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and in the midst of the lake Arthur was ware of an arm clothed in white samite28, that held a fair sword in that hand. Lot said Merlin, yonder is that sword that I spake of. With that they saw a damosel goingzs upon the lake. What damosel is thatf 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 beseenso; and this damosel will come to you anon, and then speak ye fair to her that she will give you that sword. Anon withal came the damosel unto Arthur, and saluted him, and he her again. Damosel, said Arthur, what sword is that, that yonder the arm holdeth above the water I 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 1 ask it you, ye shall have it. By my faith, said Arthur, 1 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 f It is the knight's pavilion, said Merlin, that ye fought with last, Sir Pellinore; but he is out, he is not there. He hath ado with a knight of yours that hightsi 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 Carlions2, 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 one84 knight living, and therefore it is my counsel, let him pass, for he shall do you good service in short time, and his sons after his days. Also ye shall see that day in short space, you shall be right glad to give him your sister to wed. When I see him, I will do as ye advise, said Arthur.
is A rich silk fabric. 32 Oarleon-upon-TTsk In 2» walking Wales, one of Ar
30 appointed thur's courts,
ai Is called 33 bonor
34 by ^ny
Then Sir Arthur looked on the sword, and liked it passing well. Whether liketh^s you better, said Merlin, the sword or the scabbard f 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 crafts«, 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»7 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 King Arthur Took A Wife, And Wedded Gi'en'ever. Daughter To Leodegrance. King Of The Land Of Cameliard, With Whom He Had The Round Table. Book III, Chapter I
In the beginning of Arthur, after he was chosen king by adventure and by grace, for the most part of the barons knew not that he was TJther Pendragon's son, but as Merlin made it openly known, but yet many kings and lords held great war against him for that cause. But well Arthur overcame them all, for' the most part the days of his life he was ruled much by the counsel of Merlin. So it fell on a time King Arthur said unto Merlin, My barons will let me have no rest, but needs I must take a wife, and I will none take but by thy counsel and by thine advice. It is well done, said Merlin, that ye take a wife, for a man of your bounty* and noblesse should not be without a wife. Now is there any that ye love more than another! Yea, said King Arthur, I love Guenever the king's daughter, Leodegrance of the land of Cameliard, the which holdeth in his house the Table Round that ye told he had of my father TJther. And this damosel is the most valiant and fairest lady that I know living, or yet that ever I could find. Sir, said Merlin, as of* her beauty and fairness she is one of the fairest on live*, but, an ye loved her not so
sr, which plenseth 37 [f
■in worked such magic
1 because 3 as for
2 prowess 4 alive
well as ye do, I should find you a damosel of beauty and of goodness that should like* you and please you, an your heart were not set; but there as a man's heart is set, he will be loth to return. That is truth, said King Arthur. But Merlin warned the king covertly that Guenever was not wholesome for him to take to wife, for he warned him that Launcelot should love her, and she him again*; and so he turned his tale to the adventures of the Sangreal.
Then Merlin desired of the king for to have men with him that should enquire of Guenever, and so the king granted him, and Merlin went forth unto King Leodegrance of Cameliard, and told him of the desire of the king that he would have unto his wife Guenever his daughter. That is to me, said King Leodegrance, the best tidings that ever I heard, that so worthy a king of prowess and noblesse will wed my daughter. And as for my lands, I will give him, wist I it might please him, but he hath lands enow, him needcth none, but I shall send him a gift shall please him much more, for I shall give him the Table Round, the which Uther Pcndragon gave me, and when it is full complete, there is an hundred knights and fifty. And as for an hundred good knights I have myself, but I fawte7 fifty, for so many have been slain in my days. And so Leodegrance delivered his daughter Guenever unto Merlin, and the Table Round with the hundred knights, and so they rode freshly8, with great royalty, what by water anil what by land, till that they came nigh unto London.
