Book Of Sir Launcelot Du Lake
( Originally Published A Long Time Ago )
Now leave we of Sir Tristram de Lyons, and speak we of Sir Launcelot du Lake, and Sir Galahad, Sir Launcelot's son, how he was begotten, and in what manner. Afore the time that Sir Galahad was begotten or born, there came in a hermit unto King Arthur, on Whitsunday, as the knights sat at the Round Table ; and when the hermit saw the siege perilous, he asked the King and all the knights, why that seat was void? King Arthur and all the knights answered, "There shall never more sit in that siege but one, but if he be destroyed." "Then," said the hermit, "wot ye not what he is ?" "Nay," said King Arthur and all the knights, "we wot not who he is that shall sit therein." "Then wot I," said the hermit, "for he that shall sit in that siege is yet unborn and ungotten, and this same year he shall be gotten that shall sit in that siege perilous, and he shall win the Sancgreal." When the hermit had made this mention, he departed from the court of King Arthur. And then after the feast Sir Launcelot rode on his adventures, till upon a time by adventure he passed over the bridge of Corbin : and there he saw the fairest tower that ever he saw, and there under was a fair town full of people, and all the people, men and women, cried all at once, "Ye are welcome, Sir Launcelot du Lake, the flower of all knighthood, for by thee all we shall be holpen out of danger." "What mean ye," said Sir Launcelot, "that ye cry so upon me ?" "Ah! fair knight," said they all, "here is within this tower a dolorous lady, that hath been there in pains many winters ; for ever she boileth in scalding water. And but late," said all the people, "Sir Gawaine was here, and he might not help her, and so he left her still in pain." "So may I," said Sir Launcelot, "leave her in pain as well as Sir Gawaine hath done." "Nay," said the people, "we know well that it is Sir Launcelot that shall deliver her." "Well," said Sir Launcelot, "then show me what I shall do." Then they brought Sir Launcelot into the tower : and, when he came to the chamber there as this lady was, the doors of iron unlocked and unbolted, and so Sir Launcelot went into the chamber that was as hot as any stew, and there Sir Launcelot took the fairest lady by the hand that ever he saw, and she was all naked as a needle. And, by enchantment, Queen Morgan le Fay and the Queen of Northgalis had put her in there in those pains, because she was called one of the fairest ladies in that country : and there she had been well five years, and never might she be delivered out of her great pains unto the time that the best knight of the world had taken her by the hand. Then the people brought her clothes : and, when she was arrayed, Sir Launcelot thought she was the fairest lady in the world, but if it were Queen Guenever. Then this lady said unto Sir Launcelot, "Sir, if it please you, will ye go with me here by into a chapel, that we may give lauding and praising unto Almighty God ?" "Madam," said Sir Launcelot, "come on with me; I will go with you." So when they came there they gave thanks unto God, and all the people learned and gave thanks unto God, and said, "Sir knight, since ye have delivered this lady, ye shall deliver us from a serpent that is here in a tomb." Then Sir Launcelot took his shield, and said, "Bring me thither; and what I may do unto the pleasure of God and you, I will do it." So when Sir Launcelot came there, he saw written upon the tomb letters of gold, that said thus : "Here shall come a leopard of king's blood, and he will slay this serpent ; and this leopard shall engender a lion in this foreign country, the which lion shall pass all other knights." So then Sir Launcelot lift up the tomb, and there came out a horrible and fiendly dragon, spitting fire out of his mouth.
Then Sir LaunceIot drew out his sword and fought with the dragon long, and at the last with great pain Sir Launcelot slew the dragon. Therewithal came King Pelleas, the good and noble knight, and saluted Sir Launcelot, and he him again. "Fair knight," said the King, "what is your name? I require you of your knighthood tell me."
"SIR," said Sir Launcelot, "wit ye well my name is Sir Launcelot du Lake." "And my name is Sir Pelleas, King of the foreign country, and nigh cousin unto Joseph of Arimathy." Then either of them made much of other, and so they went into the castle for to take their repast; and anon there came in a dove at a window, and in her bill there seemed a little censer of gold, and therewithal there was such a savor, as though all the spicery of the world had been there. And forthwithal there was upon the table all manner of meats and drinks that they could think upon : so there came a damsel passing fair and young, and she bore a vessel of gold between her hands, and thereto the King kneeled devoutly, and said his prayers, and so did all that were there. "Oh Jesu," said Sir Launcelot, "what may this mean ?" "This is," said King Pelleas, "the richest thing that any man hath living. And when this thing goeth about, the Round Table shall be broken ; and wit ye well," said King Pelleas, "that this is the Holy Sancgreal which he have here seen." So King Pelleas and Sir Launcelot led their lives the most part of that day : and full fain would King Pelleas have found the means to have had Sir Launcelot for to have cast his love on his daughter, fair damsel named Elaine, and for this intent: the King knew well that Sir Launcelot should get a child upon his daughter, the which should be named Sir Galahad, the good knight, by whom all the foreign country should be brought out of danger, and by him the Holy Grail would be achieved. Then came there forth a lady, which was called Dame Brisen, and she said unto King Pelleas, "Sir, wit ye well that Sir Launcelot loveth no lady in the world, but only Queen Guenever ; and therefore ye must work by my counsel, and I shall make him to come to your daughter Elaine, and he shall not wit but that he is with Queen Guenever." "Oh, the most fairest lady, Dame Brisen," said King Pelleas, "hope ye to bring this about?" "Sir," said she, "upon pain of my life let me deal." For this Dame Brisen was one of the greatest enchantresses that was at that time in the world living. Then anon by Dame Brisen's wit : he made one to come to Sir Launcelot that he knew weal: and this man brought him a ring from Queen Guenever like as he had come from her, and such a one for the most part as she was wont to wear. And when Sir Launcelot saw that token, wit ye well he was never so fain. "Where is my lady, Queen Guenever?" said Sir Launcelot. "She is in the castle of Case," said the messenger, "but five miles hence." Then Sir Launcelot thought to be there that same night. And then this Dame Brisen, by the commandment of King Pelleas, let send his daughter to that castle with twenty-five knights. Then Sir Launcelot against night rode unto that castle, and there anon he was received worshipfully, with such people unto him seeming as were about Queen Guenever's secret. So when Sir Launcelot was alighted he asked where the Queen was. So Dame Brisen said she was in her chamber. And then the people were avoided, and Sir Launcelot was led unto the chamber : and Dame Brisen brought Sir Launcelot a cup full of wine; and, as soon as he had drunk that wine he was so besotted, and so mad, that he weened the Lady Elaine had been Queen Guenever. Wit ye well that Sir Launcelot was glad, and so was the damsel, Elaine; for well she knew, that the same night Sir Galahad should be begotten that should prove the best knight of the world; and so they lay unto five o'clock on the morrow. And all the windows and holes of that chamber were stopped, that no manner of light might be seen; and then Sir Launcelot remembered him, and he arose and went to the window.
