Sunday, September 04, 2011

Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte DArthur

Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Ed. Stephen H. A. Shepherd, Norton Critical Edition, 2004.

Terence McCarthy, On Malory’s Style, From An Introduction to Malory (Cambridge: Brewer, 1988), pp. 124-134. Reprinted with permission of Boydell & Brewer Ltd.

One thing which distinguishes Malory form the French prose romances he was working with is his attitude to subordination. It has been suggested that the structures of Malory’s prose are based on French models, but this is probably wrong. French prose uses a highly developed system of subordination; Malory’s sentences are almost exclusively coordinated: he rarely strays beyond ‘and’ and ‘but’. The use of parataxis was a common feature of fifteenth century translation and was, perhaps, one aspect of its low level of competence, and yet it Malory it gives a deceptively simple appearance totally in keeping with the author’s outlook and presentation. (858)

Subordination inevitably reveals the analytic mind of the narrator, who fits events into a hierarchy of importance and cause. Malory merely provides us with the facts; we are free to assess them as we read. His parataxis is nor mere artlessness, it implies an outlook. It gives an appearance of objectivity, of historicity. Malory is a historian recording great deeds; he is not a journalist writing an editorial. (858)

…Malory repeats key words frequently in a very short space. One eloquent example is from the Grail book, in a passage which is, uncharacteristically, a very free redering of the French: /
‘Now,’ seyde the Kynge, ‘I am sure at this Quest of the Sankegreall shall all ye of the Rownde Table departe, and nevyr shall I se you agayne hole togydirs. Therefore ones shall I se you togydir in the medow of Camelot, to juste and to turney, that aftir youre dethe men may speke of hit that such good knyghtes were here, such a day, hole togydirs. [p. 501, line 46—p. 502, line 5] /
It is Malory who chooses to load the force of this passage by repeating the key word. The effectiveness is perhaps a matter of opinion, and the editor of the version of the Morte Darthur published by Caxton clearly considered the passage to be a scribal error, and reduced it. But it is a feature of style Malory uses regularly and although it can appear artless, this is precisely how emotional speech works. In the heat of a moment of intense feeling we do repeat ourselves; it is only later that we are cool enough to vary our discourse. (859)

What should also be noticed is the way in which Malory’s extremely subjective glance parades as objectivity too. As we have seen, for him the moral and the physical exist on a single plane of perception, and he is constantly passing form one to the other. Where we would expect a physical description Malory gives a moral one, constantly offering value judgments and assuming our agreement. (861)

…Malory is not the distant narrator scrutinizing with cold irony the world he creates. Indeed, the word ‘narrator’ is itself inappropriate, with all that it suggests of detachment and criticism. Malory is part of the world he describes, the traditional writer who participates, and his moral judgments are inevitable because he is clearly on the side of the community he describes. Arthur’s knights, we have seen, are our noble men of merry England. (862)

No one in Malory can be recognized by the way they speak. This does not mean that Malory’s dialogue does not ring true, for it often does, and superbly so. Quite simple, speech never identifies a character. For us it is one aspect of a man’s individuality; for Malory, on the contrary, it is a way for a man to reveal his allegiance to a group. In the Morte Darthur speech is normative not particular, appropriate to a knight’s role, never to his character. (862)

The clearest example of normative discourse is one which is totally unbelievable for twentieth century readers, but an example of the extremely formal, public, non-naturalistic attitude of Malory: his knights speak together with a collective voice, chorus-like, referring to themselves in the plural. In modern fiction the only equivalent is always expressed through indirect speech. No one could hope to make us believe that several characters said exactly the same words, at the same time and speaking of themselves in the plural as a group—except fans in a theatre chanting ‘We want…’ whoever it is. (862-3)

And thenne she told the duke her husband, and said, “I suppose that we were sent for that I shold be dishonoured; wherfor, husband, I counceille yow that we departe from hens sodenly, that we maye ryde all nyghte unto oure owne castell.” And in lyke wyse as she said, so they departed, (3)

“That is trouthe,” said the Kynge, “as ye say, for it was I myself that cam in the lykenesse—and therfor desmay you not, for I am fader to the child.” And ther he told her alle the cause, how it was by Marlyns counceil. (6)

And thenne the Kyng returned unto London and made grete joye of his victory. And thenne he fyll passynge sore seke, so that thre dayes and thre nyghtes he was specheles; wherfore alle the barons made grete sorrow and asked Merlyn what counceill were best. (7)

Thenne Merlyn wente to the Archebisshop of Caunterbury and counceilled hym for to sende for all the lordes of the reame and alle the gentilmen of armes, that they shold to London come by Cristmas, upon payne of cursynge, and for this cause: that Jesu, that was borne on that nyghte, that He wold of His grete mercy shewe some miracle, as He was come to be Kynge of Mankynde, for to shewe somme miracle who shold be rightwys kynge of this reame. (7)

…Sir Kay had lost his suerd, for he had lefte it at his faders lodging, and so he prayed yong Arthur for to ryde for his swerd. “I wyll wel,” said Arthur, and rode fast after the swerd. (8-9)

“Now assay,” said Syre Ector unto Syre Kay; and anon he pulled at the swerd with alle his myghte, but it wold not be. “Now shal ye assay,” sayd Syre Ector to Arthur. “I wyll wel,” said Arthur—and pulled it out easily. And therwithalle Syre Ector knelyd doune to the erthe, (9)

…thenne he lete make Syr Kay Sencial of Englond, and Baudewyn was made Constable, and Sir Ulfyus was made Chamberlayn, and sire Brastias was maade Wardeyn to wayte upon the Northe, … (11)

Thenne all the kynges were passing gladde of Merlyn, and asked hym, “For what cause is that boye Arthur made your kynge?” “Syres,” said Merlyn, “I shalle telle yow the cause: for he is Kynge Uther Pendragons sone, borne in wedlock, gotten on Igrayne, the Dukes wyf of Tyntigail.” “Then is he a bastard,” they said al. (12)

So Merlyn went unto Kunge Arthur and told hym how he had done and bade hym fere not, “but come oute boldly and speke with hem, … And whan they were mette there was no mekenes but stoute wordes on bothe sides; but alweyes Kynge Arthur ansuerd them and said he wold make them to bowe and he lyved—wherfore they departed with wrath (and Kynge Arthur bade kepe hem wel, and they bad the Kynge kepe hym wel.) [The observation that the opponents parted with literal farewells may indeed be ironic, but it also draws attention to their status as men of a certain dignity and honor.] (13)

So forthwithalle Kynge Arthur sette upon hem, in their lodging; … Kynge Arthur on horsback leyd on with a swerd and dyd merveillous dedes of armes, that many of the kynges had grete joye of his dedes, and hardynesse. [kynges that he was slaughtering] (13)

And on All Halowmasse day, at the grete feste, sate in the halle the three kynes; and Sir Kay the Senesciall served in the halle, and Sir Lucas the Butler that was Duke Corneus son, and Sir Gryfflet that was the son of God of Cardal: thes three knyghtes had the rule of all the servyse that served the Kyngis. (16)

Now shall ye do by myne advice,” seyde Merlyon unto the three kyngis—and seyde, “I wolde Kynge Ban and Bors with hir felyship of ten thousand men were put in a woode here beside, in an inbusshemente, and kept them prevy, and that they be lyde or the lyght of the day com, and that they stire nat tyll that ye and youre knyghtes a fought with hem [i.e. the eleven kings’ forces] longe. (20)

