife of Trojan Brutus

Inachus, son of Oceanus and Tethys, and father of Phoroneus and
Io, also first king of Argos, and said to have given his name to
the river Inachus

INCUBUS, an evil spirit, supposed to lie upon persons in their

INDRA, Hindu god of heaven, thunder, lightning, storm and rain

INO, wife of Athamas, fleeing from whom with infant son she sprang
into the sea and was changed to Leucothea

IO, changed to a heifer by Jupiter

IOBATES, King of Lycia

IOLAUS, servant of Hercules

IOLE, sister of Dryope

IONA, or Icolmkill, a small northern island near Scotland, where
St Columba founded a missionary monastery (563 AD)

IONIA, coast of Asia Minor

IPHIGENIA, daughter of Agamemnon, offered as a sacrifice but
carried away by Diana

IPHIS, died for love of Anaxarete, 78

IPHITAS, friend of Hercules, killed by him

IRIS, goddess of the rainbow, messenger of Juno and Zeus

IRONSIDE, Arthur's knight

ISABELLA, daughter of king of Galicia

ISIS, wife of Osiris, described as the giver of death


ISMARUS, first stop of Ulysses, returning from Trojan War
ISME'NOS, a son of Niobe, slain by Apollo

ISOLIER, friend of Rinaldo

ISOUDE THE FAIR, beloved of Tristram

ISOUDE OF THE WHITE HANDS, married to Tristram


ITHACA, home of Ulysses and Penelope

IULUS, son of Aeneas

IVO, Saracen king, befriending Rinaldo

IXION, once a sovereign of Thessaly, sentenced in Tartarus to be
lashed with serpents to a wheel which a strong wind drove
continually around


JANICULUM, Roman fortress on the Janiculus, a hill on the other
side of the Tiber

JANUS, a deity from the earliest times held in high estimation by
the Romans, temple of

JAPHET (Iapetus)

JASON, leader of the Argonauts, seeking the Golden Fleece

JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA, who bore the Holy Graal to Europe

JOTUNHEIM, home of the giants in Northern mythology

JOVE (Zeus), chief god of Roman and Grecian mythology, See JUPITER

JOYOUS GARDE, residence of Sir Launcelot of the Lake

JUGGERNAUT, Hindu deity

JUNO, the particular guardian spirit of each woman (See Genius)

JUNO, wife of Jupiter, queen of the gods

interchangeably, at Dodona, statue of the Olympian


JUPITER CAPITOLINUS, temple of, preserving the Sibylline books



KADYRIATH, advises King Arthur

KAI, son of Kyner

KALKI, tenth avatar of Vishnu

KAY, Arthur's steward and a knight

KEDALION, guide of Orion

KERMAN, desert of

KICVA, daughter of Gwynn Gloy

KILWICH, son of Kilydd

KILYDD, son of Prince Kelyddon, of Wales

KNEPH, spirit or breath

KNIGHTS, training and life of

KRIEMHILD, wife of Siegfried

KRISHNA, eighth avatar of Vishnu, Hindu deity of fertility in
nature and mankind

KYNER, father of Kav

KYNON, son of Clydno


LABYRINTH, the enclosed maze of passageways where roamed the
Minotaur of Crete, killed by Theseus with aid of Ariadne

LACHESIS, one of the Fates (which See)

LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN, tale told by Kynon

LAERTES, father of Ulysses

LAESTRYGONIANS, savages attacking Ulysses

LAIUS, King of Thebes

LAMA, holy man of Thibet

LAMPETIA, daughter of Hyperion LAOC'OON, a priest of Neptune, in
Troy, who warned the Trojans against the Wooden Horse (which See),
but when two serpents came out of the sea and strangled him and
his two sons, the people listened to the Greek spy Sinon, and
brought the fatal Horse into the town

LAODAMIA, daughter of Acastus and wife of Protesilaus

LAODEGAN, King of Carmalide, helped by Arthur and Merlin

LAOMEDON, King of Troy

LAPITHAE, Thessalonians, whose king had invited the Centaurs to
his daughter's wedding but who attacked them for offering violence
to the bride

LARES, household deities

LARKSPUR, flower from the blood of Ajax

LATINUS, ruler of Latium, where Aeneas landed in Italy

LATMOS, Mount, where Diana fell in love with Endymion

LATONA, mother of Apollo

LAUNCELOT, the most famous knight of the Round Table

LAUSUS, son of Mezentius, killed by Aeneas

LAVINIA, daughter of Latinus and wife of Aeneas

LAVINIUM, Italian city named for Lavinia


LEANDER, a youth of Abydos, who, swimming the Hellespont to see
Hero, his love, was drowned

LEBADEA, site of the oracle of Trophomus

LEBYNTHOS, Aegean island

LEDA, Queen of Sparta, wooed by Jupiter in the form of a swan

LEIR, mythical King of Britain, original of Shakespeare's Lear

LELAPS, dog of Cephalus

LEMNOS, large island in the Aegean Sea, sacred to Vulcan

LEMURES, the spectres or spirits of the dead

LEO, Roman emperor, Greek prince

LETHE, river of Hades, drinking whose water caused forgetfulness

LEUCADIA, a promontory, whence Sappho, disappointed in love, was
said to have thrown herself into the sea

