Le Morte dArthur

The table or rubrysshe of the contente of chapytres shortly of the fyrst book of kyng Arthur

  • Fyrst how Vtherpendragon sente for the duke of Cornewayl & Igrayne his wyf & of their departyng sodeynly ageyn capitulum primum
  • How Vtherpendragon made warre on the duke of Cornewayl and how by the moyane of Merlyn he laye by the duchesse & gate Arthur capitulum ij
  • Of the byrthe of kyng Arthur and of his nouryture & of the deth of kyng Vtherpendragon and how Arthur was chosen kyng and of wondres and meruaylles of a swerde taken out of a stone by the sayd Arthur capitulum iij iiij & v
  • How kyng Arthur pulled oute the swerde dyuers tymes capitulum vj
  • How kyng Arthur was crowned & how he made offycers capitulum vij
  • How kyng Arthur helde in Wales at a Pentecost a grete feest and what kynges and lordes came to his feste capitulum viij
  • Of the fyrst warre that kyng Arthur had and how he wanne the felde capitulum ix
  • How Merlyn counceylled kyng Arthur to sende for kyng Ban & kyng Bors & of theyr counceyl taken for the warre capitulum x
  • Of a grete tornoye made by kyng Arthur & the ij kynges ban and Bors and how they wente ouer the see capitulum xj
  • How xj kynges gadred a grete hoost ayenst kyng Arthur capitulum xij
  • Of a dreme of the kyng wyth the hondred knyghtes capitulum xiij
  • How the xj kynges wyth theyr hoost fought ayenst Arthur & his hoost and many grete feates of the warre capitulum xiiij
  • Yet of the same batayll capitulum xv
  • Yet more of the said batayl capitulum xvj
  • Yet more of the said batayl & how it was ended by Merlyn capitulum xvij
  • How kyng Arthur kyng Ban & kyng Bors rescowed kyng Leodegraunce and other Incydentes capitulum xviij
  • How kyng Arthur rode to Carlyon and of his dreme & how he sawe the Questyng Beest capitulum xix
  • How kyng Pellynore took Arthurs hors & folowed the Questyng Beest and how Merlyn mette wyth Arthur capitulum xx
  • How Vlfyus apeched quene Igrayne Arthurs moder of treason and how a knyght came and desyred to haue the deth of hys mayster reuengyd capitulum xxj
  • How Gryflet was made knyght & Iusted with a knyght capitulum xxij
  • How xij knyghtes came from Rome & axed truage for thys londe of Arthur and how Arthur faught wyth a knyght capitulum xxiij
  • How Merlyn saued Arthurs lyf & threwe an enchauntement vpon kyng Pellynore and made hym to slepe capitulum xxiiij
  • How Arthur by the meane of Merlyn gate Excalybur hys swerde of the Lady of the Lake capitulum xxv
  • How tydynges cam to Arthur that kyng Ryons had ouercome xj kynges & how he desyred Arthurs berde to purfyl his mantel capitulum xxvij
  • How al the chyldren were sente sore that were borne on may day & how Mordred was saued capitulum xxviij

[Book One]
Capitulum primum
Hit befel in the dayes of Vtherpendragon when he was kyng of all Englond / and so regned that there was a myghty duke in Cornewayl that helde warre ageynst hym long tyme / And the duke was called the duke of Tyntagyl / and so by meanes kyng Vther send for this duk / chargyng hym to brynge his wyf with hym / for she was called a fair lady / and a passynge wyse / and her name was called Igrayne / So whan the duke and his wyf were comyn vnto the kyng by the meanes of grete lordes they were accorded bothe / the kyng lyked and loued this lady wel / and he made them grete chere out of mesure / and desyred to haue lyen by her / But she was a passyng good woman / and wold not assente vnto the kyng / And thenne she told the duke her husband and said I suppose that we were sente for that I shold be dishonoured Wherfor husband I counceille yow that we departe from hens sodenly that we maye ryde all nyghte vnto oure owne castell / and in lyke wyse as she saide so they departed / that neyther the kyng nor none of his counceill were ware of their departyng Also soone as kyng Vther knewe of theire departyng soo sodenly / he was wonderly wrothe / Thenne he called to hym his pryuy counceille / and told them of the sodeyne departyng of the duke and his wyf /
