Citation
The birth, life and acts of King Arthur

Material Information

Title:
The birth, life and acts of King Arthur of his noble knights of the Round Table, their marvellous enquests and adventures, the achieving of the San Greal, and in the end Le morte dArthur, with the dolourous death and departing out of this world of them all
Uniform Title:
Morte d'Arthur
Running title:
King Arthur
Creator:
Malory, Thomas, active 15th century
Rhys, John, 1840-1915
Beardsley, Aubrey, 1872-1898 ( illustrator )
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
E.P. Dutton
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Edition:
[3rd ed.].
Physical Description:
lv, 538 pages, [22] leaves of plates : illustrations, facsimile ; 30 cm

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Arthurian romances ( lcsh )
Arthurian romances ( fast )
Genre:
Fiction. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
fiction ( marcgt )
Fiction ( fast )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
"This, the third edition of Le Morte dArthur with Aubrey Beardsley's designs is limited to 1600 copies, after printing which the type has been distributed."--2nd prelim. leaf.
General Note:
"A note on the designs omitted from the first edition, by R.A. Walker"--Page xj.
Statement of Responsibility:
the text as written by Sir Thomas Malory, and imprinted by William Caxton at Westminster the year MCCCCLXXXV [i.e. 1485], and now spelled in modern style, embellished with many original designs by Aubrey Beardsley ; with an introduction by John Rhys ; and a note on Aubrey Beardsley by Aymer Vallance.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
02509230 ( OCLC )
ocm02509230
Classification:
PR2043 .R5 1927b ( lcc )

Auraria Membership

Aggregations:
Literature Collections

Full Text



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This, the Third Edition of Le MoRTE
DARTHUR with Aubrey Beardsley's designs
is limited to 1600 copiesy after printing
which the type has been distributed.




THE BIRTH LIFE AND ACTS OF KING ARTHUR OF HIS
NOBLE KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE THEIR
MARVELLOUS ENQUESTS AND ADVENTURES
THE ACHIEVING OF THE SAN GREAL
AND IN THE END LE MORTE DAR-
THUR WITH THE DOLOUROUS
DEATH AND DEPARTING
OUT OF THIS WORLD
OF THEM ALL
THE TEXT AS WRIT-
TEN BY SIR THOMAS MALORY
AND IMPRINTED BY WILLIAM CAXTON
AT WESTMINSTER THE YEAR MCCCCLXXXV
AND NOW SPELLED IN MODERN STYLE, EMBELLISHED
WITH MANY ORIGINAL DESIGNS BY AUBREY BEARDSLEY.
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY PROFESSOR JOHN RHYS. AND
A NOTE ON AUBREY BEARDSLEY BY AYMER VALLANCE. MCMXXVII


Published in New York by E. P. Dutton and Company
PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN


Httiivry UrarHslcu, foy SJywrr Uallance
7" the time when the late Mr Joseph Malahy Dent commissioned
Aubrey Beardsley, and the latter undertook, to furnish drawings
for a new illustrated edition of the Morte Darthur, publisher
and artist were alike strangers to the public. The firm of
Messrs Dent & Co. had but recently started on its career of
publishing, while as to Aubrey Beardsley, his name, which was
destined shortly to become a household word, was then quite
unknown to fame. It happened that Mr Dent had told
Mr Frederick H. Evans (then a bookseller in Queen Street, E.C.,
with whom Beardsley, in the days when he was short of cash,
used to barter drawings for books) that he was contemplating an
illustrated edition of the Morte, if only he could meet with
a suitable artist. Mr Evans then remembered Beardsley and
kindly recommended him to Mr Dent, who asked Beardsley to
submit a specimen drawing for the purpose. He produced the
drawing which forms the frontispiece to this volume, the
wonderful Achieving of the Sangreal, and it was on the strength of it that Mr Dent
decided to give him the order for the whole book. It was Beardsleys first serious com-
mission, for hitherto he had made practically nothing by his art. On the part of the
publisher it was an exceedingly courageous venture to entrust so important a task to an
obscure young manhe was not yet twenty-one years oldand Mr Dent deserved all the
credit which this his early association with Beardsley subsequently brought him.
Meanwhile Beardsley had been introduced, at the house of Mr Wilfred Meynell in Palace
Court, to the late Mr Charles Lewis Hind, who (at that time sub-editor of the Art Journal )
was full of the project of a new artistic magazine, which eventually materialised in The
Studio. Having found Mr Charles Holme to finance his scheme, Mr Hind, who promptly
recognised Beardsleys extraordinary genius, secured a number of Beardsleys compositions
for the new publication. Before, however, the first number of the Studio (which bore
date April 1893) saw the light, Mr Hind had been offered the editorship of the Pall Mall
Budget. Being released by Mr Holme from his obligation, Mr Hind had already severed
his connection with the Studio by the time that it made its appearance, and it fell to
his successor, the late Mr Gleeson White, to make the necessary arrangements with Messrs
Dent. Nevertheless, since Mr Hind was actual editor at the outset, it was his task to prepare
the first number for publication, and it was he who was thus responsible for the immense
distinction which the Studio obtained from the inclusion of the young artists work in its
pages. At the same time it must be allowed that Beardsley himself received a splendid
advertisement from the appearance of his designs in this popular form and through the
widespread circulation which the Studio instantly won both for itself and for his art.
Among the examples of Beardsleys work comprised in the first number of the Studio


VJ
FOREWORD
there were published four specimens from the Morte Darthur, viz., an initial letter 1,
an ornamental border, a frieze of six fighting men, and a full-page plate depicting Merlin
taketh the child Arthur into his keeping. These four samples from the Morte anticipated
by two months the issue of the first instalment of the book itself.
The enterprise of the new illustrated edition of the Morte was embarked upon, strange
to say, without any regular agreement between artist and publisher having been drawn up
beforehand. But it would seem that the publisher soon began to realise the impracticability
of such a haphazard mode of procedure. He determined to place the work on a sound business
footing ; and before the second serial issue of the Morte came out an agreement was duly
prepared and signed. This instrument is undated, but there can be no doubt, from internal
evidence, as to its approximate date. It is silent regarding any conditions for Part 1 (for
which all the requisite drawings had already been delivered), but begins with the stipulation
that so much matter was to be furnished to illustrate the opening chapters of the 4 th and $th
books of the Morte, to complete Part II of the said work by the ijth day of April
1893. The precise quantity of full-page and minor illustrations, together with the time-
limit allowed to complete each succeeding instalment, was specified, part by part, until the
last, which was to be provided by the 12 th June 1894. The first serial issue bore the date of
publication, June 1893 ; and the entire work comprised twelve parts in all.
Beardsley started illustrating the Morte with the utmost enthusiasm, but he quickly
tired of it, and declared he would not go on with it. He used to put off doing it as long as he
could. Toward the close of each period when the date for the delivery of the covenanted instal-
ment of drawings approached, he would be behindhand, and it was only by dint of pressure on
the part of his publisher, seconded by the persuasions and entreaties of Beardsleys mother,
that he could be induced to apply himself to the irksome task. The publisher was driven to
despair. He tried first one plan and then another to save the Morte from being abandoned.
One such expedient was the offer of other work to the artist, as a diversion to enliven the
monotony. Accordingly, while the Morte lagged, Mr Dent gave Beardsley a further order,
that of illustrating Bon Mots, published in 3 volumes in 1893. He also suggested that
Beardsley should try his hand at some illustrations for Evelina, of which, however, only
the title-page by Beardsley appeared in the book.
The fact is Beardsley was constitutionally incapable of sustained effort. His moods
and interests, instead of marching and developing with the leisurely passage of years, changed
and leaped from one phase to another, weekly or even daily, in rapid transition. His life,
as he himself was fully aware, was bound to be but short, and into that brief span had to be
crowded all the manifold episodes which the average person might reasonably expect to have
plenty of time to experience. What wonder, then, if, in Aubrey Beardsleys case, mood
followed mood in lightning succession P He would take up some idea or project with absorbing
interest. He would discuss it and formulate it with minute precision and elaboration, and
yet, long before he had had the opportunity to carry it out, his zeal would evaporate and
turn to utter weariness, and he would have become absorbed in some fresh scheme.
This accounts for the extraordinary inequality of the Morte Darthur illustrations.
The circumstance is one which can scarcely fail to strike even a casual observer, but it
would have been still more evident if all the drawings had been published in the exact order
in which they were produced. Some, however, were held back for a time ; others were
repeated in later pages of the book. The decline is thus not so noticeable as it must otherwise
have been.
Among the earliest batch of Beardsleys designs for the Morte is a cameo depicting
Merlin, which, though in some respects immature, yet remains as satisfying a specimen of


FOREWORD vij
book-decoration as one could wish to find. The ingenuity with which the human figure is
adapted, without the slightest distortion, to the circular frame is nothing short of masterly.
If this particular design has not received the recognition it deserves, it is because of
the drastic reduction it was made to undergo for the published volumea reduction which
went far to rob it of its proper distinction, and rather to render it insignificant and
obscure. For the merits of the Merlin to be appreciated it requires to be displayed on a
reasonable scale ; as, indeed, it did appear later, but, unfortunately, outside the pages of
the Morte, and in a very different collection of the artists work. A facsimile reproduction
of it will be found, on p. Ivi of this edition.
One of the qualities in which the Merlin drawing excels is the decorative treatment
of draperies. This quality recurs in a number of the Morte designs, and more particularly
in those which belong to the earlier period. It is admirably conspicuous in four of the full-
page illustrations in Volume I, viz., The Lady of the Lake, Merlin and Nimue
(surely the most remarkable achievement in the whole book), Arthur and the Strange Mantle,
and in La Beale Isoud nursing Sir Tristram ; and, again, in a number of chapter
headings, particularly those to Chapter xii in Book I; Chapters ii, Hi, and v in Book II;
Chapters vii and x in Book III ; and Chapter vi in Book VI.
It has already been mentioned that the Morte designs were not all placed in the
book in the same order in which they were drawn. Some indeed were begun in the flood-tide
of enthusiasm, and laid aside, but half done, to be finished later. These, though naturally
they find a place toward the end of the book, yet, so far as they go, exhibit a higher standard
of endeavour and efficiency than many of those whose inception and uninterrupted execution
belong to the later period. Among the drawings thus projected for the Morte, but only
half sketched in at the outset, are some which were destined never to be completed in accord
with their original scheme. Thus in one instance a horseman is depicted, but only the near
hindquarter of his mount is shown!' Obviously Beardsley found it quicker and easier, when
he took up this unfinished drawing, to fill in the unoccupied space with a wash of black, instead
of supplying the full details yet needed to perfect the picture. That part of the composition,
however, which is actually complete is of such a high order as to excite profound regret for what
should have been and yet is lost beyond recall.
To take another instance, that of the double-page drawing of La Beale Isoud at
Joyous Gard, it may be observed that there stands on the right of the composition a singlefigure.
In the original draft, however, a group of figures was pencilled in ; but ultimately, to spare
himself the effort involved, Beardsley rubbed out all but the one figure, and then finished off
the drawing in its present state, Isouds wide-sweeping train being made to occupy a large
part of the foreground, against a patch of black, for the grass. Again, in the case of one of the
chapter headings, with a fountain in the background and a peacock in front, the fountain
is drawn with no little care and precision, but the birds legs are left out altogether, while the
tail is just a shapeless lump of white. The combination here of painstaking and finish with
careless indifference is startling.
If the truth must be told, it is that Beardsley did not really find the subject of the Morte
Darthur congenial. Was it, indeed, to be expected that anyone, who could embroider
so meticulously arid so appropriately as Beardsley did his set of drawings for the rococo conceit
of The Rape of the Lock, should have much in common with the medievalist Malory ?
Not only was Beardsley out of sympathy with the Morte, but he was actually^ heard to
boast that he had never taken the trouble to read it. He could not, it is true, avoid dipping
into its pages now and again for such bare suggestions as were indispensable for affording
themes for the more important pictures ; but his reading was desultory and not deep enough


FOREWORD
viij
to leave an enduring impression through the long-drawn-out task of designing the many
drawings he had to provide for the hook.
Thus, he would derive inspiration from the poems oj William Blake, for instance, or
from any reading that happened to engage him for the moment. One drawing, when shown
to Mr Evans, the latter, to Beardsleys delight, instantly recognised as having been suggested
by Blakes Piping down the valleys wild, although Beardsley had not so titled it.
Again, one of the initial letters displays a volume inscribed with the name of Boccaccio.
Straws like these serve to show how the wind blew.
As Beardsley was probably the first artist to illustrate on the novel method of caricatur-
ing an author through the medium of his own book {he did this notably in the case of the
Salome ), so perhaps he was the first to avenge himself for the tedium of his task, and to
show his distaste for the authors subject, by the introduction of all sorts of extraneous subjects
instead. Thus is accounted for the intrusion of some totally irrelevant features into the
Morte illustrations, such as cupids, fauns and satyrs. One of the chapter headings
depicts a nude boy, bringing an offering of the fruits of the earth to a terminal god, a pagan
incident which cannot be claimed to have even a remote connection with the Morte.
Examination of the list of illustrations at the beginning of each volume will show that,
beside the frontispieces, the first volume comprises eleven plates, as compared with only seven in
the second volume. This difference in quantity was the outcome of a compromise agreed to by
the publisher, on Beardsleys own suggestion, when the second volume was reached. To induce
the artist to proceed with the work, and at the same time to spare him the labour of having
to design illustrations of so many separate subjects, it was conceded that one subject might
be spread over two pages facing one another, and that one and the same border, doubled, or
reversed, might do duty for both halves. The first illustration in the second volume, How
King Mark and Sir Dinadan heard Sir Palomides making great sorrow and mourning, is
an instance in point. One has only to compare the jaded and feeble resource in the border
of the last-named illustration, or again of that of How La Beale Isoud wrote to Sir
Tristram with the animation and inventiveness of the border of the opening chapter of the
first volume, or that of the first illustration, Merlin taketh the child Arthur into his
keeping, to realise the change in disposition that had come to pass in the interval between the
earliest and the later drawings for the Morte.
The period when Beardsley took in hand the illustration of the Morte was that also in
which William Morris, in collaboration with his friend, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, was issuing
the superb productions of the Kelmscott Press. Beardsley was, of course, acquainted with their
work, and was inevitably drawn to it. Moreover, one of the very first of the celebrities of
the great world of art, whom Beardsley, as a young beginner, ventured to call upon, and from
whom he met with an exceedingly kind reception, was Burne-Jones himself. A certain
number of the earlier Morte drawings, though in nowise copies, were yet so obviously
influenced by Kelmscott Press designs as to arouse the indignation of William Morris, when
some specimens of Beardsleys illustrations were shown to him. But Beardsleys pre-
Raphaelitish phase was only transient. Before much progress had been made with the
Morte drawings his art had undergone a change. It had responded to quite a different
impulse, namely, that of Japan. Here, again, Beardsley was no servile copyist. He was too
strongly individual for that. It would, therefore, be incorrect to describe him as having at
that, or indeed at any other period of his career, fallen under the dominating spell of Japanese
art. He merely borrowed from it whatever elements suitable for his purpose it had to impart,
and then, having assimilated them, he so moulded, subordinated and transfigured them that
the resultant product was characteristically his very own. No artist ever lived who knew,


FOREWORD
ix
so cunningly as Beardsley did, how to balance contrasted masses of black and whitein a
word, the artistic possibilities of silhouette. And yet his achievement in this regard could
only be attained at a cost: to wit, by the sacrifice, to a great extent, of articulation of form.
At an early stage Beardsley had evinced a feeling for draperies, that is, for the cesthetic
arrangement and definition of folds. This gift William Morris did not fail to discern in
Beardsley, and he urged the latter to cultivate it. But his adoption of the silhouette method
could not fail to overpower the other, and to brush it aside. For one cannot retain draughts-
manship of detail in the same composition with broad fields of solid black and bare
white. Either plan of treatment has its advantages ; but, since they are mutually exclusive,
one must make one's choice between the two. Beardsley chose the last named, or the
Pierrotesque method, that of contrasted black washes and white spaces. A conspicuous example
is the last full-page picture in the book, How Queen Quenever made her a nun," as are
also, in their degree, the headings of Chapter xvi, Book IF; Chapter ii, Book VI;
Chapter xxxi, Book Fill; Chapters xx, xl, Ixv, and Ixxviii, Book X ; and Chapter
iv, Book XIII.
There was a further circumstance which militated against the development of drapery
folds ; and that was what may be called the nostalgia for the crinoline. This eccentric
movement, which coincides with Beardsley's own activities, and seems to have been due,
partly to the cultus of early Victorian book-illustrators like Houghton, and partly to the
personal preferences of artists like C. S. Ricketts and C. Shannon, followed by Laurence
Housman. It goes without saying that the turgid balloon shape of the crinoline is intolerant
of the grace of folds in draperies. Its influence indeed nowhere became specially marked
in Beardsley's Morte" ; yet it is not too much to say that, but for this tendency,
one could not have had such drawings as chapter headings xxviii and xxxiv in Book IX ;
and Chapter Ixxxvi, Book X.
Allusion has already been made to a certain immaturity in the circular drawing of
Merlin." The lettering, for instance, is poor and lacking in decorative quality, though
not so bad as the initials, which are inferior throughout the book. The tree-stumps and the
herbage in the Merlin are distinctly crude in treatment; for Beardsley began with little
or no appreciation of form in inanimate nature. Again, in the publisher's trade mark, which
he designed for Messrs Dent, a canting device with a dandelion, the leaves of the plant are
botanically incorrect, the lobes of their notched edges being made to point the wrong way,
i.e., upward, instead of down, as nature formed them. Neither should the petals of the flower
itself terminate in spikes, as represented in Beardsley's version of the subject. Further, in
one of the chapter headings occurs a peacock, in the tail of which the proper direction of the
eye-feathers is reversed But, after all, these are comparitively small matters.
Ten of the blocks which had been made from Beardsley's designs, for chapter headings
were laid aside at the time, though not destroyed, and when the Morte Darthur was
reissued in a' second edition they were inadvertently inserted; the mistake not being dis-
covered for some while afterwards. All the designs omitted from the first are included in
the present, the third, edition, which thus contains a larger number of ornaments than either
of the previous editions.
Beardsleys design which he submitted to the publisher for the paper zvrapper of the
serial issue was altered considerably when he came to redraw it for actual reproduction. The
original version, however, executed in yellowish green-water-colour, was given by the artist
to a friend, who carefully preserved it. It is here reproduced from a facsimile photograph
by Mr Frederick H. Evans. It might be interesting to compare this drawing with that of
the peacock feather design for the paper cap for u Salome." The latter is somewhat rough


X
FOREWORD
in execution, but its defects in this regard are more than counterbalanced by the freshness
and vigour which it retains, through never having had to undergo a process of redrawing.
In conclusion it may be mentioned that Beardsley derived a certain mischievous pleasure
from the fact that his designs should have been chosen to accompany the particular version
of Malorys text edited, of all others, by Professor John Rhys ; because that learned scholar
disapproved of him, or so, at any rate, the artist himself had reason to suppose.
ATMER VALLANCE
September 1927




dote on ti>r omitted from ttjc
dhvsit eattiou, foy it. %. ffiJKalfeee
INYONE who is in the least degree interested in etymology
has heard of ghost words, those mysterious words
which have crept into old dictionaries through misprints
of copyists and printers, and which really do not exist at all.
Ghost illustrations are, I think, new to biblio-
graphy, but ten of the illustrations of this Edition can
only be described in this manner although they are the
perfectly genuine work of Aubrey Beardsley.
The manner of their discovery is rather curious.
When making my catalogue of Beardsleys drawings, I
found that previous students of his work had always
begged the question of the exact number of illustrations
that he executed for the Morte Darthur. This was
natural as the Edition contained hundreds of drawings,
many of which were repeated, some more than twice, and
____ ___in different sizes. The difficulty, therefore, was to know
how many original drawings Beardsley had made. The only easy method was to cut up
two copies of the First or Second Edition (as illustrations appeared on both sides of a leaf)
and then to sort them. The other, less feasible, but also less destructive, method was
to trace the drawings and then to sort these tracings. This task took nearly nine months,
and long before I had copied half, I had the most profound sympathy for Beardsley when
he got in arrears with the delivery of his drawings and had clearly got tired of the task.
The copy I used for making the tracings was the Second Edition, and when collating
these^ tracings with the First Edition, I discovered to my amazement that I had ten
drawings over. Further diligent search proved conclusively that they had never appeared
in the First Edition. The extraordinary thing that happened was that, unknown to
publisher or printer, the Second Edition of the book had been published containing ten
more drawings than had appeared in the First Edition.
No exact explanation is possible at this distance of time ; one can only imagine that
with such a mass of blocks that were prepared for the First Edition, ten of them got
put aside or lost and were never printed from. If lost, they must have been found after
the First Edition was issued, and were then put away with the published blocks and were
all kept together until the Second Edition was called for.
In addition to these ten, which appear in the Third Edition on pages 181, 195, 201,
202, 221, 241, 255, 258, 277, 298, the original drawing for the Cover, which was executed
in wash, is also published in the Morte Darthur for the first time. This Cover was
published by me in Some Unknown Drawings of Aubrey Beardsley in 1923, by permission
of Messrs. J. M. Dent & Sons, Ltd.
In addition an eleventh Chapter Heading is printed on page 368 which has never
been issued before in the Morte Darthur. The reason for its exclusion was probably
because the drawing overlapped the quadrilateral borders which are invariably found in
all the other drawings.
Finally the Merlin drawing, which was originally much reduced, is here reproduced
facsimile.


dmtrnta
.iftrst ftarttmt
AUBREY BEARDSLEY BY AYMER
VALLANCE
A NOTE ON THE DESIGNS
OMITTED FROM THE FIRST
EDITION, BY R. A. WALKER
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
NOTE ON TEXT USED
INTRODUCTION
CAXTONS PREFACE
CAXTONS INTRODUCTION
CAXTONS TABLE OR RUBRYSSHE
OF CONTENTS
BOOK I.
BOOK II.
BOOK III.
BOOK IV.
BOOK V.
BOOK VI.
BOOK VII.
Page v
33 XJ
33 XV
33 xvj
33 xvij
33 xxxiij
33 xxxvj
>3 xxxvij
33 1
33 27
33 43
33 57
33 OO Chi
33 99
33 119
BOOK VIII.
jfcecmtir fjcrrtttw
>, 157
BOOK IX.
*99
BOOK X.
247
BOOK XI.
345


XIV
CONTENTS
ftfttrtr |)(rrtt0tT
BOOK XII. Page 359
BOOK XIII. 99 37i
BOOK XIV. 99 39i
BOOK XV. 99 401
BOOK XVI. 99 407
BOOK XVII. 99 423
BOOK XVIII. 99 447
BOOK XIX. 99 477
BOOK XX. 99 493
BOOK XXI. 99 5i9
GENERAL GLOSSARY 99 535


ftjflt of UlMOtV.ltiOHO
iftret partimr
THE ACHIEVING OF THE SANGREAL Frontispiece
ORIGINAL DRAWING FOR THE COVER Facing Page xj
THE MERLIN DRAWING lvj
MERLIN TAKETH THE CHILD ARTHUR INTO HIS KEEPING 4
HOW KING ARTHUR SAW THE QUESTING BEAST AND
THEREOF HAD GREAT MARVEL Facing 20
THE LADY OF THE LAKE TELLETH ARTHUR OF THE SWORD
EXCALIBUR 25
MERLIN AND NIMUE 58
ARTHUR AND THE STRANGE MANTLE JO
HOW FOUR QUEENS FOUND LANCELOT SLEEPING 100
SIR LANCELOT AND THE WITCH HELLAWES n4
JpecBrrcXr JOrrrttmr
HOW LA BEALE ISOUD NURSED SIR TRISTRAM 166
HOW SIR TRISTRAM DRANK OF THE LOVE DRINK 180
HOW LA BEALE ISOUD WROTE TO SIR TRISTRAM 210
HOW KING MARK FOUND SIR TRISTRAM SLEEPING 220
HOW MORGAN LE FAY GAVE A SHIELD TO SIR TRISTRAM 242
HOW KING MARK AND SIR DINADAN HEARD SIR PALO-
MIDES MAKING GREAT SORROW AND MOURNING FOR
LA BEALE ISOUD 260
LA BEALE ISOUD AT JOYOUS GARD 300
3Tfttrlr fiarttim
HOW SIR LANCELOT WAS KNOWN BY DAME ELAINE 362
HOW A DEVIL IN WOMANS LIKENESS WOULD HAVE
TEMPTED SIR BORS 416
HOW QUEEN GUENEVER RODE ON MAYING 478
HOW SIR BEDIVERE CAST THE SWORD EXCALIBUR INTO
THE WATER 5H
HOW QUEEN GUENEVER MADE HER A NUN 528
XV


if otr on t HE object aimed at in this edition of Le Morte Darthur is to pre-
sent a version of the incomparable story which, whilst following
accurately and completely the best text, shall be modernized in
spelling and punctuation. Great care has nevertheless been taken
that the grammar of the period in which it was written shall be
adhered to.
The text here given is that printed by Caxton in 1485 : the
copy that has been used is the edition published in 1817 under the
direction of Robert Southey. In that version, as Sir Edward Strachey, the Editor of the
Globe Edition, has pointed out, there are a number of passages which differ from the
Caxton text; these have been corrected by comparison with the careful word for word
reprint issued by Mr D. Nutt, under the editorship of Mr Oskar Sommer, to whom the
publishers hereby acknowledge their indebtedness.
The plan upon which the present text has been prepared is as follows: the above-
named reprint of Caxton being taken as a basis, every word has been retained, and none
added thereto except in the few cases where it appeared plain that the sense was incom-
plete from some word having been omitted in the original, or in a very few passages,
where the grammar of the present day needed the insertion of a pronoun to prevent
ambiguity and to preserve the correct meaning. Though the spelling has been
modernized, the earliest forms in use in current literature have, as far as possible, been
employed ; for instance, any spellings occurring in the Bible, but not now general, have
been considered preferable to such as are essentially modern in flavour and not in char-
acter with the context. Words which are now entirely obsolete have not been replaced
by modern ones, but have been retained in the text with a glossary at the end of the
book. The only other liberties taken consist in some slight differences in the division
of Chapters ; as in the third, fourth, and fifth chapters of the First Book, which Caxton,
although he calls them three chapters in The Table or Rubrysshe of Contents of Chapters,
yet prints without break : these have been here divided as the contents seemed to warrant.
In the spelling of proper names uniformity has been aimed at, but from the constant
variations in the copy, some inconsistency has no doubt crept in.
F. J. SIMMONS'
xvj


jrntro&urtton
|IR THOMAS MALORY has given us no account of himself or
his family, but he has left his name and his work. The name
Malory is found connected with estates in Yorkshire in the six-
teenth century, and with estates in Leicestershire in that which
follows. As the name of the knight to whom we owe the Morte
Darthur, it is found written not only Malory or Malorye, but also
Maleore. It occurred to me some years ago that this fact lent
countenance to the statement ascribed to Leland and others, that
Sir Thomas Malory was a Welshman; for Maleore reminded me
of Maylazvr, Maelawr, or Maelor, the name of two districts on the
confines of England and Wales : a Welsh Maelor is included
in the County of Denbigh, and an English Maelor in that of
Flint. How such a name could readily become a surname may be seen from the designa-
tion, for instance, of a lord of the two Maelors in the twelfth century, namely Gruffud
Maelawr. Literally rendered, this would mean Griffith of Maelor. Similarly, the
name of a Welsh poet of the fifteenth century, Edward ab Rhys Maelor, might now be
rendered Edward Price of Maelor.
Since then Dr Sommer, in a Supplement to the second volume of his great edition
of the Morte Darthur, has called attention to the following passage in Bales Illustrium
Maioris Britannia Scriptorum, fol. 208 verso :
Thomas Mailorius, Britannus natione, heroici spiritus homo, ab ipsa adolescentia
uariis animi corporisque dotibus insigniter emicuit. Est Mailoria (inquit in Antiquarum
Dictionum Syllabo Joannes Lelandus) in finibus Cambrise regio, Deuae flumini uicina.
Quam et alibi a fertilitate atque armorum fabrefactura commendat. Inter multiplices
reipublicse curas, non intermisit hie literarum studia, sed succisiuis horis uniuersas dis-
parsse uetustatis reliquias, sedulus perquisiuit. Vnde in historiarum lectione diu uersatus,
ex uariis autoribus undique selegit, de fortitudine ac uictoriis inclytissimi Brytannorum
regis Arthurii.
The first edition of Bales work was published at Ipswich in 1548, while Malorys
Morte Darthur was only completed by him in 1469. These dates are not so far
apart that we must suppose either Bale or Leland unable to obtain reliable informa-
tion concerning Malorys history and origin. Bales statement that Malory was
b xvij


