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Book Of Merlin, And The Coming Of Arthur - X

( Originally Published 1907 )

THEN king Arthur, and king Ban, and king Bors departed with their fellowship, about twenty thousand, and came, within six days, into the country of Cameliard, and there rescued king Leodegraunce, and slew there much people of king Rience, unto the number of ten thousand men, and put him to flight. And then had these three kings great cheer of king Leodegraunce, and thanked them of their great goodness that they would revenge him of his enemies. And there had king Arthur the first sight of Guenever, daughter unto king Leodegraunce, and ever after he loved her; and afterward they were wedded, as it shall be showed hereafter. So bravely to make an end, these two kings took their leave to go into their own country ; for king Claudas did great destruction on both their lands. "Then," said king Arthur, "I will go with you." "Nay," said the two kings, "ye shall not at this time, for ye have yet much to do in these lands, therefore we will depart ; and with the great goods that we have gotten in these lands, by your gifts, we shall wage many good knights, and withstand the malice of king Claudas ; for by the grace of God, if we have need, we will send to you for succor. And if ye have need, send 'for us, and we will not tarry, by the faith of our bodies." " t shall not need," said Merlin, "that these two kings come again in the way of war ; but I know well that the noble king Arthur may not be long from you; for ere twelve months be passed, ye shall have great need of him, and then he shall revenge you on your enemies, as ye have revenged him on his ; for these eleven kings shall die all in one day, by the great might and prowess of arms of two valiant knights, as it shall be showed hereafter, their names Ben Balin le Savage, and Balan, his brother, which be marvellous good knights as any be now living."

Now turn we unto the eleven kings which returned to the city, that hight Sorhaute, which city was within king Urience's land, and there they refreshed them as well as they might, and made leeches to search their wounds, and sorrowed greatly for the death of their people. With that there came a messenger, and told them, "that there was coming into their lands people that were lawless, as well as Saracens, forty thousand, and have burnt and slain all the people that they may come by, without mercy, and have laid siege unto the castle of Vandesborough." "Alas !" said the eleven kings, "here is sorrow upon sorrow; and if we had not warred against king Arthur, as we have done, he would soon revenge us; and as for king Leodegraunce, he loveth king Arthur better than us; and as for king Rience, he has enough to do with king Leodegraunce, for he hath laid siege unto him." So they consented to keep all the marshes of Cornwall, of Wales, and of the north. So first they put king Idres in the city of Nauntes, in Britain, with four thousand men of arms, for to watch both the water and the land; also they put in the city of Windesan king Nentres of Garlot, with four thousand knights for to watch both the water and the land.

Also they had, of other men of war, more than eight thousand for to fortify all the fortresses in the marshes of Cornwall; also they put more knights in all the marshes of Wales, and of Scotland, with many good men of arms. And so they kept them together for the space of three years, and ever allied them with mighty kings, dukes, lords, and gentlemen; and to them fell king Rience of North Wales, which was a mighty man of men ; and also Nero, that was a mighty man of good men also. And all this while they furnished and garnished them of good men of arms, and victuals, and all manner of ordinance that belongeth to war for to avenge them of the battle of Bedegraine, as it is rehearsed in the book of adventure following.

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