Thenne they auysed the kyng to send for the duke and his wyf by a grete charge / And yf he wille not come at your somons / thenne may ye do your best / thenne haue ye cause to make myghty werre vpon hym / Soo that was done and the messagers hadde their ansuers / And that was thys shortly / that neyther he nor his wyf wold not come at hym / Thenne was the kyng wonderly wroth / And thenne the kyng sente hym playne word ageyne / and badde hym be redy and stuffe hym and garnysshe hym / for within xl dayes he wold fetche hym oute of the byggest castell that he hath /
Whanne the duke hadde thys warnynge / anone he wente and furnysshed and garnysshed two stronge Castels of his of the whiche the one hyght Tyntagyl / & the other castel hyght Terrabyl / So his wyf Dame Igrayne he putte in the castell of Tyntagyl / And hym self he putte in the castel of Terrabyl the whiche had many yssues and posternes oute / Thenne in alle haste came Vther with a grete hoost / and leyd a syege aboute the castel of Terrabyl / And ther he pyght many pauelyons / and there was grete warre made on bothe partyes / and moche peple slayne / Thenne for pure angre and for grete loue of fayr Igrayne the kyng Vther felle seke / So came to the kyng Vther syr Vlfius a noble knyght / and asked the kyng why he was seke / I shall telle the said the kyng / I am seke for angre and for loue of fayre Igrayne that I may not be hool / wel my lord said syr Vlfius / I shal seke Merlyn / and he shalle do yow remedy that youre herte shalbe pleasyd / So Vlfius departed / and by aduenture he mette Merlyn in a beggars aray / and ther Merlyn asked Vlfius whome he soughte / and he said he had lytyl ado to telle hym / Well saide Merlyn / I knowe whome thou sekest / for thou sekest Merlyn / therfore seke no ferther / for I am he / and yf kyng Vther wille wel rewarde me / and be sworne vnto me to fulfille my desyr that shall be his honour & profite more than myn for I shalle cause hym to haue alle his desyr / Alle this wyll I vndertake said Vlfius that ther shalle be nothyng resonable / but thow shalt haue thy desyr / well said Merlyn / he shall haue his entente and desyr / And therfore saide Merlyn / ryde on your wey / for I wille not be long behynde

Capitulum Secundum
Thenne Vlfius was glad and rode on more than a paas tyll that he came to kyng Vtherpendragon / and told hym he had met with Merlyn / where is he said the kyng syr said Vlfius he wille not dwelle long / ther with al Vlfius was ware where Merlyn stood at the porche of the pauelions dore / And thenne Merlyn was bounde to come to the kyng Whan kyng Vther sawe hym he said he was welcome / syr said Merlyn I knowe al your hert euery dele / so ye will be sworn vnto me as ye be a true kyng enoynted to fulfille my desyr ye shal haue your desyr / thenne the kyng was sworne vpon the iiij euuangelistes / Syre said Merlyn this is my desyr / the first nyght þt ye shal lye by Igrayne ye shal gete a child on her & whan that is borne that it shall be delyuerd to me for to nourisshe there as I wille haue it / for it shal be your worship / & the childis auaille as mykel as the child is worth / I wylle wel said the kyng as thow wilt haue it / Now make you redy said Merlyn this nyght ye shalle lye with Igrayne in the castel of Tyntagyl / & ye shalle be lyke the duke her husband Vlfyus shal be lyke syr Brastias / a knyghte of the dukes And I will be lyke a knyghte that hyghte syr Iordanus a knyghte of the dukes / But wayte ye make not many questions with her nor her men / but saye ye are diseased and soo hye yow to bedde / and ryse not on the morne tyll I come to yow / for the castel of Tyntagyl is but x myle hens / soo this was done as they deuysed / But the duke of Tyntagyl aspyed hou the kyng rode fro the syege of Terrabyl / & therfor that nyghte he yssued oute of the castel at a posterne for to haue distressid the kynges hooste / And so thorowe his owne yssue the duke hym self was slayne or euer the kyng cam at the castel of Tyntagyl / so after the deth of the duke kyng Vther lay with Igrayne more than thre houres after his deth / and begat on her that nyght Arthur / & on day cam Merlyn cam to the kyng / & bad hym make hym redy / & so he kist the lady Igrayne and departed in all hast / But whan the lady herd telle of the duke her husband and by all record he was dede or euer kyng Vther came to her thenne she merueilled who that myghte be that laye with her in lykenes of her lord / so she mourned pryuely and held hyr pees / Thenne alle the barons by one assent prayd the kyng of accord betwixe the lady Igrayne and hym / the kyng gaf hem leue / for fayne wold he haue ben accorded with her / Soo the kyng put alle the trust in Vlfyus to entrete bitwene them so by the entrete at the last the kyng & she met to gyder / Now wille we doo well said Vlfyus / our kyng is a lusty knyghte and wyueles / & my lady Igrayne is a passynge fair lady / it were grete ioye vnto vs all and hit myghte please the kyng to make her his quene / vnto that they all well accordyd and meued it to the kyng / And anone lyke a lusty knyghte / he assentid therto with good wille / and so in alle haste they were maryed in a mornynge with grete myrthe and Ioye / And kyng Lot of Lowthean and of Orkenay thenne wedded Margawse that was Gawaynes moder / And kyng Nentres of the land of Garlot wedded Elayne / Al this was done at the request of kyng Vther / And the thyrd syster Morgan le Fey was put to scole in a nonnery / And ther she lerned so moche that she was a grete Clerke of Nygromancye / And after she was wedded to kyng Vryens of the lond of Gore that was syr Ewayns le Blaunche Maynys fader

Capitulum tercium
Thene quene Igrayne waxid dayly gretter & gretter / so it befel after within half a yere as kyng Vther lay by his quene he asked hyr by the feith she ought to hym whos was the child within her body / Thenne she sore abasshed to yeue ansuer / Desmaye you not said the kyng but telle me the trouthe / and I shall loue you the better by the feythe of my body Syre saide she I shalle telle you the trouthe / the same nyghte þt my lord was dede the houre of his deth as his knyghtes record ther came in to my castel of Tyntagyl a man lyke my lord in speche and in countenaunce / and two knyghtes with hym in lykenes of his two knyghtes Brastias and Iordans / & soo I went vnto bed with hym as I ought to do with my lord / & the same nyght as I shal answer vnto god this child was begoten vpon me / that is trouthe saide the kyng as ye say / for it was I my self that cam in the lykenesse / & therfor desmay you not for I am fader to the child / & ther he told her alle the cause / how it was by Merlyns counceil / thenne the quene made grete ioye whan she knewe who was the fader of her child / Sone come Merlyn vnto the kyng / & said syr ye must puruey yow / for the nourisshyng of your child / as thou wolt said the kyng be it / wel said Merlyn I knowe a lord of yours in this land that is a passyng true man & a feithful / & he shal haue the nourysshyng of your child / & his name is syr Ector / & he is a lord of fair lyuelode in many partyes in Englond & Walys / & this lord syr Ector lete hym be sent for / for to come & speke with you / & desyr hym your self as he loueth you that he will put his owne child to nourisshynge to another woman / and that his wyf nourisshe yours / And whan the child is borne lete it be delyuerd to me at yonder pryuy posterne vncrystned / So like as Merlyn deuysed it was done / And whan syr Ector was come / he made fyaunce to the kyng for to nourisshe the child lyke as the kyng desyred / and there the kyng graunted syr Ector grete rewardys / Thenne when the lady was delyuerd the kyng commaunded ij knyghtes & ij ladyes to take the child bound in a cloth of gold / & that ye delyuer hym to what poure man ye mete at the posterne yate of the castel / So the child was delyuerd vnto Merlyn / and so he bare it forth vnto syr Ector / and made an holy man to crysten hym / and named hym Arthur / and so syr Ectors wyf nourysshed hym with her owne pappe / Thenne within two yeres kyng Vther felle seke of a grete maladye / And in the meane whyle hys enemyes Vsurpped vpon hym / and dyd a grete bataylle vpon his men / and slewe many of his peple / syr said Merlyn ye may not lye so as ye doo / for ye must to the feld though ye ryde on an hors lyttar / for ye shall neuer haue the better of your enemyes / but yf your persone be there / and thenne shall ye haue the vyctory So it was done as Merlyn had deuysed / and they caryed the kyng forth in an hors lyttar with a grete hooste towarde his enemyes / And at saynt Albons ther mette with the kyng a grete hoost of the north / And that day syr Vlfyus