INTRODUCTION
xviij
Britannus natione, that is to say, Welsh, brings with it the solution of what was my
difficulty,to wit, the relation between the name Malory and the dissyllabic form
Maleore; for one can hardly help seeing that while the latter postulates the Welsh
place-name Maelor, the former more naturally connects itself with the derived Latin
Mailorius.
Thus far of Malorys name: we now come to his work, which, as already mentioned,
was finished in 1469. It was, however, not printed till 1485, when its publication was
undertaken by Caxton. Then followed two editions by Wynkyn de Worde in 1498 and
1529, and before the middle of the seventeenth century four more editions appeared:
afi these seven were in black letter. The eighteenth century appears to have been
content with what the three previous ones had done for the text of Malory; but the
nineteenth century has already seen it edited no less than six times, notably by Southey,
Wright, Sir E. Strachey, and H. Oskar Sommer. Dr Sommers edition is comprised in
three stately volumes, published in London by David Nutt: the first volume, consisting
of the Text, appeared in 1889; then followed a volume of Introduction in 1890, and
one of Studies on the Sources in 1891. This edition marks an era in the history of the
Morte Darthur, seeing that special pains have been taken to make it reproduce the
Caxton original, which is not known to exist in more than two copies, one of which is
not quite perfect. This latter copy belongs to the Althorp Library, while the other,
the perfect copy, once belonged to the Harleian Library. As regards its later history,
we are told that it was purchased by the Earl of Jersey for his library at Osterley Park,
and that in 1885 it became the property of a citizen of the United States, Mrs Abby
E. Pope of Brooklyn.1 Lastly, I must add that no trace of Malorys own manuscript
has ever been found.
The question of the sources of Malorys work is no new one, and it had been to
some extent discussed by M. Gaston Paris and M. J. Ulrich, in the introduction to their
Merlin, edited from a manuscript belonging to Mr Alfred Huth, London, and published
in Paris in 1888 by the Societe des anciens 1extes frangais; but the exhaustive treatment of
the subject was reserved for Dr Sommer, who has devoted to it his third volume. The
space at my disposal will only allow of my mentioning his conclusions2 in the briefest
manner possible. Most of Malorys originals prove to have been romances written in
French, which he, as a rule, reduced greatly in length in the process of giving the work
an English garb. His sources, however, were not exclusively French ; thus, for instance,
he used for his fifth book of the Morte Darthur, a poem composed by the Scotch poet
Huchown, which is extant in a manuscript of Thorntons in the library of Lincoln
Cathedral. Here and there Malory alters the sequence of the incidents given in his
originals, and in some cases he interpolates facts not contained in them, while in other
instances he omits certain incidents which he did not find to his purpose; but he is
rarely found to have inserted entire chapters of his own. Taking the work as a whole,
Dr Sommer has succeeded in assigning with more or less precision the originals forming
the groundwork of the whole, with one remarkable exception: I allude to Malorys
seventh book, which relates the adventures of Sir Gareth, the story of his first coming to
Arthurs court, of his being fed for a year in the kitchen, and of his receiving the nickname
of Beaumayns at the hands of Syr Kay. Dr Sommer admits that he has failed to trace
any part of the contents of this book in any of the numerous manuscripts studied by him.
1 See Sommers Malory, ii. 1-3.
i Ibid., iii. 6-12.


INTRODUCTION
xix
He is inclined to regard it as a folk-tale which had no connection with the Arthurian
cycle, until Malory, or some unknown writer before him, adapted it from a French poem
now lost, as he conjectures.
After this brief reference to the works used by Malory, we come to a much larger
and harder question of source, namely, the origin of the whole cycle of Arthurian stories
and romances. For the most fruitful speculations on this subject in our day, one has
to thank Dr Zimmer, professor of Sanskrit in the University of Griefswald. He believes
the romances to be based on stories of Breton rather than of Welsh origin. Briefly
described, his theory 1 sets out with the facts of the permanent conquest of a considerable
tract of the east of Brittany by the Normans in the first half of the tenth century, and
the intimate relationship which eventually grew up between the great families of
Brittany and Normandy. Now, if we suppose the Bretons in their migration from
Great Britain to their new country, called after them the Lesser Britain, to have carried
with them the stories current about Arthur in the southern districts of this country, it
may be further supposed that, ages later, those of their descendants who submitted to the
Normans in the eastern portion of Brittany must have translated their popular stories
about Arthur into their adopted Norman French. Thus a channel would be opened
for Breton stories to reach the ears of Normans and Frenchmen. It is natural, further,
to infer that, in the transition from the one language to the other, the Celtic names
of most importance in the stories would inevitably undergo a considerable modification
of form. This would seem to be countenanced by the circumstance, that certain of these
names in the romances cannot be identified with the Welsh ones by merely allowing for
the errors in copying and reading incident to the manuscripts of the time in question.
Such is the fact, for example, with Galvain, Perceval, Calibor,1 2 as compared with the
Welsh Gwalchmei, Peredur, and Caletvzvlch. For my own part, I have found this to be
much less marked in the case, for example, of the Grail legend, the proper names in
which lend themselves, on the whole, more readily to identification with their originals
in Welsh. In other words, Professor Zimmers views led me to draw the following two-
fold conclusion:(i) The older romances relating chiefly to Arthur and his Men are
of Breton rather than of Welsh origin, while (2) the reverse is the case with the Grail
romances. The Welsh origin of the Grail legend has been discussed by me elsewhere,3
so that I think it needless to endeavour to prove it here. But as to the alleged Breton
origin of the romances about Arthur, it is to be observed that if the picture presented
in them of Arthur and his Men be mainly Breton, one may expect to find those warriors
represented differently in Welsh literature, especially such Welsh literature as one finds
to be fairly free from the influence of the romances when they reached the Welsh. So
one could, perhaps, not do better than devote the rest of this introduction to a review
of the more important passages concerning Arthur in manuscripts which have come down
to us from Welsh sources. I have, however, to confess at the outset that those of them
which happen to be in Welsh, as most of them are, prove to be couched in very obscure
language, so that my rendering must be regarded as only tentative.
The first passage to demand attention is written in Latin, for it occurs in the Historia
Brittonum with which the name of Nennius is associated. The year of the composition
1 See Zimmers review of the thirtieth volume of the Histoire littiraire de la France in the Gottingische gekhrte
Anzeigen for October I, 1890, pp. 802-4. But M. Loth in the Revue Celtique, xiii. 480-503, has justly charged
Zimmer with underrating the Welsh element.
2 See Zimmers review, ibid., p. 830.
* See my Arthurian Legend, pp. 300-27.


XX
INTRODUCTION
of the Historia Brittonum was, according to M. A. de la Borderie, no other than a.d.
822,1 and the words relating to Arthur read as follows1 2:
In illo tempore Saxones invalescebant in multitudine, et crescebant in Britannia. Mortuo
autem Hengisto, Octha ejus filius transivit de sinistrali parte Brittannia ad regnum Canti-
orum, et de ipso orti sunt reges Cantiorum. Tunc Arthur pugnabat contra illos in illis diebus
cum regibus Brittonum, sed ipse dux erat bellorum. Primum bellum fuit in ostium fluminis
quod dicitur Glein ; secundum, et tertium, et quartum, et quintum, super aliud jlumen, quod
dicitur Dubglas, et est in regione Linnuis. Sextum bellum super jlumen quod vocatur Bass as.
Septimum fuit bellum in Silva Celidonis, id est, Cat Coit Celidon. Octavum fuit bellum in
castello Guinnion, in quo Arthur portavit imaginem Sanctce Maria perpetuce virginis super
humeros suos, et pagani versi sunt in fugam in illo die, et cades magna fuit super illos per
virtutem Domini nostri Jesu Ghristi, et per virtutem Sancta Maria virginis genetricis ejus.
Nonum bellum gestum est in Urbe Legionis. Decimum gessit bellum in littore fluminis, quod
vocatur Tribruit. Undecimum factum est bellum in monte, qui dicitur Agned. Duodecimum
fuit bellum in monte Badonis, in quo corruerunt in uno die nongenti sexaginta viri de uno
impetu Arthur ; et nemo prostravit eos nisi ipse solus, et in omnibus bellis victor exstitit.
Et ipsi, dum in omnibus bellis prosternebantur, auxilium a Germania petebant, et augebantur
multipliciter sine intermissione, et reges a Germania deducebant, ut regnarent super illos in
Brittannia, usque ad tempus quo Ida regnavit, qui fuit Eobba filius, ipse fuit primus rex in
Beornicia, id est, im Berneich.
As regards a historical Arthur, the words here cited are very suggestive, for without
explicitly saying that Arthur was one of the kings of the Brythons, they make him the
general or dux bellorum, in whom one readily recognises the superior officer, known in the
time of Roman rule as the Gomes Britannia. This office, it may be presumed, was
continued after the Roman forces left, with the only difference that the man filling it
would be himself supreme, having no longer any lord, such as the Roman emperor, over
him. This position seems to have been Arthurs, and one has accordingly no difficulty
in understanding how he came to fight battles at places so far apart from one another.
For, though the majority of the twelve battles were fought in what we now call the North
of England or the South of Scotland, some of them undoubtedly took place in the south
of the Island, such as the battle of Urbs Legionis, which must have been either Chester
on the Dee or Caerleon on the Usk; and still farther south must have been that of
Mos Badonis. In a word, Arthur moved about in Britain just as Agricola or Severus
would have done, and without necessarily being one of the kings of the Brythons, he
would seem to have been over and above them. This must have been a position which
would in time cause all kinds of heroic legends to be associated with the name of the man
filling it. Add to this the numerous opportunities for the display of valour on behalf of
a bleeding country provided by the invasions of Germanic tribes from the Continent,
and by the incursions of Piets and Scots from the outlying portions of the British Isles,
and we have the full explanation of no inconsiderable part of the wondrous fame of
Arthur and his Men in subsequent ages.
The next references to Arthur, which deserve to be mentioned, occur in the Annales
1 See IHistoria Britonum attribuie a Nennius et IHistoria Britannica avant Geoffro de Monmouth, par Arthur
de la Broderie (Paris and London, 1883), p. 20. Since the above was written Zimmers work, entitled Nennius
Vindicatus (Berlin, 1893), has reached me, and in it he gives it as his conclusion, p. 82, that the Historia Brittonum
was put together as early as the year 796.
2 Nennii Historia Britonum adfidem codicum manuscriptorum recensuit Josephus Stevenson (London, 1838),
pp. 47-9.


INTRODUCTION
xxj
Cambriee, the. oldest existing manuscript of which was completed in 954 or 955.1 The
first entry occurs under the year 516, and reads as follows :
Bellum Badonis in quo Arthur portauit crucern domini nostri Ihesu Christi tribus diebus
et tribus noctibus in humeros suos et Brittones uictores fuerunt.
The next entry in point comes under the year 537, and runs thus1 2
Gueith cam lann [i.e., the Battle of Camlan\ in qua Arthur et Medraut corruerunt. et
mortalitas in Brittannia et in Hibernia fuit.
The Bellum Badonis of the Annales Cambriee is the same battle undoubtedly as
Nennius bellum in Monte Badonis. But the statement as to Arthur carrying the cross
of Christ on his shoulders has been surmised to be a mistranslation of Welsh words repre-
senting him carrying a figure of the cross in his shield; since the Welsh for shoulder
would have been written iscuit or iscuid which would also be spellings of the word for a
shield.3 This seems to shew that there was a Welsh tradition as to Arthurs personal
appearance at one of his great battles. The other entry is remarkable as representing
the death of Arthur and Medraut or Medrod (the Modred and Mordred of the romances)
as an ordinary event of war.
The next two passages to be cited occur in the Mirabilia usually associated with the
Historia Britonum; and most of them are probably to be referred to the same date as
the Historia itself.4 5 The words in point read as follows :
Est aliud miraculum in regione quee dicitur Buelt. Est ibi cumulus lapidum, et unus
lapis superpositus super congestum, cum vestigio canis in eo. Quando venatus est porcum
Aroitf impressit Cabal, qui erat canis Arthuri militis, vestigium in lapide, et Arthur postea
congregavit congestum lapidum sub lapide in quo erat vestigium canis sui, et vocatur Cam
Cabal. Et veniunt homines et tollunt lapidem in manibus suis per spacium diei et metis, et
in crastino die invenitur super congestum suum.
Est aliud miraculum in regione quee vocatur Ercing. Habetur ibi sepulchrum juxta
fontem qui cognominatur Licat Amir, et viri nomen, qui sepultus est in tumulo, sic vocabatur.
Amir 6 7 filius Arthuri militis erat, et ipse occidit eum ibidem, et sepelivit. Et veniunt homines
ad mensurandum tumulum ; in longitudine aliquando sex pedes, aliquando novem, aliquando
quindecim. In qua mensura metieris eum in ista vice, iterum non invenies eum in una
mensura ; et ego solus probavi.
The Porcus Aroit occupies a great place, as Awrch Arwyth, in the story of Kulhwch
and Olwen, where Cabal7 also occurs in its ordinary Welsh form of Cavail; but the
lesson these two passages in common teach us is, that at a comparatively early date
Arthurian names had begun to figure in the topography of Wales.
1 See Phillimores edition in the Cymmrodor, vol. ix. p. 144.
3 Ibid., p. x 54.
3 In later Welsh the words are ysgwydd, a shoulder, and ysgwyd, a shield.
4 This is Zimmers view in his Nennius Vindicatus, p. 115.
5 Stevenson seems to have found two readings of this word, namely, Trent and Troynt, and he selected for his
text the latter, which is gibberish: see his Nennius, p. 60. In Welsh literature the word has the two forms
Trwyd and Trwytk.
6 The same manuscript E, which reads Troit, and is supposed by Stevenson to have been written about the
beginning of the thirteenth century, reads here amirmur; but, as was to be expected, he inserted in his text a vox
nihili, namely Anir: Amirmur= Amir mur the Great Amir, and in the Liber Landavensis, Amir is written
Amyr; but a mans name Amhyr occurs also in that manuscript, while the name of Arthurs son in question is given
as Amhar in the Welsh romance of Gereint and Enid: I do not recollect meeting with it elsewhere.
7 It is to be noticed that Cabal with its b and single / belongs to the same school of orthography as the ninth
century triplets beginning with Niguorcosam: see Skenes Four anc. Books of Wties, ii. 2.


INTRODUCTION
xxij
Attention is next claimed by some of the references to Arthur in Welsh literature,
and here the Black Book of Carmarthen is entitled to the first place. The manuscript
may be supposed to have been written in the reigns of Stephen, Henry II., and Richard.1
One of the allusions to Arthur in this manuscript consists of a triplet occurring in the
Stanzas of the Graves, apprising the reader of the futility of looking for Arthurs grave,
as follows 1 2 3:
Bet y march, bet y guythur. A grave for March, a grave for Gwythur,
bet y gugaun cletyfrut. A grave for Gwgawn of the ruddy Sword,
anoeth bid bet y arthur. Not wise (the thought) a grave for Arthur.8
It might be objected that these lines are of no value here, as the idea suggested by
them might have been derived from the romances which represent Arthur departing to
the Isle of Avallon to be healed of his wounds, and not dying at all. But it may as
reasonably be regarded as an expression of the native belief fixed in various localities,
that Arthur and his knights were slumbering in a cave awaiting the destined hour of
their return. This prevailed among Arthurs countrymen from Cadbury to the Eildon
Hills, and has never been more charmingly sung than by the poet Leyden, when he speaks
of the enchanted sleep to be broken at length by somebody
That bids the charmed sleep of ages fly,
Rolls the long sound through Eildons caverns vast,
While each dark warrior rouses at the blast,
His horn, his falchion, grasps with mighty hand,
And peals proud Arthurs march from Fairyland.
The time likewise is not long past when the shepherds of North Wales used to entertain
one another with stories describing one of their number finding his way to the presence
of Arthur and his Men, all asleep in a Snowdonian cave resplendent with untold wealth
of gold and other treasure : the armed sleepers were believed to be merely awaiting the
signal for their return to take an active part in the affairs of this world. In South Wales
an elaborate but popular story lodges Arthur and his Knights in a cave at Craig y Ddinas,
in Glamorgan,4 while the peasantry of South Cardiganshire, relating the same story,
locate it elsewhere, and call the sleeping hero not Arthur but Owen,5 a name the memory
of which used to be kept fresh by ballad singers, who made country fairs ring with such
strains as the following :
Yr Owen hwn yw Harri V Nawfed, This Owen is Henry the Ninth,
Sydd yn trigo ngwlad estronied. Who lives in the land of strangers.
1 See Mr J. G. Evans preface (p. xvi.) to his Autotype Facsimile of the Black Book, Oxford, 1888.
2 Ibid., fol. 34.
3 I believe that such is the sense of the third line of the triplet, but I cannot attain to any certainty approaching
the assurance with which Prof. Zimmer categorically declares that, sie sagt bloss aus, dass man Arthurs Grab
nicht kenne : see the ZeitsckriftfiirfranzSsiscke Sfracbe und Litteratur, xij. 238.
4 The story is given in the Brythn for 1858, p. 162.
6 Ibid., p. 179. The editor, who was, I believe, no other than the Rev. Canon Silvan Evans, adds in a note
that this sort of story might be found current also in Cumberland.


INTRODUCTION xxiij
The Owen of the Cardiganshire legend is known as Owen Lawgoch or Owen of the
Red Hand, and he is represented as a man of seven feet in stature with a right hand which
was all red. The whole story reminds one of him of the red beard, Frederic Barbarossa.
I mention this lest anyone should suppose such stories had anything originally to do with
the historical Arthur. Some light is shed on their genesis by a passage in the writings of
an ancient author who lived in the first century of our era, namely Plutarch. In his work
De Defectu Oraculorum, xviij., he uses words to the following effect1the Italics are mine:
Demetrius further said, that of the islands around Britain many he scattered
about uninhabited, of which some are named after deities and heroes. He told us also,
that, being sent by the emperor with the object of reconnoitring and inspecting, he
went to the island which lay nearest to those uninhabited, and found it occupied by few
inhabitants, who were, however, sacrosanct and inviolable in the eyes of the Britons.
Soon after his arrival a great disturbance of the atmosphere took place, accompanied by
many portents, by the winds bursting forth into hurricanes, and by fiery bolts falling.
When it was over, the islanders said that some of the mighty had passed away. For as
a lamp on being lit, they said, brings with it no danger, while on being extinguished it is
grievous to many, just so with regard to great souls, their beginning to shine forth is
pleasant and the reverse of grievous, whereas the extinction and destruction of them
frequently disturb the winds and the surge as at present; oftentimes also do they infect
the atmosphere with pestilential diseases. Moreover, there is there, they said, an island
in which Cronus is imprisoned, with Briareus keeping guard over him as he sleeps; for,
as they put it, sleep is the bond forged for Cronus. They add that around him are many
deities, his henchmen and attendants.
To return to the Black Book, I may mention that another of the Stanzas of the
Graves is worth citing here, though it does not name Arthur. It alludes, however, to
Camlan, the Camelot of Malory and the romances, and that in the same strain of
apparently historical definiteness as the entry in the Annales Cambrics cited as mentioning
Camlan. The lines in question run thus 2 :
Bet mab osvran yg camlan. Osvrans sons grave (is) at Camlan,
gvydi llauer kywlavan. After many a slaughter,
Bet bedwir in olid try van. Bedwyrs grave (is) in Allt Tryvan.3
We next come to a poem headed Gereint filius Erbin, which describes a battle at a
place called Llongborth. Gereint is the poets hero, but he introduces Arthur as
Gereints superior and lord, as follows 4 :
En llogporth y gueleise. y arthur At Llongborth saw I of Arthurs
guir deur kymynint a dur. Brave men hewing with steel,
ameraudur 5 llywiaudir llawur. (Men of the) emperor,5 director of toil.
1 For the original see the Didot edition of Plutarch, vol. iii. p. 511 (De Defectu Oraculorum, xviij.); it is also to
be found printed in my Arthurian Legend, p. 367.
2 Evans Facsimile, fol. 32*.
3 There are several mountain tops in the Snowdon district called y Try fan, the Tryvan, and Mod Tryfan,
the round-topped hill of Tryvan. Lady Charlotte Guest (Mabinogion, ii. 167) has been misled by somebody
to indulge in the impossible spelling Trivaen.
* Evans Facsimile, fol. 36*.
3 I am not certain what documents exactly Prof. Zimmer had in view when he wrote as to Arthur, Nirgends
fuhrt er den Titel amheraiodyr ; or whether he would regard ameraudur here as a title or not: see the Gott. gel.
Anz. for 1890, p. 524.


XXIV
INTRODUCTION
Eti llogporth y lias y gereint.
guir deur o odir diwneint.
a chin rillethid ve. llatysseint.
At Llongborth there fell of Gereints
Brave men from the border of Devon,
And ere they were slain they slew.
In these triplets the position of Arthur seems to be very clearly indicated : the men
fighting on his side are Gereints men from Devon. That is to say, Arthur is Gereints
superior : he fills in fact the role assigned him in the His tor ia Brittonum when he is there
termed a Dux Bellorum. This raises the question of Arthurs title ; for passing on from
the description of him as a Dux Bellorum, we have him twice in the Mirabilia called
Arthur Miles. Further the Vita Gildce, sometimes ascribed to the twelfth century
author, Caradoc of Llancarvan, in giving the story of the carrying away of Guenever by
Melwas,1 speaks of the latter as rex, or king, reigning over the Mstiva Regio or Somerset,
while it styles Arthur a tyrannus. To this must be added the fact that in the story of
Kulhwch and Olwen the hero salutes Arthur as Penteyrned yr Tnys honn, or the Head
of the Princes of this Island, and one should notice that, in common with all these, the
passage last cited from the Black Book avoids calling Arthur a king. On the other hand
the word ameraudur which it applies to Arthur is one of the forms given in Welsh to the
Latin word imperator borrowed; but as it is used of him commonly in the stories of
Peredur, Owein, Gereint and others which betray the influence of the French romances,
it might perhaps be supposed that its presence in Gereints Elegy was due to that
influence. There is, however, no evidence, and the way in which the word is used
rather inclines me to regard it as spontaneous on the part of the poet: I am only
doubtful whether instead of rendering, as I have done, emperor, director of toil,
it would not have been more correct to write commander, director of toil :
that is to say, to suppose the word to retain here the meaning which it had primarily
in Latin. In any case, the instances which have been adduced will suffice, it seems
to me, to shew that it was not due to accident that other terms than that of king
were thought more suitable in speaking of Arthur. In that fact one seems to trace
one of the logical consequences of Arthurs having, as I have ventured to suppose,
occupied the historical position of the Comes Brittanire, in other words, that of the
Imperator himself, which it became when Britain ceased to form a part of the dominions
of Rome.
We next have a poem consisting of a dialogue between Arthur and Glewlwyd
Gavaelvawr, who in the Welsh stories about Arthur is represented as one of his chief
porters; but here he seems to have a castle of his own, the gates of which he appears in
no hurry to open for Arthur and his companions. He asks Arthur who he is and what
followers he has, which Arthur is made to seize as an opportunity for describing some of
them, expecially Kei, Malorys Sir Kay the seneschal. Unfortunately, the poem is so
obscure that I can only guess its meaning, as follows 1 2 :
Pa gur yv y porthaur. Who is the porter ?
Gleuluid gauaeluaur. Glewlwyd Gavaelvawr.
Pa gur ae gouin. Who asks the question ?
1 For the text of that story, see San-Martes Nennius et Gildas, pp. 122, 3, also the Romania, vol. x. 491,
where it is given by M. Gaston Paris.
2 Evans Facsimile, fol. 47b48*.


INTRODUCTION
XXV
arihur. a chei guin.1
Pa imda genhid.
Guir goreu im bid.
Ymtyny doi.
onys guaredi.
Mi ae guar\e\di.
athi ae gueli.
Vythneint elei.
Assivyon ell tri.
Mabon am mydron.
guas uthir pen dragon.
Kysceint' mab Banon.
A guin godybrion.
Oet rinn vy gueisson
in amuin ev detvon.
Manawidan ab llyr.
oet duis y cusil.
Neustuc manauid
eis tull o trywruid
A mabon am melld.
maglei guaed ar guelld.
Ac anguas edeinauc.
a lluch llauynnauc.
Oetin diffreidauc
ar eidin cyminauc
Argluit ae llochei
my nei ymtiwygei
Kei ae heiriolei.
trae llathei pop tri
Pan colled kelli.
caffad cuelli.
Aseirolei kei
hid trae kymynhei.
Arthur ced huarhei
y guaed gouerei.
In neuat awarnach
in imlat ew a gurach.
Ew a guant pen palach.
in atodeu dissethach.
Ym minit eidin
amuc a chinbin.
Arthur and worthy Kei.
What following (?) hast thou ?
The best of men are mine.
To my house thou shalt not come
Unless thou plead (?) for them.
I will plead (?) for them.
And thou shalt see them :
Wythneint of Elei,
And the wise men three
Mabon son of Modron,
(Uther Pendragons man)
Kyscaint son of Banon,
And Gwyn Godyvrion.
Sturdy would be my men
In defence of their laws
Manawydan son of Llyr
Profound in counsel;
(Manawyd brought home
A pierced buckler from Tryvrwyd).
And Mabon son of Mellt
Who stained the grass with gore ;
And Angwas the Winged,
And Llwch Llawynnawc,
Who were protective
Against Eidyn1 2 the gashing.
His lord would shelter him,
My nephew would amend (?),
Kei would plead for (?) them,
While slaying them three at a time.
When Kelli was lost
Savagery was experienced.
Kei would plead for them (?)
Until he might hew them down.
Though Arthur was playing
The blood was dripping.
In Awarnachs hall
A-fighting with a hag,
He slew Pen-palach
In the tasks (?) of Dissethach.
On Eidyns mountain
He combated with champions (?),
1 Guin, now written gwyn, means as a colour adjective white, but it is a very difficult word to render, one of
its uses being somewhat like that of French beau in beau pere. On the banks of the Dovey in Mid-Wales a step-
father is respectfully called tad gwyn, literally white father, and I surmise that it had a somewhat similar force
here. It is to be borne in mind that Kei is, so far as I can remember, elsewhere called Kei guin only in the story of
Kulhwch. See Red Book Mabinogion, p. 105, and for further remarks on gwyn see my Hibbert Lectures, pp. 527-8.
2 Mention is made of this man in Triads i. 38, 39; iii. 47, 48 (Myv. Arch., vol. ii. 9, 65), where he is
described as the slayer of the bard Aneurin.


