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Le Morte Darthur

Part 8 out of 11

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And then they said: This gentlewoman must yield us
the custom of this castle. Sir, said a knight, what maid
passeth hereby shall give this dish full of blood of her
right arm. Blame have ye, said Galahad, that brought
up such customs, and so God me save, I ensure you of
this gentlewoman ye shall fail while that I live. So God
me help, said Percivale, I had liefer be slain. And I also,
said Sir Bors. By my troth, said the knight, then shall
ye die, for ye may not endure against us though ye were
the best knights of the world.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Now leave we this story and speak of Galahad.


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

And here followeth the eighteenth book.>



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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

MADAM, said Sir Launcelot, I allow your wit, it is of late
come since ye were wise. And therefore, madam, at this
time I will be ruled by your counsel, and this night I will
take my rest, and to-morrow by time I will take my way
toward Winchester. But wit you well, said Sir Launcelot
to the queen, that at that jousts I will be against the king,
and against all his fellowship. Ye may there do as ye
list, said the queen, but by my counsel ye shall not be
against your king and your fellowship. For therein
be full many hard knights of your blood, as ye wot well
enough, it needeth not to rehearse them. Madam, said
Sir Launcelot, I pray you that ye be not displeased with
me, for I will take the adventure that God will send me.

And so upon the morn early Sir Launcelot heard mass
and brake his fast, and so took his leave of the queen and
departed. And then he rode so much until he came to
Astolat, that is Guildford; and there it happed him in the
eventide he came to an old baron's place that hight Sir
Bernard of Astolat. And as Sir Launcelot entered into
his lodging, King Arthur espied him as he did walk in a
garden beside the castle, how he took his lodging, and
knew him full well. It is well, said King Arthur unto the
knights that were with him in that garden beside the
castle, I have now espied one knight that will play his play
at the jousts to the which we be gone toward; I undertake
he will do marvels. Who is that, we pray you tell
us? said many knights that were there at that time. Ye
shall not wit for me, said the king, as at this time. And
so the king smiled, and went to his lodging.

So when Sir Launcelot was in his lodging, and unarmed
him in his chamber, the old baron and hermit came
to him making his reverence, and welcomed him in the
best manner; but the old knight knew not Sir Launcelot.
Fair sir, said Sir Launcelot to his host, I would pray you
to lend me a shield that were not openly known, for mine
is well known. Sir, said his host, ye shall have your
desire, for meseemeth ye be one of the likeliest knights of
the world, and therefore I shall shew you friendship. Sir,
wit you well I have two sons that were but late made
knights, and the eldest hight Sir Tirre, and he was hurt
that same day he was made knight, that he may not ride,
and his shield ye shall have; for that is not known I dare
say but here, and in no place else. And my youngest son
hight Lavaine, and if it please you, he shall ride with you
unto that jousts; and he is of his age strong and wight,
for much my heart giveth unto you that ye should be a
noble knight, therefore I pray you, tell me your name,
said Sir Bernard. As for that, said Sir Launcelot, ye
must hold me excused as at this time, and if God give me
grace to speed well at the jousts I shall come again and
tell you. But I pray you, said Sir Launcelot, in any wise
let me have your son, Sir Lavaine, with me, and that I
may have his brother's shield. All this shall be done,
said Sir Bernard.

This old baron had a daughter that was called that
time the Fair Maiden of Astolat. And ever she beheld
Sir Launcelot wonderfully; and as the book saith, she
cast such a love unto Sir Launcelot that she could never
withdraw her love, wherefore she died, and her name was
Elaine le Blank. So thus as she came to and fro she was
so hot in her love that she besought Sir Launcelot to wear
upon him at the jousts a token of hers. Fair damosel,
said Sir Launcelot, an if I grant you that, ye may say I
do more for your love than ever I did for lady or damosel.
Then he remembered him he would go to the jousts
disguised. And because he had never fore that time
borne no manner of token of no damosel, then he bethought
him that he would bear one of her, that none of
his blood thereby might know him, and then he said:
Fair maiden, I will grant you to wear a token of yours
upon mine helmet, and therefore what it is, shew it me.
Sir, she said, it is a red sleeve of mine, of scarlet, well
embroidered with great pearls: and so she brought it
him. So Sir Launcelot received it, and said: Never did
I erst so much for no damosel. And then Sir Launcelot
betook the fair maiden his shield in keeping, and prayed
her to keep that until that he came again; and so that night
he had merry rest and great cheer, for ever the damosel
Elaine was about Sir Launcelot all the while she might be


How the tourney began at Winchester, and what knights
were at the jousts; and other things.

