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thrust himself with the might that ho had up to the bur of King Arthur's spear. And right so he smote his father Arthur, with his -word bolden in both his hands, on the side of the head, that the sword pierced the helmet and the brain pan, and therewithal Sir Mordred fell stnrk dead to the earth.
And the noble Arthur fell in a swoon to the earth, and there he swooned ofttimes. And Sir Lucan the Butler and Sir Bedivere ofttimes heaved him up. And so weakly they led him betwixt them both, to a little chapel not far from the seaside. And when the king was there he thought him well eased. Then heard they people cry in the field. Now go thou, Sir Lucan, said the king, and do me to wit" what betokens that noise in the field. So Sir Lucan departed, for he was grievously wounded in many places. And so as he yede,12 he saw and hearkened by the moonlight, how that pillers13 and robbers were come into the field, to pill and to rob many a full noble knight of brooi-l.es, and beads, of many a good ring, and of many a rich jewel; and who that were not dead all out,11 there they slow them for their harness and their riches. When Sir Lucan understood this work, he came to the king as soon as he might, and told him all what he had heard and seen. Therefore by my rede,15 said Sir Lucan, it is best that we bring you to some town. I would it were so, said the king, but
I may not stand, mine head works so. Ah Sir Launcelot, said King Arthur, this day have I sore missed thee: alas, that ever I was against thee, for now have I my death, whereof Sir Gawaine me warned in my dream.
Then Sir Lucan took up the king the one part, and Sir Bedivere the other part, and in the lifting the king swooned; and Sir Lucan fell in a swoon with the lift, that the part of his bowels fell out of his body, and therewith the noble knight's heart brast.19 And when the king awoke, he beheld Sir Lucan, how he lay foaming at the mouth, and part of his bowels lay at his feet. Alas, said the king, this is to me a full heavy sight, to see this noble duke so die for my sake, for he would have bolpen me, that had more need of help than I. Alas, he would not complain him, his heart was so set to help me: now Jesu have mercy upon his soul!
Then 8ir Bedivere wept for the death of his brother. Leave this mourning and weeping, said the king, for all this will not avail me, for wit thou well an I might live myself, the death
II let me know n outright
of Sir Lmaii would grieve me evermore; but my time hieth fast, said the king. Therefore, said Arthur unto Sir Bedivere, take thou Exealibur, my good sword, and go with it to yonder water side, and when thou comest there I charge thee throw my sword in that water, and come again and tell me what thou there seest. My lord, said Bedivere, your commandment shall be done, and lightly bring you word again.
So Sir Bedivere departed, and by the way he beheld that noble sword, that the pommel and the haft was all of precious stones; and then he said to himself: If I throw this rich sword in the water, thereof shall never come good, but harm and loss. And then Sir Bedivere hid Excalibur under a tree. And so, as soon as he might, he came again unto the king, and said he had been at the water, and had thrown the sword in the water. What saw thou there! said the king. Sir, he said, I saw nothing but waves and winds. That is untruly said of thee, said the king, therefore go thou lightly again, and do my commandment; as thou art to me lief and dear, spare not, but throw it in.
Then Sir Bevidere returned again, and took the sword in his hand; and then him thought Bin and shame to throw away that noble sword, and so eft1' he hid the sword, and returned again, and told to the king that he had been at the water, and done his commandment. What saw thou theref said the king. Sir, he said, I saw nothing but the waters wappc and waves wanne.11 Ah, traitor untrue, said King Arthur, now hast thou betrayed me twice. Who would have weened that, thou that hast been to me so lief and dearf and thou art named a noble knight, and would betray me for the richness of the sword. But now go again lightly, for thy long tarrying putteth me in great jeopardy of my life, for I have taken cold. And but if10 thou do now as T bid thee, if ever I may see thee 1 Bhall slay thee with mine own hands; for thou wouldst for my rich sword see me dead.
Then Sir Bedivere departed, and went to the sword, and lightly took it up, and went to the water side; and there he bound the girdle about the hilts, and then he threw the sword as far into the water as he might; and there came an arm and an hand above the water and met it, and caught it, and so shook it thrice and brandished, and then vanished away the hand with the sword in the water. So Sir Bedivere came again to the king, and told him
is lap and ebb (ebb and flow) is unless
what he saw. Alas, said the king, help me hence, for 1 dread me I have tarried over long.