AND anon, as he had unshut the window, the enchantment was gone. "Alas!" said he, "that I have lived so long; now am I shamed." So then he got his sword in his hand, and said, "Thou traitoress, what art thou that hast bewitched me all this night? thou shalt die right here of my hand." Then this fair damsel, Elaine, kneeled down before Sir Launcelot, and said, "Fair, courteous knight, come of king's blood, I require you have mercy upon me; and, as thou are renowned the most noble knight of the world, slay me not, for I shall bear him, by thee, that shall be the most noblest knight of the world." "Ah, thou false traitoress !" said Sir Launcelot, "why hast thou thus betrayed me? Anon tell me what thou art !" She answered and said, "Sir, I am Elaine, the daughter of King Pelleas." "Well," said Sir Launcelot, "I will forgive you this deed ;" and there-with he took her up in his arms, and kissed her; for she was a fair lady, and thereto lusty and young, and wise as any was at that time living. "So God me help," said Sir Launcelot, "I may not put this blame to you, but her that made this enchantment upon me, as between you and me, and I may find that same Lady Brisen, she shall lose her head for her witchcraft, for there was never knight so deceived as I am this night." and so Sir Launcelot arrayed him and armed him, and took his leave mildly of that young lady, Elaine, and so he departed. Then she said, "My lord, Sir Launcelot, I beseech you, see me as soon as ye may, for I have obeyed me unto the prophecy that my father told me, and, by his commandment to fulfil this prophecy, I have given the greatest riches and the fairest flower that ever I had, that is, my maidenhood, which I shall never have again; and therefore, gentle knight, owe me your good will." So Sir Launcelot arrayed him, and was armed, and took , his leave mildly of that young lady, Dame Elaine, and so he de-parted, and rode till he came to the castle of Corbin, where her father was. And, as soon as her time came, she was delivered of a fair child, and they christened him, and named him Galahad; and wit ye well, that child was well kept, and well nourished ; and he was thus named Galahad, for because Sir Launcelot was so named at the font stone; and after that the Lady of the Lake confirmed him Sir Launcelot du Lake. Then, after that this Lady Elaine was delivered and churched, there came a knight unto her, whose name was Sir Bromell le Plech, which was a great lord, and he had loved that lady long, and he ever-more desired that he might wed her; and so by no means she could put him off; till, upon a day, she said to Sir Bromell, "Wit ye well, sir knight, I will not love you, for my love is set upon the best knight of the world." "Who is he ?" said Sir Bromell. "Sir," said she, "it is Sir Launcelot du Lake that I love, and none other; therefore woo me no longer." "Ye say well," said Sir Bromell; "and since, ye have told me so much, ye shall have but little joy of Sir Launcelot; for I shall slay him wherever I meet him." "Sir," said Lady Elaine, "do him no treason." "Wit ye well, my lady," said Sir Bromell, "and I promise you these twelvemonths I shall keep the bridge of Corbin, for Sir Launcelot's sake ; that he shall neither come nor go to you, but I shall meet with him."
THEN, as it befel by fortune and adventure, Sir Bors de Gains, which was nephew unto Sir Launcelot, came over that bridge, and there Sir Bromell and Sir Bors jousted; and Sir Bors smote Sir Bromell such a buffet, that he bare him over his horse's tail : and then Sir Bromell, like an hardy knight, pulled out his sword, and dressed his shield, to do battle with Sir Bors ; and then Sir Bars alighted and avoided his horse ; and there they dashed together many sad strokes, and long thus they fought, till at the last Sir Bromell was laid unto the ground ; and there Sir Bors began for to unlace his helm, for to slay him. Then Sir Bromell cried Sir Bors mercy, and yielded him. "Well," said Sir Bors, "upon this covenant thou shalt have thy life : so thou go unto Sir Launcelot upon Whitsunday that next cometh, and yield ye thee unto him as a knight recreant." "I will do so," said Sir Bromell; and that he sware upon the cross of the sword, and so he let him depart. And Sir Bors rode unto King Pelleas, that was within Corbin, and when the King, and Elaine, his daughter, knew that Sir Bors was nephew unto Sir Launcelot, they made him great cheer. Then said Elaine, "We marvel much where Sir Launcelot is, for he came never here but once." "Marvel not," said Sir Bors, "for all this half year he hath been in prison, with Queen Morgan le Fay, King Arthur's sister." "Alas !" said Elaine, "that me sore repenteth." And ever Sir Bors beheld the child, that she had in her arms, and ever him seemed it was passing like Sir Launcelot. "Truly," said Elaine, "wit ye well that this child is his." Then Sir Bors wept for joy, and he prayed unto God the child might prove as good a knight as his father was. And so there came in a white dove, and she bare a little censer of gold in her bill: and anon there was all manner of meats and drink; and there was a maiden that bare the Sancgreal, and she said openly, "Wit ye well, sir Bars, that this child is Galahad, that shall sit in the Siege Perilous, and also shall achieve the Sancgreal ; and he shall be much better than ever was Sir Launcelot du Lake, that is his own father." And then they kneeled down and made their devotions ; and there was such a savour, as all the spicery in the world had been there ; and when the dove took her flight, the maiden vanished away with the Sancgreal, as she came. "Sir," said Sir Bors unto King Pelleas, "this castle may well be called the Castle Adventurous, for here be many strange adventures." "That is truth," said King Pelleas, "for well may this place be called the adventurous place, for here come but few knights that go away with any worship be he never so strong, here he may be proved : and, but late ago, Sir Gawaine, the good knight, got but little worship here. For I let you to wit," said King Pelleas, "here shall no knight win no worship, but if he be of worship himself, and of good living, and that loveth God, and dreadeth God ; and else he getteth no worship here, be he ever so hardy." "That is a wonderful thing !" said Sir Bors; "what ye mean in this country I wot not ; for ye have many strange adventures ; therefore I will lie in this castle this night." "Ye shall no do so," said King Pelleas, "by my counsel, for it is hard that ye escape without a shame." "I shall take the adventure that will befall me," said Sir Bors. "Then I counsel you," said King Pelleas, "for to be confessed clean." "As for that," said Sir Bors, "I will be confessed with a good will." So Sir Bors was confessed; and, for all women, Sir Bors was a virgin, save for one, which was the daughter of King Brandegoris. And so Sir Bors was led to bed into a fair, large chamber, and many doors were shut about that chamber; and, when Sir Bors espied all those doors, he made all the people to avoid, for he might have nobody with him ; but in nowise Sir Bors would unarm him, but so laid him upon the bed. And right so he saw come in a light, which he might well see, a spear great and long, which came straight upon him, point long; and so Sir Bors seemed that the head of the spear burnt like a taper. And anon, or Sir Bors wist, the spear-head smote him into the shoulder an hand's breadth in deepness; and that wound grieved Sir Bors passing sore; and then he laid him down again for pain. And anon therewithal came a knight, all armed, with his shield on his shoulder, and his sword drawn in his hand; and he said to Sir Bors, "Arise, sir knight ! and fight with me." "I am sore hurt," said Sir Bors; "but yet I shall not fail thee." And then Sir Bors started up, and dressed his shield; and then they lashed together mightily a great while. And so, at the last, Sir Bors bare him always backward until he came to a chamber door ; and there the knight went into that chamber, and there rested him a great while ; and, when he had rested him, he came out freshly again, and began a new battle with Sir Bors, mightily and strongly.
