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BoY's KING ARTHUR
SIR THOMAS MALORY'S HISTORY
King Arthur and his Kngz/zhts of the
EDITED FOR BOYS WITH AN INTRODUCTION
EDITOR OF "THE BOY'S FROISSART"
Illustrated by A lfred Kapes
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
743 AND 745 BROADWAY
By CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS.
Stereotyfed and Z riZted ,y, Rand, .Ave. &-
WILL the time come when Hamlet will be a boy's tale ?
Since the young readers of King Arthur-and theii
young readers after them are of all persons in the world
the very oracles who must one day answer this question;
and since its curious face will be thrusting itself upon us
from all manner of odd corners as we now go on to trace
the rise and spread of the stories which Sir Thomas
Malory used in making this beautiful old book: I wished
to state it at the beginning, so that it might at once widen
and intensify our thoughts as we look upon those changes
in language, in life, in the general stature of man's spirit,
whereby the great cycle of Arthurian romances which en-
chanted the grown men of all Europe during the middle
ages finds itself arrived, in the nineteenth century, at the
form of this present Boy's King Artlhur.
About the time when Englishmen first began to hear
the name "Plantagenet," from the plant genista or wild
broom of Anjou which Henry II.'s father liked to wear by
way of a plume; when Thomas a Becket was beginning
that bright friendship with this same King Henry II.
which presently darkened into their desperate struggle;
when a stranger was allowed to stop over in an English
borough but one night unless he could fetch good and
sufficient security against bad behavior; when, although a
criminal could clear himself of his accusation by holding
hot iron in his hand or by sinking when cast into water,
nevertheless those bodies of men which have since become
what we call the "jury" -the most admirable provision
ever made by our race for perfect reason and pure justice
between man and man were taking form: in such a time,
which we may roughly centre at the middle of the twelfth
century, the name of King Arthur first appeared in Eng-
lish literature. For it was then that a certain Geoffrey
of Monmouth put forth his Latin Historia Britonum, -
"History of the Britons," -in which for the first time
the story of Arthur as an ancient British king was fairly
set before the world.
Geoffrey told it for true, not as a mere fiction. Here
is his account of the way he happened to know it, and of
his reason for publishing it as matter belonging to the real
history of the Britons. This is a translation of part of
his first chapter.
"Whilst occupied on many and various studies, I hap-
pened to light upon the History of the Kings of Britain,
and wondered that in the account which Gildas and Bede,
in their elegant treatises, had given of them, I found
nothing said of those kings who lived here before Christ,
nor of Arthur, and many others who succeeded after
Christ; though their actions both deserved immortal
fame, and were also celebrated by many people in a pleas-
ant manner, and by heart, as if they had been written.
Whilst I was intent upon these and such like thoughts,
Walter, Archdeacon of Oxford" -whom we suppose to
be the Walter Map presently figuring in this account -
"a man of great eloquence, and learned in foreign histo-
ries, offered me a very ancient book in the British tongue"
- Geoffrey's "British here means our Welsh "which,
in a continued regular story and elegant style, related the
actions of them all, from Brutus the first king of the
Britons down to Cadwallader the son of Cadwallo. At
his request, therefore, though I had not made fine lan-
guage my study, by collecting florid expressions from
other authors, yet contented with my own homely style
I undertook the translation of that book into Latin."
It must be confessed that our historian's ideas of proba-
bility seem very unsatisfactory to the modern view of
historic dignity. Perhaps no more striking proof could
be given of the enormous growth in men's conscience and
reasonableness since that time than by the following
couple of stories which I have taken out of Geoffrey's
"History," the one purporting to be a true account of
the way in which the island of Britain was first peopled
and named, the other setting forth the strange advent
of Merlin as prophet and counsellor to the British kings.
After relating how AEneas settled in Italy at the close
of the Trojan war, Geoffrey treats of his descendants
there, and presently comes to one Brutus, the great-grand-
son of -Eneas, who is afterwards the founder of the British
race. This Brutus, having by accident slain his own
father with an arrow while hunting, is banished by his
kinsmen for the dreadful deed. He wanders forth over
the earth, falls into wondrous adventures, fights battles,
and does noble deeds, until he is finally told by the god-
dess Diana that there is an island in the Western Sea
upon which he is to found a great empire. T
He goes in search, and, after other tremendous wars
and victories in which he amasses great spoils, he and his
mighty lieutenant Corineus, with a company which he has
gathered in his wanderings, arrive on the coast of Eng-
land. The details of these matters occupy fourteen
chapters after chapter first, already quoted: and here, in
chapter sixteen, we have the terrible fight of Corineus
with the aboriginal giant, and the founding of Britain.
"The island was then called Albion, and was inhabited
by none but a few giants." Fixing their habitation, they
begin to till the ground; and "Brutus called the island
after his name Britain,' and his companions Britons."
But Corineus begins to languish for some fun: "For it
was a diversion to him to encounter the said giants, which
were in greater numbers in his province than in all the
other provinces that fell to the share of his companions.
Among the rest was one detestable monster named Goe-
magot, in stature twelve cubits, and of such prodigious
strength that at one shake he pulled up an oak as if it had
been a hazel wand. On a certain day, when Brutus was
holding a solemn festival to the gods . this giant with
twenty more of his companions came in upon the Britons,
among whom he made a dreadful slaughter. But the
Britons, at last assembling together in a body, put them
to the rout, and killed them every one but Goemagot.
Brutus had given orders to have him preserved alive, out
of a desire to see a combat between him and Corineus. .
Corineus, overjoyed at this, prepared himself, and, throw-
ing aside his arms, challenged him to wrestle with him.
At the beginning of the encounter, Corineus and the giant,
standing front to front, held each other strongly in their
arms, and panted aloud for breath; but Goemagot pres-
ently, grasping Corineus with all his might, broke three of
his ribs. . At which Corineus, highly enraged, roused up
I The first u in Brutus sounded like the modern French u in Geoffrey's
time. This in rapid conversation is not widely different from the short i of
Brit-ain. The derivation was therefore at any rate not an improbable one, in
point of sound, to Geoffrey's readers.
his whole strength, and, snatching him upon his shoulders,
ran with him as fast as the weight would allow him to the
nearest part of the sea-shore, and there, getting upon the
top of a high rock, hurled down the savage monster into
the sea; where, falling upon the sides of craggy rocks,
he was torn to pieces, and colored the waves with his
blood. The place where he fell . is called Lam Goe-
magot, that is Goemagot's Leap, to this day."
And here, in the last chapters of Geoffrey's sixth book,
we have the mystic appearance of Merlin. Vortigern,
king of Britain, after the slaughter of his whole princely
following through the treachery of Hengist and the wast-
ing of his countries by that warrior, retires desolate into
Cambria, -the modern "Wales," and for some time
is at a loss how to act.
"At last he had recourse to magicians, and commanded
them to tell him what course to take. They advised him
to build a very strong tower for his own safety, since he
had lost all his other fortified places. Accordingly he
. . assembled workmen from several countries, and
ordered them to build the tower. The builders therefore
began to lay the foundation; but whatever they did one
day, the earth swallowed up the next, so as to leave no
appearance of their work. Vortigern, being informed of
this, again consulted with his magicians concerning the
cause of it, who told him that he must find out a youth
that never had a father, and kill him, and then sprinkle
the stone and cement with his blood; for by those means,
they said, he would have a firm foundation. Hereupon
messengers were despatched over all the provinces to in-
quire out such a man. In their travels they came to a
city . where they saw some young men playing before
the gate, and went up to them; but, being weary with
their journey, they sat down. . Towards evening there
happened on a sudden a quarrel between two of the young
men, whose names were Merlin and Dabutius. In the
dispute Dabutius said to Merlin:' You fool, do you pre-
sume to quarrel with me ? . I am descended of royal
race both by my father's and mother's side. As for you,
nobody knows what you are, for you never had a father.'
At that word the messengers looked earnestly upon Mer-
lin, and asked the by-standers who he was. They told
them it was not known who was his father; but that his
mother was daughter to the king of Dimetia, and that she
lived in St. Peter's Church among the nuns of that city.
Upon this the messengers hastened to the governor of the
city, and ordered him in the king's name to send Merlin
and his mother to the king."
The king having received them, and having made nu-
merous inquiries which were satisfactorily answered,
"Merlin then approached the king and said to him, For
what reason am I and my mother introduced into your
presence?' 'My magicians,' answered Vortigern, 'advised
me to seek out a man who had no father, with whose blood
my building is to be sprinkled in order to make it stand.'
'Order your magicians,' said Merlin, 'to come before me,
and I will convict them of a lie.' The king was surprised
at his words, and presently ordered the magicians to come
and sit down before Merlin, who spoke to them after this
"' Because you are ignorant what it is that hinders
the foundation of the tower, you have recommended the
shedding of my blood for cement to it, as if that would
presently make it stand. But tell me now what is there
under the foundation? For something there is that will
not suffer it to stand.'
"The magicians at this began to be afraid and made
him no answer. Then said Merlin, who is also called
Ambrose, 'I entreat your majesty would command your
workmen to dig into the ground, and you will find a
pond which causes the foundation to sink.'
"This accordingly was done, and then presently they
found a pond deep under ground which had made it give
way. Merlin after this went again to the magicians and
said, 'Tell me, ye false sycophants, what is there under the
pond.' But they were silent. Then said he again to the
king, Command the pond to be drained, and at the bottom
you will see two hollow stones, and in them two dragons
asleep.' The king made no scruple of believing him, since
he had found true what he had said of the pond, and there-
fore ordered it to be drained; which done, he found as
Merlin had said; and now was possessed of the greatest
admiration of him. Nor were the rest that were present
less amazed at his wisdom, thinking it to be no less than
If all Geoffrey's history were of this cast, and that of
the famous Prophecy of Merlin which follows the extract
just given, one could find great comfort in a phrase of the
angry Hotspur in Shakspere's King Henry IV, who, when
reproached by Mortimer for his endless crossing and taunt-
ing of the Welshman Glendower, cries, -
I cannot choose: sometime he angers me
With telling me . .
Of the dreamer Merlin and his prophecies,
And of a dragon and a finless fish,
S. A couching lion, and a ramping cat,
And such a deal of skimble-skamble stuff
As puts me from my faith.
But there are many soberer matters, lying nearer within
historic possibility, in Geoffrey's book; and its rich stores
have often furnished groundwork for later English think-
ers, as, for instance, its account of Leir, an early king of
England, which has been transformed into Shakspere's
terrible play of King Lear.
Before leaving Geoffrey it is worth while mentioning, as
explanatory of several English names which occur in the
following work, that according to him Brutus had three
sons, who upon their father's death divided the kingdom
between them: these were, Locrin, who took the middle
part of the island, and thus gave it a name often used in
this book, "Loegria," or sometimes "Logris; Albanact,
who took the northern part, and thus gave name to the
country of Albania, or Albany, now known as Scotland;
and Kamber, who took the part beyond the Severn, and
thus gave it the name of Kambria, or Cambria, now
known as "Wales," though still often referred to under
the other title.
Advancing, now, to Walter Map (whose name is also
spelled "Mapes"): he seems not to have been content
that these matters should remain in Geoffrey's Latin, for
we find three long Arthurian romances in French which
are attributed to him. One of these is called La Queste
del Saint Graal,' and is in a far nobler vein of story than
Geoffrey's. I have thought that many young readers
would be glad to see some of the French of Maistres
Gautiers Map, and for this purpose I have selected part of
I The Saint Graal," or Saint Grail, or Sanc Greal, or Sangreal as it
has been variously spelled at different times means the holy (sanct-us, saint)
Grail, or Cup, which was fabled to have received some of the blood of Jesus
Christ, and to have been brought away, endowed with miraculous powers, by
Joseph of Arimathea, finally lodging in England.
that most exquisite story which is also finely told in the
present book -of the meeting of Sir Percival and the
lion, and of their friendship. My extract begins as Sir
Percival has slain the serpent. "Quant li lyons se voit
delivres del serpent par l'aide del chivaler, il ne fait pas
samblant qu'il vit volentee de combatre a percheval"
[Percival] "ains vient devant lui, et boisse sa teste. et
lui fait grant ioie. si que perchevaus [Percival] voit bien
qu'il n'a talent de lui mal faire, il remet s'espee el fuerre,
et iete ius son escu, et son hiaume de sa teste por le vent
requellir. Car assis l'ot escaufe li serpens, et li lyons aloit
tous iours apres lui, covetant et faisant grant ioie. Et
quant il voit che, si le commence a aplanier col et teste,
et dist que notres sires lui a envoie celle beste pour lui
But perhaps it will be still more interesting to see ex-
actly what sort of English was spoken in this time: and,
for the purpose of showing, I wish to bring forward a
short passage from an old English poet who seems to me
the most delightful boy-that-never-grows-old in the world,
and whom perhaps one loves a little more, because his
countrymen have as yet loved him a great deal less,
than he deserves. His name is Layamon; and he not
only began one of the most remarkable revolutions in
the whole history of language, but he was writing at one
of the most glorious moments in the history of England.
If I mention the year 1215, every boy's mind will imme-
diately fly to that famous day at Runnymede when the
barons forced the Great Charter from King John. While
this Charter, with its deep declarations which seem to
have rendered English liberty indestructible such as,
"To no man will we sell, or deny, or delay, right or jus-
tice," and "We will not go against any man nor send
against him, save by legal judgment of his peers or by
the law of the land" -was overthrowing political tyran-
ny, Layamon, in a spirit not unlike, was overthrowing
a literary tyranny. For a hundred and fifty years-
since William the Norman came over in io66 and im-
posed his torrgue upon England French had been the
official language of the country: if you had a communi-
cation for royalty it must be in French, if you had a case
in court the pleadings must be in French, and we have
just seen how Walter Map writes his story in French
while Geoffrey writes his in Latin. No one writes books
in English. At length, however, comes Layamon, a
priest living at Earnley, on the Severn; with infinite
labor he toils about different parts of England to find
three books, one by Bada ("the Venerable Bede"), one
by Wace, and one by Sts. Albin and Austin. At last
he gets them; and what a fine figure he puts before us,
through these six and a half centuries, when we find him
saying of himself, "Layamon laid down these books, and
turned the leaves; he gazed on them lovingly; may the
Lord be merciful to him!" Then he plied his pen, and
presently he had made a poem called "The Brut" (pro-
nounced Brute, and being so called as a history of Eng-
land from the time of Geoffrey's Brutus, father of the
Britons), which was so thoroughly English that in its
more than thirty thousand lines not fifty French words
can be found.
But Layamon was far from confining himself to his three
books. His imagination went far outside of their record;
and it is just possible that he had heard some of those
popular legends about Arthur which appear to have been
handed down from father to son, and to which Geoffrey
must refer in the extract first given from him, where he
says that the deeds of the old kings were also celebrated
by many people . by heart, as if they had been writ-
Here, then, is the English of Layamon, which, though
fifty years later than Geoffrey, is substantially the same as
was spoken by the latter.
The passage gives us a picture of King Arthur in one
of his series of battles with Colgrim, leader of the Saxons.
At first Arthur's forces are overpowered, and, with that
cool judgment of the brave man which you will find
always held up in the present book as a far higher test
and ideal of manfulness than mere hot fighting and dash,
Arthur does not hesitate to take advantage of a stream,
and retreat. But in retreating he keeps his wits about
him, and ever looks out for a chance to strike, never
dreaming of surrender. And so, presently, says Laya-
Tho Arthur that i-seh, that Colgrim him was so neh,
1 Then Arthur that saw, that Colgrim him was so nigh,
That hii 2 weren beyne in on half than watere3
That they were both on one half (of) the water,
Tho said Arthur . .,
Then said Arthur . .
here we have a brief soul-stirring speech from the king,
calling upon his men for valor, and crying out that the
I I give the modern form of each old word immediately under it, in the
italicized line, thus showing the changes since Layamon. The meaning can
be made out from the literal translation in italics : it must be remembered
that the order of words in a sentence was different then from now. Signs of
this will be seen along through Malory's book, though so much later.