and syr Brastias dyd grete dedes of armes / and kyng Vthers men ouercome the northeryn bataylle and slewe many peple & putt the remenaunt to flight / And thenne the kyng retorned vnto London and made grete ioye of his vyctory / And Thenne he fyll passynge sore seke / so that thre dayes & thre nyghtes he was specheles / wherfore alle the barons made grete sorow and asked Merlyn what counceill were best / There nys none other remedye said Merlyn but god wil haue his wille / But loke ye al Barons be bifore kyng Vther to morne / and god and I shalle make hym to speke / So on the morne alle the Barons with Merlyn came to fore the kyng / thene Merlyn said aloud vnto kyng Vther / Syre shall your sone Arthur be kyng after your dayes of this realme with all the appertenaunce / thenne Vtherpendragon torned hym and said in herynge of them alle I gyue hym gods blissing & myne / & byd hym pray for my soule / & righteuously & worshipfully that he clayme þe croune vpon forfeture of my blessyng / & therwith he yelde vp the ghost & thenne was he enterid as longed to a kyng / wherfor the quene fayre Igrayne made grete sorowe and alle the Barons / Thenne stood the reame in grete ieopardy long whyle / for euery lord that was myghty of men maade hym stronge / and many wende to haue ben kyng / Thenne Merlyn wente to the archebisshop of Caunterbury / and counceilled hym for to sende for alle the lordes of the reame / and alle the gentylmen of armes that they shold to London come by Cristmas vpon payne of cursynge / And for this cause þt Ihesu that was borne on that nyghte that he wold of his grete mercy shewe some myracle / as he was come to be kyng of mankynde for to shewe somme myracle who shold be rightwys kyng of this reame / So the Archebisshop by the aduys of Merlyn send for alle the lordes and gentylmen of armes that they shold come by Crystmasse euen vnto London / And many of hem made hem clene of her lyf that her prayer myghte be the more acceptable vnto god / Soo in the grettest chirch of London whether it were Powlis or not the Frensshe booke maketh no mencyon / alle the estates were longe or day in the chirche for to praye / And whan matyns & the first masse was done / there was sene in the chircheyard ayenst the hyghe aulter a grete stone four square lyke vnto a marbel stone / And in myddes therof was lyke an Anuylde of stele a foot on hyghe / & theryn stack a sayre swerd naked by the poynt / and letters there were wryten in gold aboute the swerd that saiden thus / who so pulleth oute this swerd of this stone and anuyld / is rightwys kyng borne of all Englond / Thenne the peple merueilled & told it to the Archebisshop I commande said the archebisshop that ye kepe yow within your chirche / and pray vnto god still that no man touche the swerd tyll the hyghe masse be all done / So whan all masses were done all the lordes wente to beholde the stone and the swerd / And whan they sawe the scripture / som assayed suche as wold haue ben kyng / But none myght stere the swerd nor meue hit He is not here said the Archebisshop that shall encheue the swerd but doubte not god will make hym knowen / But this is my counceill said the archebisshop / that we lete puruey x knyghtes men of good fame / & they to kepe this swerd / so it was ordeyned / & Thenne ther was made a crye / þt euery man shold assay þt wold for to wynne the swerd / And vpon newe yeersday the barons lete maake a Iustes and a tournement / that alle knyghtes shat wold Iuste or tourneye / there myght playe / & all this was ordeyned for to kepe the lordes to gyders & the comyns / for the Archebisshop trusted / that god wold make hym knowe that shold wynne the swerd / So vpon newe yeresday whan the seruyce was done / the barons rode vnto the feld / some to Iuste / & som to torney / & so it happed that syr Ector that had grete lyuelode aboute London rode vnto the Iustes / & with hym rode syr Kay his sone & yong Arthur that was hys nourisshed broder / & syr Kay was made knyght at al halowmas afore So as they rode to ye Iustes ward / syr Kay lost his swerd for he had lefte it at his faders lodgyng / & so he prayd yong Arthur for to ryde for his swerd / I wyll wel said Arthur / & rode fast after ye swerd / & whan he cam home / the lady & al were out to see the Ioustyng / thenne was Arthur wroth & saide to hym self / I will ryde to the chircheyard / & take the swerd with me that stycketh in the stone / for my broder syr Kay shal not be without a swerd this day / so whan he cam to the chircheyard syr Arthur alight & tayed his hors to the style / & so he wente to the tent / & found no knyghtes there/ for they were atte Iustyng & so he handled the swerd by the handels / and lightly & fiersly pulled it out of the stone / & took his hors & rode his way vntyll he came to his broder syr Kay / & delyuerd hym the swerd / & as sone as syr Kay saw the swerd he wist wel it was the swerd of the stone / & so he rode to his fader syr Ector / & said / syr / loo here is the swerd of the stone / wherfor I must be kyng of thys land / when syr Ector beheld the swerd / he retorned ageyne & cam to the chirche / & there they alighte al thre / & wente in to the chirche / And anon he made syr Kay swere vpon a book / how he came to that swerd / syr said syr Kay by my broder Arthur for he brought it to me / how gate ye this swerd said syr Ector to Arthur / syr I will telle you when I cam home for my broders swerd / I fond no body at home to delyuer me his swerd And so I thought my broder syr Kay shold not be swerdles & so I cam hyder egerly & pulled it out of the stone withoute ony payn / found ye ony knyghtes about this swerd seid syr Ector Nay said Arthur / Now said syr Ector to Arthur I vnderstande ye must be kyng of this land / wherfore I / sayd Arthur and for what cause / Syre saide Ector / for god wille haue hit soo for ther shold neuer man haue drawen oute this swerde / but he that shal be rightwys kyng of this land / Now lete me see whether ye can putte the swerd ther as it was / and pulle hit oute ageyne / that is no maystry said Arthur / and soo he put it in the stone / wherwith alle syr Ector assayed to pulle oute the swerd and faylled

Capitulum sextum
Now assay said syr Ector vnto syr Kay / And anon he pulled at the swerd with alle his myghte / but it wold not be / Now shal ye assay said syr Ector to Arthur I wyll wel said Arthur and pulled it out easily / And therwith alle syr Ector knelyd doune to the erthe and syr Kay / Allas said Arthur myne own dere fader and broder why knele ye to me / Nay nay my lord Arthur / it is not so I was neuer your fader nor of your blood / but I wote wel ye are of an hygher blood than I wende ye were / And thenne syr Ector told hym all how he was bitaken hym for to nourisshe hym And by whoos commandement / and by Merlyns delyueraunce
Thenne Arthur made grete doole whan he vnderstood that syr Ector was not his fader / syr said Ector vnto Arthur woll ye by my good & gracious lord when ye are kyng / els were I to blame said Arthur for ye are the man in the world that I am most be holdyng to / & my good lady and moder your wyf that as wel as her owne hath fostred me and kepte / And yf euer hit be goddes will that I be kyng as ye say / ye shall desyr of me what I may doo / and I shalle not faille yow / god forbede I shold faille yow / syr said syr Ector / I will aske no more of yow / but that ye wille make my sone your foster broder syr Kay Senceall of alle your landes / That shalle be done said Arthur / and more by the feith of my body that neuer man shalle haue that office but he whyle he and I lyue / There with all they wente vnto the Archebisshop / and told hym how the swerd was encheued / and by whome / and on twelfth day alle the barons cam thyder / and to assay to take the swerd who that wold assay / But there afore hem alle ther myghte none take it out but Arthur / wherfor ther were many lordes wroth