THEN Sir Bors thought he should no more go into that chamber to rest him ; and so Sir Bors dressed him between the knight and the chamber-door, and there Sir Bors smote him so sore that he fell down; and then that knight yielded him to Sir Bors. "What is your name?" said Sir Bors. "Sir," said that knight, "my name is Sir Pedivere, of the Straight Marches." So Sir Bors made him swear, that, at Whitsunday next coming, for io be at the court of King Arthur, and yield him there as prisoner, and an overcome knight, by the hands of Sir Bors. So thus departed Sir Pedivere, of the Straight Marches. And then Sir Bors laid him down for to rest him : and then he heard and felt much noise at that chamber. And then Sir Bors es-pied that there came in, he wist not whether at the doors or windows, a shot of arrows and cross-bow darts so thick, that he had great marvel of it; and there fell many upon him, and hurt him in the bare places. And then Sir Bors was aware where came in an hideous lion. So Sir Bors dressed him unto the lion ; and anon the lion bereft him of his shield : and with his sword Sir Bors smote off the lion's head. Right so, Sir Bors forthwith saw a dragon in the court, passing horrible, and there seemed letters of gold written in his forehead; and Sir Bors thought that the letters made a signification of his lord, King Arthur. Right so, there came an old and horrible leopard ; and there they fought long and did great battle together. And, at the last, the dragon spit out of his mouth as it had been well an hundred dragons ; and lightly all the small dragons slew the old dragon, and tore him all to pieces. And anon forthwith there came an old man into the hall, and he sat him down in a fair chair, and there seemed to be two great adders about his neck; and then the old man had a harp, and there he sang an old song, how Joseph of Arimathy came into this land. And when he had sang, the old man bade Sir Bors to go from hence; "for here shall ye have no more adventures ; and full worshipfully have ye done, and better shall ye do hereafter." And then Sir Bors seemed that there came the whitest dove that ever he saw, with a little gold censer in her mouth ; and anon therewithal the tempest ceased and passeth, that before was marvellous to hear. So was all the court full of good savours. Then Sir Bors saw four fair children, that bare four tapers, and an old man in the midst of the children, with a censer in his own hand, and a spear in his other hand; and that same spear was called the spear of vengeance.
"Now," said that old man unto Sir Bors, "go ye unto your cousin Sir Launcelot, and tell him of this adventure, the which had been most convenient for him of all earthly knights. But sin is so foul in him, that he may not achieve such holy deeds ; for, had not his sin been, he had passed all the knights that ever was in his days. And tell Thou Sir Launcelot, that, of all worldly adventures, he passeth in manhood and prowess all other; but, in these spiritual matters, he shall have many his better." And then Sir Bors saw four gentlewomen coming by him, poorly beseen ; and he saw whereas they entered into a chamber, where was a great light, as it were a summer light : and the women kneeled down before an altar of silver, with four pillars ; and he saw as it had been a bishop kneeling down before that table of silver : and, as Sir Bors looked up, he saw a sword like silver, naked, hovering over his head; and the clearness thereof smote so in his eyes, that, at that time, Sir Bors was blind. And there he heard a voice that said, "Go thou hence, thou Sir Bors ; for as yet thou art not worthy to be in this place." And then he went backward to his bed, till on the morrow ; and, on the morrow, King Pelleas made great joy of Sir Bors ; and then he departed, and rode to Camelot and there he found Sir Launcelot du Lake, and told him of the adventures that he had seen with King Pelleas at Corbin.
So the noise sprang to King Arthur's court, that Sir Launcelot had gotten a child by fair Elaine, the daughter of King Pelleas ; wherefore, Queen Guenever was wrath, and gave many rebukes unto Sir Launcelot, and called him false knight. And then Sir Launcelot told the Queen all, and how he was made to come to Elaine by enchantment, in likeness of the Queen : so the Queen held Sir Launcelot excused. And, as the book saith, King Arthur had been in France, and had much war upon the mighty King Claudas, and had won much of his lands, and, when the King was come again, he let cry a great feast, and all lords and ladies of England should be there, but such as were rebellious against him.
AND when the fair Elaine, the daughter of King Pelleas, heard of this feast, she sent unto her father, and required him that he would give her leave for to ride unto that feast. The King answered, "I will well that ye go thither ; but in anywise, as ye love me, and will have my blessing, that ye be well be-seen in the richest wise: and look that ye spare for no cost; ask and ye shall have all that you needeth." Then by the advice of Dame Brisen, her maid, all things were apparelled unto the purpose, and there was never more lady richly beseen than she was. So she rode with twenty knights, and ten ladies, and gentlewomen, to the number of an hundred horses ; and, when she came to Camelot, King Arthur and Queen Guenever said, and all the knights, that Elaine was the fairest and best beseen lady that ever was in that court. And anon, as King Arthur wist that she was come, he met her, and saluted her; and so did the most part of the knights of the Round Table, both Sir Tristram, Sir Bleoberis, and Sir Gawaine, and many more that I will not rehearse. But when Sir Launcelot saw her he was sore ashamed, and that because he drew his sword at the Castle of Case, that he would not see her, nor yet speak to her; and yet Sir Launcelot thought she was the fairest woman that he saw in his life days. But when Elaine saw that Sir Launcelot would not speak to her, she was so heavy, that she wend her heart would have burst: for wit ye well that out of measure she loved him. And then Elaine said unto her gentlewoman, Dame Brisen, "The unkindness of Sir Launcelot near hand slayeth me." "A peace, madam !" said Dame Brisen ; "I will undertake that this night he shall come to you, and ye would hold you still." "That were me rather," said Elaine, "than all the gold that is above the earth." "Let me deal," said Dame Brisen. So when Elaine was brought unto Queen Guenever, either made other good cheer by countenance, but nothing with hearts. But all men and women spake of the beauty of Elaine, and of her great riches. Then at night the Queen commanded that Elaine should sleep in a chamber, nigh unto her chamber, and all under one roof ; and so it was done as the Queen had commanded. Then the Queen sent for Sir Launcelot, and bade him come to her chamber that night, "Or else, I am sure," said the Queen, "that ye will go to your lady, Elaine, by whom ye gat Galahad." "Ah! madam," said Sir Launcelot, "never say ye so; for aforetime it was against my will." "Then," said the Queen, "look that ye will come to me when I send for you." "Madam," said Sir Launcelot, "I shall not fail you, but I shall be ready at your command." This bargain was not so soon done and made between them, but Dame Brisen knew it by her crafts, and told it to her lady, the fair Elaine. "Alas !" said she, "how shall I do?" "Let me deal," said Dame Brisen; "for I shall bring him by the hand to you, and he shall ween that I am Queen Guenever's messenger." "Now well is me," said Elaine, "for of all the world I love none so much as I do Sir Launcelot."
So, when the time came that all the folks were asleep, Dame Brisen came unto Sir Launcelot, and said, "Sir Launcelot du Lake, be ye asleep? my lady, Queen Guenever, waiteth upon you." "O, fair lady !" said Sir Launcelot, "I am ready to go with you and where ye will have me." So Sir Launcelot threw upon him a long gown, and took his sword in his hand ; and then Dame Brisen took him by the finger, and led him unto Elaine : and then she departed, and left them together. Wit ye well the lady was glad, and so was Sir Launcelot; for he weened that it was the Queen. Now leave we them, and speak we of Queen Guenever, that sent one of her gentlewomen unto Sir Launcelot; and, when she came there, she found Sir Launcelot away. So she came again unto the Queen, and told her all, how she had sped. "Alas!" said the Queen, "where is that knight become?" Then the Queen was nigh out of her wits, and then she writhed and weltered as a mad woman, and might not sleep a four or five hours. Then Sir Launcelot had a condition that he used of custom, he would clatter in his sleep, and speak oft of his lady, Queen Guenever. So Sir Launcelot had waked so long as it had pleased him ; then by course of kind he slept. And in his sleep he talked and clattered as a jay of the love that had been between Queen Guenever and him ; and so, as he talked so loud, the Queen heard him there as she lay in her chamber : and when she heard him so clatter, she was nigh out of her mind, and for anger and pain wist not what to do; and then she coughed so loud that Sir Launcelot awaked, and he knew her hemming ; and then he knew well that he was not with the Queen. And therewith he leapt out of his bed as he had been a madman in his shirt, and the Queen met him in the floor, and thus she said : "False traitor knight thou art, look thou never abide in my court, and avoid my chamber; and be not so hardy, thou false traitor knight that thou art, that ever come in my sight." "Alas," said Sir Launcelot, and therewith he took such a hearty sorrow at her words, that he fell down to the ground in a swoon ; and therewith Queen Guenever departed. And when Sir Launcelot awaked of his swoon he leapt out at a bay window into a garden, and there with thorns he was all to scratched in his visage and his body; and so he ran forth he wist not whither, and was mad as ever was man. And so he ran two years, and never man might have grace to know him.