"2 ( Hii is pronounced as if written hee.
"3 Watere in three syllables, wat-er-eh : every final e makes a syllable.
day of God is come for the Saxons to perish: and, with
the last word, -
Up brayd' Arthur his seald forn to his breast,
Up stretched Arthur his shield before his breast,
And he gan to rese, so the wode wolf
And he 'gan to rush, as the furious wolf
Wane he cometh of holte, bi-hong mid snowe,
When he cometh (out) of (the) forest, behung with snow,
And thencheth to bite woch seap that him liketh.
And thinketh to bite what sheef that him liketh.
S. Swa the haeye wude
S. .. As the high wood
Thene wind wode weieth hine mid maeine,
When (the) wind furious bendeth it with main,3
Flogen over the feldes thritti 4 thusend sceldes,
Flew over the fields thirty thousand shields,
& smiten a Colgrimes cnihtes that tha eorthe agaen quehte.
And smote Colgrim's knights (so) that the earth again shook,
Breken braden speren, brustleden sceldes,
Broke broad spears, shivered shields,
Feollen Saexisce men folden to grunden.
Fell Saxon men to ground.
"Brayd" is an old form of modern broad: Arthur up-broadens his
shield, that is, extends it upward. The Scotch, who preserve many Angle-
Saxon forms, still say "braid for broad.
"2 Wode is a word which will be often found in the book you are about
to read, spelled "wood," and meaning mad, insane; as, "liike a wood (mad)
lion." It is used by Shakspere in A Miidsummer NVzigt's Dream, where
I)emetrius punningly says, And here am I, and wood within this wood, "-
that is, mad within this wood, -" Because I cannot meet my Helena."
3 That is, with power : we still say, with might and main."
4 The last i in "thritti short: as if thritty.
That i-sah Colgrim, their vore wa wes him.
That saw Colgrim, therefore woe was him.
Colgrim gon to flaenne, feondliche swithe,
Colgrim 'gan to flee, fiend-like fast,
& his hors hine bar mid haeghere strength
And his horse him bore wilt higher strength
Over that water deape and scelde him with daethe.
Over that water deep and shielded him against death.
Saxes gunnen sinken: sorge hem wes givede.
Saxons begun (to) sink: sorrow (to) them was given.
Arthur wende his speres ord and forstod heo them vord.
Arthur turned his spear's Joint and forstood them the ford.
Ther a-druncke Sexes fulle seove thusend.
There drowned Saxons full seven thousand.
S Swa doth the wilde crane
So doth the wild crane
Wane his fliht is a-wemmid and him holdeth after havekes swifte,
When his flight is a-hindered and him holdeth after hawks swift,
Houndes in than reode mid routhe him i-meteth :
Hounds in the reeds with sorrow him meet:
Thanne is him another god no that lond another flod,
Then is (to) him neither good the land nor the flood,
Havekes him smiteth, houndes him biteth,
Hawks him smite, hounds him bite,
Than his the kineworthe fogel adrad in eche side.
Then is the royal bird a-dread on each side.
Layamon, you observe, writes sometimes in rhyme, -
Havekes him smileth,
Houndes him biteth,
Flogen over the feldes
Thritti thusend sceldes, -
the rhyme being between words at the middle and end
of the verse, as here printed; and sometimes in what is
called the Anglo-Saxon alliterative metre, as, for instance,
where the three first main syllables of the line begin with
the same letter, s, in
Saxes gunnen sinken: sorge hem wes givede.
When one is so familiar with the sounds and spirit of
Layamon's speech as to recite his poetry in something
of his own manner, the music of it is far less rugged than
seems, at first sight possible.
If we now leave out of sight the numerous writers,
besides Wace and Layamon and Map, who sent forth all
manner of romances in prose and verse growing out of
Geoffrey's original stock; and, passing at one step along
nearly three hundred years, if we come to an English
author who is still re-telling the Arthurian stories, and
find an English audience still desiring to hear them re-
told: we cannot fail to be struck with the hold which
Geoffrey's tales hadtaken upon men's minds.
This author is our own simple, valorous, wise, tender
Sir Thomas Malory, who wrote the History of King
Arthur and his knights of the Round Table found in the
following pages. I regret that I can give no personal
account of one who must have been an interesting man:
so far as I can discover, we know absolutely nothing of
him save what is contained in the following words, which
form the last clause of the last sentence of his work: . .
"for this book was ended the ninth year of the reign of
King Edward the Fourth, by Sir Thomas Maleore, knight,
as Jesu help him for His great might, as he is the servant
of Jesu both day and night." The ninth year of the reign
of Edward IV. would be somewhere in 1469 or 1470:
thus, while the Wars of the Roses were thundering about
England, while Edward and Warwick the king-maker
were apparently shaking the world with their desperate
struggle, our Sir Thomas Maleore, knight, was sitting
down quietly day by day, and poring over the five great
French romances the Merlin, the Tristram, the Launce-
lot, the Quest of the Saint Grail, and the Death of Arthur
- which appear to have furnished the main materials of
And our long account now closes, in bringing Malory
into contact with another one of the most interesting
Englishmen who ever lived. This is William Caxton, the
first English printer. How much on the surface were
these noisy Wars of the Roses, after all! must we reflect,
when we remember that just about the time of the hide-
ous battle of Barnet, in which Edward IV. finally defeated
the king-maker Warwick, Caxton was bringing over the
first printing-press to England, and beginning to publish
poetry, chronicles, and philosophy. It was after he had
been at work for some time that he was asked why he had
not printed the history of King Arthur. His own account
of the matter is not only interesting in itself, but will fur-
nish a fit close to the specimens of older language I have
been giving. It would seem that after this request he
began to look about for some suitable manuscript on the
subject, and so came -in what way is wholly unknown -
to the knowledge of Malory's book. Here is the opening
of Caxton's own prologue, or preface, to his edition of Sir
"After that I had accomplysshed and fynysshed dyvers
hystoryes, as well of contemplacyon as of other hystoryal
and worldly actes of grete conquerours and prynces, and
also certeyn books of ensaumples and doctryne, many
noble and dyvers gentylmen of thys royame of Englond
camen and demanded me many and oftymes wherfore
that I have not do make and enprynte the noble hystorye
of the saynt greal, and of the most renomed crysten
kyng, fyrst and chyef of the there best crysten and worthy,
kyng Arthur, whyche ought most to be remembered
emonge us Englysshe men tofore al other crysten kynges."
It appears that Caxton was an unbeliever, as to King
Arthur; for to the persons so inquiring he at first "an-
swered that dyvers men holde oppynyon that there was no
such Arthur," and the like; and it is worth while to note
the silliness of the arguments which satisfied the simple
old soul, as contrasted with the severity of historic con-
science since physical science has taught us to scorn the
comfort of vagueness in all matters where it is possible
to know the exact truth. To these doubts of Caxton's,
his friends answerr, and one in special sayd, that
in hym that should say or thynke that there was never
such a kyng called Arthur, myght wel be aretted [sup-
posed] grete folye and blyndenesse; for he sayd that there
were many evydences of the contrary. Fyrst ye may
see his sepulture in the monasterye of Glastyngburye, and
also in Polycronycon, in the v book the syxte chappytre,
and in the seventh book the xxiii chappytre, where his
body was buryed and after founden and translated into the
1 Only two copies of this edition now remain, one of which is incomplete,
The complete copy is now in the library of the Earl of Jersey.
sayd monasterye. Ye shal se also in thystorye of Bochas
[Boccaccio] in his book de casu principum, parte of his
noble acts and also of his falle. Also Galfrydus [Geof
frey, latinized], in his Brutysshe book, recounteth his lyf.
And in divers places of Englond many remembraunces
ben yet of. hym and shall remayne perpetuelly, and also of
his knyghtes. Fyrst, in the abbay of Westmestre at saynt
Edwardes shryne remayneth the prynte of his seal in reed
[red] waxe closed in beryll, in whych is wryton Patricius
Artiurus, Britannic, Gallie, Germanic, Dacie, imp erator.
Item [also], in the castel of Dover ye may see Gauwayns
skulle, and Cradoks mantel; at Wynchester, the round
table; in other places, Launcelottes swerde [sword], and
many other thynges. Thenne al these thynges con-
sydered, there can no man reasonably gaynsaye but there
was a kyng of thys lande named Arthur. . And also
he is more spoken of beyond the see, moe books made
of his noble actes, than there be in Englond, as wel in
Duche, Ytalyen, Spanysshe, and Grekysshe, as in Frensshe.
And yet of record remayne in wytnesse of hym in Wales,
in the toune of Camelot, the grete stones and mervayllous
werkys of yron lying under the ground, and ryal [royal]
vautes [vaults], which dyvers now lyvyng hath seen . .
Thenne al these thynges forsayd aledged, I code not wel
deny but that there was suche a noble kyng named Arthur,"
and so finally he proceeds to "enprynte a book of the
noble hystoryes of the sayd kynge Arthur, and of certeyn
of his knyghtes, after a copye unto me delivered, whyche
copye syr Thomas Malorye dyd take oute of certeyn
books of Frensshe and reduced it into Englysshe."
And so, after running over England and France, in the
twelfth century like a Scott's-novel in the nineteenth;
after growing, branching into new tales, absorbing new
heroes, embodying new ideas, employing new writers, and
delighting whole countries, through Wace, Map, Layamon,
Gaimar, de Borron, and many other authors, until the
latter part of the fifteenth century: all the separate sto-
ries originating in Geoffrey's history are brought together
and moulded into one work, with a sort of beginning, a
plot, and a crisis, by Sir Thomas Malory, who may thus,
with but little strain, be said to have written the first
English novel. And his modifications and general treat-
ment of his material -of which no details can be given
here -suffice, I think, to give him a claim to this book,
not as a mere compilation, but as a work in which so
much of himself is mingled that it is largely, and in some
of its best features, his own. This is indeed almost a
peculiar circumstance characterizing the successive im-
provements of the Arthurian story as it comes on down
the ages. We might fairly trace the growth of English
civilization by comparing with the earliest conceptions of
King Arthur the latest ideal of him in our literature given
us by our own great master Tennyson. It is interesting to
recall here that Milton at first chose the Arthurian story
to make a great poem of, and dearly cherished the idea;
but the troublous times long prevented any great work,
and he finally found the larger theme of Paradise Lost.
And now, -when four hundred years after Caxton
printed this book for "many noble and divers gentlemen of
this realm of England," you find a later editor re-arranging
the old grown-people's story for many noble and divers
boys both of England and America, perhaps the fore-
going account may justify you in a certain sense of proud
responsibility as you recall the question with which I
began this long inquiry.
No book ever needed less pointing-out of its intrinsic
faults and beauties than this frank work of a soul so trans-
parent that one is made to think of the Wakulla Spring in
Florida where one can see a penny on the bottom at a
hundred feet depth. I will but ask you to observe spe-
cially the majestic manhood of Sir Launcelot during those
dolorous last days when King Arthur, under the frenzied
advice of Sir Gawaine, brings two great armies in succes-
sion to besiege Joyous Gard. Day after day Gawaine,
and sometimes Arthur, call out the vilest taunts and dares
and accusations over the walls; but ever Sir Launcelot,
though urged even by his own indignant followers within,
replies with a grave and lordly reasonableness which
shames his enemies beyond measure: twice he fights a
great single-handed battle with Sir Gawaine, and, although
Gawaine is miraculously helped, wounds him sorely, yet
spares his life; he charges his knights to be still loyal to
King Arthur, and to do the king no hurt, upon pain of
death; and one day in a general engagement when King
Arthur is unhorsed Sir Launcelot himself flies to the
rescue, places the king on horseback again, and sees him
safe, with perfect tenderness and loyalty. Larger be-
havior is not shown us anywhere in English literature.
And from this point on, the pictures of the passing of
Arthur, of Launcelot grovelling on the tomb of the king,
of Launcelot's own strange departure, and of Sir Ector
lamenting Sir Launcelot and describing that great knight
in his lamentation, are wrought with a simple art that
is as perfect as artlessness. In the Introduction to The
Boy's Froissart to which this is intended as a companion-
book I have pointed out the proper relation of this work
as a picture of times and manners, and have discussed the
old and the modern knight. I will therefore add but a brief
"xxii I nroduclion.
explanation of the manner in which I have brought for-
ward the old text.
Every word in the book, except those which occur in
brackets, is Malory's, unchanged except that the spelling
is modernized. Of the bracketed words, there are two
sorts, fulfilling different functions: those in italics are
always in explanation of the word or phrase immediately
before; while those not italicised are the editor's, being
connective clauses in which I have a few times found it
convenient to preserve the thread of a story which could
not be given entire. I have also changed the division
into books, from Caxton's wholly unreasonable arrange-
ment of twenty-one, to six, each mainly occupied with
adventures turning upon the hero or event which names
Into the fine fellowship, then, of lordly Sir Launcelot,
of generous Sir Tristram, of stainless Sir Galahad, of
gentle Sir Percival, of meek Sir Gareth of Orkney, of
brilliant Sir Palamides the Saracen, of dolorous Sir
Balin and Sir Balan, of persevering Sir la Cote Mal
Taile, of hilarious Sir Dinadan, and of a hundred more,
as well, alas! as into the ungentle company of cowardly
King Mark, of traitorous Sir Mordred, and of wicked
Morgan le Fay, I commit you, with feelings so like
those with which Caxton closes his prologue that I can-
not help applying to the young readers of this work his
farewell words to his maturer audience. "And for to
passe the tyme, this book shal be plesaunte to rede in,
but for to gyve fayth and byleve that al is trewe that is
contained herin, ye be at your lyberte; but al is wryton
for our doctryne," and this book is therefore sent forth
"to the entente that noblemen may see and lerne the
noble actes of chyvairye, the jentyl and vertuous dedes,
that some knyghtes used in tho days, by whyche they
came to honour, and how they that were vycious were
punysshed, and often put to shame and rebuke, humbly
bysechying al noble lordes and ladyes, wyth al other es-
tates, of what estate or degree they been of, that shal see
and rede in this sayd book and werke, that they take the
good and honest actes in their remembraunce, and to
folowe the same."
BALTIMORE, MD., October, 1880.
"OF KING ARTHUR.
OF THE BIRTH OF KING ARTHUR, AND OF HIS NOURISHING, AND
OF THE DEATH OF KING UTHERPENDRAGON, AND IHOW ARTHUR
WAS CHOSEN KING, AND OF WONDERS AND MARVELS OF A
SWORD THAT WAS TAKEN OUT OF STONE BY THE SAID ARTHUR, I
HOw KING ARTHUR PULLED OUT THE SWORD DIVERS TIMES. 4
HOW ARTHUR WAS CROWNED KING, AND HOW HE MADE OFFICERS, 6
How GRIFLET WAS MADE KNIGHT, AND HOW HE JOUSTED WITH A
KNIGHT .. .. 7
How MERLIN SAVED KING ARTHUR'S LIFE, AND THREW AN EN-
CHANTMENT UPON KING PELLINORE, AND MADE HIM TO FALL
ON SLEEP .. .. 9
How ARTHUR BY THE MEAN OF MERLIN GAT EXCALIBUR HIS
SWORD OF THE LADY OF THE LAKE 13
CHAPTER VII. PAGE.