LEUCOTHEA, a sea goddess, invoked by sailors for protection (See

LEWIS, son of Charlemagne

LIBER, ancient god of fruitfulness

LIBETHRA, burial place of Orpheus

LIBYA, Greek name for continent of Africa in general



LICHAS, who brought the shirt of Nessus to Hercules

LIMOURS, Earl of

LINUS, musical instructor of Hercules

LIONEL, knight of the Round Table

LLYR, King of Britain

LOCRINE, son of Brutus in Albion, king of Central England

LOEGRIA, kingdom of (England)

LOGESTILLA, a wise lady, who entertained Rogero and his friends

LOGI, who vanquished Loki in an eating contest

LOKI, the Satan of Norse mythology, son of the giant Farbanti

LOT, King, a rebel chief, subdued by King Arthur, then a loyal

LOTIS, a nymph, changed to a lotus-plant and in that form plucked
by Dryope

LOTUS EATERS, soothed to indolence, companions of Ulysses landing
among them lost all memory of home and had to be dragged away
before they would continue their voyage

LOVE (Eros) issued from egg of Night, and with arrows and torch
produced life and joy

LUCAN, one of Arthur's knights

Lucius Tiberius, Roman procurator in Britain demanding tribute
from Arthur

LUD, British king, whose capital was called Lud's Town (London)

LUDGATE, city gate where Lud was buried, 387

LUNED, maiden who guided Owain to the Lady of the Fountain

LYCAHAS, a turbulent sailor

LYCAON, son of Priam

LYCIA, a district in Southern Asia Minor

LYCOMODES, king of the Dolopians, who treacherously slew Theseus

LYCUS, usurping King of Thebes

LYNCEUS, one of the sons of Aegyptus


MABINOGEON, plural of Mabinogi, fairy tales and romances of the

MABON, son of Modron

MACHAON, son of Aesculapius

MADAN, son of Guendolen

MADOC, a forester of King Arthur

MADOR, Scottish knight

MAELGAN, king who imprisoned Elphin

MAEONIA, ancient Lydia

MAGI, Persian priests

MAHADEVA, same as Siva

MAHOMET, great prophet of Arabia, born in Mecca, 571 AD,
proclaimed worship of God instead of idols, spread his religion
through disciples and then by force till it prevailed, with
Arabian dominion, over vast regions in Asia, Africa, and Spain in

MAIA, daughter of Atlas and Pleione, eldest and most beautiful of
the Pleiades

MALAGIGI the Enchanter, one of Charlemagne's knights

MALEAGANS, false knight

MALVASIUS, King of Iceland

MAMBRINO, with invisible helmet

MANAWYD DAN, brother of King Vran, of London

MANDRICARDO, son of Agrican

MANTUA, in Italy, birthplace of Virgil

MANU, ancestor of mankind

MARATHON, where Theseus and Pirithous met

MARK, King of Cornwall, husband of Isoude the Fair


MARPHISA, sister of Rogero

MARSILIUS, Spanish king, treacherous foe of Charlemagne

MARSYAS, inventor of the flute, who challenged Apollo to musical
competition, and, defeated, was flayed alive

MATSYA, the Fish, first avatar of Vishnu

MEANDER, Grecian river

MEDE, A, princess and sorceress who aided Jason

MEDORO, a young Moor, who wins Angelica

MEDUSA, one of the Gorgons

MEGAERA, one of the Furies

MELAMPUS, a Spartan dog, the first mortal endowed with prophetic

MELANTHUS, steersman for Bacchus

MELEAGER, one of the Argonauts (See Althaea)

MELIADUS, King of Lionesse, near Cornwall

MELICERTES, infant son of Ino. changed to Palaemon (See Ino,
Leucothea, and Palasmon)

MELISSA, priestess at Merlin's tomb

MELISSEUS, a Cretan king

MELPOMENE, one of the Muses

MEMNON, the beautiful son of Tithonus and Eos (Aurora), and king
of the Ethiopians, slain in Trojan War

MEMPHIS, Egyptian city

MENELAUS, son of King of Sparta, husband of Helen

MENOECEUS, son of Creon, voluntary victim in war to gain success
for his father

MENTOR, son of Alcimus and a faithful friend of Ulysses


MERLIN, enchanter

MEROPE, daughter of King of Chios, beloved by Orion

MESMERISM, likened to curative oracle of Aesculapius at Epidaurus

METABUS, father of Camilla

METAMORPHOSES, Ovid's poetical legends of mythical
transformations, a large source of our knowledge of classic

METANIRA, a mother, kind to Ceres seeking Proserpine

METEMPSYCHOSIS, transmigration of souls--rebirth of dying men
and women in forms of animals or human beings

METIS, Prudence, a spouse of Jupiter

MEZENTIUS, a brave but cruel soldier, opposing Aeneas in Italy


MIDGARD, the middle world of the Norsemen

MIDGARD SERPENT, a sea monster, child of Loki

MILKY WAY, starred path across the sky, believed to be road to
palace of the gods

