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Le Morte d'Arthur

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Author Topic: Le Morte d'Arthur  (Read 2779 times)
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« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2007, 01:54:38 am »


Yet of the same battle.

THEN Lucas saw King Agwisance, that late had slain Moris de la
Roche, and Lucas ran to him with a short spear that was great,
that he gave him such a fall, that the horse fell down to the
earth.  Also Lucas found there on foot, Bloias de La Flandres,
and Sir Gwinas, two hardy knights, and in that woodness that
Lucas was in, he slew two bachelors and horsed them again.  Then
waxed the battle passing hard on both parties, but Arthur was
glad that his knights were horsed again, and then they fought
together, that the noise and sound rang by the water and the
wood.  Wherefore King Ban and King Bors made them ready, and
dressed their shields and harness, and they were so courageous
that many knights shook and bevered for eagerness.  All this
while Lucas, and Gwinas, and Briant, and Bellias of Flanders,
held strong medley against six kings, that was King Lot, King
Nentres, King Brandegoris, King Idres, King Uriens, and King
Agwisance.  So with the help of Sir Kay and of Sir Griflet they
held these six kings hard, that unnethe they had any power to
defend them.  But when Sir Arthur saw the battle would not be
ended by no manner, he fared wood as a lion, and steered his
horse here and there, on the right hand, and on the left hand,
that he stinted not till he had slain twenty knights.  Also he
wounded King Lot sore on the shoulder, and made him to leave that
ground, for Sir Kay and Griflet did with King Arthur there great
deeds of arms.  Then Ulfius, and Brastias, and Sir Ector
<26>encountered against the Duke Eustace, and King Cradelment,
and King Clariance of Northumberland, and King Carados, and
against the King with the Hundred Knights.  So these knights
encountered with these kings, that they made them to avoid the
ground.  Then King Lot made great dole for his damages and his
fellows, and said unto the ten kings, But if ye will do as I
devise we shall be slain and destroyed; let me have the King with
the Hundred Knights, and King Agwisance, and King Idres, and the
Duke of Cambenet, and we five kings will have fifteen thousand
men of arms with us, and we will go apart while ye six kings hold
medley with twelve thousand; an we see that ye have foughten with
them long, then will we come on fiercely, and else shall we never
match them, said King Lot, but by this mean.  So they departed as
they here devised, and six kings made their party strong against
Arthur, and made great war long.

In the meanwhile brake the ambushment of King Ban and King Bors,
and Lionses and Phariance had the vanguard, and they two knights
met with King Idres and his fellowship, and there began a great
medley of breaking of spears, and smiting of swords, with slaying
of men and horses, and King Idres was near at discomforture.

That saw Agwisance the king, and put Lionses and Phariance in
point of death; for the Duke of Cambenet came on withal with a
great fellowship.  So these two knights were in great danger of
their lives that they were fain to return, but always they
rescued themselves and their fellowship marvellously When King
Bors saw those knights put aback, it grieved him sore; then he
came on so fast that his fellowship seemed as black as Inde.
When King Lot had espied King Bors, he knew him well, then he
said, O Jesu, defend us from death and horrible maims! for I see
well we be in great peril of death; for I see yonder a king, one
of the most worshipfullest men and one of the best knights of the
world, is inclined unto his fellowship.  What is he? said the
King with the Hundred Knights.  It is, said King Lot, King Bors
of Gaul; I marvel how they came into this country without
<27>witting of us all.  It was by Merlin's advice, said the
knight.  As for him, said King Carados, I will encounter with
King Bors, an ye will rescue me when myster is.  Go on, said they
all, we will do all that we may.  Then King Carados and his host
rode on a soft pace, till that they came as nigh King Bors as
bow-draught; then either battle let their horse run as fast as
they might.  And Bleoberis, that was godson unto King Bors, he
bare his chief standard, that was a passing good knight.  Now
shall we see, said King Bors, how these northern Britons can bear
the arms: and King Bors encountered with a knight, and smote him
throughout with a spear that he fell dead unto the earth; and
after drew his sword and did marvellous deeds of arms, that all
parties had great wonder thereof; and his knights failed not, but
did their part, and King Carados was smitten to the earth.  With
that came the King with the Hundred Knights and rescued King
Carados mightily by force of arms, for he was a passing good
knight of a king, and but a young man.

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« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2007, 01:55:21 am »


Yet more of the same battle.

BY then came into the field King Ban as fierce as a lion, with
bands of green and thereupon gold.  Ha! a! said King Lot, we must
be discomfited, for yonder I see the most valiant knight of the
world, and the man of the most renown, for such two brethren as
is King Ban and King Bors are not living, wherefore we must needs
void or die; and but if we avoid manly and wisely there is but
death.  When King Ban came into the battle, he came in so
fiercely that the strokes redounded again from the wood and the
water; wherefore King Lot wept for pity and dole that he saw so
many good knights take their end.  But through the great force of
King Ban they made both the northern battles that were departed
hurtled together for great dread; <28>and the three kings and
their knights slew on ever, that it was pity on to behold that
multitude of the people that fled.  But King Lot, and King of the
Hundred Knights, and King Morganore gathered the people together
passing knightly, and did great prowess of arms, and held the
battle all that day, like hard.

