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that all this woe hath wrought. Sir, let him be, said Sir Lucan, for he is unhappy; and if ye pass this unhappy day ye shall be right well revenged upon him. Good lord remember ye of your night's dream, and what the spirit of Sir Gawaine told you this night, yet God of His great goodness hath preserved you hitherte. Therefore, for God's sake, leave off by this, for blessed be God ye have won the field, for here

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 5 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, . . . and therewith the

we be three alive, and with Sir Mordred is 10 noble knight's heart brast.12 And when the

king awoke, he beheld Sir Lucan, how he lay foaming at the mouth. . . . 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

than I. Alas he would not complain him, his heart was so set to help me; now Jesu have mercy upon his soul. Then Sir 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 that an I might live myself, the death of Sir Lucan would grieve me evermore; but my time hieth fast, said the king. Therefore, said Arthur unto Sir Bedivere, take thou Excalibur my good sword, and go with it to yonder water side, and when thou comest there I charge thee throw my sword in that water, and come again and tell me what thou there seest. My lord, said

none alive; and if ye leave off now, this wicked day of destiny is past. Tide me death, betide me life, said the king, now I see him yonder alone, he shall never escape mine hands, for at a better avail shall I never have him. God 15 have holpen me that had more need of help speed you well, said Sir Bedivere. Then the King gat his spear in both his hands, and ran towards Sir Mordred, crying, Traitor, now is thy death day come. And when Sir Mordred heard Sir Arthur, he ran unto him with his 20 sword drawn in his hand. And there King Arthur smote Sir Mordred under the shield, with a foins of his spear, throughout the body, more than a fathom; and when Sir Mordred felt that he had his death's wound he thrust 25 himself with the might that he had up to the bur of King Arthur's spear; and right so he smote his father Arthur, with his sword holden in both his hands, on the side of the head, that the sword pierced the helmet and the brain 30 Bedivere, your commandment shall be done, pan, and therewithal Sir Mordred fell stark 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 heave him up. And so 35 said to himself, if I throw this rich sword in the

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

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 into the water. What saw thou there? said the king. Sir, he said, I saw nothing but waves and wind. 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 Bedivere returned again, and took the sword in his hand; and then him thought sin and shame to throw away that noble sword,

weakly they led him betwixt them both, to a little chapel not far from the sea side. 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, 40 and do me to wit what betokens that noise in the field. So Sir Lucan departed, for he was grieveously wounded in many places. And so as he went he saw and hearkened by the moonlight, how that pillers1o and robbers were 45 come into the field, to pill and rob many a full noble knight of brooches, and beads, and many a good ring, and of many a rich jewel; and who that were not dead all out, they slew them for their harness and their riches. When Sir 50 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 there? said the king. Sir, he said, I saw nothing but the waters wappe14 and the

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,11 said Sir Lucan, it is best that we bring you to some town. I would it were so, said the king. 55 waves wanne. Ah, traitor untrue, said King

[blocks in formation]

Arthur, now hast thou betrayed me twice.
Who would have weened that thou that hast
been to me so lief and dear, and thou art named
12 Burst.
13 Again.
14 Lap and wane.

a noble knight, and would betray me for the riches 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 if15 thou do now as I bid thee, if ever I may see thee, I shall 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 10 in this chapel. Then Sir Bedivere swooned;

Sir Bedivere, what man is there interred that ye pray so fast for? Fair son, said the hermit, I wot not verily, but by my deeming.18 But this night, at midnight, here came a number of 5 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. 19 Alas, said Sir Bedivere, that was my lord King Arthur, that here lieth buried

and when he awoke he prayed the hermit he might abide with him still there, to live with fasting and prayers. For from hence will I never go, said Sir Bedivere, by my will, but all

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. . . .

