Le Morte Darthur

By Thomas Malory

Edited by Jack Lynch,
Rutgers University — Newark

Malory's original, taken from a public-domain electronic text, is on the left; on the right is my own paraphrase in Modern English. Both are meant for teaching — I make no claims about their accuracy for any other purpose. I've tried to make the paraphrase accessible to modern American readers, since the original is available for comparison. That inevitably comes at the expense of some precision. In the transcription of the original, a circumflex stands in for a macron. I've added bracketed paragraph numbers to this edition for classroom use.

Book Six:
Syr Launcelot du Lake

¶ Capitulum primum

Soone after that kyng Arthur was come / fro rome in to Englond / thenne alle the knyghtes of the table round resorted vnto the kyng / & made many Iustes & turnementes / & some there were that were but knyȝtes whiche encreaced so in armes and worship that they passed alle their felawes in prowesse and noble dedes / and that was wel preued on many But in especyal it was preued on syre launcelot du lake / for in al turnementys and Iustes and dedes of armes both for lyf and deth he passed al other knyȝtes / and at no tyme he was neuer ouercome / but yf it were by treson or enchauntement / so syr Launcelot encreaced soo merueyllously in worship / and in honour / therfor is he the fyrst knyȝt that the frensshe book maketh mencyon of after kynge Arthur came fro rome / wherfore quene gweneuer had hym in grete fauour aboue al other knyghtes . and in certayne he loued the quene ageyne aboue al other ladyes damoysels of his lyf / And for her he dyd many dedes of armes and saued her from the fyer thorou his noble chyualry / Thus syre launcelot rested hym longe with play & game / And thenne he thought hym self to preue hym self in straunge auentures / thenne he badde his neuewe syre Lyonel for to make hym redy / for we two wylle seke aduentures / So they mounted on their horses armed at al ryghtes / and rode in to a depe forest & soo in to a depe playne /

Chapter 1

[1] Soon after King Arthur came from Rome to England, all the knights of the Round Table went to the king, and held many jousts and tournaments; and there were some that were only knights, who succeeded so well in arms and in fame, that they surpassed all their companions in prowess and noble deeds, and that was proved on many. But it was especially proved on Sir Launcelot du Lake, for in all the tournaments and jousts and deeds of arms, both for life and death, he surpassed all the other knights, and at no time was he ever overcome, unless by treason or enchantment. Since Sir Launcelot increased so marvellously in fame and honor, he is the first knight that the French book mentions after King Arthur came from Rome. For this reason, Queen Guinevere held him in great favor above all the other knights, and he certainly loved the queen above all the other ladies and damsels of his life, and he did many deeds of arms for her, and saved her from the fire through his noble chivalry. Thus Sir Launcelot rested for a long time with play and games. And then he decided to prove himself in strange adventures. Then he told his nephew, Sir Lionel, to get ready; “For we two will look for adventures.” So they mounted their horses, completely armed, and rode into a deep forest and so into a deep plain.

¶ And thenne the weder was hote about noone / and syre launcelot had grete lust to slepe / Thenne syr lyonel aspyed a grete Appyl tree that stode by an hedge / & said broder yonder is a fayre shadowe / there maye we reste vs on oure horses / hit is wel saide faire broder said syr launcelot / for this viij yere I was not so slepy as I am now / and so they there alyghted & tayed their horses vnto sondry trees / and so syr launcelot layd hym doune vnder an appyl tree / and his helme he layd vnder his hede / And Syre lyonel waked whyle he slepte / Soo syre launcelot was a slepe passynge fast / And in the mene whyle there came thre knyghtes rydynge as faste fleynge as euer they myghte ryde And there folowed hem thre but one knyghte / And whanne syr lyonel sawe hym / hym thought he sawe neuer soo grete a knyghte nor soo wel farynge a man neyther soo wel apparailled vnto al ryghtes / Soo within a whyle this strong knyȝt had ouertaken one of these knyghtes / and there he smote hym to the cold erth that he lay styll / And than he rode vnto the second knyght / and smote hym soo that man and hors felle doune / And thenne streyghte to the thyrdde knyghte he rode and smote hym behynde his hors ars a spere length / And thenne he alyghte doune arayned his hors on the brydel & bonde alle the thre knyghtes fast with the raynes of their owne brydels / Whan syr lyonel sawe hym doo thus / he thought to assay hym / & made hym redy & stylly / and pryuely he took his hors & thoughte not for to awake syr launcelot / And whan he was mounted vpon his hors / he ouertoke this strong knyght / & bad hym torne / and the other smote syr lyonel so hard that hors & man he bare to the erthe / & so he alyght doun & bound hym fast and threwe hym ouerthwart his owne hors / and soo he serued hem al foure / & rode with hem awey to his owne castel / And whan he came there he garte vnarme them & bete hem with thornys al naked / & after put hem in a depe pryson where were many mo knyghtes that made grete doloure

[2] And then the weather was hot, around noon, and Sir Launcelot had a great desire to sleep. Then Sir Lionel spotted a great apple tree that stood by a hedge, and said, “Brother, there is a pleasing shadow; there we can rest ourselves and our horses.” “Well said, fair brother,” said Sir Launcelot, “for in the last eight years I haven't been as sleepy as I am now.” And so they got down and tied their horses to various trees, and so Sir Launcelot lay down under an apple tree, and he laid his helmet under his head. And Sir Lionel stayed awake while he slept. So Sir Launcelot fell asleep very quickly. Meanwhile, three knights came riding, fleeing as fast as they could ride. And only one knight followed those three. And when Sir Lionel saw him, it seemed to him he never saw such a great knight, nor such an impressive man, nor someone so well decked out. So in a while this strong knight had overtaken one of these knights, and there he smote him to the cold earth so that he lay still. And then he rode to the second knight, and smote him so that man and horse fell down. And then he rode straight to the third knight, and smote him behind his horse's ass a spear length. And then he got down and reined his horse on the bridle, and tied all three knights tight with the reins of their own bridles. When Sir Lionel saw him do this, he decided to try him, and got ready, and stilly and quietly he took his horse, and didn't think to wake Sir Launcelot. And when he was mounted on his horse, he overtook this strong knight, and told him to turn, and the other smote Sir Lionel so hard that he brought horse and man to the earth, and so he got down and tied him tight, and threw him over his own horse. And he dealt with all four of them this way, and rode away with them to his own castle. And when he came there he disarmed them, and beat them with thorns all naked, and then put them in a deep prison where there were many more knights, who wept bitterly.

¶ Capitulum secundum /

Whan syre Ector de marys wyst that syre laucelot was past out of the court to seke aduentures he was wroth with hym self / & made hym redy to seke syre laucelot / & as he had ryden long in a grete forest he mette with a man was lyke a foster / Fayre felaw said syre Ector knowest thou in thys countrey ony aduentures that ben here nyghe hand / Syr sayd the foster / this countrey knowe I wel . and here by within thys myle / is a stronge manoir and wel dyked / & by that manoir on the lyfte hand there is a faire fourde for horses to drynke of / and ouer that fourde there groweth a fayr tree / and theron hangen many fayre sheldes that welded somtyme good knyghtes / & atte hoole of the tree hangeth a bacyn of coper & latoen / and stryke vpon that bacyn with the but of thy spere thryes / And soone after thou shalt here newe tydynges / And ellys hast thou the fayrest grace that many a yere had euer knyght that passed thorou this forest / gramercy sayd syre Ector / and departed / and came to the tree and sawe many fayre sheldes And amonge them he sawe his broders sheld syr Lyonel and many moo that he knewe that were his felawes of the round table / the whiche greued his herte / and promysed to reuenge his broder / Thenne anone syr Ector bete on the bacyn as he were wood / and thenne he gaf his hors drynke at the fourde / & ther came a knyghte behynd hym / and bad hym come oute of the water and make hym redy / and syre Ector anone torned hym shortly and in fewter cast his spere and smote the other knyghte a grete buffet that his hors torned twyes aboute / This was wel done said the strong knyȝt / & knyȝtly thou hast stryken me / And therwith he russhed his hors on syre Ector / and cleyȝte hym vnder his ryght arme & bare hym clene out of the sadel / and rode with hym awey in to his owne halle / & threwe hym doune in myddes of the floore / the name of thys knyghte was syre Turquyne / than he said vnto syre Ector for thou hast done this day more vnto me than ony knyghte dyd these xij yeres / Now wille I graunte the thy lyf so thou wilt be sworn to be my prysoner all thy lyf dayes / Nay said sir Ector / that wylle I neuer promyse the / but that I will do myne auauntage / That me repenteth sayd syre Turquyne / and thenne he garte to vnarme hym and bete hym with thornys all naked / and sythen putte hym doune in a depe dungeon where he knewe many of his felawes / But whan syre Ector sawe syr lyonel thenne made he grete sorowe / Allas broder sayd sir Ector / where is my broder syre Launcelot / Fayre broder I lefte hym on slepe whan that I from hym yode vnder an appel tree and what is become of hym I can not telle yow / Allas said the knyghtes / but syre launcelot helpe vs we may neuer be delyuerd / for we knowe now noo knyght that is able to matche oure mayster Turquyn

Chapter 2

[3] When Sir Ector de Maris found out that Sir Launcelot had left the court to look for adventures, he was angry with himself, and prepared himself to look for Sir Launcelot. When he'd ridden long in a great forest, he met a man who looked like a forester. “Fair fellow,” said Sir Ector, “do you know any adventures that might be here close at hand in this country?” “Sir,” said the forester, “I know this country well. And near here, within a mile, is a manor that's strong and surrounded with trenches. By that manor, on the left, there is a good ford for horses to drink from, and over that ford a fine tree grows, and on it hang many fair shields that good knights once used. At the hole of the tree a basin of copper and brass hangs: strike that basin with the butt of your spear three times, and soon you'll hear some news: otherwise, you have the fairest grace of any knight that has passed through this forest in many years.” “Thank you,” said Sir Ector, and left, and came to the tree, and saw many fair shields. And among them he saw his brother's shield, Sir Lionel's, and many more that he knew who were his companions of the Round Table. This pained his heart, and he promised to revenge his brother. Then Sir Ector beat on the basin as if he were insane, and then he gave his horse drink at the ford. A knight came up behind him and told him to come out of the water and get ready; and Sir Ector turned shortly, and in put his spear in the rest, and smote the other knight with such a great blow that his horse turned around twice. “This was well done,” said the strong knight, “and you've struck me like a knight.” And with that, he rushed his horse on Sir Ector, and clipped him under his right arm, and carried him right out of the saddle, and rode away with him to his own hall, and threw him down in the middle of the floor. The name of this knight was Sir Turquine. Then he said to Sir Ector, “Because you've done more to me today than any knight has done in the last twelve years, I'll grant you your life, as long as you'll swear to be my prisoner all the days of your life.” “No,” said Sir Ector, “I'll never promise that, except that I'll do what's good for me.” “I'm sorry to hear that,” said Sir Turquine. And then he disarmed him, and beat him with thorns all naked. And then he put him down in a deep dungeon, where he knew many of his companions. But when Sir Ector saw Sir Lionel, he was very sad. “Alas, brother,” said Sir Ector, “where's my brother, Sir Launcelot?” “Fair brother, I left him asleep when I went from him, under an apple-tree, and I can't tell you what happened to him.” “Alas,” said the knights, “unless Sir Launcelot helps us, we may never be rescued; for we don't know any knight who can match our master Turquine.”

¶ Capitulum tercium

Now leue we these knyghtes prysoners and speke we of syre Launcelott du lake that lyeth vnder the Appyl Tree slepynge / euen aboute the noone there come by hym foure quenes of grete estate / And for the hete shold not nyhe hem there rode foure knyghtes aboute hem / and bare a clothe of grene sylke on foure speres betwixe them and the sonne / And the quenes rode on foure whyte mules

Chapter 3

[4] Now we leave these knights prisoners, and we speak of Sir Launcelot du Lake, who lies under the apple tree sleeping. Around noon, four queens of great rank came by him; and, so that the heat would not bother them, four knights rode around them, and carried a cloth of green silk on four spears between them and the sun, and the queens rode on four white mules.

¶ Thus as they rode they herde by them a grete hors grymly neye / thenne were they ware of a slepynge knyghte that laye alle armed vnder an appyl tree / anone as these quenes loked on his face / they knewe it was syre launcelot / Thenne they byganne for to stryue for that knyghte / euerychone sayd they wold haue hym to her loue /

[5] Thus, as they rode, they heard by them a great horse neigh grimly. Then they were aware of a sleeping knight, who lay completely armed under an apple tree. As soon as these queens looked on his face, they knew it was Sir Launcelot. Then they began to compete for that knight; everyone said she would have him to be her lover.

¶ We shalle not stryue sayd Morgan le fay that was kynge Arthurs syster / I shalle putte an enchauntement vpon hym / that he shalle not awake in syxe owres / And thenne I wylle lede hym awey vnto my castel / And whanne he is surely within my hold / I shalle take the enchauntement from hym / And thenne lete hym chese whyche of vs he wylle haue vnto peramour /

[6] “We won't compete,” said Morgan le Fay, who was King Arthur's sister. “I will put an enchantment on him, so that he won't awake for six hours, and then I'll lead him away to my castle. And when he's surely within my hold, I will lift the enchantment from him, and then let him choose which of us he will have as a lover.”

¶ Soo thys enchauntement was caste vpon syre Launcelot / And thenne they leyd hym vpon his shelde / and bare hym soo an horsback betwixt two knyghtes / and brought hym vnto the castel charyot / and there they leyd hym in a chambyr cold / and att nyghte they sente vnto hym a fayre damoysel with his souper redy dyght By that the enchauntement was past / And whan she came she salewed hym / and asked hym what chere / I can not saye fayre damoysel said syre Launcelot / for I wote not how I cam in to this castel / but it be by an enchauntement / Syre sayd she ye must make good chere / And yf ye be suche a knyȝte as it is sayd ye ben / I shalle telle you more to morne by pryme of the daye / Gramercy fayre damoysel sayd syre Launcelot of youre good wyl I requyre yow / And soo she departed / And there he laye alle that nyght withoute comforte of ony body

[7] So this enchantment was cast on Sir Launcelot. And then they laid him on his shield, and carried him on horseback between two knights, and brought him to the Castle Chariot. And there they laid him in a cold chamber, and at night they sent a fair damsel to him with his supper ready prepared. By that time the enchantment had passed, and when she came she greeted him, and asked him how he was. “I can't say, fair damsel,” said Sir Launcelot, “for I don't know how I came into this castle, unless it was by an enchantment.” “Sir,” said she, “you must make good cheer, and if you're the kind of knight they say you are, I'll tell you more tomorrow morning before noon.” “Thank you, fair damsel,” said Sir Launcelot, “I ask for your good will.” And so she left. And he lay there all that night without the comfort of anybody.