When the King of the Hundred Knights beheld the great damage that
King Ban did, he thrust unto him with his horse, and smote him on
high upon the helm, a great stroke, and astonied him sore.  Then
King Ban was wroth with him, and followed on him fiercely; the
other saw that, and cast up his shield, and spurred his horse
forward, but the stroke of King Ban fell down and carved a cantel
off the shield, and the sword slid down by the hauberk behind his
back, and cut through the trapping of steel and the horse even in
two pieces, that the sword felt the earth.  Then the King of the
Hundred Knights voided the horse lightly, and with his sword he
broached the horse of King Ban through and through.  With that
King Ban voided lightly from the dead horse, and then King Ban
smote at the other so eagerly, and smote him on the helm that he
fell to the earth.  Also in that ire he felled King Morganore,
and there was great slaughter of good knights and much people.
By then came into the press King Arthur, and found King Ban
standing among dead men and dead horses, fighting on foot as a
wood lion, that there came none nigh him, as far as he might
reach with his sword, but he caught a grievous buffet; whereof
King Arthur had great pity.  And Arthur was so bloody, that by
his shield there might no man know him, for all was blood and
brains on his sword.  And as Arthur looked by him he saw a knight
that was passingly well horsed, and therewith Sir Arthur ran to
him, and smote him on the helm, that his sword went unto his
teeth, and the knight sank down to the earth dead, and anon
Arthur took the horse by the rein, and led him unto King Ban, and
said, Fair brother, have this horse, for he have great myster
thereof, and me repenteth sore of your great damage.  It shall be
soon revenged, said King Ban, for I trust in God mine ure is
<29>not such but some of them may sore repent this.  I will well,
said Arthur, for I see your deeds full actual; nevertheless, I
might not come at you at that time.

But when King Ban was mounted on horseback, then there began new
battle, the which was sore and hard, and passing great slaughter.
And so through great force King Arthur, King Ban, and King Bors
made their knights a little to withdraw them.  But alway the
eleven kings with their chivalry never turned back; and so
withdrew them to a little wood, and so over a little river, and
there they rested them, for on the night they might have no rest
on the field.  And then the eleven kings and knights put them on
a heap all together, as men adread and out of all comfort.  But
there was no man might pass them, they held them so hard together
both behind and before, that King Arthur had marvel of their
deeds of arms, and was passing wroth.  Ah, Sir Arthur, said King
Ban and King Bors, blame them not, for they do as good men ought
to do.  For by my faith, said King Ban, they are the best
fighting men, and knights of most prowess, that ever I saw or
heard speak of, and those eleven kings are men of great worship;
and if they were longing unto you there were no king under the
heaven had such eleven knights, and of such worship.  I may not
love them, said Arthur, they would destroy me.  That wot we well,
said King Ban and King Bors, for they are your mortal enemies,
and that hath been proved aforehand; and this day they have done
their part, and that is great pity of their wilfulness.

Then all the eleven kings drew them together, and then said King
Lot, Lords, ye must other ways than ye do, or else the great loss
is behind; ye may see what people we have lost, and what good men
we lose, because we wait always on these foot-men, and ever in
saving of one of the foot-men we lose ten horsemen for him;
therefore this is mine advice, let us put our foot-men from us,
for it is near night, for the noble Arthur will not tarry on the
footmen, for they may save themselves, the wood is near hand.
And when we horsemen be together, look every each of you kings
let make such ordinance that none break upon <30>pain of death.
And who that seeth any man dress him to flee, lightly that he be
slain, for it is better that we slay a coward, than through a
coward all we to be slain.  How say ye? said King Lot, answer me
all ye kings.  It is well said, quoth King Nentres; so said the
King of the Hundred Knights; the same said the King Carados, and
King Uriens; so did King Idres and King Brandegoris; and so did
King Cradelment, and the Duke of Cambenet; the same said King
Clariance and King Agwisance, and sware they would never fail
other, neither for life nor for death.  And whoso that fled, but
did as they did, should be slain.  Then they amended their
harness, and righted their shields, and took new spears and set
them on their thighs, and stood still as it had been a plump of

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« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2007, 01:56:04 am »


Yet more of the same battle, and how it was ended by Merlin.

WHEN Sir Arthur and King Ban and Bors beheld them and all their
knights, they praised them much for their noble cheer of
chivalry, for the hardiest fighters that ever they heard or saw.
With that, there dressed them a forty noble knights, and said
unto the three kings, they would break their battle; these were
their names: Lionses, Phariance, Ulfius, Brastias, Ector, Kay,
Lucas the butler, Griflet le Fise de Dieu, Mariet de la Roche,
Guinas de Bloi, Briant de la Forest Savage, Bellaus, Morians of
the Castle [of] Maidens, Flannedrius of the Castle of Ladies,
Annecians that was King Bors' godson, a noble knight, Ladinas de
la Rouse, Emerause, Caulas, Graciens le Castlein, one Blois de la
Case, and Sir Colgrevaunce de Gorre; all these knights rode on
afore with spears on their thighs, and spurred their horses
mightily as the horses might run.  And the eleven kings with part
of their knights rushed with their horses as fast as they might
with their spears, and there they did on both parties marvellous
deeds of <31>arms.  So came into the thick of the press, Arthur,
Ban, and Bors, and slew down right on both hands, that their
horses went in blood up to the fetlocks.  But ever the eleven
kings and their host was ever in the visage of Arthur.  Wherefore
Ban and Bors had great marvel, considering the great slaughter
that there was, but at the last they were driven aback over a
little river.  With that came Merlin on a great black horse, and
said unto Arthur, Thou hast never done!  Hast thou not done
enough? of three score thousand this day hast thou left alive but
fifteen thousand, and it is time to say Ho!  For God is wroth
with thee, that thou wilt never have done; for yonder eleven
kings at this time will not be overthrown, but an thou tarry on
them any longer, thy fortune will turn and they shall increase.
And therefore withdraw you unto your lodging, and rest you as
soon as ye may, and reward your good knights with gold and with
silver, for they have well deserved it; there may no riches be
too dear for them, for of so few men as ye have, there were never
men did more of prowess than they have done today, for ye have
matched this day with the best fighters of the world.  That is
truth, said King Ban and Bors.  Also said Merlin, withdraw you
where ye list, for this three year I dare undertake they shall
not dere you; and by then ye shall hear new tidings.  And then
Merlin said unto Arthur, These eleven kings have more on hand
than they are ware of, for the Saracens are landed in their
countries, more than forty thousand, that burn and slay, and have
laid siege at the castle Wandesborow, and make great destruction;
therefore dread you not this three year.  Also, sir, all the
goods that be gotten at this battle, let it be searched, and when
ye have it in your hands, let it be given freely unto these two
kings, Ban and Bors, that they may reward their knights withal;
and that shall cause strangers to be of better will to do you
service at need.  Also you be able to reward your own knights of
your own goods whensomever it liketh you.  It is well said, quoth
Arthur, and as thou hast devised, so shall it be done.  When it
was delivered to Ban and Bors, they gave the <32>goods as freely
to their knights as freely as it was given to them.  Then Merlin
took his leave of Arthur and of the two kings, for to go and see
his master Bleise, that dwelt in Northumberland; and so he
departed and came to his master, that was passing glad of his
coming; and there he told how Arthur and the two kings had sped
at the great battle, and how it was ended, and told the names of
every king and knight of worship that was there.  And so Bleise
wrote the battle word by word, as Merlin told him, how it began,
and by whom, and in likewise how it was ended, and who had the
worse.  All the battles that were done in Arthur's days Merlin
did his master Bleise do write; also he did do write all the
battles that every worthy knight did of Arthur's court.