MILO, a great athlete

MLON, father of Orlando

MILTON, John, great English poet, whose History of England is here
largely used

MIME, one of the chief dwarfs of ancient German mythology

MINERVA (Athene), daughter of Jupiter, patroness of health,
learning, and wisdom

MINOS, King of Crete

MINO TAUR, monster killed by Theseus

MISTLETOE, fatal to Baldur

MNEMOSYNE, one of the Muses

MODESTY, statue to

MODRED, nephew of King Arthur

MOLY, plant, powerful against sorcery

MOMUS, a deity whose delight was to jeer bitterly at gods and men

MONAD, the "unit" of Pythagoras

MONSTERS, unnatural beings, evilly disposed to men

MONTALBAN, Rinaldo's castle

MONTH, the, attendant upon the Sun

MOON, goddess of, see DIANA

MORAUNT, knight, an Irish champion

MORGANA, enchantress, the Lady of the Lake in "Orlando Furioso,"
same as Morgane Le Fay in tales of Arthur

MORGANE LE FAY, Queen of Norway, King Arthur's sister, an

MORGAN TUD, Arthur's chief physician

MORPHEUS, son of Sleep and god of dreams

MORTE D'ARTHUr, romance, by Sir Thomas Mallory

MULCIBER, Latin name of Vulcan

MULL, Island of

MUNIN, one of Odin's two ravens

MUSAEUS, sacred poet, son of Orpheus

MUSES, The, nine goddesses presiding over poetry, etc--Calliope,
epic poetry, Clio, history, Erato, love poetry, Euterpe, lyric
poetry; Melpomene, tragedy, Polyhymnia, oratory and sacred song
Terpsichore, choral song and dance, Thalia, comedy and idyls,
Urania, astronomy

MUSPELHEIM, the fire world of the Norsemen

MYCENAS, ancient Grecian city, of which Agamemnon was king

MYRDDIN (Merlin)

MYRMIDONS, bold soldiers of Achilles

MYSIA, Greek district on northwest coast of Asia Minor

MYTHOLOGY, origin of, collected myths, describing gods of early


NAIADS, water nymphs

NAMO, Duke of Bavaria, one of Charlemagne's knights

NANNA, wife of Baldur

NANTERS, British king

NANTES, site of Caradoc's castle

NAPE, a dog of Diana

NARCISSUS, who died of unsatisfied love for his own image in the

NAUSICAA, daughter of King Alcinous, who befriended Ulysses

NAUSITHOUS, king of Phaeacians

NAXOS, Island of

NEGUS, King of Abyssinia

NEMEA, forest devastated by a lion killed by Hercules

NEMEAN GAMES, held in honor of Jupiter and Hercules

NEMEAN LION, killed by Hercules

NEMESIS, goddess of vengeance

NENNIUS, British combatant of Caesar

NEOPTOLEMUS, son of Achilles

NEPENTHE, ancient drug to cause forgetfulness of pain or distress

NEPHELE, mother of Phryxus and Helle

NEPHTHYS, Egyptian goddess

NEPTUNE, identical with Poseidon, god of the sea

NEREIDS, sea nymphs, daughters of Nereus and Doris

NEREUS, a sea god

NESSUS, a centaur killed by Hercules, whose jealous wife sent him
a robe or shirt steeped in the blood of Nessus, which poisoned him

NESTOR, king of Pylos, renowned for his wisdom, justice, and
knowledge of war

NIBELUNGEN HOARD, treasure seized by Siegfried from the
Nibelungs, buried in the Rhine by Hagan after killing Siegfried,
and lost when Hagan was killed by Kriemhild, theme of Wagner's
four music dramas, "The Ring of the Nibelungen,"

NIBELUNGEN LIED, German epic, giving the same nature myth as the
Norse Volsunga Saga, concerning the Hoard

NIBELUNGEN RING, Wagner's music dramas

NIBELUNGS, the, a race of Northern dwarfs

NIDHOGGE, a serpent in the lower world that lives on the dead

NIFFLEHEIM, mist world of the Norsemen, the Hades of absent

NILE, Egyptian river

NIOBE, daughter of Tantalus, proud Queen of Thebes, whose seven
sons and seven daughters were killed by Apollo and Diana, at which
Amphion, her husband, killed himself, and Niobe wept until she was
turned to stone

NISUS, King of Megara

NOAH, as legendary ancestor of French, Roman, German, and British

NOMAN, name assumed by Ulysses

NORNS, the three Scandinavian Fates, Urdur (the past), Verdandi
(the present), and Skuld (the future)

NOTHUNG, magic sword

NOTUS, southwest wind

NOX, daughter of Chaos and sister of Erebus, personification of

Numa, second king of Rome

NYMPHS, beautiful maidens, lesser divinities of nature Dryads and
Hamadryads, tree nymphs, Naiads, spring, brook, and river nymphs,
Nereids, sea nymphs Oreads, mountain nymphs or hill nymphs


OCEANUS, a Titan, ruling watery elements

OCYROE, a prophetess, daughter of Chiron


ODIN, chief of the Norse gods

ODYAR, famous Biscayan hero


ODYSSEY, Homer's poem, relating the wanderings of Odysseus
(Ulysses) on returning from Trojan War

OEDIPUS, Theban hero, who guessed the riddle of the Sphinx (which
See), becoming King of Thebes

OENEUS, King of Calydon

OENONE, nymph, married by Paris in his youth, and abandoned for

OENOPION, King of Chios

OETA, Mount, scene of Hercules' death

OGIER, the Dane, one of the paladins of Charlemagne

OLIVER, companion of Orlando

OLWEN, wife of Kilwich

OLYMPIA, a small plain in Elis, where the Olympic games were

OLYMPIADS, periods between Olympic games (four years)