Now turn we unto Queen Guenever, and unto Elaine. Then, when Elaine heard Queen Guenever so rebuke Sir Launcelot, and also she saw how he swooned, and after leapt out of a bay window, then she said unto Queen Guenever, "Madame, ye are greatly to blame for Sir Launcelot, for now ye have lost him ; for I saw and heard by his countenance that he is mad for ever. Alas, madam, ye do great sin, and to yourself great dishonour, for ye have a lord of your own, and therefore it is your part for ,to love him above all other ; for there is no Queen in all this world that hath such another King as ye have; and if it were not, I might have the-love of my lord, Sir Launcelot; and because I have to love him, for by him I have borne a fair son, and his name is Galahad, and he shall be in his time the best knight in the world." "I warn and charge you, Elaine," said the Queen, "that, when it is daylight, to avoid my court; and, for the love ye owe to Sir Launcelot, discover not your counsel, for and ye do it will be his death." "As for that," said Elaine, "I dare undertake he is marred for ever, and that have ye made; for ye nor I are like to rejoice him, for he made the most piteous groan when he leapt out at yonder bay window that ever I heard man make." "Alas !" said Queen Guenever, "for now I wot well we have lost him for ever." "Alas !" said fair Elaine. So on the morrow Elaine took her leave to de-part, and she would no longer abide. Then King Arthur brought her on her way, with more than a hundred knights, through a great forest : and by the way she told Sir Bors de Ganis all how it betide that same night, and how Sir Launcelot leapt out at a bay window, distraught out of his wit. "Alas!" said Sir Bors, "where is my lord, Sir Launcelot, become?" "Sir," said Elaine, "I cannot tell you." "Alas," said Sir Bors, "between you both ye have destroyed that good knight." "As for me," said Elaine, "I said never, nor did never thing that should in anywise displease him ; but with the great rebuke that Queen Guenever gave him, I saw him swoon to the ground ; and when he awoke he took his sword in his hand, naked, save his shirt, and leapt out at a window, with the grisliest groan that ever I heard any man make." "Now farewell, Elaine," said Sir Bors, "and hold my lord, King Arthur, with a tale as long as ye may, for I- will turn again unto Queen Guenever, and give her an heat ; and I require you, as ye will have my service, make good watch, and espy if ye may see my lord, Sir Launcelot." "Truly," said Elaine, "I will do all that I may, for as fain would I know where he is become as you or any of his kin, or as Queen Guenever, and a good cause I have thereto, as well as any other. And wit ye well, I would lose my life for him rather than he should be hurt. But, alas! I fear me that I shall never see him, and the chief causer of all this is Dame Guenever." "Madam," said Dame Brisen (the which had made the enchantment before between Sir Launcelot and her), "I pray you heartily let Sir Bors depart, and hie him with all his might as fast as he may to seek Sir Launcelot, for I warn you he is clean out of his mind, and yet he shall be well helped, and but by miracle." Then wept Elaine, and so did Sir Bors de Canis, and so they departed; and Sir Bors rode straight unto Queen Guenever : and when she saw Sir Bors, she began to weep as she had been mad. "Fie upon your weeping," said Sir Bors, "for ye weep never but when there is no boot. Alas, that ever Sir Launcelot's kin saw you ; for now have ye lost the best knight of all our blood, and he that was the leader of us all, and our succour : and, I dare well say, and make it good, that all kings, Christian or heathen, may not find such a knight, for to speak of his nobleness and courtesy, with his beauty and gentleness. Alas !" said Sir Bors, "what shall we do that be of his blood ?" "Alas !" said Sir Ector de Maris. "Alas !" said Sir Lionel.
AND when the Queen heard them say so, she fell to the ground in a deadly swoon. And then Sir Bors took her and roused her; and when she was come to herself again, she kneeled before the three knights, and held up both her hands, and besought them to seek him, and not to spare for no goods but that he be found, for I wot well he is out of his mind. And Sir Bors, Sir Ector, and Sir Lionel departed from the Queen, for they might not abide no longer for sorrow. And then the Queen sent them treasure enough for their expenses : and so they took their horses and their armour, and departed, and then they rode from country to country, in forests, and in wildernesses, and in ways, and ever they laid watch as well both at forests and at all manner of men as they rode to hearken and to inquire after him, as he that was a naked man in his shirt, with a sword in his hand. And thus they rode well nigh a quarter of a year endlong and overthwart in many places, forests, and wildernesses, and oftentimes were evil lodged for his sake, and yet for all their labour and seeking could they never hear word of him ; and, wit ye well, these three knights were passing sorry. So then, at the last, Sir Bors and his fellows met with a knight that hight Sir Melion de Tartare. "Now, fair knight," said Sir Bors, "whither be ye going?" for they knew either other beforetime. "Sir," said Sir Melion, "I am in the way towards the court of King Arthur." "Then we pray you," said Sir Bors, "that ye will tell my lord, King Arthur, and my lady, Queen Guenever, and all the fellowship of the Round Table, that we cannot in no wise tell where Sir Launcelot is become." Then Sir Melion departed from them, and said that he would tell the King, and the Queen, and all the fellowship of the Round Table, as they had desired him. So when Sir Melion was come unto the court of King Arthur, he told the King, and the Queen, and all the fellowship of the Round Table, what Sir Bors had said of Sir Launcelot. Then Sir Gawaine, Sir Ewaine, Sir Sagramore le Desirous, Sir Agio-vale, and Sir Percivale de Galis took upon them, by the great desire of King Arthur, and in especial by the Queen, to seek throughout all England, Wales, and Scotland, to find Sir Launcelot ; and with them rode eighteen knights more to bear them fellowship; and, wit ye well, that they lacked no manner of spending, and so were they twenty-three knights. Now return we unto Sir Launcelot, and speak we of his care and woe, and what pain that he endured; for cold, hunger, and thirst, he had plenty. And thus, as these noble knights rode together, they by one assent departed asunder, and then they rode by two, by three, by four, and by five ; and ever they assigned where they should meet. And so Sir Aglovale and Sir Percivale rode together unto their mother, which was à Queen in those days : and when she saw her two sons, for joy she wept right tenderly, and then she said unto them, "Ah, my dear sons, when your father was slain he left me four sons, of the which now be two slain, and for the death of my noble son, Sir Lamoracke, shall my heart never be glad." And then she kneeled down upon both her knees before Sir Aglovale and Sir Percivale, and besought them to abide at home with her. "Ah, sweet mother," said Sir Percivale, "we may not abide here, for we be come of King's blood on both parties ; and therefore, mother, it is our kind to hunt at arms and noble deeds." "Alas ! my sweet sons," said she, "for your sakes I shall lose my liking and lust, and wind and weather I may not endure, what for the death of your father, King Pellinore, that was shamefully slain by the hands of Sir Gawaine, and his brother, Sir Gaheris ; and they slew him not manfully, but by treason. And, my dear sons, this is a piteous complaint for me of your father's death, considering also the death of Sir Lamoracke, which of knight-hood had but few fellows : now, my dear sons, have this in your minds." Then there was great weeping and sobbing in the court when they should depart, and she fell down in a swoon in the midst of the court.
