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Le Morte Darthur

Part 6 out of 11

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that were knights served them.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

followeth of Sir Percivale de Galis, which is the
fourteenth book.>



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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

And here followeth of Sir Launcelot, which is the
fifteenth book.>



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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

And on the morn he took his horse and rode till mid-
day; and there by adventure he met with the same knight
that took his horse, helm, and his sword, when he slept
when the Sangreal appeared afore the Cross. When Sir

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