The meanewhyle, com in Kyng Arthure with an egir countenans, and founde Ulphuns and Brascias on foote, in grete perell of dethe, that were fowle defoyled undir the horse feete. Than Arture as a lyon ran unto Kynge Cradilment of North Walis and smote hym thorow the lyffte side, that horse and man felle downe. Than he toke the horse by the reygne and led hum unto Ulphuns and seyde, “Have this horse, myne old frende, for grete need hast thou of an horse.” (21)

“Now shall we se,” seyde Kynge Bors, “how thes northirne Bretons can bere theire armys!” (23)

With the grete goodis that we have gotyn in tis londe by youre gyfftis we shall wage good knyghtes and withstonde the Kynge Claudas hys malice, for, by the grace of God, and we have need, we woll sende for you for succour; and ye have nede, sende for us, and we woll nat tarry, by the feythe of oure bodyes.” (29)

“That know I well,” seyde Merlyon, “as welle as thyselff, and of all thy thoughtes. But thou arte a foole to take thought for hit that woll nat amende the. [To concern yourself with that which cannot help you.] (31)

“But ye have done a thynge late that God ys displeased with you, for ye have lyene by youre syster and on hir ye have gotyn a childe that shall destroy you and all the knyghtes of youre realme.” /
“What ar ye,” seyde Arthure, “that telle me thys tydyngis?” “Sir, I am Merlion, and I was he in the chyldis lycknes.” “A,” seyde the Kynge, “ye are a mervaylous man. But I mervayle much of thy wordis, that I mon dye in batayle.” “Mervayle nat,” seyde Merlion, “for hit ys Goddis wylle that youre body sholde be punysshed for your fowle dedis. But I ought ever to be hevy,” seyde Merlion, “for I shall dye a shamefull dethe, to be putte in the erthe quycke; and ye shall dey a worshipfull dethe.”(32)

Than the Kynge toke Merlion by the honed, seyng thys wordis: “Ys this my modir?” “Forsothe, sir, yee.” And therewith com in Sir Ector, and bare wytnes how he fostred hym by Kynge Uthers commaundemente. And therewith Kyng Arthure toke his modir Quene Igrayne in hys armys and kissed her, and eythir wepte uppon other. Than the Kynge lete make a feste that lasted eyght dayes. (33)

“That is the Lady of the Lake,” seyde Merlion. … And thys damesel woll com to you anone, and than speke ye fayre to hir, that she may gyff you that swerde.” (37)

So they rode unto Carlion, and by the wey they mette with Kyng Pellinore; but Merlion had done suche a crauffte unto Kyng Pellinore saw nat Kynge Arthure, and so passed by withoute ony wordis. “I mervayle,” seyde Arthure, “that the knight wold nat speke.” “Sir, he saw you nat; for had he seyne you, ye had nat lyghtly parted.” (38)

So the meanewhyle that thys knight was makynge hym redy to departe, there com into the courte tha Lady of the Laake, and she com on horsebacke rychely beseyne, … (43)

“Thou art a merveylous man,” seyde Kynge Marke unto Merlion, “that spekist of such mervayles. Thou arte a boysteous man and an unlyckly, to telle of suche dedis. What ys thy name?” seyde Kynge Marke. “At thys tyme,” seyde Merlion, “I woll nat telle you. But at that tyme Sir Trystrams ys takyn with his soveraigne lady, than shall ye here and know my name—and at that tyme ye shall here othir tydynges that shall nat please you. (47-8)

“That is an unhappy customme,” said Balyn, “that a knight may not passe this wey but yf he juste.” … “Wel” sayd Balyn, “syn I shalle, therto I am redy. (58)

“That is to me,” sayde Kyng Lodegreauns, “the beste tydynges that ever I herde, that so worthy a kyng of prouesse and noblesse wol wedde my doughter. And as for my londis, I wolde geff hit hym yf I wyste hit myght please hym—but he hath londis inow, he nedith none. But I shall sende hym a gyffte that shall please hym muche more, for I shall gyff hym the Table Rounde—
“Whych Uther, hys fadir, gaff me: and whan his ys fulle complete, there ys an hondred knyghtes and fifty. (62-3)

Than the Kynge and the Quene were gretely displeased with Sir Gawayne for the sleynge of the lady; and there by ordynaunce of the Queene there was sette a queste of ladyes uppon Sir Gawayne , and they juged hym for ever whyle he lyved to be with all ladyes and to fyght for hir quarrels, and ever that he sholde be curteyse, and never to refuse mercy to hym that askith mercy. (70)

Than all the barownes were wrothe prevayly that the Kynge wolde departe so suddaynly; but the Kunge by no meane wolde abyde, but made wrytyng unto them that were nat ther and bade hyghe them aftir hym… (79)

…seyd Sir Kays. “I woll undirtake for two of the beste of hem, and than may ye three undirtake for all the othir three.”
And therewithall Sir Kay lette his horse renne as faste as he myght to encountir with one of them, and strake one of the kynges thorow the shelde and also the body a fadom, that the kyng felle to the erthe starke dede. (81)

…but allwayes Quene Gwenyvere praysed Sir Kay for his dedis, and seyde, “What lady that ye love, and she love you nat agayne, she were gretly to blame. (81)

“Sir, the fyrste is Sir Gawayne, youre nevew, that is as good a knight of his tyme as is ony in this londe; and the secunde as mesemyth beste is Sir Gryfflette le Fyse de Du, that is a good knight and full desirous in armys—and who may se hym lyve, he shall preve a good knight; and the thirde as mesemyth ys well worthy to be one of the Tbale Rounde, Sir Kay the Sensciall, for many tymes he hath done full worshipfully—and now at youre laste batayle he dud full honorably for to undirtake to sle two Kynges.” (82)

Than Sir Damas sente unto his brothir Outelake and bade make hym redy by tomorne at the houre of pryme, and to be in the felde to fyght with a good knight—for he had founden a knight that was redy to do batayle at all poyntis. (86-7)

This swerde hath bene in my kepynge the moste party of this twelvemonthe, and Morgan le Fay, Kyng Uryence wyff, sente hit me yesterday by a dwarfe to the entente to sle Kynge Arthure, hir brothir… Also she lovyth me oute of mesure as paramour—and I hir agayne— (90)

Morgan le Fay… But I shall be sore avenged uppon hir, that all Crystendom shall speke of hit. (90)

Than was Sir Gawayne ware, in a valley by a turrette, twelve fayre damsels and two knyghtes armed on grete horses, and the damsels wente to and fro by a tre. And than was Sir Gawayne ware how three hynge a whyght shelde on that tre, and ever as the damsels com by hit they spette uppon hit, and some threwe myre uppon the shelde.
Than Sir Gawayne and Sir Ulwayne wente and salewed them, and asked why they dud that dispyte to the shelde. “Sir, seyde the damesals, we shall telle you:
There is a knight in this contrey that owyth this wyght shelde, and he is a passyng good man of his hondis—but he hatyth all ladyes and jantylwomen, and therefore we do all this dyspyte to that shelde.” (96)

For as the booke rehersyth in Freynsch, … (98)