OLYMPUS, dwelling place of the dynasty of gods of which Zeus was
the head

OMPHALE, queen of Lydia, daughter of Iardanus and wife of Tmolus

OPHION, king of the Titans, who ruled Olympus till dethroned by
the gods Saturn and Rhea


ORACLES, answers from the gods to questions from seekers for
knowledge or advice for the future, usually in equivocal form, so
as to fit any event, also places where such answers were given
forth usually by a priest or priestess

ORC, a sea monster, foiled by Rogero when about to devour Angelica

OREADS, nymphs of mountains and hills

ORESTES, son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, because of his crime
in killing his mother, he was pursued by the Furies until purified
by Minerva

ORION, youthful giant, loved by Diana, Constellation

ORITHYIA, a nymph, seized by Boreas

ORLANDO, a famous knight and nephew of Charlemagne

ORMUZD (Greek, Oromasdes), son of Supreme Being, source of good
as his brother Ahriman (Arimanes) was of evil, in Persian or
Zoroastrian religion

ORPHEUS, musician, son of Apollo and Calliope, See EURYDICE

OSIRIS, the most beneficent of the Egyptian gods

OSSA, mountain of Thessaly

OSSIAN, Celtic poet of the second or third century

OVID, Latin poet (See Metamorphoses)

OWAIN, knight at King Arthur's court

OZANNA, a knight of Arthur


PACTOLUS, river whose sands were changed to gold by Midas

PAEON, a name for both Apollo and Aesculapius, gods of medicine,

PAGANS, heathen

PALADINS or peers, knights errant

PALAEMON, son of Athamas and Ino

PALAMEDES, messenger sent to call Ulysses to the Trojan War

PALAMEDES, Saracen prince at Arthur's court

PALATINE, one of Rome's Seven Hills

PALES, goddess presiding over cattle and pastures

PALINURUS, faithful steersman of Aeeas

PALLADIUM, properly any image of Pallas Athene, but specially
applied to an image at Troy, which was stolen by Ulysses and

PALLAS, son of Evander


PAMPHA GUS, a dog of Diana

PAN, god of nature and the universe

PANATHENAEA, festival in honor of Pallas Athene (Minerva)

PANDEAN PIPES, musical instrument of reeds, made by Pan in
memory of Syrinx

PANDORA (all gifted), first woman, dowered with gifts by every
god, yet entrusted with a box she was cautioned not to open, but,
curious, she opened it, and out flew all the ills of humanity,
leaving behind only Hope, which remained

PANDRASUS, a king in Greece, who persecuted Trojan exiles under
Brutus, great grandson of Aeneas, until they fought, captured him,
and, with his daughter Imogen as Brutus' wife, emigrated to Albion
(later called Britain)

PANOPE, plain of

PANTHUS, alleged earlier incarnation of Pythagoras

PAPHLAGNIA, ancient country in Asia Minor, south of Black Sea

PAPHOS, daughter of Pygmalion and Galatea (both of which, See)


PARIAHS, lowest caste of Hindus

PARIS, son of Priam and Hecuba, who eloped with Helen (which.

PARNASSIAN LAUREl, wreath from Parnassus, crown awarded to
successful poets

PARNASSUS, mountain near Delphi, sacred to Apollo and the Muses

PARSEES, Persian fire worshippers (Zoroastrians), of whom there
are still thousands in Persia and India

PARTHENON, the temple of Athene Parthenos ("the Virgin") on the
Acropolis of Athens

PASSEBREUL, Tristram's horse

PATROCLUS, friend of Achilles, killed by Hector

PECHEUR, King, uncle of Perceval

PEERS, the

PEG A SUS, winged horse, born from the sea foam and the blood of

PELEUS, king of the Myrmidons, father of Achilles by Thetis

PELIAS, usurping uncle of Jason

PELION, mountain

PELLEAS, knight of Arthur

PENATES, protective household deities of the Romans

PENDRAGON, King of Britain, elder brother of Uther Pendragon,
who succeeded him

PENELOPE, wife of Ulysses, who, waiting twenty years for his
return from the Trojan War, put off the suitors for her hand by
promising to choose one when her weaving was done, but unravelled
at night what she had woven by day

PENEUS, river god, river

PENTHESILEA, queen of Amazons

PENTHEUS, king of Thebes, having resisted the introduction of
the worship of Bacchus into his kingdom, was driven mad by the god

PENUS, Roman house pantry, giving name to the Penates

PEPIN, father of Charlemagne

PEPLUS, sacred robe of Minerva

PERCEVAL, a great knight of Arthur

PERDIX, inventor of saw and compasses

PERIANDER, King of Corinuh, friend of Arion

PERIPHETES, son of Vulcan, killed by Theseus

PERSEPHONE, goddess of vegetation, 8 See Pioserpine

PERSEUS, son of Jupiter and Danae, slayer of the Gorgon Medusa,
deliverer of Andromeda from a sea monster, 116 122, 124, 202

