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Le Morte Darthur

Part 5 out of 11

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world had taken her by the hand. Then the people
brought her clothes. And when she was arrayed, Sir
Launcelot thought she was the fairest lady of the world,
but if it were Queen Guenever.

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

the twelfth book.>



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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Explicit liber xii. Et incipit Decimustercius.>



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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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