HOW TIDINGS CAME TO KING ARTHUR THAT KING RYENCE HAD
OVERCOME ELEVEN KINGS, AND HOW HE DESIRED KING ARTHUR'S
BEARD TO PURFLE [border] HIS MANTLE .. 16
OF A DAMSEL WHICH CAME GIRT WITH A SWORD, FOR TO FIND A
MAN OF SUCH VIRTUE TO DRAW IT OUT OF THE SCABBARD 17
How BALIN, ARRAYED LIKE A POOR KNIGHT, PULLED OUT THE
SWORD, WHICH AFTERWARD WAS CAUSE OF HIS DEATH 19
HOW THE LADY OF THE LAKE DEMANDED THE KNIGHT'S HEAD
THAT HAD WON THE SWORD, OR THE MAIDEN'S HEAD 22
HOw MERLIN TOLD THE ADVENTURE OF THE DAMSEL 24
How BALIN WAS PURSUED BY SIR LANCEOR, A KNIGHT OF IRE-
LAND, AND HOW BALIN SLEW HIM . 25
HOW A DAMSEL WHICH WAS IN LOVE WITH LANCEOR, SLEW HER-
SELF FOR HIS LOVE, AND HOW BALIN MET WITH HIS BROTHER
BALAN. .. 27
IIhW A DWARF REPROVED BALIN FOR THE DEATH OF LANCEOR,
AND HOW KING MARK OF CORNWALL FOUND THEM, AND MADE
A TOMB OVER THEM 28
How MERLIN PROPHESIED TIAT BALIN SHOULD STRIKE THE DO-
LOROUS STROKE. 30
HOW BALIN AND HIS BROTHER BY THE COUNSEL OF MERLIN TOOK
KING RYENCE, AND BROUGHT HIM TO KING ARTHUR. 31
How KING ARTHUR HAD A BATTLE AGAINST NERO AND KING
LOT, AND HOW TWELVE KINGS WERE SLAIN. 33
OF THE INTERMENT OF TWELVE KINGS, AND OF THE PROPHECY
OF MERLIN, AND HOW BALIN SHOULD GIVE THE DOLOROUS
HoW A SORROWFUL KNIGHT CAME BEFORE KING ARTHUR, AND
HOW BALIN FETCHED HIM, AND HOW THAT KNIGHT WAS SLAIN
BY A KNIGHT INVISIBLE 37
How THE DAMSEL BLED FOR THE CUSTOM OF A CASTLE. 39
HOW BALIN MET WITH THE KNIGHT NAMED GARLON AT A FEAST,
AND THERE HE SLEW HIM TO HAVE HIS BLOOD TO HEAL THERE-
WITH THE SON OF HIS HOST . 40
HOW BALIN FOUGHT WITH KING PELLAM, AND HOW HIS SWORD
BRAKE, AND HOW HE GAT A SPEAR WHEREWITH HE SMOTE THE
DOLOROUS STROKE 42
HOW BALIN MET WITH HIS BROTHER BALAN, AND HOW EACH OF
THEM SLEW OTHER UNKNOWN, TILL THEY WERE WOUNDED TO
DEATH .. 43
How KING ARTHUR TOOK AND WEDDED GUENEVER UNTO HIS
W IFE 46
HOW THE KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE WERE ORDAINED, AND
HOW THEIR SIEGES [seats] WERE BLESSED BY THE ARCHBISHOP
OF CANTERBURY. 48
OF SIR LAUNCELOT DU LAKE.
How SIR LAUNCELOT AND SIR LIONEL DEPARTED FROM TIE COURT
FOR TO SEEK ADVENTURES, AND HOW SIR LIONEL LEFT SIR
LAUNCELOT SLEEPING, AND WAS TAKEN. 50
How SIR SECTOR FOLLOWED FOR TO SEEK SIR LAUNCELOT, AND
HOW HE WAS TAKEN BY SIR TURQUINE .
How FOUR QUEENS FOUND SIR LAUNCELOT SLEEPING, AND HOW
BY ENCHANTMENT HE WAS TAKEN AND LED INTO A CASTLE 54
How SIR LAUNCELOT WAS DELIVERED BY THE MEANS OF A DAM-
How SIR LAUNCELOT WAS RECEIVED OF KING BAGDEMAGUS'
DAUGHTER, AND HOW HE MADE HIS COMPLAINT UNTO HER
FATHER . 58
How SIR LAUNCELOT BEHAVED HIM IN A TOURNAMENT, AND HOW
HE MET WITH SIR TURQUINE LEADING AWAY SIR GAHERIS 60
How SIR LAUNCELOT AND SIR TURQUINE FOUGHT TOGETHER 63
How SIR LAUNCELOT SLEW TWO GIANTS, AND MADE A CASTLE
FREE .. 66
CHAPTER IX. PG
How SIR LAUNCELOT FOLLOWED A BRACHET INTO A CASTLE,
WHERE AS HE FOUND A DEAD KNIGHT, AND HOW AFTER-
WARD HE WAS REQUIRED OF A DAMSEL FOR TO HEAL HER
How SIR LAUNCELOT CAME INTO THE CHAPEL PERILOUS, AND
GAT THERE OF A DEAD CORPSE A PIECE OF THE CLOTH AND A
SWORD .. 72
How SIR LAUNCELOT AT THE REQUEST OF A LADY RECOVERED A
FALCON, BY WHICH HE WAS DECEIVED . 75
How SIR LAUNCELOT CAME UNTO KING ARTHUR'S COURT, AND
HOW THERE WERE RECOUNTED OF HIS NOBLE FEATS AND ACTS, 77
How SIR LAUNCELOT BECAME MAD, AND LEAPED FROM A WIN-
WHAT SORROW QUEEN GUENEVER MADE FOR SIR LAUNCELOT, AND
HOW HE WAS SOUGHT BY KNIGHTS OF HIS KIN 80
HoW SIR LAUNCELOT IN HIS MADNESS TOOK A SWORD, AND FOUGHT
WITH A KNIGHT, AND AFTER LEAPED IN A BED 82
I1ow SIR LAUNCELOT WAS CARRIED IN A HORSE-LITTER, AND HOW
SIR LAUNCELOT RESCUED SIR BLIANT HIS HOST 84
How SIR LAUNCELOT WAS KNOWN BY DAME ELAINE, AND HOW
HE WAS BORNE INTO A CHAMBER, AND AFTER HEALED BY THE
HOLY GRAIL 88
OF A GREAT TOURNAMENT IN THE JOYOUS ISLE, AND HOW SIR
PERCIVAL FOUGHT WITH HIM; HOW EACH OF THEM KNEW OTHER,
AND OF THEIR GREAT COURTESY, AND HOW HIS BROTHER SIR
ECTOR CAME UNTO HIM, AND OF THEIR JOY. . 90
How SIR LAUNCELOT WITH SIR PERCIVAL AND SIR ECTOR CAME
TO THE COURT, AND OF THEIR GREAT JOY OF HIM 9
OF SIR GARETH OF ORKNEY.
HOW BEAUMAINS CAME TO KING ARTHUR'S COURT, AND DEMANDED
THREE PETITIONS OF KING ARTHUR 96
How SIR LAUNCELOT AND SIR GAWAINE WERE WROTH BECAUSE
SIR KAY MOCKED BEAUMAINS, AND OF A DAMSEL WHICH
DESIRED A KNIGHT FOR TO FIGHT FOR A LADY . 9
How BEAUMAINS DESIRED THE BATTLE, AND HOW IT WAS GRANTED
HIM, AND HOW HE DESIRED TO BE MADE KNIGHT OF SIR LAUN-
CELOT .- IOI
HOW BEAUMAINS DEPARTED, AND HOW HE GOT OF SIR KAY A SPEAR
AND A SHIELD, AND HOW HE JOUSTED AND FOUGHT WITH SIR
How BEAUMAINS TOLD TO SIR LAUNCELOT HIS NAME, AND HOW
HE WAS DUBBED KNIGHT OF SIR LAUNCELOT, AND AFTER OVER-
TOOK THE DAMSEL 04
How SIR BEAUMAINS FOUGHT WITH THE KNIGHT OF THE BLACK
LAWNS, AND HE FOUGHT SO LONG WITH HIM THAT THE BLACK
KNIGHT FELL DOWN AND DIED 0o6
HOW THE BROTHER OF THE KNIGHT THAT WAS SLAIN MET WITH
SIR BEAUMAINS, AND FOUGHT WITH SIR BEAUMAINS, WHICH
YIELDED HIM AT THE LAST 10
HOW THE DAMSEL ALWAYS REBUKED SIR BEAUMAINS, AND WOULD
NOT SUFFER HIM TO SIT AT HER TABLE, BUT CALLED HIM
KITCHEN PAGE III
HOW SIR BEAUMAINS SUFFERED GREAT REBUKES OF THE DAMSEL,
AND HE SUFFERED IT PATIENTLY .. 112
How SIR BEAUMAINS FOUGHT WITH SIR PERSANT OF INDE, AND
MADE HIM TO BE YIELDEN 115
HoW THE DAMSEL AND BEAUMAINS CAME TO THE SIEGE, AND CAME
TO A SYCAMORE TREE, AND THERE BEAUMAINS BLEW A HORN,
AND THEN THE KNIGHT OF THE RED LAWNS CAME TO FIGHT
WITH HIM 117
HOW THE TWO KNIGHTS MET TOGETHER, AND OF THEIR TALKING,
AND HOW THEY BEGAN THEIR BATTLE .. 119
How AFTER LONG FIGHTING BEAUMAINS OVERCAME THE KNIGHT,
AND WOULD HAVE SLAIN HIM, BUT AT THE REQUEST OF THE
LORDS HE SAVED HIS LIFE, AND MADE HIM TO YIELD HIM TO
THE LADY 121
HOW THE KNIGHT YIELDED IIM, AND HOW BEAUMAINS MADE HIM
TO GO UNTO KING ARTHUR'S COURT, AND TO CRY SIR LAI)NCELOT
HIow SIR GARETH, OTHERWISE CALLED 3EAUMAINS, CAME TO THE
PRESENCE OF HIS LADY, AND HOW THEY TOOK ACQUAINTANCE,
AND OF THEIR LOVE. 128
HOW AT THE FEAST OF PENTECOST ALL THE KNIGHTS THAT SIR
GARETH HAD OVERCOME CAME AND YIELDED THEM UNTO KING
HOW THE QUEEN OF ORKNEY CAME TO THIS FEAST OF PENTECOST,
AND INQUIRED OF HER SON SIR GARETH . 135
How KING ARTHUR SENT FOR THE LADY LYONESS, AND HOW SIR
GARETH ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THEY LOVED EACH OTHER TO
KING ARTHUR, AND OF THE DAY OF THEIR WEDDING 137
OF THE GREAT ROYALTY AND WHAT OFFICERS WERE MADE AT THE
FEAST OF SIR GARETH AND DAME LYONESS' WEDDING, AND OF
THE GREAT JOUSTING AT THE SAME FEAST AND WEDDING 140
OF SIR TRISTRAM.
How SIR TRISTRAM DE LYONESSE WAS BORN, AND HOW HIS
MOTHER DESIRED THAT HIS NAME SHOULD BE TRISTRAM . 144
[How THE STEPMOTHER OF YOUNG TRISTRAM WOULD HAVE POI-
SONED HIM, AND HOW HE DELIVERED HER FROM TIE FIRE, OF
HIS GREAT FORGIVENESS]. 145
Con entis. xxxiii
CHAPTER III. P
How SIR TRISTRAM WAS SENT INTO FRANCE, AND HAD ONE TO
GOVERN HIM NAMED GOUVERNAIL, AND HOW HE LEARNED TO
HARP, HAWK, AND HUNT 147
How SIR MARHAUS CAME OUT OF IRELAND FOR TO ASK TRUAGE
OF CORNWALL, OR ELSE HE WOULD FIGHT THEREFORE. . I48
How SIR TRISTRAM ENTERPRISE THE BATTLE TO FIGHT FOR THE
TRUAGE OF CORNWALL, AND HOW HE WAS MADE KNIGHT. 150
How SIR TRISTRAM ARRIVED INTO THE ISLAND FOR TO FURNISH
THE BATTLE WITH SIR MARHAUS 153
How SIR TRISTRAM FOUGHT AGAINST SIR MARHAUS AND FINISHED
HIS BATTLE, AND HOW SIR MARHAUS FLED TO HIS SHIPS 154
How SIR MARHAUS, AFTER HE WAS ARRIVED IN IRELAND, DIED OF
THE STROKE THAT TRISTRAM HAD GIVEN HIM, AND HOW TRIS-
TRAM WAS HURT 156
How SIR TRISTRAM WAS PUT TO THE KEEPING OF LA BELLE
ISOLDE TO BE HEALED OF HIS WOUND . 158
TiOW SIR TRISTRAM WON THE DEGREE AT A TOURNAMENT IN IRE-
LAND, AND THERE MADE PALAMIDES TO BEAR NO HARNESS IN A
YEAR .. .. 16
How THE QUEEN ESPIED THAT SIR TRISTRAM HAD SLAIN HER
BROTHER SIR MARIAUS BY HIS SWORD, AND IN WHAT JEOPARDY
HE WAS 1 62
HOw SIR TRISTRAM DEPARTED FROM KING ANGUISH AND LA
BELLE ISOLDE OUT OF IRELAND FOR TO COME INTO CORNWALL. 164
How KING MARK SENT SIR TRISTRAM FOR LA BELLE ISOLDE
TOWARD IRELAND, AND HOW BY FORTUNE HE ARRIVED INTO
How KING ANGUISH OF IRELAND WAS SUMMONED TO COME UNTO
KING ARTHUR'S COURT FOR TREASON . 168
HOW SIR TRISTRAM FOUGHT FOR SIR ANGUISH, AND OVERCAME
HIS ADVERSARY, AND HOW HIS ADVERSARY WOULD NEVER YIELD
HOW SIR TRISTRAM DEMANDED LA BELLE ISOLDE FOR KING MARK,
AND OF THE WEDDING OF KING MARK TO LA BELLE ISOLDE 173
How SIR TRISTRAM DEPARTED FROM TINTAGIL, AND HOW HE SOR-
ROWED, AND WAS SO LONG IN A FOREST TILL HE WAS OUT OF
HIS MIND 174
How SIR TRISTRAM SOUSED DAGONET IN A WELL, AND HOW HE
SLEW A GIANT 175
How KING MARK FOUND SIR TRISTRAM NAKED, AND MADE HIM TO
BE BORNE HOME TO TINTAGIL, AND HOWV HE WAS THERE KNOWN
BY A BRACHET . 177
HOW SIR TRISTRAM CAME INTO ENGLAND, AND JOUSTED WITH
KING ARTHUR AND SIR LANNCELOT SO WORTHILY THAT THE
PRIZE WAS GIVEN TO HIM; AND HOW KING ARTHUR MADE HIM
KNIGHT OF THE ROUND TABLE ISO
CHAPTER XXI. PG
HOW A YOUNG MAN CAME INTO THE COURT OF KING ARTHUR,
AND HOW SIR KAY CALLED HIM IN SCORN, LA COTE MAL
HOW A DAMSEL CAME UNTO THE COURT AND DESIRED A KNIGHT
TO TAKE ON HIM AN INQUEST, WHICH LA COTE MAL TAILE EM-
PRISED .. .. 85
How SIR LA COTE MAL TAILE OVERTHREW SIR DAGONET, KING
ARTHUR'S FOOL, AND OF THE REBUKE THAT HE HAD OF THE
HOW LA COTE MAL TAILE FOUGHT AGAINST AN HUNDRED KNIGHTS,
AND HOW HE ESCAPED BY THE MEAN OF A LADY 189
HOW SIR LAUNCELOT CAME TO THE COURT AND HEARD OF SIR LA
COTE MAL TAILE, AND HOW HE FOLLOWED AFTER HIM, AND
HOW SIR LA COTE MAL TAILE WAS PRISONER . 192
How SIR LAUNCELOT FOUGHT WITH SIX KNIGHTS, AND AFTER
THAT HE FOUGHT WITH SIR BRIAN, AND HOW HE DELIVERED
ALL THE PRISONERS . 194
HOW SIR LAUNCELOT MET WITH THE DAMSEL NAMED MALEDISANT,
AND HOW HE NAMED HER THE DAMSEL BIENPENSANT 196
HOW LA COTE MAL TAILE WAS TAKEN PRISONER, AND AFTER
RESCUED BY SIR LAUNCELOT, AND HOW SIR LAUNCELOT OVER-
CAME FOUR BRETHREN 199
How SIR LAUNCELOT MADE LA COTE MAL TALE LORD OF 'I HE
CASTLE OF PENDRAGON, AND AFTER HE WAS MADE KNIGHT OF
THE ROUND TArLE 202
HOW, FOR THE DESPITE OF SIR TRISTRAM, KING MARK CAME
WITH Two KNIGHTS INTO ENGLAND, AND HOW DAGONET, KING
ARTHUR'S FOOL, PUT HIM TO FLIGHT . 203
How KING ARTHUR MADE KING MARK TO BE ACCORDED WITH SIR
TRISTRAM, AND HOW THEY DEPARTED TOWARD CORNWALL. 205
HOW AT A GREAT FEAST THAT KING MARK MADE, AN HARPER
CAME AND SANG THE LAY THAT DINADAN HAD MADE. . 207
How KING MARK SLEW BY TREASON HIS BROTHER BOUDWINE FOR
GOOD SERVICE THAT HE HAD DONE TO HIM. . 208
HOW ANGLIDES, BOUDWINE'S WIFE, ESCAPED WITH HER YOUNG
SON ALISANDER LORFELIN, AND CAME TO THE CASTLE OF ARUN-
HOW ANGLIDES GAVE THE BLOODY DOUBLET UNTO ALISANDER HER
SON THE SAME DAY THAT HE WAS MADE KNIGHT, AND THE
CHARGE WITHAL 212
How SIR ALISANDER WON THE PRIZE AT A TOURNAMENT, AND OF
MORGAN LE FAY. AND HOW HE FOUGHT WITHIN SIR MALGRIN
AND SLEW HIM 25
1IOW QUEEN MORGAN LE FAY HAD SIR ALISANDER IN HER CASTLE,
AND HOW SHE HEALED HIS WOUNDS 218
CHAPTER XXXVIII. PAGE.