Then Sir Bedivere took the king upon his back, and so went with him to that water side. And when they were at the water side, even fast by the bank hoved a little barge with many fair ladies in it, and among them all was a queen, and all they had black hoods, and all they wept and shrieked when they saw King Arthur. Now put me into the barge, said the king. And so he did softly; and there received him three queens with great mourning; and so they set them down, and in one of their laps King Arthur laid his head. And then that queen said: Ah, dear brother, why have ye tarried 60 long from met alas, this wound on your head hath caught over-much cold. And so then they rowed from the land, and Sir Bedivero beheld all those ladies go from him. Then Sir Bedivere cried: Ah my lord Arthur, what shall become of me, now ye go from me and leave me here alone among mine enemies! Comfort thyself, said the king, and do as well as thou mayest, for in me is no trust for to trust in; for I will into the vale of Avilion20 to heal me of my grievous wound: and if thou hear never more of me, pray for my soul. But ever the queens and ladies wept and* shrieked, that it was pity to hear.
And as soon as Sir Bedivere had lost the sight of the barge, he wept and wailed, and so took the forest; and so he went all that night, and in the morning he was ware, betwixt two holts hoar,2' of a chapel and an hermitage. Then was Sir Bedivere glad, and thither he went; and when he came into the chapel, he saw where lay an hermit grovelling on all four, there fast by a tomb was new graven. When the hermit saw Sir Bedivere he knew him well, for he was but little tofore Bishop of Canterbury, that Sir Mordred flemed.22 Sir, said Bedivere, what man is there interred that ye pray so fast fort Fair son, said the hermit, 1 wot not verily, but by deeming.^ But this night, at midnight, here came a number of ladies, and brought hither a dead corpse, and prayed me to bury him; and here they offered an hundred tapers, and they gave me an hundred besants.2* Alas, said Sir Bedivere, that was my lord King Arthur, that here lieth buried in this chapel.
Then Sir Bedivere swooned; and when he awoke he prayed the hermit he might abide with him still there, to live with fasting and
20 Or Avalon, the Celtic Land of the Blessed, or
21 two pray wooded hills
22 put to night 2< n gold coin (named
23 I can only conjecture from Byzantium)
prayers. For from hence will I never go, said Sir Bedivere, by my will, but all the days of my life here to pray for my lord Arthur. Ye are welcome to me, said the hermit, for I know you better than ye ween that I do. Ye are the bold Bedivere, and the full noble duke, Sir Lucan the Butler, was your brother. Then Sir Bedivere told the hermit all as ye have heard tofore. So there bode Sir Bedivere with the hermit that was tofore Bishop of Canterbury, and there Sir Bedivere put upon him poor clothes, and served the hermit full lowly in fasting and in prayers.
Yet some men say in many parts of England that King Arthur is not dead, but had28 by the will of our Lord Jesu into another place; and men say that he shall come again, and he shall win the holy cross. I will not say it shall be so, but rather I will say, here in this world he changed his life. But many men say that there is written upon his tomb this verse: Hie jacet Arthiirus, Sex quondam, Bexque futurus.2* Thus leave I here Sir Bedivere with the hermit, that dwelled that time in a chapel beside Glastonbury, and there was his hermitage. And so they lived in their prayers, and fastings, and great abstinence.
SIR THOMAS MORE (1478-1535)
Thomas More to Peter Gilt's,^ sendeth greeting: I am almost ashamed, right well-beloved Peter Giles, to send unto you this book of the Utopian commonwealth, well nigh after a year's space, which I am sure you looked for within a month and a half. And no marvel. For you knew well enough that I was already disburdened of all the labor and study belonging to the invention in this work, and that I had no need at all to trouble my brains about the disposition or conveyance of the mat
2» Here Hen Arthur, king that wa* and shall be.