SO upon a day, on the morn, King Arthur and all his
knights departed, for their king had tarried three days to
abide his noble knights. And so when the king was
ridden, Sir Launcelot and Sir Lavaine made them ready to
ride, and either of them had white shields, and the red
sleeve Sir Launcelot let carry with him. And so they
took their leave at Sir Bernard, the old baron, and at his
daughter, the Fair Maiden of Astolat. And then they rode
so long till that they came to Camelot, that time called
Winchester; and there was great press of kings, dukes
earls, and barons, and many noble knights. But there Sir
Launcelot was lodged privily by the means of Sir Lavaine
with a rich burgess, that no man in that town was ware
what they were. And so they reposed them there till our
Lady Day, Assumption, as the great feast should be. So
then trumpets blew unto the field, and King Arthur was
set on high upon a scaffold to behold who did best. But
as the French book saith, the king would not suffer Sir
Gawaine to go from him, for never had Sir Gawaine the
better an Sir Launcelot were in the field; and many times
was Sir Gawaine rebuked when Launcelot came into any
jousts disguised.

Then some of the kings, as King Anguish of Ireland
and the King of Scots, were that time turned upon the
side of King Arthur. And then on the other party was
the King of Northgalis, and the King with the Hundred
Knights, and the King of Northumberland, and Sir
Galahad, the haut prince. But these three kings and this
duke were passing weak to hold against King Arthur's
party, for with him were the noblest knights of the world.
So then they withdrew them either party from other, and
every man made him ready in his best manner to do what
he might.

Then Sir Launcelot made him ready, and put the red
sleeve upon his head, and fastened it fast; and so Sir
Launcelot and Sir Lavaine departed out of Winchester
privily, and rode until a little leaved wood behind the
party that held against King Arthur's party, and there
they held them still till the parties smote together. And
then came in the King of Scots and the King of Ireland
on Arthur's party, and against them came the King of
Northumberland, and the King with the Hundred Knights
smote down the King of Northumberland, and the King
with the Hundred Knights smote down King Anguish of
Ireland. Then Sir Palomides that was on Arthur's party
encountered with Sir Galahad, and either of them smote
down other, and either party halp their lords on horseback
again. So there began a strong assail upon both parties.
And then came in Sir Brandiles, Sir Sagramore le Desirous,
Sir Dodinas le Savage, Sir Kay le Seneschal, Sir Griflet le
Fise de Dieu, Sir Mordred, Sir Meliot de Logris, Sir
Ozanna le Cure Hardy, Sir Safere, Sir Epinogris, Sir
Galleron of Galway. All these fifteen knights were
knights of the Table Round. So these with more other
came in together, and beat aback the King of Northumberland
and the King of Northgalis. When Sir Launcelot
saw this, as he hoved in a little leaved wood, then he said
unto Sir Lavaine: See yonder is a company of good
knights, and they hold them together as boars that were
chafed with dogs. That is truth, said Sir Lavaine.


How Sir Launcelot and Sir Lavaine entered in the field
against them of King Arthur's court, and how Launcelot
was hurt.

NOW, said Sir Launcelot, an ye will help me a little, ye
shall see yonder fellowship that chaseth now these men in
our side, that they shall go as fast backward as they went
forward. Sir, spare not, said Sir Lavaine, for I shall do
what I may. Then Sir Launcelot and Sir Lavaine came
in at the thickest of the press, and there Sir Launcelot
smote down Sir Brandiles, Sir Sagramore, Sir Dodinas, Sir
Kay, Sir Griflet, and all this he did with one spear; and
Sir Lavaine smote down Sir Lucan le Butler and Sir
Bedevere. And then Sir Launcelot gat another spear,
and there he smote down Sir Agravaine, Sir Gaheris, and
Sir Mordred, and Sir Meliot de Logris; and Sir Lavaine
smote Ozanna le Cure Hardy. And then Sir Launcelot
drew his sword, and there he smote on the right hand and
on the left hand, and by great force he unhorsed Sir
Safere, Sir Epinogris, and Sir Galleron; and then the
knights of the Table Round withdrew them aback, after
they had gotten their horses as well as they might. O
mercy Jesu, said Sir Gawaine, what knight is yonder that
doth so marvellous deeds of arms in that field? I wot
well what he is, said King Arthur, but as at this time I
will not name him. Sir, said Sir Gawaine, I would say it
were Sir Launcelot by his riding and his buffets that I see
him deal, but ever meseemeth it should not be he, for that
he beareth the red sleeve upon his head; for I wist him
never bear token at no jousts, of lady nor gentlewoman.
Let him be, said King Arthur, he will be better known,
and do more, or ever he depart.