How SIR ALISANDER WAS DELIVERED FROM QUEEN MORGAN LE
FAY BY THE MEANS OF A DAMSEL. 220
How ALISANDER MET WITH ALICE- LA BELLE PILGRIM, AND HOW
HE JOUSTED WITH TWO KNIGHTS; AND AFTER OF HIM AND OF
SIR MORDRED 222
How SIR TRISTRAM MET WITH SIR DINADAN, AND OF THEIR DE-
VICES, AND WHAT HE SAID UNTO SIR GAWAINE'S BRETHREN 225
How SIR TRISTRAM SMOTE DOWN SIR AGRAVAINE AND SIR GAHE-
RIS, AND HOW SIR DINADAN WAS SENT FOR BY LA BELLE
ISOLDE . .. .. 229
How SIR DINADAN MET WITH SIR TRISTRAM, AND WITH JOUSTING
WITH SIR PALAMIDES SIR DINADAN KNEW HIM . 232
HOW THEY APPROACHED THE CASTLE OF LONAZEP, AND OF OTHER
DEVICES OF THE DEATH OF SIR LAMORAK . 255
How THEY CAME TO NUMBER BANK, AND HOW THEY FOUND A
SHIP THERE, WHEREIN LAY THE BODY OF KING HERMANCE 238
How SIR TRISTRAM WITH HIS FELLOWSHIP CAME AND WERE WITH
AN HOST WHICH AFTER FOUGHT WITH SIR TRISTRAM; AND
OTHER MATTERS 240
HOW SIR PALAMIDES WENT FOR TO FIGHT WITH TWO BRETHREN
FOR THE DEATH OF KING HERMANCE 244
THE COPY OF THE LETTER WRITTEN FOR TO REVENGE THE KING'S
DEATH, AND HOW SIR PALAMIDES FOUGHT FOR TO HAVE THE
OF THE PREPARATION OF SIR PALAMIDES AND THE TWO BRETHREN
THAT SHOULD FIGHT WITH HIM 249
OF THE BATTLE BETWEEN SIR PALAMIDES AND THE TWO BRETHREN,
AND HOW THE TWO BRETHREN WERE SLAIN 252
HOW SIR TRISTRAM AND SIR LAUNCELOT, WITH SIR PALAMIDES,
CAME TO JOYOUS GARD, AND OF SIR PALAMIDES AND OF SIR
TRISTRAM .. 255
HOW THERE WAS A DAY SET BETWEEN SIR TRISTRAM AND SIR
PALAMIDES FOR TO FIGHT, AND HOW SIR TRISTRAM WAS HURT, 257
HOW THAT SIR PALAMIDES KEPT HIS DAY FOR TO HAVE FOUGHTEN,
BUT SIR TRISTRAM MIGHT NOT COME 259
How SIR TRISTRAM DEPARTED UNARMED, AND MET WITH SIR
PALAMIDES, AND HOW SIR PALAMIDES FORBORE HIM 260
HOW THAT SIR TRISTRAM GAT HIM tHIARNESS OF A KNIGHT WHICH
WAS HURT, AND HOW HE OVERTHREW SIR PALAMIDES 262
How SIR TRISTRAM AND SIR PALAMIDES FOUGHT LONG TOGETHER,
AND AFTER ACCORDED; AND HOW SIR TRISTRAM MADE HIM TO
BE CHRISTENED 264
How KING MARK SLEW SIR TRISTRAM BY TREACHERY, AND LA
BELLE ISOLDE DIED OF GRIEF . 266
OF SIR GALAHAD AND SIR PERCIVAL.
HOW THE LETTERS WERE FOUND WRITTEN IN THE SIEGE PERIL-
OUS, AND OF THE MARVELLOUS ADVENTURE OF THE SWORD IN A
STONE . .. 267
[HOW AN OLD MAN] BROUGHT SIR GALAHAD UNTO THE SIEGE
PERILOUS, AND SET HIM THEREIN; AND HOW KING ARTHUR
SHOWED THE STONE, HOVING ON THE WATER, TO GALAHAD, AND
HOW HE DREW OUT THE SWORD 270
HOW THE QUEEN DESIRED TO SEE SIR GALAHAD, AND HOW, AFTER,
ALL THE KNIGHTS WERE REPLENISHED WITH THE HOLY GRAIL,
AND HOW THEY AVOWED THE INQUEST OF THE SAME . 273
How GREAT SORROW WAS MADE OF THE KING AND THE QUEEN
AND LADIES FOR THE DEPARTING OF THE KNIGHTS, AND HOW
THEY DEPARTED. 275
HOW SIR GALAHAD GAT HIM A SHIELD, AND HOW THEY SPED THAT
PRESUMED TO TAKE DOWN THAT SHIELD 277
HOW GALAHAD DEPARTED WITH THE SHIELD, AND HOW KING
EVELAKE HAD RECEIVED THE SHIELD OF JOSEPH OF ARIMA-
How SIR GALAHAD FOUGHT WITH THE KNIGHTS OF THE CASTLE,
AND DESTROYED THE WICKED CUSTOM . 281
How SIR GALAHAD MET WITH SIR LAUNCTELOT AND WITH SIR
PERCIVAL, AND SMOTE THEM DOWN, AND DEPARTED FROM THEM, 285
How SIR PERCIVAL RODE A FIEND IN THE SHAPE OF A HORSE,
AND HOW HE SAW A SERPENT AND A LION FIGHT 286
OF WONDERS AND MARVELS OF A SHIP, AND OF A SWORD WHICH
SIR GALAHAD FOUND THEREIN 288
How KING PELLES WAS SMITTEN THROUGH BOTH THIGHS BECAUSE
HE DREW THE SWORD, AND OTHER MARVELLOUS HISTORIES 291
How SOLOMON TOOK DAVID'S SWORD BY THE COUNSEL OF HIS
WIFE, AND OF OTHER MATTERS MARVELLOUS 293
OF THE WONDERFUL TALE OF KING SOLOMON AND HIS WIFE 295
How SIR LAUNCELOT ENTERED INTO THE SHIP WHERE SIR PER-
CIVAL'S SISTER LAY DEAD, AND HOW HE MET WITH SIR GALA-
HAD HIS SON 298
How SIR LAUNCELOT WAS NIGH THE SANCGREAL, BUT WAS DRIVEN
FORTH FROM IT, WITH TERRORS AND WONDERS . 300
How SIR GALAHAD ACHIEVED THE SANCGREAL, AND WAS TAKEN
UP INTO HEAVEN 303
How SIR PERCIVAL DIED, AND SIR B1ORS RETURNED TO CAMELOT 304
OF THE DEATH OF ARTHUR.
JIOW QUEEN GUENEVER WAS APPEALED OF MURDERING A KNIGHT, 305
How SIR MADOR IMPEACHED THE QUEEN OF TREASON, AND THERE
WAS NO KNIGHT WHO WOULD FIGHT FOR HER AT THE FIRST
HoW THE QUEEN REQUIRED SIR BORS TO FIGHT FOR HER, AND
HOW HE GRANTED HER UPON A CONDITION, AND HOW HE
WARNED SIR LAUNCELOT THEREOF. 310
HOW AT THE DAY SIR BORS MADE HIM READY FOR TO FIGHT FOR
QUEEN GUENEVER, AND HOW ANOTHER DISCHARGED HIM WHEN
HE SHOULD FIGHT 313
How SIR LAUNCELOT FOUGHT AGAINST SIR MADOR FOR THE
QUEEN, AND HOW HE OVERCAME SIR MADOR AND DISCHARGED
THE QUEEN 315
HOW THE TRUTH WAS KNOWN BY THE DAMSEL OF THE LAKE, AND
OF DIVERS OTHER MATTERS .. 318
HOW SIR LAUNCELOT RODE TO ASTOLAT, AND RECEIVED A SLEEVE
TO BEAR UPON HIS HELM AT TIlE REQUEST OF A MAID 320
HOW THE TOURNAMENT BEGAN AT WINCHESTER, AND WHAT
KNIGHTS WERE AT THE JOUSTS, AND OF OTHER MATTERS 322
How SIR LAUNCELOT AND SIR LAVAINE ENTERED IN THE FIELD
AGAINST THEM OF KING ARTIHUR'S COURT, AND HOW LAUNCE-
LOT WAS HURT .. .324
How SIR LAUNCELOT AND SIR LAVAINE DEPARTED OUT OF THE
FIELD, AND IN WHAT JEOPARDY SIR LAUNCELOT WAS . 327
HOw SIR LAUNCELOT WAS BROUGHT UNTO AN HERMIT FOR TO BE
HEALED OF HIS WOUND, AND OF OTHER MATTERS 330
How SIR GAWAINE HAD KNOWLEDGE THAT IT WAS SIR LAUNCE-
LOT THAT BARE THE RED SLEEVE 333
How FAIR ELAINE AND SIR BORS FOUND SIR LAUNCELOT . 335
OF THE GREAT LAMENTATION THAT THE FAIR MAID OF ASTOLAT
MADE WHEN SIR LAUNCELOT SHOULD DEPART, AND HOW SHE
DIED FOR HIS LOVE . 338
HOW THE CORPSE OF TIIE FAIR MAID OF ASTOLAT ARRIVED
BEFORE KING ARTHUR, AND OF TIlE BURYING, AND HOW SIR
LAUNCELOT OFFERED THE MASS-PENNY . 341
HOW QUEEN GUENEVER RODE ON SAYING WITH CERTAIN KNIGHTS
OF THE ROUND TABLE CLOTHED ALL IN GREEN . 34
How SIR MELIAGRANCE TOOK TIIE QUEEN AND ALL HER KNIGHTS,
WHICH WERE SORE HURT IN FIGHTING . 345
H-ow SIR LAUNCELOT RODE IN A CART AND RESCUED THE QUEEN, 347
How SIR LAUNCELOT WAS TAKE N IN A TRAP BY TREACHERY OF
SIR MELIAGRANCE 349
HOW SIR LAUNCELOT FOUGHT SIR MELIAGRANCE WITH ONE HAND
TIED BEHIND, AND WITH HIS HEAD AND SIDE BARE OF ARMOR, 350
How SIR URRE CAME UNTO KING ARTHUR'S COURT FOR TO BE
HEALED OF HIS WOUNDS, [AND HOW KING ARTHUR AND MANY
KNIGHTS HANDLED HIM TILL TIAT SIR LAUNCELOT MADE HIM
[HIo SIR LAUNCELOT AGAIN RESCUED QUEEN GUENEVER FROM
THE FIRE, AND CARRIED HER AWAY, AND OF THE WARS BE-
TWIXT HIM AND KING ARTHUR] 359
OF THE COMMUNICATION BETWEEN KING ARTHUR AND SIR LAUN-
CELOT, AND HOW KING ARTHUR REPROVED HIM . 362
How KING ARTHUR AND SIR GAWAINE MADE A GREAT HOST
READY TO GO OVER SEA TO MAKE WAR ON SIR LAUNCELOT 367
How SIR GAWAINE AND SIR LAUNCELOT DID BATTLE TOGETHER,
AND HOW SIR GAWAINE WAS OVERTHROWN AND HURT 372
OF THE SORROW THAT KING ARTHUR MADE FOR THE WAR, AND
OF ANOTHER BATTLE WHERE ALSO SIR GAWAINE HAD THE
WORSE. .. 374
How SIR MORDRED PRESUMED AND TOOK ON HIM TO BE KING OF
ENGLAND, AND WOULD HAVE MARRIED THE QUEEN . 377
HOW AFTER THAT KING ARTHUR HAD TIDINGS, HE RETURNED AND
CAME TO DOVER, WHERE SIR MORDRED MET HIM TO LET HIS
LANDING, AND OF THE DEATH OF SIR GAWAINE 380
IIOW AFTER SIR GAWAINE'S GHOST APPEARED TO KING ARTHUR,
AND WARNED HIM THAT HE SHOULD NOT FIGHT THAT DAY 383
How BY MISADVENTURE OF AN ADDER THE BATTLE BEGAN, WHERE
SIR MORDRED WAS SLAIN AND KING ARTHUR WOUNDED TO
How KING ARTHUR COMMANDED TO CAST HIS SWORD EXCALIBUR
INTO THE WATER, AND HOW HE WAS DELIVERED TO LADIES IN
A BARGE .. .. 388
HoW SIR BEDIVERE FOUND KING ARTHUR DEAD ON THE MORROW
IN AN HERMITAGE, AND HOW HE ABODE THERE WITH THE HER-
MIT .. .. 391
HOW WHEN SIR LAUNCELOT HEARD OF THE DEATH OF KING
ARTHUR AND OF SIR GAWAINE, HE CAME INTO ENGLAND 393
IloW SIR LAUNCELOT DEPARTED TO SEEK THE QUEEN GUENEVER,
AND HOW HE FOUND HER AT ALMESBURY 394
How SIR LAUNCELOT WENT WITH HIS SEVEN FELLOWS TO ALMES-
BURY, AND FOUND THERE QUEEN GUENEVER DEAD, WHOM THEY
BROUGHT TO GLASTONBURY 397
CHAPTER XXXVI. PA.
How SIR LAUNCELOT BEGAN TO SICKEN, AND AFTER DIED, WHOSE
BODY WAS BORNE TO JOYOUS GUARD FOR TO BE BURIED 398
How SIR ECTOR FOUND SIR LAUNCELOT HIS BROTHER DEAD, AND
HOW CONSTANTINE REIGNED NEXT AFTER KING ARTHUR, AND OF
THE END OF THIS BOOK 401
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
How SIR TURQUINE BARE SIR SECTOR CLEAN OUT OF HIS
SADDLE .. Frontisjpiece.
How ARTHUR GAT HIS SWORD EXCALIBUR 14
How BALIN SMOTE THE DOLOROUS STROKE 42
THE KNIGHT OF THE BLACK LAWNS 6
How SIR TRISTRAM SOUSED SIR DAGONET IN THE WELL 175
How ELIOT THE HARPER SANG THE LAY THAT DINADAN
HAD MADE .207
SIR GALAHAD BROUGHT TO THE SIEGE PERILOUS. 271
SIR LAUNCELOT AT THE CASTLE OF THE HOLY GRAIL 300
THE TOURNAMENT AT CAMELOT 323
OUEEN GUENEVER'S PERIL 360
THE COMBAT OF MORDRED AND KING ARTHUR 387
How BEDIVERE BARE ARTHUR TO THE WATERSIDE 390
OF KING ARTHUR.