• This book was written and published In Latin In I"il6. It was translated by Ralph Robinson In l.r>r>l. The extracts here given are from the second edition of Robinson's translation, J556. "Utopia." Is a word made from the Greek, meaning "nowhere." As the Imaginary commonwealth Is pictured in such attractive colors. It Is easy to regard the first syllable of the name as representing the (ireek eu, "well," Instead of on, "not." and "I'toplan" has come to meaD "perfect," as well as "visionary."
T A friend of More who lived at Antwerp.
ter, and therefore had herein nothing else to do but only to rehearse those things which you and I together heard master Raphael^ tell and declare. Wherefore there was no cause why I should study to set forth the matter with eloquence: forasmuch as his talk could not be tine and eloquent, being first not studied for, but sudden and unpremeditate, and then, as you know, of a man better seen' in the Greek language than in the Latin tongue. And my writing, the Higher it should approach to his homely, plain, and simple^ speech, so much the nigher should it go to the truth, which is the only mark whereunto I do and ought to direct all my travail and study herein.
T grant and confess, friend Peter, myself discharged of so much labor, having all these thinr*s ready done to my hand, that almost there was nothing left for me to do. Else either the invention or the disposition of this matter might hare required of a wit neither base, neither at all unlearned, both some time and leisure, and also some study. But if it were requisite and necessary that the matter should also have been written eloquently, and not alone truly, of a surety that thing could I have performed by no time nor study. But now seeing all these cares, stays, and lets^ were taken away, wherein else so much labor and study should have been employed, and that there remained no other thing for me to do but only to write plainly the matter as I heard it spoken, that indeed was a thing light and easy to be done.
Howbeit, to the dispatching of this so little business my other cares and troubles did leave almost less than no leisure. Whiles I do daily bestow my time about law matters, some to plead, some to hear, some as an arbitrator with mine award to determine, some as an umpire or a judge, with my sentence finally to discuss; whiles I go one way to see and visit my friend, another way about mine own private affairs; whiles I spend almost all the day abroad amongst other, and the residue at home among mine own: I leave to myself, I mean to my book, no time. For when I am come home, I must comment with my wife, chat with my
2 hindrances 8 commune
t Raphael Hythloday. the Imaginary narrator, whom More professes to have met In Antwerp. His name means "teller of Idle tales."
f To use two or throe words thus (or the same Idea was a common practice ot writers of the time, and especially of translators, who often took this means of giving both the Latin derivative and Its Saxon equivalent. More's Latin is much terser than his translator's English.
children, and talk with my servants. All the which things I reckon and account among business, forasmuch as they must of necessity be done: and done must they needs be, unlesB a man will be a stranger in his own house. And in any wise a man must so fashion and order his conditions, and so appoint and dispose himself, that he be merry, jocund, and pleasant among them whom either nature hath provided, or chance hath made, or he himself hath chosen, to be the fellows and companions of his life, so that with too much gentle behavior and familiarity he do not mar them, and by too much sufferance of his servants make them his masters.
Among these things now rehearsed Btealeth away the day, the month, the year. When do I write thenf And all this while have I spoken no word of sleep, neither yet of meat, which among a great number doth waste no less time than doth sleep, wherein almost half the lifetime of man creepeth away. I therefore do win and get only that time which I steal from sleep and meat. Which time because it is very little, and yet somewhat it is, therefore have I once at the last, though it be long first, finished Utopia, and have sent it to you, friend Peter, to read and peruse, to the intent that if anything have escaped me, you might put me in remembrance of it. For though in this behalf I do not greatly mistrust myself (which would God I were somewhat in wit and learning as I am not all of the worst and dullest memory) yet have I not so great trust and confidence in it that I think nothing could fall out of my mind.
For John Clement, my boy,* who as you know was there present with us, whom I suffer to be away from no talk wherein may be any profit or goodness (for out of this young bladed and new shot up corn, which hath already begun to spring up both in Latin and Greek learning, I look for plentiful increase at length of goodly ripe grain),—he, I say, hath brought me into a great doubt. For whereas Hythloday (unless my memory fail me) said that the bridge of Amaurote, which goeth over the river of Anyder, is five hundred paces, that is to say, half a mile in length, my John sayeth that two hundred of those paces must be plucked away, for that the river oontaineth there not above three hundred paces in breadth. I pray you heartily, call the matter to your remembrance. For if you agree with him, T also will say as you say, and confess myself deceived. But if you cannot remember the thing,
I * He was a tutor In More's household.
then surely I will write as I have done and as mine own remembrance serveth me. For as I will take good heed that there be in my book nothing false, so if there be anything doubtful, I will rather tell a lie than make a lie; because I had rather be good, than wily.