And so they had good lodgyng with Sir Marhaus—and good chere, for whan he wyste that they were Kynge Arthurs syster-sonnes he made them all the chere that lay in his power. And so they sojourned there a sevennyght and were well eased of their woundis, and at the laste departed. (99)

“In this contrey,” seyde Marhaus, “Came nevir knight syn hit was crystynde but he founde strange adventures.” (99)

…for this was drawyn by a knyght presoner, Sir Thoams Malleorre, that God sende hym good recover. (112)

[According to the very influential (and often highly inventive) Historia Regum Brittaniae written by Geoffrey of Monmouth, the Britons Belinus and Brennius conquered Rome long before Julius Caesar invaded Britain. Note 3, 115]

[The real Helena and Constantine were people of the Mediterranean; their recasting as Briton is an invention of medieval chroniclers such as Geoffrey of Monmouth, perhaps deriving form confusion over another Helena. … wife of a 5th century emperor over Gaul, Spain, and Britain, who had a son named Constantine, or over the genuine fact that Constantine was declared Emperor in 306 in York while serving in Britain as a Roman soldier. (115)

…aftir my bloode, thus many I shall brynge with me: twenty thousand helmys in haubirkes attyred, that shall never fayle you whyles our lyves lastyth.” (116)

Than Quene Gwenyver made grete sorrow that the Kynge and all the lordys sholde so be departed, and there she fell doune on a swone, and hir ladyes bare hir to her chambir. (119)

Than the worme [dragon] wyndis away and fleis uppon hyght and com downe… (120)

…for they three shall be dede within foure oure or the fylth is fulfilled that his fleyshe askys.” (123)

…but yf thou helpe them the sunner, they must yeld hem all at onys, both the bodyes and townys. [instead of ‘yelde both bodyes and townes] (125)

“Ye sey well,” seyde the Emperour, “as youre lorde hath you commaunded:
“But saye your lorde I sende hym gretynge, but I have no joy of youre renckys thus to rebuke me and my lordys:
“But sey youre lorde I woll ryde downe by Sayne and wynne all that thereto longes, and aftir ryde unto Roone and wynne hit up clene.” “Hit besemys the ylle,” seyde Sir Gawayne, “that ony such an elffe [that any such a diminutive creature as you] sholde bragge such words, for I have levir than all Fraunce to fyght ayenste the.” (126)

Whan Sir Gawayne that aspyed, he sente forth a knyght unto Kynge Arthure—“And telle hym what sorrow we endure, and how we have takyn the chefe chaunceler of Rome—and Petur is presonere, a senatoure full noble—and odir proude pryncis, we knowe nat theire namys. And pray hym, as he is oure lorde, to rescowe us betyme, … (129)

…the Kynge callyd unto hym Sir Cador of Cornuayle, and Sir Clarrus of Cleremounte, a clene man of armys, and Sir Cloudres, [no space] Sir Clegis, two olde noble knyghtes, and Sir Bors, Sir Berell, noble good men of armys, and also Sir Bryan de les Ylyes, and Sir Bedwere the bolde; and also he called Sir Launcelot… (129)

“Thou besemeste well,” seyde the kyng, “to be one of the good, be thy bryght browys, [to judge from your handsome looks] but for all that canst conjeoure other sey, there shall none that is here medyll with the this tyme.” (130)

“Ye sey well,” seyde Sir Borce, “lette us set on hem freyshly, and the worship shall be oures and cause oure Kyng to honoure us for ever and to gyff us lordshyppis and landys for oure noble dedys—and he that faynes hym to fyght, the devyl have his bonys! (131)

And who save ony knyghtes for lycoure of goodys tylle all be done and know who shal have the bettir, [he who greedily spares any knights until the end of the battle in order to size them up for material gain, through ransom.] he doth nat knightly, so Jesu me helpe.” (131)

And as he was hurte, yet he turned hym agayne and smote the todir on the hede, that to the breste hit raughte, and seyde, “Thoughe I dey of thy dente, thy praysyng shall by lytyll!” (136)

And Sir Gawayne with his longe swerde leyde on faste, that three amerallys deyde thorow the dynte of his hondis. (137)

Therefore save none for golde nothir for sylver—for they that woll accompany them with Sarezens, the man that wolde save them were lytull to prayse [that man deserves little praise who would save those (for ransom) who allied themselves with the Saracens]— and therefore sle doune and save nother hythyn nothir Crystyn.” (137)

“that may I do, and I woll, so thou wolt succour me that I myght be fayre crystynde and becom meke for my mysdedis: (141)

“Sir,” seyde Sir Gawayne, “I am no knyght, but I have be brought up in the wardrope with the noble Kyng Arthure wyntyrs and dayes … (142)

They woll putte furth beystys to bayte you oute of number, and ye ar fraykis in this fryth nat paste seven hondred—and that is, feythfully, to fewe to fyght with so many, for harlottys and haynxmen woll helpe us but a lytyll, for they woll hyde them in haste for all their hyghe wordys.” (144)

Than the knyghtes and lordis that to the Kynge longis called a counsayle uppon a fayre morne, and sayde, “Sir Kynge, we beseche the for to here us all. We ar undir youre lordship well stuffid, blyssed by God, of many thynges—and also we have wyffis weddid; we woll beseche youre good grace to reles us to sporte us with oure wyffis, for, worshyp be Cryste, this journey is well overcome.” (151)

So the wedir was hote aboute noone, and Sir Launcelot had grete luste to slepe. /
Than Sir Lyonell aspyed a grete appyll tre that stoode by an hedge, and seyde, “Sir, yonder is a fayre shadow; there may we reste us and oure horsys.” (152)

“I defye the and all thy felyshyp!” “That is overmuch [too hastily] seyde,” Sir Launcelot seyde, “of the at thys tyme. (161)

“Fayre damesell,” seyde Sir Launcelot, “I may nat warne [forbid] peple to speke of me what hit pleasyth hem. But for to be a weddyd man, I thynke hit nat, for than I uste couche with hir and leve armys and turnamentis, batellys and adventures. And as for to sey to take my pleasaunce with paramours, that woll I refuse—in prencipall for drede of God, for knyghtes that bene adventures sholde nat be advourtrers nothir lecherous, for than they be nat happy [lucky] nother fortunate unto the werrys; (164)

“And so who that usyth paramours shall be unhappy, and all thynge unhappy that is aboute them.[This extraordinary passage is not matched in Malory’s known sources] (165)

Whan Sir Kay was unarmed, he asked aftir mete. Anone there was mete fette for hym, and he ete strongly. (167)

…and anone as Sir Laucenlot sye hym he knew hym, but he was passing paale as the erthe for bledynge. (172)

“That were shame unto the,” seyde Sir Launcelot, “thou an armed knight to sle a nakyd man by treson.” “Thou gettyste none other grace,” seyde Sir Phelot, “and therefore helpe thyself and thou can.” (174)

And whan Sir Launcelot had aspyed hym what he had done, he seyde and so called hym: “Traytoure! Thou haste shamed me for evir!” And suddeynly Sir Laucelot alyght of his horse and pulde out his swerde to sle hym; and therewithall he felle to the erthe and gryped Sir Launcelot by the thyghes and cryed mercy. … “Now what is youre name?” “Sir, my name is Sir Pedyvere.” “In a shamefull oure were thou borne,” seyde Sir Launcelot. (175)