PHAEACIANS, people who entertained Ulysses

PHAEDRA, faithless and cruel wife of Theseus

PHAETHUSA, sister of Phaeton, 244

PHAETON, son of Phoebus, who dared attempt to drive his father's
sun chariot

PHANTASOS, a son of Somnus, bringing strange images to sleeping

PHAON, beloved by Sappho

PHELOT, knight of Wales

PHEREDIN, friend of Tristram, unhappy lover of Isoude

PHIDIAS, famous Greek sculptor

PHILEMON, husband of Baucis

PHILOCTETES, warrior who lighted the fatal pyre of Hercules

PHILOE, burial place of Osiris

PHINEUS, betrothed to Andromeda

PHLEGETHON, fiery river of Hades


PHOEBE, one of the sisters of Phaeton

PHOEBUS (Apollo), god of music, prophecy, and archery, the sun

PHOENIX, a messenger to Achilles, also, a miraculous bird dying
in fire by its own act and springing up alive from its own ashes

PHORBAS, a companion of Aeneas, whose form was assumed by Neptune
in luring Palinuras the helmsman from his roost

PHRYXUS, brother of Helle

PINABEL, knight

PILLARS OF HERCULES, two mountains--Calpe, now the Rock of
Gibraltar, southwest corner of Spain in Europe, and Abyla, facing
it in Africa across the strait

PINDAR, famous Greek poet

PINDUS, Grecian mountain

PIRENE, celebrated fountain at Corinth

PIRITHOUS, king of the Lapithae in Thessaly, and friend of
Theseus, husband of Hippodamia

PLEASURE, daughter of Cupid and Psyche

PLEIADES, seven of Diana's nymphs, changed into stars, one being

PLENTY, the Horn of

PLEXIPPUS, brother of Althea

PLINY, Roman naturalist

PLUTO, the same as Hades, Dis, etc. god of the Infernal Regions

PLUTUS, god of wealth

PO, Italian river


POLITES, youngest son of Priam of Troy

POLLUX, Castor and (Dioscuri, the Twins) (See Castor)

POLYDECTES, king of Seriphus

POLYDORE, slain kinsman of Aeneas, whose blood nourished a bush
that bled when broken

POLYHYMNIA, Muse of oratory and sacred song

POLYIDUS, soothsayer

POLYNICES, King of Thebes

POLYPHEMUS, giant son of Neptune

POLYXENA, daughter of King Priam of Troy

POMONA, goddess of fruit trees (See VERTUMNUS)

PORREX and FER'REX, sons of Leir, King of Britain

PORTUNUS, Roman name for Palaemon

POSEIDON (Neptune), ruler of the ocean

PRECIPICE, threshold of Helas hall

PRESTER JOHN, a rumored priest or presbyter, a Christian pontiff
in Upper Asia, believed in but never found

PRIAM, king of Troy

PRIWEN, Arthur's shield

PROCRIS, beloved but jealous wife of Cephalus

PROCRUSTES, who seized travellers and bound them on his iron bed,
stretching the short ones and cutting short the tall, thus also
himself served by Theseus

PROETUS, jealous of Bellerophon

PROMETHEUS, creator of man, who stole fire from heaven for man's

PROSERPINE, the same as Persephone, goddess of all growing
things, daughter of Ceres, carried off by Pluto

PROTESILAUS, slain by Hector the Trojan, allowed by the gods to
return for three hours' talk with his widow Laodomia

PROTEUS, the old man of the sea

PRUDENCE (Metis), spouse of Jupiter

PRYDERI, son of Pwyll

PSYCHE, a beautiful maiden, personification of the human soul,
sought by Cupid (Love), to whom she responded, lost him by
curiosity to see him (as he came to her only by night), but
finally through his prayers was made immortal and restored to him,
a symbol of immortality

PURANAS, Hindu Scriptures

PWYLL, Prince of Dyved

PYGMALION, sculptor in love with a statue he had made, brought to
life by Venus, brother of Queen Dido

PYGMIES, nation of dwarfs, at war with the Cranes

PYLADES, son of Straphius, friend of Orestes

PYRAMUS, who loved Thisbe, next door neighbor, and, their parents
opposing, they talked through cracks in the house wall, agreeing
to meet in the near by woods, where Pyramus, finding a bloody veil
and thinking Thisbe slain, killed himself, and she, seeing his
body, killed herself (Burlesqued in Shakespeare's "Midsummer
Night's Dream")

PYRRHA, wife of Deucalion

PYRRHUS (Neoptolemus), son of Achilles

PYTHAGORAS, Greek philosopher (540 BC), who thought numbers to be
the essence and principle of all things, and taught transmigration
of souls of the dead into new life as human or animal beings

PYTHIA, priestess of Apollo at Delphi



PYTHON, serpent springing from Deluge slum, destroyed by Apollo


QUIRINUS (from quiris, a lance or spear), a war god, said to be
Romulus, founder of Rome


RABICAN, noted horse

RAGNAROK, the twilight (or ending) of the gods

RAJPUTS, minor Hindu caste

REGAN, daughter of Leir

REGILLUS, lake in Latium, noted for battle fought near by
between the Romans and the Latins

REGGIO, family from which Rogero sprang

REMUS, brother of Romulus, founder of Rome

RHADAMANTHUS, son of Jupiter and Europa after his death one of
the judges in the lower world

RHAPSODIST, professional reciter of poems among the Greeks

RHEA, female Titan, wife of Saturn (Cronos), mother of the chief
gods, worshipped in Greece and Rome

RHINE, river

RHINE MAIDENS, OR DAUGHTERS, three water nymphs, Flosshilda,
Woglinda, and Wellgunda, set to guard the Nibelungen Hoard, buried
in the Rhine