Howbeit, this matter may easily be remedied if you will take the pains to ask the question of Raphael himself by word of mouth, if he be now with you, or else by your letters. Which you must needs do for another doubt also that hath chanced,—through whose fault I cannot tell, whether through mine, or yours, or Baphael's. For neither we remembered to inquire of him, nor he to tell us, in what part of the new world Utopia is situate. The which thing, I had rather hare spent no small sum of money than that it should thus have escaped us: as well for that I am ashamed to be ignorant in what sea that island standeth, whereof I write so long a treatise, as also because there be with us certain men, and especially one virtuous aud godly man, and a professor of divinity, who is exceeding desirous to go unto Utopia; not for a vain and curious desire to see news,* but to the intent he may further and increase our religion, which is there already luckily begun. And that he may the better accomplish and perform this his good intent, he is minded to procure that he may be sent thither by the high Bishop; yea, and that he himself may be made Bishop of Utopia: being nothing scrupulous herein, that he must obtain this Bishopric with suit.5 For he counteth that a godly suit which proceedeth not of the desire of honor or lucre, but only of a godly zeal.
Wherefore I most earnestly desire you, friend Peter, to talk with Hythloday, if you can, face to face, or else to write your letters to him, and so to work in this matter that in this my book there may neither anything be found which is untrue, neither anything be lacking which is true.
And I think verily it shall be well done that you show unto him the book itself. For if I have missed or failed in any point, or if any fault have escaped me, no man can so well correct and amend it as he can: and yet that can he not do unless he peruse and read over my book written. Moreover, by this means shall you . perceive whether ho be well willing and content that I should undertake to put this work in writing. For if he be minded to publish and put forth his own labors and travails himself, perchance he would be loth, and so would
4 new things
5 not scrupling at all to ask for It
I also, that in publishing the Utopian weal pub lie," I should prevent' him, and take from him the flower and grace of the novelty of this his history.
Howbeit, to say the very truth, 1 am not yet fully determined with myself whether I will put forth my book or no. For the natures of men be so diverse, the fantasies of some so wayward, their minds so unkind, their judgments so corrupt, that they which lead a merry and a jocund life, following their own sensual pleasures and carnal lusts, may seem to be in a much better state or case than they that vex and unquiet themselves with cares and study for the putting forth and publishing of some thing that may be either profit or pleasure to others: which others nevertheless will disdainfully, scornfully, and unkindly accept the same. The most part of all be unlearned. And a great number hath learning in contempt. The rude and barbarous alloweth nothing but that which is very barbarous indeed. If it be one that hath a little smack of learning, he rejecteth as homely gear aud common ware whatsoever is not stuffed full of old moth-eaten terms, and that be worn out of use. Some there be that have pleasure only in old rustic antiquities; and some only in their own doings. One is so sour, so crabbed, and so unpleasant, that he can away with* no mirth nor sport. Another is so narrow between the shoulders that he can bear no jests nor taunts. Some silly poor souls be so afenrd that at every snappish word their nose shall be bitten off, that they stand in no less dread of every quick and sharp word than he that is bitten of a mad dog feareth water. Some be so mutable and wavering that every hour they be in a new mind, saying one thing sitting and another thing standing. Another sort sitteth upon their alebenches, and there among their cups they give judgment of the wits of writers, and with great authority they condemn, even as pleaseth them, every writer according to his writing, in most spiteful manner mocking, touting, and flouting them; being themselves in the mn»n season safe, and, as sayeth the proverb, out of all danger of gun-shot. For why,* they be so smug and smooth that they have not so mucti as one hair of an honest man whereby one may take hold of them. There be, moreover, some so unkind and ungentle that though they take great pleasure and delectation in the work, yet, for all that, they cannot find in their hearts to love the author thereof, nor to afford him a
« commonwealth 8 endure
7 anticipate 8 because
good word: being much like uncourteous, unthankful, and churlish guests, which, when they have with good and dainty meats well filled their bellies, depart home, giving no thanks to the feast-maker. Go your ways now, and make a costly feast at your own charges for guests so dainty-mouthed, so divers in taste, and besides that of so unkind and unthankful natures.