Ryght so com into the halle two men well besayne and rychely, and uppon their sholdyrs there lened the goodlyest yonge man and the fairest that ever they all sawe; and he was large and longe and brode in the shuldyrs, well-vysaged—and the largyste and the fayreste [i.e. most uncalloused (a sign of nobility)] handis that ever man sye. (178)

…right so com Sir Kay, and seyde, “Beawmaynes! What, sir, know ye nat me?” Than he turned his horse and knew hit was Sir Kay that had done all the dyspyte to hym, as ye have herde before. Than seyde Beawmaynes, “Yee, I know you well for an unjantyll knight of the courte, and therefore beware of me.” (181)

…anone she seyde, “What doste thou here? Thou stynkyst all of the kychyn—thy clothis bene bawdy of the grece and tallow. (182)

And at the laste, though hym loth were, Beawmaynes smote Sir Persaunte abovyn upon the helme, that he felle grovelynge to the erthe; and than he lepte upon hym overthwarte and unlaced his helme to have slayne hym. (193)

And so they wente unto Sir Persauntes pavylon and dranke wyne and ete spycis. And afterwarde Sir Persaunte made hym to reste upon a bedde untyll supper tyme, and aftir souper to bedde ayen. /
So whan Sir Bewmaynes was abedde, Sir Persaunte had a doughter, a fayre lady of eyghtene yere of ayge, and there he called hir unto hym and charged hir and commaunded hir upon his blysynge to go unto the knyghtis bed and lye downe by his side—“and make hym no strange chere but good chere, (193)

And than she leyde an oynemente and salve to hym as hit pleased hir, that he was never so freyshe nother so lusty as he was tho. (213)

…and the vertu of my rynge is this: that that is grene woll turne to rede, and that that is rede woll turne in lyknesse to grene, and that that is blewe woll turne to whyghte, and that that is whyght woll turne in lykenesse to blew; (215)

And therefore,” seyde Sir Launcelot, “as for me, this day he shall have the honour; thoughe hit lay in my power to put hym frome hit, yet wolde I nat.” (217)

“Sir knight,” seyde the lady, “ye speke knightly and boldely; but wete you well the lorde of this castell lovyth nat Kynge Arthure, nother none of hys courte, for my lorde hath ever bene ayenste hym. And therefore thow were bettir nat to com within his castell: /
“For and thou com in this nyght, thou muste com undir this fourme, that wheresomever thou mete hym, by stygh other by street, thou muste yelde the to hym as presonere.” “Madam,” side Sir Gareth, “what is your lorde and what is his name?” “Sir, my lordys name is the Deuke de la Rouse.”
“Well, madam,” seyde Sir Gareth, “I shal promyse you in what place I mete youre lorde I shall yelde me unto hym and to his good grace, with that I undirstonde that he wol do me no shame; and yf I undirstonde that he woll, I woll relece myself and I can with my spere and my swerde.”
“Ye say wel,” seyde the deuches.
Than she lette the drawbrygge downe; and so he rode into the halle and there he alyght, and the horse was ladde into the stable. And in the halle he unarmed hym and seyde, “Madam, I woll nat oute of this halle this nyght:
“And whan hit it daylyght, lat se who woll have ado with me; than he shall fynde me redy.”
Than was he sette unto souper and had many good dysshis. Than Sir Gareth lyste well to ete, and full knightly he ete his mete—and egirly. Also there was many a fayre lady by hym, and som side they nevir sawe a goodlyer man—nothir so well of etynge.
Than they made hym passynge good chere; and shortly, whan he had souped, he bedde was made there, and so he rested hym all nyght. And in the morne he herde Masse and brake hys faste, and toke his leve at the doucehes and at them all, and thanked hir goodly of hir lodging and of hir good chere. (220)

So in the myddys of the blast entyrde a sonnebeame, more clerer by seven tymys than ever they saw day, and all they were alighted of the grace of the Holy Goste. Than began every knight to behold other; and eyther saw other, by their semyng, fayrer than ever they were before. (503)

And there was all the halle fulfilled with good odoures, and every knight had such metis and dryknes as he beste loved in thys worlde. [The miraculous provision of food is a traditional sign of God’s blessing: cf. Exodus 16 and Pslam 78 (God provides manna), Wisdom 16:20-21 (God provides bread that changes to suit everyone’s taste), John 2:9 (Jesus changes water into wine), and Mattew 14:13-21 (Jesus feeds the five thousand). Consider also Christ’s words in John 6:35: “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”] (503)

But Sir Galahad was nothynge aferde, but heve up the stone; and there com oute a fowle smoke, and aftir that he saw the fowlyst vygoure lepe thereoute that ever he saw, in the lyknes of a man. And than he blyssed hym and wyst well hit was a fyende. [blyssed hym: crossed himself] (509)

So with that com oute another knight oute of the grene levys and brake a spere upon Sir Galahad or ever he myght turne hym. (511)

Than com to hym a jantillwoman, and seyde, “Sir, thes knyghtes be fledde, but they woll com agayne thys nyght, and here to begyn agayne their evyll custom.” (514)

“Nay,” seyd Sir Gawayne, “I may do no penaunce, for we knyghtes adventures many tymes suffir grete woo and payne.” “Well,” seyde the good man, and than he hylde hys pece. And on the morne than Sir Gawayne departed frome the ermyte and bytaught hym unto God. (516)

Than anone Sir Launcelot waked and sett hym up, and bethought hym what he had sene there, and whether hit were dremys or nat; right so harde he a voyse that seyde, “Sir Launcelot, more harder than ys the stone, and more bitter than ys the woode, and more naked and barer thanys the lyeff of the fygge tre; therefore go thou from hens, and withdraw the from thys holy places!” And whan Sir Launcelot herde thys, he was passing hevy and wyst nat what to do, (518)

And there is no knight now lyvynge that ought to yelde God so grete thanke as ye, for He hath yevyn you beaute, bownte, semelynes, and grete strenghthe, over all other knyghtes. And therefore ye ar the more beholdyn unto God than ony other man to love Hym and drede Hym, for youre strenghte and your manhode woll litill avayle you and God be agaynste you.” (519)

“Hit befelle that OUre Lorde on Palme Sonday preched in Jerusalme, and there He founde in the people that all hardnes was herberowd in them, and there He founde in all the towne nat one that wolde herberow Hym. And than He wente oute of the towne and founde in myddis the way a fygge tre which was right fayre and well garnysshed of levys, but fruyte had hit none. Than Oure Lorde cursed the tre that bare no fruyte; that betokenyth the fyg tre unto Jerusalem, that had levys and no fruyte. So thou, Sir Launcelot, whan the Holy Grayle was brought before the, He founde in the no fruyte nother good thought nother good wylle, and defouled with lechory.” [for the episode of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and His cursing of the fig tree, see Matthew 21.1-19] (520)

But anone thou turned to the sinners; and that caused thy mysseaventure, that thou sholde know good frome vayneglory of the worlde—hit ys nat worth a peare. (537)

And aftir dyner he toke hys horse and commaunde her to God, and so rode into a depe valey; and there he saw a ryver that hyght Mortays. And thorow the water he muste nedis passe, the which was hedyous; and than, in the name of God, he toke hit with good herte. And whan he com over he saw an armed knight, horse and man all balck as a ber[e]. [berry] Withoute ony worde he smote Sir Launcelottis horse to the dethe; and so he paste on, and wyst nat where he was becom. And than he toke hys helme and hys shylde, and thanked God of hys adventure. (538)