RHODES, one of the seven cities claiming to be Homer's birthplace

RHODOPE, mountain in Thrace

RHONGOMYANT, Arthur's lance

RHOECUS, a youth, beloved by a Dryad, but who brushed away a bee
sent by her to call him to her, and she punished him with

RHIANNON, wife of Pwyll

RINALDO, one of the bravest knights of Charlemagne

RIVER OCEAN, flowing around the earth

ROBERT DE BEAUVAIS', Norman poet (1257)

ROBIN HOOD, famous outlaw in English legend, about time of Richard
Coeur de Lion

ROCKINGHAM, forest of

RODOMONT, king of Algiers

ROGERO, noted Saracen knight

ROLAND (Orlando), See Orlando


ROMANUS, legendary great grandson of Noah


ROMULUS, founder of Rome

RON, Arthur's lance

RONCES VALLES', battle of

ROUND TABLE King Arthur's instituted by Merlin the Sage for
Pendragon, Arthur's father, as a knightly order, continued and
made famous by Arthur and his knights

RUNIC CHARACTERS, or runes, alphabetic signs used by early
Teutonic peoples, written or graved on metal or stone

RUTULIANS, an ancient people in Italy, subdued at an early period
by the Romans

RYENCE, king in Ireland


SABRA, maiden for whom Severn River was named, daughter of Locrine
and Estrildis thrown into river Severn by Locrine's wife,
transformed to a river nymph, poetically named Sabrina

SACRIPANT, king of Circassia

SAFFIRE, Sir, knight of Arthur

SAGAS, Norse tales of heroism, composed by the Skalds

SAGRAMOUR, knight of Arthur

St. MICHAEL'S MOUNT, precipitous pointed rock hill on the coast of
Brittany, opposite Cornwall

SAKYASINHA, the Lion, epithet applied to Buddha

SALAMANDER, a lizard like animal, fabled to be able to live in

SALAMIS, Grecian city

SALMONEUS, son of Aeolus and Enarete and brother of Sisyphus

SALOMON, king of Brittany, at Charlemagne's court

SAMHIN, or "fire of peace," a Druidical festival

SAMIAN SAGE (Pythagoras)

SAMOS, island in the Aegean Sea

SAMOTHRACIAN GODS, a group of agricultural divinities, worshipped
in Samothrace

SAMSON, Hebrew hero, thought by some to be original of Hercules

SAN GREAL (See Graal, the Holy)

SAPPHO, Greek poetess, who leaped into the sea from promontory of
Leucadia in disappointed love for Phaon

SARACENS, followers of Mahomet

SARPEDON, son of Jupiter and Europa, killed by Patroclus

SATURN (Cronos)

SATURNALIA, a annual festival held by Romans in honor of Saturn

SATURNIA, an ancient name of Italy

SATYRS, male divinities of the forest, half man, half goat

SCALIGER, famous German scholar of 16th century

SCANDINAVIA, mythology of, giving account of Northern gods,
heroes, etc

SCHERIA, mythical island, abode of the Phaeacians

SCHRIMNIR, the boar, cooked nightly for the heroes of Valhalla
becoming whole every morning

SCIO, one of the island cities claiming to be Homer's birthplace

SCOPAS, King of Thessaly

SCORPION, constellation

SCYLLA, sea nymph beloved by Glaucus, but changed by jealous Circe
to a monster and finally to a dangerous rock on the Sicilian
coast, facing the whirlpool Charybdis, many mariners being wrecked
between the two, also, daughter of King Nisus of Megara, who loved
Minos, besieging her father's city, but he disliked her disloyalty
and drowned her, also, a fair virgin of Sicily, friend of sea
nymph Galatea

SCYROS, where Theseus was slain

SCYTHIA, country lying north of Euxine Sea

SEMELE, daughter of Cadmus and, by Jupiter, mother of Bacchus

SEMIRAMIS, with Ninus the mythical founder of the Assyrian empire
of Nineveh

SENAPUS, King of Abyssinia, who entertained Astolpho

SERAPIS, or Hermes, Egyptian divinity of Tartarus and of

SERFS, slaves of the land

SERIPHUS, island in the Aegean Sea, one of the Cyclades

SERPENT (Northern constellation)

SESTOS, dwelling of Hero (which See also Leander)

"SEVEN AGAINST THEBES," famous Greek expedition

SEVERN RIVER, in England

SEVINUS, Duke of Guienne


SHATRIYA, Hindu warrior caste

SHERASMIN, French chevalier

SIBYL, prophetess of Cumae

SICHAEUS, husband of Dido

SEIGE PERILOUS, the chair of purity at Arthur's Round Table, fatal
to any but him who was destined to achieve the quest of the
Sangreal (See Galahad)

SIEGFRIED, young King of the Netherlands, husband of Kriemhild,
she boasted to Brunhild that Siegfried had aided Gunther to beat
her in athletic contests, thus winning her as wife, and Brunhild,
in anger, employed Hagan to murder Siegfried. As hero of Wagner's
"Valkyrie," he wins the Nibelungen treasure ring, loves and
deserts Brunhild, and is slain by Hagan

SIEGLINDA, wife of Hunding, mother of Siegfried by Siegmund

SIEGMUND, father of Siegfried

SIGTRYG, Prince, betrothed of King Alef's daughter, aided by

SIGUNA, wife of Loki

SILENUS, a Satyr, school master of Bacchus

SILURES (South Wales)