INTRODUCTION
Pop cant id cuitin.
id cuitin pop cant,
rac beduir bedrydant.
Ar traethev trywruid.
in amuin a garvluid.
Oet guythir y annuyd.
o cletyw ac yscuid.
Oet guaget bragad
vrth kei ig had.
Oet cletyw ighad.
oe lav diguistlad.
Oet hyneiw guastad
ar lleg ar lies gulad.
Beduir. A Bridlav.1
Nau cant guarandau.
chuechant y eirthau.
a talei y ortinav.
Gueisson am buyint
oet guell ban uitint.
rac rieu emreis.
gueleise kei ar uris.
Preitev gorthowis.
oet gur hir in ewnis.
Oet trum y dial,
oet tost y cynial.
Pan yuei o wual
yuei urth peduar
ygkad pan delhei.
vrth cant id lathei.
Ny bei duv ae digonhei
Oet diheit aghev kei.
Kei guin a llachev.
digonint we kadev.
kin gloes glas verev.
yguarthaw ystawingun.
kei a guant nav guiton.
Kei win aaeth von
y dilein lleuon.
By the hundred they fell
They fell a hundred at a time
Before Bedwyr .
On the shores of Tyrvrwyd ;
Combating with Garwlwyd.
Victorious was his wrath
Both with sword and shield.
It were vain to boast
Against Kei in battle.
His sword in battle was
Not to be pledged from his hand.
He was an equable lord
Of a legion for the states good.
Bedwyr son of Bridlaw,
Nine hundred to watch,
Six hundred to attack
Was his onslaught (?) worth.
The young men I have
It is well where they are
Before the kings of Emrys
Have I seen Kei in haste.
Leader of the harryings,
Long would he be in his wrath;
Heavy was he in his vengeance ;
Terrible in his fighting.
When from a horn he drank
He drank as much as four men;
When he came into battle
He slew as would a hundred.
Unless it should be Gods act1 2
Keis death would be unachieved.
Worthy Kei and Llacheu
Used to fight battles,
Before the pang of livid spears,
On the top of Ystavingun
Kei slew nine witches.3
Worthy Kei went to Mona
To destroy lions.
1 This should probably give the parentage of Bedwyr, and it is natural to suggest as an emendation Beduir ab
Bridlav; but in Gereint and Enid he is described as son of Bedrazot: see Red Book Mab., p. 265.
* With this sentiment compare the following passage put into the mouth of Llew in the Mabinogi of Math
son of Mathonwy: Onym Had i duio kagen nyt hawd vy Had i. Unless God slay me, however, it is not easy to
slay me. See the Red Book Mabinogion, p. 75, also Lady Charlotte Guests Mab., iii. 242, where she imparts to
her translation a Christian tone not to be detected in the original, thus: But until Heaven take me I shall not
easily be slain.
3 This looks as if it might be the incident in which the story of Peredur makes that hero take a leading part:
he encounters the witches of Caer Loyw at a castle on a mountain, and he together with Arthur and his Men after-
wards kills them all at the end of the story: see the Red Book Mab., pp. 210-1, 242-3, and Guests Mab., i. 322-3,
369-70.


INTRODUCTION
XXVlj
y iscuid oet mynud
erbin cath paluc.
Pan gogiuerch tud.
Puy guant cath paluc.
Nau ugein kinlluc.
a cuytei in y buyd.
Nau ugein kinran
His shield was small
Against Palugs Cat.
When people shall ask
Who slew Palugs Cat ?
Nine score .
Used to fall for her food
Nine score leaders
Used to .
The manuscript is imperfect, and it breaks off just where one should have heard more
about Cath Paluc, or Palugs Cat, a monster, said in the Red Book Triads to have been
reared by the Sons of Palug, in Anglesey. The contests here mentioned with monsters,
hags and witches, form also a feature of the story of Kulhwch and Olwen, not to mention
Irish stories, such as that of Bricrius Feast,1 which abound in them. Moreover, the
majority of Arthurs followers in the Black Book poem, figure as such in the Kulhwch
also, namely Glewlwyd, Kei, Mabon son of Modron, Gwyn Godyvron, Mabon son of
Mellt, Angwas Edeinawc, Llwch Llawyniawc, Bedwyr, and Arthurs son Llacheu; not
to mention Manawyddan, who is forced into Arthurs train in both poem and story. On
the other hand, only two of Arthurs men enumerated in the former evade identification
elsewhere, namely, Wythneint and Kysceint.1 2 Perhaps the most remarkable thing in
the Black Book poem, is the position which it assigns to Kei, who there towers far above
all the rest of the Arthurian train : he is, in fact, not to be conquered by man or beast,
so that his death could only be attributed to the direct interference of the Almighty.
The next in importance to Kei was Bedwyr, the Bedewere or Bedyuere of Malorys
Morte Darthur, and the positions of both heroes are relatively the same in the Kulhwch
story.
Another allusion to Arthur occurs in the Black Book, to wit in an elegy to Madog son
of Meredydd, prince of Powys, who died in the year 1159. The poem is ascribed to
Madogs contemporary, the well-known Welsh poet Cynddelw, who, in alluding to the
mourning and grief among Madogs men, characterises the uproar as beingMai gavr
toryw teulu arthur.3
Like the shout of the multitude of Arthurs host.
This leads, however, to no inference of any importance in this context. The same
remark may be made concerning a mention of Arthur in a poem called Gorchan Maelderw
in the Book of Aneurin, a manuscript of the latter part of the thirteenth or of the begin-
ning of the fourteenth century : the passage is unfortunately obscure.4
The next manuscript to be mentioned is one of approximately the same data as the
last-mentioned : I allude to the Book of Taliessin, where an obscure poem occurs, headed
Kat Godeu. There, near the end, we have the following couplet:
1 The Irish text is given at length in Windischs Iriscke Texte, pp. 254-303.
Kysceint is probably a miscopying of Kysteint, the Welsh form of Constantins; a name Wytheint appears
in the Book of Taliessin, as that of one who fights with Gwydion son of D8n: see Skenes Four anc. Books of Wales,
ii. 158.
8 Evans Facsimile, fol. 52.
4 For the text see Skenes Jour anc. Books of Wales, vol. ii. 106, and for the translation, vol. i. 426. Both
will also be found in Thomas Stephens Gododin, pp. 352-3; but I am convinced that the meaning of the words
still remains to be discovered.


INTRODUCTION
xxviij
derwydon doethur. Druids erudite,
darogenwch y Arthur. Prophesy for Arthur.
Another allusion to Arthur in the Book of Taliessin runs thus1:
heilyn pascadur.
treded dofyn doethur
y vendigaw Arthur.
Arthur vendigan
ar gerd gyfaenat
Heilyn of the Passover
One of three deeply wise
To bless Arthur.
Arthur they will bless
In elaborate song.
Who the Heilyn mentioned here was does not appear, but he may be supposed to
have been a priest or a bard.
Other references to Arthur occur in the Book of Taliessin, but the most important
by far is the poem known as Preiddeu Annwfn, or the Harryings of Hades, which I sub-
join, so far as it is in point, with an attempt to translate into English, as follows :
Golychaf wledic pendeuic gwlat ri.
py ledas y pennaeth dros traeth mundi.
bu kyweir karchar gweir ygkaer sidi.
trwy ebostol pwyll aphryderi.
Neb kyn noc ef nyt aeth idi.
yr gadwyn tromlas kywirwas ae ketwi.
A rac preideu annwfyn tost yt geni.
Ac yt urawt parahawt yn bard wedi.
Ari lloneit prytwen yd aetham ni idi.
nam seith ny dyrreith o gaer sidi.
I adore the noble prince and high king
Who extended his sway over the worlds strand.
Perfect was the captivity of Gwair in Caer Sidi,
Through the warning 2 of Pwyll and Pryderi.
Before him no one entered into it,
Into the heavy dark chain a trusty youth guarded ;
And at the harryings of Hades grievously did he sing,
And till doom will he remain a bard afterwards.
Three freights of Prydwen went we into it
Seven alone did we return from Caer Sidi.
Neut wyfglot geinmyn cerd o chlywir.
ygkaer pedryuan pedyr y chwelyt.
ygkynneir or peir pan leferit.
Oanadyl naw morzoyn gochyneuit.
Neu peir pen annwfyn pwy y vynut.
gwrym am yoror a mererit.
1 See Skene, ii. 456 : vol. i. 259, gives a translation differing considerably from the one proposed here with
great diffidence.
2 As to this meaning of the word ebostol, see Llyvyr Agkyr Llaniewivrevi (in the Anecdota Oxoniensia), p. x 59.
It is epistola borrowed and sometimes confounded with abostol from apostolus: the sequence of meanings seems to
have been a letter, a message or admonition by letter, a warning. See a note on the word by Prof. Powel in the
Cymmrodor, ix. 199.


INTRODUCTION
XXIX
ny beirw bwyt llwfyr ny rytyghit.
cledyf lluch Ueawcidaw rydyrchit.
Ac yn llaw leminawc yd edewit.
Arac drws forth vffern llugyrn lloscit.
Afhan aetham ni gan arthur trafferth lethrit.
namyn seith ny dyrreith o gaer vedzvit.
I am a seeker (?) of praise, if (my) song be heard :
In Caer Pedryvan .
. from the cauldron it would be spoken
By the breath of nine maidens it would be kindled.
The head of Hades cauldronwhat is it like ?
A rim it has, with pearls, round its border :
It boils not a cowards food : it would not be perjured.
The sword of Llwch Lleawc would be lifted to it,
And in the hand of Lleminawc was it left.
And before the door of Hells gate lamps were burning,
And when we accompanied Arthur, a brilliant effort,
Seven alone did we return from Caer Veddwit.
Neut wyf glot geinmyn herd glywanawr.
ygkaer Pedryfan ynys fybyrdor.
echwyd amuchyd kymysgetor
gzvin gloyw eu gwirawt rac eu gorgord.
Pri lloneit frytwen yd aetham ni ar vor.
namyn seith ny dyrreith o gear rigor.
I am a seeker (?) of praise, (my) song being (?) heard :
At Caer Pedryvan in Quick-door Island,
At dusk and in the blackness (of night) they mix
The sparkling wine, their drink before their retinue.
Three freights of Prydwen went we on sea :
Seven alone did we return from Caer Rigor.
Ny obrynaji lawyr lien llywyadur
tra chaer wydyr ny welsynt wrhyt arthur.
Pri vgeint canhwr a seui arymur.
oed anhawd ymadrawd ae gwylyadur.
tri lloneit frytwen yd aeth gan arthur.
namyn seith ny dyrreith o gaer golud. I
I merit not the laurel of the ruler of letters
Beyond the Glass Fort they had not seen Arthurs valour.
Three score hundreds stood on the wall:
Hard it was found to converse with their sentinel.
Three freights of Prydwen (were they that) went with Arthur,
Seven alone did they return from Caer Goludd.


XXX
INTRODUCTION
Ny obrynaf y lawyr llaes eu kylchwy.
ny wdant ivy py dyd peridyd pwy.
py awr ymeindyd y ganet cwy.
Pwy gwnaeth arnyt aeth doleu defivy.
Ny wdant wy yr ych brych bras ypenrwy.
Seitb vgein kygwng yny aerwy.
A phan aetham ni gan arthur aurydol gofwy.
namyn seith ny dyrreith o gaer vandtvy.
I merit not the laurel of them of the long shields (?) :
They know not which is the rulers day (or) who (he is),
At what hour of early day he was born (or) where (?),
Who made went not .
They know not the Speckled Ox with the stout halter,
With seven score joints in his collar.
When we went with Arthur, anxious visit,
Seven alone did we return from Caer Vanddwy.
Ny obrynafy lawyr llaes eu gohen
ny wdant py dyd peridyd pen,
Py awr ymeindyd y ganet perchen.
Py vil a gatwant ary ant y pen.
pan aetham ni gan arthur afyrdwl gynhen
namyn seith ny dyrreith a gaer ochren.
I merit not the laurel of those of long .
They know not which is the day of the ruler (and) chief,
At what hour of early day was born the owner,
(Or) what myriad guards the silver of the head.
When we went with Arthur, anxious contest,
Seven alone did we return from Caer Ochren.
Of the eight castles or strongholds mentioned in this poem not a single one has been
identified with any real place, and the Isle of the Actve Door belongs probably to the
same sort of geography as Annwvyn or Hades, and Uffern or Hell. The poem evidently
deals with expeditions conducted by Arthur by sea to the realms of twilight and dark-
ness ; but the one in quest of the cauldron of the Head of Hades reminds me of that
described in the Kulhwch as having for its object the cauldron of Diwrnach the Goidel:
Arthur set out with a small number of men on board his ship Prydwen, and after severe
fighting brought away the cauldron full of the money of the country, which was, how-
ever, according to the Kulhwch, not Hades but Ireland. But with this difference the
stories agree, not to mention that yr Tch Brych, or the Speckled Ox, of the poem
figures also in the Kulhwch. To do justice to this part of the comparison, and to com-
plete the outline which I have suggested, I should have here to append at length the
story of Kulhwch ; but as that is out of the question, I will only add that a translation
of it into English will be found in the second volume of Lady Charlotte Guests Mabinogion.
The Kulhwch is contained in the Jesus College manuscript, the Red Book of Hergest, which
belongs to the latter half of the fourteenth century ; but the present version carries with


INTRODUCTION
xxxj
it some evidence that it was copied from a manuscript written in the Kymric hand usual
in Wales before the Norman Conquest and its influence had introduced another hand.
On the whole, one cannot go far wrong in supposing that it was composed in the tenth
century; and as to its contents, it has been pronounced purely1 Kymric by Professor
Zimmer,that is to say, as contrasted with stories in which the influence of the romances
cannot, as he thinks, be mistaken.
It is not to be supposed, however, that other manuscripts, whether belonging to the
same period as that of the Kulhwch or to later dates, relate nothing concerning Arthur
but the echo of incidents occurring in the French romances. Instances could readily
be cited to the contrary: take for example the episode in which the Welsh Triads 1 2
bring Arthur in contact with Drystan the gal-ofydd or war-leader of March and the
lover of Essyllt, that is to say, Malorys Tristram, kynge Mark, and Isoud respectively.
Drystan is represented sending Marchs swineherd on an errand to Essyllt, Drystan in
the meantime taking upon himself the charge of the swine. The story then makes
Arthur, assisted by March, Kei and Bedwyr, attempt to get possession of some of the
swine by every means in their power, but all in vain, so that Drystan came to be styled
one of the Three stout Swineherds of the Isle of Britain. Or take another instance,
namely the statement that Arthur had not one wife Gwenhwyvar, Malorys Guenever,
but three wives in succession, all called Gwenhwyvar. This strange piece of information
likewise comes from the Triads,3 and I should be surprised to learn that it found its
way into them from the French romances rather than from some far older source.
Speaking generally of the Arthur of Welsh literature, one may characterise him in
few words :His first appearance is found to conform itself with the role of a Comes
Britannia, on whom it devolved to help the inhabitants of what was once Roman
Britain against invasion and insult, whether at the hands of Angles and Saxons or of
Piets and Scots : so we read of him acting for the kings of the Brythons as their dux
bellorum. We next find his fame re-echoed by the topography of the country once under
his protection, and his name gathering round it the legends of heroes and divinities of
a past of indefinite extent. In other words, he and his men, especially Kei and Bedwyr,
are represented undertaking perilous expeditions to realms of mythic obscurity, bringing
home treasures, fighting with hags and witches, despatching giants, and destroying
monsters. How greatly this rude delineation of the triumph of man over violence and
brute force differs from the more finished picture of the Arthur of Malorys painting, it
would be needless to try to shew to any one bent on the pleasure of perusing the Morte
Darthur. Such a reader may be trusted to pursue the comparison unassisted, in the
fascinating pages of this incomparable book.
JOHN RHYS
Oxford, Nov. 7, 1893.
1 In the Gottingische gel. Anzeigen for June 10, 1890, pp. 517, 523-4. _____
2 Triads i. 30, ii. 56, iii. 101 : see the Myv. Arch., vol. ii. pp. 6, 20, 72-3.
3 Triad i. 59, ii. 16, iii. 109 : see the Myv. Arch., vol. ii. pp. 12, 14, 73.


Cartons Preface
tff t ft t
of wieeeeJrrrto
M1M
'^r;72f y* '
M
|FTER that I had accomplished
and finished divers histories,
as well of contemplation
as of other historical and
worldly acts of great con-
querors and princes, and also
certain books of ensamples
and doctrine, many noble and
divers gentlemen of this realm
of England came and de-
manded me, many and oft-
times, wherefore that I have
not do made and imprinted
the noble history of the San-
greal, and of the most re-
nowned Christian king, first
and chief of the three best Christian and worthy, King Arthur,
which ought most to be remembered among us English men
tofore all other Christian kings. For it is notoriously known


XXXIV
CAXTONS PREFACE
through the universal world that there be nine worthy and the best that ever were.
That is to wit three paynims, three Jews, and three Christian men. As for the paynims
they were tofore the Incarnation of Christ, which were named, the first Hector of Troy,
of whom the history is come both in ballad and in prose; the second Alexander the
Great; and the third Julius Caesar, Emperor of Rome, of whom the histories be well-
known and had. And as for the three Jews which also were tofore the Incarnation of
our Lord, of whom the first was Duke Joshua which brought the children of Israel into
the land of behest; the second David, King of Jerusalem; and the third Judas
Maccabeus: of these three the Bible rehearseth all their noble histories and acts. And
sith the said Incarnation have been three noble Christian men stalled and admitted
through the universal world into the number of the nine best and worthy, of whom was
first the noble Arthur, whose noble acts I purpose to write in this present book here
following. The second was Charlemagne or Charles the Great, of whom the history is
had in many places both in French and English; and the third and last was Godfrey of
Bouillon, of whose acts and life I made a book unto the excellent prince and king of noble
memory, King Edward the Fourth. The said noble gentlemen instantly required me
to imprint the history of the said noble king and conqueror, King Arthur, and of his
knights, with the history of the Sangreal, and of the death and ending of the said Arthur ;
affirming that I ought rather to imprint his acts and noble feats, than of Godfrey of
Bouillon, or any of the other eight, considering that he was a man born within this realm,
and king and emperor of the same ; and that there be in French divers and many noble
volumes of his acts, and also of his knights. To whom I answered, that divers men hold
opinion that there was no such Arthur, and that all such books as be made of him be
but feigned and fables, by cause that some chronicles make of him no mention nor re-
member him no thing, nor of his knights. Whereto they answered, and one in special said,
that in him that should say or think that there was never such a king called Arthur, might
well be credited great folly and blindness; for he said that there were many evidences of
the contrary: first ye may see his sepulture in the Monastery of Glastonbury. And also
in Polichronicon, in the fifth book the sixth chapter, and in the seventh book the twenty-
third chapter, where his body was buried and after found and translated into the said
monastery. Ye shall see also in the history of Bochas, in his book De Casu Principum,
part of his noble acts, and also of his fall. Also Galfridus in his British book recounteth
his life; and in divers places of England many remembrances be yet of him and shall
remain perpetually, and also of his knights. First in the Abbey of Westminster, at
Saint Edwards shrine, remaineth the print of his seal in red wax closed in beryl, in which
is written Patricius Arthurus, Britannie, Gallie, Germanie, Dacie, Imperator. Item in the
castle of Dover ye may see Gawaines skull and Craddocks mantle: at Winchester the
Round Table : in other places Lancelots sword and many other things. Then all these
things considered, there can no man reasonably gainsay but there was a king of this land
named Arthur. For in all places, Christian and heathen, he is reputed and taken for one
of the nine worthy, and the first of the three Christian men. And also he is more spoken
of beyond the sea, more books made of his noble acts than there be in England, as well
in Dutch, Italian, Spanish, and Greek, as in French. And yet of record remain in witness,
of him in Wales, in the town of Camelot, the great stones and marvellous works of iron,
lying under the ground, and royal vaults, which divers now living hath seen. Where-
fore it is a marvel why he is no more renowned in his own country, save only it accordeth
to the Word of God, which saith that no man is accept for a prophet in his own country.
Then all these things foresaid alleged, I could not well deny but that there was such a


CAXTONS PREFACE
XXXV
noble king named Arthur, and reputed one of the nine worthy, and first and chief of the
Christian men; and many noble volumes be made of him and of his noble knights in
French, which I have seen and read beyond the sea, which be not had in our maternal
tongue, but in Welsh be many and also in French, and some in English, but no where
nigh all. Wherefore, such as have late been drawn out briefly into English I have after
the simple conning that God hath sent to me, under the favour and correction of all
noble lords and gentlemen, emprised to imprint a book of the noble histories of the said
King Arthur, and of certain of his knights, after a copy unto me delivered, which copy
Sir Thomas Malory did take out of certain books of French, and reduced it into English.
And I, according to my copy, have done set it in imprint, to the intent that noble men
may see and learn the noble acts of chivalry, the gentle and virtuous deeds that some
knights used in those days, by which they came to honour ; and how they that were vicious
were punished and oft put to shame and rebuke ; humbly beseeching all noble lords and
ladies, with all other estates, of what estate or degree they be of, that shall see and read in
this said book and work, that they take the good and honest acts in their remembrance,
and to follow the same. Wherein they shall find many joyous and pleasant histories, and
noble and renowned acts of humanity, gentleness, and chivalries. For herein may be
seen noble chivalry, courtesy, humanity, friendliness, hardiness, love, friendship, cowardice,
murder, hate, virtue, and sin. Do after the good and leave the evil, and it shall bring
you to good fame and renown. And for to pass the time this book shall be pleasant to
read in; but for to give faith and believe that all is true that is contained herein, ye be
at your liberty; but all is written for our doctrine, and for to beware that we fall not to
vice nor sin, but to exercise and follow virtue; by which we may come and attain to
good fame and renown in this life, and after this short and transitory life, to come unto
everlasting bliss in heaven, the which he grant us that reigneth in heaven, the blessed
Trinity. Amen.