After this Merlin departed from his master and came to King
Arthur, that was in the castle of Bedegraine, that was one of the
castles that stand in the forest of Sherwood.  And Merlin was so
disguised that King Arthur knew him not, for he was all befurred
in black sheep-skins, and a great pair of boots, and a bow and
arrows, in a russet gown, and brought wild geese in his hand, and
it was on the morn after Candlemas day; but King Arthur knew him
not.  Sir, said Merlin unto the king, will ye give me a gift?
Wherefore, said King Arthur, should I give thee a gift, churl?
Sir, said Merlin, ye were better to give me a gift that is not in
your hand than to lose great riches, for here in the same place
where the great battle was, is great treasure hid in the earth.
Who told thee so, churl? said Arthur.  Merlin told me so, said
he.  Then Ulfius and Brastias knew him well enough, and smiled.
Sir, said these two knights, it is Merlin that so speaketh unto
you.  Then King Arthur was greatly abashed, and had marvel of
Merlin, and so had King Ban and King Bors, and so they had great
disport at him.  So in the meanwhile there came a damosel that
was an earl's daughter: his name was Sanam, and her name was
Lionors, a passing fair damosel; and so she came thither for to
do homage, as other lords did after the great battle.  And King
Arthur set his love greatly upon her, and so did she upon him,
and the king <33>had ado with her, and gat on her a child: his
name was Borre, that was after a good knight, and of the Table
Round.  Then there came word that the King Rience of North Wales
made great war on King Leodegrance of Cameliard, for the which
thing Arthur was wroth, for he loved him well, and hated King
Rience, for he was alway against him.  So by ordinance of the
three kings that were sent home unto Benwick, all they would
depart for dread of King Claudas; and Phariance, and Antemes, and
Gratian, and Lionses [of] Payarne, with the leaders of those that
should keep the kings' lands.

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« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2007, 01:56:45 am »


How King Arthur, King Ban, and King Bors rescued
King Leodegrance, and other incidents.

AND then King Arthur, and King Ban, and King Bors departed with
their fellowship, a twenty thousand, and came within six days
into the country of Cameliard, and there rescued King
Leodegrance, and slew there much people of King Rience, unto the
number of ten thousand men, and put him to flight.  And then had
these three kings great cheer of King Leodegrance, that thanked
them of their great goodness, that they would revenge him of his
enemies; and there had Arthur the first sight of Guenever, the
king's daughter of Cameliard, and ever after he loved her.  After
they were wedded, as it telleth in the book.  So, briefly to make
an end, they took their leave to go into their own countries, for
King Claudas did great destruction on their lands.  Then said
Arthur, I will go with you.  Nay, said the kings, ye shall not at
this time, for ye have much to do yet in these lands, therefore
we will depart, and with the great goods that we have gotten in
these lands by your gifts, we shall wage good knights and
withstand the King Claudas' malice, for by the grace of God, an
we have need we will send to you for your <34>succour; and if ye
have need, send for us, and we will not tarry, by the faith of
our bodies.  It shall not, said Merlin, need that these two kings
come again in the way of war, but I know well King Arthur may not
be long from you, for within a year or two ye shall have great
need, and then shall he revenge you on your enemies, as ye have
done on his.  For these eleven kings shall die all in a day, by
the great might and prowess of arms of two valiant knights (as it
telleth after); their names be Balin le Savage, and Balan, his
brother, that be marvellous good knights as be any living.

Now turn we to the eleven kings that returned unto a city that
hight Sorhaute, the which city was within King Uriens', and there
they refreshed them as well as they might, and made leeches
search their wounds, and sorrowed greatly for the death of their
people.  With that there came a messenger and told how there was
come into their lands people that were lawless as well as
Saracens, a forty thousand, and have burnt and slain all the
people that they may come by, without mercy, and have laid siege
on the castle of Wandesborow.  Alas, said the eleven kings, here
is sorrow upon sorrow, and if we had not warred against Arthur as
we have done, he would soon revenge us.  As for King Leodegrance,
he loveth Arthur better than us, and as for King Rience, he hath
enough to do with Leodegrance, for he hath laid siege unto him.
So they consented together to keep all the marches of Cornwall,
of Wales, and of the North.  So first, they put King Idres in the
City of Nauntes in Britain, with four thousand men of arms, to
watch both the water and the land.  Also they put in the city of
Windesan, King Nentres of Garlot, with four thousand knights to
watch both on water and on land.  Also they had of other men of
war more than eight thousand, for to fortify all the fortresses
in the marches of Cornwall.  Also they put more knights in all
the marches of Wales and Scotland, with many good men of arms,
and so they kept them together the space of three year, and ever
allied them with mighty kings and dukes and lords.  And to them
fell King Rience of North Wales, the which <35>and Nero that was
a mighty man of men.  And all this while they furnished them and
garnished them of good men of arms, and victual, and of all
manner of habiliment that pretendeth to the war, to avenge them
for the battle of Bedegraine, as it telleth in the book of
adventures following.