¶ And on the morne erly came these foure quenes passyngly wel bysene / Alle they byddyng hym good morne / and he them ageyne /

[8] And early in the morning came these four queens, looking exceptionally beautiful, all wishing him good morning, and he wishing them in return.

¶ Syre knyghte the foure quenes sayd thow must vnderstande thou arte our prysoner / and we here knowe the wel that thou arte syre Launcelot du laake / kynge Bans sone / And by cause we vnderstande your worthynes that thou arte the noblest knyght lyuyng / And as we knowe wel ther can no lady haue thy loue but one / and that is quene Gweneuer / and now thow shalt lose her for euer and she the / and therfore the behoueth now to chese one of vs four / I am the quene Morgan le fay quene of the land of Gorre / and here is the quene of Northgalys and the quene of Eestland / and the quene of the oute yles / ¶ Now chese one of vs whiche thou wylt haue to thy peramour / for thou mayst not chese or els in thys pryson to dye / This is an hard caaas sayd syre Launcelot that eyther I muste dye or els chese one of yow / yet had I leuer to dye in this pryson with worship than to haue one of you to my peramour maugre my hede / And therfore ye be ansuerd I wylle none of yow for ye be fals enchauntresses / And as for my lady dame Gweneuer / were I at my lyberte as I was / I wold preue hit on you or on yours / that she is the truest lady vnto her lord lyuyng / Wel sayd the quenes / is this your ansuer that ye wylle reffuse vs / ye on my lyf sayd syr laucelot / reffused ye ben of me / Soo they departed and lefte hym there alone that made grete sorowe

[9] “Sir knight,” the four queens said, “you have to understand you're our prisoner, and we here know you well: you're Sir Launcelot du Lake, King Ban's son. And because we understand your worthiness, that you're the noblest knight alive; and since we know well only one lady can have your love, and that's Queen Guinevere; now you'll lose her forever, and she will lose you. And therefore you have to choose one of the four of us. I'm Queen Morgan le Fay, queen of the land of Gore. And here is the queen of Northgalis, and the queen of Eastland, and the queen of the Outer Isles. Now choose which of us you'll have as your lover, for you have to choose or else die in this prison.” “This is a hard case,” said Sir Launcelot, “that I either have to die, or else choose one of you; yet I'd rather die in this prison with honor, than have one of you as a lover in spite of my rank. And therefore here is your answer: I will have none of you, for you are false enchantresses. And as for my lady, Dame Guinevere, if I were free as I once was, I'd prove to you that she's the truest lady to her lord alive.” “Well,” said the queens, “is this your answer, that you'll refuse us?” “Yea, on my life,” said Sir Launcelot, “I have refused you.” So they departed and left him there alone, and he was very sad.

¶ Capitulum quartum

Ryght so at the noone came the damoysel vnto hym with his dyner / and asked hym what chere / truly fayre damoysel sayd syre Launcelot in my lyf dayes neuer so ylle / sir she sayd that me repentest / but and ye wylle be reulyd by me / I shal help you out of this distresse / and ye shal haue no shame nor vylony soo that ye hold me a promyse / fayre damoysel I wil graunte yow / and sore I am of these quenes sorceresses aferd / for they haue destroyed many a good knyght / syre sayd she that is sothe and for the renome and bounte that they here of you / they wold haue your loue / and sir they sayne / your name is syre Launcelot du laake the floure of knyghtes / & they be passynge wrothe with yow that ye haue reffused hem / But syre and ye wold promyse me to helpe my fader on tewsdaye next comynge / that hath made a turnement betwixe hym and the kynge of Northgalys / for the last tewesdaye past my fader lost the felde thorugh thre knyghtes of Arthurs courte / And ye wyll be there on tewesday next comyng / and helpe my fader to morne or pryme by the grace of god I shalle delyuer yow clene / Fayre mayden sayd syr launcelot telle me what is your faders name / and thenne shal I gyue you an ansuer / Syre knyghte she sayd / my fader is kyng Bagdemagus that was foule rebuked at the last turnement / I knowe your fader wel said syre launcelot for a noble kyng and a good knyghte / And by the feythe of my body ye shalle haue my body redy to doo your fader and you seruyse at that day / Syre she sayd gramercy / and to morne awayte ye be redy by tymes and I shal be she that shal delyuer you / and take you your armoure and your hors shelde and spere / And here by within this x myle is an Abbey of whyte monkes / there I praye you that ye me abyde / and thyder shal I brynge my fader vnto you / alle thys shal be done saide syre Launcelot as I am true knyghte / and soo she departed and came on the morne erly / and found hym redy / thenne she brought hym oute of twelue lockes & brouȝt hym vnto his armour / & whan he was clene armed / she brought hym vntyl his owne hors / and lyghtely he sadeled hym and toke a grete spere in his hand / and soo rode forth / and sayd fayre damoysel I shal not faile you by the grace of god / And soo he rode in to a grete forest all that day / and neuer coude fynde no hyghe waye / and soo the nyght felle on hym / and thenne was he ware in a slade of a pauelione of reed sendel / By my feythe sayd syre launcelot in that pauelione wil I lodge alle this nyghte / and soo there he alyghte doune and tayed his hors to the pauelione / and there he vnarmed hym / and there he fond a bedde / and layd hym theryn / and felle on slepe sadly

Chapter 4

[10] Exactly at noon the damsel came to him with his dinner, and asked him how he was. “Truly, fair damsel,” said Sir Launcelot, “I've never been worse in my life.” “Sir,” she said, “I'm sorry to hear that, but if you'll be ruled by me, I'll help you out of this distress, and you'll have no shame or villainy, as long as you keep a promise to me.” “Fair damsel, I'll grant you that; and I'm terribly afraid of these queen-sorceresses, for they have destroyed many a good knight.” “Sir,” said she, “that's the truth, and because of your renown and the bounty they hear of you, they want your love; and, ‘Sir,’ they say, ‘your name is Sir Launcelot du Lake, the flower of knights,’ and they're extremely angry with you because you've refused them. But sir, if you would promise to help my father next Tuesday, who has made a tournament between him and the King of Northgalis — for last Tuesday my father lost the field to three knights of Arthur's court — if you'll be there next Tuesday, and help my father, tomorrow morning or noon, by the grace of God, I'll rescue you.” “Fair maiden,” said Sir Launcelot, “tell me your father's name, and then I'll answer you.” “Sir knight,” she said, “my father is King Bagdemagus, who was foully rebuked at the last tournament.” “I know your father well,” said Sir Launcelot, “for a noble king and a good knight. And by the faith of my body, you will have my body ready to serve your father and you that day.” “Sir,” she said, “thank you; and tomorrow morning, be ready, and I'll be the one who will rescue you and bring your armor and your horse, shield, and spear. And near here, within ten miles, is an abbey of white monks. There I ask you to wait for me, and I'll bring my father to you there.” “All this will be done,” said Sir Launcelot, “as I am a true knight.” And so she left. And she came early in the morning, and found him ready; then she brought him out of twelve locks, and brought him to his armor; and when he was completely armed, she brought him to his own horse, and he saddled him lightly, and took a great spear in his hand, and so rode forth, and said, “Fair damsel, I won't fail you, by the grace of God.” And so he rode into a great forest all that day, and could never find a road; and so the night fell on him. And then he was aware he was in a valley, by a pavilion of red silk. “By my faith,” said Sir Launcelot, “I'll spend the night in that pavilion.” And so he got down there, and tied his horse to the pavilion, and removed his armor; and there he found a bed, and lay in it and fell asleep sadly.

¶ Capitulum v

Thenne within an houre there came the knyghte to whome the pauelione ought / And he wende that his lemâ had layne in that bedde / and soo he laid hym doune besyde syr Launcelot / and toke hym in his armes and beganne to kysse hym / And whanne syre launcelot felte a rough berd kyssyng hym / he starte oute of the bedde lyghtely / and the other knyȝt after hym / and eyther of hem gate their swerdes in theire handes / and oute at the pauelione dore wente the knyghte of the pauelione / and syre launcelot folowed hym / and ther by a lytyl slake syr launcelot wounded hym sore nyghe vnto the deth And thenne he yelded hym vnto syre launcelot / and so he grauted hym so that he wold telle hym why he came in to the bedde Syre sayd the knyght the pauelione is myn owne / and there thys nyght I had assygned my lady to haue slepte with me And now I am lykely to dye of this wounde / that me repenteth sayd Launcelot of youre hurte / but I was adrad of treson / for I was late begyled / and therfore come on your way in to your pauelione and take your rest / And as I suppose I shalle staunche your blood / and soo they wente bothe in to the pauelione / And anone syre launcelot staunched his blood / There with al came the knyghtes lady / that was a passynge fayre lady / And whanne she aspyed that her lord Belleus was sore wounded she cryed oute on syre launcelot / and made grete dole oute of mesure / Pees my lady and my loue said Belleus / for this knyght is a goood man and a knyght aduenturous / and there he told her all the cause how he was wouded / And whan that I yolde me vnto hym / he lefte me goodely and hath staunched my blood / Syre sayd the lady I requyre the telle me what knyght ye be / and what is youre name / Fayr lady he sayd / my name is syre launcelot du lake / soo me thought euer by your speche sayd the lady / for I haue sene yow ofte or this / and I knowe you better than ye wene /

Chapter 5

[11] Then, within an hour, the knight who owned the pavilion came, and he thought his lover lay in that bed; and so he lay down next to Sir Launcelot, and took him in his arms, and began to kiss him. And when Sir Launcelot felt a rough beard kissing him, he jumped out of the bed quickly, and the other knight after jumped out him. And both of them took their swords in their hands, and the knight of the pavilion went out at the pavilion door, and Sir Launcelot followed him. And there, by a little valley, Sir Launcelot wounded him badly, almost to death. And then he surrendered to Sir Launcelot, and he accepted, provided that he would tell him why he came into the bed. “Sir,” said the knight, “the pavilion is mine, and I had assigned my lady to have slept with me there tonight. And now I'm likely to die of this wound.” “I am sorry you were hurt,” said Launcelot, “but I was afraid of treachery, for I was recently tricked. So come into your pavilion and rest, and, as I suppose, I'll stop your bleeding.” And so they went both into the pavilion, and Sir Launcelot soon stopped his bleeding. Then came the knight's lady, who was a very beautiful lady; and when she saw that her lord Belleus was badly wounded, she cried out to Sir Launcelot, and wept excessively. “Peace, my lady and my love,” said Belleus, “for this knight is a good man, and an adventurous knight”; and there he told her how he came to be wounded. “And when I surrendered to him, he left me well, and has stopped my bleeding.” “Sir,” said the lady, “I ask you what knight you are, and what is your name?” “Fair lady,” he said, “my name is Sir Launcelot du Lake.” “That's what I thought from your speech,” said the lady, “for I've often seen you before this, and I know you better than you realize.”

¶ But now and ye wold promyse me of your curtosy for the harmes that ye haue done to me and to my lord Belleus that whanne he cometh vnto Arthurs courte for to cause hym to be made knyghte of the roud table / for he is a passyng good man of armes and a myghty lord of landes of many oute yles /

[12] “But now, if you would promise me on your courtesy, because of the harm that you have done to me and my Lord Belleus, that when he comes to Arthur's court, to have him made knight of the Round Table, for he's an exceptionally good man of arms, and a mighty lord of lands of many distant islands.”

¶ Fayre lady said syr launcelot lete hym come vnto the courte the next hyhe feest / and loke that ye come with hym / and I shal doo my power / and ye preue you doughty of your handes that ye shalle haue your desyre

[13] “Fair lady,” said Sir Launcelot, “let him come to the court at the next high feast, and be sure that you come with him, and I'll do what I can. If you prove yourself skillful with your hands, you'll have whatever you want.”

¶ So thus within a whyle as they thus talked the nyghte passed / and the daye shone / and thenne syre launcelot armed hym / and took his hors / and they taught hym to the Abbaye and thyder he rode within the space of two owrys

[14] So, in a little while, as they talked this way, the night passed, and the day shone. And then Sir Launcelot armed himself, and took his horse, and they showed him to the abbey, and he rode there in two hours.