When King Arthur heard of the coming of Guenever and the hundred knights with the Table Round, then King Arthur made great joy for her coming, and that rich present, and said openly, This fair lady is passing welcome unto me, for I have loved her long, and therefore there is nothing so lief" to me. And these knights with the Round Tabic please me more than right great riches. And in all haste the king let ordain w for the marriage and the coronation in the most honourable wise that could be devised.
How An Old Man Brought Galahad To The
5 suit s Bally
• In return » dear
7 lack (fault) 10 ordered preparation
l Whitsunday (the seventh Sunday after Easter), commemorating the descent of the Iloly Spirit upon the Apostles.
t'amelot2 and there heard their service, and the tables were set ready to3 the meat, right so entered into the hall a full fair gentlewoman on horseback, that had ridden full fast, for her horse was all besweated. Then she there alit, and came before the king and saluted him; and he said: Damosel, God thee bless. Sir, said she, for God's sake say me where Sir Launcelot is. Yonder ye may see him, said the king. Then she went unto Launcelot and said: Sir Launcelot, I salute you on King Pelles' behalf, and I require you to come on with me hereby into a forest. Then Sir Launcelot asked her with whom she dwelled. I dwell, said she, with King Pelles*. What will ye with met Baid Launcelot. Ye shall know, said she, when ye come thither. Well, said he, I will gladly go with you. So Sir Launcelot bad his squire saddle his horse and bring his arms; and in all haste he did his commandment. Then came the queen unto Launcelot, and said: Will ye leave us at this high feast? Madam, said the gentlewoman, wit* ye well he shall.be with you tomorn* by dinner time. If I wist, said the queen, that he should not be with us here tomorn he should not go with you by my good will.
Right so departed Sir Launcelot with the gentlewoman, and rode until that he came into a forest and into a great valley, where they saw an abbey of nuns; and there was a squire ready and opened the gates, and so they entered and descended off their horses; and there came a fair fellowship about Sir Launcelot. and welcomed him, and were passing glad of his coming. And then they led him unto the Abbess's chamber and unarmed him; and right so he was ware upon a bed lying two of his cousins, Sir Bors and Sir Lionel, and then he naked them; and when they saw him they made great joy. Sir, said Sir Bors unto Sir Launcelot, what adventure hath brought you hither, for we weened tomorn to have found you at f'amelott As God me help, said Sir Launcelot, a gentlewoman brought me hither, but I know not the cause.
In the meanwhile that they thus stood talking together, therein came twelve nuns that brought with them Galahad,7 the which was passing fair and well made, that unncthe8 in the world men might not find his match: and all those ladies wept. Sir, said they all, we bring you here this child the which we have
nourished, and we pray you to make him a knight, for of a more worthier man's hand may he not receive the order of knighthood. Sir Launcelot beheld tbe young squire and saw him seemly and demure as a dove, with all manner of good features, that he weened of his age never to have seen so fair a man of form. Then said Sir Launcelot: Cometh this desire of himself! He and all they said yea. Then shall he, said Sir Launcelot, receive the high order of knighthood as11 tomorn at the reverence* of the high feast. That night Sir Launcelot had passing good cheer; and on the morn at the hour of prime,!" at Galahad's desire, he made him knight and said: God make him a good man, for of beauty faileth you not as any that livoth.
Now fair sir, said Sir Launcelot, will ye come with me unto the court of King Arthur 1 Nay, said he, I will not go with you asii at this time. Then he departed from them and took bis two cousins with him, and so they came unto Camelot by the hour of underne'2 on Whitsunday. By that time the king and the queen were gone to the minster to hear their service. Then the king and the queen were passing glad of Sir Bors and Sir Lionel, and so was all the fellowship.