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 shook it thrice and brandished, and then vanished away the 15 the days of my life here to pray for my lord hand with the sword in the water. So Sir Bedivere came again to the King, and told him what he saw. Alas, said the king, help me hence, for I dread me I have tarried over long. Then Sir Bedivere took the king upon his 20 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 25 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 30 King Arthur laid his head. And then that queen said, Ah, dear brother, why have ye tarried so long from me? Alas, this wound on your head hath caught over much cold. And so then they rowed from the land, and Sir 35 life. But many men say that there is written

More of the death of King Arthur could I never find, but that ladies brought him to his burial; and such one was buried there, that the hermit bare witness that sometime was Bishop of Canterbury, but yet the hermit knew not in certain that he was verily the body of King Arthur: for this tale Sir Bedivere, knight of the Table Round, made it to be written. Yet some men say in many parts of England that King Arthur is not dead, but had 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

upon his tomb this verse:

Hic jacet Arthurus Rex, quondam Rex que futurus.20

SIR LAUNCELOT

And when Sir Ector heard such noise and light in the choir of Joyous Gard, he alit and put his horse from him, and came into the

Bedivere 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 40 as thou mayest, for in me is no trust for to trust in, for I will into the vale of Avalon to heal me of my grievous wounds: and if thou hear never more of me, pray for my soul. But ever the queens and ladies wept and 45 choir, and there he saw men sing and weep. 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 50 sword, and helm from him. And when he hoar, 16 of a chapel and an hermitage.

And all they knew Sir Ector, but he knew not them. Then went Sir Bors unto Sir Ector, and told him how there lay his brother Sir Launcelot dead; and then Sir Ector threw his shield,

beheld Sir Launcelot's visage, he fell down in a swoon. And when he waked it were hard any tongue to tell the doleful complaints that he made for his brother. Ah, Launcelot, he said,

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 55 thou wert head of all christian knights. And

the hermit saw Sir Bedivere he knew him well, for he was but little tofore Bishop of Canterbury, that Sir Mordred flemed.17 Sir, said 15 Unless. 16 Hoary woods or groves. 17 Banished.

now I dare say, said Sir Ector, thou Sir Launce

18 Judging, i. e. I know not certainly, but I judge so. 19 Gold coins.

20 Here lies King Arthur, one time King, and King to be.

lot, there thou liest, that thou were never matched of earthly knight's hands. And thou were the courteoust knight that ever bare shield. And thou were the truest friend to thy lover that ever bestrad horse, and thou were the truest lover of a sinful man that ever loved woman. And thou were the kindest man that ever strake with sword. And thou were the goodliest person that ever came among the press of knights. And thou was the meekest 10 man and the gentlest that ever ate in hall among ladies.

And thou were the sternest

work, neither to reply against the saying of the matters touched in this book, though it accord not unto the translation of others which have written it. For divers men have made 5 divers books, which in all points accord not, as Dictes, Dares, and Homer. For Dictes and Homer, as Grecks, say and write favourably for the Greeks, and give to them more worship than to the Trojans; and Dares writeth otherwise than they do. And also as for the proper names, it is no wonder that they accord not, for some one name in these days has divers equivocations, 10 after the countries that they dwell in; but all accord in conclusion the general

knight to thy mortal foe that ever put spear in the breast. Then there was weeping and dolour out of measure. Thus they kept Sir 15 destruction of that noble city of Troy, and the Launcelot's corpse on loft fifteen days, and then they buried it with great devotion.

William Carton

1422-1491

THE NEW INVENTION OF PRINTING

(From The Recuyell' of the Histories of Troye,

Epilogue to Book III, 1475?)