IEN to proceed forth in this said book, which I direct
unto all noble princes, lords and ladies, gentlemen or
gentlewomen, that desire to read or hear read of the noble
and joyous history of the great conqueror and excellent
king, King Arthur, sometime king of this noble realm, then
called Britain. I, William Caxton, simple person, present
this book following, which I have emprised to imprint;
and treateth of the noble acts, feats of arms of chivalry,
prowess, hardiness, humanity, love, courtesy, and very
gentleness, with many wonderful histories and adventures.
And for to understand briefly the content of this volume,
I have divided it into twenty-one books, and every book
chaptered as hereafter shall by Gods grace follow. The
first book shall treat how Uther Pendragon gat the noble
conqueror King Arthur, and containeth twenty-eight
chapters. The second book treateth of Balin the noble
knight, and containeth nineteen chapters. The third book
treateth of the marriage of King Arthur to Queen
Guenever, with other matters, and containeth fifteen chapters. The fourth book, how
Merlin was assotted, and of war made to King Arthur, and containeth twenty-nine
chapters. The fifth book treateth of the conquest of Lucius the emperor, and containeth
twelve chapters. The sixth book treateth of Sir Lancelot and Sir Lionel, and marvellous
adventures, and containeth eighteen chapters. The seventh book treateth of a noble
knight called Sir Gareth, and named by Sir Kay, Beaumains, and containeth thirty-six
chapters. The eighth book treateth of the birth of Sir Tristram the noble knight,
and of his acts, and containeth forty-one chapters. The ninth book treateth of a
knight named by Sir Kay, La Cote Male Taile, and also of Sir Tristram, and con-
taineth forty-four chapters. The tenth book treateth of Sir Tristram and other mar-
vellous adventures, and containeth eighty-eight chapters. The eleventh book treateth
of Sir Lancelot and Sir Galahad, and containeth fourteen chapters. The twelfth book
treateth of Sir Lancelot and his madness, and containeth fourteen chapters. The
thirteenth book treateth how Galahad came first to King Arthurs court, and the
quest how the Sangreal was begun, and containeth twenty chapters. The fourteenth
book treateth of the quest of the Sangreal, and containeth ten chapters. The fifteenth
book treateth of Sir Lancelot, and containeth six chapters. The sixteenth book treateth
of Sir Bors and Sir Lionel his brother, and containeth seventeen chapters. The seven-
teenth book treateth of the Sangreal, and containeth twenty-three chapters. The
eighteenth book treateth of Sir Lancelot and the queen, and containeth twenty-five
chapters. The nineteenth book treateth of Queen Guenever and Lancelot, and con-
taineth thirteen chapters. The twentieth book treateth of the piteous death of Arthur,
and containeth twenty-two chapters. The twenty-first book treateth of his last depart-
ing, and how Sir Lancelot came to revenge his death, and containeth thirteen chapters.
The sum is twenty-one books, which contain the sum of five hundred and seven chapters,
as more plainly shall follow hereafter.
xxxvj


THE TABLE OR RUBRYSSHE
OF THE
CONTENTS OF CHAPTERS
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CHAP. PAGE
I. How Uther Pendragon sent for the Duke of Cornwall and Igraine his wife, and of their
departing suddenly again. I
II. How Uther Pendragon made war on the Duke of Cornwall, and how by the means of
Merlin he lay by the Duchess and gat Arthur. 2
III. Of the Birth of King Arthur and of his Nurture. 3
IV. Of the Death of King Uther Pendragon. 4
V. How Arthur was chosen King, and of wonders and marvels of a sword taken out of a stone
by the said Arthur. 4
VI. How King Arthur pulled out the Sword divers times. 6
VII. How King Arthur was crowned, and how he made officers. 7
VIII. How King Arthur held in Wales, at a Pentecost, a great feast, and what kings and lords
came to his feast. 7
IX. Of the first war that King Arthur had, and how he won the field. 8
X. How Merlin counselled King Arthur to send for King Ban and King Bors, and of their
counsel taken for the war 9
XI. Of a great tourney made by King Arthur and the two kings Ban and Bors, and how they
went over the sea. 10
XII. How eleven kings gathered a great host against King Arthur. 12
XIII. Of a dream of the king with the hundred knights. 12
XIV. How the eleven kings with their host fought against Arthur and his host, and many great
feats of the war. 13
XV. Yet of the same battle. 14
XVI. Yet more of the same battle. 15
XVII. Yet more of the same battle, and how it was ended by Merlin. 17
XVIII. How King Arthur, King Ban, and King Bors rescued King Leodegrance, and other
incidents. 18
XIX. How King Arthur rode to Carlion, and of his dream, and how he saw the questing beast. 19
XX. How King Pellinore took Arthurs horse and followed the questing beast, and how Merlin
met with Arthur. 20
XXI. How Ulfius impeached Queen Igraine, Arthurs mother, of treason ; and how a knight
came and desired to have the death of his master revenged. 21
XXII. How Griflet was made knight, and jousted with a knight. 22
XXIII. How twelve knights came from Rome and asked truage for this land of Arthur, and how
Arthur fought with a knight. 22
XXIV. How Merlin saved Arthurs life, and threw an enchantment on King Pellinore, and
made him to sleep. 24
XXV. How Arthur by the mean of Merlin gat Excalibur his sword of the Lady of the Lake. 24
XXVI. How tidings came to Arthur that King Rience had overcome eleven kings, and how he
XXVII. desired Arthurs beard to trim his mantle. 25
How all the children were sent for that were born on May-day, and how Mordred was
saved. 26
xxxvij


xxxviij TABLE OR RUBRYSSHE
secant! jbcruTt,
CHAP. PAGE
I. Of a damosel which came girt with a sword for to find a man of such virtue to draw it
out of the scabbard. 27
II. How Balin, arrayed like a poor knight, pulled out the sword, which afterward was the
cause of his death. 28
III. How the Lady of the Lake demanded the knights head that had won the sword, or the
maidens head. 29
IV. How Merlin told the adventure of this damosel. 30
V. How Balin was pursued by Sir Lanceor, knight of Ireland, and how he jousted and slew
him. 31
VI. How a damosel, which was love to Lanceor, slew herself for love, and how Balin met with
his brother Balan. 31
VII. How a dwarf reproved Balin for the death of Lanceor, and how King Mark of Cornwall
found them, and made a tomb over them. 32
VIII. How Merlin prophesied that two the best knights of the world should fight there,
which were Sir Lancelot and Sir Tristram. 33
IX. How Balin and his brother, by the counsel of Merlin, took King Rience and brought him
to King Arthur. 33
X. How King Arthur had a battle against Nero and King Lot of Orkney, and how King
Lot was deceived by Merlin, and how twelve kings were slain. 34
XI. Of the interment of twelve kings, and of the prophecy of Merlin, and how Balin should
give the dolorous stroke. 35
XII. How a sorrowful knight came before Arthur, and how Balin fetched him, and how that
knight was slain by a knight invisible. 36
XIII. How Balin and the damosel met with a knight which was in likewise slain, and how the
damosel bled for the custom of a castle. 37
-7^XIV. How Balin met with that knight named Garlon at a feast, and there he slew him to have
his blood to heal therewith the son of his host. 37
XV. How Balin fought with King Pellam, and how his sword brake, and how he gat a spear
wherewith he smote the dolorous stroke. 38
XVI. How Balin was delivered by Merlin, and saved a knight that would have slain himself for
love. 39
XVII. How that knight slew his love and a knight lying by her, and after, how he slew himself
with his own sword, and how Balin rode toward a castle where he lost his life. 40
XVIII. How Balin met with his brother Balan, and how each of them slew other unknown, till
they were wounded to death. 41
XIX. How Merlin buried them both in one tomb, and of Balins sword. 42
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I. How King Arthur took a wife, and wedded Guenever, daughter to Leodegrance, king
of the land of Cameliard, with whom he had the Round Table. 43
II. How the knights of the Round Table were ordained and their sieges blessed by the
Bishop of Canterbury. 44
III. How a poor man riding upon a lean mare desired King Arthur to make his son knight. 45
IV. How Sir Tor was known for son of King Pellinore, and how Gawaine was made knight. 46
V. How at feast of the wedding of King Arthur to Guenever, a white hart came into the hall,
and thirty couple hounds, and how a brachet pinched the hart which was taken away. 46
VI. How Sir Gawaine rode for to fetch again the hart, and how two brethren fought each
against other for the hart. 47
VII. How the hart was chased into a castle and there slain, and how Sir Gawaine slew a lady. 48


TABLE OR RUBRYSSHE
xxxix
CHAP. PAGE
VIII. How four knights fought against Gawaine and Gaheris, and how they were overcome,
and their lives saved at request of four ladies. 48
IX. How Sir Tor rode after the knight with the brachet, and of his adventure by the way. 49
X. How Sir Tor found the brachet with a lady, and how a knight assailed him for the said
brachet. 5
XI. How Sir Tor overcame the knight, and how he lost his head at the request of a lady. 51
XII. How King Pellinore rode after the lady and the knight that led her away, and how a lady
desired help of him, and how he fought with two knights for that lady, of whom he slew
the one at the first stroke. 52
XIII. How King Pellinore gat the lady and brought her to Camelot to the court of King Arthur. 53
XIV. How on the way he heard two knights, as he lay by night in a valley, and of their adventures. 54
XV. How when he was come to Camelot he was sworn upon a book to tell the truth of his quest. 55
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I. How Merlin was assotted, and doated on one of the ladies of the lake, and how he was shut
in a rock under a stone and there died. 57
II. How five kings came into this land to war against King Arthur, and what counsel Arthur
had against them. 58
III. How King Arthur had ado with them and overthrew them, and slew the five kings and
made the remnant to flee. 59
IV. How the battle was finished or he came, and how King Arthur founded an abbey where
the battle was. 60
V. How Sir Tor was made knight of the Round Table, and how Bagdemagus was displeased. 61
VI. How King Arthur, King Uriens, and Sir Accolon of Gaul chased an hart, and of their
marvellous adventures. 61
VII. How Arthur took upon him to fight to be delivered out of prison, and also for to deliver
twenty knights that were in prison. 62
VIII. How Accolon found himself by a well, and he took upon him to do battle against Arthur. 63
IX. Of the battle between King Arthur and Accolon. 64
X. How King Arthurs sword that he fought with brake, and how he recovered of Accolon
his own sword Excalibur, and overcame his enemy. 65
XI. How Accolon confessed the treason of Morgan le Fay, King Arthurs sister, and how
she would have done slay him. 66
XII. How Arthur accorded the two brethren, and delivered the twenty knights, and how
Sir Accolon died. 67
XIII. How Morgan would have slain Sir Uriens her husband, and how Sir Uwaine her son
saved him. 68
XIV. How Queen Morgan le Fay made great sorrow for the death of Accolon, and how she
stole away the scabbard from Arthur. 68
XV. How Morgan le Fay saved a knight that should have been drowned, and how King
Arthur returned home again. 69
XVI. How the damosel of the lake saved King Arthur from a mantle that should have burnt
him. 7
XVII. How Sir Gawaine and Sir Uwaine met with twelve fair damosels, and how they com-
plained on Sir Marhaus. 71
XVIII. How Sir Marhaus jousted with Sir Gawaine and Sir Uwaine, and overthrew them both. 72
XIX. How Sir Marhaus, Sir Gawaine, and Sir Uwaine met three damosels, and each of them
took one. 73
XX. How a knight and a dwarf strove for a lady. 74
XXI. How King Pelleas suffered himself to be taken prisoner because he would have a sight
of his lady, and how Sir Gawaine promised him to get to him the love of his lady. 75
XXII. How Sir Gawaine came to the Lady Ettard, and how Sir Pelleas found them sleeping. 76


TABLE OR RUBRYSSHE
xl
CHAP. PAGE
XXIII. How Sir Pelleas loved no more Ettard by means of the damosel of the late, whom he
loved ever after. 78
XXIV. How Sir Marhaus rode with the damosel, and how he came to the Duke of the South
Marches. 78
XXV. How Sir Marhaus fought with the duke and his four sons and made them to yield them. 79
XXVI. How Sir Uwaine rode with the damosel of sixty year of age, and how he gat the prize
at tourneying. 80
XXVII. How Sir Uwaine fought with two knights and overcame them. 81
XXVIII. How at the years end all three knights with their three damosels met at the fountain. 81
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I. How twelve aged ambassadors of Rome came to King Arthur to demand truage for
Britain. 83
II. How the kings and lords promised to King Arthur aid and help against the Romans. 84
III. How King Arthur held a Parliament at York, and how he ordained the realm should be
governed in his absence. 86
IV. How King Arthur being shipped and lying in his cabin had a marvellous dream, and of
the exposition thereof. 86
V. How a man of the country told to him of a marvellous giant, and how he fought and
conquered him. 87
VI. How King Arthur sent Sir Gawaine and other to Lucius, and how they were assailed
and escaped with worship. 89
VII. How Lucius sent certain spies in a bushment for to have taken his knights being prisoners,
and how they were letted. 90
VIII. How a Senator told to Lucius of their discomfiture, and also of the great battle between
Arthur and Lucius. 91
IX. How Arthur, after he had achieved the battle against the Romans, entered into Almaine,
and so into Italy. 92
X. Of a battle done by Sir Gawaine against a Saracen, which after was yielden and became
Christian. 93
XI. How the Saracens came out of a wood for to resuce their beasts, and of a great battle. 95
XII. How Sir Gawaine returned to King Arthur with his prisoners, and how the king won
a city, and how he was crowned emperor. 96
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I. How Sir Lancelot and Sir Lionel departed from the court, and how Sir Lionel left
him sleeping and was taken. 99
II. How Sir Ector followed for to seek Sir Lancelot, and how he was taken by Sir Turquine. 100
III. How four queens found Lancelot sleeping, and how by enchantment he was taken and
led into a castle. 101
IV. How Sir Lancelot was delivered by the mean of a damosel. 102
V. How a knight found Sir Lancelot lying in his lemans bed, and how Sir Lancelot fought
with the knight. 103
VI. How Sir Lancelot was received of King Bagdemagus daughter, and how he made his
complaint to her father. 103
VII. How Sir Lancelot behaved him in a tournament, and how he met with Sir Turquine
leading Sir Gaheris. 104
VIII. How Sir Lancelot and Sir Turquine fought together. 106
IX. How Sir Turquine was slain, and how Sir Lancelot bade Sir Gaheris deliver all the
prisoners. 107


TABLE OR RUBRYSSHE xij
CHAP. PAGE
X. How Sir Lancelot rode with a damosel, and slew a knight that distressed all ladies; and
also a villain that kept a bridge. 108
XI. How Sir Lancelot slew two giants, and made a castle free. 109
XII. How Sir Lancelot rode disguised in Sir Kays harness, and how he smote down a knight. in
XIII. How Sir Lancelot jousted against four knights of the Round Table and overthrew them. 112
XIV. How Sir Lancelot followed a brachet into a castle, where he found a dead knight, and
how he after was required of a damosel to heal her brother. 112
XV. How Sir Lancelot came into the Chapel Perilous and gat there of a dead corpse a piece of
the cloth and a sword. 113
XVI. How Sir Lancelot at the request of a lady recovered a falcon, by which he was deceived. 114
XVII. How Sir Lancelot overtook a knight which chased his wife to have slain her, and how he
said to him. 115
XVIII. How Sir Lancelot came to King Arthurs court, and how there were recounted all his
noble feats and acts. 116
ED
I. How Beaumains came to King Arthurs court and demanded three petitions of King
Arthur. 119
II. How Sir Lancelot and Sir Gawaine were wroth by cause Sir Kay mocked Beaumains,
and of a damosel which desired a knight to fight for a lady. 120
III. How Beaumains desired the battle, and how it was granted to him, and how he desired
to be made Knight of Sir Lancelot. 121
IV. How Beaumains departed and how he gat of Sir Kay a spear and a shield, and how he
jousted with Sir Lancelot. 122
V. How Beaumains told to Sir Lancelot his name, and how he was dubbed Knight of Sir
Lancelot, and after overtook the damosel. 123
VI. How Beaumains fought and slew two knights at a passage. 124
VII. How Beaumains fought with the knight of the black laundes, and fought with him till
he fell down and died. 125
VIII. How the brother of the knight that was slain met with Beaumains, and fought with
Beaumains till he was yielden. 126
IX. How the damosel again rebuked Beaumains, and would not suffer him to sit at her table,
but called him kitchen boy. 127
X. How the third brother, called the red knight, jousted and fought against Beaumains, and
how Beaumains overcame him. 128
XI. How Sir Beaumains suffered great rebukes of the damosel, and he suffered it patiently. 129
XII. How Beaumains fought with Sir Persant of Inde, and made him to be yielden. 130
XIII. Of the goodly communication between Sir Persant and Beaumains, and how he told him
that his name was Sir Gareth. 131
XIV. How the lady that was besieged had word from her sister how she had brought a knight
to fight for her, and what battles he had achieved. 132
XV. How the damosel and Beaumains came to the siege, and came to a sycamore tree, and
there Beaumains blew a horn, and then the knight of the red launde came to fight
with him. _ J33
XVI. How the two knights met together, and of their talking, and how they began their battle. 134
XVII. How after long fighting Beaumains overcame the knight and would have slain him, but
at the request of the lords he saved his life, and made him to yield him to the lady. 135
XVIII. How the knight yielded him, and how Beaumains made him to go unto King Arthurs
court, and to cry Sir Lancelot mercy. T3^
XIX. How Beaumains came to the lady, and when he came to the castle the gates were closed
against him, and of the words that the lady said to him. 137
XX. How Sir Beaumains rode after to rescue his dwarf, and came into the castle where he was. 138


xlij TABLE OR RUBRYSSHE
CHAP. PACE
XXI. How Sir Gareth, otherwise called Beaumains, came to the presence of his lady, and how
they took acquaintance, and of their love. 140
XXII. How at night, came an armed knight, and fought with Sir Gareth, and he, sore hurt
in the thigh, smote off the knights head. 140
XXIII. How the said knight came again the next night and was beheaded again, and how at
the feast of Pentecost all the knights that Sir Gareth had overcome came and
yielded them to King Arthur. 142
XXIV. How King Arthur pardoned them, and demanded of them where Sir Gareth was. 143
XXV. How the Queen of Orkney came to this Feast of Pentecost, and Sir Gawaine and his
brethren came to ask her blessing. 144
XXVI. How King Arthur sent for the Lady Liones, and how she let cry a tourney at her castle,
whereas came many knights. 145
XXVII. How King Arthur went to the tournament with his knights, and how the lady received
him worshipfully, and how the knight encountered. 146
XXVIII. How the knights bare them in the battle. 147
XXIX. Yet of the said tournament. 149
XXX. How Sir Gareth was espied by the heralds, and how he escaped out of the field. 150
XXXI. How Sir Gareth came to a castle where he was well lodged, and he jousted with a
knight and slew him. 151
XXXII. How Sir Gareth fought with a knight that held within his castle thirty ladies, and how
he slew him. 152
XXXIII. How Sir Gareth and Sir Gawaine fought each against other, and how they knew each
other by the damosel Linet. 153
XXXIV. How Sir Gareth acknowledged that they loved each other to King Arthur, and of the
appointment of their wedding. 154
XXXV. Of the great royalty, and what officers were made at the feast of the wedding, and of
the jousts at the feast. 155
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I. How Sir Tristram de Liones was born, and how his mother died at his birth, wherefore
she named him Tristram.
II. How the stepmother of Sir Tristram had ordained poison for to have poisoned Sir
Tristram.
III. How Sir Tristram was sent into France, and had one to govern him named Gouvernail,
and how he learned to harp, hawk, and hunt.
IV. How Sir Marhaus came out of Ireland for to ask truage of Cornwall, or else he would
fight therefor.
V. How Tristram enterprized the battle to fight for the truage of Cornwall, and how he was
made knight.
VI. How Sir Tristram arrived into the island for to furnish the battle with Sir Marhaus.
VII. How Sir Tristram fought against Sir Marhaus and achieved his battle, and how Sir
Marhaus fled to his ship.
VIII. How Sir Marhaus after that he was arrived in Ireland died of the stroke that Sir
Tristram had given him, and how Tristram was hurt.
IX. How Sir Tristram was put to the keeping of La Beale Isoud first for to be healed of his
wound.
X. How Sir Tristram won the degree at a tournament in Ireland, and there made Pala-
mides to bear no more harness in a year.
XI. How the queen espied that Sir Tristram had slain her brother Sir Marhaus by his sword,
and in what jeopardy he was.
XII. How Sir Tristram departed from the King and La Beale Isoud out of Ireland for to
come into Cornwall.
157
158
159
160
161
162
163
164
165
166
167
168


TABLE OR RUBRYSSHE xliij
CHAP. PAGE
XIII. How Sir Tristram and King Mark hurted each other for the love of a knights
wife. 169
XIV. How Sir Tristram lay with the lady, and how her husband fought with Sir Tristram. 170
XV. How Sir Bleoberis demanded the fairest lady in King Marks court, whom he took
away, and how he was fought with. 171
XVI. How Sir Tristram fought with two knights of the Round Table. 172
XVII. How Sir Tristram fought with Sir Bleoberis for a lady, and how the lady was put to
choice to whom she would go. 173
XVIII. How the lady forsook Sir Tristram and abode with Sir Bleoberis, and how she desired
to go to her husband. 174
XIX. How King Mark sent Sir Tristram for La Beale Isoud toward Ireland, and how by
fortune he arrived into England. 175
XX. How King Anguish of Ireland was summoned to come to King Arthurs court for
treason. 175
XXI. How Sir Tristram rescued a child from a lpiight, and how Gouvernail told him of
King Anguish. 176
XXII. How Sir Tristram fought for Sir Anguish and overcame his adversary, and how his
adversary would never yield him. 177
XXIII. How Sir Blamore desired Tristram to slay him, and how Sir Tristram spared him,
and how they took appointment. 178
XXIV. How Sir Tristram demanded La Beale Isoud for King Mark, and how Sir Tristram
and Isoud drank the love drink. 179
XXV. How Sir Tristram and Isoud were in prison, and how he fought for her beauty, and
smote off another ladys head. 180
XXVI. How Sir Tristram fought with Sir Breunor, and at the last smote off his head. 181
XXVII. How Sir Galahad fought with Sir Tristram, and how Sir Tristram yielded him and
promised to fellowship with Lancelot. 182
XXVIII. How Sir Lancelot met with Sir Carados bearing away Sir Gawaine, and of the rescue
of Sir Gawaine. 183
XXIX. Of the wedding of King Mark to La Beale Isoud, and of Bragwaine her maid, and of
Palamides. 184
XXX. How Palamides demanded Queen Isoud, and how Lambegus rode after to rescue her,
and of the escape of Isoud. 185
XXXI. How Sir Tristram rode after Palamides, and how he found him and fought with him,
and by the means of Isoud the battle ceased. 186
XXXII. How Sir Tristram brought Queen Isoud home, and of the debate of King Mark and
Sir Tristram. 187
XXXIII. How Sir Lamorak jousted with thirty knights, and Sir Tristram at the request of
King Mark smote his horse down. 188
XXXIV. How Sir Lamorak sent an horn to King Mark in despite of Sir Tristram, and how
Sir Tristram was driven into a chapel. 189
XXXV. How Sir Tristram was holpen by his men, and of Queen Isoud which was put in a
larar-cote, and how Tristram was hurt. 190
XXXVI. How Sir Tristram served in war King Howel of Brittany, and slew his adversary in
the field. 191
XXXVII. How Sir Suppinabiles told Sir Tristram how he was defamed in the court of King
Arthur, and of Sir Lamorak. 192
XXXVIII. How Sir Tristram and his wife arrived in Wales, and how he met there with Sir
Lamorak. 193
XXXIX. How Sir Tristram fought with Sir Nabon, and overcame him, and made Sir Sag-
warides lord of the Isle. 194
XL. How Sir Lamorak departed from Sir Tristram, and how he met with Sir Frol, and after
with Sir Lancelot. 195
XLI. How Sir Lamorak slew Sir Frol, and of the courteous fighting with Sir Belliance his
brother. *9^


TABLE OR RUBRYSSHE
xliv
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CHAP. PAGE
I. How a young man came into the court of King Arthur, and how Sir Kay called him in
scorn La Cote Male Taile. 199
II. How a damosel came into the court and desired a knight to take on him an enquest, which
La Cote Male Taile emprised. 200
III. How La Cote Male Taile overthrew Sir Dagonet the kings fool, and of the rebuke that
he had of the damosel. 201
IV. How La Cote Male Taile fought against an hundred knights, and how he escaped by the
mean of a lady. 202
V. How Sir Lancelot came to the court and heard of La Cote Male Taile, and how he
followed after him, and how La Cote Male Taile was prisoner. 203
VI. How Sir Lancelot fought with six knights, and after with Sir Brian, and how he delivered
the prisoners. 205
VII. How Sir Lancelot met with the damosel named Maledisant, and named her the damosel
Bienpensant. 206
VIII. How La Cote Male Taile was taken prisoner, and after rescued by Sir Lancelot, and how
Sir Lancelot overcame four brethren. 207
IX. How Sir Lancelot made La Cote Male Taile lord of the Castle of Pendragon, and after
was made knight of the Round Table. 208
X. How La Beale Isoud sent letters to Sir Tristram by her maid Bragwaine, and of divers
adventures of Sir Tristram. 209
XI. How Sir Tristram met with Sir Lamorak de Galis, and how they fought, and after
accorded never to fight together. 210
XII. How Sir Palomides followed the questing beast, and smote down Sir Tristram and Sir
Lamorak with one spear. 211
XIII. How Sir Lamorak met with Sir Meliagaunce, and fought together for the beauty of Dame
Guenever. 212
XIV. How Sir Kay met with Sir Tristram, and after of the shame spoken of the knights of
Cornwall, and how they jousted. 213
XV. How King Arthur was brought into the Forest Perilous, and how Sir Tristram saved
his life. 214
XVI. How Sir Tristram came to La Beale Isoud, and how Kehydius began to love Beale Isoud,
and of a letter that Tristram found. 215
XVII. How Sir Tristram departed from Tintagil, and how he sorrowed and was so long in a
forest till he was out of his mind. 216
XVIII. How Sir Tristram soused Dagonet in a well, and how Palomides sent a damosel to seek
Tristram, and how Palomides met with King Mark. 217
XIX. How it was noised how Sir Tristram was dead, and how La Beale Isoud would have slain
herself. 218
XX. How King Mark found Sir Tristram naked, and made him to be borne home to Tintagil,
and how he was there known by a brachet. 219
XXI. How King Mark by the advice of his Council, banished Sir Tristram out of Cornwall the
term of ten years. 220
XXII. How a damosel sought help to help Sir Lancelot against thirty knights, and how Sir
Tristram fought with them. 221
XXIII. How Sir Tristram and Sir Dinadan came to a lodging where they must joust with two
knights. 222
XXIV. How Sir Tristram jousted with Sir Kay and Sir Sagramore le Desirous, and how Sir
Gawaine turned Sir Tristram from Morgan le Fay. 223
XXV. How Sir Tristram and Sir Gawaine rode to have foughten with the thirty knights, but
they durst not come out. 225
XXVI. How Damosel Bragwaine found Tristram sleeping by a well, and how she delivered
letters to him from La Beale Isoud. 226


TABLE OR RUBRYSSHE xlv
CHAP. PAGE
XXVII. How Sir Tristram had a fall with Sir Palomides, and how Lancelot overthrew two
knights. 227
XXVIII. How Sir Lancelot jousted with Palomides and overthrew him, and after he was assailed
with twelve knights. 228
XXIX. How Sir Tristram behaved him the first day of the tournament, and there he had the
prize. 229
XXX. How Sir Tristram returned against King Arthurs party by cause he saw Sir Palomides
on that party. 229
XXXI. How Sir Tristram found Palomides by a well, and brought him with him to his
lodging. 231
XXXII. How Sir Tristram smote down Sir Palomides, and how he jousted with King Arthur,
and other feats. 232
XXXIII. How Sir Lancelot hurt Sir Tristram, and how after Sir Tristram smote down Sir
Palomides. 233
XXXIV. How the prize of the third day was given to Sir Lancelot, and Sir Lancelot gave it
to Sir Tristram. 234
XXXV. How Palomides came to the castle where Sir Tristram was, and of the quest that Sir
Lancelot and ten knights made for Sir Tristram. 235
XXXVI. How Sir Tristram, Sir Palomides, and Sir Dinadan were taken and put in prison. 237
XXXVII. How King Mark was sorry for the good renown of Sir Tristram. Some of King
Arthurs knights jousted with knights of Cornwall. 238
XXXVIII. Of the treason of King Mark, and how Sir Gaheris smote him down and Andred his
cousin. 239
XXXIX. How after that Sir Tristram, Sir Palomides, and Sir Dinadan had been long in prison
they were delivered. 241
XL. How Sir Dinadan rescued a lady from Sir Breuse Saunce Pite, and how Sir Tristram
received a shield of Morgan le Fay. 242
XLI. How Sir Tristram took with him the shield, and also how he slew the paramour of
Morgan le Fay. 243
XLII. How Morgan le Fay buried her paramour, and how Sir Tristram praised Sir Lancelot
and his kin. 244
XLIII. How Sir Tristram at a tournament bare the shield that Morgan le Fay delivered to
him. 244
fallato tire rftaptn-Q at tire tentft Barrie
I. How Sir Tristram jousted, and smote down King Arthur, because he told him not
the cause why he bare that shield. 247
II. How Sir Tristram saved Sir Palomides life, and how they promised to fight together
within a fortnight. 248
III. How Sir Tristram sought a strong knight that had smitten him down, and many other
knights of the Round Table. 250
IV. How Sir Tristram smote down Sir Sagramore le Desirous and Sir Dodinas le Savage. 251
V. How Sir Tristram met at the Peron with Sir Lancelot, and how they fought together
unknown. 252
VI. How Sir Lancelot brought Sir Tristram to the court, and of the great joy that the
King and other made for the coming of Sir Tristram. 253
VII. How for the despite of Sir Tristram King Mark came with two knights into England,
and how he slew one of the knights. 254
VIII. How King Mark came to a fountain where he found Sir Lamorak complaining for
the love of King Lots wife. _ 255
IX. How King Mark, Sir Lamorak, and Sir Dinadan came to a castle, and how King Mark
was known there. 256
X. How Sir Berluse met with King Mark, and how Sir Dinadan took his part. 257


xlvj TABLE OR RUBRYSSHE
CHAP. PAGE
XI. How King Mark mocked Sir Dinadan, and how they met with six knights of the Round
Table. 258
XII. How the six knights sent Sir Dagonet to joust with King Mark, and how King Mark
refused him. 259
XIII. How Sir Palomides by adventure met King Mark flying, and how he overthrew
Dagonet and other knights. 260
XIV. How King Mark and Sir Dinadan heard Sir Palomides making great sorrow and
mourning for La Beale Isoud. 261
XV. How King Mark had slain Sir Amant wrongfully tofore King Arthur, and Sir Lancelot
fetched King Mark to King Arthur. 262
XVI. How Sir Dinadan told Sir Palomides of the battle between Sir Lancelot and Sir
Tristram. 263
XVII. How Sir Lamorak jousted with divers knights of the castle wherein was Morgan le
Fay. 264
XVIII. How Sir Palomides would have jousted for Sir Lamorak with the knights of the castle. 265
XIX. How Sir Lamorak jousted with Sir Palomides, and hurt him grievously. 266
XX. How it was told Sir Lancelot that Dagonet chased King Mark, and how a knight
overthrew him and six knights. 267
XXI. How King Arthur let do cry a jousts, and how Sir Lamorak came in and overthrew
Sir Gawaine and many other. 269
XXII. How King Arthur made King mark to be accorded with Sir Tristram, and how they
departed toward Cornwall. 270
XXIII. How Sir Percivale was made knight of King Arthur, and how a dumb maid spake,
and brought him to the Round Table. 271
XXIV. How Sir Lamorak visited King Lots wife, and how Sir Gaheris slew her which was
his own mother. 271
XXV. How Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred met with a knight fleeing, and how they both
were overthrown, and of Sir Dinadan. 272
XXVI. How King Arthur, the Queen, and Lancelot received letters out of Cornwall, and of
the answer again. 273
XXVII. How Sir Lancelot was wroth with the letter that he received from King Mark, and of
Dinadan which made a lay of King Mark. 274
XXVIII. How Sir Tristram was hurt, and of a war made to King Mark; and of Sir Tristram how
he promised to rescue him. 275
XXIX. How Sir Tristram overcame the battle, and how Elias desired a man to fight body
for body. 276
XXX. How Sir Elias and Sir Tristram fought together for the truage, and how Sir Tristram
slew Elias in the field. 277
XXXI. How at a great feast that King Mark made, an harper came and sang the lay that
Dinadan had made. 279
XXXII. How King Mark slew by treason his brother Boudwin, for good service that he had
done to him. 280
XXXIII. How Anglides, Boudwins wife, escaped with her young son Alisander le Orphelin, and
came to the castle of Arundel. 280
XXIV. How Anglides gave the bloody doublet to Alisander her son the same day that he
was made knight, and the charge withal. 281
XXXV. How it was told to King Mark of Sir Alisander, and how he would have slain Sir
Sadok for saving his life. 282
XXXVI. How Sir Alisander won the prize at a tournament, and of Morgan le Fay: and how
he fought with Sir Malgrin, and slew him. 283
XXXVII. How Queen Morgan le Fay had Alisander in her castle, and how she healed his
wounds. 284
XXXVIII. How Alisander was delivered from Queen Morgan le Fay by the means of a damosel. 285
XXXIX. How Alisander met with Alice la Beale Pilgrim, and how he jousted with two knights;
and after of him and of Sir Mordred. 286


