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King Arthur Tales of the Round Table

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Author Topic: King Arthur Tales of the Round Table  (Read 1886 times)
Dana Monsour
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« Reply #315 on: September 17, 2009, 12:49:53 am »

they thought best if he would engage to make a treaty for a month with King Arthur.

So they departed, and came to Sir Mordred, where he had a grim host of an hundred thousand men. For a long time he would not suffer himself to be entreated, but at the last he agreed to have Cornwall and Kent in King Arthur's days, and after all England. Furthermore, it was decided that King Arthur and Sir Mordred should meet in the plain between their hosts, each with fourteen persons. 'I am glad of this,' said King Arthur, when he heard what had been done; but he warned his men that if they were to see a sword drawn they were to come on swiftly and slay that traitor, Sir Mordred, 'for I in no wise trust him.' And in like wise spake Sir Mordred unto his host. Then they two met, and agreed on the truce, and wine was fetched and they drank, and all was well. But while they were drinking an adder crept out of a bush, and stung one of the fourteen Knights on his foot, and he drew his sword to slay the adder, not thinking of anything but his pain. And when the men of both armies beheld that drawn sword, they blew trumpets and horns and shouted grimly, and made them ready for battle. So King Arthur leaped on his horse, and Sir Mordred on his, and they went back to their own armies, and thus began the fight, and never was there seen one more doleful in any Christian land. For all day long there was rushing and riding, spearing and striking, and many a grim word was there spoken, and many a deadly stroke given. And at the end full an hundred thousand dead men lay upon the down, and King Arthur had but two Knights left living, Sir Lucan and his brother, Sir Bedivere. 'Alas! that I should have lived to see this day,' cried the King, 'for now I am come to mine end; but would to God that I knew where were that traitor Sir Mordred that hath caused all this mischief.' Then suddenly he saw Sir Mordred leaning on his sword among a great heap of dead men.

p. 164

'Give me my spear,' said King Arthur unto Sir Lucan.
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Dana Monsour
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« Reply #316 on: September 17, 2009, 12:50:11 am »

'Sir, let him be,' answered Sir Lucan. 'Remember your dream, and leave off by this. For, blessed be God, you have won the field, and we three be alive, and of the others none is alive save Sir Mordred himself. If you leave off now, the day of destiny is past.'

'Tide me death, tide me life,' said the King, 'he shall not escape my hands, for a better chance I shall never have,' and he took his spear in both hands and ran towards Sir Mordred, crying 'Traitor! now is your death day come,' and smote him under the shield, so that the spear went through his body. And when Sir Mordred felt he had his death wound, he raised himself up and struck King Arthur such a blow that the sword clave his helmet, and then fell stark dead on the earth again. When Sir Lucan and Sir Bedivere saw that sight they carried the King to a little chapel, but they hoped not to leave him there long, for Sir Lucan had noted that many people were stealing out to rob the slain of the ornaments on their armour. And those that were not dead already they slew.
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Dana Monsour
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« Reply #317 on: September 17, 2009, 12:50:23 am »

'Would that I could quit this place to go to some large town,' said the King, when he had heard this, 'but I cannot stand, my head works so. Ah, Lancelot, sorely have I missed thee.' At that Sir Lucan and Sir Bedivere tried to lift him, but Sir Lucan had been grievously wounded in the fight, and the blood burst forth again as he lifted Arthur, and he died and fell at the feet of the King.

'Alas!' said the King, 'he has died for my sake, and he had more need of help than I. But he would not complain, his heart was so set to help me. And I should sorrow yet more if I were still to live long, but my time flieth fast. Therefore, Sir Bedivere, cease moaning and weeping, and take Excalibur, my good sword, and go with it to yonder water side, and when thou comest there, I charge thee, throw my sword in that water, and come again and tell me what thou hast seen.'
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Dana Monsour
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« Reply #318 on: September 17, 2009, 12:50:41 am »

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« Reply #319 on: September 17, 2009, 12:50:56 am »

p. 167

'My lord,' answered Sir Bedivere, 'your commandment shall be done,' and he departed. But when he looked at that noble sword, and beheld the jewels and gold that covered the pommel and hilt, he said to himself, 'If I throw this rich sword into the water no good will come of it, but only harm and loss'; so he hid Excalibur under a tree, and returned unto the King and told him his bidding was done. 'What did you see there?' asked the King.

'Sir,' answered Sir Bedivere, 'I saw nothing but the winds and waves.'

'You have not dealt truly with me,' said the King.

'Go back, and do my command; spare not, but throw it in.' But again Sir Bedivere's heart failed him, and he hid the sword, and returned to tell the King he had seen nothing but the wan water.
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Dana Monsour
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« Reply #320 on: September 17, 2009, 12:51:08 am »

'Ah, traitor!' cried King Arthur, 'this is twice you have betrayed me. If you do not now fulfil my bidding, with mine own hands will I slay you, for you would gladly see me dead for the sake of my sword.' Then Sir Bedivere was shamed at having disobeyed the King, and drew forth the sword from its hiding place, and carried it to the water side, and with a mighty swing threw it far into the water. And as it flew through the air, an arm and hand lifted itself out of the water, and caught the hilt, and brandished the sword thrice, and vanished with it beneath the water. So Sir Bedivere came again unto the King, and told him what he saw.

'Alas!' said the King, 'help me hence, for I have tarried overlong,' and Sir Bedivere took him on his back, and bare him to the water side. And when they stood by the bank, a little barge containing many fair ladies and a Queen, all in black hoods, drew near, and they wept and shrieked when they beheld King Arthur.