As soon as she came again to herself, she sent a squire after them with spending enough for them. And when the squire had overtook them, they would not suffer him to ride with them, but sent him home again to comfort their mother, praying her meekly of her blessing. And so this squire was benighted, and, by misfortune, he happened to come unto a castle where dwelled a baron ; and so when the squire was come into the castle, the lord asked him from whence he came, and whom he served. "My lord," said the squire, "I serve a good knight, that is called Sir Aglovale." The squire said it to a good in-tent, weening unto him to have been the more forborne for Sir Aglovale's sake, than that he had answered he had served the Queen, Sir Aglovale's mother. "Well, my fellow," said the lord of the castle, "for Sir Aglovale's sake thou shalt have an evil lodging; for Aglovale slew my brother, and therefore thou shalt die on part of payment." And then the lord commanded his men to have him out of his castle, and there they slew him out of mercy. Right so on the morrow came Sir Aglovale and Sir Percivale riding by a churchyard where men and women were busy, and beheld the dead squire, and thought to bury him. "What is there," said Sir Aglovale, "that ye behold so fast?" A good man started forth and said, "Fair knight, here lieth a squire slain shamefully this night." "How was he slain, fair fellow ?" said Sir Aglovale. "My fair sir," said the man, "the lord of this castle lodged the squire this night; and because he said he was servant unto a good knight that is with King Arthur, his name is Sir Aglovale, therefore the lord commanded to slay him, and for this cause he is slain." "Gramercy," said Sir Aglovale, "and lightly shall ye see his death revenged, for I am the same knight for whom this squire was slain." Then Sir Aglovale called unto him Sir Percivale, and bid him alight quickly, and so they alighted both. And so they went on foot into the castle, and as soon as they were within the castle-gate Sir Aglovale bid the porter go into his lord, and tell him that I am Sir Aglovale, for whom this squire was slain this night. Anon, the porter told this unto his lord, whose name was Sir Goodwin, and anon he armed him, and then he came into the court and said, "Which of you is Sir Aglovale." "Here am I," said Sir Aglovale : "for what cause," said Sir Aglovale, "slewest thou this night my mother's squire ?" "I slew him," said Sir Goodwin, "because of thee ; thou slewest my brother, Sir Gawdelyn." "As for thy brother," said Sir Aglovale, "I avow it I slew him; for he was a false knight, and a betrayer of ladies and of good knights, and for the death of my squire thou shalt die." "I defy thee," said Sir Goodwin : and then they lashed together as eagerly as it had been two wild lions ; and Sir Percivale fought with all the remnant that would fight : and so within awhile Sir Percivale had slain all that would withstand him ; for Sir Percivale dealed so his strokes, that were so rude, that there durst no man abide him. And, within a little while, Sir Aglovale had down Sir Goodwin to the earth, and there he unlaced his helm, and struck off his head. And then they departed and took their horses; and then they let carry the dead squire unto a priory, and there they buried him.
AND when this was done, they rode into many countries, ever inquiring after Sir Launcelot, but in nowise they could hear of him. And at the last they came to a castle hight Cardigan, and there Sir Percivale and Sir Aglovale were lodged together; and privily, about midnight, Sir Percivale came to Sir Aglovale's squire, and said, "Arise, and make thee ready, for thou and I will ride away secretly." "Sir," said the squire, "I would fain ride with you where ye would have me, but, and my lord your brother take me, he will slay me." "As for that, care thou not," said Sir Percivale, "for I shall be thy war-rant." And so they rode till it was afternoon, and then they came upon a bridge of stone, and there he found a knight that was bound with a chain fast about the waist unto a pillar of marble. "O, fair knight," said that bound knight, "I require thee loose me of my hands." "What knight are ye," said Sir Percivale, "and for what cause are ye so bound ?" "Sir, I shall you, tell" said that knight ; "I am a knight of the Round Table, and my name is Sir Persides, and thus by adventure I came this way, and here I lodged in this castle at the bridge foot, and therein dwelleth an uncourteous lady ; and, because she proffered me to be my paramour, and that I refused her, she set her men upon me suddenly or that I might come to my weapon, and thus they bound me, and here, and wot well I shall die, but if some man of worship break my hands." "Be ye of good cheer," said Sir Percivale, "and because ye are a knight of the Round Table as well as I, I trust to God to break your hands ;" and therewith Sir Percivale drew out his sword, and stroke at the chain with such a might, that he cut in two the chain, and went through Sir Persides' hawberk, and hurt him a little. "O Jesu," said Sir Persides, "that was a mighty stroke as ever I felt, for had not the chain been ye had slain me." And there-withal Sir Persides saw a knight coming out of the castle all that he might, flying. "Beware," said Sir Persides, "yonder cometh a man that will have to do with you." "Let him come," said Sir Percivale. And so he met with that knight in the midst of the bridge, and Sir Percivale gave him such a buffet, that he smote him quite from his horse, and over a part of the bridge, that had not been a little vessel underneath the bridge that knight had been drowned. And then Sir Percivale took the knight's horse, and made Sir Persides to mount upon him. And so they rode unto the castle, and bid the lady deliver Sir Persides' servants, or else he would slay all that he might find. And so for fear she delivered them all. Then was Sir Percivale aware of a lady that stood in a tower. "Ah, madam," said Sir Percivale, "what use is that in a lady for to destroy good knights but if they will be your paramour forthwith; it is a shameful custom of a lady; and if that I had not a great matter in hand, I should undo your evil customs." And so Sir Persides brought Sir Percivale unto his own castle, and there he made him the best cheer that he could devise all that night. And, on the morrow, when Sir Percivale had heard mass, and broken his fast, he bid Sir Persides ride unto King Arthur, "and tell the King how ye met with me, and tell my brother, Sir Aglovale, how I rescued you, and bid my brother that he seek not after me; for tell him that I am in the quest for to seek Sir Launcelot du Lake, and though he seek me, he shall not find me; and tell him that I will never see him nor the court till I have found Sir Launcelot. Also, tell Sir Kaye, the seneschal, and Sir Modred, that I trust unto Jesu to be of as great worthiness as either of them ; for tell them, that I shall never forget their mocks and scorns that they did to me that day when I was made knight; and tell them, that I will never see that court till men speak of me more worship than ever man did of any of them both." And Sir Persides departed from Sir Percivale, and then he rode unto King Arthur, and told there of Sir Percivale; and when Sir Aglovale heard him speak of his brother, Sir Percivale, he said, "He departed from me unkindly."