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« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2007, 01:57:32 am »


How King Arthur rode to Carlion, and of his dream,
and how he saw the questing beast.

THEN after the departing of King Ban and of King Bors, King
Arthur rode into Carlion.  And thither came to him, King Lot's
wife, of Orkney, in manner of a message, but she was sent thither
to espy the court of King Arthur; and she came richly beseen,
with her four sons, Gawaine, Gaheris, Agravine, and Gareth, with
many other knights and ladies.  For she was a passing fair lady,
therefore the king cast great love unto her, and desired to lie
by her; so they were agreed, and he begat upon her Mordred, and
she was his sister, on his mother's side, Igraine.  So there she
rested her a month, and at the last departed.  Then the king
dreamed a marvellous dream whereof he was sore adread.  But all
this time King Arthur knew not that King Lot's wife was his
sister.  Thus was the dream of Arthur:  Him thought there was
come into this land griffins and serpents, and him thought they
burnt and slew all the people in the land, and then him thought
he fought with them, and they did him passing great harm, and
wounded him full sore, but at the last he slew them.  When the
king awaked, he was passing heavy of his dream, and so to put it
out of thoughts, he made him ready with many knights to ride a-
hunting.  As soon as he was in the forest the king saw a great
hart afore him.  This hart will I chase, said King Arthur, and so
he spurred the horse, and rode after long, and so by fine force
oft he <36>was like to have smitten the hart; whereas the king
had chased the hart so long, that his horse lost his breath, and
fell down dead.  Then a yeoman fetched the king another horse.

So the king saw the hart enbushed, and his horse dead, he set him
down by a fountain, and there he fell in great thoughts.  And as
he sat so, him thought he heard a noise of hounds, to the sum of
thirty.  And with that the king saw coming toward him the
strangest beast that ever he saw or heard of; so the beast went
to the well and drank, and the noise was in the beast's belly
like unto the questing of thirty couple hounds; but all the while
the beast drank there was no noise in the beast's belly: and
there.with the beast departed with a great noise, whereof the
king had great marvel.  And so he was in a great thought, and
therewith he fell asleep.  Right so there came a knight afoot
unto Arthur and said, Knight full of thought and sleepy, tell me
if thou sawest a strange beast pass this way.  Such one saw I,
said King Arthur, that is past two mile; what would ye with the
beast? said Arthur.  Sir, I have followed that beast long time,
and killed mine horse, so would God I had another to follow my
quest.  Right so came one with the king's horse, and when the
knight saw the horse, he prayed the king to give him the horse:
for I have followed this quest this twelvemonth, and either I
shall achieve him, or bleed of the best blood of my body.
Pellinore, that time king, followed the Questing Beast, and after
his death Sir Palamides followed it.

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« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2007, 01:58:30 am »


How King Pellinore took Arthur's horse and followed the
Questing Beast, and how Merlin met with Arthur.

SIR knight, said the king, leave that quest, and suffer me
to have it, and I will follow it another twelvemonth.  Ah,
fool, said the knight unto Arthur, it is in vain thy desire,
<37>for it shall never be achieved but by me, or my next kin.
Therewith he started unto the king's horse and mounted into the
saddle, and said, Gramercy, this horse is my own.  Well, said the
king, thou mayst take my horse by force, but an I might prove
thee whether thou were better on horseback or I.--Well, said the
knight, seek me here when thou wilt, and here nigh this well thou
shalt find me, and so passed on his way.  Then the king sat in a
study, and bade his men fetch his horse as fast as ever they
might.  Right so came by him Merlin like a child of fourteen year
of age, and saluted the king, and asked him why he was so
pensive.  I may well be pensive, said the king, for I have seen
the marvellest sight that ever I saw.  That know I well, said
Merlin, as well as thyself, and of all thy thoughts, but thou art
but a fool to take thought, for it will not amend thee.  Also I
know what thou art, and who was thy father, and of whom thou wert
begotten; King Uther Pendragon was thy father, and begat thee on
Igraine.  That is false, said King Arthur, how shouldest thou
know it, for thou art not so old of years to know my father?
Yes, said Merlin, I know it better than ye or any man living.  I
will not believe thee, said Arthur, and was wroth with the child.
So departed Merlin, and came again in the likeness of an old man
of fourscore year of age, whereof the king was right glad, for he
seemed to be right wise.

Then said the old man, Why are ye so sad?  I may well be heavy,
said Arthur, for many things.  Also here was a child, and told me
many things that meseemeth he should not know, for he was not of
age to know my father.  Yes, said the old man, the child told you
truth, and more would he have told you an ye would have suffered
him.  But ye have done a thing late that God is displeased with
you, for ye have lain by your sister, and on her ye have gotten a
child that shall destroy you and all the knights of your realm.
What are ye, said Arthur, that tell me these tidings?  I am
Merlin, and I was he in the child's likeness.  Ah, said King
Arthur, ye are a marvellous man, but I marvel much of thy words
that I must die in battle.  Marvel not, said Merlin, for it is
<38>God's will your body to be punished for your foul deeds; but
I may well be sorry, said Merlin, for I shall die a shameful
death, to be put in the earth quick, and ye shall die a
worshipful death.  And as they talked this, came one with the
king's horse, and so the king mounted on his horse, and Merlin on
another, and so rode unto Carlion.  And anon the king asked Ector
and Ulfius how he was begotten, and they told him Uther Pendragon
was his father and Queen Igraine his mother.  Then he said to
Merlin, I will that my mother be sent for that I may speak with
her; and if she say so herself then will I believe it.  In all
haste, the queen was sent for, and she came and brought with her
Morgan le Fay, her daughter, that was as fair a lady as any might
be, and the king welcomed Igraine in the best manner.