Hut nevertheless, friend Peter, do, I pray you, with Hythloday as I willed you before. And as for this matter, I shall be at my liberty afterwards to take new advisement, llowbeit, seeing I have taken great pains and labor in writing the matter, if it may stand with his mind and pleasure, I will, as touching the edition or publishing of the book, follow the counsel and advice of my friends, and specially yours. Thus fare you well, right heartily beloved friend Peter, with your gentle wife: and love me as you have ever done, for I love you better than ever 1 did.
Of The Cities, And Namely Of Amaurote."1 Book II. Chapter II
As for their cities, whoso knoweth one of them, knoweth them all: they be all so like one to another, as farforth as the nature of the place permitteth. I will describe therefore to you one or other of them, for it skilleth11 not gTeatly which; but which rather than Amaurotef Of them all this is the worthiest and of most dignity. For the residue 'knowledge it for the head city, because there is the Councilhouse. Nor to me any of them all is better beloved, as wherein I lived five whole years together.
The city of Amaurote standcth upon the side of a low hill, in fashion almost four square. For the breadth of it beginneth a little beneath the top of the hill, and still continueth by the space of two miles, until it come to the river of Anyder.12 The length of it, which lieth by the river's side, is somewhat more.
The ri'-er of Anyder riseth four and twenty miles above Amaurote out of a little spring. But being increased by other small rivers and brooks that run into it, and, among other, two fomewhat big ones, before the city it is half a mile broad, and farther, broader. And forty miles lievond the city it falleth into the ocean sea. By ill that space that lieth between the sea and the city, and certain miles also above the city, the water ebbeth and floweth six hours loin The name means "dark, unknown." 11 matters 12 1. e., waterless
gether with a swift tide. When the sea floweth in, for the length of thirty miles it filleth all the Anyder with salt water, and driveth back the fresh water of the river. And somewhat further it changeth the sweetness of the fresh water with saltness. But a little beyond that the river waxeth sweet, and runneth forby's the city fresh and pleasant. And when the sea ebbeth and goeth back again, the fresh water followcth it almost even to the very fall into the sea. There goeth a bridge over the river made not of piles or of timber, but of stonework, with gorgeous and substantial arches at that part of the city that is farthest from the sea; to the intent that ships may pass along forby all the side of the city without let.
They have also another river, which indeed is not very great. But it runneth gently and pleasantly. For it riseth even out of the same hill that the city standeth upon, and runneth down a slope through the midst of the city into Anyder. And because it riseth a little without the city, the Amaurotians have enclosed the head spring of it with strong fences and bulwarks, and so have joined it to the city. This is done to the intent that the water should not be stopped, nor turned away, or poisoned, if their enemies should chance to come upon them. From thence the water is derived and conveyed down in canals of brick divers ways into the lower parts of the city. Where that cannot be done, by reason that the place will not suffer it, there they gather the rain-water in great cisterns, which doth them as good service.
The city is compassed about with a high and thick stone wall full of turrets and bulwarks. A dry ditch, but deep, and broad, and overgrown with bushes, briers, and thorns, goeth about three sides or quarters of the city. To the fourth side the river itself serveth for a ditch.
The streets be appointed** and set forth very commodious and handsome, both for carriage," and also against the winds. The houses be of fair and gorgeous building, and on the street side they stand joined t<,gether in a long row through the whole street without any partition or separation. The streets bo twenty foot broad.* On the back side of the houses, through the whole length of the street, lie large gardens, inclosed round about with the back part of the streets. Every house hath
■s pant (fJrrman vorbci) ''■> transportation 11 arranged
• To More this width seemed generous. Some of the 'busiest streets of London were, until a recent date, scarcely wider.