¶ Capitulum Sextum /

And soone as syre launcelott came withyn the Abbeye yarde / the doughter of kynge Bagdemagus herd a grete hors goo on the pauyment / And she thenne aroos and yede vnto a wyndowe / and there she sawe syr launcelot / and anone she made men fast to take his hors from hym / & lete lede hym in to a stabyl / and hym self was ledde in to a fayre chamber / and vnarmed hym / and the lady sente hym a longe goune / & anone she came her self / And thene she made launcelot passyng good chere / and she sayd he was the knyȝt in the world was moost welcome to her / Thenne in al haste she sente for her fader Bagdemagus that was within xij myle of that Abbay and afore euen he came with a fayre felauship of knyghtes wyth hym / And whanne the kynge was alyghte of his hors he yode streyte vnto syr launcelots chamber / and there he fond hys doughter / and thenne the kyng enbraced syr Launcelot in hys armes / and eyther made other good chere / Anone syre launcelot made his complaynt vnto the kynge how he was bytrayed And how his broder syre lyonel was departed from hym / he nyst not where / and how his doughter had delyuerd hym out of pryson / therfor whyle I lyue I shal doo her seruyse and al her kynred / Thenne am I sure of youre helpe sayd the kynge on tewesday next comynge / ye syr sayd syr launcelot / I shalle not faylle yow / for soo I haue promyfed my lady your doughter / But syre what knyghtes be they of my lord Arthurs that were with the kynge of Northgalys / and the kyng sayd it was syre madore de laporte / and syr Mordred and syr gahalaytyne that al fur fared my knyghtes / for ageynst hem thre I nor my knyghtes myghte bere no strenghte / Syre sayde syre launcelot as I here say that the turnement shal be here within this thre myle of this abbay / ye shal sende vnto me thre knyghtes of yours suche as ye trust and loke that the thre knyghtes haue al whyte sheldes & I also & no paynture on the sheldes / & and we four will come out of a lytel wood in myddes of both partyes / and we shalle falle in the frounte of oure enemyes & greue hem that we may / And thus shal I not be knowen what knyght I am / Soo they took their rest that nyght / and thys was on the sonday / and soo the kyng departed / and sente vnto syre launcelot thre knyghtes with the four whyte sheldes And on the tewesday they lodged hem in a lytyl leued wood besyde there the turnement shold be / And there were scaffoldis and holes that lordes and ladyes myghte beholde and to gyue the pryse / Thenne came in to the feld the kyng of Northgalys with eyght score helmes / And thenne the thre knyghtes of Arthur stode by them self /

Chapter 6

[15] And soon as Sir Launcelot entered the abbey yard, the daughter of King Bagdemagus heard a great horse on the pavement. And then she got up and went to a window, and there she saw Sir Launcelot. And soon she made men take his horse from him, and led it into a stable; and he himself was led into a fair chamber, and they disarmed him. And the lady sent him a long gown, and soon she came herself. And then she made Launcelot passing good cheer, and she said he was the most welcome knight in the world to her. Then, in all haste, she sent for her father, Bagdemagus, who was within twelve miles of that abbey. And he came before evening with a fair fellowship of knights with him. And when the king had gotten down from his horse, he went straight to Sir Launcelot's chamber; and there he found his daughter. And then the king embraced Sir Launcelot in his arms, and each wished the other well. Soon Sir Launcelot complained to the king how he was betrayed, and how his brother, Sir Lionel, was parted from him, he didn't know where; and how his daughter had rescued him from prison. “Therefore, while I live, I'll serve her and all her kindred.” “Then I'm sure I'll have your help,” said the king, “next Tuesday.” “Yes, sir,” said Sir Launcelot, “I won't fail you, for I've promised my lady, your daughter. But, sir, what knights of my lord Arthur's were with the King of Northgalis?” And the king said, “It was Sir Mador de la Porte, and Sir Mordred, and Sir Gahalantine, who completely defeated my knights, for my knights and I had no power against all three of them.” “Sir,” said Sir Launcelot, “as I hear that the tournament will be here within three miles of this abbey, you'll send three of your knights to me, whom you trust, and be sure that the three knights all have white shields, and I should have one also, and there should be no painting on the shields. And the four of us will come out of a little wood in the middle of both parties, and we'll fall in front of our enemies, and beset them however we can; and that way I won't be recognized.” So they rested that night, and this was on Sunday. And so the king left, and sent three knights with the four white shields to Sir Launcelot. And on Tuesday they stayed in a little leafy wood near where the tournament would be. And there were scaffolds and holes so that lords and ladies might look and give the prize. Then the King of Northgalis came into the field with a hundred sixty helmets. And then the three knights of Arthur's stood by themselves.

¶ Thenne cam in to the feld kyng Bagdemagus with four score of helmys / And thenne they fewtryd their sperys / and cam to gyders with a grete dasshe / & there were slayn of knyghtes at the first recountre xij of kyng Bagdemagus parte / and syx of the kyng of Northgalys party / and kyng Bagdemagus party was ferre sette a back /

[16] Then King Bagdemagus came into the field with eighty helmets. And then they put their spears in the rests, and came together with a great dash, and at the first charge, twelve knights of King Bagdemagus's party were slain, and six of the King of Northgalis's party, and King Bagdemagus's party was set far back.

¶ Capitulum septimum

Wyth that came syr Launcelot du lake and he threste in with his spere in the thyckest of the prees / and there he smote doune with one spere fyue knyghtes / and of foure of hem he brake their backes / And in that throng he smote doune the kynge of Northgalys / and brake his thye in that falle / Alle thys doyng of syre Launcelot sawe the thre knyghtes of Arthurs / Yonder is a shrewde gest sayd syre Madore de la port therfore haue here ones at hym / soo they encountred / and syre Launcelot bare hym doune hors and man / soo that his sholder wente oute of lyth / Now befalleth it to me to Iuste sayd Mordred / for syr Mador hath afore falle / Syre Launcelot was ware of hym / and gate a grete spere in his hand / and mette hym and syr Mordred brake a spere vpon hym / and syre launcelot gaf hym suche a buffet that the arsson of his sadel brake / & soo he flewe ouer his hors taylle that his helme butte in to the erthe a foote and more that nyhe his neck was broken / & there he lay longe in a swoune /

Chapter 7

[17] With that Sir Launcelot du Lake came, and he thrust his spear into the thick of the battle; and with one spear he smote down five knights, and broke four of their backs. And in that throng he smote down the King of Northgalis, and broke his thigh in that fall. Arthur's three knights saw all of Sir Launcelot's deeds. “That is a wicked fellow,” said Sir Mador de la Porte; “therefore go after him at once.” So they attacked, and Sir Launcelot pulled him down, horse and man, so that his shoulder went out of joint. “Now it's my turn to joust,” said Mordred, “for Sir Mador has had a bad fall.” Sir Launcelot was aware of him, and got a great spear in his hand, and met him; and Sir Mordred broke a spear on him, and Sir Launcelot gave him such a blow that the bow of his saddle broke. And so he flew over his horse's tail, so that his helmet sank into the earth a foot and more, so that his neck was nearly broken, and he lay there for a long time unconscious.

¶ Thenne came in syr Gahalantyne with a grete spere / and Launcelot ageynst hym with al theyre strength that they myȝt dryue that both her speres to brast euen to their handes / and thenne they flang out with their swerdes and gaf many a grym stroke / Thenne was syr launcelot wroth oute of mesure / and thene he smote syr galahantyne on the helme that his nose braste oute on blood and eerys and mouthe bothe / and ther with his hede henge lowe / And therwith his hors ranne awey with hym / and he felle doune to the erthe / Anone there with al syre launcelot gate a greete spere in hys hand / And or euer that grete spere brake / he bare doune to the erthe xvj knyghtes some hors and man / and some the man & not the hors / & there was none but that he hyt surely he bare none armes that day / And thenne he gate another grete spere & smote doune twelue knyghtes / and the moost party of hem neuer throfe after / And thêne the knyȝtes of the kyng of northgalys wold Iuste nomore / And there the gree was was gyuen to kynge Bagdemagus / So eyther party departed vnto his owne place / and syr launcelot rode forth with kynge Bagdemagus vnto his castel / and there he had passynge good chere both with the kyng and with his doughter / and they profred hym grete yeftes / And on the morne he took his leue / and told the kynge that he wold goo and seke his broder syre Lyonel that wente from hym whan that he slepte / so he toke his hors / and betaught hem alle to god / And there he sayd vnto the kynges doughter yf ye haue nede ony tyme of my seruyse I praye you lete me have knouleche / and I shal not faylle you as I am true knyght / and so syr launcelot departed / and by aduenture he came in to the same forest / there he was take slepyng / And in the myddes of an hyhe way he mette a damoysel rydyng on a whyte palfroy / and there eyther salewed other / Fayre damoysel said syre launcelot knowe ye in this countray ony aduentures / syre knyghte sayd that damoysel / here are aduentures nere hand / and thou durst preue hem / why shold I not preue aduentures said syre launcelot for that cause come I hyder / Wel sayd she thou semest wel to be a good knyght / And yf thou dare mete with a good knyght / I shal brynge the where is the best knyght / and the myghtyest that euer thou fond / so thou wylt telle me what is thy name / and what knyght thou arte / damoysel as for to telle the my name I take no grete force / Truly my name is syre laucelot du lake / syre thou bysemyst wel / here ben aduentures by that fallen for the / for here by duelleth a knyght that wylle not be ouermatched for no man I knowe but ye ouermatche hym / & his name is syre Turquyne And as I vnderstand he hath in his pryson of Arthurs courte good knyghtes thre score and foure / that he hath wonne with his owne handes / But whan ye haue done that Iourney ye shal promyse me as ye are a true knyght for to go with me and to helpe me / and other damoysels that are distressid dayly with a fals knyghte / All your entente damoysel and desyre I wylle fulfylle / soo ye wyl brynge me vnto this knyghte Now fayre knyght come on your waye / and soo she broughte hym vnto the fourde and the tre where henge the bacyn / So sir launcelot lete his hors drynke / and sythen he bete on the bacyn with the butte of his spere so hard with al his myȝt tyl the bottom felle oute / and longe he dyd soo but he sawe noo thynge Thenne he rode endlong the gates of that manoyre nyghe half an houre / And thenne was he ware of a grete knyȝt that drofe an hors afore hym / and ouerthwarte the hors there lay an armed knyght bounden / And euer as they came nere and nere / syre launcelot thouȝt he shold knowe hym / Thenne sir launcelot was ware that hit was syre gaherys Gawayns broder a knyghte of the table round / Now fayre damoysel sayd sir launcelot / I see yonder cometh a knyght fast bounden that is a felawe of myne / and broder he is vnto syr gawayne / And att the fyrst begynnyng I promyse yow by the leue of god to rescowe that knyght / But yf his mayster sytte better in the sadel I shal delyuer alle the prysoners that he hath oute of daunger / for I am sure he hath two bretheren of myne prysoners with hym / By that tyme that eyther had sene other / they grypped theyr speres vnto them / Now fayre knyghte sayd syr launcelot / put that wounded knyghte of the hors / and lete hym reste a whyle / and lete vs two preue oure strengthes / For as it is enformed me thou doest and hast done grete despyte and shame vnto knyghtes of the round table / and therfor now defende the / And thow be of the table round sayd Turquyne I defye the and alle thy felauship / that is ouermoche sayd / sayd syre launcelot

[18] Then Sir Gahalantine came in with a great spear, and Launcelot against him, with all the strength they could, so that both their spears burst in their hands. And then they attacked with their swords, and gave many a grim stroke. Then Sir Launcelot was exceedingly angry, and then he smote Sir Gahalantine on the helmet so that his nose burst out with blood, and his ears and mouth too; and with that his head hung low. And with that his horse ran away with him, and he fell down to the earth. Soon, Sir Launcelot got a great spear in his hand, and before that great spear broke, he brought sixteen knights down to the earth, sometimes both horse and man, and sometimes the man and not the horse. And there was none he didn't hit surely: everyone was unable to carry arms again that day. And then he got another great spear, and smote down twelve knights, and most of them never prospered afterwards. And then the knights of the King of Northgalis would joust no more. And there the prize was given to King Bagdemagus. So both sides went back to their own places, and Sir Launcelot rode with King Bagdemagus to his castle, and there he'd very good cheer both with the king and with his daughter, and they gave him great gifts. And in the morning he left, and told the king that he would go and look for his brother, Sir Lionel, who went from him when he slept. So he took his horse, and commended them all to God. And there he said to the king's daughter, “If you ever need my service, please let me know, and I won't fail you, as I am a true knight.” And so Sir Launcelot left. And by chance he came into the same forest where he was captured when he was sleeping. And in the midst of a road he met a damsel riding on a white horse, and there they greeted each other. “Fair damsel,” said Sir Launcelot, “do you know any adventures in this country?” “Sir knight,” said the damsel, “here are adventures near at hand, if you dare to try them.” “Why shouldn't I try adventures?” said Sir Launcelot, “that's why I come here.” “Well,” said she, “you seem to be a good knight; and if you dare to meet with a good knight, I will bring you to the best knight, the mightiest that you ever found, as long as you'll tell me your name, and what knight you are.” “Damsel, it takes no great force to make me tell you my name: truly, my name is Sir Launcelot du Lake.” “Sir, you seem well; here are adventures nearby that happen for you, for a knight lives nearby who won't be beaten by any man I know, unless you beat him, and his name is Sir Turquine. And, as I understand, he has sixty-four of Arthur's good knights in his prison, whom he has beaten with his own hands. But when you've made that journey, you'll promise me, as you're a true knight, to go with me, and to help me and other damsels who are daily harrassed by a false knight.” “I will do everything you wish, damsel, as long as you'll bring me to this knight.” “Now, fair knight, come on your way.” And so she brought him to the ford and the tree where the basin hung. So Sir Launcelot let his horse drink, and then he beat on the basin with the butt of his spear so hard, with all his might, until the bottom fell out. And he did this for a long time, but he saw nothing. Then he rode along the gates of that manor nearly half an hour. And then he was aware of a great knight who drove a horse in front of him, and across the horse an armed knight lay bound. And as they came nearer and nearer, Sir Launcelot thought he should know him. Then Sir Launcelot was aware that it was Sir Gaheris, Gawain's brother, a knight of the Round Table. “Now, fair damsel,” said Sir Launcelot, “I see a knight comes tied tightly, who is a companion of mine, and his is Sir Gawain's brother. And at the beginning I promise you, God willing, to rescue that knight; but if his master sits better in the saddle, I'll rescue all his prisoners out of danger, for I am sure he has two of my brothers prisoner with him.” By the time that either had seen the other, they gripped their spears. “Now, fair knight,” said Sir Launcelot, “put that wounded knight off the horse, and let him rest a while, and let the two of us try our strength; for I'm told you do and have done great despite and shame to knights of the Round Table. So defend yourself.” “If you're of the Round Table,” said Turquine, “I defy you and all your fellowship.” “That is too much,” said Sir Launcelot.