SILVIA, daughter of Latin shepherd

SILVIUS, grandson of Aeneas, accidentally killed in the chase by
his son Brutus

SIMONIDES, an early poet of Greece

SINON, a Greek spy, who persuaded the Trojans to take the Wooden
Horse into their city

SIRENS, sea nymphs, whose singing charmed mariners to leap into
the sea, passing their island, Ulysses stopped the ears of his
sailors with wax, and had himself bound to the mast so that he
could hear but not yield to their music

SIRIUS, the dog of Orion, changed to the Dog star

SISYPHUS, condemned in Tartarus to perpetually roll up hill a big
rock which, when the top was reached, rolled down again

SIVA, the Destroyer, third person of the Hindu triad of gods

SKALDS, Norse bards and poets

SKIDBLADNIR, Freyr's ship

SKIRNIR, Frey's messenger, who won the god's magic sword by
getting him Gerda for his wife

SKRYMIR, a giant, Utgard Loki in disguise, who fooled Thor in
athletic feats

SKULD, the Norn of the Future

SLEEP, twin brother of Death

SLEIPNIR, Odin's horse

SOBRINO, councillor to Agramant

SOMNUS, child of Nox, twin brother of Mors, god of sleep

SOPHOCLES, Greek tragic dramatist


SPAR'TA, capital of Lacedaemon

SPHINX, a monster, waylaying the road to Thebes and propounding
riddles to all passers, on pain of death, for wrong guessing, who
killed herself in rage when Aedipus guessed aright


STONEHENGE, circle of huge upright stones, fabled to be sepulchre
of Pendragon

STROPHIUS, father of Pylades


STYGIAN SLEEP, escaped from the beauty box sent from Hades to
Venus by hand of Psyche, who curiously opened the box and was
plunged into unconsciousness

STYX, river, bordering Hades, to be crossed by all the dead

SUDRAS, Hindu laboring caste

SURTUR, leader of giants against the gods in the day of their
destruction (Norse mythology)

SURYA, Hindu god of the sun, corresponding to the Greek Helios

SUTRI, Orlando's birthplace

SVADILFARI, giant's horse


SYBARIS, Greek city in Southern Italy, famed for luxury

SYLVANUS, Latin divinity identified with Pan

SYMPLEGADES, floating rocks passed by the Argonauts

SYRINX, nymph, pursued by Pan, but escaping by being changed to a
bunch of reeds (See Pandean pipes)


TACITUS, Roman historian

TAENARUS, Greek entrance to lower regions

TAGUS, river in Spain and Portugal

TALIESIN, Welsh bard

TANAIS, ancient name of river Don

TANTALUS, wicked king, punished in Hades by standing in water
that retired when he would drink, under fruit trees that withdrew
when he would eat

TARCHON, Etruscan chief

TARENTUM, Italian city

TARPEIAN ROCK, in Rome, from which condemned criminals were

TARQUINS, a ruling family in early Roman legend

TAURIS, Grecian city, site of temple of Diana (See Iphigenia)

TAURUS, a mountain

TARTARUS, place of confinement of Titans, etc, originally a black
abyss below Hades later, represented as place where the wicked
were punished, and sometimes the name used as synonymous with

TEIRTU, the harp of

TELAMON, Greek hero and adventurer, father of Ajax

TELEMACHUS, son of Ulysses and Penelope

TELLUS, another name for Rhea

TENEDOS, an island in Aegean Sea

TERMINUS, Roman divinity presiding over boundaries and frontiers

TERPSICHORE, Muse of dancing

TERRA, goddess of the earth

TETHYS, goddess of the sea

TEUCER, ancient king of the Trojans

THALIA, one of the three Graces

THAMYRIS, Thracian bard, who challenged the Muses to competition
in singing, and, defeated, was blinded

THAUKT, Loki disguised as a hag

THEBES, city founded by Cadmus and capital of Boeotia

THEMIS, female Titan, law counsellor of Jove

THEODORA, sister of Prince Leo

THERON, one of Diana's dogs

THERSITES, a brawler, killed by Achilles

THESCELUS, foe of Perseus, turned to stone by sight of Gorgon's

THESEUM, Athenian temple in honor of Theseus

THESEUS, son of Aegeus and Aethra, King of Athens, a great hero of
many adventures


THESTIUS, father of Althea

THETIS, mother of Achilles

THIALFI, Thor's servant

THIS'BE, Babylonian maiden beloved by Pyramus

THOR, the thunderer, of Norse mythology, most popular of the gods


THRINA'KIA, island pasturing Hyperion's cattle, where Ulysses
landed, but, his men killing some cattle for food, their ship was
wrecked by lightning

THRYM, giant, who buried Thor's hammer

THUCYDIDES, Greek historian

TIBER, river flowing through Rome

TIBER, FATHER, god of the river

TIGRIS, river

TINTADEL, castle of, residence of King Mark of Cornwall

TIRESIAS, a Greek soothsayer

TISIPHONE, one of the Furies

TITANS, the sons and daughters of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaea
(Earth), enemies of the gods and overcome by them

TITHONUS, Trojan prince

TITYUS, giant in Tartarus

TMOLUS, a mountain god

TORTOISE, second avatar of Vishnu

TOURS, battle of (See Abdalrahman and Charles Martel)

