High History of the Graal; Perlesvaus
This history saith that the land of this King was full far away from the land of King Arthur, and that needs must he pass two seas or ever he should approach the first head of King Arthur's land. He arrived in Albanie with great force of men with a great navy. When they of the land knew it, they garnished them against him and defended their lands the best they might; then they sent word to King Arthur that King Madeglant was come in such manner into the land, with great plenty of folk, and that he should come presently to succour them or send them a knight so good as that he might protect them, and that in case he doth not so, the land will be lost. When King Arthur understood these tidings, it was not well with him. He asked his knights whom he might send thither. And they say, let him send Lancelot thither, for that he is a worthy knight and a kingly, and much understandeth of war, and hath in him as much loyalty as hath ever another that they know. The King maketh him come before him.
"Lancelot," saith the King,
"Such affiance have I in you and in your knighthood, that it is my will to
send you to the furthest corner of my land, to protect it, with the approval of
my knights, wherefore I pray and require you that you do your power herein as
many a time have you done already in my service. And I will give you in command
King Madeglant one day issued forth of his
ships to do battle against Lancelot and them of the land. Lancelot received him
right stoutly, and slew many of his folk, and the more part fled and would fain
have drawn them to their ships, but Lancelot and his people went after and cut a
part of them to pieces. King Madeglant, with as many of his men as he might,
betaketh himself to his own ship privily, and maketh put to sea the soonest he
may. They that might not come to the ships remained on dry land, and were so cut
up and slain. Madeglant went his way discomfited. Of ten ships full of men that
he had brought he took back with him but two. The land was in peace and assured
in safety. Lancelot remained there of a long space. They of the country loved
him much and gave themselves great joy of his valour and his great bounty,
insomuch that most of them say ofttimes that they would fain have such a knight
as was he for king, by the goodwill of King Arthur, for that the land is too far
away; but and if he would set there a knight or other man that might protect the
land, they would take it in right good part, and he should hold the land of him,
for they might not safeguard it at their will without a champion, for that land
without a lord may but little avail. They of the land loved Lancelot well, as I
tell you. King Arthur was at Cardoil, and so were his knights together with him.
He thought to be assured in his kingdom and to live peaceably; but what time he
sate at meat one day in Cardoil, behold you thereupon a knight that cometh
before the Table Round without saluting him.
Meliant was the son of his sister-german,
wherefore much grieveth he of his death."
With that the knight departeth, and the King
remaineth at Cardoil. He sendeth for Briant of the Isles, his seneschal, and a
great part of his knights, and demandeth counsel of them what he may do. Messire
Ywain saith that he killed Meliant in the King's service, as one that warred
upon his land, albeit the King had done him no wrong, and had so made common
cause with the King's enemies without demanding right in his court. Nor never
had Meliant appealed Lancelot of murder nor of treason, nor required him of the
death of his father. Rather, Lancelot slew him in open war, as one that warred
upon his lord by wrong.
"Briant," saith Messire Gawain, "Lancelot is nor here; and, moreover, he is now on the King's business. Well know you that Meliant came to you and that you made him knight, and that thereafter he warred upon the King's land without reasonable occasion. The King was far away from the land as he that made pilgrimage to the Graal. He was told tidings that his land was being put to the worse, and he sent Lancelot to protect it. He accordingly maintained the war as best he might until such time as the King was returned. Meliant knew well that the King was come back, and that never had he done wrong to none in his court that wished to demand right therein. He neither came thither nor sent, either to do right or to demand right, whether he did so for despite or whether it was for that he knew not how to do it. In the meanwhile he warred upon the King, that had never done him a wrong nor refused to do him a right. Lancelot slew him in the King's war and upon his land in defence thereof. There was peace of the war, as was agreed on between you and the King, but and if any should therefore hold Lancelot to blame of the death of Meliant, meseemeth that therein is he wrong. For the others are not held to answer for them that they slew; but and if you wish to say that Lancelot hath not slain him with reason, howsoever he may have wrought aforetime in respect of his father, I am ready to maintain his right by my body on behalf of his."
"Messire Gawain," saith Briant of
the Isles, "You will not as at this time find none that will take up your
gage on account of this affair, nor ought any to make enemies of his friends,
nor ought you to counsel me so to do. King Madeglant warreth upon him and King
Claudas maketh war upon him also. They will deliver attacks enough. But I should
well allow, for the sake of saving his land and keeping his friends, that the
King should suffer Lancelot to remain at a distance from his court for one year,
until tidings should have come to King Claudas that he had been bidden leave
thereof, so as that King Arthur might have his good will and his love."
Thereupon, behold you! Orguelleux of the
Launde come, that had not been at the court of a long time, and it had been told
him whereof these words were.