Then the party that was against King Arthur were
well comforted, and then they held them together that
beforehand were sore rebuked. Then Sir Bors, Sir Ector
de Maris, and Sir Lionel called unto them the knights of
their blood, as Sir Blamore de Ganis, Sir Bleoberis, Sir
Aliduke, Sir Galihud, Sir Galihodin, Sir Bellangere le
Beuse. So these nine knights of Sir Launcelot's kin
thrust in mightily, for they were all noble knights; and
they, of great hate and despite that they had unto him,
thought to rebuke that noble knight Sir Launcelot, and
Sir Lavaine, for they knew them not; and so they came
hurling together, and smote down many knights of Northgalis
and of Northumberland. And when Sir Launcelot
saw them fare so, he gat a spear in his hand; and there
encountered with him all at once Sir Bors, Sir Ector, and
Sir Lionel, and all they three smote him at once with
their spears. And with force of themself they smote Sir
Launcelot's horse to the earth; and by misfortune Sir
Bors smote Sir Launcelot through the shield into the side,
and the spear brake, and the head left still in his side.

When Sir Lavaine saw his master lie on the ground,
he ran to the King of Scots and smote him to the earth;
and by great force he took his horse, and brought him to
Sir Launcelot, and maugre of them all he made him to
mount upon that horse. And then Launcelot gat a spear
in his hand, and there he smote Sir Bors, horse and man,
to the earth. In the same wise he served Sir Ector and
Sir Lionel; and Sir Lavaine smote down Sir Blamore de
Ganis. And then Sir Launcelot drew his sword, for he
felt himself so sore y-hurt that he weened there to have
had his death. And then he smote Sir Bleoberis such a
buffet on the helm that he fell down to the earth in a
swoon. And in the same wise he served Sir Aliduke and
Sir Galihud. And Sir Lavaine smote down Sir Bellangere,
that was the son of Alisander le Orphelin.

And by this was Sir Bors horsed, and then he came
with Sir Ector and Sir Lionel, and all they three smote
with swords upon Sir Launcelot's helmet. And when he
felt their buffets and his wound, the which was so grievous,
then he thought to do what he might while he might
endure. And then he gave Sir Bors such a buffet that he
made him bow his head passing low; and therewithal he
raced off his helm, and might have slain him; and so
pulled him down, and in the same wise he served Sir
Ector and Sir Lionel. For as the book saith he might
have slain them, but when he saw their visages his heart
might not serve him thereto, but left them there. And
then afterward he hurled into the thickest press of them
all, and did there the marvelloust deeds of arms that ever
man saw or heard speak of, and ever Sir Lavaine, the
good knight, with him. And there Sir Launcelot with
his sword smote down and pulled down, as the French
book maketh mention, mo than thirty knights, and the
most part were of the Table Round; and Sir Lavaine did
full well that day, for he smote down ten knights of the
Table Round.


How Sir Launcelot and Sir Lavaine departed out of the
field, and in what jeopardy Launcelot was.

MERCY Jesu, said Sir Gawaine to Arthur, I marvel what
knight that he is with the red sleeve. Sir, said King
Arthur, he will be known or he depart. And then the
king blew unto lodging, and the prize was given by
heralds unto the knight with the white shield that bare
the red sleeve. Then came the King with the Hundred
Knights, the King of Northgalis, and the King of Northumberland,
and Sir Galahad, the haut prince, and said
unto Sir Launcelot: Fair knight, God thee bless, for
much have ye done this day for us, therefore we pray you
that ye will come with us that ye may receive the honour
and the prize as ye have worshipfully deserved it. My
fair lords, said Sir Launcelot, wit you well if I have deserved
thanks I have sore bought it, and that me repenteth, for
I am like never to escape with my life; therefore, fair
lords, I pray you that ye will suffer me to depart where
me liketh, for I am sore hurt. I take none force of none
honour, for I had liefer to repose me than to be lord of
all the world. And therewithal he groaned piteously, and
rode a great wallop away-ward from them until he came
under a wood's side.

And when he saw that he was from the field nigh a
mile, that he was sure he might not be seen, then he said
with an high voice: O gentle knight, Sir Lavaine, help me
that this truncheon were out of my side, for it sticketh so
sore that it nigh slayeth me. O mine own lord, said Sir
Lavaine, I would fain do that might please you, but I
dread me sore an I pull out the truncheon that ye shall be
in peril of death. I charge you, said Sir Launcelot, as ye
love me, draw it out. And therewithal he descended from
his horse, and right so did Sir Lavaine; and forthwithal
Sir Lavaine drew the truncheon out of his side, and he
gave a great shriek and a marvellous grisly groan, and the
blood brast out nigh a pint at once, that at the last he
sank down upon his buttocks, and so swooned pale and
deadly. Alas, said Sir Lavaine, what shall I do? And
then he turned Sir Launcelot into the wind, but so he lay
there nigh half an hour as he had been dead.

