« PreviousContinue »
Then would he have slain him for dread of his ship, and when they came to the sword that wrath, and heaved up his sword, and therewith the hand held, Sir Arthur took it up by the Merlin cast an enchantment to the knight, that handles, and took it with him, and the arm and he fell to the earth in a great sleep. Then the hand went under the water. And so they Merlin took up King Arthur, and rode forth on 5 came unto the land and rode forth, and then the Knight's horse. Alas! said Arthur, what Sir Arthur saw a rich pavilion. What signihast thou done, Merlin? hast thou slain this fieth yonder pavilion? That is the knight's good knight by thy crafts? There liveth not so pavilion, said Merlin, that ye fought with last, worshipful a knight as he was; I had liefer than Sir Pellinore; but he is out, he is not there. the stint of my land a year that he were alive. 10 He hath ado with a knight of yours that hight Care ye not, said Merlin, for he is wholler than Egglame, and they have foughten together, but ye; for he is but asleep, and will awake within at the last Egglame fled, and else he had been three hours. I told you, said Merlin, what a dead, and he hath chased him even to Carleon, knight he was; here had ye been slain had I not and we shall meet with him anon in the highbeen. Also there liveth not a bigger knight 15 way. That is well said, said Arthur, now have than he is one, and he shall hereafter do you a sword, now will I wage battle with him, and right good service; and his name is Pellinore. be avenged on him. Sir, ye shall not so,
said Merlin, for the knight is weary of fighting HOW ARTHUR GOT THE SWORD FROM and chasing, so that ye shall have no worship THE LADY OF THE LAKE
20 to have ado with him; also he will not be
lightly matched of one knight living, and Right so the king and he departed, and went therefore it is my counsel, let him pass, for he unto an hermit that was a good man and a shall do you good service in short time, and his great leech. So the hermit searched all his sons after his days. Also ye shall see that day wounds and gave him good salves; so the king 25 in short space, ye shall be right glad to give him was there three days, and then were his wounds your sister to wed. When I see him, I will do well amended that he might ride and go, and as ye advise, said Arthur. Then Sir Arthur so departed. And as they rode, Arthur said, looked on the sword, and liked it passing well. I have no sword. No force,' said Merlin, Whether liketh you better, said Merlin, the hereby is a sword that shall be yours, an I may. 30 sword or the scabbard? Me liketh better the So they rode till they came to a lake, the which sword, said Arthur. Ye are more unwise, said was a fair water and broad. And in the midst Merlin, for the scabbard is worth ten of the of the lake Arthur was ware of an arm clothed swords, for whiles ye have the scabbard upon in white samite,2 that held a fair sword in that you, ye shall never lose no blood, be ye never hand. Lo! said Merlin, yonder is that sword 35 so sore wounded; therefore keep well the scabthat I spake of. With that they saw a damosel bard always with you. So they rode unto going upon the lake. What damosel is that? Carleon, and by the way they met with Sir said Arthur. That is the Lady of the lake, said Pellinore; but Merlin had done such a craft, Merlin; and within that lake is a rock, and that Pellinore saw not Arthur, and he passed therein is as fair a place as any on earth, and 40 by without any words. I marvel, said Arthur, richly besene;' and this damosel will come to that the knight would not speak. Sir, said you anon, and then speak ye fair to her that Merlin, he saw you not, for an he had seen you, she will give you that sword. Anon withal came ye had not lightly departed. So they came the damosel unto Arthur, and saluted him, and unto Carleon, whereof his knights were passing he her again. Damosel, said Arthur, what 45 glad. And when they heard of his adventures, sword is that, that yonder the arm holdeth they marvelled that he would jeopard his perabove the water? I would it were mine, for son so alone. But all men of worship said it I have no sword. Sir Arthur, king, said the was merry to be under such a chieftan, that damosel, that sword is mine, and if ye will give would put his person in adventure as other me a gift when I ask it you, ye shall have it. 50 poor knights did. By my faith, said Arthur, I will give you what gift ye will ask. Well! said the damosel, go ye
SIR LAUNCELOT DEPARTS OUT OF into yonder barge, and row yourself to the
ENGLAND sword, and take it and the scabbard with you, and I will ask my gift when I see my time. So 55 My fair fellows, said Sir Launcelot, I must Sir Arthur and Merlin alit and tied their depart out of this most noble realm, and now horses to two trees, and so they went into the I shall depart it grieveth me sore, for I shall • Himself.