TOXEUS, brother of Melauger's mother, who snatched from Atalanta
her hunting trophy, and was slain by Melauger, who had awarded it
to her

TRIAD, the Hindu

TRIADS, Welsh poems

TRIMURTI, Hindu Triad

TRIPTOL'EMUS, son of Celeus , and who, made great by
Ceres, founded her worship in Eleusis

TRISTRAM, one of Arthur's knights, husband of Isoude of the White
Hands, lover of Isoude the Fair,

TRITON, a demi god of the sea, son of Poseidon (Neptune) and

TROEZEN, Greek city of Argolis


TROJANOVA, New Troy, City founded in Britain (See Brutus, and

TROPHONIUS, oracle of, in Boeotia

TROUBADOURS, poets and minstrels of Provence, in Southern France

TROUVERS', poets and minstrels of Northern France

TROY, city in Asia Minor, ruled by King Priam, whose son, Paris,
stole away Helen, wife of Menelaus the Greek, resulting in the
Trojan War and the destruction of Troy

TROY, fall of

TURNUS, chief of the Rutulianes in Italy, unsuccessful rival of
Aeneas for Lavinia

TURPIN, Archbishop of Rheims

TURQUINE, Sir, a great knight, foe of Arthur, slain by Sir

TYPHON, one of the giants who attacked the gods, were defeated,
and imprisoned under Mt. Aetna

TYR, Norse god of battles

TYRE, Phoenician city governed by Dido


TYRRHEUS, herdsman of King Turnus in Italy, the slaying of whose
daughter's stag aroused war upon Aeneas and his companions


UBERTO, son of Galafron

ULYSSES (Greek, Odysseus), hero of the Odyssey

UNICORN, fabled animal with a single horn

URANIA, one of the Muses, a daughter of Zeus by Mnemosyne

URDUR, one of the Norns or Fates of Scandinavia, representing the

USK, British river

UTGARD, abode of the giant Utgard Loki

UTGARD LO'KI, King of the Giants (See Skrymir)

UTHER (Uther Pendragon), king of Britain and father of Arthur,

UWAINE, knight of Arthur's court


VAISSYAS, Hindu caste of agriculturists and traders

VALHALLA, hall of Odin, heavenly residence of slain heroes

VALKYRIE, armed and mounted warlike virgins, daughters of the gods
(Norse), Odin's messengers, who select slain heroes for Valhalla
and serve them at their feasts

VE, brother of Odin

VEDAS, Hindu sacred Scriptures

VENEDOTIA, ancient name for North Wales

VENUS (Aphrodite), goddess of beauty

VENUS DE MEDICI, famous antique statue in Uffizi Gallery,
Florence, Italy

VERDANDI, the Present, one of the Norns

VERTUMNUS, god of the changing seasons, whose varied appearances
won the love of Pomona

VESTA, daughter of Cronos and Rhea, goddess of the homefire, or

VESTALS, virgin priestesses in temple of Vesta

VESUVIUS, Mount, volcano near Naples

VILLAINS, peasants in the feudal scheme

VIGRID, final battle-field, with destruction of the gods ind
their enemies, the sun, the earth, and time itself

VILI, brother of Odin and Ve

VIRGIL, celebrated Latin poet (See Aeneid)

VIRGO, constellation of the Virgin, representing Astraea, goddess
of innocence and purity

VISHNU, the Preserver, second of the three chief Hindu gods

VIVIANE, lady of magical powers, who allured the sage Merlin and
imprisoned him in an enchanted wood

VOLSCENS, Rutulian troop leader who killed Nisus and Euryalus

VOLSUNG, A SAGA, an Icelandic poem, giving about the same legends
as the Nibelungen Lied

VORTIGERN, usurping King of Britain, defeated by Pendragon 390,

VULCAN (Greek, Haephestus), god of fire and metal working, with
forges under Aetna, husband of Venus

VYA'SA, Hindu sage


WAIN, the, constellation

WELLGUNDA, one of the Rhine-daughters





WODEN, chief god in the Norse mythology, Anglo Saxon for Odin

WOGLINDA, one of the Rhine-daughters

WOMAN, creation of

WOODEN HORSE, the, filled with armed men, but left outside of Troy
as a pretended offering to Minerva when the Greeks feigned to sail
away, accepted by the Trojans (See Sinon, and Laocoon), brought
into the city, and at night emptied of the hidden Greek soldiers,
who destroyed the town


WOTAN, Old High German form of Odin


XANTHUS, river of Asia Minor


YAMA, Hindu god of the Infernal Regions


YGDRASIL, great ash-tree, supposed by Norse mythology to support
the universe

YMIR, giant, slain by Odin

YNYWL, Earl, host of Geraint, father of Enid

YORK, Britain

YSERONE, niece of Arthur, mother of Caradoc

YSPA DA DEN PEN'KAWR, father of Olwen


ZENDAVESTA, Persian sacred Scriptures

ZEPHYRUS, god of the South wind,

ZERBINO, a knight, son of the king of Scotland

ZETES, winged warrior, companion of Theseus

ZETHUS, son of Jupiter and Antiope, brother of Amphion. See Dirce


ZOROASTER, founder of the Persian religion, which was dominant in
Western Asia from about 550 BC to about 650 AD, and is still held
by many thousands in Persia and in India

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