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« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2007, 01:59:06 am »


How Ulfius impeached Queen Igraine, Arthur's mother, of treason;
and how a knight came and desired to have the death of his master

RIGHT SO came Ulfius, and said openly, that the king and all
might hear that were feasted that day, Ye are the falsest lady of
the world, and the most traitress unto the king's person.
Beware, said Arthur, what thou sayest; thou speakest a great
word.  I am well ware, said Ulfius, what I speak, and here is my
glove to prove it upon any man that will say the contrary, that
this Queen Igraine is causer of your great damage, and of your
great war.  For, an she would have uttered it in the life of King
Uther Pendragon, of the birth of you, and how ye were begotten ye
had never had the mortal wars that ye have had; for the most part
of your barons of your realm knew never whose son ye were, nor of
whom ye were begotten; and she that bare you of her body should
have made it known openly in excusing of her worship and yours,
and in like <39>wise to all the realm, wherefore I prove her
false to God and to you and to all your realm, and who will say
the contrary I will prove it on his body.

Then spake Igraine and said, I am a woman and I may not fight,
but rather than I should be dishonoured, there would some good
man take my quarrel.  More, she said, Merlin knoweth well, and ye
Sir Ulfius, how King Uther came to me in the Castle of Tintagil
in the likeness of my lord, that was dead three hours to-fore,
and thereby gat a child that night upon me.  And after the
thirteenth day King Uther wedded me, and by his commandment when
the child was born it was delivered unto Merlin and nourished by
him, and so I saw the child never after, nor wot not what is his
name, for I knew him never yet.  And there, Ulfius said to the
queen, Merlin is more to blame than ye.  Well I wot, said the
queen, I bare a child by my lord King Uther, but I wot not where
he is become.  Then Merlin took the king by the hand, saying,
This is your mother.  And therewith Sir Ector bare witness how he
nourished him by Uther's commandment.  And therewith King Arthur
took his mother, Queen Igraine, in his arms and kissed her, and
either wept upon other.  And then the king let make a feast that
lasted eight days.

Then on a day there came in the court a squire on horseback,
leading a knight before him wounded to the death, and told him
how there was a knight in the forest had reared up a pavilion by
a well, and hath slain my master, a good knight, his name was
Miles; wherefore I beseech you that my master may be buried, and
that some knight may revenge my master's death.  Then the noise
was great of that knight's death in the court, and every man said
his advice.  Then came Griflet that was but a squire, and he was
but young, of the age of the king Arthur, so he besought the king
for all his service that he had done him to give the order of

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« Reply #22 on: August 25, 2007, 01:59:59 am »


How Griflet was made knight, and jousted with a knight

THOU art full young and tender of age, said Arthur, for to take
so high an order on thee.  Sir, said Griflet, I beseech you make
me knight.  Sir, said Merlin, it were great pity to lose Griflet,
for he will be a passing good man when he is of age, abiding with
you the term of his life.  And if he adventure his body with
yonder knight at the fountain, it is in great peril if ever he
come again, for he is one of the best knights of the world, and
the strongest man of arms.  Well, said Arthur.  So at the desire
of Griflet the king made him knight.  Now, said Arthur unto Sir
Griflet, sith I have made you knight thou must give me a gift.
What ye will, said Griflet.  Thou shalt promise me by the faith
of thy body, when thou hast jousted with the knight at the
fountain, whether it fall ye be on foot or on horseback, that
right so ye shall come again unto me without making any more
debate.  I will promise you, said Griflet, as you desire.  Then
took Griflet his horse in great haste, and dressed his shield and
took a spear in his hand, and so he rode a great wallop till he
came to the fountain, and thereby he saw a rich pavilion, and
thereby under a cloth stood a fair horse well saddled and
bridled, and on a tree a shield of divers colours and a great
spear.  Then Griflet smote on the shield with the butt of his
spear, that the shield fell down to the ground.  With that the
knight came out of the pavilion, and said, Fair knight, why smote
ye down my shield?  For I will joust with you, said Griflet.  It
is better ye do not, said the knight, for ye are but young, and
late made knight, and your might is nothing to mine.  As for
that, said Griflet, I will joust with you.  That is me loath,
said the knight, but sith I must needs, I will dress me thereto.
Of whence be ye? said the knight.  Sir, I am of Arthur's court.
So the two knights ran <41>together that Griflet's spear all to-
shivered; and there withal he smote Griflet through the shield
and the left side, and brake the spear that the truncheon stuck
in his body, that horse and knight fell down.   

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« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2007, 02:00:47 am »


How twelve knights came from Rome and asked truage for this land
of Arthur, and how Arthur fought with a knight.

WHEN the knight saw him lie so on the ground, he alighted, and
was passing heavy, for he weened he had slain him, and then he
unlaced his helm and gat him wind, and so with the truncheon he
set him on his horse, and so betook him to God, and said he had a
mighty heart, and if he might live he would prove a passing good
knight.  And so Sir Griflet rode to the court, where great dole
was made for him.  But through good leeches he was healed and
saved.  Right so came into the court twelve knights, and were
aged men, and they came from the Emperor of Rome, and they asked
of Arthur truage for this realm, other else the emperor would
destroy him and his land.  Well, said King Arthur, ye are
messengers, therefore ye may say what ye will, other else ye
should die therefore.  But this is mine answer: I owe the emperor
no truage, nor none will I hold him, but on a fair field I shall
give him my truage that shall be with a sharp spear, or else with
a sharp sword, and that shall not be long, by my father's soul,
Uther Pendragon.  And therewith the messengers departed passingly
wroth, and King Arthur as wroth, for in evil time came they then;
for the king was passingly wroth for the hurt of Sir Griflet.
And so he commanded a privy man of his chamber that or it be day
his best horse and armour, with all that longeth unto his person,
be without the city or to-morrow day.  Right so or to-morrow day
he met with his man and his horse, and so mounted up and
<42>dressed his shield and took his spear, and bade his
chamberlain tarry there till he came again.  And so Arthur rode a
soft pace till it was day, and then was he ware of three churls
chasing Merlin, and would have slain him.  Then the king rode
unto them, and bade them:  Flee, churls! then were they afeard
when they saw a knight, and fled.  O Merlin, said Arthur, here
hadst thou been slain for all thy crafts had I not been.  Nay,
said Merlin, not so, for I could save myself an I would; and thou
art more near thy death than I am, for thou goest to the
deathward, an God be not thy friend.