depart with no worship, for a flemydi man * It matters not. 2 Rich silk. 3i. e. Beautiful to be seen.
departed never out of a realm with no worship; vengenace of Sir Gawaine, all that they might and that is my heaviness, for ever I fear after my days that men shall chronicle upon me that I was flemyd out of this land; and else my fair
TIDINGS MAKE ARTHUR RETURN TO lords be ye sure, an I had not dread shame, my 5
ENGLAND lady Queen Guenever and I should never have departed. Then spake many noble knights, as Alas, said the King, that ever this unhappy Sir Palomides, Sir Safere his brother, and Sir war was begun; for ever Sir Launcelot forBellangere le Beuse, and Sir Urre, with Sir beareth me in all places, and in likewise my kin, Lavaine, with many others, Sir, an ye be so 10 and that is seen well this day by my nephew disposed to abide in this land, we will never Sir Gawaine. Then King Arthur fell sick for fail you; and if ye list not to abide in this land sorrow of Sir Gawaine, that he was so sore hurt, there is none of the good knights that here be and by cause of the war betwixt him and Sir will fail you, for many causes. One is, All we Launcelot. So then they on King Arthur's that be not of your blood shall never be wel- 15 party kept the siege with little war withoutcome to the court. And sithen” it liked us to forth; and they withinforth kept their walls, and take a part with you in your distress and defended them when need was. heaviness in this realm, wit you well it shall Thus as this siege endured, and as Sir like us as well to go in other countries with you, Gawaine lay sick near a month; and when he and there to take such part as ye do. My fair 20 was well recovered and ready within three lords, said Sir Launcelot, I well understand
you days to do battle again with Sir Launcelot, and as I can, thank you: and ye shall under- right so came tidings unto Arthur from England stand, such livelihood as I am born unto I that made King Arthur and all his host to shall depart with you in this manner of wise, that is for to say; I shall depart all my liveli- 25 As Sir Mordred was ruler of all England, he hood and all my lands freely among you, and I did so make letters as though that they came myself will have as little as any of you, for have from beyond the sea and the letters specified I sufficient that may long to my person, I will that King Arthur was slain in battle with Sir ask none other rich array; and I trust to God to Launcelot. Wherefore Sir Mordred made a maintain you on my lands as well as ever were 30 parliament, and called the lords together, and maintained any knights. Then spake all the there he made them to choose him King; and knights at once, He have shame that will leave so was he crowned at Canterbury, and held a you; for we all understand, in this realm will be feast there fifteen days. now no quiet, but ever strife and debate; now Then came word to Sir Mordred that King the fellowship of the Round Table is broken; 35 Arthur had araised the siege for Sir Launcelot, for by the noble fellowship of the Round Table and he was coming homeward with a great host, was King Arthur upborne, and by their noblesse to be avenged upon Sir Mordred; wherefore the King and all his realm was in quiet and rest, Sir Mordred made write writs to all the barony and a great part they said all was by cause of of this land, and much people drew to him. your noblesse.
For then was the common voice among them
that with Arthur was none other life but war KING ARTHUR MAKES MORDRED
and strife, and with Sir Mordred was great CHIEF RULER
joy and bliss. Thus was Sir Arthur depraved?
and evil said of. And many there were that So leave we Sir Launcelot in his lands, and 45 King Arthur had made up of naught, and his noble knights with him, and return we again given them lands, might not then say him a unto King Arthur and to Sir Gawaine, that good word. Lo ye all Englishmen, see ye not made a great host ready, to the number of what a mischief here was, for he that was the threescore thousand; and all thing was made most king and knight of the world, and most ready for their shipping to pass over the sea, 50 loved the fellowship of noble knights, and by and so they shipped at Cardiff. And there him they were all upholden, now might not King Arthur made Sir Mordred chief ruler of these Englishmen hold them content with all England, and also he put Queen Guenever him. Lo thus was the old custom and usage of under his governance; by cause Sir Mordred this land; and also men say that we of this land was King Arthur's son, he gave him the rule of 55 have not yet lost nor forgotten that custom and his land and of his wife; and so the king passed usage. Alas, this is a great default of us the sea and landed upon Sir Launcelot's lands, Englishmen, for there may no thing please us and there he brent and wasted, through the now term. And so fared the people at that 2 Since
time, they were better pleased with Sir Mor- field. And when Arthur should depart, he dred than they were with King Arthur; and warned all his host that an they see any sword much people drew unto Sir Mordred, and said drawn, Look ye come on fiercely, and slay that they would abide with him for better and for traitor Sir Mordred, for I in no wise trust him. worse. And so Sir Mordred drew with a 5 In likewise Sir Mordred warned his host that, great host to Dover, for there he heard say that An ye see any sword drawn, look that ye come Sir Arthur would arrive, and so he thought tɔ on fiercely, and so slay all that ever before you beat his own father from his lands; and the standeth; for in no wise I will not trust for this most party of all England held with Sir Mor- treatise, for I know well my father will be dred, the people were so new fangle.