Than began Sir Gawayne, and tolde hym of hys avision that he had in the chapel; … “Sir,” seyde the ermyte unto Sir Gawayne, “the fayre medow and the rak: therein ought to be undirstone the Rounde Table, and by the medow ought to be undirstonde hymilite and paciens; tho be the thynges which bene allwey grene and quyk. For that men mowe no tyme overcom humilitie and pacience, therefore was the Rounde Table founden, and the shevalry hath ben at all tymes so hyghe by the fraternite, which was there that she might nat be overcom; for men seyde she was founded in paciens and in humilite. At the rack ete an hondred and fyffty bullys, but they ete nat in the medowe, for if they had, their hartes sholde have bene sette in humilite and paciens. And the bullis were proude and blacke, sauff only three:
[only makes sense if meadow in penned in, or if Jesus is shepherd; beautiful but seemingly unconstant metaphor] (541)

Than the good man called Sir Gawayne, and seyde, “Hit ys long tyme passed sith that ye were made kyght and never synnes servyd thou thy Maker; and now thou arte so olde a tre that in the ys neythir leeff, nor grasse, nor fruyte. Wherefore bethunke the tat thou yelde to Oure Lorde the bare runde, sith the fende hath the levis and the fruyte.” (543)

And so they ete brede and dranke watir togydir. “Now, seyde the good man, “I pray the that thou ete none other tyll that thou sitte at the table where the Sankgreall shall be.”
“Sir,” seyde he, “I agre me thereto—but how know ye that I shall sytte there?”
“Yes,” seyde the good man, “that know I well; but there shall be but fewe of youre felowis with you.” “All ys wellcomme,” seyde Sir Bors, “that God sendith me.” “Also,” seyde the good man, “insteede of a shurte, and in synge of chastisemente, ye shall were a garmente. Therefore I pray you do of all your clothys and youre a garmente. Therefore I pray you do of all your clothys and youre shurte.” And so he dud; and than he toke hym a scarlet cote so that shoulde be hys instead of hys sherte tylle he had fulfilled the Queste of the Sankegreall. And thys good man founde hym in so mervales a lyffe and so stable that he felte he was never gretly correpte in fleysshly lustes, but in one tyme that he begat Elyan le Blanke. (544)

…wyst nat what to do… (548)

Now, for no feare that thou haste, ne for ne drede that thou hast of God, thou shalt nat warne hir; for thou woldist nat do hit for to be holdyn chaste, for to conquere the loos of the vayneglory of the worlde; for that shall befalle the now, and thou warne hir, that Sir Launcelot, the good knight—thy cousin—shall dye. And than shall men saye that thou arte a man-sleer, both of thy brothir Sir Lyonell and of thy cousin Sir Launcelot, whych thou might have rescowed easily, but thou wentist to rescow a mayde which perteyned nothynge to the:
“Now loke thou whether hit had bene gretter harme, of thy brothers dethe, other ellis to have suffirde her to have loste hir maydynhode.” Than seyde he, “Now hast thou harde the tokyns of thy dreme?” (550)

“So this Salamon had an evyll wyff, wherethorow he wente there had be no good woman borne; and therefore he dispysed them in hys bookis. (564)

So hyt passyd evyn-songe or the tempest were seased; (573)

Now seyth the tale that whan Sir Launcelot was com to the watir of Mortays, as hit ys reherced before, he was in grete perell. And so he leyde hym downe and slepte, and toke the aventure that God wolde sende hym. So whan he was aslepe, there cam a vision unto hym that seyde, “Sir Launcelot, aryse up and take thyne [574] armour, and entir into the firste shippe that thou shalt fynde.” And whan he herde these wordys, he sterte up and saw grete clerenesse about hym; and than he lyffte up hys honed and blyssed hym—
And so toke hys armys and made hym redy. And at the laste he cam by a stronde and founde a shippe withoute sayle other ore; and as sone as he was within the shippe, there he had the most swettnes that ever he felte, and he was fulfilled with all thynge that he thought on other desired.
Than he seyde, “Swete Fadir, Jesu Cryste, I wote natt what joy I am in, for thys passith all erthely joyes that ever I was in.” And so in thys joy he leyde hym downe to the shippebourde and slepte tyll day. And whan he awooke he founde there a fayre bed, and therein lyynge a jantillwoman, dede, which was Sir Percivalles sister; and as Sir Launcelot avised her, he aspyed in hir ryght honde a wrytte, which he rad, that tolde hym all the aventures that ye have herde before, and of what lynayge she was com. SO with thys jantillwoman Sir Launcelot was a moneth and more. If ye wold aske how he lyved, for He that fedde the chyldirn of Israel with manna in deserte, so was he fedde:
For every day, whan he had seyde hys prayers, he was systeyned with the grace of the Holy Goste.
And so on a nyght he wente to play hym by the waters side, for he was somewhat wery of the shippe. And than hy listened and herde an hors com, and one rydyng uppon hym; (574)

Therewith com a jantillwoman and brought hym a shirte of small [i.e. fine] lynen clothe; but he changed nat there, but toke the hayre to hym agayne.
“Sir,” seyde they, “the Queste of the Sankgreall ys encheved now ryght in you—and never shall ye se of Sankgreall more than ye have sene.” “ Now I thanke God,” seyde Sir Launcelot, “for Hys grete mercy of that I have sene, for hit suffisith me. For, as I suppose, no man in thys worlde have lyved bettir than I have done to enchyeve that I have done.” And therewith he toke the hayre and clothed hym in hit, and aboved that he put a lynen shirte, and aftir that a robe of scarlet, freyssh and new. (578)

Than, as the booke seyth, Sir Launcelot began to resorte unto Quene Gwenivere agayne, and forgate the promise and the perfeccion that he made in the Queste; for, as the booke seyth, had nat Sir Launcelot bene in his prevy thoughtes and in hys myndis so sette inwardly to the Quene as he was in semynge outewarde to God, there had no knight passed hym in the Queste of the Sankgreall. But ever his thoughtis prevyly were on the Quene, and so they loved togydirs more hotter than they dud toforehonde, and had many such prevy draughtis togydir that many in the courte spake of hit— (588)

So on a day she called hym to hir chambir, and seyd thus: “Sir Launcelot, I se and fele dayly that youre love begynnyth to slake, for ye have no joy ot be in my presence, but ever ye ar oute of thys courte; (588)

“And therefore, madam, I was but late in that Queste; and wyte you well, madam, hit may nat be yet lightly forgotyn, the hyghe servyse in whom I dud my dyligente laboure. Also, madame, wyte you well that there be many men spekith of oure love in thys courte and have you and me gretely in awayte, as thes Sir Aggravayne and Sir Mordred. And, madam, wyte you well I drede them more for youre sake than for ony feare I have of them myselffe, for I may happyn to ascpape and ryde myselff in a grete need, where, madame, ye muste abyde all that woll be seyde unto you— (589)

And therefore, by myne advice, ye shall take youre horse and ryde to the good ermyte here besyde Wyndesore, that somtyme was a good knyght—hys name ys Sir Brascias—and there shall ye abyde tyll that I sende you worde of bettir tydynges.” (589)

But Sir Gawayne had a custom that he used dayly at mete and at supper, that he loved well all maner of fruyte, and in especiall appyls and pearys. And therefore whosomever dyned other fested Sir Gawayne wolde comonly purvey for good fruyte for hym. (590)