'Now put me into the barge,' said the King, and Sir Bedivere laid him softly down, and the ladies made great mourning and the barge rowed from the land.

p. 168
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Dana Monsour
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« Reply #321 on: September 17, 2009, 12:51:25 am »

'Ah, my lord Arthur!' cried Sir Bedivere, 'what shall become of me now you go from me, and I am left here alone with my enemies?'

'Comfort yourself,' replied the King, 'and do as well as you may, for I go unto the valley of Avilion, to be healed of my grievous wound. And if you never more hear of me, pray for my soul.' But Sir Bedivere watched the barge till it was beyond his sight, then he rode all night till he came to a hermitage. Now when Queen Guenevere heard of the battle, and how that King Arthur was slain and Sir Mordred and all their Knights, she stole away, and five ladies with her, and rode to Amesbury; and there she put on clothes of black and white, and became a nun, and did great penance, and many alms deeds, and people marvelled at her and at her godly life. And ever she wept and moaned over the years that were past, and for King Arthur.
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« Reply #322 on: September 17, 2009, 12:51:35 am »

As soon as the messenger whom the King had sent with Sir Gawaine's letter reached Sir Lancelot, and he learned that Sir Mordred had taken for himself the crown of England, he rose up in wrath, and, calling Sir Bors, bid him collect their host, that they should pass at once over the sea to avenge themselves on that false Knight. A fair wind blew them to Dover, and there Sir Lancelot asked tidings of King Arthur. Then the people told him that the King was slain, and Sir Mordred, and an hundred thousand men besides, and that the King had buried Sir Gawaine in the chapel at Dover Castle. 'Fair Sirs,' said Sir Lancelot, 'show me that tomb'; and they showed it to him, and Sir Lancelot kneeled before it, and wept and prayed, and this he did for two days. And on the third morning he summoned before him all the great Lords and leaders of his host, and said to them, 'Fair Lords, I thank you all for coming here with me, but we come too late, and that will be bitter grief to me as long as I shall live. But since it is so, I will myself ride and seek my lady Guenevere in the west country, where they say she has
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Dana Monsour
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« Reply #323 on: September 17, 2009, 12:51:54 am »

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« Reply #324 on: September 17, 2009, 12:52:06 am »

p. 171

gone, and tarry you here, I entreat you, for fifteen days, and if I should not return take your ships and depart into your own country.'

Sir Bors strove to reason with him that the quest was fruitless, and that in the west country he would find few friends; but his words availed nothing. For seven days Sir Lancelot rode, and at last he came to a nunnery, where Queen Guenevere was looking out from her lattice, and was wave of his presence as he walked in the cloister. And when she saw him she swooned, and her ladies and gentlewomen tended her. When she was recovered, she spoke to them and said, 'You will marvel, fair ladies, why I should swoon. It was caused by the sight of yonder Knight who stands there, and I pray you bring him to me.' As soon as Sir Lancelot was brought she said to her ladies, 'Through me and this man has this war been wrought, for which I repent me night and day. Therefore, Sir Lancelot, I require and pray you never to see my face again, but go back to your own land, and govern it and protect it; and take to yourself a wife, and pray that my soul may be made clean of its ill doing.'
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« Reply #325 on: September 17, 2009, 12:52:14 am »

'Nay, Madam,' answered Sir Lancelot, 'that shall I never do; but the same life that you have taken upon you, will I take upon me likewise.'

'If you will do so,' said the Queen, 'it is well; but I may never believe but that you will turn to the world again.'
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« Reply #326 on: September 17, 2009, 12:52:22 am »

'Well, Madam,' answered he, 'you speak as it pleases you, but you never knew me false to my promise, and I will forsake the world as you have done. For if in the quest of the Sangreal I had forsaken its vanities with all my heart and will, I had passed all Knights in the quest, except Sir Galahad my son. And therefore, lady, since you have taken you to perfection, I must do so also, and if I may find a hermit that will receive me I will
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« Reply #327 on: September 17, 2009, 12:52:33 am »

pray and do penance while my life lasts. Wherefore, Madam, I beseech you to kiss me once again.'

'No,' said the Queen, that I may not do,' and Sir Lancelot took his horse and departed in great sorrow. All that day and the next night he rode through the forest till he beheld a hermitage and a chapel between two cliffs, and heard a little bell ring to Mass. And he that sang Mass was the Bishop of Canterbury, and Sir Bedivere was with him. After Mass Sir Bedivere told Sir Lancelot how King Arthur had thrown away his sword and had sailed to the valley of Avilion, and Sir Lancelot's heart almost burst for grief. Then he kneeled down and besought the Bishop that he might be his brother. 'That I will, gladly,' said the Bishop, and put a robe upon him.
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« Reply #328 on: September 17, 2009, 12:52:44 am »

After the fifteen days were ended, and still Sir Lancelot did not return, Sir Bors made the great host go back across the sea, while he and some of Sir Lancelot's kin set forth to seek all over England till they found Sir Lancelot. They rode different ways, and by fortune Sir Bors came one day to the chapel where Sir Lancelot was. And he prayed that he might stay and be one of their fellowship, and in six months six other Knights were joined to them, and their horses went where they would, for the Knights spent their lives in fasting and prayer, and kept no riches for themselves.
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« Reply #329 on: September 17, 2009, 12:52:52 am »

In this wise six years passed, and one night a vision came to Sir Lancelot in his sleep charging him to hasten unto Amesbury. 'By the time that thou come there,' said the vision, I thou shalt find Queen Guenevere dead; therefore take thy fellows with thee and fetch her corpse, and bury it by the side of her husband, the noble King Arthur.'
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