"SIR," said Sir Persides, "on my life he shall prove a noble knight as any is now living." And when he saw Sir Kaye and Sir Mordred, Sir Persides said thus : "My fair lords both, Sir Percivale greeteth you well both, and he sendeth you word by me, that he trusteth unto God, or ever he cometh to the court again to be of as great nobleness as ever ye were both, and more men to speak of his nobleness than ever did of yours." "It may well be," said Sir Kaye and Sir Mordred, "but at that time when he was made knight he was full unlikely to prove a good knight." "As for that," said King Arthur, "he must needs prove a good knight, for his father and his brethren were noble knights" Now will we return unto Sir Percivale, that rode long, and in a forest he met a knight with a broken shield and a broken helm; and as soon as either saw other readily, they made them ready to joust, and so hurtled together with all the might of their horses, and met together so hard, that Sir Percivale was smitten to the earth. And then Sir Percivale arose lightly, and cast his shield upon his shoulder, and drew his sword, and bade the other knight alight and do battle to the uttermost. "Will ye more ?" said the knight ; and therewith he alighted and put his horse from him, and then they came together an easy pace, and there they lashed together with their swords ; and sometimes they stroke, and sometimes they feigned, and either gave other many great wounds. Thus they fought near half-a-day, and never rested them but little ; and there was none of them both that had less wounds than fifteen, and they bled so much, that it was marvel that they stood upon their feet. But this knight that fought with Sir Percivale was a proved knight, and a well fighting, and Sir Percivale was young and strong, not knowing in fighting as the other was. Then Sir Percivale spake first, and said—"Sir knight, hold thy hand a little while still, for we have fought for a simple matter and quarrel ever long, and therefore I require thee of gentleness tell me thy name, for I was never or this time matched." "So God me help," said the other knight, "and never before this time was there never no manner of knight, the which wounded and hurt me so dangerously as thou hast done; and yet have I fought in many battles, and now shalt thou wit that I am a knight of the Round Table, and my name is Sir Ector de Maris, brother unto the good knight, Sir Launcelot du Lake." "Alas !" said Sir Percivale, "and my name is Sir Percivale de Galis, that have made my quest for to seek Sir Launcelot : now am I seeker that I shall never finish my quest, for ye have slain me." "It is not so," said Sir actor, "for I am slain by your hands, and may not live ; therefore I require you," said Sir Ector unto Sir Percivale, "ride ye hereby unto a priory, and bring me a priest, that I may receive my Saviour, for I may not live. And when ye come unto the court of King Arthur, tell not my brother Sir Launcelot how ye have slain me, for then he will be your mortal enemy; but ye may say, that I was slain in my quest as I sought him." "Alas !" said Sir Percivale, "ye say that thing that never will be, for I am so faint for bleeding, that unless I may stand, how. should I then take my horse."
THEN they made both great dole out of measure. "This will not avail," said Sir Percivale; and then he kneeled down and made his prayers devoutly unto Almighty God, for he was one of the best knights of the world that was at that time, in whom t the very faith stood most in. Right so there came by the holy vessel of the Sancgreal, with all manner of sweetness and savour, but they could not readily see who bear that holy vessel; but Sir Percivale had a glimmering of that vessel, and of the maiden that bear it ; for she was a perfect clean maid. And forthwith they were both as whole of limb and hide as ever they were in their life days ; wherefore, they gave thanks unto Almighty God right devoutly. "O Jesu !" said Sir Percivale, "what may this mean, that we be thus healed, and right now we were at a point of dying." "I wot well," said Sir Ector, "what it is; it is an holy vessel that is borne by a maiden, and therein is a part of the holy blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, blessed might He be; but it may not be seen," said Sir Ector, "but if he be by a perfect man." "So God me help," said Sir Percivale, "I saw a damsel as me, though all in white, with a vessel in both her hands, and forthwithal I was whole." So then they took their horses and their harness, and amended it as well as they might, that was broken, and so they mounted upon their horses, and rode talking together; and there Sir Ector told Sir Percivale how he had sought his brother Sir Launcelot, and never could have knowledge of him. In many strange ventures have I been in this quest; and so either told other of their adventures.
AND now leave we a little of Sir Ector and Sir Percivale, and speak we of Sir Launcelot, that suffered and endured many harp showers, which ever ran wild wood from place to place, and lived by fruit, and such as he might get, and drank water two years; and other clothing had he but little, save his shirt and his breeches. And thus, as Sir Launcelot wandered here and there, he came into a fair meadow, where he found a pavilion, and there upon a tree hung a white shield, and two swords hung thereby, and two spears there leaned against a tree. And when Sir Launcelot saw the swords, anon he leapt to the one sword, and took it in his hand, and drew it out, and then 'the lashed at the shield; that all the meadow rang of the dints that he gave, with such a noise as ten knights had fought together. Then there came forth a dwarf, and leapt unto Sir Launcelot, and would have had the sword out of his hand; and then Sir Launcelot took him by both the shoulders, and threw him to the ground upon his neck, that he had almost broken his neck; and therewithal the dwarf cried for help. Then came forth a little knight, and well apparelled in scarlet, furred with minever; and anon as he saw Sir Launcelot, he deemed that he should be out of his wits, and then he said with fair speech, "Good friend, lay down that sword, for as me seemeth thou hast more need to sleep, and of warm clothes, than to wield that sword." "As for that," said Sir Launcelot, "come thou not nigh me; for and thou do, wit thou well I will slay thee." And when the knight of the pavilion saw that, he started back-ward within the pavilion; and then the dwarf armed him lightly, and so the knight thought by force and might to take the sword from Sir Launcelot : and so he came stepping out ; and when Sir Launcelot saw him come all armed with his sword in his hand, Sir Launcelot flew upon him with such might, and hit him upon the helm such a buffet, that the stroke troubled his brains. And therewith the sword brake in three, and the knight fell to the ground as though he had been dead, and the blood burst out at his mouth, nose, and ears. And then Sir Launcelot ran into the pavilion, and there he crept into the warm bed; and in that bed there was a lady, and lightly she gat her smock, and ran out of the pavilion. And when she saw her lord lie on the ground, like to be dead, then she cried and wept as though she had been mad. Then with her noise the knight awaked out of his swoon, and looked up quickly with his eyes, and then he asked her where the mad-man was that had given him such a buffet; for such a buffet had I never of man's hand." "Sir," said the dwarf, "it is no worship to hurt him; for he is a man out of his wits, and doubt ye not he hath been a man of great worship, and for some heartily sorrow that he hath taken he is fallen mad." "And me seemeth," said the dwarf, "that he resembleth much unto Sir Launcelot du Lake, for him I saw at the great tournament beside Lonazep." "Jesu defend," said that knight; "that ever the noble knight Sir Launcelot should be in such a plight; but whatsoever he be," said that knight, "harm will I none do him." And this knight's name is Sir Bliaunt ; then he said unto the dwarf, "Go thou in all haste, on horseback, unto my brother Sir Selivant, that is at the castle Blanche, and tell him of mine adventure, and bid him bring with him a horse litter, and then will we bear this knight unto my castle."
So the dwarf rode fast and came again, and brought Sir Selivant with him, and six men with a horse-litter. And so they took up the feather-bed with Sir Launcelot, and carried all with them to the castle Blanche, and he never awakened until he was within the castle; and then they bound his hands and his feet, and gave him good meals and good drink, and brought him again to his strength and his fairness; but in his wits they could not bring him again, nor to know himself. r Thus Sir Launcelot was there more than a year and a half, honestly arrayed, and fair faring withal. Then upon a day, this lord of that castle, Sir Bliaunt, took his arms on horseback, with a spear to seek adventures; and as he rode in a forest there met him two knights adventurous; the one was Sir Breuse Sans Pitie, and his brother, Sir Bertlot; and these two ran both at once upon Sir Bliaunt, and break both their spears upon his body, and then they drew out their swords, and made a great battle, and fought long together ; but at the last Sir Bliaunt was sore wounded, and felt himself faint, and then he fled on horseback towards his castle. And as they came hurtling under the castle, where Sir Launcelot lay in a window, and saw two knights laid upon Sir Bliaunt with their swords ; and when Sir Launcelot saw that, yet as mad as he was, he was sorry for his lord Sir Bliaunt. And then Sir Launcelot break his chains from his legs, and from his arms, and in his breaking he hurt both his hands ; and so Sir Launcelot ran out at a postern, and there he met with the two knights that chased Sir Bliaunt, and there he pulled down Bertlot with his bare hands from his horse, and therewithal he writhed his sword out of his hands ; and as he leapt up to Sir Breuse, and gave him such a buffet upon the head, that he tumbled backward over the horse's croup. And when Sir Bertlot saw his brother have such a fall, he gat a spear in his hand, and would have run Sir Launcelot through; that saw Sir Bliaunt, and struck off the hand of Sir Bertlot; and then Sir Breuse and Sir Bertlot gat their horses, and fled away. When Sir Selivant came, and saw what Sir Launcelot had done for his brother, then he thanked God, and so did his brother, that ever they did him any good; but when Sir Bliaunt saw that Sir Launcelot was hurt, with the breaking of his chains, then he was sorry that he had bound him. "Bind him no more," said Sir Selivant, "for he is happy and gracious." Then they made great joy of Sir Launcelot, and they bound him no more. And so he abode there half-a-year and more; and in a morning early Sir Launcelot was aware where came a great boar, with many hounds nigh him ; but the boar was so big, that there might no hounds tear him, and the hunters came, after blowing their horns both on horseback and on foot; and, at the last, Sir Launcelot was aware where one of them alighted and tied his horse to a tree, and leaned his spear against the tree.