So as they went thus talking they came to the fountain, and the
rich pavilion there by it.  Then King Arthur was ware where sat a
knight armed in a chair.  Sir knight, said Arthur, for what cause
abidest thou here, that there may no knight ride this way but if
he joust with thee? said the king.  I rede thee leave that
custom, said Arthur.  This custom, said the knight, have I used
and will use maugre who saith nay, and who is grieved with my
custom let him amend it that will.  I will amend it, said Arthur.
I shall defend thee, said the knight.  Anon he took his horse and
dressed his shield and took a spear, and they met so hard either
in other's shields, that all to-shivered their spears.  Therewith
anon Arthur pulled out his sword.  Nay, not so, said the knight;
it is fairer, said the knight, that we twain run more together
with sharp spears.  I will well, said Arthur, an I had any more
spears.  I have enow, said the knight; so there came a squire and
brought two good spears, and Arthur chose one and he another; so
they spurred their horses and came together with all their
mights, that either brake their spears to their hands.  Then
Arthur set hand on his sword.  Nay, said the knight, ye shall do
better, ye are a passing good jouster as ever I met withal, and
once for the love of the high order of knighthood let us joust
once again.  I assent me, said Arthur.  Anon there were brought
two great spears, and every knight gat a spear, and therewith
they ran together that Arthur's spear all to-shivered.  But the
other knight hit him so hard in midst of the <43>shield, that
horse and man fell to the earth, and therewith Arthur was eager,
and pulled out his sword, and said, I will assay thee, sir
knight, on foot, for I have lost the honour on horseback.  I will
be on horseback, said the knight.  Then was Arthur wroth, and
dressed his shield toward him with his sword drawn.  When the
knight saw that, he alighted, for him thought no worship to have
a knight at such avail, he to be on horseback and he on foot, and
so he alighted and dressed his shield unto Arthur.  And there
began a strong battle with many great strokes, and so hewed with
their swords that the cantels flew in the fields, and much blood
they bled both, that all the place there as they fought was
overbled with blood, and thus they fought long and rested them,
and then they went to the battle again, and so hurtled together
like two rams that either fell to the earth.  So at the last they
smote together that both their swords met even together.  But the
sword of the knight smote King Arthur's sword in two pieces,
wherefore he was heavy.  Then said the knight unto Arthur, Thou
art in my daunger whether me list to save thee or slay thee, and
but thou yield thee as overcome and recreant, thou shalt die.  As
for death, said King Arthur, welcome be it when it cometh, but to
yield me unto thee as recreant I had liefer die than to be so
shamed.  And therewithal the king leapt unto Pellinore, and took
him by the middle and threw him down, and raced off his helm.
When the knight felt that he was adread, for he was a passing big
man of might, and anon he brought Arthur under him, and raced off
his helm and would have smitten off his head.

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« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2007, 02:02:13 am »


How Merlin saved Arthur's life, and threw an enchantment
on King Pellinore and made him to sleep.

THEREWITHAL came Merlin and said, Knight, hold thy hand, for an
thou slay that knight thou puttest this realm <44>in the greatest
damage that ever was realm: for this knight is a man of more
worship than thou wotest of.  Why, who is he? said the knight.
It is King Arthur.  Then would he have slain him for dread of his
wrath, and heaved up his sword, and therewith Merlin cast an
enchantment to the knight, that he fell to the earth in a great
sleep.  Then Merlin took up King Arthur, and rode forth on the
knight's horse.  Alas! said Arthur, what hast thou done, Merlin?
hast thou slain this good knight by thy crafts?  There liveth not
so worshipful a knight as he was; I had liefer than the stint of
my land a year that he were alive.  Care ye not, said Merlin, for
he is wholer than ye; for he is but asleep, and will awake within
three hours.  I told you, said Merlin, what a knight he was; here
had ye been slain had I not been.  Also there liveth not a bigger
knight than he is one, and he shall hereafter do you right good
service; and his name is Pellinore, and he shall have two sons
that shall be passing good men; save one they shall have no
fellow of prowess and of good living, and their names shall be
Percivale of Wales and Lamerake of Wales, and he shall tell you
the name of your own son, begotten of your sister, that shall be
the destruction of all this realm.

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« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2007, 02:02:45 am »


How Arthur by the mean of Merlin gat Excalibur his sword of the
Lady of the Lake.