OF THE BIRTH OF KING ARTHUR, AND OF HIS NOURISHING, AND OF
THE DEATH OF KING UTHERPENDRAGON, AND HOW ARTHUR WAS
CHOSEN KING, AND OF WONDERS AND MARVELS OF A SWORD THAT
WAS TAKEN OUT OF STONE BY THE SAID ARTHUR.
IT befell in the days of the noble Utherpendragon,
when he was king of England, [that there was born
to him a son who in after time was King Arthur. How-
beit the boy knew not he was the king's son. For when
he was but a babe] the king commanded two knights and
two ladies to take the child bound in rich cloth of gold,
"and deliver him to what poor man you meet at the
postern gate of the castle." So the child was delivered
unto Merlin, and so he bare it forth unto Sir Ector, and
made an holy man to christen him, and named him
Arthur; and so Sir Ector's wife nourished him. Then
within two years King Uther fell sick of a great malady;
[and thereof he died]. Then stood the realm in great
[danger] a long while, for every lord made him strong,
and many weened [t1ougzht] to have been king. [And
so, by Merlin's counsel, all the lords of England came
OF KING ARTHUR.
OF THE BIRTH OF KING ARTHUR, AND OF HIS NOURISHING, AND OF
THE DEATH OF KING UTHERPENDRAGON, AND HOW ARTHUR WAS
CHOSEN KING, AND OF WONDERS AND MARVELS OF A SWORD THAT
WAS TAKEN OUT OF STONE BY THE SAID ARTHUR.
IT befell in the days of the noble Utherpendragon,
when he was king of England, [that there was born
to him a son who in after time was King Arthur. How-
beit the boy knew not he was the king's son. For when
he was but a babe] the king commanded two knights and
two ladies to take the child bound in rich cloth of gold,
"and deliver him to what poor man you meet at the
postern gate of the castle." So the child was delivered
unto Merlin, and so he bare it forth unto Sir Ector, and
made an holy man to christen him, and named him
Arthur; and so Sir Ector's wife nourished him. Then
within two years King Uther fell sick of a great malady;
[and thereof he died]. Then stood the realm in great
[danger] a long while, for every lord made him strong,
and many weened [t1ougzht] to have been king. [And
so, by Merlin's counsel, all the lords of England came
2 The Boy's King Artlhur.
together in the greatest church of London on Christmas
morn before it was day, to see if God would not show
by some miracle who should be king.] And when the
first mass was done there was seen in the church-yard,
against the high altar, a great stone four-square, like to
a marble stone, and in the midst thereof was an anvil of
steel, a foot of height, and therein stuck a fair sword
naked by the point, and letters of gold were written
about the sword that said thus: WHO SO PULLETH OUT
THIS SWORD OF THIS STONE AND ANVIL, IS RIGHTWISE
KING BORN OF ENGLAND.
So when all the masses were done, all the [lords] went
for to behold the stone and the sword. And when they
saw the scripture, some assayed [tried] such as would
have been king. But none might stir the sword nor
"He is not yet here," said the archbishop, "that shall
achieve the sword, but doubt not God will make him to
be known. But this is my counsel," said the archbishop,
"that we let purvey [provide] ten knights, men of good
fame, and they to keep this sword."
And upon New Year's day the barons let make a tour-
nament for to keep the lords together, for the archbishop
trusted that God would make him known that should win
the sword. So upon New Year's day when the service
was done the barons rode to the field.
And so it happened that Sir Ector rode to the jousts,
and with him rode Sir Kay, his son, and young Arthur
that was his nourished brother. [But Sir] Kay had lost
his sword, for he had left it at his father's lodging, and
so he prayed young Arthur to ride for his sword. "I
will with a good will," said Arthur, and rode fast after
the sword; and when he came home, the lady and all
Of King Arth/l'ur. 3
were gone out to see the jousting. Then was Arthur
wroth, and said to himself, "I will ride to the church-yard
and take the sword with me that sticketh in the stone,
for my brother Sir Kay shall not be without a sword this
day." And so when he came to the church-yard Arthur
alighted, and tied his horse to the stile, and so went to
the tent, and found no knights there, for they were all
at the jousting; and so he handled the sword by the
handles, and lightly and fiercely he pulled it out of the
stone, and took his horse and rode his way till he came
to his brother Sir Kay, and delivered him the sword.
And as soon as Sir Kay saw the sword, he wist [knew]
well that it was the sword of the stone, and so he rode
to his father, Sir Ector, and said : "Sir, lo here is the
sword of the stone; wherefore I must be king of this
land." When Sir Ector beheld the sword, he returned
again and came to the church, and there they alighted,
all three, and went into the church, and anon he made
Sir Kay to swear upon a book how he came to that sword.
"Sir," said Sir Kay, "by my brother Arthur, for he
brought it to me."
"How gate [got] you this sword ?" said Sir Ector to
"Sir, I will tell you. When I came home for my broth-
er's sword, I found nobody at home for to deliver me his
sword, and so I thought my brother Sir Kay should not
be swordless, and so I came thither eagerly and pulled
it out of the stone without any pain."
"Found ye any knights about this sword ?" said Sir
"Nay," said Arthur.
"Now," said Sir Ector to Arthur, "I understand that
you must be king of this land."
4 The Boy's King Aritur.
Wherefore I ?" said Arthur.
"Sir," said Ector, "for there should never man have
drawn out this sword but he that shall be rightwise king
of this land. Now let me see whether ye can put the
sword there as it was and pull it out again."
"That is no mastery," said Arthur; and so he put it in
the stone. Therewith Sir Ector assayed to pull out the
sword, and failed.
How KING ARTHUR PULLED OUT THE SWORD DIVERS TIMES.
N OW assay," said Sir Ector to Sir Kay. And anon
he pulled at the sword with all his might but it
would not be. "Now shall ye assay," said Sir Ector
"I will well," said Arthur, and pulled it out easily.
And therewithal Sir Ector kneeled down to the earth, and
"Alas," said Arthur, "mine own dear father and brother,
why kneel ye to me ?"
"Nay, nay, my lord Arthur, it is not so: I was never
your father nor of your blood, but I wote knowz] well ye
are of an higher blood than I weened thoughti] ye were."
And then Sir Ector told him all. Then Arthur made
great moan when he understood that Sir Ector was not
"Sir," said Ector unto Arthur, "will ye be my good
and gracious lord when ye are king ?"
"Else were I to blame," said Arthur, "for ye are the
man in the world that I am most beholding [oblzgcd]l to,
Of King Arthur. 5
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 ye say, ye shall desire of me
what I may do, and I shall not fail you."
"Sir," said Sir Ector, "I will ask no more of you but
that you will make my son, your fostered brother Sir Kay,
seneschal of all your lands."
"That shall be done, sir," said Arthur, "and more by
the faith of my body; and 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. But there afore them all, there
might none take it out but only Arthur; wherefore there
were many great lords wroth, 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 then 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 might prevail. And right as
Arthur did at Christmas he did at Candlemas, and pulled
out the sword easily, whereof the barons were sore ag-
grieved, and put it in delay till the high feast of Easter.
And as Arthur sped afore, 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 Pentecost.
6 The Boy's KiZ0 ArtIlI r.
How ARTHUR WAS CROWNED KING, AND HIOW HE MADE OFFICERS.
A ND at the feast of Pentecost all manner of men
assayed to pull at the sword that would assay, and
none might prevail; but Arthur pulled it out afore all
the lords and commons that were there, wherefore all the
commons cried at once: "We will have Arthur unto our
king; we will put him no more in delay; for we all see
that it is God's will that he shall be our king, and who
that holdeth against it we will slay him." And there-
withal they kneeled down all at once, both rich and poor,
and cried Arthur mercy, because they had delayed him so
long. And Arthur forgave it them, and took the sword
between both his hands, and offered it upon the altar
where the archbishop was, and so was he made knight of
the best man that was there. And so anon was the coro-
nation made, and there was he sworn to the lords and
commons for to be a true king, to stand with true justice
from thenceforth all the days of this life. Also then he
made all lords that held of the crown to come in, and to
do service as they ought to do. And many complaints
were made unto King Arthur of great wrongs that were
done since the death of King Uther, of many lands that
were bereaved of lords, knights, ladies and gentlemen.
Wherefore King Arthur made the lands to be given again
unto them that owned] them. When this was done that
the king had established all the countries about London,
" Of was often used for the modern by in Sir Thomas Malory's time,
and is still so used upon occasion. Made knight of the best man thus
means made knight by the best man.
Of King Art ur. 7
then he let make Sir Kay seneschal of England; and Sir
Baudwin of Britain was made constable; and Sir Ulfius
was made chamberlain; and Sir Brastias was made war-
den to wait upon the north from Trent forwards, for it
was that time for the most part enemy to the king.
How GRIFLET WAS MADE KNIGHT, AND HOW HE JOUSTED WITH A
T HEN on a day there came into the court a squire on
horseback, leading a knight before him wounded to
the death, and told him there was a knight in the forest
that had reared up a pavilion by a well [spring] side, "and
hath slain my master, a good knight, and his name was
Miles; wherefore I beseech you that my master may be
buried, and that some good knight may revenge my mas-
ter's death." Then was in the court great noise of the
knight's death, and every man said his advice. Then
came Griflet, that was but a squire, and he was but young,
of the age of King Arthur, so he besought the king, for
all his service that he had done, to give him the order of
"Thou art full young and tender of age," said King
Arthur, "for to take so high an order upon thee."
"Sir," said Griflet, I beseech you to make me a
"Sir," said Merlin, "it were pity to leese [lose] Griflet,
for he will be a passing good man when he cometh to
age, abiding with you the term of his life; and if he
8 The Boy's King .Art/4ur.
adventure his body with yonder knight at the fountain,
he shall be in great peril if I ever he come again, for he is
one of the best knights of the world, and the strongest
man of arms."
"Well," said King Arthur. So, at the desire of Griflet,
the king made him knight.
"Now," said King Arthur to Sir Griflet, "sithen [since]
that I have made thee knight, thou must grant me a gift."
"What ye will, my lord," said Sir Griflet.
"Thou shalt promise me, by the faith of thy body, that
when thou hast jousted with the knight at the fountain,
whether it fall [appenz] that ye be on foot or on horse-
back, that in the same manner ye shall come again unto
me without any question or making any more debate."
"I will promise you," said Griflet, "as ye desire."
Then Sir Griflet took his horse in great haste, and dressed
his shield, and took a great spear in his nand, and so he
rode a great gallop till he came to the fountain, and
thereby he saw a rich pavilion, and thereby under a cloth
stood a fair horse well saddled and bridled, and on a
tree a shield of divers colors, and a great spear. Then
Sir Griflet smote upon the shield with the end of his
spear, that the shield fell down to the ground.
With that came the knight out of the pavilion, and
said, "Fair knight, why smote ye down my shield ? "
"For I will joust with you," said Sir Griflet.
"It were better ye did not," said the knight, "for ye
are but young and late made knight, and your might is
nothing to mine."
"As for that," said Sir Griflet, "I will joust with you,"
"That is me loth," said the knight, "but sith [since] I
i If here means whether. In great peril if ever he come again ": in
great danger of never getting back.
Of izng Arthur. 9
must needs, I will dress me thereto; but of whence be
ye ?" said the knight.
"Sir, I am of King Arthur's court." So they ran
together that Sir Griflet's spear all to-shivered [shivered
all to pieces], and therewithal he smote Sir Griflet through
the shield and the left side, and brake the spear, that the
truncheon stuck in his body, that horse and knight fell
When the knight saw him lie so on the ground he
alighted, and was passing heavy, for he wend [weened] he
had slain him, and then he unlaced his helm and got him
wind, and so with the truncheon he set him on his horse,
and betook him to God, and said he had a mighty heart,
and if he might live he would prove a passing good
knight. And so Sir Griflet rode to the court, whereas
great moan was made for him. But through good leeches
[szurgeonzs] he was healed and his life saved.
How MERLIN SAVED KING ARTHUR'S LIFE, AND THREW AN ENCHANT-
MENT UPON KING PELLINORE, AND MADE HIM TO FALL ON SLEEP.
A ND King Arthur was passing wroth for the hurt of
P Sir Griflet. And by and by he commanded a man
of his chamber that his best horse and armor be without
the city or [before] to-morrow day." Right so in the morn-
ing he met with his man and his horse, and so mounted
up and dressed his shield, and took his spear, and bade
his chamberlain tarry there till he came again. And so
King Arthur rode but a soft pace till it was day, and then
was he ware of three churls which chased Merlin, and
Io The Boy's King Arthur.
would have slain him. Then King Arthur rode unto
them a good pace, and cried to them: "Flee, churls."
Then were they afraid when they saw a knight, and fled
away. "0 Merlin," said King Arthur, "here hadst thou
been slain for all thy craft, had I not been."
"Nay," said Merlin, "not so, for I could save myself if
I would, and thou art more near thy death than I am, for
thou goest toward thy death, and 2 God be not thy friend."
So, as they went thus talking, they came to the foun-
tain, and. the rich pavilion by it. Then King Arthur
was ware where a knight sat all armed in a chair. "Sir
knight," said King Arthur, "for what cause abidest thou
here ? That there may no knight ride this way but if he
do joust with thee?" said the king. "I rede [advise]
thee leave that custom," said King Arthur.
"This custom," said the knight, "have I used and will
use, maugre [in spite of] who saith nay; and who is
grieved with my custom, let him amend it that will."
"I will amend it," said King Arthur.
"And I shall defend it," said the knight. Anon he
took his horse, and dressed his shield, and took a spear,
and they met so hard either on other's shield, that they
all to-shivered [s/iivered all to pieces] their spears. There-
with King Arthur drew his sword. "Nay, not so," said
the knight, "it is fairer that we twain run more together
with sharp spears."
"I will well," said King Arthur, "and [if] I had any
mo [more] spears."
"I have spears enough," said the knight. So there
came a squire, and brought two good spears, and King
" For here means ini spite of; as still used, in certain phrases.
"2 "And means f, here. In later times it becomes contracted into an,"
when used in this sense.
Of King Artijr. 11
Arthur took one and he another. So they spurred their
horses, and came together with all their might, that either
brake their spears to their hands. Then Arthur set hand
on his sword. "Nay," said the knight, "ye shall do
better; ye are a passing good jouster as ever I met withal,
and for the love of the high order of knighthood let us
joust once again."
"I assent me," said King Arthur. Anon there were
brought two great spears, and every knight gat a spear,
and therewith they ran together that Arthur's spear all
to-shivered. But the other knight hit him so hard in
midst of the shield that horse and man fell to the earth,
and therewith Arthur was eager, and pulled out his sword,
and said, "I will assay thee, Sir knight, on foot, for I
have lost the honor on horseback."
"I will be on horseback," said the knight. Then was
Arthur wroth, and dressed his shield towards him with
his sword drawn. When the knight saw that, he alight,
for him thought no worship to have a knight at such avail,
he to be on horseback, and he on foot, and so he alight
and dressed his shield unto Arthur. And there began a
strong battle with many great strokes, and so hewed with
their swords that the cantels [pieces, of armor or of flesk]
flew in the fields, and much blood they bled both, that all
the place there as they fought was over-bled with blood,
and thus they fought long, and rested them, and then
they went to the battle again, and so hurtled together
like two rams that either fell to the earth. So at the last
they smote together, that both their swords met even
together. But the sword of the knight smote King
Arthur's sword in two pieces, wherefore he was heavy.