10 avenged on me. And so they met as their And so as Sir Mordred was at Dover with appointment was, and so they were agreed and his host, there came King Arthur with a great accorded thoroughly; and wine was fetched, and navy of ships, and galleys, and carracks.3 they drank. Right soon came an adder out of a And there was Sir Mordred ready awaiting little heath bush and it stung a knight on the upon his landing, to let' his own father to land 15 foot. And when the knight felt him stung, he upon the land that he was King over. Then looked down and saw the adder, and then he there was launching of great boats and small, drew his sword to slay the adder, and thought and full of noble men of arms; and there was of none other harm. And when the host on much slaughter of gentle knights, and many a both parties saw that sword drawn, then they full bold baron was laid full low, on both 20 blew beamous, 3 trumpets, and horns, and parties. But King Arthur was so courageous shouted grimly. And so both hosts dressed that there might no manner of knights let him them together. And King Arthur took his to land, and his knights fiercely followed him; horse and said, Alas this unhappy day, and and so they landed maugre Sir Mordred and so rode to his party. And Sir Mordred in like all his power, and put Sir Mordred aback, that 25 wise. And never was there seen a more dolehe fled and all his people.
fuller battle in no Christian land; for there was
but rushing and riding, feigning and striking, THE DEATH OF ARTHUR
and many a grim word was there spoken either
to other, and many a deadly stroke. But ever Then was it told the King that Sir Mordred 30 King Arthur rode throughout the battle of had pyghtel a new field upon Barham Down. Sir Mordred many times, and did full nobly as a And upon the morn the King rode thither to noble knight should, and at all times he fainted him, and there was a great battle betwixt them, never; and Sir Mordred that day put him in and much people was slain on both parties; but devoir,5 and in great peril. And thus they at the last Sir Arthur's party stood best, and 35 fought all the long day, and never stinted till Sir Mordred and his party fled unto Canter- the noble knights were laid to the cold earth; bury. ...
and ever they fought still till it was near night, Then the King commanded Sir Lucan the and by that time was there an hundred thouButler and his brother Sir Bedivere, with two sand laid dead upon the ground. Then was bishops with them, and charged them in any 40 Arthur woodø wroth out of measure, when he wise, an they might, take a treaty for a month saw his people so slain from him. Then the day2 with Sir Mordred, and spare not, proffer king looked about him, and then was he ware, of him lands and goods as much as ye think best. all his host and of all his good knights, were So then they departed, and came to Sir Mor- left no more alive but two knights; that one dred, where he had a grim host of an hundred 45 was Sir Lucan the Butler, and his brother Sir thousand men. And there they entreated Bedivere, and they were full sore wounded. Sir Mordred long time; and at the last Sir Jesu mercy, said the king, where are all my Mordred was agreed for to have Cornwall and noble knights become? Alas that ever I should kent, by Arthur's days: after, all England, see this doleful day, for now, said Arthur, I am after the days of King Arthur.
50 come to mine end. But would to God that I Then were they condescended that King wist where were that traitor Sir Mordred, that Arthur and Sir Mordred should meet betwixt hath caused all this mischief. Then was both their hosts, and each of them should King Arthur ware where Sir Mordred leaned bring fourteen persons; and they came with upon his sword among a great heap of dead this word unto Arthur. Then said he, I am 55 men. Now give me my spear, said Arthur unto glad that this is done: and so he went into the Sir Lucan, for yonder I have espied the traitor 3 Large merchant ships. 4 Prohibit.
3 A kind of trumpet. i Prepared.
4 The line in battle array. 2 "A stipulated or allowed period, of a month's dura
Si. e, compelled him to do his utmost duty. tion."