TABLE OR RUBRYSSHE xlvij
CHAP. _ PAGE
XL. How Sir Galahalt did do cry a jousts in Surluse, and Queen Guenevers knights
should joust against all that would come. 287
XLI. How Sir Lancelot fought in the tournament, and how Sir Palomides did arms there
for a damosel. 288
XLII. How Sir Galahalt and Palomides fought together, and of Sir Dinadan and Sir Galahalt. 289
XLIII. How Sir Archade appelled Sir Palomides of treason, and how Sir Palomides slew him. 290
XLIV. Of the third day, and how Sir Palomides jousted with Sir Lamorak, and other things. 291
XLV. Of the fourth day, and of many great feats of arms. 292
XLVI. Of the fifth day, and how Sir Lamorak behaved him. 293
XLVII. How Sir Palomides fought with Corsabrin for a lady, and how Palomides slew Corsabrin. 294
XLVIII. Of the sixth day, and what then was done. 295
XLIX. Of the seventh battle, and how Sir Lancelot, being disguised like a maid, smote down
Sir Dinadan. 296
L. How by treason Sir Tristram was brought to a tournament for to have been slain,
and how he was put in prison. 297
LI. How King Mark let do counterfeit letters from the Pope, and how Sir Percivale
delivered Sir Tristram out of prison. 298
LII. How Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud came unto England, and how Sir Lancelot
brought them to Joyous Gard. 300
LIII. How by the counsel of La Beale Isoud Sir Tristram rode armed, and how he met with
Sir Palomides. 301
LIV. Of Sir Palomides, and how he met with Sir Bleoberis and with Sir Ector, and of Sir
Percivale. 303
LV. How Sir Tristram met with Sir Dinadan, and of their devices, and what he said to
Sir Gawaines brethren. 303
LVI. How Sir Tristram smote down Sir Agravaine and Sir Gaheris, and how Sir Dinadan
was sent for by La Beale Isoud. 305
LVII. How Sir Dinadan met with Sir Tristram, and with jousting with Sir Palomides, Sir
Dinadan knew him. 306
LVIII. How they approached the Castle Lonazep, and of other devices of the death of Sir
Lamorak. 307
LIX. How they came to Humber Bank, and how they found a ship there, wherein lay the
body of King Hermance. 308
LX. How Sir Tristram with his fellowship came and were with an host which after
fought with Sir Tristram ; and other matters. 309
LXI. How Palomides went for to fight with two brethren for the death of King Hermance. 311
LXII. The copy of the letter written for to revenge the. Kings death, and how Sir Palomides
fought for to have the battle. 312
LXIII. Of the preparation of Sir Palomides and the two brethren that should fight with him. 313
LXIV. Of the battle between Sir Palomides and the two brethren, and how the two
brethren were slain. 3r4
LXV. How Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides met Breuse Saunce Pite, and how Sir Tristram
and La Beale Isoud went unto Lonazep. 316
LXVI. How Sir Palomides jousted with Sir Galihodin, and after with Sir Gawaine, and
smote them down. 317
LXVII. How Sir Tristram and his fellowship came into the tournament of Lonazep; and
of divers jousts and matters. 318
LXVIII. How Sir Tristram and his fellowship jousted, and of the noble feats that they did
in that tourneying. 3I9
LXIX. How Sir Tristram was unhorsed and smitten down by Sir Lancelot, and after that
Sir Tristram smote down King Arthur. 321
LXX. How Sir Tristram changed his harness and it was all red, and how he demeaned him,
and how Sir Palomides slew Lancelots horse. 322
LXXI. How Sir Lancelot said to Sir Palomides, and how the prize of that day was given
unto Sir Palomides. 323


xlviij TABLE OR RUBRYSSHE
CHAP. PAGE
LXXII. How Sir Dinadan provoked Sir Tristram to do well. 324
LXXIII. How King Arthur and Sir Lancelot came to see La Beale Isoud, and how Palo-
mides smote down King Arthur. 32S
LXXIV. How the second day Palomides forsook Sir Tristram, and went to the contrary
party against him. 32^
LXXV. How Sir Tristram departed off the field, and awaked Sir Dinadan, and changed his
array into black. 327
LXXVI. How Sir Palomides changed his shield and his armour for to hurt Sir Tristram,
and how Sir Lancelot did to Sir Tristram. 32
LXXVII. How Sir Tristram departed with La Beale Isoud, and how Palomides followed and
excused him. 330
LXXVIII. How King Arthur and Sir Lancelot came unto their pavilions as they sat at supper,
and of Sir Palomides. 331
LXXIX. How Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides did the next day, and how King Arthur was
unhorsed. 332
LXXX. How Sir Tristram turned to King Arthurs side, and how Palomides would not. 333
LXXXI. How Sir Bleoberis and Sir Ector reported to Queen Guenever of the beauty of La
Beale Isoud. 334
LXXXII. How Sir Palomides complained by a well, and how Epinogris came and found him,
and of their both sorrowing. 335
LXXXIII. How Sir Palomides brought Sir Epinogris his lady; and how Sir Palomides and Sir
Safere were assailed. 336
LXXXIV. How Sir Palomides and Sir Safere conducted Sir Epinogris to his castle, and of
other adventures. 337
LXXXV. How Sir Tristram made him ready to rescue Sir Palomides, but Sir Lancelot rescued
him or he came. 338
LXXXVI. How Sir Tristram and Lancelot, with Palomides, came to Joyous Gard; and of Sir
Palomides and Sir Tristram. 339
LXXXVII. How there was a day set between Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides for to fight, and
how Sir Tristram was hurt. 341
LXXXVIII. How Sir Palomides kept his day to have foughten, but Sir Tristram might not come;
and other things. 342
Mhxto tfte cftaptn*£ xrf tire elefcetrtit fijcrrrlt.
I. How Sir Lancelot rode on his adventure, and how he holpe a dolorous lady from
her pain, and how that he fought with a dragon. 345
II. How Sir Lancelot came to Pelles, and of the Sangreal, and of Elaine, King Pelles
daughter. 34^
III. How Sir Lancelot was displeased when he knew that he had lain by Dame Elaine,
and how she was delivered of Galahad. 347
IV. How Sir Bors came to Dame Elaine and saw Galahad, and how he was fed with the
Sangreal. 34^
V. How Sir Bors made Sir Pedivere to yield him, and of marvellous adventures that
he had, and how he achieved them. 35
VI. How Sir Bors departed; and how Sir Lancelot was rebuked of Queen Guenever,
and of his excuse. 35
VII. How Dame Elaine, Galahads mother, came in great estate unto Camelot, and
how Sir Lancelot behaved him there. 351
VIII. How Dame Brisen by enchantment brought Sir Lancelot to Dame Elaines bed, and
how Queen Guenever rebuked him. 352
IX. How Dame Elaine was commanded by Queen Guenever to avoid the court, and
how Sir Lancelot became mad. 353


TABLE OR RUBRYSSHE xlix
CHAP. PAGE
X. What sorrow Queen Guenever made for Sir Lancelot, and how he was sought by knights
of his kin. 354
XI. How a servant of Sir Aglovales was slain, and what vengeance Sir Aglovale and Sir
Percivale did therefor. 355
XII. How Sir Percivale departed secretly from his brother, and how he loosed a knight bound
with a chain, and of other doings. 356
XIII. How Sir Percivale met with Sir Ector, and how they fought long, and each had almost
slain other. 357
XIV. How by miracle they were both made whole by the coming of the holy vessel of Sangreal. 358
Â¥&tvt frrttjorto tfte cftaptertf uf tfte ttoelftit iunriu
I. How Sir Lancelot in his madness took a sword and fought with a knight, and leapt in a bed. 359
II. How Sir Lancelot was carried in an horse litter, and how Sir Lancelot rescued Sir Bliant,
his host. 360
III. How Sir Lancelot fought against a' boar and slew him, and how he was hurt, and brought
unto an hermitage. 361
IV. How Sir Lancelot was known by Dame Elaine, and was borne into a chamber, and after
healed by the Sangreal. 362
V. How Sir Lancelot, after that he was whole and had his mind, he was ashamed, and how that
Elaine desired a castle for him. 363
VI. How Sir Lancelot came into the Joyous Isle, and there he named himself Le Chevaler Mai
Fet. _ .363
VII. Of a great tourneying in the Joyous Isle, and how Sir Percivale and Sir Ector came thither,
and Sir Percivale fought with him. 364
VIII. How each of them knew other, and of. their great courtesy, and how his brother Sir Ector
came unto him, and of their joy. 365
IX. How Sir Bors and Sir Lionel came to King Brandegore, and how Sir Bors took his son
Helin le Blank, and of Sir Lancelot. 366
X. How Sir Lancelot with Sir Percival and Sir Ector came to the court, and of the great
joy of him. 367
XI. How La Beale Isoud counselled Sir Tristram to go unto the court, to the great Feast
of Pentecost. 367
XII. How Sir Tristram departed unarmed and met with Sir Palomides, and how they smote
each other, and how Sir Palomides forbare him. 368
XIII. How that Sir Tristram gat him harness of a knight which was hurt, and how he overthrew
Sir Palomides. 369
XIV. How Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides fought long together, and after accorded, and how
Sir Tristram made him to be christened. 369
fcrllrriu tfte rimptn-tf xxf tfte tTurtemtft BrrrrTt.
I. How at the vigil of the Feast of Pentecost entered into the hall before King Arthur a
damosel, and desired Sir Lancelot for to come and dub a knight, and how he went
with her.
II. How the letters were found written in the Siege Perilous, and of the marvellous adventure
of the sword in a stone.
III. How Sir Gawaine essayed to draw out the sword, and how an old man brought in Galahad.
IV. How the old man brought Galahad to the Siege Perilous and set him therein, and how all
the knights marvelled.
371
372
373
374
&


1 TABLE OR RUBRYSSHE
CHAP.
V. How King Arthur shewed the stone hoving on the water to Galahad, and how he drew
out the sword.
VI. How King Arthur had all the knights together for to joust in the meadow beside
Camelot or they departed.
VII. How the Queen desired to see Galahad ; and how after, all the knights were replenished
with the holy Sangreal, and how they avowed the enquest of the same.
VIII. How great sorrow was made of the King and the Queen and ladies for the departing of
the knights, and how they departed.
IX. How Galahad gat him a shield, and how they sped that presumed to take down the said
shield.
X. How Galahad departed with the shield, and how King Evelake had received the shield
of Joseph of Aramathie.
XI. How Joseph made a cross on the white shield with his blood, and how Galahad was by
a monk brought to a tomb.
XII. Of the marvel that Sir Galahad saw and heard in the tomb, and how he made Melias
knight.
XIII. Of the adventure that Melias had, and how Galahad revenged him, and how Melias
was carried into an Abbey.
XIV. How Sir Galahad departed, and how he was commanded to go to the Castle of Maidens
to destroy the wicked custom.
XV. How Sir Galahad fought with the knights of the castle, and destroyed the wicked custom.
XVI. How Sir Gawaine came to the Abbey for to follow Galahad, and how he was shriven to
a hermit.
XVII. How Sir Galahad met with Sir Lancelot and Sir Percivale, and smote them down, and
departed from them.
XVIII. How Sir Lancelot, half sleeping and half waking, saw a sick man borne in a litter, and
how he was healed with the Sangreal.
XIX. How a voice spake to Sir Lancelot, and how he found his horse and his helm borne away,
and after went afoot.
XX. How Sir Lancelot was shriven, and what sorrow he made, and of the good ensamples
which were shewed him.
fortlirto tilt diajjtn^ uf tit* fnm*t**ntit Bcrait.
I. How Sir Percivale came to a recluse and asked counsel, and how she told him that she
was his aunt.
II. How Merlin likened the Round Table to the world, and how the knights that should
achieve the Sangreal should be known.
III. How Sir Percivale came into a monastery, where he found King Evelake, which was an
old man.
IV. How Sir Percivale saw many men of arms bearing a dead knight, and how he fought
against them.
V. How a yeoman desired him to get again an horse, and how Sir Percivales hackney was
slain, and how he gat an horse.
VI. Of the great danger that Sir Percivale was in by his horse, and how he saw a serpent
and a lion fight.
VII. Of the vision that Sir Percivale saw, and how his vision was expounded, and of his lion.
VIII. How Sir Percivale saw a ship coming to him-ward, and how the lady of the ship told
him of her disheritance.
IX. How Sir Percivale promised her help, and how he required her of love, and how he was
saved from the fiend.
X. How Sir Percivale for penance rove himself through the thigh; and how she was known
for the devil.
PAGE
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375
376
377
378
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398
399


TABLE OR RUBRYSSHE

Wm frrllirtoetft tfte fifUeirtft bcrtfJt, tofttrft ttf u( Jm* ILanccItft
CHAP.
I. How Sir Lancelot came to a chapel, where he found dead, in a white shirt, a man of religion,
of an hundred winter old.
II. Of a dead man, how men would have hewn him, and it would not be, and how Sir Lancelot
took the hair of the dead man.
III. Of a vision that Sir Lancelot had, and how he told it to an hermit, and desired counsel of
him.
IV. How the hermit expounded to Sir Lancelot his vision, and told him that Sir Galahad was
his son.
V. How Sir Lancelot jousted with many knights, and how he was taken.
VI. How Sir Lancelot told his vision unto a woman, and how she expounded it unto him.
follcrto tfte crt tfte gtptemtft bmilt.
I. How Sir Gawaine was nigh weary of the quest of the Sangreal, and of his marvellous dream.
II. Of the vision of Sir Ector, and how he jousted with Sir Uwaine les Avoutres, his sworn
brother.
III. How Sir Gawaine and Sir Ector came to an hermitage to be confessed, and how they told
to the hermit their visions.
IV. How the hermit expounded their vision.
V. Of the good counsel that the hermit gave to him.
VI. How Sir Bors met with an hermit, and how he was confessed to him, and of his penance
enjoined to him.
VII. How Sir Bors was lodged with a lady, and how he took upon him for to fight against a
champion for her land.
VIII. Of a vision which Sir Bors had that night, and how he fought and overcame his adversary.
IX. How the lady was returned to her lands by the battle of Sir Bors, and of his departing,
and how he met Sir Lionel taken and beaten with thorns, and also of a maid which
should have been dishonoured.
X. How Sir Bors left to rescue his brother, and rescued the damosel; and how it was told
him that Lionel was dead.
XI. How Sir Bors told his dream to a priest, which he had dreamed, and of the counsel that
the priest gave to him.
XII. How a devil in womans likeness would have tempted Sir Bors, and how by Gods grace
he escaped.
XIII. Of the holy communication of an abbot to Sir Bors, and how the abbot counselled him.
XIV. How Sir Bors met with his brother Sir Lionel, and how Sir Lionel would have slain Sir
Bors.
XV. How Sir Colgrevance fought against Sir Lionel for to save Sir Bors, and how the hermit was
slain.
XVI. How Sir Lionel slew Sir Colgrevance, and how after he would have slain Sir Bors.
XVII. How there came a voice which charged Sir Bors to touch him not, and of a cloud that
came between them.
ftfllcrto tfte dtapters at tfte eebent^ntft bncrfi.
I. How Sir Galahad fought at a tournament, and how he was known of Sir Gawaine and Sir
Ector de Maris.
II. How Sir Galahad rode with the damosel, and came to a ship whereas Sir Bors and Sir
Percivale were in.
PAGE
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44
45
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40
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417
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lij
CHAP.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
VIII.
IX.
X.
XI.
XII.
XIII.
XIV.
XV.
XVI.
XVII.
XVIII.
XIX.
XX.
XXI.
XXII.
XXIII.
TABLE OR RUBRYSSHE
How Sir Galahad entered into the ship, and of a fair bed therein, with other marvellous
things, and of a sword.
Of the marvels of the sword and of the scabbard.
How King Pelles was smitten through both thighs because he drew the sword, and other
marvellous histories.
How Solomon took Davids sword by the counsel of his wife, and of other matters
marvellous.
A wonderful tale of King Solomon and his wife.
How Galahad and his fellows came to a castle, and how they were fought withal, and how
they slew their adversaries, and other matters.
How the three knights, with Percivales sister, came unto the same forest, and of an hart
and four Hons, and other things.
How they were desired of a strange custom, the which they would not obey; and how
they fought and slew many knights.
How Sir Percivales sister bled a dish full of blood for to heal a lady, wherefore she died;
and how that the body was put in a ship.
How Galahad and Percivale found in a castle many tombs of maidens that had bled to
death.
How Sir Lancelot entered into the ship where Sir Percivales sister lay dead, and how
he met with Sir Galahad his son.
How a knight brought unto Sir Galahad a horse, and bad him come from his father Sir
Lancelot.
How Sir Lancelot was afore the door of the chamber wherein the holy Sangreal was.
How Sir Lancelot had lain four and twenty days and as many nights as a dead man, and
other divers matters.
How Sir Lancelot returned towards Logris, and of other adventures which he saw in the
way.
How Galahad came to King Mordrains, and of other matters and adventures.
How Sir Percivale and Sir Bors met with Sir Galahad, and how they came to the Castle of
Carbonek, and other matters.
How Galahad and his fellows were fed of the holy Sangreal, and how Our Lord appeared
to them, and other things.
How Galahad anointed with the blood of the spear the maimed king, and other adventures.
How they were fed with the Sangreal while they were in prison, and how Galahad was
made king.
Of the sorrow that Percivale and Bors made when Galahad was dead: and of Percivale
how he died, and other matters.
Wm fjcrlljorto tit* uf tire fcmilt.
I. Of the joy of King Arthur and the Queen had of the achievement of the Sangreal j and
how Lancelot fell to his old love again.
II. How the Queen commanded Sir Lancelot to avoid the court, and of the sorrow that
Lancelot made.
III. How at the dinner that the Queen made there was a knight poisoned, which Sir Mador
laid on the Queen.
IV. How Sir Mador appeached the Queen of treason, and there was no knight would fight for
her at the first time.
V. How the Queen required Sir Bors to fight for her, and how he granted upon condition;
and how he warned Sir Lancelot thereof.
VI. How at the day Sir Bors made him ready for to fight for the Queen; and when he would
fight how another discharged him.
PACE
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TABLE OR RUBRYSSHE liij
CHAP. PAGE
VII. How Sir Lancelot fought against Sir Mador for the Queen, and how he overcame Sir
Mador and discharged the Queen. 453
VIII. How the truth was known by the Maiden of the Lake, and of divers other matters. 455
IX. How Sir Lancelot rode to Astolat, and received a sleeve to wear upon his helm at the
request of a maid. 456
X. How the tourney began at Winchester, and what knights were at the jousts; and other
things. ... . . 457
XI. How Sir Lancelot and Sir Lavaine entered in the field against them of King Arthurs
court, and how Lancelot was hurt. 458
XII. How Sir Lancelot and Sir Lavaine departed out of the field, and in what jeopardy
Lancelot was. 459
XIII. How Lancelot was brought to an hermit for to be healed of his wound, and of other
matters. 460
XIV. How Sir Gawaine was lodged with the Lord of Astolat, and there had knowledge that it
was Sir Lancelot that bare the red sleeve. 462
XV. Of the sorrow that Sir Bors had for the hurt of Lancelot; and of the anger that the
Queen had because Lancelot bore the sleeve. 463
XVI. How Sir Bors sought Lancelot and found him in the hermitage, and of the lamentations
between them. 464
XVII. How Sir Lancelot armed him to assay if he might bear arms, and how his wound burst
out again. 465
XVIII. How Sir Bors returned and told tidings of Sir Lancelot; and of the tourney, and to whom
the prize was given. 466
XIX. Of the great lamentation of the fair maid of Astolat when Lancelot should depart, and
how she died for his love. 467
XX. How the corpse of the maid of Astolat arrived tofore King Arthur, and of the burying,
and how Sir Lancelot offered the mass-penny. 469
XXI. Of great jousts done all Christmas, and of a great jousts and tourney ordained by King
Arthur; and of Sir Lancelot. 470
XXII. How Lancelot after that he was hurt came to an hermit, and of other matters. 471
XXIII. How Sir Lancelot behaved him at the jousts, and other men also. 472
XXIV. How King Arthur marvelled much of the jousting in the field, and how he rode and
found Sir Lancelot. 473
XXV. How true love is likened to summer. 475
jgyg) frrllffto tfte cftaptere at tire ninttttntft bcrerlt,
I. How Queen Guenever rode on Maying with certain knights of the Round Table and clad
all in green. 477
II. How Sir Meliagrance took the Queen and her knights, which were sore hurt in fighting. 478
III. How Sir Lancelot had word how the Queen was taken, and how Sir Meliagrance laid a
bushment for Lancelot. 479
IV. How Sir Lancelots horse was slain, and how Sir Lancelot rode in a cart for to rescue
the Queen. 480
V. How Sir Meliagrance required forgiveness of the Queen, and how she appeased Sir
Lancelot; and other matters. 481
VI. How Sir Lancelot came in the night to the Queen and how Sir Meliagrance appeached
the Queen of treason. 482
VII. How Sir Lancelot answered for the Queen, and waged battle against Sir Meliagrance ; and
how Sir Lancelot was taken in a trap. 483
VIII. How Sir Lancelot was delivered out of prison by a lady, and took a white courser and came
for to keep his day. 485


liv TABLE OR RUBRYSSHE
CHAP. PACE
IX. How Sir Lancelot came the same time that Sir Meliagrance abode him in the field and
dressed him to battle. 485
X. How Sir Urre came into Arthurs court for to be healed of his wounds, and how King
Arthur would begin to handle him. 487
XI. How King Arthur handled Sir Urre, and after him many other knights of the Round
Table. 488
XII. How Sir Lancelot was commanded by Arthur to handle his wounds, and anon he was all
whole, and how they thanked God. 490
XIII. How there was a party made of an hundred knights against an hundred knights, and of
other matters. 491
frrHfftoetft tit* fcinxft tire jutefftttf fttotjri'g toittdt tfte tmrrte
or treatft xrf mitts attir tit* draping at tire ttotntittfc

I. How Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred were busy upon Sir Gawaine for to disclose the love
between Sir Lancelot and Queen Guenever. 493
II. How Sir Agravaine disclosed their love to King Arthur, and how King Arthur gave them
licence to take him. 494
III. How Sir Lancelot was espied in the Queens chamber, and how Sir Agravaine and Sir
Mordred came with twelve knights to slay him. 495
IV. How Sir Lancelot slew Sir Colgrevance, and armed him in his harness, and after slew Sir
Agravaine and twelve of his fellows. 496
V. How Sir Lancelot came to Sir Bors, and told him how he had sped, and in what adventure
he had been, and how he had escaped. 497
VI. Of the counsel and advice that was taken by Sir Lancelot and his friends for to save the
Queen. 498
VII. How Sir Mordred rode hastily to the King, to tell him of the affray and death of Sir
Agravaine and the other knights. 500
VIII. How Sir Lancelot and his kinsmen rescued the Queen from the fire, and how he slew
many knights. 501
IX. Of the sorrow and lamentation of King Arthur for the death of his nephews and other
good knights, and also for the Queen his wife. 502
X. How King Arthur at the request of Sir Gawaine concluded to make war against Sir
Lancelot, and laid siege to his castle called Joyous Gard. 503
XI. Of the communication between King Arthur and Sir Lancelot, and how King Arthur
reproved him. 504
XII. How the cousins and kinsmen of Sir Lancelot excited him to go out to battle, and how
they made them ready. 506
XIII. How Sir Gawaine jousted and smote down Sir Lionel, and how Sir Lancelot horsed
King Arthur. 507
XIV. How the Pope sent down his bulls to make peace, and how Sir Lancelot brought the Queen
to King Arthur. 508
XV. Of the deliverance of the Queen to the King by Sir Lancelot, and what language Sir
Gawaine had to Sir Lancelot. 509
XVI. Of the communication between Sir Gawaine and Sir Lancelot, with much other language. 510
XVII. How Sir Lancelot departed from the King and from Joyous Gard over seaward, and what
knights went with him. 511
XVIII. How Sir Lancelot passed over the sea, and how he made great lords of the knights that
went with him. 513
XIX. How King Arthur and Sir Gawaine made a great host ready to go over sea to make war
on Sir Lancelot. 514