Then said the knight unto Arthur, "Thou art in my
danger whether me list to save thee or slay thee, and but
12 The Boy's Kizn Arthur.
thou yield thee as overcome and recreant thou shalt
"As for death," said King Arthur, "welcome be it
when it cometh, but as to yield me to thee as recreant, I
had liever die than to be so shamed." And therewithal
the king leapt unto Pellinore, and took him by the middle,
and threw him down, and racedI off his helm. When
the knight felt that, he was adread, for he was a passing
big man of might, and anon he brought King Arthur
under him, and raced off his helm, and would have smitten
off his head.
Therewithal came Merlin; and said: "Knight, hold thy
hand, for and [if] thou slay that knight, thou puttest this
realm in the greatest damage that ever realm was in, for
this knight is a man of more worship than thou wottest
"Why, who is he? said the knight.
"It is King Arthur."
Then would he have slain him for dread of his wrath,
and heaved up his sword, and therewith Merlin cast an
enchantment on the knight, that he fell to the earth in a
great sleep. Then Merlin took up King Arthur, and
rode forth upon the knight's horse. "Alas," said King
Arthur, "what hast thou done, Merlin ? hast thou slain
this good knight by thy crafts ? There lived not so wor-
shipful a knight as he was ; I had liever than the stint
[loss] of my land a year, that he were on 2 live."
"Care ye not," said Merlin, "for he is whole than ye,
for he is but on 3 sleep, and will awake within three hours.
I told you," said Merlin, "what a knight he was; here
had ye been slain had I not been. Also, there liveth not
1 Raced off : violently tore of. 2 On live : old form of ali'e.
"3 On sleep," asleep : as just above on live," alive.
0/f King Arthur. 13
a better knight then he is, and he shall do you hereafter
right good service, and his name is Pellinore, and he shall
have two sons, that shall be passing good men."
How ARTHUR BY THE MEAN OF MERLIN GAT EXCALIBUR HIS SWORD
OF THE LADY OF THE LAKE.
RIGHT so the king and he departed, and went unto
an hermit that was a good man and a great leech.
So the hermit searched all his wounds and gave him good
salves; and the king was there three days, and then were
his wounds well amended that he might ride and go.
So Merlin and he departed, and as they rode, Arthur said,
"I have no sword."
"No force," said Merlin, "hereby is a sword that shall
be yours, and [if] I may." So they rode till they came
to a lake, which was a fair water and a broad, and in the
middest of the lake King Arthur was ware of an arm
clothed in white samite, that held a fair sword in the
hand. Lo," said Merlin, "yonder is that sword that I
spake of." With that they saw a damsel going upon the
"What damsel is that ? said Arthur.
"That is the Lady of the Lake," said Merlin; "and
this damsel will come to you anon, and then speak ye fair
to her that she will give you that sword." Anon withal
came the damsel unto Arthur and saluted him, and he
"Damsel," said Arthur, "what sword is that, that
I No force," no matter.
14 The Boy's Kingz Artlur.
yonder the arm holdeth above the water ? I would it
were mine, for I have no sword."
"Sir king," said the damsel, "that sword is mine, and
if ye will give me a gift when I ask it you, ye shall have
"By my faith," said Arthur, "I will give you what gift
ye will ask."
"Well," said the damsel, "go ye into yonder barge and
row yourself to the sword, and take it and the scabbard
with you, and I will ask my gift when I see my time."
So King Arthur and Merlin alighted and tied their
horses to two trees, and so they went into the ship, and
when they came to the sword that the hand held, King
Arthur took it up by the handles, and took it with him.
And the arm and the hand went under the water; and
so they came unto the land and rode forth. And then
King Arthur saw a rich pavilion: "What signifieth
yonder pavilion ?"
"It is the knight's pavilion," said Merlin, "that ye
fought with last, Sir Pellinore, but he is out, he is not
there; he hath ado with a knight of yours, that hight
[was named] Egglame, and they have fought together, but
at the last Egglame fled, and else he had been dead, and
he hath chased him to Caerleon, and we shall anon meet
with him in the high way."
"It is well said," quoth King Arthur, "now have I a
sword, and now will I wage battle with him and be
avenged on him."
"Sir, ye shall not do so," said Merlin, "for the knight
is weary of fighting and chasing, so that ye shall have no
worship to have ado with him; also he will not lightly be
matched of one knight living; and therefore my counsel
is that ye let him pass, for he shall do you good service
....... ....... .... .. ... O P
........... I -- ------
............ 11 ...........
How Athur rat hs Swod Exclibur
Of King Arthur. 15
in short time, and his sons after his days. Also ye shall
see that day in short space, that ye shall be right glad to
give him your sister to wife."
"When I see him," said King Arthur, "I will do as ye
Then King Arthur looked upon the sword and liked it
"Whether liketh you better," said Merlin, "the sword
or the scabbard ? "
"Me liketh better the sword," said King Arthur.
"Ye are more unwise," said Merlin, "for the scabbard
is worth ten of the sword, for while ye have the scabbard
upon you ye shall leese [lose] no blood be ye never so sore
wounded, therefore keep well the scabbard always with
So they rode on to Caerleon, and by the way they met
with Sir Pellinore. But Merlin had done such a craft that
Pellinore saw not Arthur, and so he passed by without
I marvel," said the king, "that the knight would not
"Sir," said Merlin, "he saw you not, for and [if] he had
seen you he had not lightly departed."
So they came unto Caerleon, whereof the knights were
passing glad; and when they heard of his adventures, they
marvelled that he would jeopardy his person so alone. But
all men of worship said it was merry to be under such a
chieftain that would put his person in adventure as other
poor knights did.
16 The Boy's King Artur.
How TIDINGS CAME TO KING ARTHUR THAT KING RYENCE HAD OVER-
COME ELEVEN KINGS, AND IIOW HE DESIRED KING ARTHUR'S 1)EARD
TO PURFLE [border] IHIS MANTLE.
T HE mean while came a messenger hastily from King
Ryence of North Wales, and he was king of all Ire-
land, and of many isles; and this was his message, greet-
ing well King Arthur in this manner wise, saying, that
King Ryence had discomfited and overcome eleven kings,
and every of them did him homage, and that was this,
they gave him their beards clean flayn of [stripped off] as
much as there was; wherefore the messenger came for
King Arthur's beard, for King Ryence had purfied [bor-
dered] a mantle with kings' beards, and there lacked for
one place of the mantle, wherefore he sent for his beard,
or else he would enter into his lands "and burn and slay,
and never leave till he have thy head and thy beard."
"Well," said King Arthur, "thou hast said thy mes-
sage, which is the most villanous and lewdest message
that ever man heard sent to a king. Also thou mayest
see my beard full young yet for to make a purfle of. But
tell thou the king this: I owe him none homage, ne [nior]
none of mine elders, but or [ere, before] it be long he shall
do to me homage on both his knees, or else he shall leese
[lose] his head, by the faith of my body, for this is the
most shamefullest message that ever I heard speak of;
I see well the king met never yet with a worshipful man,
but tell him I will have his head without unlesss] he do
homage unto me."
Then the messenger departed.
Of King' Artztur. 17
"Now is there any here," said King Arthur, "that
knoweth King Ryence ?"
Then answered a knight that hight [was named] Naram :
Sir, I know him well, he is a passing good man of his
body as few been living, and a passing proud man, and,
sir, doubt ye not he will make war on you with a mighty
Well," said King Arthur to the knight, "I shall ordain
for him, and that shall he find."
OF A DAMSEL WHICH CAME GIRT WITH A SWORD, FOR TO FIND A MAN
OF SUCH VIRTUE TO DRAW IT OUT OF THE SCABBARD.
SO it befell upon a time when King Arthur was at Lon-
don, there came a knight that brought the king
tidings how that King Ryence of North Wales had reared
a great number of people, and were entered into the land,
and burnt and slew the king's true liege people.
"If that be true," said King Arthur, "it were great
shame unto mine estate but that he were mightily with-
"It is troth," said the knight, "for I saw the host my-
Then King Arthur let make a cry, that all the lords,
knights, and gentlemen of arms should draw unto a castle
that was called in those days Camelot, and there the king
would let make a counsel general, and a great joust. So
when the king was come thither with all his baronage,
and lodged as them seemed best, there came a damsel
I8 The Boy's King Arthuir.
which was sent on message from the great lady Lyle of
Avalon. And when she came before King Arthur, she
told him from whom she came, and how she was sent on
message unto him for these causes, and she let her mantle
fall that was richly furred, and then was she girded with a
noble sword, whereof the king had great marvel and said:
"Damsel, for what cause are ye gird with that sword ?
it beseemeth you not."
"Now shall I tell you," said the damsel; "this sword
that I am gird withal doth me great sorrow and encum-
brance, for I may not be delivered of this sword but by a
good knight, and he must be a passing good man of his
hands and of his deeds, and without villany or treachery;
if I may find such a knight that hath all these virtues,
he may draw out this sword of the scabbard. For I have
been at King Ryence's for it was told me there were
passing good knights, and he and all his knights have
assayed it, and none can speed."
"This is a great marvel," said Arthur; "if this be
sooth [true], I will myself assay to draw out the sword,
not presuming upon myself that I am the best knight, but
that I will begin to draw at your sword in giving example
to all the barons, that they shall assay every one after
other when I have assayed it."
Then Arthur took the sword by the sheath and by the
girdle, and pulled at it eagerly, but the sword would not
"Sir," said the damsel, "ye need not to pull half so
hard, for he that shall pull it out, shall do it with little
"Ye say well," said Arthur: "now assay ye, all my
barons, but beware ye be not defiled with shame, treachery,
Of King Arthur. 19
"Then it will not avail," said the damsel, "for he must
be a clean knight without villany, and of a gentle stream
of father's side and mother's side."
[And many] barons of the Round Table that were there
at that time assayed all by row, but there might none
speed; wherefore the damsel made great sorrow out of
measure, and said, "Alas! I wend [weened, thought] in
this court had been the best knights, without treachery or
"By my faith," saith Arthur, "here are good knights
as I deem any been in the world, but their grace is not to
help you, wherefore I am displeased."
How BALIN, ARRAYED LIKE A POOR KNIGHT, PULLED OUT THE SWORD,
WHICH AFTERWARD WAS CAUSE OF HIS DEATH.
T HEN fell it so that time there was a poor knight
with King Arthur, that had been prisoner with him
half a year and more, for slaying of a knight the which
was cousin unto King Arthur. The name of this knight
was called Balin, and by good means of the barons he was
delivered out of prison,-for he was a good man named
of his body, and he was born in Northumberland. And
so he went privily into the court, and saw this adventure,
whereof his heart raised, and would assay it as other
knights did, but, for because he was poor and poorly
arrayed, he put him not far in press [the crowd]. But
in his heart he was fully assured to do as well (if his
grace happened him) as any knight that was there. And
as that damsel took her leave of King Arthur and all
20 The PBoy's AKin Ig Art'ur.
the barons, this knight Balin called unto her and said,
"Damsel, I pray you of your courtesy to suffer me as well
to assay as these lords; though I be poorly clothed, in
mine heart me seemeth I am fully assured as some of
these other lords, and me seemeth in my heart to speed
The damsel beheld the poor knight, and saw he was
a likely man; but because of his poor array she thought
he should be of no worship without villany or treachery.
And then she said to the knight Balin, Sir, it is no need
to put me to any more pain or labor, for it beseemeth
not you to speed there as other have failed."
"Ah, fair damsel," said Balin, "worthiness and good
teaches [qualities], and good deeds, are not all only in
raiment, but manhood and worship is hid within man's
person, and many a worshipful knight is not known unto
all people, and therefore worship and hardiness is not in
raiment and clothing."
Said the damsel, Ye say troth, therefore ye shall assay
to do what ye may."
Then Balin took the sword by the girdle and scabbard,
and drew it out easily, and when he looked upon the
sword it pleased him much. Then had the king and all
the barons great marvel that Balin had done that ad-
venture, and many knights had great spite at Balin.
"Truly," said the damsel, "this is a passing good
knight, and the best man that ever I found, and most of
worship without treason, treachery, or villany, and many
marvels shall he do. Now, gentle and courteous knight,
give me the sword again."
"Nay," said Balin, "for this sword will I keep, but it
be taken from me by force."
"Well," said the damsel, "ye are not wise to keep the
Of King ArYhur. 21
sword from me, for ye shall slay with the sword the best
friend that ye have, and the man that ye most love in the
world, and the sword shall be your destruction."
"I shall take the adventure," said Balin, "that God will
ordain me, but the sword ye shall not have at this time,
by the faith of my body."
"Ye shall repent it within short time," said the damsel,
"for I would have the sword more for your avail than for
mine, for I am passing heavy for your sake; for ye will
not believe that sword shall be your destruction, and that
is great pity." With that the damsel departed, making
Anon after Balin sent for his horse and his armor, and
so would depart from the court, and took his leave of
King Arthur. Nay," said the king, I suppose ye will
not depart so lightly from this fellowship. I suppose that
ye are displeased that I have showed you unkindness;
blame me the less, for I was misinformed against you, but
I wend [tkozght] you had not been such a knight as ye
are of worship and prowess, and if ye will abide in this
court among my fellowship, I shall so advance you as ye
shall be pleased."
"God thank your highness," said Balin, "for your
bounty and highness may no man praise half to the
value; but at this time I must needs depart, beseeching
you always of your good grace.
"Truly," said the king, "I am right wroth for your
departing : I pray you, fair knight, that ye tarry not long,
and ye shall be right welcome to me and to my barons,
and I shall amend all amiss that I have done against
"God thank your lordship," said Balin, and therewith
made him ready to depart. Then the most part of the
22 The Boy's Kingz Arthur.
knights of the Round Table said that Balin did not this
adventure all only by might, but by witchcraft.
HOW THE LADY OF THE LAKE DEMANDED THE KNIGI-T'S HEAD THAT
HAD WON THE SWORD, OR THE MAIDEN'S HEAD.
T HE mean while that this knight was making him
ready to depart, there came into the court a lady,
which hight [was izamed] the Lady of the Lake, and
she came on horseback richly beseen, and saluted King
Arthur, and there she asked him a gift that he had prom-
ised her when she gave him the sword.
"That is sooth" [true], said King Arthur, "a gift I
promised you; but I have forgotten the name of the
sword which ye gave me."
"The name of it," said the lady, "is Excalibur, that is
as much to say as cut-steel."
"Ye say well," said King Arthur, "ask what ye will,
and ye shall have it, if it lie in my power to give it."
Well," said the Lady of the Lake, I ask the head of
the knight that hath won the sword, or else the damsel's
head that brought it; and though I have both their
heads I force [care] not, for he slew my brother, a full
good knight and a true, and that gentlewoman was causer
of my father's death."
"Truly," said King Arthur, "I may not grant you
neither of their heads with my worship, therefore ask
what ye will else and I shall fulfil your desire."
I will ask none other thing of you," said the lady.
Of King Arthur. 23
When Balin was ready to depart he saw the Lady of the
Lake there, by whose means was slain his own mother,
and he had sought her three years. And when it was
told him that she demanded his head of King Arthur, he
went straight to her and said, Evil be ye found, ye would
have my head, and therefore ye shall lose yours." And
with his sword lightly he smote off her head before King
"Alas! for shame," said Arthur, "why have you done
so ? ye have shamed me and all my court, for this was a
lady that I was beholden to, and hither she came under
my safe conduct; I shall never forgive you that tres-
"Sir," said Balin, "me forthinketh [grievectz] of your
displeasure, for this same lady was the untruest lady liv-
ing, and by enchantment and sorcery she hath been the
destroyer of many good knights, and she was causer
that my mother was burnt through her falsehood and
"What cause so ever ye had," said Arthur, "ye should
have forborne her in my presence; therefore, think not
the contrary, ye shall repent it, for such another despite
had I never in my court: therefore withdraw you out of
my court in all haste that ye may."
Then Balin took up the head of the lady, and bare it
with him to his hostry [hostery, inn], and there he met
with his squire, that was sorry he had displeased King
Arthur, and so they rode forth out of the town.