So came Sir Launcelot and found the horse bound to a tree, and a spear leaning against a tree, and a sword tied unto the saddle bow ; and then Sir Launcelot leapt into the saddle, and gat that spear in his hand, and then he rode after the boar; and then Sir Launcelot was aware where the boar set his back unto a tree fast by a hermitage. Then Sir Launcelot ran at the boar with his spear ; and therewith the boar turned him suddenly, and tore out the lungs and the heart of Sir Launcelot's horse; so Sir Launcelot fell to the earth, and or ever Sir Launcelot might get from his horse, the boar tore him on the brawn of the thigh up to the huckle bone; and then Sir Launcelot was wrath, and up he gat him on his feet, and drew out his sword, and he smote off the boar's head at one stroke. And therewith came out the hermit; and, when he saw him have such a wound, then the hermit came unto Sir Launcelot, and bemoaned him, and would have had him unto his hermitage ; but when Sir Launcelot heard him speak, he was so wrath with his wound, that he ran upon the hermit to have slain him. And then the hermit ran away : and when Sir Launcelot might not overtake him, he threw his sword after him; for Sir Launcelot might not go farther for bleeding. Then the hermit turned again, and asked Sir Launcelot how he was hurt? "Fellow," said Sir Launcelot, "this boar hath bitten me right sore." "Then come with me," said the hermit, "and I shall heal you." "Go thy way," said Sir Launcelot, "and deal not with me." And then the hermit ran his way fast, and in his way he met with a good knight with many men. "Sir," said the hermit, "here is fast by my place the goodliest man that ever I saw, and he is sore wounded with a boar, and yet he hath slain the boar; but well I wot," said the hermit, "and he be not holpen, that goodly man shall die of that wound, and that were full great pity." Then that knight, at the desire of the hermit, gat a cart, and in that cart that knight put the boar and Sir Launcelot; for Sir Launcelot was so feeble that they might right easily deal with him. And so Sir Launcelot was brought to the hermitage, and the hermit healed his wounds. But the hermit might not find Sir Launcelot sustenance, and so he impaired and waxed feeble, both of his body and of his wit for default of sustenance, and waxed more weaker than he was aforehand. And then upon a day Sir Launcelot ran his way into the forest, and by adventure came into the city of Corbin, where Dame Elaine was that had borne Galahad, Sir Launcelot's son. And so when he was entered into the town, he ran through the town into the castle, and then all the young men of the city ran after Sir Launcelot, and there they threw turfs at him, and gave him many sad strokes : and, as Sir Launcelot might reach any of them, he threw them, so that they would never more come into his hands ; for of some he break their legs, and some their arms, and so fled into ,the castle. And then came out knights and squires for to rescue Sir Launcelot, and when they beheld him, and looked upon his person, they thought they saw never so goodly a man ; and when they saw so many wounds upon him, they all deemed that he had been a man of worship. And then they ordained clothes unto his body, and straw underneath him, and a little house, and then every day they would throw him meat, and set him drink; but there were few or none that would bring meat to his hands.
So it befell, that King Pelleas had a nephew, whose name was Castor, and he desired of the King, his uncle, to be made a knight ; and so, at the request of this Castor, the King made him knight at the feast of Candlemas. And when Castor was made knight, that same day he gave many gowns ; and so Sir Castor sent for the fool, that was Sir Launcelot ; and when he was come afore Sir Castor, he gave Sir Launcelot a robe of scarlet, and all that belonged unto him; and when Sir Launcelot was arrayed like a knight, he was the seemliest man in all the court, and none so well made. So, when he saw his time, he went into the garden, and there Sir Launcelot laid him down by a well, and slept. And so, at afternoon, Dame Elaine and her maidens came into the garden for to play them ; and, as they ran up and down, one of Dame Elaine's maidens espied where lay a goodly man by the well sleeping, and anon showed him unto the Dame Elaine. "Peace," said Dame Elaine, "say no word;" and then she brought Dame Elaine where as he lay. And when Dame Elaine beheld, anon she fell in remembrance of him, and knew him verily for Sir Launcelot, and therewith she fell on weeping so heartily, that she sunk down to the ground ; and when she had wept a great while, then she arose and called her maidens, and said she was sick. And so she went out of the garden, and went straight unto her father, and there she took him apart by himself, and then she said, "Oh, father, now have I need of your help: and but if that ye help me, farewell my good days for ever." "What is that, daughter ?" said King Pelleas. "Sir," said she, "thus it is: in your garden I went to sport me, and there, by the well, I found Sir Launcelot du Lake sleeping." "I may not believe it," said King Pelleas. "Sir," said she, "truly he is there : and me seemeth that he should be defraught of his wit." "Then hold you still," said King Pelleas, "and let me deal." Then the King called unto him such as he most trusted a four per-sons, and Dame Elaine, his daughter; and when they came to the well, and beheld Sir Launcelot, anon Dame Brisen knew him. "Sir," said Dame Brisen, "we must be wise and ware how we deal with him, for this knight is out of his mind ; and if that we awake him rudely, what he will do we all know not, but ye shall abide, and I shall throw such an enchantment upon him, that he shall not awake within the space of an hour." And so she did. Then, within a little while after, King Pelleas commanded that all the people should avoid, that none should be in that way there as the King should come : and so, when all this was done, these four men, and these ladies, laid hand upon Sir Launcelot, and so they bear him into a tower, and so into the chamber, where as was the holy vessel of Sancgreal ; and, by force, Sir Launcelot was laid by that holy vessel. And then there came a holy man and uncovered the vessel ; and so, by miracle, and by virtue of that holy vessel, Sir Launcelot was all healed and recovered : and, when he was awaked, he groaned and sighed sore, and complained greatly that he was passing sore.
AND when Sir Launcelot saw King Pelleas and Dame Elaine, he waxed ashamed, and thus he said : "O, good Lord Jesu ! how came I here : for God's sake, my lord, let me wit how I came here." "Sir," said Dame Elaine, "into this country ye came like a madman, all out of your wit, and here ye have been kept as a fool, and no creature here knew what ye were, till that, by fortune, a maid of mine brought me unto you, where, as ye lay sleeping by a well side; and anon, as I verily beheld you, I knew you, and then I told my father; and so ye were brought before this holy vessel, and, by the virtue of it, thus were ye healed." "O, Jesu ! mercy," said Sir Launcelot, "if this be sooth, how many be there that know of my weakness?" "So God help me," said Dame Elaine, "no more but my father and I, and Dame Brisen." "Now, for Christ's love," said Sir Launcelot, "keep it secret, and let no man know it in the world. For I am sore ashamed that I have been thus miscarried : for I am banished out of the country of Logris for ever; that it to say, out of the country of England." And so Sir Launcelot lay more than a fortnight or ever he might stir for soreness, and then, upon a day, he said unto Dame Elaine these words : "Fair lady, for your sake I have had much travel, care, and anguish ; I need not to rehearse it, ye know well how, nothwithstanding I know well that I have done foul to you, when I drew my sword upon you, for to have slain you on the morrow, when I had been with you : and all was the cause that ye and Dame Brisen made me to come to you, maugre my head; and, as ye say, that night Galahad, your son, was gotten." "That is truth," said Dame Elaine. "Now will ye, for my love," said Sir Launcelot, "go unto your father, and get me a place of him, wherein I may dwell; for in the court of King Arthur may I never come." "Sir," said Dame Elaine, "I will live and die with you, and only for your sake, if my life might not avail you, and that my death might avail you : wit ye well, I would die for your sake. And I will go to my father, and I am sure there is nothing that I can desire of him but I shall have it: and where ye be, my lord, Sir Launcelot, doubt ye not but I will be with you, with all the service that I may do." So forthwith she went unto her father, and said, "Sir, my lord, Sir Launcelot, desireth to be here by you, in some castle of yours." "Well, daughter," said the King, "sith it is his desire to abide in these Marches, he shall be in the castle of Bliaunt, and there shall ye be with him, and twenty of the fairest ladies that be in this country, and they shall be of the greatest blood ; and also ye shall have ten knights with you ; for, daughter, I will that ye wit, we all be honoured by the blood of the noble knight Sir Launcelot."