And evermore the Quene behylde Sir Launcelot, and wepte so tenderly that she sanke allmoste to the grownde for sorow that he had done to her so grete kyndenes where she shewed hym grete unkyndenesse. (597)

“I charge you,” seyde Sir Launcelot, “as ye love me, draw hit oute.” And therewithal he descended frome hys horse, and ryght so ded Sir Lavayne; and forthwithall he drew the truncheoune oute of hys side, and gaff a grete shryche and a gresly grone, that the blood braste oute—nyghe a pynte at onys—that at the laste he sanke downe uppon hys arse, and so sowned downe pale and dedly. (604)

“And for grete goodness he hath takyn hym to wyllfull poverte and forsakyn mighty londys—and hys name ys Sir Bawdwyn of Bretayne, and he ys a full noble surgeon and a good leche. Now lat se and helpe me up that I were there, for ever my harte gyvith me [inclines me to feel] that I shall never dye of my cousyne jermaynes first cousin’s] hondys.” (604)

“Sir,” seyde he, “syth ye know mw, helpe me, and ye may, for Goddys sake, for I wolde be oute of thys payne at onys, other to deth other to lyff.” (605)

And than Sir Laucelot compaste in hys mynde that Sir Gawayne wolde telle Quene Gwenyvere how he bare the rede slyve, and for whom; that he wyst well wolde turne unto grete angur. (609)

And whan Sir Bors saw Sir Launcelot lye in hys bedde, dede pale and discoloured, anone Sir Bors loste hys countenaunce, and for kyndenes and pite hy might nat speke but wepte tenderly a grete whyle. But whan he might speke he seyde thus: (610)

And latte us leve of thy smater and speke of som rejoysynge, for thys that ys done may nat be undone; (610)

“Fy on hym, recreayde knyght!” seyde the Quene, “for wyte you well I am ryght sory and he shall have hys lyff.”
“Madam, hys luff shall he have,” seyde Sir Bors, “and who that wolde otherwise—excepte you, madame—we that ben of hys blood wolde helpe to shortyn their lyves. But, madame,” seyde Sir Bors, “ye have ben oftyntymes displeased with my lorde Sir Launcelot, but at all tymys at the ende ye founde hym a trew knyght.” And so he departed. (613)

“My lorde, Sir Launcelot, now I se ye woll departe frome me. Now, fayre knyght, and curtayse knyght,” seyde she, “have mercy uppon me, and suffir me nat to due for youre love.”
“Why, what wolde you that I dud?” seyde Sir Launcelot. “Sir, I wolde have you to my husbande,” seyde Elayne. “Fayre damesell, I thanke you hartely,” seyde Sir Launcelot, “but truly,” seyde he, “I caste me never to be wedded man.”
“Than, fayre knyght,” seyde she, “woll ye be my paramour?” “Jesu deffende me,” seyde Sir Launcelot, “for that I rewarded youre fadir and youre brothir full evyll for their grete goodnesse.” (614)

And me repentith,” seyde Sir Launcelot, “that she lovith me as she dothe, for I was never the causer of hit; for I reporte me unto youre sonne, I never erly nother late profirde her bownte nother fayre behestes— (615)

Than hir gostly fadir [spiritual father, confessor] bade hir leve such thoughtes.
Than she seyde, “Why sholde I leve such thoughtes? Am I nat an erthely woman? (615)

And sitthyn hit ys the sufferaunce of God that I shall due for so noble a knyght, (615)

For, madame,” seyde Sir Launcelot, “I love nat to be constrayned to love, for love muste only aryse of the harte self, (617)

For, lyke as trees and erbys burgenyth and florysshyth in May, in lyke wyse every lusty harte that ys ony maner of lover spryngith, burgenyth, buddyth, and florysshyth in lusty dedis. For hit gyvyth unto all lovers corrayge, that lusty moneth of May, in somthynge to constrayne hym to som maner of thynge more in that moneth than in ony other monethe, for dyverce causys: for than all erbys and treys renewyth a man and woman, and in lyke wyse lovers callyth to their mynde odle jantylenes and olde servyse, and many kynde dedes that was forgotyn by neclygence. (624)

But nowadays men can nat love seven nyght but they must have all their desires. That love may nat endure by reson; for where they bethe sone accorded and hasty, heete sone keelyth. And ryght so faryth the love nowadays, sone hote, sone colde: thy sys no stabylyte. But the olde love was nat so; for men and women coude love togydirs seven yerys, and no lycoures lustis was betwyxte them—and than was love trouthe and faythefulnes. (625)

…for Sir Launcelot drad no perellis—for ever a man of worshyp and of proues dredis but lytyll of perels, for they wene that every man be as they bene.
But ever he that faryth with treson puttyth oftyn a trew man in grete daungere. And so hit befelle uppon Sir Launcelot, that no perell dred: as he wente with Sir Mellyagaynce he trade on a trappe, (635)

Than seyde she, “Sir, ye ar nat wyse, for ye may never oute of this preson but if ye have my helpe. And also youre lady, Quene Gwenyver, shall be brente in youre defaute onles that ye be there at the day of batayle.”
“God deffende,” seyde Sir Launcelot, “that she shulde be brente in my defaught. And if hit be so,” seyde Sir Launcelot, “that I may nat be there, hit shall be well undirstonde, bothe at the Kunge and the Quene and with all men of worship, that I am dede, syke, other in preson; for all men that know me woll say for me that I am in som evyll case and I be nat that day there. And thus well I undirstonde that there ys som good knygh, other of my blood other som other that lovys me, that woll take my quarell in honde—and therefore,” seyde Sir Launcelot, “qyte you well, ye shall nat feare me; and if there were no mo women in all thys londe but ye, yet shall nat I have ado with you.”
“Than ar ye shamed,” seyde the lady, “and destroyed for ever.” “As for worldis shame, now Jesu deffende me; and as for my distresse, hit ys welcom, whatsomever hit be that God sendys me.” (636)

“My moste renowmed lorde,” seyde Sir Launcelot, “I know well I dare nat, nor may nat, disobey you; but, and I might or durste, wyte you well I wolde nat take uppon me to towche that wounded knyght in that entent that I shulde passe all other knyghtes—Jesu deffende me frome that shame.”
“Sir, ye take hit wronge,” seyde Kynge Arthur, “for ye shall nat do hit for no presumpcion, but for to beare us felyshup, insomuche as ye be a fellow of the Rounde Table; (643)

In May, whan every harte floryshyth and burgenyth—for as the season ys lusty to beholde and comfortable, so amn and woman rejoysyth and gladith fo somer commynge with his freshe floures, for winter with hys rowghe wyndis and blastis causyth lusty men and women to cowre and to syt by fyres—
So thys season hit befelle in the moneth of May a grete angur and unhap that stynted nat tylle the floure of chivalry of alle the worlde was destroyed and slayne. (646)