So when the king and all the knights were come from service, the barons espied in the sieges'3 of the Round Table all about, written with golden letters: Here ought to sit he,'* ami he'4 ought to sit here. And thus they went so long till that they came to the Siege Perilous,! ■> where they found letters newly written of gold which said: Four hundred winters and four and fifty accomplished after the passion1" of our Lord Jesu Christ ought this siege to be fulfilled.17 Then all they said: This is a marvellous thing and'an adventurous. In the name of God, said Sir Launcelot; and then accounted the term of the writings from the birth of our Lord unto that day. It seemeth me, said Sir Launcelot, this siege ought to be fulfilled this same day, for this is the feast of Pentecost after the four hundred and four and fifty year; and if it would please all parties, 1 would none of these letters were seen this day. till he be come that ought to achieve this adventure. Then made they to ordain a cloth of silk, for to cover these letters in the Siege Perilous.
Then the king bad haste unto dinner. Sir,
■<nt the first bout l» Seat of Peril
n Tbe word is redun- i* suffering, crucifixion
dant. 17 occupied
Iz late forenoon '»calculated the time
13 seats set down In the i
14 So-and-so writing'
saul Sir Kay the Steward, if ye go now unto your meat ye shall break your old custom of your court, for ye have not used on this day to sit at your meat or that ye have seen some adventure. Ye say sooth, said the king, but I had so great joy of Sir Launcelot and of his cousins, which be come to the court whole20 and sound, so that I bethought me not of mine old custom. So, as they stood speaking, in came a squire and said unto the king: Sir, I bring unto you marvellous tidings. What be theyf said the king. Sir, there is here beneath at the river a great stone which I saw fleet2' above the water, and therein I saw sticking a sword. The king said: I will see that marvel.
So all the knights went with him, and when they came to the river they found there a stone fleeting, as it were of red marble, and therein stuck a fair rich sword, and in the pommel thereof were precious stones wrought with subtil22 letters of gold. Then the barons read the letters which said in this wise: Never shall man take me hence, but only he by whose side I ought to bang, and he shall be the best knight of the world. When the king had seen the letters, he said unto Sir Launcelot: Fair sir, this sword ought to be yours, for I am sure ye be the best knight of the world. Then Sir Launcelot answered full soberly: Certes, sir, it is not my sword; also, Sir, wit ye well I have no hardiness to set my hand to it, for it longed23 not to hang by my side. Also, who that assayeth to take the sword and faileth of it, he shall receive a wound by that sword that he shall not be whole20 long after. And I will that ye wit that this same day shall the adventures of the Sangreal, that is called the Holy Vessel, begin.*
is before so hale, well >i float 22 cunning 23 Probably for longeth, belongs. • "Though the earliest French accounts of the Holy Grail differ In many details, from them all we can make up a story somewhat as follows: Joseph of Arimathtea, after taking Christ's body from the cross, collected his blood in the tlrail. a dish or cup which our Lord had used at the Last Supper. Then, because Joseph had burled Christ reverently, he was thrown into prison by the angry Jews, wbo tiled to starve him: but Joseph was solaced and fed by the Grail, miraculously presented to him by Christ in person. Released after forty years, Joseph set out from Jerusalem with his wife and kindred, who, having accepted his faith, were ready to follow him and his sacred vessel to far-off lands. He went through various adventures, principally conversions of heathen, tbe most Important being of the King of Sarras and bis people." (Howard Maynadier: The Arthur of the BntiUnh Ports.) After the disappearance of the holy relic (which was reported to be of emerald 1. the quest of It was a visionary .search often undertaken, according to the legends, as a test of purity. It was a wave of fanaticism prompting this I search that broke up Arthur's goodly fellowi ship of knights.
Now, fair nephew, said the king unto Sir Gawaine, assay ye, for my love. Sir, he said, save your good grace24 I shall not do that. Sir, said the king, assay to take the sword and at my commandment. Sir, said Gawaine, your commandment I will obey. And therewith he took up the sword by the handles, but he might not stir it. I thank you, said the king to Sir Gawaine. My lord Sir Gawaine, said Sir Launcelot, now wit ye well this sword shall touch you so sore that ye shall will ye had never set your hand thereto for the best castle of this realm. Sir, he said, I might not withsay mine uncle's will and commandment. But when the king heard this he repented it much, and said unto Sir Percivale that he should assay, for his love. And he said: Gladly, for to bear Sir Gawaine fellowship. And therewith he set his hand on the sword and drew it strongly, but he might not move it. Then were there [no25] more that durst be so hardy to set their hands thereto. Now may ye go to your dinner, said Sir Kay unto the king, for a marvellous adventure have yc seen.