¶ Capitulum viij

And thêne they put theyr speres in the restys / & cam to gyders with her horses as fast as they myght renne / And eyther smote other in myddes of theyre sheldes that bothe theyre horse backes braste vnder them / and the knyghtes were bothe astonyed / and as soone as they myghte auoyde theyre horses / they took theire sheldes afore them / and drewe oute her swerdes / and came to gyder egerly / and eyther gaf other many stronge strokes / for there myght neyder sheldes nor harneis hold theyr strokes / And soo within a whyle they hadde bothe grymly woundes / and bledde passynge greuously / Thus they ferd two houres or mo trasyng and rasyng eyther other where they myght hytte ony bare place / Thenne at the last they were bretheles bothe / and stode lenyng on theyre swerdes / Now felawe sayd syr Turquyne hold thy hand a whyle / and telle me what I shal aske the / Say on thenne Turquyne sayd thou arte the byggest man that euer I mette with al / and the beste brethed / and lyke on knyȝt that I hate aboue al other knyghtes / so be hit that thou be not he I wyl lyghtly accorde with the / & for thy loue I wil delyuer al the prysoners that I haue that is thre score and foure / soo thou wylt telle me thy name / And thou and I we wyl be felawes to gyders and neuer to fayle the whyle that I lyue / it is wel sayd / sayd syr launcelot / but sythen hit is soo that I may haue thy frendship what knyght is he that thou soo hatest aboue al other / Feythfully sayd syr Turquyne his name is syre launcelot du lake / for he slewe my broder syr Caradus at the dolorous toure that was one of the best knyghtes on lyue / And therfore hym I excepte of al knyghtes / for may I ones mete with hym / the one of vs shal make an ende of other I make myn auowe / And for sir launcelots sake I haue slayne an C good knyghtes / and as many I haue maymed al vtterly that they myght neuer after helpe them self / and many haue dyed in pryson / and yet haue I thre score and foure / and al shal be delyuerd so thou wilt telle me thy name / so be it that thou be not syre launcelot /

Chapter 8

[19] And then they put their spears in the rests, and came together with their horses as fast as they could run, and they smote each other in the middle of their shields, so that both their horses' backs broke under them, and the knights were both struck dumb. And as soon as they could get away from their horses, they took their shields in front of them, and drew their swords, and came together eagerly, and gave each other other many strong strokes, for neither shields nor harnesses could hold their strokes. And so, after a while, they both had grim wounds, and bled terribly. They did this two hours or more, attacking each other, where they might hit any bare place. Then, at last, they were both out of breath, and stood leaning on their swords. “Now, fellow,” said Sir Turquine, “hold your hand a while, and tell me what I ask you.” “Say on.” Then Turquine said, “You are the biggest man I ever met, and the most fit, and you look like one knight that I hate above all other knights; so if you aren't that knight, I'll deal lightly with you, and for your love I'll free all my prisoners, sixty-four of them, as long as you'll tell me your name. And you and I will be companions, and I'll never fail you while I live.” “Well said,” said Sir Launcelot. “But since I may have your friendship, what knight do you hate above all others?” “Truly,” said Sir Turquine, “his name is Sir Launcelot du Lake, for he slew my brother, Sir Carados, at the dolorous tower, one of the best knights alive. And therefore I except him of all knights; for if I ever meet him, one of us will finish off the other, I swear it. And for Sir Launcelot's sake I've slain a hundred good knights, and I've utterly maimed just as many, so that they can never help themselves again, and many have died in prison. And I still have sixty-four, and all will be freed if you'll tell me your name, as long as you aren't Sir Launcelot.”

¶ Now see I wel sayd syre launcelot that suche a man I myghte be I myght haue peas / and suche a man I myghte be / that ther shold be warre mortal betwyxte vs / and now syre knyghte at thy request I wyl that thou wete and knowe that I am Launcelot du lake kynge Bans sone of Benwyck / & very knyghte of the table round / And now I defye the and doe thy best / A sayd Turquyne / launcelot / thou arte vnto me moost welcome that euer was knyghte / for we shalle neuer departe tyl the one of vs be dede / Thenne they hurtled to gyders as two wilde bulles rosshynge and lasshyng with their sheldes and swerdes that somtyme they felle bothe ouer theyr noses / Thus they foughte stylle two houres and more / and neuer wolde haue reste / and syre Turquyn gaf syre laucelot many woundes / that alle the ground there as they foughte was al bespeckled with blood

[20] “Now I see,” said Sir Launcelot, “that I might be the kind of man that has peace, and I might be the kind of man that has mortal war between us. And now, sir knight, as you request, I want you to know that I am Launcelot du Lake, King Ban's son of Benwick, and true knight of the Round Table. And now I defy you — do your best.” “Ah,” said Turquine, “Launcelot, you're the most welcome knight to me that ever was, for we won't part until one of us is dead.” Then they hurtled together like two wild bulls, rushing and lashing with their shields and swords, so that at times they both fell over their noses. They fought this way for more than two hours, and never rested. And Sir Turquine gave Sir Launcelot so many wounds that the ground where they fought was all speckled with blood.

¶ Capitulum ix

Thenne at the last syr Turquyn waxed faynte / and gaf somwhat a bak / and bare his shelde lowe for werynesse / That aspyed syre Launcelot / and lepte upon hym fyersly and gate hym by the Bauowre of his helmet / and plucked hym doune on his knees / And anone he racyd of his helme / and smote his neck in sondyr / And whanne syre laucelot had done this / he yode vnto the damoysel and sayd / damoysel I am redy to goo with yow where ye wylle haue me / but I haue no hors / Fayre syre sayd she / take this wounded knyghtes hors and sende hym in to this manoyr and commaunde hym to delyuer alle the prysoners / Soo syr launcelot wente vnto Gaheryes and praid hym not to be agreued for to leue hym his hors Nay fayr lord said Gaheryes I wyll that ye take my hors atte your owne commaundement / for ye houe bothe saued me and my hors / & this day I saye ye are the best knyghte in the worlde For ye haue slayne this daye in my syghte the myȝtest man & the best knyghte excepte yow that euer I sawe / & fore syre said Gaheryes I pray you telle me your name / Syre my name is syr launcelot du lake that ouȝte to helpe you of ryghte for kyng arthurs sake / & in especial for my lord sir gawayns sake your owne dere broder / & whan that ye come within yonder manayr / I am sure ye shal fynde ther many knyȝtes of the round table / for I haue sene many of their sheldes that I knowe on yonder tree / there is kayes shelde / & sir braundeles sheld / and syr Marhaus sheld and syre Galyndes shelde and syre Bryan de lystnoyse sheld and syr Alydukes sheld with many mo that I am not now auysed of / and also my two bretheren sheldes syre Ector de marys and syr Lyonel / wherfore I pray yow grete them al from me / and say that I bydde them take suche stuffe there as they fynd / and that in ony wyse my bretheren goo vnto the courte and abyde me there tyl that I come / for by the feest of pentecost I cast me to be there / for as at this tyme I must ryde with this damoysel for to saue my promyse / and soo he departed from Gaheryse / & Gaheryse yede in to the manore / and ther he fond a yoman porter kepyng ther many keyes / Anone with al syre gaheryse threwe the porter vnto the ground / and toke the keyes from hym / and hastely he opened the pryson dore / and there he lete oute all the prysoners / and euery man losed other of their boundes / And whan they sawe syre Gaheryse / alle they thanked hym / for they wend that he was wounded / Not soo sayd Gaheryse / hit wos launcelot that slewe hym worshipfully with his owne handes / I sawe it with myn owne eyen / and he greteth you al wel / and prayeth you to haste you to the courte / And as vnto syr Lyonel and Ector de marys he prayeth yow to abyde hym at the court That shalle we not doo says his bretheren / we wyll fynde hym and we may lyue / So shal I sayd syr kay fynde hym or I come at the courte as I am true knyghte / Thenne alle tho knyghtes sought the hous there as the armour was / and thenne they armed hem / and euery knyght fonde his owne hors / & al thet euer longed vnto hym / And whan this was done ther cam a foster with foure horses lade with fatte veneson / A none syr kay sayd / here is good mete for vs for one meale / for we had not many a day no good repast / And so that veneson was rosted baken and soden / and so after souper somme abode there al that nyghte / But syre Lyonel and Ector de marys and syre kay rode after syre launcelot to fynde hym yf they myghte

Chapter 9

[21] Then, at last, Sir Turquine grew faint, and was taken aback, and held his shield low because of his weariness. Sir Launcelot saw that, and leaped on him fiercely, and got him by the visor of his helmet, and pulled him down on his knees. And soon he pulled off his helmet, and smote his neck in two. And when Sir Launcelot had done this, he went to the damsel, and said, “Damsel, I'm ready to go with you, wherever you'll have me, but I have no horse.” “Fair sir,” she said, “take this wounded knight's horse and send him into this manor, and command him to free all the prisoners.” So Sir Launcelot went to Gaheris, and asked him not to be angry, and to lend him his horse. “No, fair lord,” said Gaheris, “I want you to take my horse at your own command, for you've saved both me and my horse; and today I say you're the best knight in the world, for today you've slain in my sight the mightiest man and the best knight I ever saw, except for you; and, fair sir,” said Gaheris, “I beg you to tell me your name.” “Sir, my name is Sir Launcelot du Lake, who ought to help you for King Arthur's sake, and especially for the sake of my lord Sir Gawain, your own dear brother. And when you come to that manor, I'm sure you'll find many knights of the Round Table there, for I've seen many of their shields on that tree. There is Kay's shield, and Sir Brandel's shield, and Sir Marhaus's shield, and Sir Galind's shield, and Sir Brian de Listnois's shield, and Sir Aliduke's shield, with many more that I don't know, and also my two brothers' shields, Sir Ector de Maris and Sir Lionel. I therefore ask you to greet them all for me, and to say that I tell them to take whatever they find there; and that in any case, my brothers should go to the court and wait there for me there until I come, for I plan to be there in time for the feast of Pentecost — now I have to ride with this damsel to keep my promise.” And so he left Gaheris, and Gaheris went to the manor, and he found a yeoman porter there keeping many keys. Soon, Sir Gaheris threw the porter to the ground, and took the keys from him. He hastily he opened the prison door, and there he let out all the prisoners, and the men freed each other from their bonds. And when they saw Sir Gaheris, they all thanked him, for they thought he was wounded. “Not so,” said Gaheris, “it was Launcelot who slew him nobly with his own hands. I saw it with my own eyes. And he greets you all, and asks you to hurry to the court; and to Sir Lionel and Ector de Maris, he asks you to wait for him at the court.” “We won't do that,” say his brothers. “We'll find him if we live.” “So will I,” said Sir Kay; “I'll find him before I come at the court, as I am a true knight.” Then all the knights searched for the house where the armor was, and then they armed themselves, and every knight found his own horse, and everything that once belonged to him. And when this was done, a forester came with four horses loaded with fat venison. Soon Sir Kay said, “Here is good meat for us for one meal, for we haven't had good food in many days.” And so the venison was roasted, baked, and boiled. And so after supper, some stayed there all night. But Sir Lionel and Ector de Maris and Sir Kay rode after Sir Launcelot to try to find him.

¶ Capitulum Decimum

Now torne we vnto syre laucelot that rode with the damoysel in a fayre hyghe waye / syr sayd the damoysel / here by this way haunteth a knyght that destressyd al ladyes and gentylwymmen / And at the leest he robbeth them or lyeth by them / what said sir launcelot is he a theef & a knyght & a rauyssher of wymmen / he doth shame vnto the ordre of knyghthode / and contrary vnto his othe / hit is pyte that he lyueth / But fayr damoysel ye shal ryde on afore your self / and I wylle kepe my self in couerte / And yf that he trouble yow or distresse yow / I shalle be your rescowe and lerne hym to be ruled as a knyghte / Soo the mayde rode on by the way a soft ambelynge paas / And within a whyle cam oute that knyght on horsbak oute of the woode / and his page with hym / & there he put the damoysel from her hors / and thenne she cryed / With that came launcelot as fast as he myghte tyl he came to that knyght / sayenge / O thou fals knyght and traytour vnto knyghthode / who dyd lerne the to dystresse ladyes and gentylwymmen / whanne the knyghte sawe syre launcelot thus rebukynge hym / he ansuerd not / but drewe his swerd and rode vnto syre launcelot / and syre laucelot threwe his spere fro hym / and drewe oute his swerd / and strake hym suche a buffet on the helmet that he clafe his hede and neck vnto the throte Now hast thou thy payement that long thou hast deserued / that is trouthe sayd the damoysel / For lyke as syr Turquyne watched to destroye knyghtes / soo dyde this knyght attende to destroye and dystresse ladyes damoysels and gentylwymmen / & his name was syre Perys de foreyst saueage / Now damoysel sayde syre launcelot wylle ye ony more seruyse of me / Nay syre she sayd at this tyme / but almyghty Ihesu perserue you where someuer ye ryde or goo / for the curteyst knyghte thou arte and mekest vnto all ladyes and gentylwymmen that now lyueth / But one thyng syre knyghte me thynketh ye lacke / ye that are a knyghte wyueles that ye wyl not loue some mayden or gentylwoman / sor I coude neuer here say that euer ye loued ony of no maner degree and that is grete pyte / but hit is noysed that ye loue quene Gueneuer / and that she hath ordeyned by enchauntement that ye shal neuer loue none other / but her / ne none other damoysel ne lady shall reioyse you / wherfor many in this land of hyghe estate and lowe make grete sorowe /

Chapter 10

[22] Now we turn to Sir Launcelot, who rode with the damsel on a fair road. “Sir,” said the damsel, “near this road a knight lives, who molests all the ladies and gentlewomen, and at least robs them or lies by them.” “What,” said Sir Launcelot, “is he a thief and a knight and a rapist? — he does shame to the order of knighthood, and against his oath; it's a shame that he lives. But, fair damsel, you'll ride on ahead, yourself, and I will keep myself hidden. And if he troubles you or molests you, I'll rescue you and teach him to be ruled as a knight.” So the maid rode on by the way at a soft, ambling pace, and in a while that knight came out of the wood on horseback with his page, and he knocked the damsel from her horse, and then she cried. With that, Launcelot came as fast as he could, until he came to that knight, saying, “O, you false knight and traitor to knighthood! — Who taught you to molest ladies and gentlewomen?” When the knight saw Sir Launcelot rebuking him this way, he didn't answer, but drew his sword and rode toward Sir Launcelot. And Sir Launcelot threw away his spear, and drew his sword, and struck him such a blow on the helmet that he sliced his head and neck down to the throat. “Now you have your payment, which you have deserved for a long time.” “That's the truth,” said the damsel, “for just as Sir Turquine waited to destroy knights, this knight waited to destroy and molest ladies, damsels, and gentlewomen, and his name was Sir Peris de Forest Savage.” “Now, damsel,” said Sir Launcelot, “can I serve you any more?” “No, sir,” she said, “not now; but almighty Jesus protect you wherever you ride or go, for you're the noblest knight, and the gentlest to all the ladies and gentlewomen who now live. But you seem to be missing one thing, sir knight: you're a knight without a wife, who won't love some maiden or gentlewoman. For I could never hear it said that you ever loved any woman of any rank, and that's a great pity. But there is a rumor that you love Queen Guinevere, and that she has ordered by an enchantment that you'll never love anyone but her, and no other damsel or lady will please you; which is why many in this land, of high rank and low, are very sad.”