RIGHT SO the king and he departed, and went unto an hermit that
was a good man and a great leech.  So the hermit searched all his
wounds and gave him good salves; so the king was there three
days, and then were his wounds well amended that he might ride
and go, and so departed.  And as they rode, Arthur said, I have
no sword.  No force, said Merlin, hereby is a sword that shall be
yours, an I may.  So they rode till they came to a lake, the
which <45>was a fair water and broad, and in the midst of the
lake Arthur was ware of an arm clothed in white samite, that held
a fair sword in that hand.  Lo! said Merlin, yonder is that sword
that I spake of.  With that they saw a damosel going upon the
lake.  What damosel is that? said Arthur.  That is the Lady of
the Lake, said Merlin; and within that lake is a rock, and
therein is as fair a place as any on earth, and richly beseen;
and this damosel will come to you anon, and then speak ye fair to
her that she will give you that sword.  Anon withal came the
damosel unto Arthur, and saluted him, and he her again.  Damosel,
said Arthur, what sword is that, that yonder the arm holdeth
above the water?  I would it were mine, for I have no sword.  Sir
Arthur, king, said the damosel, that sword is mine, and if ye
will give me a gift when I ask it you, ye shall have it.  By my
faith, said Arthur, I will give you what gift ye will ask.  Well!
said the damosel, go ye into yonder barge, and row yourself to
the sword, and take it and the scabbard with you, and I will ask
my gift when I see my time.  So Sir Arthur and Merlin alighted
and tied their horses to two trees, and so they went into the
ship, and when they came to the sword that the hand held, Sir
Arthur took it up by the handles, and took it with him, and the
arm and the hand went under the water.  And so [they] came unto
the land and rode forth, and then Sir Arthur saw a rich pavilion.
What signifieth yonder pavilion?  It is the knight's pavilion,
said Merlin, that ye fought with last, Sir Pellinore; but he is
out, he is not there.  He hath ado with a knight of yours that
hight Egglame, and they have foughten together, but at the last
Egglame fled, and else he had been dead, and he hath chased him
even to Carlion, and we shall meet with him anon in the highway.
That is well said, said Arthur, now have I a sword, now will I
wage battle with him, and be avenged on him.  Sir, you shall not
so, said Merlin, for the knight is weary of fighting and chasing,
so that ye shall have no worship to have ado with him; also he
will not be lightly matched of one knight living, and therefore
it is my counsel, let him pass, for he shall do you good service
in short time, and his sons after <46>his days.  Also ye shall
see that day in short space, you shall be right glad to give him
your sister to wed.  When I see him, I will do as ye advise, said

Then Sir Arthur looked on the sword, and liked it passing well.
Whether liketh you better, said Merlin, the sword or the
scabbard?  Me liketh better the sword, said Arthur.  Ye are more
unwise, said Merlin, for the scabbard is worth ten of the swords,
for whiles ye have the scabbard upon you, ye shall never lose no
blood, be ye never so sore wounded; therefore keep well the
scabbard always with you.  So they rode unto Carlion, and by the
way they met with Sir Pellinore; but Merlin had done such a
craft, that Pellinore saw not Arthur, and he passed by without
any words.  I marvel, said Arthur, that the knight would not
speak.  Sir, said Merlin, he saw you not, for an he had seen you,
ye had not lightly departed.  So they came unto Carlion, whereof
his knights were passing glad.  And when they heard of his
adventures, they marvelled that he would jeopard his person so,
alone.  But all men of worship said it was merry to be under such
a chieftain, that would put his person in adventure as other poor
knights did.

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« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2007, 02:03:22 am »


How tidings came to Arthur that King Rience had overcome eleven
kings, and how he desired Arthur's beard to trim his mantle.

THIS meanwhile came a messenger from King Rience of North Wales,
and king he was of all Ireland, and of many isles.  And this was
his message, greeting well King Arthur in this manner wise,
saying that King Rience had discomfited and overcome eleven
kings, and everych of them did him homage, and that was this,
they gave him their beards clean flayed off, as much as there
was; wherefore the messenger came for King Arthur's beard.  For
King Rience had purfled a mantle with kings' beards, and there
<47>lacked one place of the mantle; wherefore he sent for his
beard, or else he would enter into his lands, and burn and slay,
and never leave till he have the head and the beard.  Well, said
Arthur, thou hast said thy message, the which is the most
villainous and lewdest message that ever man heard sent unto a
king; also thou mayest see my beard is full young yet to make a
purfle of it.  But tell thou thy king this: I owe him none
homage, nor none of mine elders; but or it be long to, he shall
do me homage on both his knees, or else he shall lose his head,
by the faith of my body, for this is the most shamefulest message
that ever I heard speak of.  I have espied thy king met never yet
with worshipful man, but tell him, I will have his head without
he do me homage.  Then the messenger departed.

Now is there any here, said Arthur, that knoweth King Rience?
Then answered a knight that hight Naram, Sir, I know the king
well; he is a passing good man of his body, as few be living, and
a passing proud man, and Sir, doubt ye not he will make war on
you with a mighty puissance.  Well, said Arthur, I shall ordain
for him in short time.

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« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2007, 02:04:18 am »


How all the children were sent for that were born on
May-day, and how Mordred was saved.

THEN King Arthur let send for all the children born on May-day,
begotten of lords and born of ladies; for Merlin told King Arthur
that he that should destroy him should be born on May-day,
wherefore he sent for them all, upon pain of death; and so there
were found many lords' sons, and all were sent unto the king, and
so was Mordred sent by King Lot's wife, and all were put in a
ship to the sea, and some were four weeks old, and some less.
And so by fortune the ship drave unto a castle, and was all to-
riven, and destroyed the most part, save that Mordred was cast
up, and a good man found him, and nourished him till he <48>was
fourteen year old, and then he brought him to the court, as it
rehearseth afterward, toward the end of the Death of Arthur.  So
many lords and barons of this realm were displeased, for their
children were so lost, and many put the wite on Merlin more than
on Arthur; so what for dread and for love, they held their peace.
But when the messenger came to King Rience, then was he wood out
of measure, and purveyed him for a great host, as it rehearseth
after in the book of Balin le Savage, that followeth next after,
how by adventure Balin gat the sword.

Explicit liber primus.  Incipit liber secundus

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« Reply #28 on: December 19, 2007, 01:16:53 pm »


Of a damosel which came girt with a sword for to find a
man of such virtue to draw it out of the scabbard.