And so at the last Sir Launcelot cast up his eyes, and
said: O Lavaine, help me that I were on my horse, for
here is fast by within this two mile a gentle hermit that
sometime was a full noble knight and a great lord of
possessions. And for great goodness he hath taken him
to wilful poverty, and forsaken many lands, and his name
is Sir Baudwin of Brittany, and he is a full noble surgeon
and a good leech. Now let see, help me up that I were
there, for ever my heart giveth me that I shall never die
of my cousin-germain's hands. And then with great pain
Sir Lavaine halp him upon his horse. And then they
rode a great wallop together, and ever Sir Launcelot bled
that it ran down to the earth; and so by fortune they
came to that hermitage the which was under a wood, and
a great cliff on the other side, and a fair water running
under it. And then Sir Lavaine beat on the gate with
the butt of his spear, and cried fast: Let in for Jesu's

And there came a fair child to them, and asked them
what they would. Fair son, said Sir Lavaine, go and pray
thy lord, the hermit, for God's sake to let in here a knight
that is full sore wounded; and this day tell thy lord I saw
him do more deeds of arms than ever I heard say that any
man did. So the child went in lightly, and then he brought
the hermit, the which was a passing good man. When Sir
Lavaine saw him he prayed him for God's sake of succour.
What knight is he? said the hermit. Is he of the house
of King Arthur, or not? I wot not, said Sir Lavaine,
what is he, nor what is his name, but well I wot I saw him
do marvellously this day as of deeds of arms. On whose
party was he? said the hermit. Sir, said Sir Lavaine, he
was this day against King Arthur, and there he won the
prize of all the knights of the Round Table. I have seen
the day, said the hermit, I would have loved him the
worse because he was against my lord, King Arthur, for
sometime I was one of the fellowship of the Round Table,
but I thank God now I am otherwise disposed. But
where is he? let me see him. Then Sir Lavaine brought
the hermit to him.


How Launcelot was brought to an hermit for to be healed
of his wound, and of other matters.

AND when the hermit beheld him, as he sat leaning upon
his saddle-bow ever bleeding piteously, and ever the
knight-hermit thought that he should know him, but
he could not bring him to knowledge because he was
so pale for bleeding. What knight are ye, said the
hermit, and where were ye born? My fair lord, said Sir
Launcelot, I am a stranger and a knight adventurous,
that laboureth throughout many realms for to win worship.
Then the hermit advised him better, and saw by a wound
on his cheek that he was Sir Launcelot. Alas, said the
hermit, mine own lord why lain you your name from
me? Forsooth I ought to know you of right, for ye
are the most noblest knight of the world, for well I know
you for Sir Launcelot. Sir, said he, sith ye know me, help
me an ye may, for God's sake, for I would be out of this
pain at once, either to death or to life. Have ye no
doubt, said the hermit, ye shall live and fare right well.
And so the hermit called to him two of his servants, and
so he and his servants bare him into the hermitage, and
lightly unarmed him, and laid him in his bed. And then
anon the hermit staunched his blood, and made him to
drink good wine, so that Sir Launcelot was well refreshed
and knew himself; for in those days it was not the guise
of hermits as is nowadays, for there were none hermits in
those days but that they had been men of worship and of
prowess; and those hermits held great household, and
refreshed people that were in distress.

Now turn we unto King Arthur, and leave we Sir
Launcelot in the hermitage. So when the kings were
come together on both parties, and the great feast should
be holden, King Arthur asked the King of Northgalis and
their fellowship, where was that knight that bare the red
sleeve: Bring him afore me that he may have his laud,
and honour, and the prize, as it is right. Then spake
Sir Galahad, the haut prince, and the King with the
Hundred Knights: We suppose that knight is mischieved,
and that he is never like to see you nor none
of us all, and that is the greatest pity that ever we wist
of any knight. Alas, said Arthur, how may this be, is he
so hurt? What is his name? said King Arthur. Truly,
said they all, we know not his name, nor from whence he
came, nor whither he would. Alas, said the king, this be
to me the worst tidings that came to me this seven year,
for I would not for all the lands I wield to know and wit
it were so that that noble knight were slain. Know ye
him? said they all. As for that, said Arthur, whether

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