6 Madly angry.
that all this woe hath wrought. Sir, let him be, But I may not stand, mine head works so. said Sir Lucan, for he is unhappy; and if ye Ah Sir Launcelot, said King Arthur, this day pass this unhappy day ye shall be right well have I sore missed thee; alas that ever I was revenged upon him. Good lord remember ye against thee, for now have I my death, whereof of your night's dream, and what the spirit of 5 Sir Gawaine me warned in my dream. Then Sir Gawaine told you this night, yet God of Sir Lucan took up the king, the one part, and His great goodness hath preserved you hitherto. Sir Bedivere the other part, and in the lifting Therefore, for God's sake, leave off by this, for the king swooned; and Sir Lucan fell in a blessed be God ye have won the field, for here swoon with the lift, ... and therewith the we be three alive, and with Sir Mordred is 10 noble knight's heart brast.12 And when the none alive; and if ye leave off now, this wicked king awoke, he beheld Sir Lucan, how he lay day of destiny is past. Tide me death, betide foaming at the mouth. . . . Alas, said the king, me life,? said the king, now I see him yonder this is to me a full heavy sight, to see this alone, he shall never escape mine hands, for noble duke so die for my sake, for he would at a better avail shall I never have him. God 15 have holpen me that had more need of help speed you well, said Sir Bedivere. Then the than I. Alas he would not complain him, his King gat his spear in both his hands, and ran heart was so set to help me; now Jesu have towards Sir Mordred, crying, or, now is mercy upon his soul. Then Sir Bedivere wept thy death day come. And when Sir Mordred for the death of his brother. Leave this mournheard Sir Arthur, he ran unto him with his 20 ing and weeping, said the king, for all this will sword drawn in his hand. And there King not avail me, for wit thou well that an I might Arthur smote Sir Mordred under the shield, live myself, the death of Sir Lucan would with a foins of his spear, throughout the body, grieve me evermore; but my time hieth fast, more than a fathom; and when Sir Mordred said the king. Therefore, said Arthur unto felt that he had his death's wound he thrust 25 Sir Bedivere, take thou Excalibur my good himself with the might that he had up to the sword, and go with it to yonder water side, and buro of King Arthur's spear; and right so he when thou comest there I charge thee throw smote his father Arthur, with his sword holden my sword in that water, and come again and in both his hands, on the side of the ead, that tell me what thou there seest. My lord, said the sword pierced the helmet and the brain 30 Bedivere, your commandment shall be done, pan, and therewithal Sir Mordred fell stark and lightly bring you word again. So Sir dead to the earth; and the noble Arthur fell Bedivere departed, and by the way he beheld in a swoon to the earth, and there he swooned that noble sword, that the pommel and the ofttimes. And Sir Lucan the Butler and Sir haft was all of precious stones; and then he Bedivere ofttimes heave him up. And so 35 said to himself, if I throw this rich sword in the weakly they led him betwixt them both, to a water, thereof shall never come good, but little chapel not far from the sea side. And harm and loss. And then Sir Bedivere bid when the king was there he thought him well Excalibur under a tree. And so, as soon as he eased. Then heard they people cry in the might, he came again unto the king, and said field. Now go thou Sir Lucan, said the King, 40 he had been at the water, and had thrown the and do me to wit what betokens that noise in sword into the water. What saw thou there? the field. So Sir Lucan departed, for he was said the king. Sir, he said, I saw nothing but grieveously wounded in many places. And so waves and wind. That is untruly said of thee, as he went he saw and hearkened by the said the king, therefore go thou lightly again, moonlight, how that pillers10 and robbers were 45 and do my commandment; as thou art to me come into the field, to pill and rob many a full lief and dear, spare not but throw it in. Then noble knight of brooches, and beads, and many Sir Bedivere returned again, and took the a good ring, and of many a rich jewel; and who sword in his hand; and then him thought sin that were not dead all out, they slew them for and shame to throw away that noble sword, their harness and their riches. When Sir 50 and so eft13 he hid the sword, and returned
can understood this work, he came to the again, and told to the king that he had been at king as soon as he might and told him all what the water, and done his commandment. What he had heard and seen. Therefore by my rede, 11 saw thou there? said the king. Sir, he said, I said Sir Lucan, it is best that we bring you to saw nothing but the waters wappel4 and the some town. I would it were so, said the king. 55 waves wanne. Ah, traitor untrue, said King
Arthur, now hast thou betrayed me twice. 7 Come death, or come life.
8 Thrust. 9"A moveable ring adjusted to the staff of a lance,
Who would have weened that thou that hast covered with minute projections to afford a grip to the been to me so lief and dear, and thou art named gauntlet." Cent. Dict. 10 Robbers.