And saide it was grete shame vnto them all and the reame to be ouer gouernyd with a boye of no hyghe blood borne / And so they fell oute at that tyme that it was put of tyll Candelmas / And thenne alle the barons shold mete there ageyne / but alwey the x knyghtes were ordeyned to watche the swerd day & nyght / & so they sette a pauelione ouer the stone & þe swerd & fyue alwayes watched / Soo at Candalmasse many moo grete lordes came thyder for to haue wonne the swerde / but there myghte none preuaille / And right as Arthur dyd at Cristmasse / he dyd at Candelmasse and pulled oute the swerde easely wherof the Barons were sore agreued and put it of in delay till the hyghe feste of Eester / And as Arthur sped afore / so dyd he at Eester / yet there were some of the grete lordes had indignacion that Arthur shold be kyng / and put it of in a delay tyll the feest of Pentecoste / Thenne the Archebisshop of Caunterbury by Merlyns prouydence lete purueye thenne of the best knyghtes that they myghte gete / And suche knyghtes as Vtherpendragon loued best and moost trusted in his dayes / And suche knyghtes were put aboute Arthur as syr Bawdewyn of Bretayn / syr Kaynes / syr Vlfyus / syr Barsias / All these with many other were alweyes about Arthur day and nyghte till the feste of Pentecost

Capitulum septimum
And at the feste of Pentecost alle maner of men assayed to pulle at the swerde that wold assay / but none myghte preuaille but Arthur / and pulled it oute afore all the lordes and comyns that were there / wherfore alle the comyns cryed at ones we wille haue Arthur vnto our kyng we wille put hym nomore in delay / for we alle see that it is goddes wille that he shalle be our kyng / And who that holdeth ageynst it we wille slee hym / And therwith all they knelyd at ones both ryche and poure / and cryed Arthur mercy by cause they had delayed hym soo longe / and Arthur foryaf hem / and took the swerd bitwene both his handes / and offred it vpon the aulter where the Archebisshop was / and so was he made knyghte of the best man that was there / And so anon was the coronacyon made / And ther was he sworne vnto his lordes & the comyns for to be a true kyng to stand with true Iustyce fro thens forth the dayes of this lyf / Also thene he made alle lordes that helde of the croune to come in / and to do seruyce as they oughte to doo / And many complayntes were made vnto syr Arthur of grete wronges that were done syn the dethe of kyng Vther / of many londes that were bereued lordes knyghtes / ladyes & gentylmen / wherfor kyng Arthur maade the londes to be yeuen ageyne to them that oute hem / Whanne this was done that the kyng had stablisshed alle the countreyes aboute London / thenne he lete make syr Kay sencial of Englond / and syr Baudewyn of Bretayne was made Constable / and syr Vlfyus was made chamberlayn / And syr Brastias was maade wardeyn to wayte vpon the northe fro Trent forwardes for it was þt tyme þe most party the kynges enemyes / But within fewe yeres after Arthur wan alle the north Scotland / and alle that were vnder their obeissaunce / Also Walys a parte of it helde ayenst Arthur / but he ouercam hem al as he dyd the remenaunt thurgh the noble prowesse of hym self and his knyghtes of the Rounde Table

Capitulum octauum
Thenne the kyng remeued in to Walys / and lete crye a grete feste that is shold be holdyn at Pentecost after the incoronacion of hym at the Cyte of Carlyon / vnto the fest come kyng Lot of Lowthean / and of Orkeney / with fyue C knyghtes with hym / Also ther come to the feste kyng Vryens of gore with four C knyghtes with hym
Also ther come to that feeste kyng Nayntres of Garloth with seuen C knyghtes with hym / Also ther came to the feest the kyng of Scotland with sixe honderd knyghtes with hym / and he was but a yong man / Also ther came to the feste a kyng that was called the kyng with the honderd knyghtes / but he and his men were passyng wel bisene at al poyntes Also ther cam the kyng of Cardos with fyue honderd knyghtes / And kyng Arthur was glad of their comynge / for he wende that al the kynges & knyghtes had come for grete loue / and to haue done hym worship at his feste / wherfor the kyng made grete ioye / and sente the kynges and knyghtes grete presentes / But the kynges wold none receyue / but rebuked the messagers shamefully / and said they had no ioye to receyue no yeftes of a berdles boye that was come of lowe blood / and sente hym word / they wold none of his yeftes / But that they were come to gyue hym yeftes with hard swerdys betwixt the neck and the sholders / And therfore they came thyder / so they told to the messagers playnly / for it was grete shame to all them to see suche a boye to haue a rule of soo noble a reaume as this land was / With this ansuer the messagers departed & told to kyng Arthur this ansuer / wherfor by