"Now," said Balin, "we must part; take thou this head
and bear it to my friends, and tell them how I have sped,
and tell my friends in Northumberland that my most foe
is dead. Also tell them how I am out of prison, and also
what adventure befell me at the getting of this sword."
24 The Boy's King Arthur.
"Alas," said the squire, "ye are greatly to blame for to
displease King Arthur."
"As for that," said Balin, I will hie me in all the haste
that I may, to meet with King Ryence and destroy him,
or else to die therefore; and if it may hap me to win him,
then will King Arthur be my good and gracious lord."
"Where shall I meet with you ?" said the squire.
"In King Arthur's court," said Balin.
So his squire and he departed at that time. Then
King Arthur and all the court made great dole, and had
shame of the death of the Lady of the Lake. Then the
king buried her richly.
How MERLIN TOLD THE ADVENTURE OF THE DAMSEL.
A T that time there was in King Arthur's court a
knight that was the king's son of Ireland,I and his
name was Lanceor, and he was a proud knight, and he
counted himself one of the best knights of the court,
and he had great spite at Balin for the achieving of the
sword, that any should be accounted of more prowess
than he was; and he asked King Arthur if he would give
him leave to ride after Balin and to revenge the despite
that he hath done. "Do your best," said King Arthur,
"for I am right wroth with Balin; I would he were quite
[quit, acquitted] of the despite that he hath done to me
and to my court."
Then this Lanceor went to his hostrie to make him
ready. In the mean while came Merlin to King Arthur's
"" The king's son of Ireland," ti/e king, f Irelalnd's son.
Of King Arthur. 25
court, and there it was told him of the adventure of
the sword, and of the Lady of the Lake.
"Now shall I say to you," said Merlin, "this damsel
that here standeth, that brought the sword unto your
court, I shall tell you the cause of her coming, she is the
falsest damsel that liveth."
"Say not so," said they, "she hath a brother a passing
good knight of prowess and a full true man, and this
damsel loved another, and this good knight her brother
met with the knight, and slew him by force of his hands."
When this damsel understood this, she went to the lady
Lyle of Avalon, and besought her of help to be avenged
on her brother.
How BALIN WAS PURSUED BY SIR LANCEOR, A KNIGHT OF IRELAND,
AND HOW BALIN SLEW HIM.
SO the knight of Ireland armed him at all points, and
dressed his shield on his shoulder and mounted upon
horseback, and took his spear in his hand, and rode after
as fast as his horse could run, and within a little space on
a mountain he had a sight of Balin, and with a loud voice
he cried to him and said: "Abide, knight, for ye shall
abide whether ye will or will not, and the shield that is
tofore you shall not help you."
When Balin heard that noise, he turned his horse
fiercely, and said, "Fair knight, what will you with me,
will ye joust with me ? "
"Yea," said the Irish knight, "therefore am I come
26 The Boy's King Arluir.
"Peradventure," said Balin, "it had been better to have
holden you at home, for many a man weencth [tIizketllz]
to put his enemy to a rebuke, and often it falleth to him-
self. Of what court be ye sent fro [from] ? "
"I am come fro the court of King Arthur," said the
knight of Ireland, "that come hither for to revenge the
despite ye did this day to King Arthur and to his court."
"Well," said Balin, I see well I must have ado with
you, that me forthinketh [goric-v1ci] for to grieve King
Arthur, or any of his court ; and your quarrel is full
simple," said Balin, "for the lady that is dead did great
damage, and else I would have been as loth as any knight
that liveth for to slay a lady."
"Make you ready," said the knight Lanceor, "and
dress you to me, for one of us shall abide in the field."
Then they took their spears in all the haste they might,
and came together as fast as their horses might drive, and
the king's son of Ireland smote Balin upon his shield,
that his spear went all to shivers. And Balin smote him
with such a might that it went through his shield, and
perished [pierced] the hauberk, and so pierced through
his body and the horse's croupe [cruppcr], and Balin anon
turned his horse fiercely, and drew out his sword, and
wist not that he had slain him, and then he saw him lie
as a dead corpse.
Of King Arthur. 27
TIow( A DAMSEL WHICH WAS IN LOVE WITH LANCEOR, SLEW HERSELF
FOR HIS LOVE, AND HOW BALIN MET WITH HIS BROTHER BALAN.
"T HEN he looked by him and was ware of a damsel
that came riding as fast as her horse might gallop,
upon a fair palfrey; and when she espied that Sir Lanceor
was slain, then she made sorrow out of measure, and said,
" 0 Balin, two bodies hast thou slain, and one heart, and
two hearts in one body, and two souls thou hast lost."
And therewith she took the sword from her love that lay
dead, and as she took it she fell to the ground in a swoon,
and when she arose she made great dole out of measure,
which sorrow grieved Balin passing sore, and went to her
for to have taken the sword out of her hands, but she
held it so fast, that in no wise he might take the sword
out of her hands, but if he should have hurt her; and sud-
denly she set the pommel of the sword to the ground and
run herself through the body. And when Balin saw her
dead, he was passing heavy in his heart, and ashamed that
so fair a damsel had destroyed herself for the love of him.
"Alas," said Balin, "me repenteth sore the death of
this knight for the love of this damsel, for there was much
true love betwixt them both."
And for sorrow he might no longer hold him, but turned
his horse and looked towards a great forest, and there he
was ware, by the arms, of his brother Balan. And when
they were met they put off their helms and kissed to-
gether, and wept for joy and pity. Then Balan said, "I
little wend to have met with you at this sudden ad-
venture; I am right glad of your deliverance out of your
28 The Boy's King Arthur.
dolorous prisonment, for a man told me in the Castle of
Four Stones that ye were delivered, and that man had
seen you in the court of King Arthur, and therefore I
came hither into this country, for here I supposed to find
Anon the knight Balin told his brother of his adventure
of the sword, and of the death of the Lady of the Lake,
and how King Arthur was displeased with him: Where-
fore he sent this knight after me that lieth here dead;
and the death of this damsel grieveth me sore."
"So doth it me," said Balan, "but ye must take the
adventure that God will ordain you."
"Truly," said Balin, "I am right heavy that my lord
Arthur is displeased with me, for he is the most worship-
ful knight that reigneth now on earth, and his love I will
get or else I will put my life in adventure; for the King
Ryence lieth at a siege at the castle Terrabil, and thither
will we draw in all haste, to prove our worship and prowess
"I will well," said Balan, "that we do, and we will help
each other as brethren ought to do."
HOW A DWARF REPROVED BALIN FOR THE DEATH OF LANCEOR, AND
HOW KING MARK OF CORNWALL FOUND THEM, AND MADE A TOMB
BROTHER," said Balin, "let us go hence, and well be
The mean while as they talked, there .came a dwarf
from the city of Camelot on horseback as fast as he might,
Of King Arlhur. 29
and found the dead bodies, wherefore he made great dole,
and drew his hair for sorrow, and said, "Which of you
knights hath done this deed ?"
"Whereby askest thou it ?" said Balin.
"For I would wit [know], said the dwarf.
"It was I," said Balin, "that slew this knight in my
defence, for hither came he to chase me, and either I
must slay him or he me, and this damsel slew herself for
his love, which me sore repenteth, and for her sake I
shall owe all women the better love and favor."
"Alas," said the dwarf, "thou hast done great damage
unto thyself, for this knight that is here dead was one of
the most valiantest men that lived, and trust thou well,
Balin, that the kin of this knight will chase thee through
the world till they have slain thee."
"As for that," said Balin, "I fear it not greatly; but I
am right heavy because I have displeased my sovereign
lord King Arthur, for the death of this knight."
So, as they talked together, there came a king of Corn
wall riding by them, which was named King Mark, and
when he saw these two bodies dead and understood how
they were dead by one of the two knights above said,
then made King Mark great sorrow for the true love that
was between them, and said: "I will not depart from
hence till I have on this earth made a tomb."
And there he pight [pitched] his pavilions, and sought
through all the country to find a tomb, and in a church
they found one [that] was fair and rich, and there the
king let put them both in the earth, and put the tomb
upon them, and wrote the names of them both on the
tomb: how here lieth Lanceor the king's son of Ireland
that at his own request was slain by the hands of Balin,
and how his lady Colombe slew herself with her love's
sword for dole and sorrow.
30 The Boy's Kinjg Art/ur.
HOW MERLIN PROPHESIED THAT BALIN SHOULD STRIKE THE DOLOROUS
T HEN] said Merlin [to Balin] "because of the death
of that lady, thou shalt strike a stroke the most
dolorous that ever man stroke, except the stroke of our
Lord; for thou shalt hurt the truest knight and the man
of the most worship that now liveth, and through that
stroke three kingdoms shall be in great poverty, misery,
and wretchedness twelve years, and 'the knight shall not
be whole of that wound in many years." And then
Merlin took his leave of Balin.
Then said Balin, If I wist knewe] that it were sooth
[true] that ye say, I should do such a perilous deed as
that I would slay myself to make thee a liar."
And therewith anon Merlin suddenly vanished away.
Then Balin and his brother took their leave of King
"First," said the king, "tell me your name."
"Sir," said Balan, "ye may see he beareth two swords,
thereby ye may call him the knight with the two swords."
And so departed King Mark, and rode to Camelot to
King Arthur, and Balin and his brother took the way to
King Ryence, and as they rode together they met with
Merlin disguised, but they knew him not.
"Whither ride ye ? said Merlin.
"We have little to do," said the two knights, "for to
tell thee; but what is thy name ? said Balin.
"As at this time," said Merlin, "I will not tell thee."
"It is full evil seen," said the two knights, "that thou
art a true man, when thou wilt not tell thy name."
Of KinYg Arthlir. 31
"As for that," said Merlin, "be it as it may, but I can
tell you wherefore ye ride this way, for to meet King
Ryence, but it will not avail you without you have my
"Ah!" said Balin, "ye are Merlin. We will be ruled
by your counsel."
"Come on," said Merlin, "ye shall have great worship,
and look that ye do knightly, for ye shall have great
"As for that," said Balin, "dread ye not, we will do
what we may."
HoW BALIN AND HIS BROTHER BY THE COUNSEL OF MERLIN TOOK
KING RYENCE, AND BROUGHT HIM TO KING ARTHUR.
T HEN Merlin lodged them in a wood among leaves
beside the highway, and took off the bridles of their
horses and put them to grass, and laid them down to rest
them till it was nigh midnight. Then Merlin bade them
rise and make them ready, for the king was nigh them,
that was stolen away from his host with a threescore horses
of his best knights, and twenty of them rode tofore, to
warn the lady that the king was coming.
"Which is the king ? said Balin.
"Abide," said Merlin, "here in a straight way ye shall
meet with him; and therewith he showed Balin and his
brother where he rode. Anon Balin and his brother met
with the king, and smote him down, and wounded him
fiercely, and laid him to the ground, and there they slew
on the right hand and the left hand, and slew more than
forty of his men; and the remnant fled. Then went they
32 The Boy's Kinzg Artzzlr.
again to King Ryence, and would have slain him had he
not yielded him unto their grace.
Then said he thus : Knights full of prowess, slay me
not, for by my life ye may win, and by my death ye shall
Then said these two knights, "Ye say sooth and truth ;"
and so laid him on an horse-litter. With that Merlin was
vanished, and came to King Arthur aforehand, and told
him how his most enemy was taken and discomfited.
"By whom ?" said King Arthur.
"By two knights," said Merlin, "that would please
your lordship, and to-morrow ye shall know what knights
Anon after came the knight with the two swords, and
Balan his brother, and brought with them King Ryence
of North Wales, and there delivered him to the porters,
and charged them with him; and so they two returned
again in the springing of the day.
King Arthur came then to King Ryence and said,
"Sir king, ye are welcome: by what adventure come ye
"Sir," said King Ryence, "I came hither by an hard
"Who won you ?" said King Arthur.
"Sir," said the king, "the knight with the two swords
and his brother, which are two marvellous knights of
"I know them not," said Arthur, "but much I am be-
holden to them."
"Ah," said Merlin, "I shall tell you, it is Balin that
achieved the sword, and his brother Balan, a good knight,
there liveth not a better of prowess and of worthiness;
and it shall be the greatest dole of him that ever I knew
of knight, for he shall not long endure."
Of King Arthur. 33
"Alas," said King Arthur, "that is great pity, for I am
much beholden unto him, and I have ill deserved it unto
him for his kindness."
"Nay," said Merlin, "he shall do much more for you,
and that shall ye know in haste. But, Sir, are ye pur-
veyed?" said Merlin; "for to-morn the host of Nero,
King Ryence's brother, will set on you or [ere, before]
noon with a great host, and therefore make you ready, for
I will depart from you."
How KING ARTHUR HAD A BATTLE AGAINST NERO AND KING LOT,
AND HOW TWELVE KINGS WERE SLAIN.
T HEN came Nero to Castle Terrabil with a mighty
host, for he had ten battles, [battalions, or divisions]
with much more people than King Arthur had. So Nerc
himself had the vaward [va-zuard7, ,van-guard] with the
most part of his people; and Merlin came to King Lot,
of the Isle of the Orkney, and held him with a tale
of prophecy till Nero and his people were destroyed.
And there Sir Kay the seneschal did passing well, that
all the days of his life he had thereof worship. And Sil
Hervis de Revel did marvellous deeds with King Arthur.
And King Arthur slew that day twenty knights, and
maimed forty. At that time came in the knight with the
two swords, and his brother Balan ; but they two did so
marvellously that the king and all the knights had great
marvel thereof, and all that beheld them said that they
were sent from heaven as angels, or as devils from hell;
and King Arthur said himself that they were the best
34 The Boy's A'in- Airthulr.
knights that ever he saw, for they gave such strokes that
all men had wonder of them. In the mean while came
one to King Lot, and told him that while he tarried there
Nero was destroyed and slain with all his people.
"Alas! I am shamed," said King Lot, "for through my
default is slain many a worshipful man ; for if we had
been together there had been no host under heaven that
had-been able to match us. This [deceiver] with his
prophecy hath mocked me."
All that did Merlin, for he knew well that if King Lot
had been there with his body at the first battle, King
Arthur and all his people should have been destroyed
and slain. And Merlin knew well that one of the kings
should be dead that day, and loth was Merlin that any of
them both should be slain; but of the twain he had liver
King Lot had been slain than King Arthur.
"Now, what is best to do," said King Lot, whether is
it better for to treat with King Arthur, or to fight, for
the most part of our people are slain and destroyed ? "
"Sir," said a knight, "set upon King Arthur, for he
and his men are weary of fighting, and we be fresh."
"As for me," said King Lot, "I would that every
knight would do his part as I will do mine."
And then they advanced their banners and smote to-
gether, and all to-shivered [skiiv-crcd a/ to picces] their
spears; and King Arthur's knights, with the help of the
knight with the two swords and his brother Balan, put
King Lot and his host to the worst; but alwav Kin-
Lot held him in the foremost, and did great deeds of arms,
for all his host was borne up by his hands, for he abode
and withstood all knights. Alas! he might not ever
endure, the which was great pity that so worthy a knight
as he was should be over-matched, and that of late time
Of King Ar thur. 35
afore had been a knight of King Arthur's, and had
wedded King Arthur's sister. So there was a knight
that was called the knight with the strange beast, and at
that time his right name was Pellinore, which was a good
man of prowess, and he smote a mighty stroke at King
Lot as he fought with his enemies, and he failed of his
stroke, and smote the horse's neck that he fell to the
ground with King Lot, and therewith anon Sir Pellinore
smote him a great stroke through the helm, and hewed
him to the brows. And then all the host of Orkney fled
for the death of King Lot, and there was slain many a
mother's son. But King Pellinore bare the wit [blame]
of the death of King Lot; wherefore Sir Gawaine re-
venged the death of his father the tenth year after he was
made knight, and slew King Pellinore with his own hands.