TABLE OR RUBRYSSHE lv
CHAP. PAGE
XX. What message Sir Gawaine sent to Sir Lancelot; and King Arthur laid siege to Benwick,
and other matters. 515
XXI. How Sir Gawaine and Sir Lancelot did battle together, and how Sir Gawaine was over-
thrown and hurt. 516
XXII. Of the sorrow that King Arthur made for the war, and of another battle where also Sir
Gawaine had the worse. 517
^ fcrllato tfte dtaptrrs erf tire iuoralc
I. How Sir Mordred presumed and took on him to be king of England, and would have
married the Queen, his uncles wife. 519
II. How after that King Arthur had tidings he returned and came to Dover, where Sir
Mordred met him to let his landing ; and of the death of Sir Gawaine. 521
III. How after, Sir Gawaines ghost appeared to King Arthur, and warned him that he should
not fight that day. 522
IV. How by misadventure of an adder the battle began, where Mordred was slain, and Arthur
hurt to the death. 523
V. How King Arthur commanded to cast his sword Excalibur into the water, and how he was
delivered to ladies in a barge. 525
VI. How Sir Bedivere found him on the morrow dead in an hermitage, and how he abode there
with the hermit. 52^
VII. Of the opinion of some men of the death of King Arthur; and how Queen Guenever
made her a nun in Almesbury. 527
VIII. How when Sir Lancelot heard of the death of King Arthur, and of Sir Gawaine, and other
matters, he came into England. 527
IX. How Sir Lancelot departed to seek the Queen Guenever, and how he found her at
Almesbury. 528
X. How Sir Lancelot came to the hermitage where the Archbishop of Canterbury was, and
how he took the habit on him. 529
XI. How Sir Lancelot went with his seven fellows to Almesbury, and found there Queen
Guenever dead, whom they brought to Glastonbury. 530
XII. How Sir Lancelot began to sicken, and after died, whose body was borne to Joyous Gard
for to be buried. 531
XIII. How Sir Ector found Sir Lancelot his brother dead, and how Constantine reigned next
after Arthur ; and of the end of this book. 532
tire table




A


2
KING ARTHUR
they were accorded both: the king liked and loved this lady well, and he made them
great cheer out of measure, and desired to have lain by her. But she was a passing good
woman, and would not assent unto the king. And then she told the duke her husband,
and said, I suppose that we were sent for that I should be dishonoured, wherefore husband,
I counsel you, that we depart from hence suddenly, that we may ride all night unto our
own castle. And in like wise as she said so they departed, that neither the king nor
none of his council were ware of their departing. All so soon as King Uther knew of
their departing so suddenly, he was wonderly wroth. Then he called to him his privy
council, and told them of the sudden departing of the duke and his wife. Then they
asked the king to send for the duke and his wife by a great charge; And if he will not
come at your summons, then may ye do your best, then have ye cause to make mighty
war upon him. So that was done, and the messengers had their answers, and that was
this shortly, that neither he nor his wife would not come at him. Then was the king
wonderly wroth. And then the king sent him plain word again, and bad him be ready
and stuff him and garnish him, for within forty days he would fetch him out of the
biggest castle that he had. When the duke had this warning, anon he went and furnished
and garnished two strong castles of his, of the which the one hight Tintagil, and the other
castle hight Terrabil. So his wife Dame Igraine he put in the castle of Tintagil, and
himself he put in the castle of Terrabil, the which had many issues and posterns out.
Then in all haste came Uther with a great host, and laid a siege about the castle of
Terrabil. And there he pyght many pavilions, and there was great war made on both
parties, and much people slain. Then for pure anger and for great love of fair Igraine
the king Uther fell sick. So came to the king Uther, Sir Ulfius, a noble knight, and
asked the king why he was sick. I shall tell thee, said the king, I am sick for anger and
for love of fair Igraine that I may not be hool. Well, my lord, said Sir Ulfius, I shall
seek Merlin, and he shall do you remedy, that your heart shall be pleased. So Ulfius
departed, and by adventure he met Merlin in a beggars array, and then Merlin asked
Ulfius whom he sought. And he said he had little ado to tell him. Well, said Merlin,
I know whom thou seekest, for thou seekest Merlin ; therefore seek no farther, for I am
he, and if King Uther will well reward me, and besworn unto me to fulfil my desire, that
shall be his honour and profit more than mine, for I shall cause him to have all his desire.
All this will I undertake, said Ulfius, that there shall be nothing reasonable but thou
shalt have thy desire. Well, said Merlin, he shall have his entente and desire. And
therefore, said Merlin, ride on your way, for I will not be long behind.
HOW UTHER PENDRAGON MADE WAR ON THE DUKE OF
CORNWALL, AND HOW BY THE MEANS OF MERLIN HE
LAY BY THE DUCHESS & GAT ARTHUR^ Then Ulfius was
glad, and rode on more than a paas till that he came to king Uther
Pendragon, and told him he had met with Merlin. Where is he ? said
the king. Sir, said Ulfius, he will not dwell long; therewithal Ulfius was
ware where Merlin stood at the porch of the pavilions door. And then
Merlin was bound to come to the king. When King Uther saw him, he said he was
welcome. Sir, said Merlin, I know all your heart every deal; so ye will be sworn unto
me as ye be a true king anointed, to fulfil my desire, ye shall have your desire. Then
the king was sworn upon the four Evangelists. Sir, said Merlin, this is my desire : the
first night that ye shall lie by Igraine ye shall get a child on her, and when that is born,
that it shall be delivered to me for to nourish there as I will have it; for it shall be your
worship, and the childs avail as mickle as the child is worth. I will well, said the king,


KING ARTHUR
3
as thou wilt have it. Now make you ready, said Merlin, this night ye shall lie with
Igraine in the castle of Tintagil, and ye shall be like the duke her husband, Ulfius shall
be like Sir Brastias, a knight of the dukes, and I will be like a knight that hight Sir Jordans,
a knight of the dukes. But wayte ye make not many questions with her nor her men,
but say ye are diseased, and so hie you to bed, and rise not on the morn till I come to you,
for the castle of Tintagil is but ten miles hence ; so this was done as they devised. But
the duke of Tintagil espied how the king rode from the siege of Terrabil, and therefore
that night he issued out of the castle at a postern for to have distressed the kings host.
And so, through his own issue, the duke himself was slain or ever the king came at the
castle of Tintagil. So after the death of the duke, King Uther lay with Igraine more
than three hours after his death, and begat on her that night Arthur, and or day came
Merlin came to the king, and bade him make him ready, and so he kissed the lady Igraine
and departed in all haste. But when the lady heard tell of the duke her husband, and
by all record he was dead or ever King Uther came to her ; then she marvelled who that
might be that lay with her in likeness of her lord; so she mourned privily and held her
peace. Then all the barons by one assent prayed the king of accord betwixt the lady
Igraine and him ; the king gave them leave, for fain would he have been accorded with
her. So the king put all the trust in Ulfius to entreat between them, so by the entreaty
at the last the king and she met together. Now will we do well, said Ulfius, our king
is a lusty knight and wifeless, and my lady Igraine is a passing fair lady; it were great
joy unto us all, an it might please the king to make her his queen. Unto that they all
well accorded and moved it to the king. And anon, like a lusty knight, he assented
thereto with good will, and so in all haste they were married in a morning with great
mirth and joy. And King Lot of Lothian and of Orkney then wedded Margawse that
was Gawaines mother, and King Nentres of the land of Garlot wedded Elaine. All this
was done at the request of King Uther. And the third sister Morgan le Fay was put
to school in a nunnery, and there she learned so much that she was a great clerk of
necromancy, and after she was wedded to King Uriens of the land of Gore that was
Sir Ewains le Blanchemains father.
OF THE BIRTH OF KING ARTHUR AND OF HIS
NURTURE.^ Then Queen Igraine waxed daily greater
and greater, so it befell after within half a year, as King
Uther lay by his queen, he asked her, by the faith she owed
to him, whose was the child within her body ; then was she
sore abashed to give answer. Dismay you not, said the king,
but tell me the truth, and I shall love you the better, by the
faith of my body. Sir, said she, I shall tell you the truth.
The same night that my lord was dead, the hour of his death,
as his knights record, there came into my castle of Tintagil
a man like my lord in speech and in countenance, and two
knights with him in likeness of his two knights Brastias and
Jordans, and so I went unto bed with him as I ought to do
with my lord, and the same night, as I shall answer unto
God, this child was begotten upon me. That is truth, said
_6, 5 ^ was I myself that came in the likeness, and therefore dismay
you not, for I am father of the child; and there he told her all the cause, how it was
by Merlins counsel. Then the queen made great joy when she knew who was the father
of her child. Soon came Merlin unto the king, and said, Sir, ye must purvey you for


KING ARTHUR
4
the nourishing of your child. As thou wilt, said the king, be it. Well, said Merlin, I
know a lord of yours in this land, that is a passing true man and a faithful, and he shall
have the nourishing of your child, and his name is Sir Ector, and he is a lord of fair
livelihood in many parts in England and Wales ; and this lord, Sir Ector, let him be sent
for, for to come and speak with you, and desire him yourself, as he loveth you, that he
will put his own child to nourishing to another woman, and that his wife nourish yours.
And when the child is born let it be delivered to me at yonder privy postern unchristened.
So like as Merlin devised it was done. And when Sir Ector was come he made fyaunce
to the king for to nourish the child like as the king desired ; and there the king granted
Sir Ector great rewards. Then when the lady was delivered, the king commanded two
knights and two ladies to take the child, bound in a cloth of gold, and that ye deliver
him to what poor man ye meet at the postern gate of the castle. So the child was
delivered unto Merlin, and so he bare it forth unto Sir Ector, and made an holy man
to christen him, and named him Arthur; and so Sir Ectors wife nourished him with
her own pappe.
OF THE DEATH OF KING UTHER PENDRAGON.^Then
within two years King Uther fell sick of a great malady. And in
the meanwhile his enemies usurped upon him, and did a great battle
upon his men, and slew many of his people. Sir, said Merlin, ye
may not lie so as ye do, for ye must to the field though ye ride on
an horse litter : for ye shall never have the better of your enemies
but if your person be there, and then shall ye have the victory. So it
was done as Merlin had devised, and they carried the king forth in
an horse litter with a great host towards his enemies. And at St
Albans there met with the king a great host of the North. And that day Sir Ulfius and
Sir Brastias did great deeds of arms, and King Uthers men overcame the Northern battle
and slew many people, and put the remnant to flight. And then the king returned unto
London, and made great joy of his victory. And then he fell passing sore sick, so that
three days and three nights he was speechless : wherefore all the barons made great sorrow,
and asked Merlin what counsel were best. There is none other remedy, said Merlin, but
God will have his will. But look ye, all barons, be before King Uther to-morn, and God
and I shall make him to speak. So on the morn all the barons with Merlin came before
the king; then Merlin said aloud unto King Uther, Sir, shall your son Arthur be king
after your days, of this realm with all the appurtenance ? Then Uther Pendragon turned
him, and said in hearing of them all, I give him Gods blessing and mine, and bid him
pray for my soul, and righteously and worshipfully that he claim the crown upon forfeiture
of my blessing, and therewith he yielded up the ghost, and then was he interred as longed
to a king. Wherefore the queen, fair Igraine, made great sorrow, and all the barons.
HOW ARTHUR WAS CHOSEN KING, AND OF WONDERS AND
MARVELS OF A SWORD TAKEN OUT OF A STONE BY THE
^ SAID ARTHUR.^^Then stood the realm in great jeopardy long while,
for every lord that was mighty of men made him strong, and many weened to
have been king. Then Merlin went to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and
counselled him for to send for all the lords of the realm, and all the gentlemen
of arms, that they should to London come by Christmas, upon pain of cursing;
and for this cause, that Jesus, that was born on that night, that he would of his
great mercy show some miracle, as he was come to be king of mankind, for to
show some miracle who should be rightways king of this realm. So the Archbishop,


MERLIN TMETH THE
CHILD ARTHVI^ INTO
HIS KEEPING EsSa


KING ARTHUR
5
by the advice of Merlin, sent for all the lords and gentlemen of arms that they should
come by Christmas even unto London. And many of them made them clean of their
life, that their prayer might be the more acceptable unto God. So in the greatest
church of London, whether it were Pauls or not the French book maketh no mention,
all the estates were long or day in the church for to pray. And when matins and the
first mass was done, there was seen in the churchyard, against the high altar, a great stone
four square, like unto a marble stone, and in midst thereof was like an anvil of steel a
foot on high, and therein stuck a fair sword naked by the point, and letters there were
written in gold about the sword that said thus:Whoso pulleth out this sword of this
stone and anvil, is rightwise king born of all England. Then the people marvelled, and
told it to the Archbishop. I command, said the Archbishop, that ye keep you within
your church, and pray unto God still; that no man touch the sword till the high mass
be all done. So when all masses were done all the lords went to behold the stone and
the sword. And when they saw the scripture, some essayed ; such as would have been
king. But none might stir the sword nor move it. He is not here, said the Archbishop,
that shall achieve the sword, but doubt not God will make him known. But this is my
counsel, said the Archbishop, that we let purvey ten knights, men of good fame, and
they to keep this sword. So it was ordained, and then there was made a cry, that every
man should essay that would, for to win the sword. And upon New Years Day the
barons let make a jousts and a tournament, that all knights that would joust or tourney
there might play, and all this was ordained for to keep the lords and the commons
together, for the Archbishop trusted that God would make him known that should
win the sword. So upon New Years Day, when the service was done, the barons rode
unto the field, some to joust and some to tourney, and so it happened that Sir Ector,
that had great livelihood about London, rode unto the jousts, and with him rode Sir
Kay his son, and young Arthur that was his nourished brother; and Sir Kay was made
knight at All Hallow mass afore. So as they rode to the jousts-ward, Sir Kay had lost
his sword, for he had left it at his fathers lodging, and so he prayed young Arthur for
to ride for his sword. I will well, said Arthur, and rode fast after the sword, and when
he came home, the lady and all were out to see the jousting. Then was Arthur wroth,
and said to himself, I will ride to the churchyard, and take the sword with me that
sticketh in the stone, for my brother Sir Kay shall not be without a sword this day.
So when he came to the churchyard, Sir Arthur alit and tied his horse to the stile, and
so he went to the tent, and found no knights there, for they were at jousting; and so
he handled the sword by the handles, and lightly and fiercely pulled it out of the stone,
and took his horse and rode his way until he came to his brother Sir Kay, and delivered
him the sword. And as soon as Sir Kay saw the sword, he wist well it was the sword of
the stone, and so he rode to his father Sir Ector, and said : Sir, lo here is the sword of
the stone, wherefore I must be king of this land. When Sir Ector beheld the sword,
he returned again and came to the church, and there they alit all three, and went into
the church. And anon he made Sir Kay to swear upon a book how he came to that
sword. Sir, said Sir Kay, by my brother Arthur, for he brought it to me. How gat
ye this sword i said Sir Ector to Arthur. Sir, I will tell you. When I came home
for my brothers sword, I found nobody at home to deliver me his sword, and so I
thought my brother Sir Kay should not be swordless, and so I came hither eagerly and
pulled it out of the stone without any pain. Found ye any knights about this sword,
said Sir Ector. Nay, said Arthur. Now, said Sir Ector to Arthur, I understand ye
must be king of this land. Wherefore I, said Arthur, and for what cause ? Sir, said


6
KING ARTHUR
Ector, for God will have it so, for there should never man have drawn out this
sword, but he that shall be rightways Icing of this land. Now let me see whether ye
can put the sword there as it was, and pull it out again. That is no mastery, said
Arthur, and so he put it in the stone, therewithal Sir Ector essayed to pull out the
sword and failed.
HOW KING ARTHUR PULLED OUT THE SWORD
DIVERS TIMES. ^>Now essay, said Sir Ector unto
Sir Kay. And anon he pulled at the sword with all his
might, but it would not be. Now shall ye essay, said
Sir Ector to Arthur. I will well, said Arthur, and pulled
it out easily. And therewithal Sir Ector knelt down to
the earth, and Sir Kay. Alas, said Arthur, my own dear
father and brother, why kneel ye to me ? Nay, nay, my
lord Arthur, it is not so, I was never your father nor of
your blood, but I wot well ye are of an higher blood than
I weened ye were. And then Sir Ector told him all, how
he was bitaken him for to nourish him, and by whose
commandment, and by Merlins deliverance. Then Arthur
made great doole when he understood that Sir Ector was
not his father. Sir, said Ector unto Arthur, will ye be
my good and gracious lord when ye are king. Else were
I to blame, said Arthur, for ye are the man in the world
that I am most beholden to, and my good lady and mother
your wife, that as well as her own hath fostered me and kept. And if ever it be Gods
will that I be king as ye say, ye shall desire of me what I may do, and I shall not fail
you, God forbid I should fail you. Sir, said Sir Ector, I will ask no more of you, but
that ye will make my son, your foster brother, Sir Kay, seneschal of all your lands. That
shall be done, said Arthur, and more, by the faith of my body, that never man shall
have that office but he, while he and I live. Therewithal they went unto the Arch-
bishop, and told him how the sword was achieved, and by whom ; and on Twelfth-day
all the barons came thither, and to essay to take the sword, who that would essay. But
there afore them all, there might none take it out but Arthur ; wherefore there were
many lords wroth, and said it was a great shame unto them ail and the realm, to be
over-governed with a boy of no high blood born, and so they fell out at that time that
it was put off till Candlemas, and then all the barons should meet there again ; but
always the ten knights were ordained to watch the sword day and night, and so they
set a pavilion over the stone and the sword, and five always watched. So at Candlemas
many more great lords came thither for to have won the sword, but there might none
prevail. And right as Arthur did at Christmas, he did at Candlemas, and pulled out
the sword easily, whereof the barons were sore agrieved and put it off in delay till the
high feast of Easter. And as Arthur sped before, so did he at Easter, yet there were
some of the great lords had indignation that Arthur should be king, and put it off in
a delay till the feast of Pentecost. Then the Archbishop of Canterbury by Merlyns
providence let purvey then of the best knights that they might get, and such knights
as Uther Pendragon loved best and most trusted in his days. And such knights
were put about Arthur as Sir Baudwin of Britain, Sir Kay, Sir Ulfius, Sir Brastias.
All these with many other, were always about Arthur, day and night, till the feast of
Pentecost.


KING ARTHUR
7
HOW KING ARTHUR WAS CROWNED, AND
HOW HE MADE OFFICERS. £#*And at the feast of
Pentecost all manner of men essayed to pull at the
sword that would essay, but none might prevail but
Arthur, and pulled it out afore all the lords and
commons that were there, wherefore all the commons
cried at once, We will have Arthur unto our king, we
will put him no more in delay, for we all see that it is
Gods will that he shall be our king, and who that
holdeth against it, we will slay him. And therewith
they all kneeled at once, both rich and poor, and cried
Arthur mercy because they had delayed him so long,
and Arthur forgave them, and took the sword between
both his hands, and offered it upon the altar where the
Archbishop was, and so was he made knight of the best
man that was there. And so anon was the coronation
made. And there was he sworn unto his lords and the commons for to be a true king, to
stand with true justice from thenceforth the days of this life. Also then he made all lords
that held of the crown to come in, and to do service as they ought to do. And many com-
plaints were made unto Sir Arthur of great wrongs that were done since the death of King
Uther, of many lands that were bereaved lords, knights, ladies, and gentlemen. Wherefore
King Arthur made the lands to be given again unto them that owned them. When this
was done, that the king had stablished all the countries about London, then he let make
Sir Kay seneschal of England; and Sir Baudwin of Britain was made constable; and Sir
Ulfius was made chamberlain; and Sir Brastias was made warden to wait upon the north
from Trent forwards, for it was that time the most part the kings enemies. But within
few years after, Arthur won all the north, Scotland, and all that were under their obeissance.
Also Wales, a part of it held against Arthur, but he overcame them all as he did the
remnant through the noble prowess of himself and his knights of the Round Table.
HOW KING ARTHUR HELD IN WALES, AT A PENTE-
COST, A GREAT FEAST, AND WHAT KINGS AND LORDS
CAME TO HIS FEAST.^yThen the king removed into Wales,
and let cry a great feast that it should be holden at Pentecost after
the incoronation of him at the city of Carlion. Unto the feast
came king Lot of Lothian and of Orkney, with five hundred knights
with him. Also there came to the feast King Uriens of Gore with
four hundred knights with him. Also there came to that feast King
Nentres of Garlot, with seven hundred knights with him. Also
there came to the feast the king of Scotland with six hundred
knights with him, and he was but a young man. Also there came to the feast a king that
was called the king with the hundred knights, but he and his men were passing well bisene
at all points. Also there came the king of Carados with five hundred knights. And King
Arthur was glad of their coming, for he weened that all the kings and knights had come
for great love, and to have done him worship at his feast, wherefore the king made great
joy, and sent the kings and knights great presents. But the kings would none receive,
but rebuked the messengers shamefully, and said they had no joy to receive no gifts of
a beardless boy that was come of low blood, and sent him word they would none of his
gifts, but that they were come to give him gifts with hard swords betwixt the neck and


8
KING ARTHUR
the shoulders: and therefore they came thither, so they told to the messengers plainly,
for it was great shame to all them to see such a boy to have a rule of so noble a realm
as this land was. With this answer the messengers departed and told to King Arthur
this answer. Wherefore, by the advice of his barons, he took him to a strong tower
with five hundred good men with him : and all the kings aforesaid in a manner laid a
siege tofore him, but King Arthur was well victualed. And within fifteen days there
came Merlin among them into the city of Carlion. Then all the kings were passing
glad of Merlin, and asked him, For what cause is that boy Arthur made your king ? Sirs,
said Merlin, I shall tell you the cause, for he is King Uther Pendragons son, born in
wedlock, gotten on Igraine, the dukes wife of Tintagil. Then is he a bastard, they said
all. Nay, said Merlin, after the death of the duke, more than three hours, was Arthur
begotten, and thirteen days after King Uther wedded Igraine; and therefore I prove
him he is no bastard, and who saith nay, he shall be king and overcome all his enemies;
and, or he die, he shall be long king of all England, and have under his obeissance
Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, and more realms than I will now rehearse. Some of
the kings had marvel of Merlins words, and deemed well that it should be as he said ;
and some of them laughed him to scorn, as King Lot; and more other called him a
witch. But then were they accorded with Merlin, that King Arthur should come out and
speak with the kings, and to come safe and to go safe, such assurance there was made.
So Merlin went unto King Arthur, and told him how he had done, and bad him fear
not, but come out boldly and speak with them, and spare them not, but answer them
as their king and chieftain, for ye shall overcome them all whether they will or nill.
OF THE FIRST WAR THAT KING ARTHUR
HAD, AND HOW HE WON THE FIELD.?**
Then King Arthur came out of his tower, and had
under his gown a jesseraunte of double mail, and
there went with him the Archbishop of Canter-
bury, and Sir Baudwin of Britain, and Sir Kay,
and Sir Brastias: these were the men of most wor-
ship that were with him. And when they were met
there was no meekness, but stout words on both
sides; but always King Arthur answered them,
and said he would make them to bow an he lived.
Wherefore they departed with wrath, and King
Arthur bad keep them well, and they bad the
king keep him well. So the king returned him to
the tower again and armed him and all his knights.
What will ye do ? said Merlin to the kings; ye
were better for to stynte, for ye shall not here prevail though ye were ten times so many.
Be we well advised to be afeard of a dream-reader ? said King Lot. With that Merlin
vanished away, and came to King Arthur, and bad him set on them fiercely ; and in the
meanwhile there were three hundred good men of the best that were with the kings,
that went straight unto King Arthur, and that comforted him greatly. Sir, said Merlin
to Arthur, fight not with the sword that ye had by miracle, till that ye see ye go unto
the worse, then draw it out and do your best. So forthwithal King Arthur set upon
them in their lodging. And Sir Baudwin, Sir Kay, and Sir Brastias slew on the right
hand and on the left hand that it was marvel; and always King Arthur on horseback
laid on with a sword, and did marvellous deeds of arms that many of the kings had great


KING ARTHUR 9
joy of his deeds and hardiness. Then King Lot brake out on the back side, and the
king with the hundred knights, and King Carados, and set on Arthur fiercely behind
him. With that Sir Arthur turned with his knights, and smote behind and before, and
ever Sir Arthur was in the foremost press till his horse was slain underneath him. And
therewith King Lot smote down King Arthur. With that his four knights received
him and set him on horseback. Then he drew his sword Excalibur, but it was so bright
in his enemies eyes, that it gave light like thirty torches. And therewith he put them
on back, and slew much people. And then the commons of Carlion arose with clubs
and staves and slew many knights; but all the kings held them together with their
knights that were left alive, and so fled and departed. And Merlin came unto Arthur,
and counselled him to follow them no further.
HOW MERLIN COUNSELLED KING ARTHUR TO
SEND FOR KING BAN AND KING BORS, AND
OF THEIR COUNSEL TAKEN FOR THE WAR.^j
So after the feast and journey, King Arthur drew him unto
London, and so by the counsel of Merlin, the king let call
his barons to council, for Merlin had told the king that the
six kings that made war upon him would in all haste be
awroke on him and on his lands. Wherefore the king asked
counsel at them all. They could no counsel give, but said
they were big enough. Ye say well, said Arthur; I thank
you for your good courage but will ye all that loveth me
speak with Merlin ? ye know well that he hath done much
for me, and he knoweth many things, and when he is afore
you, I would that ye prayed him heartily of his best advice.
All the barons said they would pray him and desire him. So Merlin was sent for, and
fair desired of all the barons to give them best counsel. I shall say you, said Merlin,
I warn you all, your enemies are passing strong for you, and they are good men of arms
as be alive, and by this time they have gotten to them four kings more, and a mighty
duke; and unless that our king have more chivalry with him than he may make within
the bounds of his own realm, an he fight with them in battle, he shall be overcome
and slain. What were best to do in this cause ? said all the barons. I shall tell you,
said Merlin, my advice, there are two brethren beyond the sea, and they be kings both
and marvellous good men of their hands; and that one hight King Ban of Benwick,
and that other hight King Bors of Gaul, that is France. And on these two kings warreth
a mighty man of men, the King Claudas, and striveth with them for a castle, and great
war is betwixt them : but this Claudas is so mighty of goods whereof he getteth good
knights, that he putteth these two kings most part to the worse; wherefore this is my
counsel, that our king and sovereign lord send unto the Kings Ban and Bors by two
trusty knights with letters well devised, that if they will come and see King Arthur and
his court, and so help him in his wars, that he will be sworn unto them to help them
in their wars against King Claudas. Now, what say ye unto this counsel ? said Merlin.
This is well counselled, said the king and all the barons. Right so in all haste there were
ordained to go two knights on the message unto the two kings. So were there made
letters in the pleasant wise according unto King Arthurs desire. Ulfius and Brastias
were made the messengers, and so rode forth well horsed and well armed, and as the
guise was that time, and so passed the sea and rode toward the city of Benwick. And
there besides were eight knights that espied them, and at a straight passage they met