¶ Fayre damoysel sayd syr launcelot I maye not warne peple to speke of me what it pleaseth hem / But for to be a wedded man / I thynke hit not / for thenne I must couche with her / and leue armes and turnementys / batayls / and aduentures / And as for to say for to take my plesaunce with peramours that wylle I refuse in pryncypal for drede of god / For knyghtes that ben auenturous or lecherous shal not be happy ne fortunate vnto the werrys / for outher they shalle be ouercome with a symplyer knyghte than they be hem self / Outher els they shal by vnhap and her cursydnes slee better men than they ben hem self / And soo who that vseth peramours shalle be vnhappy / and all thyng is vnhappy that is aboute hem / And soo syre Launcelot and she departed / And thenne he rode in a depe forest two dayes and more / and had strayte lodgynge / Soo on the thyrdde day he rode ouer a longe brydge / and there starte vpon hym sodenly a passynge foule chorle / and he smote his hors on the nose that he torned aboute / & asked hym why he rode ouer that brydge withoute his lycence / why shold I not ryde this way sayd syr launcelot / I may not ryde besyde / thou shall not chese sayd the chorle and lasshyd at hym with a grete clubbe shod with yron / Thenne syre laucelot drewe his suerd and put the stroke abak / and clafe his hede vnto the pappys / At the ende of the brydge was a fayre village / & al the people men and wymmen cryed on syre launcelot / and sayd A wers dede dydest thou neuer for thy self / for thou hast slayn the chyef porter of oure castel / syr laucelot lete them say what they wold And streyghte he wente in to the castel / And whanne he cam in to the castel he alyghte / and teyed his hors to a rynge on the walle / And there he sawe a fayre grene courte / and thyder he dressyd hym / For there hym thought was a fayre place to fyghte in / Soo he loked aboute / and sawe moche peple in dores and wyndowes that sayd fayr knyghte thou arte vnhappy

[23] “Fair damsel,” said Sir Launcelot, “I can't stop people from saying whatever they like about me; but as to getting married, I don't think so. For then I'd have to go to bed with her, and leave my weapons and tournaments, battles, and adventures. And as for taking pleasure with lovers, I refuse to do it mostly out of fear of God. For knights who are adventurous or lecherous won't be successful or fortunate in the wars, for they'll either be overcome by a knight even simpler than themselves, or they'll slay men better than themselves through bad luck and their cursedness. And so whoever has lovers will be unsuccessful, and everything is unsuccessful around them.” And so Sir Launcelot and she parted. And then he rode in a deep forest two days and more, and slept in bad places. So on the third day he rode over a long bridge, and a very rude boor started out at him all of a sudden. And he smote his horse on the nose so that he turned around, and asked him why he rode over that bridge without his permission. “Why shouldn't I ride this way?” said Sir Launcelot. “I can't ride next to it.” “You won't choose,” said the boor, and lashed at him with a great club capped with iron. Then Sir Launcelot drew his sword and struck back, and sliced his head down to the chest. At the end of the bridge was a fair village, and all the people, men and women, cried to Sir Launcelot, and said, “You never did a worse deed for yourself, for you've slain the chief porter of our castle.” Sir Launcelot let them say whatever they wanted, and he went right into the castle; and when he came into the castle he got down and tied his horse to a ring on the wall. And there he saw a fair green court, and he went toward it, for it seemed to him it was a good place to fight in. So he looked around, and saw many people in doors and windows who said, “Fair knight, you're unfortunate.”

¶Capitulum xj

Anone with al cam there vpon hym two grete gyaunts wel armed al sauf the hedes with two horryble clubbes in theyr handes / Syre Launcelot put his sheld afore hym and put the stroke aweye of the one gyaunt / and with his swerd he clafe his hede a sondre / Whan his felaw sawe that / he ran awey as he were wood / for fere of the horryble strokes / & laucelot after hym with al his myȝt & smote hym on the sholder / and clafe hym to the nauel / Thenne syre launcelot went in to the halle / and there came afore hym thre score ladyes and damoysels / and all kneled vnto hym / and thanked god & hym of their delyueraunce. For syre sayd they / the mooste party of vs haue ben here this seuen yere their prysoners / and we haue worched al maner of sylke werkes for oure mete / and we are al grete gentylwymmen borne / and blessyd be the tyme knyȝte that euer thou be borne / For thou hast done the moost worship that euer dyd knyght in this world / that wyl we bere recorde and we al pray you to telle vs your name / that we maye telle our frendes who delyuerd vs oute of pryson / Fayre damoysel he sayd / my name is syre launcelot du lake / A syre sayde they al / wel mayst thou be he / for els saue your self / as we demed / there myghte neuer knyght haue the better of these two gyaunts / for many fayre knyghtes haue assayed hit / and here haue ended / and many tymes haue we wysshed after yow / and these two gyaunts dredde neuer knyghte but you / Now maye ye saye sayd syr launcelot vnto youre frendes how & who hath delyuerd you / and grete them al from me / and yf that I come in ony of your marches / shewe me suche chere as ye haue cause and what tresour that there in this castel is I gyue it you for a reward for your greuaunce / And the lorde that is owner of this castel I wold he receyued it as is ryght / Fayre syre saide they / the name of this castel is Tyntygayl / & a duke oughte it somtyme that had wedded fair Igrayn / & after wedded her Vtherpendragon / & gate on her Arthur / wel saide sir launcelot I vnderstande to whome this castel longeth / and soo he departed from them / and bytaughte hem vnto god

Chapter 11

[24] Soon two great giants came upon him, well armed except for their heads, with two horrible clubs in their hands. Sir Launcelot put his shield in front of him and deflected the stroke of one giant, and with his sword he cut his head in two. When the other saw that, he ran away as if he were insane, afraid of the horrible strokes, and Launcelot ran after him with all his might, and smote him on the shoulder, and cut him down to the navel. Then Sir Launcelot went into the hall, and sixty lades and damsels came in front of him; and they all kneeled to him, and thanked God and him for being saved. “For, sir,” they said, “most of us have been here as prisoners for seven years, and we have worked all kinds of silk to get our food, and we were all born as great gentlewomen; and bless the time you were born, for you've done the noblest actions any knight ever did in this world, which we'll remember. And we all ask you to tell us your name, so that we can tell our friends who rescued us from prison.” “Fair damsel,” he said, “my name is Sir Launcelot du Lake.” “Ah, sir,” they all said, “it's good you are, for other than you, we think, there might never have been a knight better than these two giants; for many fair knights have tried it, and here have ended. And many times we have wished for you, and these two giants were afraid of no knight but you.” “Now you can tell your friends,” said Sir Launcelot, “how and who has rescued you, and greet them all from me. And if I come to any of your lands, show me whatever cheer you can. And I give you whatever treasure there might be in this castle as a reward for your sufferings, and the lord who owns this castle should receive it, as is right.” “Fair sir,” they said, “the name of this castle is Tintagil, and a duke once owned it, who had married beautiful Igraine, who later married Uther Pendragon, and gave birth to Arthur.” “Well,” said Sir Launcelot, “I understand who owns this castle.” And so he left them, and commended them to God.

¶ And thenne he mounted vpon his hors & rode in to many straunge & wyld countreyes and thorou many waters and valeyes and euyl was he lodged / And at the laste by fortune hym happend ageynst a nyghte to come to a fayr courtelage / & therin he fond an old gentylwoman that lodged hym with good wyl / and there he had good chere for hym and his hors / And whan tyme was his oost brought hym in to a fayre garet ouer the gate to his bedde / There syre Launcelot vnarmed hym & sette hys harneys by hym / and wente to bed / and anone he felle on slepe / So soone after ther cam one on horsback / & knocked at the gate in grete haste / and whan syr launcelot herd this / he arose vp and loked oute at the wyndowe / & sawe by the mone lyghte thre knyghtes cam rydyng after that one man / and al thre lasshed on hym at ones with swerdes / & that one knyȝt tourned on hem knyȝtly ageyne / and deffended hym / Truly saide syre launcelot yonder one knyȝte shal I helpe / for it were shame for me to see thre knyȝtes on one / And yf he be slayne I am partener of his deth / & ther with he took his harneis / and went out at a wyndowe by a shete doune to the four knyȝtes / & thenne syr launcelot sayd on hyghe / torne you knyghtes vnto me and leue your fyghtyng with that knyght / And thenne they alle thre lefte syr kay / and torned vnto syr launcelot / and there beganne grete bataylle / for they alyghte al thre / and strake many grete strokes at syr launcelot / and assayled hym on euery syde / Thenne syre kay dressid hym for to haue holpen syre Launcelot / nay syre sayd he I wylle none of your helpe / therfor as ye wylle haue my helpe / lete me alone with them / Syre kay for the pleasyre of the knyghte suffred hym for to doo hys wylle / and soo stode on syde / And thenne anon within vj strokes / syre launcelot had stryken hem to the erthe

[25] And then he mounted his horse, and rode into many strange and wild countries, and through many waters and valleys, and he slept in bad places. And at last, he happened one night to come to a fair cottage, where he found an old gentlewoman who kindly let him say, and there he'd good cheer for him and his horse. And when it was time, his host brought him to a fair garret, over the gate, to his bed. There Sir Launcelot removed his armor, and set his harness near him, and went to bed, and soon he fell asleep. So, soon after, someone came on horseback, and knocked at the gate in a great hurry; and when Sir Launcelot heard this, he got up and looked out the window, and saw by the moonlight three knights riding after that one man. And all three lashed on him at once with swords, and the one knight turned on them again, and defended himself. “Truly,” said Sir Launcelot, “I'll help that one knight — it would be a shame for me to see three knights against one, and if he should be slain, I'd share the blame for his death.” And with that, he took his harness, and went out at a window by a sheet down to the four knights, and then Sir Launcelot said loudly, “You knights, turn towards me, and stop fighting with that knight.” And then all three of them left Sir Kay, and turned to Sir Launcelot, and a great battle began, for all three of them got down, and struck many great strokes at Sir Launcelot, and attacked him on every side. Then Sir Kay set out to help Sir Launcelot. “No, sir,” said he, “I don't need your help. Since you want my help, leave me alone with them.” Sir Kay, for the pleasure of the knight, allowed him to do what he wanted, and stood aside. And then, with just six strokes, Sir Launcelot struck them to the earth.

¶ And thenne they al thre cryed syre knyghte we yelde vs vnto you as man of myght makeles / As to that said syr laucelot I will not take your yeldyng vnto me / But so that ye wylle yelde you vnto syr kay the Seneschal on that couenaunt I wyl saue your lyues and els not /

[26] And then all three of them cried, “Sir knight, we surrender to you as a man of matchless might.” “As to that,” said Sir Launcelot, “I won't accept your surrender. But if you promise to surrender to Sir Kay the Seneschal, then I'll save your lives — otherwise I won't.”

¶ Fayre knyghte sayd they that were lothe to doo / For as for syr kay / we chaced hym hyder / and had ouercome hym had not ye ben / therfor to yelde vs vnto hym it were no reson / wel as to that said laucelot / auyse you wel / for ye may chese whether ye wyll dye or lyue / for and ye be yolden it shal be vnto syr kay /

[27] “Fair knight,” said they, “we didn't want to do that; for as for Sir Kay, we chased him here, and would have beaten him, if it weren't for you. To surrender to him would make no sense.” “Well, as to that,” said Launcelot, “think carefully, for you can choose whether you'll die or live. For if you're to surrender, it will be to Sir Kay.”

¶ Fayre knyght thenne they sayd in sauynge of oure lyues we wylle doo as thou commaundys vs / Thenne shal ye sayd syre launcelot on whytsonday nexte comyng go vnto the courte of kynge Arthur / and there shal ye yelde you vnto quene Gueneuer / and put you al thre in her grace and mercy / and saye that sir kay sente you thyder to be her prysoners / Syre they said it shalle be done by the feythe of oure bodyes / and we ben lyuynge / and there they swore euery knyghte vpon his swerd / And so sir launcelot suffred hem soo to departe / And thenne sir launcelot knocked at the yate with the pomel of his swerd / and with that came his oost / and in they entred sir kay and he Syre sayd his hoost I wende ye had ben in youre bedde / so I was / sayd sire launcelot / But I arose and lepte oute atte my wyndowe for to helpe an old felawe of myne / And so whanne they came nyghe the lyghte / sir kay knewe wel / that it was sir launcelot / and ther with he kneled doune and thanked hym of al his kyndenesse that he had holpen hym twyes from the deth Syre he sayd I haue no thynge done but that me ought for to doo / and ye are welcome / and here shal ye repose yow and take your rest / Soo whan sir kay was vnarmed / he asked after mete / soo there was mete fette hym / and he ete strongly / And whan he hadde souped they went to theyr beddes and were lodged to gyders in one bedde / On the morne sir launcelot arose erly / and lefte syre kay slepynge / and sir launcelot toke sire kayes armour and his shelde and armed hym / and so he wente to the stable / and toke his hors and toke his leue of his oost / and soo he departed / Thenne soone after arose syr kay and myssed sir launcelot / And thenne he aspyed that he had his armoure and his hors / Now by my feythe I knowe wel that he wylle greue some of the courte of kynge Arthur. For on hym knyghtes wylle be bolde / and deme that it is I / and that wyll begyle them / And by cause of his armoure and shelde I am sure I shal ryde in pees / And thenne soone after departed sir kay & thanked his hoost

[28] “Fair knight,” they said then, “to save our lives we'll do as you command.” “Then,” said Sir Launcelot, “on next Whitsunday, you'll go to the court of King Arthur, and there you'll surrender to Queen Guinevere, and throw yourselves on her grace and mercy, and say that Sir Kay sent you there to be her prisoners.” “Sir,” they said, “it will be done, by the faith of our bodies, if we're alive,” and there every knight swore upon his sword. And so Sir Launcelot let them leave. And then Sir Launcelot knocked at the gate with the pommel of his sword, and then his host came, and Sir Kay and he came in. “Sir,” said his host, “I thought you were in your bed.” “Yes, I was,” said Sir Launcelot, “but I rose and leaped out of my window to help an old companion of mine.” And so, when they came near the light, Sir Kay knew that it was Sir Launcelot, and he kneeled down and thanked him for all his kindness, and that he'd helped him twice from death. “Sir,” he said, “I've done nothing but what I ought to do, and you're welcome. And you'll lie here and rest.” So, when Sir Kay was unarmed, he asked for food; so food was brought to him, and he ate heartily. And when he had eaten, they went to bed, and were together in one bed. In the morning, Sir Launcelot rose early, and left Sir Kay asleep. And Sir Launcelot took Sir Kay's armor and his shield, and armed himself. And so he went to the stable, and took his horse, and said goodbye to his host, and so he left. Sir Kay soon got up and missed Sir Launcelot. And then he saw that he had his armor and his horse. “Now, by my faith, I know that he will upset some of the court of King Arthur; for knights will be bold against him, and think that it's me, and that will confuse them. And because of his armor and shield, I'm sure I'll ride in peace.” Sir Kay soon left and thanked his host.