4

death of so many noble princes, as Kings, Dukes, Earls, Barons, Knights and common people, and the ruin irreparable of that city that never since was reëdified,11 which may be 20 ensample to all men during the world how dreadful and jeopardous it is to begin a war, and what harms, losses, and death followeth. Therefore the Apostle12 saith, "All that is written is written to our doctrine," which 25 doctrine for the common weal I beseech God may be taken in such place and time as shall be most needful in increasing of peace, love, and charity; which grant us He that suffered for the same to be crucified on the rood tree. And

KING ARTHUR

(From Caxton's Prologue to his edition of Malory's Morte d'Arthur, 1485)

After that I had accomplished and finished divers histories, as well of contemplation as of other historical and worldly acts of great

Thus end I this book, which I have translated after mine author as nigh as God hath given me cunning,2 to whom be given the laud 30 say we all Amen, for charity. and praising. And for as much as in the writing of the same, my pen is worn, mine hand weary, and not steadfast, mine eyen3 dimmed with overmuch looking on the white paper, and my courage not so prone and ready 35 to labour as it hath been, and that age creepeth on me daily and feebleth all the body, and also because I have promised to divers gentlemen and to my friends to address to them as hastily as I might this said book; therefore I have 40 conquerors and.princes, and also certain books practised and learned, at my great charge and dispense, to ordain this said book in print, after the manner and form as ye may here see; and (it) is not written with pen and ink, as other books be, to the end that every man may 45 have them attones. For all the books of this story, named the recule of the historics of Troye, thus imprinted as ye here see, were begun in one day, and also finished in one day: which book I have presented to my said re- 50 other Christian kings. For it is notoriously doubted lady as afore is said. And she hath well accepted it and hath largely rewarded me, wherefore I beseech Almighty God, to reward her everlasting bliss after this life, praying her said Grace, and all them that shall read this 55 book, not to disdain the simple and rude 1 Collection; binding, or bringing together. (Fr. Recueil.) 2 Knowledge; skill. Eyes. 4 Expense. Prepare; make ready. At the same time; at once.

of ensamples and doctrine, many noble and divers gentlemen of this realm of England came and demanded me many and ofttimes, wherefore that I have not done made and imprinted the noble history of the Sangrael, and of the most renowned 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

7i. e. take exception to the version "touched," or rehearsed, herein.

A Cretan, said to have taken part in the Trojan War and to have written a history of the contest. A book was put forth in the time of Nero, which purported to be a translation of Dictes' work.

A priest, mentioned in the Iliad. He was believed to have written a work on the fall of Troy. A book pretending to be a translation of Dares' work into Latin, was formerly believed to be genuine. 10 Meanings.

11 Rebuilt (Lat. re and ædificare).

12 St. Paul, Rom. xv. 4.

known 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. 10 cius Arthurus, Britanniae, Galliae, Germaniae, 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 15 things. Then all these things considered, there third Judas Maccabæus: 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 20 first of the three Christian men. And also he is

of Boccaccio, 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 5 remembrances be yet of him and shall remain perpetually, and also of his knights. First in the Abbey of Westminster, at Saint Edward's shrine, remaineth the print of his seal in red wax closed in beryl, in which is written Patri

Daciae, Imperator. Item, in the castle of Dover ye may see Gawain's skull and Craddock's mantle: at Winchester the Round Table: in other places Launcelot's sword and many other

can no man reasonably gainsay but here 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

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. Wherefore 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 aforesaid alleged, I could not well deny but that there was such a 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

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 25 in many places both in French and English; and the third and last was Godfrey of Boulogne, 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 30 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 Sangrael, and of the death and ending of the said Arthur; affirming that 35 I ought rather to imprint his acts and noble feats, than of Godfrey of Boulogne, 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 40 maternal tongue, but in Welsh be many and

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

also in French, and some in English, but nowhere nigh all. Wherefore, such as have late been drawn out briefly into English I have, after the simple cunning that God hath sent to

of him be but feigned and fables, by cause that 45 me, under the favour and correction of all

some chronicles make of him no mention, nor
remember him nothing, 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, 50
might well be credited great folly and blind-
ness; 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 "Polychronicon," in the fifth book, the sixth 55
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

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 chivalry. For herein may be seen noble chivalry, courtesy, humanity, friendliness, hardiness, love, friendship, cowardice, murder, hate, virtue, and sin. 10 heaven, the which He grant us that reigneth in

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, 5 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

Do after the good and leave the evil, and it shall bring you to good fame and renown. And

heaven, the Blessed Trinity. Amen.

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