So hyt myssefortuned Sir Gawayne and all hys brethirne were in Kynge Arthurs chambir; and than Sir Aggravayne seyde thus opynly, and nat in no counceyle, that manye knyghtis might here, “I mervayle that we all be nat ashamed bothe to se and to know how Sir Launcelot lyeth dayly and nyghtly by the Quene… Than spake Sir Gawayne, and seyde, “Brothir, Sir Gareth, “we woll nat be knowyn of your dedis.” “Than woll I!” seyde Sir Mordred. “I lyve you well,” seyde Sir Gawayne, “for ever unto all unhappynes, sir, ye woll graunte; and I wolde that ye leffte alle this, and make you nat so bysy—for I know,” seyde Sir Gawayne, “what woll falle of hit.”
“Falle whatsumever falle may,” seyde Sir Aggravayne, “I woll disclose hit to the Kynge.” (646)

“ye muste remembir how oftyntymes Sir Laucelot hath rescowed the Kynge and the Quene; and the beste of us all had bene full colde at the harte-roote had nat Sir Launcelot bene bettir than we, (647)

…for thy sys all, to make hit shorte: we know all that Sir Launcelot holdith youre Quene, and hath done longe: (647)

“Alas,” seyde Sir Launcelot, “in all my lyff thus was I never bested, that I shulde be thus shamefully slayne for lake of myne armour.” (649)

“Most nobelest Crysten Quene, I besech you, as ye have ben ever my speciall good lady, and I at all tymes your poure knyght and trew unto my power, and as I never fayled you in ryght nor in wronge sytthyn the firste day Kynge Arthur made my knyght, that ye woll pray for my soule if that I be slayne. For well I am assured that Sir Bors, my nevewe, and all the remenaunte of my kynne, Sir Sir Lavayne and Sir Urre, that they woll nat fayle you to rescow you from the fyer. (649)

“Nay, Sir Launcelt, nay!” seyde the Quene. “Wyte thou well that I woll never lyve longe aftir thy dayes. [this is only one of two occasions when, apparently riven by the stress of the moment, Gwenyvere resorts to “familiar” second-person singular pronoun…Launcelot’s usage is, by contrast, consistently formal] But, and ye be slayne, I woll take my dethe as meekly as ever ded marter take hys dethe for Jesu Crystes sake.” (650)

Than Sir Launcelot unbarred the dore, and with hys lyffte honde hy hylde hit opyn a lytyll, that but one man might com in at onys. And so there cam strydyng a good knyght… Launcelot myghtyly; and so he put asyde felle groveling dede within the chambir dore. Than Sir Launcelot with grete might drew the knyght within the chambir dore; and than Sir Launcelot, with helpe of the Quene and her ladyes, he was lyghtly armed… “Sires, leve youre noyse,” seyde Sir Launcelot, “for wyte you well, Sir Aggravayne, ye shall nat preson me thys nyght; and therefore, and he do be my counceyle, go ye all frome thys chambir dore and make you no suche crying and such maner of sclaudir as ye do. For I promise you be my knyghthode, and ye woll departe and make no more noyse, I shall as tomorne appyere afore you all and before the Kynge; and that lat hit be sene whych of you all, other ellis ye all, that woll deprave me of treson. And there shall I answere you, as a knyght shulde, that hydir I cam to the Quene [650] for no maner of male engine; and that woll I preve and make hit good uppon you with my hondys.”
“Fye uppon the, traytour!” seyde Sir Aggravayne and Sir Mordred, “for we woll have the magre thyne hede, and sle the and we lyste! For we let the wyte, we have the choyse of Kynge Arthure to save the other sle the.”
“A, sires,” seyde Sir Launcelot, “ye there none other grace with you? Than kepe youreselff!” And than Sir Luancelot sette all opyn the chambir dore, and myghtyly and knightly he strode in amonge them; and anone at the firste stroke he slew Sir Aggravayne—and anone aftir twelve of hys felowys; within a whyle he had layde them down colde to the erthe, for there was none of the twelve knyghtes might stoned Sir Laucelot one buffet. And also he wounded Sir Mordred, and therewithal he fled with all hys might. And than Sir Laucelot returned agayne unto the Quene and seyde, “Madame, now wyte you wel, all oure trew love ys brought to an ende, for now wyll Kyng Arthur ever be my foo. And therefore, madam, and hit lyke you that I may have you with me, I shall save you frome all maner adventures daungers.”
“Sir, that ys nat beste,” seyde the Quene, “mesemyth, for now ye have don so much harme hit woll be beste that ye holde you styll with this. And if ye se that as tomorne they woll putte me unto dethe, than may ye rescowe me as ye thynke beste.”
“I woll well,” seyde Sir Launcelot, “for have ye no doubte, whyle I am a man lyvyng I shall rescow you.” And than he kyste her—and ayther of hem gaff other a rynge—and so the Quene he leffte there and wente untyll hys lodgynge. (651)

“And therefore, my felowys,” seyde Sir Launcelot, “I pray you all that ye woll be of harte good, and helpe me in what need that ever I stonde—for now ys warre comyn—to us all.” (651)

And thys nyght, bycause my lady the Quene csente me for me to speke with her—I suppose hit was made by treson, howbehit I dare largely excuse her person— (652)

Insomuch as ye were takyn with her, whether ye ded ryght other wronge, hit ys now youre parte to holde with the Quene, that she be nat slayne and put to a myschevous dethe—for and she so dye, the shame shall be evermore yours.” (653)

And so, by the advice of Sir Launcelot they put hem all in a wood as nyghe Carlyle as they might, and there they abode style to wyte what the Kynge wold do. (654)

And now hit ys fallen so,” seyde the Kynge, “that I may nat with my worshyp but my Quene muste suffir dethe— (654)

“That I beleve well,” seyde Kynge Arthur, “but I woll nat that way worke with Sir Launcelot, for he trustyth so much uppon hys hondis and hys might that hy doutyth no man; and therefore for my Quene he shall nevermore fyght, for she shall have the law—and if I may gete Sir Launcelot, wyte you well he shall have as shamefull a dethe.” “Jesu defend me,” seyde Sir Gawayne, “that I never se hit nor know hit.” (655)

And so the Quene was lad further withoute Carlyle, and anone she was dispoyled into her smoke. And than gostely fadir was brought to her tobe shriven of her than her gostely fadir was brought to her tobe shriven of her myssededis. (656)

And much more I am soryar for my good knyghtes losse than for the losse of my fayre queen; for quenys I might have inow, but such a felyship of good knyghtes shall never be togydirs in no company. And now I dare sey,” seyde Kynge Arthur, “there was never Crysten kynge that ever hylde such a felyshup togydyrs. And also, that ever Sir Launcelot and I shulde be at debate! A, Aggravayne, Aggravayne,” side the Kynge, “Jesu forgyff hit thy soule, for thyne evyll wyll that thou haddist, and Sir Mordred thy brothir, unto Sir Launcelot hath caused all this sorrow.” (658)

“Com forth,” seyde Kynge Arthur unto Sir Launcelot, “and thou darste, and I promise the I shall mete the in myddis of thys fulde.” “God deffende me,” seyde Sir Launcelot, “that ever I shulde encounter with the moste noble kynge that made me knyght.” “Now fye uppon thy fayre langayge!” seyde the Kynge, “for wyte thou well and truste hit, I am thy mortall foo and ever woll to my deth day; for thou haste slayne my good knyghtes and full noble men of my blood, that shall I never recover agayne. Also thou haste layne be my queen and holdyn her many winters, and sytthyn, lyke a traytoure, taken her away fro me by fors.” (660)

And where hit please you to say that I have holdyn my lady, youre Quene, yerys and winters, unto that I shall ever make a large answere, and prove hit uppon ony knyght that beryth th lyff, excepte your person and Sir Gawayne, (660)