10
KING ARTHUR
with Ulfius and Brastias, and would have taken them prisoners; so they prayed them
that they might pass, for they were messengers unto King Ban and Bors sent from King
Arthur. Therefore, said the eight knights, ye shall die or be prisoners, for we be knights
of King Claudas. And therewith two of them dressed their spears, and Ulfius and
Brastias dressed their spears, and ran together with great raundon, and Claudas knights
brake their spears, and theirs to-held and bare the two knights out of their saddles to the
earth, and so left them lying, and rode their ways. And the other six knights rode afore
to a passage to meet with them again, and so Ulfius and Brastias smote other two down,
and so passed on their ways. And at the fourth passage there met two for two, and
both were laid unto the earth; so there was none of the eight knights but he was sore hurt
or bruised. And when they come to Benwick it fortuned there were both Kings Ban
and Bors. And when it was told the kings that there were come messengers, there were
sent unto them two knights of worship, the one hight Lionses, lord of the country of
Payarne, and Sir Phariance, a worshipful knight. Anon they asked from whence they
came, and they said from King Arthur, King of England ; so they took them in their
arms and made great joy each of other. But anon, as the two kings wist they were
messengers of Arthurs, there was made no tarrying, but forthwith they spake with the
knights, and welcomed them in the faithfullest wise, and said they were most welcome
unto them before all the kings living. And therewith they kissed the letters and delivered
them ; and when Ban and Bors understood the letters, then they were more welcome
than they were before. And after the haste of the letters, they gave them this answer,
that they would fulfil the desire of King Arthurs writing, and Ulfius and Brastias tarry
there as long as they would, they should have such cheer as might be made them in those
marches. Then Ulfius and Brastias told the king of the adventure at their passages of
the eight knights. Ha ha said Ban and Bors they were my good friends. I would
I had wist of them, they should not have escaped so. So Ulfius and Brastias had good
cheer and great gifts as much as they might bear away, and had their answer by mouth
and by writing, that those two kings would come unto Arthur in all the haste that they
might. So the two knights rode on afore, and passed the sea, and come to their lord
and told him how they had sped, whereof King Arthur was passing glad. At what time
suppose ye the two kings will be here ? Sir, said they, afore All Hallowmass. Then
the king let purvey for a great feast, and let cry a great jousts. And by All Hallow-
mass the two kings were come over the sea with three hundred knights well arrayed
both for the peace and for the war. And King Arthur met with them ten mile
out of London, and there was great joy as could be thought or made. And on All
Hallowmass at the great feast sat in the hall the three kings, and Sir Kay seneschal
served in the hall, and Sir Lucas the butler, that was Duke Corneus son, and Sir
Griflet, that was the son of Cardol, these three knights had the rule of all the service
that served the kings. And anon, as they had washen and risen, all knights that would
joust made them ready. By when they were ready on horseback there were seven
hundred knights. And Arthur, Ban, and Bors, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and
Sir Ector, Kays father, they were in a place covered with cloth of
gold like an hall, with ladies and gentlewomen, for to behold who did
best, and thereon to give judgment.
OF A GREAT TOURNEY MADE BY KING ARTHUR AND
THE TWO KINGS BAN AND BORS, AND HOW THEY WENT
OVER THE SEA.^^)And King Arthur and the two kings let depart
the seven hundred knights in two parties. And there were three hundred


KING ARTHUR
ii
knights of the realm of Benwick and of Gaul turned on the other side. Then they dressed
their shields, and began to couch their spears many good knights. So Griflet was the first
that met with a knight, one Ladinas, and they met so eagerly that all men had wonder ;
and they so fought that their shields fell to pieces, and horse and man fell to the
earth; and both the French knight and the English knight lay so long that all
men weened they had been dead. When Lucas the butler saw Griflet so lie, he
horsed him again anon, and they two did marvellous deeds of arms with many bachelors.
Also Sir Kay came out of an embushment with five knights with him, and they
six smote other six down. But Sir Kay did that day marvellous deeds of arms that
there was none did so well as he that day. Then there come Ladinas and Gracian,
two knights of France, and did passing well, that all men praised them. Then come
there Sir Placidas, a good knight, and met with Sir Kay, and smote him down horse and
man, wherefore Sir Griflet was wroth, and met with Sir Placidas so hard, that horse
and man fell to the earth. But when the five knights wist that Sir Kay had a fall, they
were wroth out of wit, and therewith each of them five bare down a knight. When
King Arthur and the two kings saw them begin to wax wroth on both parties, they
leapt on small hackneys, and let cry that all men should depart unto their lodging. And
so they went home and unarmed them, and so to evensong and supper. And after,
the three kings went into a garden, and gave the prize unto Sir Kay, and to Lucas the
butler, and unto Sir Griflet. And then they went unto council, and with them
Gwenbaus, the brother unto Sir Ban and Bors, a wise clerk, and thither went Ulfius
and Brastias, and Merlin. And after they had been in council, they went unto bed.
And on the morn they heard mass, and to dinner, and so to their council, and made
many arguments what were best to do. At the last they were concluded, that Merlin
should go with a token of King Ban, and that was a ring, unto his men and King
Borss; and Gracian and Placidas should go again and keep their castles and their
countries, as King Ban of Benwick, and King Bors of Gaul had ordained them, and
so they passed the sea and came to Benwick. And when the people saw King
Bans ring, and Gracian and Placidas, they were glad, and asked how the kings fared,
and made great joy of their welfare and cordyng, and according unto the sovereign
lords desire, the men of war made them ready in all haste possible, so that they
were fifteen thousand on horse and foot, and they had great plenty of victual with
them, by Merlins provision. But Gracian and Placidas were left to furnish and
garnish the castles, for dread of King Claudas. Right so Merlin passed the sea well
victualled both by water and by land. And when he came to the sea he sent home
the foot men again, and took no more with him but ten thousand men on horse-
back, the most part men of arms, and so shipped and passed the sea into England,
and landed at Dover; and through the wit of Merlin, he led the host northward,
the priviest way that could be thought, unto the forest of Bedegraine, and there in
a valley he lodged them secretly. Then rode Merlin unto Arthur and the two kings,
and told them how he had sped ; whereof they had great marvel, that man on earth
might speed so soon, and go and come. So Merlin told them ten thousand were in
the forest of Bedegraine, well armed at all points. Then was there no more to say,
but to horseback went all the host as Arthur had afore purveyed. So with twenty
thousand he passed by night and day, but there was made such an ordinance afore by
Merlin, that there should no man of war ride nor go in no country on this side Trent
water, but if he had a token from King Arthur, where through the kings enemies
durst not ride as they did tofore to espy.


12
KING ARTHUR
I HOW ELEVEN KINGS GATHERED A GREAT
I HOST AGAINST KING ARTHUR.And so within
a little space the three kings came unto the castle of
Bedegraine, and found there a passing fair fellowship,
and well besene, whereof they had great joy, and victual
they wanted none. This was the cause of the northern
host : that they were reared for the despite and rebuke
the six kings had at Carlion. And those six kings by
their means, gat unto them five other kings; and thus
they began to gather their people; and how they sware
that for weal nor woe, they should not leave other, till
they had destroyed Arthur. And then they made an
oath. The first that began the oath was the Duke of
Cambenet, that he would bring with him five thousand
men of arms, the which were ready on horseback. Then
sware King Brandegoris of Stranggore that he would
bring five thousand men of arms on horseback. Then
sware King Clariance of Northumberland he would
bring three thousand men of arms. Then sware the
king of the hundred knights, that was a passing good
man and a young, that he would bring four thousand
men of arms on horseback. Then there swore King
Lot, a passing good knight, and Sir Gawains father, that he would bring five
thousand men of arms on horseback. Also there swore King Urience, that was Sir
Uwains father, of the land of Gore, and he would bring six thousand men of arms
on horseback. Also there swore King Idres of Cornwall, that he would bring five
thousand men of arms on horseback. Also there swore King Cradelmas to bring
five thousand men on horseback. Also there swore King Agwisance of Ireland to bring
five thousand men of arms on horseback. Also there swore King Nentres to bring five
thousand men of arms on horseback. Also there swore King Carados to bring five
thousand men of arms on horseback. So their whole host was of clene men of arms
on horseback fifty thousand, and a-foot ten thousand, of good mens bodies. Then
were they soon ready, and mounted upon horse and sent forth their fore riders, for these
eleven kings in their ways laid a siege unto the castle of Bedegraine ; and so they departed
and drew toward Arthur, and left few to abide at the siege, for the castle of Bedegraine
was holden of King Arthur, and the men that were therein were Arthurs.
Chanter 0F A DREAM 0F THE KING with the hundred knights.
'y. So by Merlins advice there were sent fore riders to skim the country,
U" and they met with the fore riders of the north, and made them to tell
which way the host came, and then they told it to Arthur, and by King Ban and
Bors council they let burn and destroy all the country afore them, where they should
ride. The king with the hundred knights mette a wonder dream two nights afore
the battle, that there blew a great wind, and blew down their castles and their
towns, and after that came a water and bare it all away. All that heard of the
sweuen, said it was a token of great battle. Then by council of Merlin, when they
wist which way the eleven kings would ride and lodge that night, at midnight they set
upon them, as they were in their pavilions. But the scout watch by their host cried,
Lords! at arms! for here be your enemies at your hand !


KING ARTHUR
i3
HOW THE ELEVEN KINGS WITH THEIR
HOST FOUGHT AGAINST ARTHUR AND HIS
HOST, AND MANY GREAT FEATS OF THE
WAR.Then King Arthur and King Ban and
King Bors, with their good and trusty knights, set
on them so fiercely that they made them overthrow
their pavilions on their heads, but the eleven kings,
by manly prowess of arms, took a fair champaign,
but there was slain that morrowtide ten thousand
good mens bodies. And so they had afore them a
strong passage, yet were they fifty thousand of hardy men. Then it drew toward day.
Now shall ye do by mine advice, said Merlin unto the three kings: I would that King
Ban and King Bors, with their fellowship of ten thousand men, were put in a wood
here beside, in an embushment, and keep them privy, and that they be laid or the light
of the day come, and that they stir not till ye and your knights have fought with them
long. And when it is daylight, dress your battle even afore them and the passage, that
they may see all your host, for then will they be the more hardy, when they see you
but about twenty thousand men, and cause them to be the gladder to suffer you and
your host to come over the passage. All the three kings and the whole barons said that
Merlin said passingly well, and it was done anon as Merlin had devised. So on the
morn, when either host saw other, the host of the north was well comforted. Then to
Ulfius and Brastias were delivered three thousand men of arms, and they set on them
fiercely in the passage, and slew on the right hand and on the left hand that it was
wonder to tell. When that the eleven kings saw that there was so few a fellowship did
such deeds of arms, they were ashamed and set on them again fiercely; and there was
Sir Ulfiuss horse slain under him, but he did marvellously well on foot. But the Duke
Eustace of Cambenet and King Clariance of Northumberland, were alway grievous on
Ulfius. When Brastias saw his fellow fared so withal, he smote the duke with a spear,
that horse and man fell down. That saw King Clariance and returned unto Brastias,
and either smote other so that horse and man went to the earth, and so they lay long
astonied, and their horse knees brast to the hard bone. Then came Sir Kay the seneschal
with six fellows with him, and did passing well. With that came the eleven kings, and
there was Griflet put to the earth, horse and man, and Lucas the butler, horse and man,
by King Brandegoris, and King Idres, and King Agwisance. Then waxed the medley
passing hard on both parties. When Sir Kay saw Griflet on foot, he rode on King
Nentres and smote him down, and led his horse unto Sir Griflet, and horsed him again.
Also Sir Kay with the same spear smote down King Lot, and hurt him passing sore.
That saw the king with the hundred knights, and ran unto Sir Kay and smote him down,
and took his horse, and gave him King Lot, whereof he said gramercy. When Sir
Griflet saw Sir Kay and Lucas the butler on foot, he took a sharp spear, great and
square, and rode to Pinel, a good man of arms, and smote horse and man down, and
then he took his horse, and gave him unto Sir Kay. When King Lot saw King Nentres
on foot, he ran unto Melot de la Roche, and smote him down, horse and man, and gave
King Nentres the horse, and horsed him again. Also the king of the hundred knights
saw King Idres on foot, then he ran unto Gwimiart de Bloi, and smote him down,
horse and man, and gave King Idres the horse, and horsed him again; and King Lot
smote down Clariance de la Forest Savage, and gave the horse unto Duke Eustace.
And so when they had horsed the kings again they drew them all eleven kings together,


KING ARTHUR
14
and said they would be revenged of the damage that they had taken that day. The
meanwhile came in Sir Ector with an eager countenance, and found Ulfius and Brastias
on foot, in great peril of death, that were foul defoyled under horse feet. Then King
Arthur as a lion, ran unto King Cradelment of North Wales, and smote him through
the left side, that the horse and the king fell down ; and then he took the horse by the
rein, and led him unto Ulfius, and said, Have this horse, mine old friend, for great need
hast thou of horse. Gramercy, said Ulfius. Then Sir Arthur did so marvellously in
arms, that all men had wonder. When the king with the hundred knights saw King
Cradelment on foot, he ran unto Sir Ector, that was well horsed, Sir Kays father, and
smote horse and man down, and gave the horse unto the king, and horsed him again ;
and when King Arthur saw the king ride on Sir Ectors horse, he was wroth and with
his sword he smote the king on the helm, that a quarter of the helm and shield fell down,
and the sword carved down unto the horses neck, and so the king and the horse fell
down to the ground. Then Sir Kay came unto Sir Morganore, seneschal with the
king of the hundred knights, and smote him down, horse and man, and led the horse
unto his father, Sir Ector; then Sir Ector ran unto a knight, hight Lardans, and smote
horse and man down, and led the horse unto Sir Brastias, that great need had of an horse,
and was greatly defoyled. When Brastias beheld Lucas the butler, that lay like a dead man
under the horses feet, and ever Sir Griflet did marvellously for to rescue him, and there
were always fourteen knights on Sir Lucas; then Brastias smote one of them on the
helm, that it went to the teeth, and he rode to another and smote him, that the arm
flew into the field. Then he went to the third and smote him on the shoulder, that
shoulder and arm flew in the field. And when Griflet saw rescues, he smote a knight
on the temples, that head and helm went to the earth, and Griflet took the horse of
that knight, and led him unto Sir Lucas, and bad him mount upon the horse and revenge
his hurts. For Brastias had slain a knight tofore and horsed Griflet.
YET OF THE SAME BATTLE. j^Then Lucas saw King
Agwisance, that late had slain Moris de la Roche, and Lucas
T 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 Flandres, 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 ferd 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 encountered against the Duke Eustace, and King Cradelment,


KING ARTHUR
i5
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 Idris, 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 embushment of King Ban and
King Bors, and Lyonses 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
discomfiture. 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 come into this country without witting of us all. It was by Merlins advice,
said the knight. As for him, said King Carados, I will encounter with King Bors, and 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 come 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.
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 ha 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
livng, 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 hurtle together for great dread, and the three kings and their
B


i6
KING ARTHUR
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 threst 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 trappings
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 broched 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 horse, 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 ye 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
eure is 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,


KING ARTHUR

for the noble Arthur will not tarry on the foot men, 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 pain of death. And who that seeth any
man dresse 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 plompe of wood.
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 Borss 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 parts marvellous deeds of 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 to-day, 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 dare 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


KING ARTHUR
may reward their knights withal; and that shall cause strangers to be of better will to
do you service at need. Also you will 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 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 Arthurs days, Merlin did his master Bleise do write ; also
he did do write all the battles that every worthy knight did of Arthurs 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 stood 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 earls 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 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; Phariance,
and Antemes, and Gratian, and Lionses of Payarne, with the leaders of those that should
keep the kings lands.
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 fellow-
ship, 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 kings 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
PH* ***>


KING ARTHUR
i9
their own countries, for King Claudas did great destruction on their lands. Then
said Arthur, I will go with you. Nay, said the tings, 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 with-
stand the King Claudas malice, for by the grace of God, an we have need we will send
to you for your 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 was a mighty man of men, 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 habiliments that pretendeth to
the war, to avenge them for the battle of Bedegraine, as it telleth in the book of
adventures following.
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 unto Carlion. And thither came to
him, King Lots wife, of Orkney, in manner of a message, but
she was sent thither to espy the court of King Arthur; and
she came richly bisene, with her four sons, Gawaine, Gaheris,
Agravaine, 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
mothers 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


20
KING ARTHUR
this time King Arthur knew not that King Lots 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 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 embushed,
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 beasts belly like
unto the questyng of thirty couple hounds; but all the while the beast drank there was
no noise in the beasts belly: and therewith 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 you 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 kings horse, and when
the knight saw the horse, he prayed the king to give him the horse : for I have followed
this quest this twelve month, 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.
HOW KING PELLINORE TOOK ARTHURS 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 twelve month. Ah, fool, said
the knight unto Arthur, it is in vain thy desire, for it shall
never be achieved but by me, or my next kin. Therewith
he started unto the kings 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 bad 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


licit) lunet '2(rtl)ur (am the dluejttmcf iDeajft; anb thereof
Bab cfivat marucf.


21
KING ARTHUR
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 years 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 the 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 childs 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 Gods 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 kings 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.
HOW ULFIUS IMPEACHED QUEEN IGRAINE, ARTHURS
MOTHER, OF TREASON; AND HOW A KNIGHT CAME
AND DESIRED TO HAVE THE DEATH OF HIS MASTER
REVENGED.^^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 kings person.
Beware, said Arthur, what thou sayest; thou speakest a great word.
I am well aware, 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 bear you of her body should have made it known openly
in excusing of her worship and yours, and in likewise 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 Tintagel in the likeness of my lord, that was dead three hours tofore,
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


22
KING ARTHUR
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
Uthers 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 come in the court a squire on horse-
back, 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 masters death. Then the noise was great of that
knights 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 him the order of knighthood.
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 loth, said the knight, but sith
I must needs, I will dress me thereto: of whence be ye ? said the knight. Sir, I am
| of Arthurs court. So the two knights ran together that Griflets
spear all to shivered; and therewithal 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.
HOW TWELVE KNIGHTS CAME FROM ROME AND ASKED
TRUAGE FOR THIS LAND OF ARTHUR, AND HOW
ARTHUR FOUGHT WITH A KNIGHT.?*) When the knight
I saw him lie so on the ground, he alit, 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 gat him wind,
and so bytoke 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,


KING ARTHUR
23
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 there-
for. 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 fathers 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 dressed his shield and took his spear, and bad 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 bad them : Flee, churls then they were 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 others 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 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 break
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 Arthurs spear all to shivered. But the other knight hit him so
hard in midst of the 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 alit, for him thought no worship to have a knight at such avail, he
to be on horseback and he on foot, and so he alit 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


KING ARTHUR
24
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 Arthurs 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 lever die than to be so shamed.
And therewithal the king leapt unto Pellinore, and took him by the middle and threw
him down, and rased 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 rased off his
helm and would have smitten off his head.
mmm
HOW MERLIN SAVED ARTHURS LIFE, AND
THREW AN ENCHANTMENT ON KING PELLI-
NORE AND MADE HIM TO SLEEP. ^Therewithal
came Merlin and said, Knight, hold thy hand, for an thou
slay that knight thou puttest this realm 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 knights 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 lever 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
on sleep, 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.
nrfan+n HOW ARTHUR BY THE MEAN OF MERLIN GAT EXCALIBUR
^ rXHIS SW0RD OF THE LADY 0F THE LAKE.^Right so the king
Uu 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 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 besene; 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




KING ARTHUR
25
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 alit 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
knights 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 council, let him pass, for
he shall do you good service in short time, and his sons after his days. Also ye shall see
that day in short space, ye shall be right glad to give him your sister to wed. When
I see him, I will do as ye advise me, said Arthur. 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.
HOW TIDINGS CAME TO ARTHUR THAT KING
RIENCE HAD OVERCOME ELEVEN KINGS, AND
HOW HE DESIRED ARTHURS BEARD TO TRIM
HIS MANTLE.£4>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 every each 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 Arthurs beard. For King Rience
had purfled a mantle with kings beards, and there 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


26
KING ARTHUR
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.
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 Lots 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 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 wyte 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 woode 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.
i
i


ISooft t) f

OF A DAMOSEL WHICH CAME GIRT WITH
A SWORD FOR TO FIND A MAN OF SUCH
VIRTUE TO DRAW IT OUT OF THE SCABBARD
FTER 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 kings 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,


28
KING ARTHUR
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 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 cumberance, 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 Riences, 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 every each 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.
HOW BALIN, ARRAYED LIKE A POOR KNIGHT, PULLED
OUT THE SWORD, WHICH AFTERWARD WAS THE CAUSE
OF HIS DEATH.^fc)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 reysed 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 other, 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, if needeth not to put me to more pain or labour, for


KING ARTHUR
29
it seemetR not you to speed tRere as otRer Rave failed. AR \ fair Damosel, said Balin,
wortRiness, and good tatcRes, and good deeds, are not only in arrayment, but manhood
and worsRip is Rid witRin mans person, and many a worsRipful knight is not known
unto all people, and tRerefore worsRip and Rardiness is not in arrayment. By God,
said tRe damosel, ye say sootR ; tRerefore ye shall assay to do wRat ye may. Then
Balin. took. tRe sword by tRe girdle and sReatR, and drew it out easily ; and when he
looked on tRe sword it pleased Rim mucR. TRen Rad the king and all the batons great
marvel tRat Balin Rad done tRat adventure, and many knights had great despite of
Balin. Certes, said tRe damosel, tRis is a passing good knight, and the best that ever
I found, and most of worsRip witRout treason, treachery, or villainy, and many marvels
sRall Re 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
tRe best friend that ye Rave, 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 Rave at this time, by the faith of my body. Ye shall
repent it witRin short time, said the damosel, for 1 would have the sword more for your
avail than 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 sorrow. 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 Rad 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 amiss that I have done against you. God thank your great lordship, said
Balin, and therewith made him ready to depart. Then the most part of the knights
of the Round Table said that Balin did not this adventure all only by might, but by
witchcraft.
brought it;
HOW THE LADY OF THE LAKE DEMANDED THE
KNIGHTS HEAD THAT HAD WON THE SWORD,
OR THE MAIDENS HEAD.2*The meanwhile, that this
knight was making him ready to depart, there came into the
court a lady that hight the Lady of the lake. And she came
on horseback, richly bysene, and saluted King Arthur, and
there asked him a gift that he promised her when she
gave him the sword. That is sooth, said Arthur, a gift I
promised you, but I have forgotten the name of my sword
that ye gave me. The name of it, said the lady, is Excalibur,
that is as much to say as Cut-steel. Ye say well, said the
king, ask what ye will and ye shall have it, an it lie in my
power to give it. Well, said the lady, I ask the head of the
knight that hath won the sword, or else the damosels head that
no force though I have both their heads, for he slew my


KING ARTHUR
3
brother, a good knight and a true, and that gentlewoman was causer of my fathers
death. Truly, said King Arthur, I may not grant neither of their heads with my
worship, therefore ask what ye will else, and I shall fulfil your desire. I will ask none
other thing, said the lady. When Balin was ready to depart, he saw the Lady of the
lake, that by her means had slain Balins mother, and he had sought her three years ;
and when it was told him that she asked his head of King Arthur, he went to her straight
and said, Evil be you found; ye would have my head, and therefore ye shall lose yours,
and with his sword lightly he smote off her head before King Arthur. Alas, for shame !
said Arthur, why have ye done so ? ye have shamed me and all my court, for this was
a lady that I was beholden to, and hither she came under my' safe-conduct; I shall
never forgive you that trespass. Sir, said Balin, me forthynketh of your displeasure,
for this same lady was the untruest lady living, and by enchantment and sorcery she
hath been the destroyer of many good knights, and she was causer that my mother was
burnt, through her falsehood and treachery. What cause soever ye had, said Arthur,
ye should have forborne her in my presence; therefore, think not the contrary, ye shall
repent it, for such another despite had I never in my court; therefore withdraw you
out of my court in all haste ye may. Then Balin took up the head of the lady, and
bare it with him to his hostelry, and there he met with his squire, that was sorry he had
displeased King Arthur, and so they rode forth out of the town. Now, said Balin, we
must depart, take thou this head and bear it to my friends, and tell them how I have
sped, and tell my friends in Northumberland that my most foe is dead. Also tell them
how I am out of prison, and what adventure befel me at the getting of this sword. Alas!
said the squire, ye are greatly to blame for to displease King Arthur. As for that, said
Balin, I will hie me in all the haste that I may to meet with King Rience and destroy
him, either else to die therefor ; and if it may hap me to win him, then will King Arthur
be my good and gracious lord. Where shall I meet with you ? said the squire. In
King Arthurs court, said Balin. So his squire and he departed at that time. Then
King Arthur and all the court made great dole and had shame of the death of the Lady
of the lake. Then the king buried her richly.
HOW MERLIN TOLD THE ADVENTURE OF THIS
DAMOSEL. At that time there was a knight, the which was
the kings son of Ireland, and his name was Lanceor, the which
was an orgulous knight, and counted himself one of the best of the
court; and he had great despite at Balin for the achieving of,
the sword, that any should be accounted more hardy, or more of
prowess; and he asked King Arthur if he would give him leave
to ride after Balin and to revenge the despite that he had done.
Do your best, said Arthur, I am right wroth with Balin; I would
he were quit of the despite that he hath done to me and to my
court. Then this Lanceor went to his hostelry to make him
ready. In the meanwhile came Merlin unto the court of King
Arthur, and there was told him the adventure of the sword, and the death of the Lady
of the lake. Now shall I say you, said Merlin; this same damosel that here standeth,
that brought the sword unto your court, I shall tell you the cause of her coming: she
was the falsest damosel that liveth. Say not so, said they. She hath a brother, a
passing good knight of prowess and a full true man; and this damosel loved another
knight that held her to paramour, and this good knight her brother met with the knight
that held her to paramour, and slew him by force of his hands. When this false damosel


