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Book Of Merlin, And The Coming Of Arthur - IV

( Originally Published 1907 )

"Now assay you," said Sir Ector to Sir Kaye. And anon he pulled at the sword with all his might, but it would not be. "Now shall ye assay," said Sir Ector to Arthur. "With a good will," said Arthur, and pulled it out easily. And therewithal Sir Ector kneeled down to the earth, and Sir Kaye also. "Alas !" said Arthur, "mine own dear father, and my brother, why kneel you to me ?" "Nay, nay, my lord Arthur, it is not so. I was never your father, nor of your blood, but I wot well that you are of an higher blood than I weened you were?" And then Sir Ector told him all how he was betaken him to nourish, and by whose commandment, and by Merlin's deliverance. Then Arthur made great moan when he understood that Sir Ector was not his father. "Sir," said Sir Ector unto Arthur, "will you be my good and gracious lord when you are king?" "Else were I to blame," said Arthur, "for you are the man in the world that I am most beholden unto, and my good lady and mother, your wife, that, as well as her own, hath fostered and kept me; and, if ever it be God's will that I be king, as you say, ye shall desire of me what I may do, and I shall not fail you ; God forbid I should fail you." "Sir," said Sir Ector, "I will ask no more of you but that you will make my son, your fostered brother, Sir Kaye, seneschal of all your lands." "That shall be done, sir," said Arthur, "and more by the faith of my body, and that never man shall have that office but he while that he and I live." Therewithal they went unto the archbishop, and told him how the sword was achieved, and by whom. And, upon the twelfth day, all the barons came thither for to assay to take the sword who that would assay. But there before them all there might none take it out but only Arthur, wherefore there were many great lords wrath, and said, "It was great shame unto them all and the realm, to be governed with a boy of no high blood born." And so they fell out at that time, that it was put off till Candlemas, and thin all the barons should meet there again. But always the ten knights were ordained for to watch the sword both day and night ; and so they set a pavilion over the stone and the sword, and five always watched. And at Candlemas many more great lords came thither for to have won the sword, but none of them I might prevail ; and right as Arthur did at Christmas he did at Candlemas, and pulled out the sword easily, whereof the barons were sore aggrieved, and put it in delay till the high feast of, Easter; and, as Arthur sped before, so did he at Easter; and yet there were some of the great lords had indignation that Arthur should be their king, and put it off in delay till the feast of Pent cost. ' Then the Archbishop of Canterbury, by Merlin's providence, Iet purvey of the best knights that might be gotten, and such knights as king Utherpendragon loved best, and most trusted in his days ; and such knights were put about Arthur, a Sir Boudwine, of Britain ; Sir Kaye, Sir Ulfius, and Sir Brastias; all these, with many others, were always about Arthur, day and night, till the feast of Pentecost.

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