So the king and all went unto the court, and every knight knew his own place, and set him therein, and young men that were knights served them. So when they were served, and all sieges fulfilled save only the Siege Perilous, anon there befell a marvellous adventure, that2" all the doors and windows of the palace shut by themself. Not for then 27 the hall was not greatly darked; and therewith they [were all25] abashed both one and other. Then King Arthur spake first and said: By God, fair fellows and lords, we have seen this day marvels, but or2* night I suppose we shall Bee greater marvels.
In the mtanwhile came in a good old man, and an ancient, clothed all in white, and there was no knight knew from whence he came. And with him he brought a young knight, both on foot, in red arms, without sword or shield, save a scabbard hanging by his side. And these words he said: Peace be with you, fair lords. Then the old man said unto Arthur: Sir, I bring here a young knight, the which is of king's lineage, and of the kindred of Joseph of Aramathic, whereby the marvels of this court, and of strange realms, shall be fully accomplished. The king was right, glad of his words, and said unto the good man: Sir, ye be right welcome, and the young knight with you.
24 A deprecatory phrase. In that
as Inserted in the sec- 2? nevertheless
ond edition by fax- 28 ere
ton's BUccpsHO r.
Wynkyn de Wordc.
Then the old man made the young man tn unarm him, and he was in a coat of red sen dal,20 and bare a mantle upon his shoulder that was furred with ermine, and put that upon him. And the old knight said unto the young knight: Sir, follow me. And anon he led him onto the Siege Perilous, where beside sat Sir Launcelot; and the good man lift up the cloth, and found there letters that said thus: This is the siege of Galahad, the haut3» prince. Sir, said the old knight, wit ye well that place is yours. And then he set him down surely in that siege. And then he said to the old man: Sir, ye may now go your way, for well have ye done that ye were commanded to do; and recommend me unto my grandsire, King Pelles, and unto my lord Petcherc, and say them ou my behalf, I shall come and see them as soon as ever I may. So the good man departed; and there met him twenty noble squires, and so took their horses and went their way. Then all the knights of the Table Bound marvelled greatly of Sir Galahad, that he durst sit there in that Siege Perilous, and was so tender of age; and wist not from whence he came but all only" by God; and said: This is he by whom the Sangreai shall be achieved, for there sat never none but he, but he were mischieved.32
Then Sir Launcelot beheld his son and bad great joy of him. Then Bors told his fellows: 1'pon pain of my life this young knight shall come unto great worship.'3 This noise was great in all the ceurt, so that it came to the queen. Then she ha 1 marvel what knight it might be that durst adventure him to sit in the Siege Perilous. Many said unto the queen he resembled much unto Sir Launcelot. I may well suppose, said the queen, that Sir Launee lot, being won by enchantment, had him of King Pelles' daughter, and his name is Galahad. I would fain see him, said the queen, for he must needs be a noble man, for so is his father, I report me unto'1 all the Table Bound. So when the meat was done that the king and all were risen, the king yede85 unto the Siege Perilous and lift up the cloth, and found there the name of Galahad; and then he shewed it unto Sir Gawaine, and said: Fair nephew, now have we among us Sir Galahad, the good knight that shall worship33 us all; and upon pain of my life he shall achieve the Sangreai. right as Sir Launcelot had done3« us to understand. Then came King Arthur unto Galahad and said: Sir, ye be welcome, for ye shall move
2D thin silk 33 honor
no high 84 call to witness
31 unless It were 35 went
a.' harmed 3« caused
many good knights to the quest of the Sangreal, and ye shall achieve that never knights might bring to an end. Then the king took him by the hand, and went down from the palace to shew Galahad the adventures of the stone.