¶ Capitulum xij

Now torne we vnto syre launcelot that had ryden long in a grete forest / and at the last he came in to a lowe countray ful of fayre Ryuers and medowes / And afore hym he sawe a longe brydge / and thre pauelions stode ther on of sylke and sendel of dyuers hewe / And withoute the pauelions henge thre whyte sheldes on truncheons of sperys / & grete longe sperys stode vpryght by the pauelions / and at euery pauelions dore stode thre fresshe squyers / and soo syre launcelot passed by them and spake no worde / whan he was paste the thre knyghtes sayden hym that hit was the proud kay / he weneth no knyght soo good as he / and the contrary is oftyme preued / By my feythe sayd one of the knyghtes / his name was syre gaunter / I wylle ryde after hym / & assaye hym / for alle his pryde / and ye may beholde how that I spede / Soo this knyght syre Gaunter armed hym / and henge his shelde vpon his sholder / and mounted vpon a grete hors / and gate his spere in his hand / and wallopt after syre launcelot / and whanne he came nyghe hym / he cryed Abyde thou proude knyght syr kay / for thou shalt not passe quyte / Soo syr launcelot torned hym / and eyther feutryd their speres / and came to gyders with alle theyr myghtes / and syre Gaunters spere brake but syre launcelot smote hym doune hors and man / and whan syr gaunter was at the erthe / his bretheren sayd echone to other yonder knyght is not syre kay / for he is bygger than he / I dare laye my heed sayd syre Gylmere yonder knyghte hath slayne syr kay and hath taken his hors and his harneis / whether it be soo or no sayd syr Raynold the thyrd broder / lete vs now goo mounte vpon oure horses and rescowe our broder sir Gaunter vpon payne of dethe / we alle shal haue werke ynouȝ to matche that knyght / for euer me semeth by his persone it is syre Launcelot / or syr Trystram / or syr Pelleas the good knyght / Thenne anon they toke theyr horses and ouertook syr launcelot / and syre gylmere put forth his spere / and ranne to sir launcelot / and syre launcelot smote hym doune that he lay in a swoune / Syre knyght sayd syr Raynold thou arte a strong man / and as I suppose thou hast slayne my two bretheren / for the whiche rasyth my herte sore ageynst the / And yf I myght with my worship I wold not haue a doo with yow but nedes I must take parte as they doo / And therfor knyghte he sayd / kepe thy self / And soo they hurtled to gyders with alle theyr myghtes / and al to sheuered bothe theyre speres / And thenne they drewe her swerdes and lasshyd to gyder egerly / Anone there with aroos syre Gauter / and came vnto his broder syre gylmere / and bad hym aryse and helpe we oure broder syr Raynold that yonder merueyllously matched yonder good knyght / There with alle they lepte on theyr horses & hurtled vnto syre launcelot /

Chapter 12

[29] Now we turn to Sir Launcelot, who had ridden a long time in a great forest, and at last he came to a low country, full of fair rivers and meadows. And in front of him he saw a long bridge, and three pavilions stood on it, of silk and cloth of various colors. And outside the pavilions three white shields hung on truncheons of spears, and great long spears stood upright by the pavilions, and three fresh squires stood at every pavilion's door. And so Sir Launcelot passed by them and didn't say a word. When he passed, the three knights said it was the proud Kay: “He knows no knight as good as he is, and the opposite is often the case.” “By my faith,” said one of the knights, named Sir Gaunter, “I'll ride after him and challenge him for all his pride, and you'll see how I succeed.” So this knight, Sir Gaunter, armed himself, and hung his shield on his shoulder, and mounted a great horse, and got his spear in his hand, and galloped after Sir Launcelot. And when he came near him, he cried, “Wait, you proud knight Sir Kay, for you won't get away.” So Sir Launcelot turned, and both put their spears in their rests, and they came together with all their might, and Sir Gaunter's spear broke, but Sir Launcelot smote him down, horse and man. And when Sir Gaunter was on the ground, his brothers said to each other, “That knight isn't Sir Kay, for he's bigger than him.” “I'll bet my own head,” said Sir Gilmere, “that knight has slain Sir Kay and has taken his horse and his harness.” “Whether or not that's true,” said Sir Raynold, the third brother, “let's go mount our horses and rescue our brother, Sir Gaunter, upon pain of death. We'll all have work enough to match that knight, for it seems to me by his figure that he's Sir Launcelot, or Sir Tristram, or Sir Pelleas, the good knight.” Then they took their horses and caught up with Sir Launcelot, and Sir Gilmere put his spear out, and ran to Sir Launcelot. And Sir Launcelot smote him down, so that he lay unconscious. “Sir knight,” said Sir Raynold, “you're a strong man. And I believe you've slain my two brothers, which wounds my heart badly against you. And if I could keep my honor, I'd have nothing to with you. But I have to take part as they do. And therefore, knight,” he said, “protect yourself.” And so they hurtled together with all their might, and both their spears shattered. And then they drew their swords and lashed together eagerly. Soon Sir Gaunter arose, and came to his brother, Sir Gilmere, and said to him, “Get up, and let's help our brother, Sir Raynold, who marvellously matched that good knight.” With that, they leaped on their horses and hurtled toward Sir Launcelot.

¶ And whanne he sawe them come / he smote a sore stroke vnto syr Raynold that he felle of his hors to the ground / And thenne he stroke to the other two bretheren / and at two strokes he strake them doune to the erthe / With that sir Raynold beganne to starte vp with his heede al blody / and came streyte vnto syre launcelot / Now late be sayd sir launcelot / I was not ferre from the whan thou were maade knyght sir Raynold / and also I knowe thou arte a good knyght / and lothe I were to slee the / Gramercy sayd syr raynold as for your goodnes / And I dare saye as for me and my bretheren we wyl not be lothe to yelde vs vnto you / with that we knewe your name / for wel we knowe ye are not sire kay / As for that be it as it be maye / for ye shal yelde yow vnto dame gweneuer / and loke that ye be with her on whytsonday and yelde you vnto her as prysoners / and saye that syre kay sente yow vnto her / thenne they swore hit shold be done / and so passed forthe sire launcelot / and echone of the bretheren halpe other as wel as they myght

[30] And when he saw them come, he smote a powerful stroke to Sir Raynold, so that he fell off his horse to the ground. And then he struck the other two brothers, and with two strokes he struck them down to the earth. With that, Sir Raynold began to get up with his head all bloody, and came straight to Sir Launcelot. “Now let it be,” said Sir Launcelot; “I was not far from you when you were made a knight, Sir Raynold; and I also know you're a good knight, and I don't want to slay you.” “Thank you” said Sir Raynold, “for your goodness; and I dare say for me and my brothers, we won't hesitate to surrender to you, if we knew your name — for we know you aren't Sir Kay.” “As for that, be it as it may; for you'll surrender to dame Guinevere, and be sure that you're with her on Whitsunday, and surrender to her as prisoners, and say that Sir Kay sent you to her.” Then they swore it would be done, and so Sir Launcelot went on, and the brothers helped each other as well as they could.

¶ Capitulum xiij

Soo sir launcelot rode in to a depe forest / and ther by in a slade / he sawe four knyghtes houyng vnder an oke / and they were of Arthurs courte / one was sir Sagramour le desyrus and Ector de marys / and sir Gawayn and sir Vwayne / Anone as these four knyghtes had aspyed sir Launcelot they wend by his armes it hadde ben sir kay / Now by my feythe sayd sir Sagramour / I wylle preue sir kayes myghte / & gate his spere in his hand / and came toward sir launcelot Ther with sir launcelot was ware and knewe hym wel / and feutryd his spere ageynst hym / and smote syre Sagramore so sore that hors and man felle bothe to the erthe / Lo my felaus sayd he yonder ye may see what a buffet he hath / that knyȝt is moche bygger than euer was syre kay / Now shal ye see what I may doo to hym / Soo syr Ector gate his spere in his hand and wallopte toward syre Laucelot / and syre Launcelot smote hym thorou the shelde & sholder that man and hors went to the erthe / and euer his spere held / By my feythe sayd sir Vwayne yonder is a strong knyghte / and I am sure he hath slayne syr kay / And I see by his grete strengthe it wyll be hard to matche hym / And there with al syre Vwayne gate his spere in his hand and rode toward syre Launcelot / and syr launcelot knewe hym wel / and soo he mette hym on the playne / & gafe hym suche a buffette that he was astonyed / that longe he wyst not where he was / Now see I wel sayd syre gawayne I must encoutre with that knyȝt / Thenne he dressid he his sheld and gate a good spere in his hand / and syre launcelot knewe hym wel / and thenne they lete renne theyr horses with all theyr myghtes / and eyther knyght smote other in myddes of the shelde / But syre gawayns spere to brast / and syre launcelot charged so sore vpon hym that his hors reuersed vp so doune And moche sorowe had syre gawayn to auoyde his hors / and so syre launcelot passed on a paas and smyled and said god gyue hym ioye that this spere made / for there came neuer a better in my hand / Thenne the four knyghtes wente echone to other and comforted eche other / what saye ye by this gest sayd syre Gawayne / that one spere hath feld vs al foure / we commaunde hym vnto the deuyl they sayd al / for he is a man of grete myght / ye may wel saye it / sayd syre gawayne / that he is a man of myght / for I dare lay my hede it is syre Launcelot I knowe it by his rydyng / Lete hym goo sayd syre Gawayn for whan we come to the courte than shal we wete / and thenne had they moche sorowe to gete theyr horses ageyne

Chapter 13

[31] So Sir Launcelot rode into a deep forest, and in a valley, he saw four knights waiting under an oak, and they were from Arthur's court. One was Sir Sagramour le Desirous, and Ector de Maris, and Sir Gawain, and Sir Uwaine. Soon, since these four knights had seen Sir Launcelot, they thought from his arms he was Sir Kay. “Now, by my faith,” said Sir Sagramour, “I'll test Sir Kay's might,” and got his spear in his hand, and came toward Sir Launcelot. Sir Launcelot was aware, and knew him well, and his brought spear close against him, and smote Sir Sagramour so hard that horse and man both fell to the earth. “Hey, my fellows,” he said, “there you can see what a blow he has; that knight is much bigger than Sir Kay ever was. Now you'll see what I can do to him.” So Sir Ector got his spear in his hand and galloped toward Sir Launcelot, and Sir Launcelot smote him through the shield and shoulder, so that man and horse went to the earth, and his spear still held. “By my faith,” said Sir Uwaine, “that's a strong knight, and I'm sure he has slain Sir Kay; and I see by his great strength it will be hard to match him.” And with that, Sir Uwaine got his spear in his hand and rode toward Sir Launcelot, and Sir Launcelot knew him well, and so he met him on the plain, and gave him such a blow that he was struck dumb, so that for a long time he didn't know where he was. “Now I see,” said Sir Gawain, “I have to fight with that knight.” Then he prepared his shield and got a good spear in his hand, and Sir Launcelot knew him well; and then they let their horses run with all their might, and the knights smote each other in middle of their shields. But Sir Gawain's spear broke, and Sir Launcelot charged so badly on him that his horse was turned upside-down. And Sir Gawain had much trouble to avoid his horse, and so Sir Launcelot passed on a bit and smiled, and said, “God bless whoever made this spear, for a better one never came into my hand.” Then the four knights went to each other and comforted each other. “What do you say about this,” said Sir Gawain, “that one spear has knocked all four of us down?” “He can go to hell,” they all said, “for he is a man of great might.” “You can certainly say,” said Sir Gawain, “that he's a man of might, for I'll bet my head it's Sir Launcelot — I know it by the way he rides. Let him go,” said Sir Gawain, “for when we come to the court, then we'll know.” And then had they much trouble to get their horses again.

¶ Capitulum xiiij

Now leue we there & speke of syr Launcelot that rode a grete whyle in a depe forest where he saw a black brachet sekyng in maner as it had ben in the feaute of an hurt dere / And ther with he rode after the brachet and he sawe lye on the ground a large feaute of blood / And thenne syre launcelot rode after / And euer the Brachet loked behynd her / and soo she wente thorou a grete mareyse / and euer syre launcelot folowed / And thenne was he ware of an old manoyr / and thyder ranne the brachet / and soo ouer the brydge / Soo syre launcelot rode ouer that brydge that was old and feble / and whan he cam in myddes of a grete halle ther he sawe lye a dede knyght that was a semely man / and that brachet lycked his woundes / and there with al came oute a lady wepyng & wryngyng her handes / And thenne she sayd / O knyghte to moche sorowe hast thou broughte me / Why saye ye soo sayd syre launcelot / I dyd neuer this knyghte no harme / for hyther by feaute of blood this Brachet broughte me / And therfor fayre lady be not displeased with me / for I am ful sore agreued of your greuaunce / Truly syre she sayd I trowe hit be not ye that hath slayne my husband / for he that dyd that dede is sore wounded / & he is neuer lyckly to recouer / that shal I ensure hym / What was your husbandes name sayd syre laucelot / Syre sayd she / his name was called syre Gylbert the bastard one of the best knyghtes of the world / and he that hath slayne hym I knowe not his name / Now god sende you better comforte sayd syre launcelot / and soo he departed and wente in to the forest ageyne / and there he met with a damoysel / the whiche knewe hym wel / and she sayd on loude wel be ye fond my lord And now I requyre the on thy knyghthode helpe my brother that is sore wounded / and neuer stynteth bledyng / for this day he fought with syre gylbert the bastard & slewe hym in playn bataylle / and there was my broder sore wounded / and there is a lady a sorceresse that duelleth in a castel here besyde / and this day she told me / my broders woundes shold neuer be hole tyl I coud fynde a knyght that wold go in to the chappel peryllous / & ther he shold fynde a swerd and a blody clothe that the wounded knyght was lapped in / and a pyece of that clothe & swerd shold hele my broders woundes so that his woundes were serched with the swerde and the clothe / This is a merueyllous thynge sayd syre launcelot / but what is your broders name / Syre she sayd / his name was syre Melyot de logurs / that me repenteth said syre launcelott / for he is a felawe of the table round / and to his helpe I wylle doo my power / Thenne syre sayd she / folowe euen this hyhe waye / and it wyl brynge you vnto the chappel peryllous / And here I shalle abyde tyl god send you here ageyne / and but you spede I knowe no knyȝte lyuynge that may encheue that aduenture