Also there was slain at the battle twelve kings on King
Lot's side with Nero, and all were buried in the church
of Saint Stevens, in Camelot; and the remnant of knights
and of other were buried in a great rock.
OF THE INTERMENT OF TWELVE KINGS, AND OF THE PROPHECY OF
MERLIN, AND HOW BALIN SHOULD GIVE THE DOLOROUS STROKE.
SO at the ent entertainment interment that is, burial]
came King Lot's wife Morgause, with her four sons
Gawaine, Agravaine, Gaheris, and Gareth. Also there
came thither King Urience, Sir Ewaine's father, and
Morgan le Fay his wife, that was King Arthur's sister.
All these came to the interment. But of all these
twelve kings King Arthur let make the tomb of King
36 The Boy's King Arthur.
Lot passing richly, and made his tomb by his own; and
then King Arthur let make twelve images of laton [brass]
and copper, and over-gilt it with gold, in the sign of
twelve kings, and each one of them held a taper of wax
that burnt day and night: and King Arthur was made in
sign of a figure standing above them with a sword drawn
in his- hand: and all the twelve figures had countenance
like unto men that were overcome. All this made Merlin
by his subtle craft; and there he told the king, "When I
am dead these tapers shall burn no longer; and soon
after the adventures of the Sangreal shall come among
you and be achieved."
Also he told Arthur how Balin the worshipful knight
shall give the Dolorous Stroke, whereof shall fall great
"O where is Balin, and Balan, and Pellinore?" said
"As for Pellinore," said Merlin, "he will meet with you
soon: and as for Balin, he will not be long from you: but
the other brother will depart; ye shall see him no more."
"By my faith," said Arthur, "they are two marvellous
knights, and namely Balin passeth of prowess of any
knight that ever I found, for much beholden am I unto
him; would that he would abide with me."
"Sir," said Merlin, "look ye keep well the scabbard of
Excalibur, for ye shall lose no blood while ye have the
scabbard upon you, though ye have as many wounds upon
you as ye may have."
So after, for great trust Arthur betook the scabbard to
Morgan le Fay his sister, and she loved another knight
"I Sangreal," the Saint Grail, or Holy Cup, said to have held the blood
of Jesus and to have been brought away from the Cross by Joseph of
Of King Arthzir. 37
better than her husband King Urience or King Arthur,
and she would have had Arthur her brother slain, and
therefore she let make another scabbard like it by en-
chantment, and gave the scabbard of Excalibur to her
love. And the knight's name was called Accolon, that
after had near slain King Arthur. After this Merlin told
unto King Arthur of the prophecy that there should be a
great battle beside Salisbury, and that Mordred his sister's
son should be against him.
HOW A SORROWFUL KNIGHT CAME BEFORE KING ARTHUR, AND HOW
BALIN FETCHED HIM, AND HOW THAT KNIGHT WAS SLAIN BY A
W ITHIN a day or two King Arthur was somewhat
sick, and he let pitch his pavilion in a meadow,
and there he laid him down on a pallet to sleep, but he
might have no rest. Right so he heard a great noise of
an horse, and therewith the king looked out at the porch
of the pavilion, and saw a knight coming even by him
making great dole.
"Abide, fair sir," said Arthur, "and tell me wherefore
thou makest this sorrow ?"
"Ye may little amend me," said the knight, and so
passed forth to the castle of Meliot.
Anon after there came Balin, and when he saw King
Arthur he alight off his horse, and came to the king on
foot, and saluted him.
"By my head," said Arthur, "ye be welcome. Sir,
right now came riding this way a knight making great
38 The Boy's Kingi Arti/Jur.
moan, for what cause I cannot tell, wherefore I would
desire of you of your courtesy and of your gentleness to
fetch again that knight either by force or else by his
I-will do more for your lordship than that," said Balin :
and so he rode more than a pace, and found the knight
with a damsel in a forest, and said, Sir knight, ye must
come with me unto King Arthur, for to tell him of your
"That will I not," said the knight, "for it will scathe
me greatly, and do you none avail."
"Sir," said Balin, "I pray you make you ready, for ye
must go with me, or else I must fight with you and bring
you by force, and that were me loth to do."
"Will ye be my warrant," said the knight, and I go
with you? "
"Yea," said Balin, "or else I will die therefore."
And so he made him ready to go wi:h Balin, and left
the damsel still. And as they were afore King Arthur's
pavilion there came one invisible, and smote this knight
that went with Balin throughout the body with a spear.
"Alas said the knight, I am slain under your con-
duct and guard with a traitorous knight called Garlon;
therefore take my horse the which is better than yours,
and ride to the damsel, and follow the quest that I was in
where as she will lead you, and revenge my death when
ye may best."
"That shall I do," said Balin, "and thereof I make a
vow to you, by my knighthood."
And so he departed from this knight, making great
sorrow. So King Arthur let bury this knight richly, and
made a mention upon the tomb, how there was slain Her-
leus le Berbeus, and also how the treachery was done by
Of King Arlt/ur. 39
the knight Garlon. But ever the damsel bare the trun-
cheon of the spear with her, that Sir Herleus was slain
HoW THE )DAMSEL )LED FOR ITHE CUSTOM OF A CASTLE.
AND anon after this, Balin and the damsel rode till
they came to a castle, and there Balin alighted, and
he and the damsel wend to have gone into the castle.
And anon as Balin came within the castle gate, the port-
cullis fell down at his back, and there came many men
about the damsel, and would have slain her. And when
Balin saw that, he was sore grieved, because he might not
help the damsel. And then he went upon the walls and
leapt over into the ditch and hurt him not, and anon he
pulled out his sword and would have foughten with them.
And then all said they would not fight with him, for they
did nothing but the old custom of the castle, and told him
how their lady was sick, and had lain many years, and
she might not be whole but if she had a silver dish full
of blood of a maid and a king's daughter; and therefore
the custom of this castle is that there shall none pass
this way but that she shall bleed of her blood a silver
"Weell," said Balin, "she shall bleed as much as she
may bleed, but I will not that she leese [/ose] her life
while my life lasteth."
And so Balin made her to bleed by her good will. But
her blood helped not the lady.
40 Thle Boy's King Arthur.
HTow BALIN MET WITH THE KNIGHT NAMED GARLON AT A FEAST, AND
THERE HE SLEW HIM TO HAVE HIS BLOOD TO HEAL THEREWITH THE
SON OF HIS HOST.
T HEN they rode three or four days, and never met
with adventure; and by hap they were lodged with
a gentleman that was a rich man and well at ease. And
as they sat at their supper, Balin heard one complain
grievously by him in a chair.
"What is this noise ?" said Balin.
"Forsooth," said his host, "I will tell you. I was but
late at a jousting, and there I jousted with a knight that
is brother unto King Pellam, and twice smote I him clown;
and then he promised to quit [pay] me on my best friend,
and so he wounded my son, that cannot be whole till I
have of that knight's blood, and he rideth always invisible,
but I know not his name."
"Ah," said Balin, "I know that knight, his name is
Garlon, he hath slain two knights of mine in the same
manner, therefore I had rather meet with that knight
than all the gold in this realm, for the despite he hath
"Well," said his host, "I shall tell you, King Pellam of
Listeneise hath made cry in all this country a great feast
that shall be within these twenty days, and no knight may
come there but if he bring his wife with him, or his love;
and that knight, your enemy and mine, ye shall see that
"Then I promise you," said Balin, "part of his blood
to heal your son withal."
Of King Arthulr. 41
"We will be forward to-morrow," said his host.
So on the morn they rode all three toward Pellam, and
they had fifteen days' journey or [ere] they came thither;
and that same day began the great feast. And so they
alight and stabled their horses, and went into the castle;
but Balin's host might not be let in because he had no
lady. Then Balin was well received, and brought unto a
chamber and unarmed him, and they brought him robes
to his pleasure, and would have had Balin leave his sword
"Nay," said Balin, "that do I not, for it is the custom
of my country a knight always to keep his weapon with
him, and that custom will I keep, or else I will depart as
Then they gave him leave to wear his sword, and so
he went unto the castle, and was set among knights of
worship, and his lady afore him. Soon Balin asked a
knight, Is there not a knight in this court whose name
is Garlon ? "
"Yonder he goeth," said a knight, "he with the black
face; he is the marvellest knight that is now living, for
he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible."
"Ah, well," said Balin, is that he ?
Then Balin advised him long :- "If I slay him here
I shall not escape, and if I leave him now peradventure I
shall never meet with him again at such a good [time],
and much harm he will do and [if] he live."
Therewith this Garlon espied that this Balin beheld
him, and then he came and smote Balin on the face with
the back of his hand, and said, Knight, why beholdest
thou me so? for shame, therefore, eat thy meat, and do
that thou came for."
"Thou sayest sooth," said Balin, "this is not the first
42 7 he Boy's King ArtMur.
despite that thou hast done me, and therefore I will do
that I came for;" and rose up fiercely, and clave his head
to the shoulders.
"Give me the truncheon," said Balin to his lady,
"wherewith he slew your knight."
Anon she gave it him, for always she bare the truncheon
with her; and therewith Balin smote him through the
body, and said openly, With that truncheon thou hast
slain a good knight, and now it sticketh in thy body."
And then Balin called to him his host, saying, "Now
may ye fetch blood enough to heal your son withal."
How BALIN FOUGHT WITH KING PELLAM, AND HOW HIS SWORD BRAKE,
AND HOW IE GAT A SPEAR WHEREWITH HE SMOTE THE DOLOROUS
ANON all the knights arose from the table for to
set on Balin. And King Pellam himself arose up
fiercely, and said, "Knight, hast thou slain my brother ?
thou shalt die therefore or thou depart."
'Well," said Balin, "do it yourself."
"Yes," said King Pellam, "there shall no man have
ado with thee but myself, for the love of my brother."
Then King Pellam caught in his hand a grim weapon
and smote eagerly at Balin, but Balin put the sword
betwixt his head and the stroke, and therewith his sword
burst in sunder. And when Balin was weaponless he ran
into a chamber for to seek some weapon, and so from
chamber to chamber, and no weapon could he find, and
always King Pellam followed him; and at the last he
.... ..... .._..-_-. -
1:]-1--1 I'll T ,. I-
Hs e- S
-= --: r = -=-'- -~-~--~-~
-= f :. :.Y~~~~lk-~iB~~ -:.PC~FG~~ ---------. ,
i_ _:. II; .-
'-. .. ,- _
S. . .... -. . . . "" .. .. -". . .
Ho alnsot heDlrosStoe
Of AKig Arthur. 43
entered into a chamber that was marvellously well dight
[furnished] and richly, and a bed arrayed with cloth of
gold, the richest that might be thought, and one lying
therein; and thereby stood a table of clean gold, with
four pillars of silver that bare up the table, and upon the
table stood a marvellous spear strangely wrought. And
when Balin saw the spear, he gat it in his hand, and
turned him to King Pellam, and smote him passingly sore
with that spear, that King Pellam fell down in a swoon,
and therewith the castle rove [was riven], and walls brake
and fell to the earth, and Balin fell down so that he might
not stir hand nor foot. And so the most part of the castle
that was fallen down through that Dolorous Stroke lay
upon King Pellam and Balin three days.
Then Merlin came thither, and took up Balin, and gat
him a good horse, for his horse was dead, and bade him
ride out of that country.
HIOW BALIN MET WITH HIS BROTHER BALAN, AND HOW EACI OF THEM
SLEW OTHER UNKNOWN, TILL THI EY WERE WOUNDED TO DEATH.
T HEN afore him he saw come riding out of a castle a
knight, and his horse trapped all red, and himself in
the same color. When this knight in the red beheld
Balin, him thought it should be his brother Balin because
of his two swords, but because he knew not his shield, he
deemed it was not he. And so they aventred [adventured]
their spears, and came marvellously fast together, and they
smote each other in the shields, but their spears and their
course was so big that it bare down horse and man, that
44 The Boy's Kizg AJrthr.
they lay both in a swoon. But Balin was bruised sore
with the fall of his horse, for he was weary of travel.
And Balan was the first that rose on foot and drew his
sword, and went toward Balin, and he arose and went
against him, but Balan smote Balin first, and he put up
his shield, and smote him through the shield and cleft his
helm. Then Balin smote him again with that unhappy
sword, and well nigh had felled his brother Balan, and so
they fought there together till their breaths failed. Then
Balin looked up to the castle, and saw the towers stand
full of ladies. So they went to battle again, and wounded
each other dolefully, and then they breathed oft-times, and
so went unto battle, that all the place there as they fought
was blood red. And at that time there was none of them
both but they had either smitten other seven great wounds,
so that the least of them might have been the death of the
mightiest giant in this world. Then they went to battle
again so marvellously that doubt it was to hear of that
battle for the great bloodshedding, and their hauberks
unnailed, that naked they were on every side. At the last
Balan, the younger brother, withdrew him a little and laid
him down. Then said Balin le Savage, "What knight
art thou ? for or [crc] now I found never no knight that
"My name is," said he, "Balan, brother to the good
"Alas said Balin, "that ever I should see this day."
And therewith he fell backward in a swoon. Then
Balan went on all four feet and hands, and put off the
helm of his brother, and might not know him by the vis-
age it was so full hewn and bled; but when he awoke he
said, "0 Balan, my brother, thou hast slain me and I
thee, wherefore all the wide world shall speak of us both."
Of King ArItkur. 45
"Alas!" said Balan, "that ever I saw this day, that
through mishap I might not know you, for I espied well
your two swords, but because ye had another shield I
deemed you had been another knight."
"Alas !" said Balin, "all that made an unhappy knight
in the castle, for he caused me to leave mine own shield
to our both's destruction, and if I might live I would
destroy that castle for ill customs."
"That were well done," said Balan, "for I had never
grace to depart from them since that I came hither, for
here it happed me to slay a knight that kept this island,
and since might I never depart, and no more should ye
brother, and ye might have slain me as ye have, and
escaped yourself with the life."
Right so came the lady of the tower with four knights
and six ladies and six yeomen unto them, and there she
heard how they made their moan either to other, and
said, "We came both of one [mother], and so shall we
lie both in one pit."
So Balan prayed the lady of her gentleness, for his true
service that she would bury them both in that same place
there the battle was done. And she granted them with
weeping it should be done richly in the best manner.
"Now will ye send for a priest, that we may receive our
sacrament and receive the blessed body of our Lord Jesus
"Yea," said the lady, "it shall be done."
And so she sent for a priest and gave them their rites.
Now," said Balin, "when we are buried in one tomb,
and the mention made over us how two brethren slew
each other, there will never good knight nor good man see
our tomb but they will pray for our souls."
And so all the ladies and gentlewomen wept for pity.
46 The Boy's King Arthur.
Then, anon Balan died, but Balin died not till the mid-
night after, and so were they buried both, and the lady let
make a mention of Balan how he was there slain by his
brother's hands, but she knew not Balin's name.
In the morn came Merlin and let write Balin's name
upon the tomb, with letters of gold, That here lieth Balin
le Savage, that was the knight with the two swords, and
he that smote the Dolorous Stroke.
Soon after this was done Merlin came to King Arthur
and told him of the Dolorous Stroke that Balin gave to
King Pellam, and how Balin and Balan fought together
the most marvellous battle that ever was heard of, and
how they were buried both in one tomb.
"Alas!" said King Arthur, "this is the greatest pity
that ever I heard tell of two knights, for in the world I
know not such two knights."
Thus endeth the tale of Balin and Balan, two brethren
born in Northumberland, good knights.
How KING AR'THUR TOOK AND WEDDED GUENEVER UNTO HIS WIFE.
IT befell on a time that King Arthur said to Merlin:
My barons will let me have no rest, but needs they
will have that I take a wife, and I will none take but by
thy counsel and by thine advice."
"It is well done," said Merlin, "that ye take a wife,
for a man of your bounty and nobleness should not be
without a wife. Now is there any fair lady that ye love
better than another? "
"Yea," said King Arthur, "I love Guenever, the king's