How Sm Lau.sxelot Was Tofore The Doob Of The Chamber Wherein The Holy Sanoreai. Was. Book XVII. Chapters xni-XV.
Now saith the history, that when Launcelot was come to the water of Mortoise, as it is rehearsed before, he was in great peril, and so he laid him down and slept, and took the adventure that God would send him. So when he was asleep there came a vision unto him and said: Launcelot, arise up and take thine armour, and enter into the first ship that thou shalt find. And when he heard these words he start up and saw great clearness about him. And then he lift up his hand and blessed him,1 and so took his arms and made him ready; and so by adventure he came by a strand, and found a ship the which was without sail or oar. And as soon as he was within the ship there he felt the most sweetness that ever he felt, and he was fulfilled with all thing that he thought on or desired. Then he said: Fair sweet Father, .Tesu Christ, I wot not in what joy I am, for this joy passeth all earthly joys that ever I was in. And so in this joy he laid him down to the ship's board, and slept till day.
And when he awoke he found there a fair bed, and therein lying a gentlewoman dead, the which was Sir Percivale's sister.* And as Launcelot devised! her, he espied in her right hand a writ, the which he read, the which told him all the adventures that ye have heard tofore, and of what lineage she was come. So with this gentlewoman Sir Launcelot was a month and more. If ye would ask how he lived. He that fed the people of Israel with manna in the desert, so was he fed; for every day when he had said his prayers he was sustained with the grace of the Holy Ghost.
So on a night he went to play him by the water side, for he was somewhat weary of the
1 crowed himself 3 where
2 gazed upon
• She had given her blood to heal a lady and bad made this dying request of her brother: "As wwn ns I am dead, put me In a boat at the next haven, and let me co as adventure will lead me: and as soon as ye three come to the city of Sarras. there to achieve the Holy Grail, ye shall find me under a tower arrived, and there hury me in the spiritual place."
ship. And then be listened and heard an horse come, and one riding upon him. And when he came nigh he seemed a knight. And so he let him pass, and went thereas* the ship was; and there he alit, and took the saddle and the bridle and put the horse from him, and went into the ship. And then Launcelot dressed* unto him, and said: Ye be welcome. And he answered and saluted him again,5 and asked him: What is your namef for much my heart giveth* unto you. Truly, said he, my name is Launcelot du Lake. Sir, said he, then be ye welcome, for ye were the beginner of me in this world. Ah, said he, are ye Galahad f Yea, forsooth, said he; and so he kneeled down and asked him bis blessing, and after took off his helm and kissed him.
And there was great joy between them, for there is no tongue can tell the joy that they made either of other, and many a friendly word spoken between, as kin would, the which is no need here to be rehearsed. And there every each' told other of their adventures and marvels that were befallen to them in many journeys sith* that they departed from the court. Anon, as Galahad saw the gentlewoman dead in the bed, he knew her well enough, and told great worship of her, that she was the best maid living, and it was great pity of her death. But when Launcelot heard how the marvellous sword was gotten, and who made it, and all the marvels rehearsed afore, then he prayed Galahad, his son, that he would show him the swordt, and so he did; and anon he kissed the pommel, and the hilt, nnd the scabbard. Truly, said Launcelot, never erst knew I of so high adventures done, and so marvellous and strange.
So dwelt Launcelot and Galahad within that ship half a year, and served God daily and nightly with all their power; and often they arrived in isles far from folk, where there repaired none but wild beasts, and there they found many strange adventures and perilous, which they brought to an end; but for» those adventures were with wild beasts, and not in the quest of the Sangreal, therefore the tale maketh here no mention thereof, for it would be too long to tell of all those adventures that befell them.
So after, on a Monday, it befell that they arrived in the edge of a forest tofore a cross;
4 addressed himself (or r each one
simply "went") s since
5 In return • because « goeth out
t The sword of King David, which had been put by Solomon Into this miraculous ship, and which maimed or slew all who attempted to draw It. until Galahad came.