Chapter 14

[32] Now we leave there and speak of Sir Launcelot, who rode a long time in a deep forest, where he saw a black hound, searching as if it were on the trail of a wounded deer. And he rode after the hound, and he saw a large trail of blood on the ground. And then Sir Launcelot rode after her. And the hound kept looking behind her, and so she went through a great marsh, and always Sir Launcelot followed. And then was he aware of an old manor, and the hound ran to it, and over the bridge. So Sir Launcelot rode over that bridge, which was old and feeble; and when he came to the middle of a great hall, he saw a dead knight lying there, who was a well-formed man, and the hound licked his wounds. And then a lady came out, weeping and wringing her hands; and then she said, “O knight, you have brought me too much sorrow.” “Why do you say that?” said Sir Launcelot, “I never hurt this knight, for this hound brought me here by a trail of blood; and therefore, fair lady, don't be upset with me, for I'm very sorry for your trouble.” “Truly, sir,” she said, “I know it isn't you who has slain my husband, for whoever did that is badly wounded, and isn't likely to recover, I'll promise him that.” “What was your husband's name?” said Sir Launcelot. “Sir,” said she, “his name was Sir Gilbert the Bastard, one of the best knights of the world, and I don't know the name of the one who has slain him.” “Now God send you better comfort,” said Sir Launcelot; and so he left, and went into the forest again, and there he met with a damsel, who knew him well, and she said aloud, “It's lucky I found you, my lord; and now I ask you, on your knighthood, to help my brother, who is badly wounded, and who doesn't stop bleeding; for today he fought with Sir Gilbert the Bastard, and slew him in plain battle, and my brother was badly wounded. And there's a lady — a sorceress — who lives in a castle near here, and today she told me my brother's wounds would never be healed until I could find a knight who would go into the Chapel Perilous. He would find a sword and a bloody cloth that the wounded knight was wrapped in, and a piece of that cloth and sword would heal my brother's wounds, if his wounds were probed with the sword and the cloth.” “This is amazing,” said Sir Launcelot; “but what is your brother's name?” “Sir,” she said, “his name was Sir Meliot de Logres.” “I'm sorry to hear that,” said Sir Launcelot, “for he's a fellow of the Round Table, and I'll do all I can to help him.” “Then, sir,” said she, “follow this road, and it will bring you to the Chapel Perilous; and I'll wait here until God sends you here again. And, unless you succeed, I don't know any knight living who can achieve that adventure.”

¶ Capitulum xv

Ryyght soo syr Launcelot departed / And whan he cam vnto the chappel peryllous / he alyghte doune / and teyed his hors vnto a lytyl gate / and as soone as he was with in the chirche yard / he sawe on the frount of the chappel many sayre ryche sheldes torned vp so doune / and many of the sheldes syre launcelot had sene knyghtes bere byfore hand / wyth that he sawe by hym there stande a xxx greete knyghtes more by a yarde than ony man that euer he had sene / and all tho greued and gnasted at syre launcelot / And whan he sawe theyr countenaunce he dred hym sore / and soo putte his shelde afore hym / and toke his swerd redy in his hand redy vnto bataylle / and they were al armed in black harneis redy with her sheldes and her swerdes drawen / And whan syr Launcelot wold haue gone throu oute them / they scateryd on euery syde of hym / and gaf hym the way / and ther with he waxed al bold / and entred in to the chappel / and thenne he sawe no lyght / but a dymme lamp brennynge / and thenne was he ware of a corps hylled with a clothe of sylke / Thenne syre Launcelot stouped doune / and cutte a pyece awey of that clothe / and thenne it ferd vnder hym as the erthe had quaked a lytel / there with al he feryd / And thenne he sawe a fayre swerd lye by the dede knyghte / and that he gate in his hand and hyed hym oute of the chapel / Anone as euer he was in the chappel yarde / alle the knyghtes spak to hym with a grymly voys / and sayd knyghte syr launcelot leye that swerd from the or ellys thou shalt dye / whether that I lyue or dye sayd syr launcelot with noo grete word gete ye hit ageyne / therfor fyghte for it and ye lyst / Thenne ryght soo he passed thorou out them / and by yonde the chappel yarde ther mette hym a fayre damoysel & sayd syr launcelot leue that swerd behynde the / or thou wil dye for it / I leue it not sayd syr launcelot for no treatys / No sayd she and thou dydest loue that swerd / quene gweneuer shold thou neuer see / thenne were I a foole and I wold leue this swerd sayd launcelot / Now gentyl knyghte sayde the damoysel / I requyre the to kysse me but ones / Nay sayd syr launcelot that god me forbede / wel syr sayd she / and thou haddest kyssed me / thy lyf dayes had ben done / but now allas she said I haue loste al my labour / for I ordeyned this chappel for thy sake / and for syre gawayne / And ones I had syr Gawayne within me / and at that tyme he foughte with that knyghte that lyeth there dede in yonder chappel syre Gylbert the bastard . and at that tyme he smote the lyfte hand of of sir Gylbert the bastard / And syre Launcelot now I telle the / I haue loued the this seuen yere / but there may no woman haue thy loue but quene Gweneuer / But sythen I maye not reioyce the to haue thy body on lyue I had kepte no more ioye in this world / but to haue thy body dede / Thenne wold I haue baumed hit and serued hit / and soo haue kepte it my lyfe dayes / and dayly I shold haue clypped the / and kyssed the in despyte of Quene Gweneuer / ye saye wel sayd syr launcelot Ihesu preserue me from your subtyle craftes / And ther with al he took his hors and soo departed from her / And as the book sayth whan syr launcelot was departed she took suche sorou that she dyed within a fourten nyghte / and her name was Hellawes the sorceresse lady of the castel Nygramous / Anone syre launcelot mette with the damoysel syre Melyotis syster / And whan she sawe hym she clapped her handes / and wepte for ioye And thenne they rode vnto a castel there by where lay syr Melyot / And anone as syre launcelot sawe hym / he knewe hym / but he was passynge pale as the erthe for bledyng / whan syre Melyot sawe syre launcelot he kneled vpon his knees and cryed on hyghe / O lord syr launcelot helpe me / Anone syre launcelot lepte vnto hym and touched his woundes with syr Gylbertes swerde / And thenne he wyped his woundes with a part of the blody clothe that sir gylbert was wrapped in / and anon an holer man in his lyf was he neuer / And thenne ther was grete ioye bytwene hem / and they made syr launcelot all the chere that they myghte / and soo on the morne syre launcelot toke his leue / and badde syre Melyot hye hym to the courte of my lord Arthur / for it draweth nyhe to the feest of pentecoste / and there by the grace of god ye shal fynde me / and therwith they departed /

Chapter 15

[33] So Sir Launcelot left, and when he came to the Chapel Perilous, he got down, and tied his horse to a little gate. And as soon as he was inside the churchyard, he saw on the front of the chapel many fair rich shields turned upside-down, and Sir Launcelot had seen knights carrying many of the shields before. He saw thirty great knights by him, taller by a yard than any man he'd ever seen, and they all grinned and gnashed at Sir Launcelot. And when he saw their faces, he was terribly afraid, and so he put his shield in front of him, and took his sword in his hand, ready to do battle. And they were all armed in black harness, ready with their shields and their swords drawn. And when Sir Launcelot was about to go among them, they scattered on every side of him, and gave way to him, and with that he grew bold, and entered the chapel. And then he saw no light except a dim lamp burning. And then he was aware of a corpse, covered with a silk cloth. Then Sir Launcelot stooped down, and cut a piece away of that cloth. And then it seemed the earth quaked a little under him; with that he grew afraid. And then he saw a fair sword lying by the dead knight, and took it in his hand and went out of the chapel. As soon as he was in the chapel yard, all the knights spoke to him with a grim voice, and said, “Knight, Sir Launcelot, put down that sword, or else you'll die.” “Whether I live or die,” said Sir Launcelot, “you won't get it again with words. Therefore, fight for it, if you want.” Then he went among them right away, and beyond the chapel yard a fair damsel met him, and said, “Sir Launcelot, leave that sword behind, or you'll die for it.” “I won't leave it,” said Sir Launcelot, “for any pleading.” “No,” said she, “if you did leave that sword, you would never see Queen Guinevere.” “Then I'd be a fool if I left this sword,” said Launcelot. “Now, gentle knight,” said the damsel, “I require you to kiss me just once.” “No,” said Sir Launcelot, “God forbid.” “Well, sir,” said she, “if you had kissed me, your life would have been over; but now, alas,” she said, “I've lost all my labor, for I ordained this chapel for your sake, and for Sir Gawain. And once I had Sir Gawain within me, and at that time he fought with the knight that lies dead in that chapel, Sir Gilbert the Bastard; and at that time he smote the left hand off of Sir Gilbert the Bastard. And, Sir Launcelot, I tell you now, I've loved you for seven years, but no woman can have your love except Queen Guinevere. But since I can't please you to have your body alive, I had no joy in this world except to see your body dead. Then I'd have embalmed it and preserved it, and so I would have kept it all my life, and every day I would have hugged you, and kissed you, in spite of Queen Guinevere.” “You say well,” said Sir Launcelot, “Jesus protect me from your subtle crafts.” And with that he took his horse, and so left her. And as the book says, when Sir Launcelot had gone, she was so sorry that she died within two weeks, and her name was Hellawes the sorceress, Lady of the Castle Nigramous. Soon Sir Launcelot met with the damsel, Sir Meliot's sister. And when she saw him she clapped her hands, and wept for joy. And then they rode to a castle where Sir Meliot lay. And as soon as Sir Launcelot saw him he knew him, but he was very pale, as the earth, from bleeding. When Sir Meliot saw Sir Launcelot he kneeled upon his knees and cried loudly: “O lord Sir Launcelot, help me!” Sir Launcelot leaped to him and touched his wounds with Sir Gilbert's sword. And then he wiped his wounds with a part of the bloody cloth that Sir Gilbert was wrapped in, and he'd never been healthier in his life. And then there was great joy between them, and they made Sir Launcelot all the cheer that they could. And so, in the morning, Sir Launcelot took his leave, and told Sir Meliot to go to the court of my lord Arthur, for the Feast of Pentecost was getting near, “and there, by the grace of God you'll find me.” And with that they left.

¶ Capitulum xvj

And soo syre Launcelot rode thorou many straunge countreyes ouer marys and valeyes tyl by fortune he came to a fayre castel / and as he paste beyonde the castel / hym thought he herde two bellys rynge . And thenne was he ware of a Faucon came fleynge ouer his hede toward an hyghe elme / and longe lunys aboute her feet / and she flewe vnto the elme to take her perche / the lunys ouer cast aboute a bough / And whanne she wold haue taken her flyghte / she henge by the legges fast / and syre launcelot sawe how he henge / and byheld the fayre faucon perygot / & he was sory for her / The meane whyle came a lady oute of the castel and cryed on hyghe O launcelot launcelot as thou arte floure of alle knyghtes helpe me to gete my hauke / for and my hauke be lost / my lord wyl destroye me / for I kepte the hauke and she slypped from me / and yf my lord my husband wete hit / he is soo hasty that he wyll slee me / What is your lordes name sayd sir Launcelot / sir she said his name is sire Phelot a knygthe that longeth vnto the the kynge of Northgalys / wel fayre lady syn that ye knowe my name and requyre me of knyghthode to helpe yow I wylle doo what I may to gete your hauke / and yet god knoweth I am an ylle clymber and the tree is passynge hyghe / and fewe bowes to helpe me with alle / And ther with sir launcelot alyȝte and teyed his hors to the same tree / and prayd the lady to vnarme hym / And soo whan he was vnarmed / he put of alle his clothes vnto his sherte and breche / and with myghte & force he clamme vp to the faucon / and teyed the lunys to a grete rotten boyshe / and threwe the hauke doune and it with alle / Anone the lady gate the hauke in her hand / and there with al came oute syre phelot oute of the greuys sodenly / that was her husband al armed / and with his naked swerd in his hand and sayd O knyghte launcelot now haue I fond the as I wold and stode at the bole of the tree to slee hym / A lady sayd syre Launcelot why haue ye bytrayed me / She hath done sayd syre Phelot but as I commaunded her / and therfor ther nys none other boote but thyne houre is come that thou muste dye / That were shame vnto the sayd syre launcelot thou an armed knyghte to slee a naked man by treason / thou getest none other grace sayd syre phelot and therefor helpe thy self and thou canst / Truly sayde syre launcelot that shal be thy shame / but syn thou wylt doo none other / take myn harneys with the and hange my swerde vpon a bough that I maye gete hit / & thenne doo thy best to slee me and thou canst / Nay nay said sir Phelot / for I knowe the better than thou wenest / therfor thow getest no wepen and I may kepe you ther fro / Allas said sir launcelot that euer a knyghte shold dye wepenles / And ther with he wayted aboue hym and vnder hym / and ouer his hede he sawe a rownsepyk a bygge bough leueles / and ther with he brake it of by the body / And thenne he came lower & awayted how his owne hors stode / and sodenly he lepte on the ferther syde of the hors froward the knyghte / And thenne sir phelot lasshed at hym egerly wenynge to haue slayne hym / But syr Launcelot putte aweye the stroke with the rounsepyk / and ther with he smote hym on the one syde of the hede that he felle doune in a swoune to the ground / Soo thenne syre launcelot took his swerd oute of his hand and stroke his neck fro the body / Thenne cryed the lady / Allas why hast thou slayne my husband / I am not causer sayd syre launcelot / for with falshede ye wold haue had slayne me with treson / and now it is fallen on you bothe / And thenne she souned as though she wold dye / And ther with al syre launcelot gate al his armour as wel as he myght / and put hit vpon hym for drede of more resorte / for he dredde that the knyȝtes castel was soo nygh And soo as soone as he myght he took his hors and departed and thanked god that he had escaped that aduenture