AFTER the death of Uther Pendragon reigned Arthur his son, the
which had great war in his days for to get all England into his
hand.  For there were many kings within the realm of England, and
in Wales, Scotland, and Cornwall.  So it befell on a time when
King Arthur was at London, there came a knight and told the king
tidings how that the King Rience of North Wales had reared a
great number of people, and were entered into the land, and burnt
and slew the king's true liege people.  If this be true, said
Arthur, it were great shame unto mine estate but that he were
mightily withstood.  It is truth, said the knight, for I saw the
host myself.  Well, said the king, let make a cry, that all the
lords, knights, and gentlemen of arms, should draw unto a castle
called Camelot in those days, and there the king would let make a
council-general and a great jousts.

So when the king was come thither with all his baronage, and
lodged as they seemed best, there was come a damosel the which
was sent on message from the great lady Lile of Avelion.  And
when she came before King Arthur, she told from whom she came,
and how she was sent on message unto him for these causes.  Then
she let her mantle fall that was richly furred; and then was she
girt with a noble sword whereof the king had marvel, and
<50>said, Damosel, for what cause are ye girt with that sword? it
beseemeth you not.  Now shall I tell you, said the damosel; this
sword that I am girt withal doth me great sorrow and cumbrance,
for I may not be delivered of this sword but by a knight, but he
must be a passing good man of his hands and of his deeds, and
without villainy or treachery, and without treason.  And if I may
find such a knight that hath all these virtues, he may draw out
this sword out of the sheath, for I have been at King Rience's it
was told me there were passing good knights, and he and all his
knights have assayed it and none can speed.  This is a great
marvel, said Arthur, if this be sooth; I will myself assay to
draw out the sword, not presuming upon myself that I am the best
knight, but that I will begin to draw at your sword in giving
example to all the barons that they shall assay everych one after
other when I have assayed it.  Then Arthur took the sword by the
sheath and by the girdle and pulled at it eagerly, but the sword
would not out.

Sir, said the damosel, you need not to pull half so hard, for he
that shall pull it out shall do it with little might.  Ye say
well, said Arthur; now assay ye all my barons; but beware ye be
not defiled with shame, treachery, nor guile.  Then it will not
avail, said the damosel, for he must be a clean knight without
villainy, and of a gentle strain of father side and mother side.
Most of all the barons of the Round Table that were there at that
time assayed all by row, but there might none speed; wherefore
the damosel made great sorrow out of measure, and said, Alas! I
weened in this court had been the best knights without treachery
or treason.  By my faith, said Arthur, here are good knights, as
I deem, as any be in the world, but their grace is not to help
you, wherefore I am displeased.

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« Reply #29 on: December 19, 2007, 01:17:15 pm »


How Balin, arrayed like a poor knight, pulled out the sword,
which afterward was the cause of his death.

THEN fell it so that time there was a poor knight with King
Arthur, that had been prisoner with him half a year and more for
slaying of a knight, the which was cousin unto King Arthur.  The
name of this knight was called Balin, and by good means of the
barons he was delivered out of prison, for he was a good man
named of his body, and he was born in Northumberland.  And so he
went privily into the court, and saw this adventure, whereof it
raised his heart, and he would assay it as other knights did, but
for he was poor and poorly arrayed he put him not far in press.
But in his heart he was fully assured to do as well, if his grace
happed him, as any knight that there was.  And as the damosel
took her leave of Arthur and of all the barons, so departing,
this knight Balin called unto her, and said, Damosel, I pray you
of your courtesy, suffer me as well to assay as these lords;
though that I be so poorly clothed, in my heart meseemeth I am
fully assured as some of these others, and meseemeth in my heart
to speed right well.  The damosel beheld the poor knight, and saw
he was a likely man, but for his poor arrayment she thought he
should be of no worship without villainy or treachery.  And then
she said unto the knight, Sir, it needeth not to put me to more
pain or labour, for it seemeth not you to speed there as other
have failed.  Ah! fair damosel, said Balin, worthiness, and good
tatches, and good deeds, are not only in arrayment, but manhood
and worship is hid within man's person, and many a worshipful
knight is not known unto all people, and therefore worship and
hardiness is not in arrayment.  By God, said the damosel, ye say
sooth; therefore ye shall assay to do what ye may.  Then Balin
took the sword by the girdle <52>and sheath, and drew it out
easily; and when he looked on the sword it pleased him much.
Then had the king and all the barons great marvel that Balin had
done that adventure, and many knights had great despite of Balin.
Certes, said the damosel, this is a passing good knight, and the
best that ever I found, and most of worship without treason,
treachery, or villainy, and many marvels shall he do.  Now,
gentle and courteous knight, give me the sword again.  Nay, said
Balin, for this sword will I keep, but it be taken from me with
force.  Well, said the damosel, ye are not wise to keep the sword
from me, for ye shall slay with the sword the best friend that ye
have, and the man that ye most love in the world, and the sword
shall be your destruction.  I shall take the adventure, said
Balin, that God will ordain me, but the sword ye shall not have
at this time, by the faith of my body.  Ye shall repent it within
short time, said the damosel, for I would have the sword more for
your avail than for mine, for I am passing heavy for your sake;
for ye will not believe that sword shall be your destruction, and
that is great pity.  With that the damosel departed, making great

Anon after, Balin sent for his horse and armour, and so would
depart from the court, and took his leave of King Arthur.  Nay,
said the king, I suppose ye will not depart so lightly from this
fellowship, I suppose ye are displeased that I have shewed you
unkindness; blame me the less, for I was misinformed against you,
but I weened ye had not been such a knight as ye are, of worship
and prowess, and if ye will abide in this court among my
fellowship, I shall so advance you as ye shall be pleased.  God
thank your highness, said Balin, your bounty and highness may no
man praise half to the value; but at this time I must needs
depart, beseeching you alway of your good grace.  Truly, said the
king, I am right wroth for your departing; I pray you, fair
knight, that ye tarry not long, and ye shall be right welcome to
me, and to my barons, and I shall amend all miss that I have done
against you; God thank your great lordship, said Balin, and
therewith made him ready to depart.  Then the most <53>part of
the knights of the Round Table said that Balin did not this
adventure all only by might, but by witchcraft.

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