KING ARTHUR
31
understood this, she went to the lady Lile of Avelion, and besought her of help, to be
avenged on her own brother.
HOW BALIN WAS PURSUED BY SIR LANCEOR,
KNIGHT OF IRELAND, AND HOW HE JOUSTED
Chapter | and slew HiM.^And of Avelion
I took her this sword that she brought with her, and told
there should no man pull it out of the sheath but if he be
one of the best knights of this realm, and he should be
hard and full of prowess, and with that sword he should
slay her brother. This was the cause that the damosel
came into this court. I know it as well as ye. Would
God she had not come into this court, but she came
never in fellowship of worship to do good, but always
great harm; and that knight that hath achieved the
sword shall be destroyed by that sword, for the which
will be great dommage, for there liveth not a knight of
more prowess than he is, and he shall do unto you, my
Lord Arthur, great honour and kindness; and it is great
pity he shall not endure but a while, for of his strength
and hardiness I know not his match living. So the knight
of Ireland armed him at all points, and dressed his shield on his shoulder, and mounted
upon horseback, and took his spear in his hand, and rode after a great pace, as much as
his horse might go ; and within a little space on a mountain he had a sight of Balin, and
with a loud voice he cried, Abide, knight, for ye shall abide whether ye will or nill, and the
shield that is tofore you shall not help. When Balin heard the noise, he turned his horse
fiercely, and said, Fair knight, what will ye with me, will ye joust with me ? Yea, said
the Irish knight, therefor come I after you. Peradventure, said Balin, it had been better
to have holden you at home, for many a man weeneth to put his enemy to a rebuke,
and oft it falleth to himself. Of what court be ye sent from ? said Balin. I am come
from the court of King Arthur, said the knight of Ireland, that come hither for to revenge
the despite ye did this day to King Arthur and to his court. Well, said Balin, I see well
I must have ado with you, that me forthynketh for to grieve King Arthur, or any of his
court; and your quarrel is full simple, said Balin, unto me, for the lady that is dead, did
me great damage, and else would I have been loth as any knight that liveth for to slay
a lady. Make you ready, said the knight Lanceor, and dress you unto me, for that one
shall abide in the field. Then they took their spears, and came together as much as their
horses might drive, and the Irish knight smote Balin on the shield, that all went shivers of his
spear, and Balin hit him through the shield, and the hauberk perished, and so pierced
through his body and the horses croup, and anon turned his horse fiercely, and drew out
his sword, and wist not that he had slain him, and then he saw him lie as a dead corpse.
HOW A DAMOSEL, WHICH WAS LOVE TO LANCEOR, SLEW
(adapter herself for love, and how balin met with his
BROTHER BALAN.^^Then he looked by him, and was ware of a damosel
that came riding full fast as the horse might ride, on a fair palfrey. And when she espied
that Lanceor was slain, she made sorrow out of measure, and said, O Balin, two bodies thou
hast slain and one heart, and two hearts in one body, and two souls thou hast lost. And
therewith she took the sword from her love that lay dead, and fell to the ground in a
swoon. And when she arose she made great dole out of measure, the which sorrow


KING ARTHUR
32
grieved Balin passingly sore, and he went unto her for to have taken the sword out of
her hand, but she held it so fast he might not take it out of her hand unless he should,
have hurt her, and suddenly she set the pommel to the ground, and rove herself through
the body. When Balin espied her deeds, he was passing heavy in his heart, and ashamed
that so fair a damosel had destroyed herself for the love of his death. Alas, said Balin,
me repenteth sore the death of this knight, for the love of this damosel, for there
was much true love betwixt them both. And for sorrow he might not longer behold
him, but turned his horse and looked toward a great forest, and there he was ware, by
the arms, of his brother Balan. And when they were met they put off their helms and
kissed together, and wept for joy and pity. Then Balan said, I little weened to have
met with you at this sudden adventure; I am right glad of your deliverance out of
your dolorous prisonment, for a man told me, in the castle of Four Stones, that ye were
delivered, and that man had seen you in the court of King Arthur, and therefore I came
hither into this country, for here I supposed to find you. Anon the knight Balin told
his brother of his adventure of the sword, and of the death of the Lady of the lake, and
how King Arthur was displeased with him. Wherefore he sent this knight after me, that
lieth here dead, and the death of this damosel grieveth me sore. So doth it me, said
Balan, but ye must take the adventure that God will ordain you. Truly, said Balin, I
am right heavy that my lord Arthur is displeased with me, for he is the most worshipful
knight that reigneth now on earth, and his love will I get or else I will put my life in
adventure, for the King Rience lieth at a siege at Castle Terrabil, and thither will we
draw in all haste, to prove our worship and prowess upon him. I will well, said Balan,.
that we do, and we will help each other as brethren ought to do.
HOW A DWARF REPROVED BALIN FOR THE DEATH OF
LANCEOR, AND HOW KING MARK OF CORNWALL FOUND
THEM, AND MADE A TOMB OVER THEM.^Now go we
hence, said Balin, and well be we met. The meanwhile as they talked,,
there came a dwarf from the city of Camelot on horseback, as much
as he might, and found the dead bodies, wherefore he made great dole,,
and pulled out his hair for sorrow, and said, Which of you knights
have done this deed ? Whereby askest thou it ? said Balan. For I would wit it, said
the dwarf. It was I, said Balin, that slew this knight in my defence, for hither he came
to chase me, and either I must slay him or he me ; and this damosel slew herself for his-
love, which repenteth me, and for her sake I shall owe all women the better love.
Alas, said the dwarf, thou hast done great damage unto thyself, for this knight that,
is here dead was one of the most valiantest men that lived, and trust well, Balin, the kin
of this knight will chase you through the world till they have slain you. As for that,,
said Balin, I fear not greatly, but I am right heavy that I have displeased my lord King
Arthur, for the death of this knight. So as they talked together, there came a king of
Cornwall riding, the which hight King Mark. And when he saw these two bodies dead,,
and understood how they were dead, by the two knights above said, then made the king
great sorrow for the true love that was betwixt them, and said, I will not depart till I
have on this earth made a tomb, and there he pyght his pavilions and sought through
all the country to find a tomb, and in a church they found one was fair and rich, and.
then the king let put them both in the earth, and put the tomb upon them, and wrote
the names of them both on the tomb. How here lieth Lanceor the kings son of Ireland,,
that at his own request was slain by the hands of Balin; and how his lady, Colombe,.
and paramour, slew herself with her loves sword for dole and sorrow.


KING ARTHUR
33
HOW MERLIN PROPHESIED THAT TWO THE
BEST KNIGHTS OF THE WORLD SHOULD FIGHT
THERE, WHICH WERE SIR LANCELOT AND SIR
TRISTRAM. ^fr>The meanwhile as this was adoing, in
came Merlin to King Mark, and seeing all his doing, said,
Here shall be in this same place the greatest battle betwixt
two knights that was or ever shall be, and the truest
lovers, and yet none of them shall slay other. And there
Merlin wrote their names upon the tomb with letters of
gold that should fight in that place, whose names were
Lancelot de Lake, and Tristram. Thou art a marvellous
man, said King Mark unto Merlin, that speakest of such
marvels, thou art a boystous man and an unlikely to tell
of such deeds. What is thy name ? said King Mark. At
this time, said Merlin, I will not tell, but at that time
with his sovereign lady, then ye shall hear and know my
name, and at that time ye shall hear tidings that shall not please you. Then said
Merlin to Balin, Thou hast done thyself great hurt, because that thou savest not this
lady that slew herself, that might have saved her an thou wouldest. By the faith
of my body, said Balin, I might not save her, for she slew herself suddenly. Me
repenteth, said Merlin; because of the death of that lady thou shalt strike a stroke
most dolorous that ever man struck, except the stroke of our Lord, for thou shalt
hurt the truest knight and the man of most worship that now liveth, and through
that stroke three kingdoms shall be in great poverty, misery and wretchedness twelve
year, and the knight shall not be whole of that wound for many years. Then Merlin
took his leave of Balin. And Balin said, If I wist it were sooth that ye say I should
do such a perilous deed as that, I would slay myself to make thee a liar. Therewith
Merlin vanished away suddenly. And then Balan and his brother took their leave
of King Mark. First, said the king, tell me your name. Sir, said Balan, ye may see
he beareth two swords, thereby ye may call him the knight with the two swords.
And so departed King Mark unto Camelot to King Arthur, and Balin took the way
toward King Rience ; and as they rode together they met with Merlin disguised, but
they knew him not. Whither ride you ? said Merlin. We have little to do said the
two knights to tell thee, but what is thy name ? said Balin. At this time, said Merlin,
I will not tell it thee. It is evil seen, said the knights, that thou art a true man that
thou wilt not tell thy name. As for that, said Merlin, be it as it be may, I can tell you
wherefore ye ride this way, for to meet King Rience ; but it will not avail you without
ye have my counsel. Ah said Balin, ye are Merlin ; we will be ruled by your counsel.
Come on, said Merlin, ye shall have great worship, and look that ye do knightly, for ye
shall have great need. As for that, said Balin, dread you not, we will do what we may.
arhonter HOW BALIN AND HIS BROTHER, BY THE COUNSEL OF
yuiaptec merlin, took king rience and brought him to king
lf ARTHUR.£*>Then Merlin lodged them in a wood among leaves beside
the highway, and took off the bridles of their horses and put them to grass and laid
them down to rest them till it was nigh midnight. Then Merlin bad them rise, and
make them ready, for the king was nigh them, that was stolen away from his host with
a three score horses of his best knights, and twenty of them rode tofore to warn the
Lady de Vance that the king was coming, for that night King Rience should have lain


KING ARTHUR
34
with her. Which is the King ? said Balin. Abide, said Merlin, here in a straight
way ye shall meet with him ; and therewith he showed Balin and his brother where
he rode. Anon Balin and his brother met with the king, and smote him down, and
wounded him fiercely, and laid him to the ground; and there they slew on the right
hand and the left hand, and slew more than forty of his men, and the remnant fled.
Then went they again to King Rience and would have slain him had he not yielded
him unto their grace. Then said he thus: Knights full of prowess, slay me not, for
by my life ye may win, and by my death ye shall win nothing. Then said these
two knights, Ye say sooth and truth, and so laid him on an horse litter. With that
Merlin was vanished, and came to King Arthur aforehand, and told him how his
most enemy was taken and discomfited. By whom ? said King Arthur. By two
knights, said Merlin, that would please your lordship, and to-morrow ye shall know
what knights they are. Anon after came the knight with the two swords and Balan
his brother, and brought with them King Rience of North Wales, and there delivered
him to the porters, and charged them with him ; and so they two returned again in
the dawning of the day. King Arthur came then to King Rience, and said, Sir
king, ye are welcome : by what adventure come ye hither ? Sir, said King Rience,
I came hither by an hard adventure. Who won you ? said King Arthur. Sir, said
the king, the knight with the two swords and his brother, which are two marvellous
knights of prowess. I know them not, said Arthur, but much I am beholden to them.
Ah, said Merlin, I shall tell you : it is Balin that achieved the sword, and his brother
Balan, a good knight, there liveth not a better of prowess and worthiness, and it shall
be the greatest dole of him that ever I knew of knight, for he shall not long endure.
Alas, said King Arthur, that is great pity; for I am much beholden unto him, and I
have ill deserved it unto him for his kindness. Nay, said Merlin, he shall do much more
for you, and that shall ye know in haste. But, sir, are ye purveyed, said Merlin, for
to-morn the host of Nero, King Riences brother, will set on you or noon with a great
host, and therefore make you ready, for I will depart from you.
HOW KING ARTHUR HAD A BATTLE AGAINST NERO
& KING LOT OF ORKNEY, & HOW KING LOT WAS
DECEIVED BY MERLIN, & HOW TWELVE KINGS WERE
SLAIN.^^Then King Arthur made ready his host in ten battles,
and Nero was ready in the field afore the Castle Terrabil with a
great host, and he had ten battles, with many more people than
Arthur had. Then Nero had the vanguard with the most part of
his people, and Merlin came to King Lot of the Isle of Orkney, and
held him with a tale of prophecy, till Nero and his people were
destroyed. And there Sir Kay the seneschal did passingly well, that
the days of his life the worship went never from him; and Sir Hervis de Revel did
marvellous deeds with King Arthur, and King Arthur slew that day twenty knights
and maimed forty. At that time came in the knight with the two swords and his
brother Balan, but they two did so marvellously that the king and all the knights
marvelled of them, and all they that beheld them said they were sent from heaven as
angels, or devils from hell; and King Arthur said himself they were the best knights
that ever he saw, for they gave such strokes that all men had wonder of them. In the
meanwhile came one to King Lot, and told him while he tarried there Nero was
destroyed and slain with all his people. Alas, said King Lot, I am ashamed, for by
my default there is many a worshipful man slain, for an we had been together there


KING ARTHUR
35
had been none host under the heaven that had been able for to have matched with us;
this fayter with his prophecy hath mocked me. All that did Merlin, for he knew well
that an King Lot had been with his body there at the first battle, King Arthur had
been slain, and all his people destroyed; and well Merlin knew that one of the kings
should be dead that day, and loth was Merlin that any of them both should be slain;
but of the twain, he had lever King Lot had been slain than King Arthur. Now what
is best to do ? said King Lot of Orkney; whether is me better to treat with King
Arthur or to fight, for the greater part of our people are slain and destroyed ? Sir, said
a knight, set on Arthur for they are weary and forfoughten and we be fresh. As for me,
said King Lot, I would every knight would do his part as I would do mine. And then
they advanced banners and smote together and all to-shivered their spears; and Arthurs
knights, with the help of the knight with the two swords and his brother Balan put King
Lot and his host to the worse. But always King Lot held him in the foremost front,
and did marvellous deeds of arms, for all his host was borne up by his hands, for he abode
all knights. Alas he might not endure, the which was great pity, that so worthy a knight
as he was one should be overmatched, that of late time afore had been a knight of King
Arthurs, and wedded the sister of King Arthur; and for King Arthur lay by King
Lots wife, the which was Arthurs sister, and gat on her Mordred, therefore King Lot
held against Arthur. So there was a knight that was called the knight with the strange
beast, and at that time his right name was called Pellinore, the which was a good man
of prowess, and he smote a mighty stroke at King Lot as he fought with all his enemies,
and he failed of his stroke, and smote the horses neck, that he fell to the ground with
King Lot; and therewith anon Pellinore smote him a great stroke through the helm and
head unto the brows. And then all the host of Orkney fled for the death of King Lot,
and there were slain many mothers sons. But King Pellinore bore the wytte of the
death of King Lot, wherefore Sir Gawaine revenged the death of his father the tenth
year after he was made knight, and slew King Pellinore with his own hands. Also there
were slain at that battle twelve kings on the side of King Lot with Nero, and all were
buried in the Church of Saint Stephens in Camelot, and the remnant of knights and
of others were buried in a great rock.
OF THE INTERMENT OF TWELVE KINGS, AND OF
THE PROPHECY OF MERLIN, AND HOW BALIN SHOULD
GIVE THE DOLOROUS STROKE.^So at the interment
came King Lots wife Margawse with her four sons, Gawaine,
Agravaine, Gaheris, and Gareth. Also there came thither King
Uriens, Sir Ewaines father, and Morgan le Fay his wife that was
King Arthurs sister. All these came to the interment. But of
all these twelve kings, King Arthur let make the tomb of King
Lot passing richly, and made his tomb by his own ; and then Arthur
_______let make twelve images of laton and copper, and over-gilt it with
gold, in the sign of twelve kings, and each one of them held a taper of wax that burnt
day and night; and King Arthur was made in sign of a figure standing above them with
a sword drawn in his hand, and all the twelve figures had countenance like unto men
that were overcome. All this made Merlin by his subtle craft, and there he told the
king, When I am dead these tapers shall burn no longer, and soon after the adventures
of the Sangreal shall come among you and be achieved. Also he told Arthur how Balin
the worshipful knight shall give the dolorous stroke, whereof shall fall great vengeance.
Oh, where is Balin and Balan and Pellinore ? said King Arthur. As for Pellinore, said
rCva-



36 KING ARTHUR
Merlin, he will meet with you soon; and as for Balin he will not be long from you ;
but the other brother will depart, ye shall see him no more. By my faith, said Arthur,
they are two marvellous knights, and namely Balin passeth of prowess of any knight
that ever I found, for much beholden am I unto him ; would God he would abide with
me. Sir, said Merlin, look ye keep well the scabbard of Excalibur, for ye shall lose no
blood while ye have the scabbard upon you, though ye have as many wounds upon you
as ye may have. So after, for great trust, Arthur betoke the scabbard to Morgan le Fay
his sister, and she loved another knight better than her husband King Uriens or King
Arthur, and she would have had Arthur her brother slain, and therefore she let make
another scabbard like it by enchantment, and gave the scabbard Excalibur to her love ;
and the knights name was called Accolon, that after had near slain King Arthur. After
this Merlin told unto King Arthur of the prophecy that there should be a great battle
beside Salisbury, and Mordred his own son should be against him. Also he told him
that Basdemegus was his cousin, and germain unto King Uriens.
HOW A SORROWFUL KNIGHT CAME BEFORE
ARTHUR, AND HOW BALIN FETCHED HIM, AND
HOW THAT KNIGHT WAS SLAIN BY A KNIGHT
INVISIBLE.e^Within a day or two King Arthur was
somewhat sick, and he let pitch his pavilion in a meadow,
and there he laid him down on a pallet to sleep, but he might
have no rest. Right so he heard a great noise of an horse,
and therewith the king looked out at the porch of the
pavilion, and saw a knight coming even by him and making
great dole. Abide, fair sir, said Arthur, and tell me where-
fore thou makest this sorrow. Ye may little amend me,
said the knight, and so passed forth to the castle of Meliot.
Anon after there came Balin, and when he saw King Arthur he alit off his horse, and
came to the king on foot, and saluted him. By my head, said Arthur, ye be welcome.
Sir, right now came riding this way a knight making great mourn, for what cause I
cannot tell; wherefore I would desire of you of your courtesy and of your gentleness
to fetch again that knight either by force or else by his good will. I will do more for
your lordship than that, said Balin; and so he rode more than a pace, and found the
knight with a damosel in a forest, and said, Sir knight, ye must come with me unto
King Arthur, for to tell him of your sorrow. That will I not, said the knight, for it
will scathe me greatly, and do you none avail. Sir, said Balin, I pray you make you
ready, for ye must go with me, or else I must fight with you and bring you by force,
and that were me loth to do. Will ye be my warrant, said the knight, an I go with you ?
Yea, said Balin, or else I will die therefor. And so he made him ready to go with Balin,
and left the damosel still. And as they were even afore King Arthurs pavilion, there came
one invisible, and smote this knight that went with Balin throughout the body with a
spear. Alas, said the knight, I am slain under your conduct with a knight called Garlon ;
therefore take my horse that is better than yours, and ride to the damosel, and follow
the quest that I was in as she will lead you, and revenge my death when ye may. That
shall I do, said Balin, and that I make a vow unto knighthood ; and so he departed from
this knight with great sorrow. So King Arthur let bury this knight richly, and made
a mention on his tomb, how there was slain Herlews le Berbeus, and by whom the
treachery was done, the knight Garlon. But ever the damosel bare the truncheon of
the spear with her that Sir Herlews was slain withal.


KING ARTHUR
37
HOW BALIN AND THE DAMOSEL MET WITH
A KNIGHT WHICH WAS IN LIKEWISE SLAIN,
AND HOW THE DAMOSEL BLED FOR THE
CUSTOM OF A CASTLE.^} So Balin and the damosel
rode into a forest, and there met with a knight that had
been ahunting, and that knight asked Balin for what
cause he made so great sorrow. Me list not to tell you,
said Balin. Now, said the knight, an I were armed as ye
be I would fight with you. That should little need, said
Balin, I am not afeard to tell you, and told him all the
cause how it was. Ah, said the knight, is this all ? here
I ensure you by the faith of my body never to depart
from you while my life lasteth. And so they went to
the hostelry and armed them, and so rode forth with
Balin. And as they came by an hermitage even by a
churchyard, there came the knight Garlon invisible, and
smote this knight, Perin de Mountbeliard, through the
body with a spear. Alas, said the knight, I am slain by
this traitor knight that rideth invisible. Alas, said Balin, it
is not the first despite he hath done me; and there the
hermit and Balin buried the knight under a rich stone
and a tomb royal. And on the morn they found letters of gold written, how Sir Gawaine
shall revenge his fathers death, King Lot, on the King Pellinore. Anon after this Balin
and the damosel rode till they came to a castle, and there Balin alit, and he and the
damosel went to go into the castle,, and anon as Balin came within the castles gate
the portcullis fell down at his back, and there fell many men about the damosel, and
would have slain her. When Balin saw that, he was sore aggrieved, for he might not
help the damosel; and then he went up into the tower, and leapt over the walls into
the ditch, and hurt him not; and anon he pulled out his sword and would have foughten
with them. And they all said nay, they would not fight with him, for they did nothing
but the old custom of the castle, and told him how their lady was sick, and had lain
many years, and she might not be whole but if she had a dish of silver full of blood of
a clean maid and a kings daughter; and therefore the custom of this castle is, there
shall no damosel pass this way but she shall bleed of her blood in a silver dish full. Well,
said Balin, she shall bleed as much as she may bleed, but I will not lose the life of her
whiles my life lasteth. And so Balin made her to bleed by her good will, but her blood
helped not the lady. And so he and she rested there all night, and had there right
good cheer, and on the morn they passed on their ways. And as it telleth after in the
Sangreal, that Sir Percivales sister helped that lady with her blood, whereof she was dead.
HOW BALIN MET WITH THAT KNIGHT NAMED
GARLON AT A FEAST, AND THERE HE SLEW HIM TO
HAVE HIS BLOOD TO HEAL THEREWITH THE SON OF
HIS HOST.>^Then they rode three or four days and never met
with adventure, and by hap they were lodged with a gentle man
that was a rich man and well at ease. And as they sat at their
supper Balin overheard one complain grievously by him in a chair.
What is this noise ? said Balin. Forsooth, said his host, I will
tell you. I was but late at a jousting, and there I jousted with


KING ARTHUR
38
a knight that is brother unto King Pellam, and twice smote I him down, and then he
promised to requite me on my best friend ; and so he wounded my son, that cannot be
whole till I have of that knights blood, and he rideth always invisible, but I know not
his name. Ah said Balin, I know that knight, his name is Garlon, he hath slain two
knights of mine in the same manner, therefore I had lever meet with that knight than all
the gold in this realm, for the despite he hath done me. Well, said his host, I shall tell
you, King Pellam of Listeneise hath made do cry in all this country a great feast that
shall be within these twenty days, and no knight may come there but if he bring his wife
with him, or his paramour ; and that knight, your enemy and mine, ye shall see that
day. Then I behote you, said Balin, part of his blood to heal your son withal. We
will be forward to-morn, said his host. So on the morn they rode all three toward
Pellam, and they had fifteen days journey or they came thither, and that same day
began the great feast. And so they alit and stabled their horses, and went into the castle ;
but Balins host might not be let in by cause he had no lady. Then Balin was well
received and brought unto a chamber and unarmed him, and there were brought him
robes to his pleasure, and would have had Balin leave his sword behind him. Nay, said
Balin, that do I not, for it is the custom of my country a knight always to keep his
weapon with him, and that custom will I keep, or else I will depart as I came. Then
they gave him leave to wear his sword, and so he went unto the castle, and was set
among knights of worship, and his lady afore him. Soon Balin asked a knight, Is there
not a knight in this court whose name is Garlon ? Yonder he goeth, said a knight, he
with the black face; he is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth
many good knights, for he goeth invisible. Ah well, said Balin, is that he ? Then Balin
advised him long : If I slay him here I shall not escape, and if I leave him now, per-
adventure I shall never meet with him again at such a steven, and much harm he will
do an he live. Therewith this Garlon espied that this Balin beheld him, and then he
came and smote Balin on the face with the back of his hand, and said, Knight, why
beholdest me so ? for shame therefor, eat thy meat and do that thou came for. Thou
sayest sooth, said Balin, this is not the first despite that thou hast done me, and there-
fore I will do what I came for, and rose up fiercely and clave his head to the shoulders.
Give me the truncheon, said Balin to his lady, wherewith he slew your knight. Anon
she gave it him, for alway she bare the truncheon with her. And therewith Balin smote
him through the body, and said openly, With that truncheon thou hast slain a good
knight, and now it sticketh in thy body. And then Balin called unto him his host,
saying, Now may ye fetch blood enough to heal your son withal.
HOW BALIN FOUGHT WITH KING PELLAM, AND HOW
HIS SWORD BRAKE, AND HOW HE GAT A SPEAR WHERE-
WITH HE SMOTE THE DOLOROUS STROKE. £§* Anon all
the knights arose from the table for to set on Balin, and King Pellam
himself arose up fiercely, and said, Knight, hast thou slain my brother ?
thou shalt die therefor or thou depart. Well, said Balin, do it your-
self. Yes, said King Pellam, there shall no man have ado with thee
but myself, for the love of my brother. Then King Pellam caught
in his hand a grim weapon and smote eagerly at Balin; but Balin
put the sword betwixt his head and the stroke, and therewith his sword burst in sunder.
And when Balin was weaponless he ran into a chamber for to seek some weapon, and
so from chamber to chamber, and no weapon he could find, and always King Pellam
after him. And at the last he entered into a chamber that was marvellously well dight


KING ARTHUR
39
and richly, and a bed arrayed with cloth of gold the richest that might be thought, and
one lying therein, and thereby stood a table of clene gold with four pillars of silver that
bare up the table, and upon the table stood a marvellous spear strangely wrought. And
when Balin saw that spear, he gat it in his hand and turned him to King Pellam, and
smote him passingly sore with that spear, that King Pellam fell down in a swoon, and
therewith the castle roof and walls brake and fell to the earth, and Balin fell down so
that he might not stir foot nor hand. And so the most part of the castle, that was fallen
down through that dolorous stroke, lay upon Pellam and Balin three days.
HOW BALIN WAS DELIVERED BY MERLIN,
AND SAVED A KNIGHT THAT WOULD
HAVE SLAIN HIMSELF FOR LOVE.^Then
Merlin came thither and took up Balin, and gat him
a good horse, for his was dead, and bade him ride
out out of that country. I would have my damosel,
said Balin. Lo, said Merlin, where she lieth dead.
And King Pellam lay so, many years sore wounded,
and might never be whole till Galahad the haughty
prince healed him in the quest of the Sangreal, for
in that place was part of the blood of our Lord Jesus
Christ, that Joseph of Arimathea brought into this
land, and there himself lay in that rich bed. And
that was the same spear that Longius smote our
Lord to the heart; and King Pellam was nigh of
Josephs kin, and that was the most worshipful man
that lived in those days, and great pity it was of his hurt, for through that stroke, turned
to great dole, tray and tene. Then departed Balin from Merlin, and said, In this world
we meet never no more. So he rode forth through the fair countries and cities, and
found the people dead, slain on every side. And all that were alive cried, O Balin, thou
hast caused great damage in these countries; for the dolorous stroke thou gavest unto
King Pellam, three countries are destroyed, and doubt not but the vengeance will fall
on thee at the last. When Balin was past those countries he was passing fayne. So he
rode eight days or he met with adventure. And at the last he came into a fair forest
in a valley, and was ware of a tower, and there beside he saw a great horse of war, tied
to a tree, and there beside sat a fair knight on the ground and made great mourning,
and he was a likely man, and a well made. Balin said, God save you, why be ye so
heavy ? tell me and I will amend it, an I may to my power. Sir knight, said he again,
thou doest me great grief, for I was in merry thoughts, and now thou puttest me to more
pain. Balin went a little from him, and looked on his horse ; then heard Balin him say
thus : Ah, fair lady, why have ye broken my promise, for thou promisest me to meet
me here by noon, and I may curse thee that ever ye gave me this sword, for with this
sword I slay myself, and pulled it out. And therewith Balin sterte unto him and took
him by the hand. Let go my hand, said the knight, or else I shall slay thee. That shall
not need, said Balin, for I shall promise you my help to get you your lady, an ye will
tell me where she is. What is your name ? said the knight. My name is Balin le
Savage. Ah, sir, I know you well enough, ye are the knight with the two swords, and
the man of most prowess of your hands living. What is your name ? said Balin. My
name is Garnish of the Mount, a poor mans son, but by my prowess and hardiness a
duke hath made me knight, and gave me lands; his name is Duke Hermel, and his