Chapter 16

[34] And so Sir Launcelot rode through many strange countries, over marshes and valleys, until by chance he came to a fair castle, and as he passed beyond the castle, it seemed to him that he heard two bells ring. And then he was aware of a falcon, which had come flying over his head toward a high elm, with long leash around her feet; and as she flew to the elm to take her perch, the leash tangled around a branch. And when she tried to fly, she hung tightly by the legs; and Sir Launcelot saw how she hung, and saw the fair falcon, and he was sorry for her. Meanwhile, a lady came out of the castle and cried loudly: “O Launcelot, Launcelot, as you're flower of all knights, help me get my hawk, for if my hawk is lost my lord will destroy me. For I kept the hawk, and she slipped from me, and if my lord, my husband, finds out, he's so hasty that he will slay me.” “What is your lord's name?” said Sir Launcelot. “Sir,” she said, “his name is Sir Phelot, a knight who belongs to the King of Northgalis.” “Well, fair lady, since you know my name, and ask me on my knighthood to help you, I'll do what I can to get your hawk, but God knows I'm a bad climber, and the tree is very high, and with few branches to help me.” And with that, Sir Launcelot got down, and tied his horse to the same tree, and asked the lady to disarm him. And so, when he was disarmed, he took off all his clothes except his shirt and breeches. And with might and force he climbed up to the falcon, and tied the leash to a great rotten branch, and threw the hawk down with it. Then the lady got the hawk in her hand; and with that, Sir Phelot, her husband, suddenly came out out of the groves, all armed and with his naked sword in his hand, and said: “O knight Launcelot, now I've found you as I wanted,” and he stood at the trunk of the tree to slay him. “Ah, lady,” said Sir Launcelot, “why have you betrayed me?” “She only did,” said Sir Phelot, “what I commanded, and therefore there is nothing else to do, but the time is come when you must die.” “That would shame you,” said Sir Launcelot, “you, an armed knight, to slay a naked man by treachery.” “You get no other grace,” said Sir Phelot, “and therefore help yourself if you can.” “Truly,” said Sir Launcelot, “that will be your shame, but since you don't want to do anything else, take my harness with you, and hang my sword on a branch so that I can get it, and then do your best to slay me, if you can.” “No, no,” said Sir Phelot, “for I know you better than you realize, and therefore you get no weapon if I can keep you away from it.” “Alas,” said Sir Launcelot, “that a knight should ever die weaponless.” And with that he kept watch above him and under him, and over his head he saw a big leafless branch, and he broke it off by the body. And then he came lower, and looked to see how his own horse stood. And suddenly he leaped on the far side of the horse, away from the knight. And then Sir Phelot lashed at him eagerly, trying to slay him. But Sir Launcelot deflected the stroke with the branch, and with that he smote him on the side of the head, so that he fell down unconscious to the ground. So then Sir Launcelot took his sword out of his hand, and struck his neck from the body. Then cried the lady, “Alas! why have you slain my husband?” “I'm not the causer,” said Sir Launcelot, “for with falsehood, you would have had me slain with treason, and now it's fallen on you both.” And then she passed out, as though she would die. And then Sir Launcelot put all his armor on as well as he could, and put it upon him fearing more danger, for he dreaded that the knight's castle was so near. And so, as soon as he could, he took his horse and left, and thanked God that he'd escaped that adventure.

¶ Capitulum xvij

Soo syre launcelot rode many wylde wayes thorou out mareys and many wylde wayes / And as he rode in a valey he sawe a knyght chacynge a lady with a naked swerd to haue slayn her / And by fortune as this knyȝte shold haue slayne thys lady she cryed on syr Launcelot and prayd hym to rescowe her / Whan syre launcelot sawe that meschyef / he took his hors and rode bytwene them / sayeng knyȝte fy for shame / why wolt thou slee this lady / thou dost shame vnto the and alle knyghtes / what haste thou to doo betwyx me & my wyf / sayd the knyght / I wylle slee her maugre thy hede / that shalle ye not sayd syr launcelot / for rather we two wylle haue adoo to gyders / Syre Launcelot sayd the knyght thow doest not thy part / for this lady hath bytrayed me / hit is not so sayd the lady / truly he sayth wronge on me / And for by cause I loue and cherysshe my cosyn germayne / he is Ialous betwixe hym and me / And as I shalle ansuer to god there was neuer synne betwyxe vs / But sir sayd the lady as thou arte called the worshipfullest knyghte of the world I requyre the of true knyȝthode kepe me and saue me / For what someuer ye saye he wyl slee me / for he is withoute mercy / haue ye no doubte sayd launcelot it shal not lye in his power / Syr sayd the knyghte in you syghte I wyl be ruled as ye wylle haue me / And soo sir launcelot rode on the one syde and she on the other / he had not ryden but a whyle / but the knyghte badde sir Launcelot torne hym and loke behynde hym / and sayde syre yonder come men of armes after vs rydynge / And soo sir launcelot torned hym and thoughte no treason / and there wyth was the knyghte and the lady on one syde / & sodenly he swapped of his ladyes hede / And whan syr Launcelot hadde aspyed hym what he had done / he sayd and called hym traytour thou hast shamed me for euer / and sodenly sir launcelot alyȝte of his hors and pulled oute his swerd to slee hym / and there with al he felle flat to the erthe / and grypped sir launcelot by the thyes and cryed mercy / Fy on the sayd sir launcelot thow shameful knyght thou mayst haue no mercy / and therfor aryse and fyghte with me / nay sayde the knyghte I wyl neuer aryse tyl ye graunte me mercy / Now wyl I profer the fayr said launcelot I wyl vnarme me vnto my sherte / and I wylle haue nothyng vpon me / but my sherte and my swerd and my hand / And yf thou canst slee me / quyte be thou for euer / nay sir said Pedyuere that wille I neuer / wel said sir Launcelott take this lady and the hede / and bere it vpon the / and here shalt thou swere vpon my swerd to bere it alweyes vpon thy back and neuer to reste tyl thou come to quene Gueneuer / Syre sayd he that wylle I doo by the feithe of my body / Now said launcelot telle me what is your name / sir my name is Pedyuere / In a shameful houre were thou borne said launcelot / Soo Pedyuere departed with the dede lady and the hede / and fond the quene with kynge Arthur at wynchestre / and there he told alle the trouthe / Syre knyȝt said the quene this is an horryble dede and a shameful / and a grete rebuke vnto sire launcelott But not withstondynge his worship is not knowen in many dyuerse countreyes / but this shalle I gyue you in penaunce make ye as good skyfte as ye can ye shal bere this lady with you on horsbak vnto the pope of Rome / and of hym receyue your penaunce for your foule dedes / and ye shalle neuer reste one nyghte there as ye doo another / and ye goo to ony bedde the dede body shal lye with you / this othe there he made and soo departed / And as it telleth in the frensshe book / whan he cam to Rome / the pope badde hym goo ageyne vnto quene Gueneuer and in Rome was his lady beryed by the popes commaundement / And after this sir Pedyuere felle to grete goodnesse / & was an holy man and an heremyte

Chapter 17

[35] So Sir Launcelot rode many wild ways, throughout marshes and many wild ways. And as he rode in a valley, he saw a knight chasing a lady, with a naked sword, trying to slay her. And by chance, as the knight would have slain the lady, she cried to Sir Launcelot and begged him to rescue her. When Sir Launcelot saw that mischief, he took his horse and rode between them, saying, “Knight, shame on you, why do you want to slay this lady? You shame yourself and all knights.” “What do you have to do between me and my wife?” said the knight. “I'll slay her, in spite of your rank.” “No you won't,” said Sir Launcelot; “the two of us will have to fight instead.” “Sir Launcelot,” said the knight, “you aren't doing your part, for this lady has betrayed me.” “It isn't so,” said the lady, “truly he lies about me. And because I love and cherish my cousin, he's jealous of him; and I'll swear to God there was never any sin between us. But, sir,” said the lady, “since you're called the most famous knight in the world, I ask you on your true knighthood, protect me and save me. For whatever you say he'll slay me, for he has no mercy.” “Have no doubt,” said Launcelot, “he won't be able to do it.” “Sir,” said the knight, “in your sight I'll be ruled as you want.” And so Sir Launcelot rode on the one side and she on the other. He had ridden just a little while, when the knight asked Sir Launcelot to turn and look behind him, and said, “Sir, here come some men of arms riding after us.” And so Sir Launcelot turned and expected no teachery, and with that the knight and the lady were on one side, and suddenly he chopped off his lady's head. And when Sir Launcelot had seen what he'd done, he spoke, and called him, “Traitor, you've shamed me forever.” And suddenly Sir Launcelot got off his horse, and pulled out his sword to slay him. And with that he fell flat to the earth, and gripped Sir Launcelot by the thighs, and cried for mercy. “Shame on you,” said Sir Launcelot, “you disgraceful knight, you can have no mercy, so get up and fight with me.” “No,” said the knight, “I'll never get up until you give me mercy.” “Now I'll make you a fair offer,” said Launcelot; “I'll disarm down to my shirt, and I'll have nothing on me but my shirt, and my sword and my hand. And if you can't slay me, be free of me forever.” “No, sir,” said Pedivere, “I'll never do that.” “Well,” said Sir Launcelot, “take this lady and the head, and carry it on you, and here you'll swear on my sword always to carry it on your back, and never to rest until you come to Queen Guinevere.” “Sir,” said he, “I'll do that, by the faith of my body.” “Now,” said Launcelot, “tell me your name.” “Sir, my name is Pedivere.” “You were born in a shameful hour,” said Launcelot. So Pedivere left with the dead lady and the head, and found the queen with King Arthur at Winchester, and there he told the whole truth. “Sir knight,” said the queen, “this is a horrible and shameful deed, and a great insult to Sir Launcelot, even though his fame isn't known in many countries; but I'll give you this as penance: do the best you can. You will carry this lady with you on horseback to the Pope of Rome, and get from him your penance for your foul deeds; and you'll never rest one night there as you do another; if you go to any bed, the dead body will lie with you.” He took this oath, and so he left. And as the French book says, when he came to Rome, the Pope told him to go to Queen Guinevere again, and his lady was buried in Rome by the Pope's commandment. And after this, Sir Pedivere became very good, and was a holy man and a hermit.

¶ Capitulum xviij

Now torne we vnto sir launcelot du lake that came home two dayes afore the seest of Pentecost / and the kyng and alle the courte were passynge fayne of his comynge / And whanne sire Gawayne / sir Vwayne / sire Sagramore / sir Ector de marys sawe sire Launcelot in Kayes armour / thenne they wist wel it was he that smote hem doune al with one spere / Thenne there was laughyng and smylyng amonge them / and euer now and now came alle the Knyghtes home that sir Turquyn hadde prysoners and they alle honoured and worshipped syre launcelot /

Chapter 18

[36] Now we turn to Sir Launcelot du Lake, who came home two days before the Feast of Pentecost; and the king and all the court were very glad that he came. And when Sir Gawain, Sir Uwaine, Sir Sagramore, and Sir Ector de Maris saw Sir Launcelot in Kay's armor, they knew he was the one who smote all of them down with one spear. Then they all laughed and smiled. And now all the knights Sir Turquine had kept prisoners came home, and they all honored and praised Sir Launcelot.

¶ Whanne sire Gaheryes herd them speke / he said / I sawe alle the bataille from the begynnyng to the endynge / and there he told kyng Arthur alle how it was and how syre Turquyn was the strongest knyghte that euer he sawe excepte syre launcelot / there were many knyghtes bare hym record nyghe thre score / Thenne sire kay told the kynge / how syr launcelot had rescowed hym whan he shold haue ben slayne / and how he made the knyghtes yelde hem to me / and not to hym / And there they were al thre / and bare record / and by Ihesu said syr kay by cause syr launcelot took my harneis and lefte me his / I rode in good pees / and no man wold haue adoo with me /

[37] When Sir Gaheris heard them speak, he said, “I saw all the battle from beginning to end.” And there he told King Arthur how it was, and how Sir Turquine was the strongest knight he ever saw, except for Sir Launcelot: many knights recorded it, nearly sixty. Then Sir Kay told the king how Sir Launcelot had rescued him when he should have been slain, and how he made the knights surrender to me, and not to him. And all three of them were there, and recorded it. “And by Jesus,” said Sir Kay, “because Sir Launcelot took my harness and left me his, I rode in peace, and no man would fight with me.”

¶ Anone there with alle ther came the thre knyghtes that fought with syre launcelot at the longe brydge And there they yelded hem vnto syr kay / and sir kay forsoke hem and said he foughte neuer with hem / but I shall ease your herte said sir kay / yonder is syr launcelot the ouercam you whan they wyst that / they were glad / And thenne syr Melyot de logrys came home / and told the kynge how syr launcelot had saued hym fro the dethe / and all his dedes were knowen how foure quenes sorceresses had hym in pryson / and how he was delyuerd by kynge Bagdemagus doughter / Also there were told alle grete dedes of armes that syr launcelot dyd betwixe the two kynges / that is for to saye the kynge of northgalys and kynge Bagdemagus Alle the trouthe syr Gahalantyne dyd telle / and syre Mador de la porte and syre Mordred / for they were at that same turnement /

[38] Soon the three knights who fought with Sir Launcelot at the long bridge came. And there they surrendered to Sir Kay, and Sir Kay left them and said he never fought with them. “But I'll ease your heart,” said Sir Kay; “There is Sir Launcelot, who overcame you.” When they knew that, they were glad. And then Sir Meliot de Logres came home, and told the king how Sir Launcelot had saved him from death. And all his deeds were known, how four queens, sorceresses, had him in prison, and how he was rescued by King Bagdemagus's daughter. They also told all the great deeds of arms that Sir Launcelot did between the two kings, that is, the King of Northgalis and King Bagdemagus. Sir Gahalantine told the whole truth, and Sir Mador de la Porte and Sir Mordred, for they were at the same tournament.

¶ Thenne cam in the lady that knewe syr launcelot whan that he wounded syr Bellyus at the pauelione / And there atte request of syr laucelot syr Bellyus was made knyghte of the round table / And soo at that tyme sir launcelot had the grettest name of ony knyghte of the world / and most he was honoured of hyhe and lowe

[39] Then in came the lady who knew Sir Launcelot when he wounded Sir Belleus at the pavilion. And there, at the request of Sir Launcelot, Sir Belleus was made knight of the Round Table. And so at that time Sir Launcelot had the greatest name of any knight of the world, and he was honored the most of any, high and low.

Explicit the noble tale of syr Launcelot du lake whiche is the vj book

Here ends the noble tale of Sir Launcelot du Lake, which is the sixth book.