THEN went Dame Elaine unto Sir Launcelot, and told him how her father had devised for him and her. Then came the knight Sir Castor (that was nephew unto King Pelleas) unto Sir Launcelot, and asked him what was his name. "Sir," said Sir Launcelot, "my name is le Chevalier mal Fet : this is as much to say, the knight that hath trespassed." "Sir," said Sir Castor; "it may well be so, but me seemeth that your name should be Sir Launcelot du Lake; for, or now I have seen you." "Sir," said Launcelot, "ye are not as a gentle knight ; I put, case my name were Sir Launcelot, and that it list me not to discover my name, what should it grieve you to keep my counsel, and ye not hurt thereby. But wit ye well, and ever it lie in my power, I shall grieve you, and that I promise you truly." Then Sir Castor kneeled down, and asked Sir Launcelot mercy; "for I shall never utter what ye be, as long as ye be in these parts." Then Sir Launcelot pardoned him. And then after this King Pelleas, with ten knights, and Dame Elaine, and twenty ladies, rode unto the castle of Bliaunt, that stood in an island, enclosed with iron, with a fair water, deep and large. And, when they were there, Sir Launcelot let call it the Joyous Isle; and there he was called none otherwise but le Chevalier mal Fet, the knight that hath trespassed. Then Sir Launcelot let make him a shield all of sable, and a queen crowned in the midst, all of silver, and a knight clean armed, kneeling before her; and every day once, for any mirths that all the ladies might make him, he would look toward the realm of Logris, where as , King Arthur and Queen Guenever were, and then would he fall on a-weeping, as though his heart should all to break. So it befell that time, that Sir Launcelot heard of a jousting fast by his castle, within six miles : then he called unto him a dwarf, and bid him go unto that jousting, and, or ever the knights depart, look that thou make there a cry, in hearing of all the knights that be there, "that there is a good knight in Joyous Isle, that is, the castle Bliaunt, and say that his name is le Chevalier mal Pet, that will joust against all knights that will come, and who that putteth that knight to the worst shall have a fair maiden arid a ger-falcon."
So when this cry was made, unto Joyous Isle drew many knights, to the number of five hundred ; and, with ye well, that there was never seen in King Arthur's days one knight that did such deeds of arms as Sir Launcelot did three days together. For he had the better hand of five hundred knights, and yet there was none slain of them ; and after that Sir Launcelot made them all a great feast. And, in the meanwhile came Sir Percivale de Galis and Sir Ector de Maris under the castle that was called the Joyous Isle, and so, as they beheld that fair castle, they would have gone into it, but they might not for the broad water, and bridge could they none find. Then they saw, on that other side, a lady, with a sparrow-hawk upon her hand, and Sir Percivale called unto her, and asked her who was within that castle. "Fair knight," said the lady, "here within this castle is the fairest lady in this land, and her name is Dame Elaine; also we have in this castle the fairest knight and the mightiest man that is (I dare well say) now living, and he calleth himself le Chevalier mal Pet." "How came he into this Marches?" said Sir Percivale. "Truly," said the damsel, "he came into this country like a madman, with dogs and boys chasing him throughout the city of Corbin ; and, by the holy vessel of the Sancgreal, he was brought into his wit again, but he will not do battle with no knight but by nine of the clock at morning or' by noon. And if ye list to enter into the castle," said the damsel, "ye must ride unto the further side of the castle and there shall ye find a vessel that shall bear you and your horses." Then they departed, and came unto the vessel ; and then Sir Percival alighted, and said unto Sir Ector de Maris, "Ye shall abide me here, until I know what manner of knight he is, for it were a great shame unto us, inasmuch as he is but one knight, and we should both do battle with him." "Do as ye list," said Sir Ector de Maris, "here shall I abide you, until that I hear of you again. Then Sir Percivale passed the water, and when he came to the castle gate, he said to the porter, "Go thou unto the good knight within the castle, and tell him that there is come an errant-knight to joust with him." "Sir," said the porter, "ride ye within the castle, and there shall ye find a common place for jousting, that lords and ladies may behold you." So anon, as Sir Launcelot had warning, he was soon ready. And there Sir Percivale and Sir Launcelot encountered with such a might, and their spears were so rude, that both the horses and the knights fell to the ground; and then they avoided their horses and drew out their swords, and hewed away cantels of their shields, and hurtled together with their shields like two wild boars, and either wounded other passing sore ; and at the last Sir Percivale spake first, when they had fought more than two hours : "Fair knight," said Sir Percivale, "I require thee tell me thy name? for I met never with such a knight as ye are." "Sir," said Sir Launcelot, "my name is le Chevalier mal Pet. Now tell me your name," said Sir Launcelot, "I require you as ye are a gentle knight." "Truly," said Sir Percivale, "my name is Sir Percivale de Galis, which is brother unto the good knight Sir Lamoracke de Galis, and King Pellinore was our father, and Sir Aglavale is my brother." "Alas !" said Sir Launcelot, "what have I done, to fight with you, that are a knight of the Round Table, that some-time was your fellow in King Arthur's court."
AND therewithal Sir Launcelot kneeled down upon his knees, and threw away his shield and his sword from him. When Sir Percivale saw him do so, he marvelled what he meant, and thus he said unto him : "Sir knight, whatsoever thou be, I require thee, upon the high order of knighthood, tell me your right name." Then Sir Launcelot answered and said, "So God me help, my name is Sir Launcelot du Lake, King Ban's son, of Benwick." "Alas !" said Sir Percivale, "what thing have I done : I was sent by Queen Guenever for to seek you, and so I have sought you near this two years ; and yonder is Sir Ector de Maris, your brother, abideth me on the other side of the water. Now, sir, I pray you, for God's sake," said Sir Percivale, "forgive me mine offence that I have done." "It is soon forgiven," said Sir Launcelot. Then Sir Percivale sent for Sir Ector de Maris. And when Sir Launcelot had a sight of him, he ran unto him, and took him in his arms; and then Sir Ector kneeled down, and either wept upon other, that all had great pity to behold them. Then came Dame Elaine, and there she made them the greatest cheer that she could devise ; and there she told Sir Ector and Sir Percivale how and in what manner Sir Launcelot came into that country, and how he was there healed. And there it was known how long Sir Launcelot was with Sir Bĺaunt and with Sir Selivant, and how he first met with them, and how he departed from them because of a boar ; and how the hermit healed Sir Launcelot of his great wounds, and how that he came to Corbin, and thereafter to the court again.