But the Freynsh book seyth Kynge Arthur wolde have takyn hys queen agayne and to have bene accorded with Sir Launcelot, but Sir Gawayne wolde nat suffir hym byno maner of meane. (662)

For ye fare as a man that were aferde; and for all your fayre speche hit woll nat avayle you, for wyte you well, Sir Gawayne woll nevir suffir you to accorde with Kynge Arthur—and therefore fyght for youre lyff and ryght, and ye dare.” (662)

So Sir Bors encountirde wyth Kynge Arthur, and Sir Bors smote hym doun; and so he alyght and drew hys swerde, and seyd to Sir Launcelot, “Sir, shall I make an ende of thys warre?”—for he mente to have slayne hym.
“Nat so hardy, seyde Sir Launcelot, “uppon payne of thy hede, that thou touch hym no more! For I woll never se that moste noble kynge that made my knyght nother slayne nor shamed.” And therewithal Sir Launcelot alyght of hys horse and toke up the Kynge and horsed hym agayne, and seyd thys: “My lorde the Kynge, for Goddis love, stynge thys stryff, for ye gette here no worshyp and I wolde do myne utteraunce. But allwayes I forbeare you, and ye nor none off yours forberyth nat me; (663)

So whan Kyng Arthur was on horsebak, he loked on Sir Launcelot; than the teerys braste oute of hys yen, thynkyng of the grete curtesy that was in Sir Launcelot more than in ony other man. (663)

But full fayne he wolde have bene accorded with Sir Launcelot, but Sir Gawayne wolde nat suffir hym; (664)

My moste redouted Kynge, ye shall undirstone, by the Popis commaundemente and youres I have brought to you my lady the Quene, as ryght requyryth. (666)

“And nat purposed: for I was sente for unto my lady, youre Quyne, I wote nat for what cause, but I was nat so sone within the chambir dore but anone Sir Aggravayne and Sir Mordred called me traytoure and false recrayed knyght.”
“By my fayth, they called the ryght!” seyde Sir Gawayne. “My lorde, Sir Gawayne,” seyde Sir Launcelot, “in their quarell they preved nat hemselff the beste, nother in the ryght.” (667)

And therewithal Sir Launcelot kyssed the Quene, and that he seyde all opynly, “Now lat se whatsomeve he be in thys place that dare sey the Quene ys nat trew unto my lorde Arthur, lat se who woll speke and he dare speke.” (670)

…for, have I sufficiaunte that may longe unto my person, I woll aske none other ryches nother array— (671)

I shall sende a messyngere unto my lorde Arthur a tretyse for to take, for better ys pees than allwayes warre.”
So Sir Launcelot sente for the a damsel wyth a dwarff with her, requyryng Kyng Arthur to leve hys warring uppon hys londys. And so he [she] starte uppon a palferey, and the dwarffe ran by her side, and whan she cam to the pavelon of Kynge Arthur, there she alyght. And there mette her a jantyll knyght, Sir Lucan the Butlere, and seyde, Fayre damesell, com ye frome Sir Launcelot du Lake?” (673)

“Sir, now muste you deffende you like a knyght, other ellis ye be shamed for ever—for now ye be called uppon treson, hit ys tyme for you to styrre, for ye have slepte over logne, and suffirde overmuche.” (675)

And allwayes I forbeare you; for and I wolde be vengeable, I myght have mette you in myddys the fylde or thys tyme and thereto have made your bodliste knyghtes full take. … Than Sir Gawayne seyde unto Sir Launcelotte, “And thou darste do batayle, leve thy babelynge and com off, and lat us ease oure hartis!” (675)

And all thys langayge Sir Launcelot harde, and sayde thus: “Sir Gawayne, me repentis of oure fowle sayinge, that ye woll nat cease your langayge. For ye wote well, Sir Gawayne, I know youre myght and all that ye may do; (677)

And therefor, sir,” seyde the Bysshop, “leve thys opynyon, other ellis I shall curse you with booke, belle, and candyll.” (679)

Lo, ye, all Englysshemen, se ye nat what a myschyff here was? For he that was the moste kynge and nobelyst knyght of the worlde, and moste loved the felyshyp of noble knyghtes—and by hym they all were upholdyn—and yet myght nat thes Englyshemen holde them contente with hym. Lo, thus was the olde custom and usayges of thys londe; and men say that we of thys londe have nat yet loste that custom. (680)

“A, myn uncle,” seyde Sir Gawayne, “now I woll that ye wyte that my deth-dayes be com; and all I may wyte myne owne hastynes and my wylfulnesse, for thorow my wylfulnes I was causer of myne owne dethe. For I was thys day hurte and smitten uppon myne olde wounde that Sir Launcelot gaff me—and I fele myself that I muste nedis be dede by the owre of noone. (681)

And I woll that all the worlde wyte that I, Sir Gawayne, knyght of the Table Rounde, sought my dethe, and nat thorow thy deservynge, but myne owne sekynge. (682)

God hath sente me to you of Hys speciall grace to gyff you warnyng that in no wyse ye do batayle as tomorne, (684)

“Now tyde me dethe, tyde me lyff,” seyde the Kyng, “now I se hym yonder alone, he shall never ascape myne hondes—for at a bettir avayle shall I never have hym.” (685)

“Comforte thyself,” seyde the Kynge, “and do as well as thou mayste, (688)

So whan she myght speke, she called her ladys and jantillwomen to her, and than she sayde thus: “Ye mervayle, fayre ladyes, why I make thys fare. Truly,” she seyde, “hit ys for the syght of yonder knyght that yonder stondith, wherefore I pray you calle hym hyddir to me.”
Than Sir Launcelot was brought before her; than the Quene seyde to all tho ladyes, “Thorow thys same man and me hath all thys [691] warre be wrought, and the deth of the moste nobelest knyghtes of the worlde; for thorow oure love that we have loved togydirs ys my moste noble lorde slayne. Therefore, Sir Launcelot, wyte thou well I am sette in such a plight to gete my soule hele. And yet I truste, thorow Goddis grace and thorow Hys Passion of Hys woundis wyde, that aftir my deth I may have a syght of the blyssed face of Cryste Jesu, and on Doomesday to sytte on Hys ryght side; for as synfull as ever I was, now ar seyntes in hevyn. And therefore, Sir Launcelot, I require the and beseche the hartily, for all the love that ever was betwixt us, that thou never se me no more in the visayge. And I commaunde the, on Goddis behalff, that thou forsake my company, and to thy kyngedom loke thou turne agayne, and kepe well thy realme frome warre and wrake. For as well as I have loved the heretofore, myne harte woll nat serve now to se the; for thorow the and me ys the floure of kyngis and knyghtes destroyed. And therefore go thou to thy realme, and there take ye a wyff and lyff with hir wyth joy and blys—and I pray the hartely to pray for me to the everlastynge Lorde that I may amende my mysselyvyng.”
“Now, my swete madame,” seyde Sir Launcelot, “wolde ye that I shuld turne agayne unto my contrey and there to wedde a lady? Nay, madame, wyte you well, that shall I never do, for I shall never be so false unto you of that I have promised; but the self destiny that ye havee takyn you to, I woll take me to, for the pleasure of Jesu, and ever for you I caste me specially to pray.” (692)


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