14 Lap and wane.
a noble knight, and would betray me for the Sir Bedivere, what man is there interred that riches of the sword. But now go again lightly, ye pray so fast for? Fair son, said the hermit, for thy long tarrying putteth me in great I wot not verily, but by my deeming.18 But jeopardy of my life, for I have taken cold. this night, at midnight, here came a number of And but if1s thou do now as I bid thee, if ever I 5 ladies, and brought hither a dead corpse, and may see thee, I shall slay thee with mine own prayed me to bury him; and here they offered hands; for thou wouldst for my rich sword see an hundred tapers, and they gave me an hunme dead.
Then Sir Bedivere departed, and dred besants.19 Alas, said Sir Bedivere, that went to the sword, and lightly took it up, and was my lord King Arthur, that here lieth buried went to the water side; and there he bound the 10 in this chapel. Then Sir Bedivere swooned; girdle about the hilts, and then he threw the and when he awoke he prayed the hermit he sword as far into the water as he might; and might abide with him still there, to live with there came an arm and an hand above the water fasting and prayers. For from hence will I and met it, and caught it, and shook it thrice never go, said Sir Bedivere, by my will, but all and brandished, and then vanished away the 15 the days of my life here to pray for my lord hand with the sword in the water. So Sir Arthur. Ye are welcome to me, said the herBedivere came again to the King, and told him mit, for I know you better than ye ween that I what he saw. Alas, said the king, help me do. Ye are the bold Bedivere, and the full hence, for I dread me I have tarried over long. noble duke Sir Lucan the Butler was your Then Sir Bedivere took the king upon his 20 brother. . . back, and so went with him to that water side. More of the death of King Arthur could I And when they were at the water side, even never find, but that ladies brought him to his fast by the bank hoved a little barge with burial; and such one was buried there, that the many fair ladies in it, and among them all was hermit bare witness that sometime was Bishop a queen, and all they had black hoods, and all 25 of Canterbury, but yet the hermit knew not in they wept and shrieked when they saw King certain that he was verily the body of King Arthur. Now put me into the barge, said the Arthur: for this tale Sir Bedivere, knight of the king. And so he did softly; and there received Table Round, made it to be written. Yet some him three queens with great mourning; and so men say in many parts of England that King they set them down, and in one of their laps 30 Arthur is not dead, but had by the will of our King Arthur laid his head. And then that Lord Jesu into another place; and men say that queen said, Ah, dear brother, why have ye he shall come again, and he shall win the Holy tarried so long from me? Alas, this wound Cross. I will not say it shall be so, but rather on your head hath caught over much cold. I will say, here in this world he changed his And so then they rowed from the land, and Sir 35 life. But many men say that there is written Bedivere beheld all those ladies go from him. upon his tomb this verse: Then Sir Bedivere cried, Ah, my lord Arthur, Hic jacet Arthurus Rex, quondam Rex que what shall become of me, now ye go from me futurus.20 and leave me here alone among mine enemies? Comfort thyself, said the king, and do as well 40
SIR LAUNCELOT as thou mayest, for in me is no trust for to trust in, for I will into the vale of Avalon to And when Sir Ector heard such noise and heal me of my grievous wounds: and if thou light in the choir of Joyous Gard, he alit and hear never more of me, pray for my soul. put his horse from him, and came into the But ever the queens and ladies wept and 45 choir, and there he saw men sing and weep. shrieked, that it was pity to hear. And as And all they knew Sir Ector, but he knew not soon as Sir Bedivere had lost the sight of the them. Then went Sir Bors unto Sir Ector, and barge, he wept and wailed, and so took the told him how there lay his brother Sir Launceforest; and so he went all that night, and in lot dead; and then Sir Ector threw his shield, the morning he was ware betwixt two holts 50 sword, and helm from him. And when he hoar, 16 of a chapel and an hermitage.
beheld Sir Launcelot's visage, he fell down in a Then was Sir Bedivere glad, and thit he swoon. And when he waked it were hard any went; and when he came into the chapel, he tongue to tell the doleful complaints that he saw where lay an hermit grovelling on all four, made for his brother. Ah, Launcelot, he said, there fast by a tomb was new graven. When 55 thou wert head of all christian knights. And the hermit saw Sir Bedivere he knew him well, now I dare say, said Sir Ector, thou Sir Launcefor he was but little tofore Bishop of Canterbury, that Sir Mordred flemed.17 Sir, said
18 Judging, i, e. I know not certainly, but I judge so. 16 Unless. 16 Hoary woods or groves.
17 Banished. 20 Here lies King Arthur, one time King, and King to be.
19 Gold coins.