the aduys of his barons he took hym to a strong towre with / v / C good men with hym / And all the kynges afore said in a maner leyd a syege tofore hym / but kyng Arthur was well vytailled / And within xv dayes ther came Merlyn amonge hem in to the Cyte of Carlyon / thenne all the kynges were passyng gladde of Merlyn / and asked hym for what cause is that boye Arthur made your kyng / Syres said Merlyn / I shalle telle yow the cause for he is kyng Vtherpendragons sone borne in wedlok goten on Igrayne the dukes wyf of Tyntagyl / thenne is he a bastard they said al / nay said Merlyn / After the deth of the duke more than thre houres was Arthur begoten / And xiij dayes after kyng Vther wedded Igrayne / And therfor I preue hym he is no bastard / And who saith nay / he shal be kyng and ouercome alle his enemyes / And or he deye / he shalle be long kyng of all Englond / and haue vnder his obeyssaunce Walys / Irland and Scotland / and moo reames than I will now reherce / Some of the kynges had merueyl of Merlyns wordes and demed well that it shold be as he said / And som of hem lough hym to scorne / as kyng Lot / and mo other called hym a wytche / But thenne were they accorded with Merlyn that kyng Arthur shold come oute and speke with the kynges / and to come sauf and to goo sauf / suche suraunce ther was made / So Merlyn went vnto kyng Arthur / and told hym how he had done / and badde hym fere not but come oute boldly and speke with hem / and spare hem not / but ansuere them as their kyng and chyuetayn / for ye shal ouercome hem all whether they wille or nylle

Capitulum ix
Thenne kyng Arthur came oute of his tour / and had vnder his gowne a Iesseraunte of double maylle / and ther wente with hym the Archebisshop of Caunterbury / and syr Baudewyn of Bretayne and syr Kay / and syr Brastias / these were the men of moost worship that were with hym / And whan they were mette / there was no mekenes but stoute wordes on bothe sydes / but alweyes kyng Arthur ansuerd them and said / he wold make them to bowe and he lyued wherfore they departed with wrath / and kyng Arthur badde kepe hem wel / and they bad the kyng kepe hym wel / Soo the kyng retorned hym to the toure ageyne and armed hym and alle his knyghtes / what will ye do said Merlyn to the kynges ye were better for to stynte / for ye shalle not here preuaille though ye were x so many / be we wel auysed to be aferd of a dreme reder said kyng Lot / with that Merlyn vanysshed aweye / and came to kyng Arthur / and bad hym set on hem fiersly / & in the mene whyle there were thre honderd good men of the best that were with the kynges / that wente streyghte vnto kyng Arthur / and that comforted hym gretely / syr said Merlyn to Arthur / fyghte not with the swerde ye had by myracle / til that ye see ye go vnto the wers / thenne drawe it out and do your best / So forth with alle kyng Arthur sette vpon hem in their lodgyng / And syr Bawdewyn syr Kay and syr Brastias slewe on the right hand & on the lyfte hand that it was merueylle / and alweyes kyng Arthur on horsback leyd on with a swerd and dyd merueillous dedes of armes that many of the kynges had grete ioye of his dedes and hardynesse / Thenne kyng Lot brake out on the bak syde / and the kyng with the honderd knyghtes and kyng Carados / and sette on Arthur fiersly behynde hym / with that syr Arthur torned with his knyghtes / and smote behynd and before / and euer syr Arthur was in the formest prees tyl his hors was slayne vndernethe hym / And therwith kyng lot smote doune kyng Arthur / With that his four knyghtes receyued hym and set hym an horsback / thene he drewe his swerd Excalibur / but it was so bryght in his enemyes eyen / that it gaf light lyke xxx torchys / And therwith he put hem on bak / and slewe moche peple And thenne the comyns of Carlyon aroos with clubbis and stauys and slewe many knyghtes / but alle the kynges helde them to gyders with her knyghtes that were lefte on lyue / and so fled and departed / And Merlyn come vnto Arthur / and counceilled hym to folowe hem no further

Capitulum x
So after the feste and iourneye kyng Arthur drewe hym vnto London / and soo by the counceil of Merlyn the kyng lete calle his barons to counceil / for Merlyn had told the kyng that the sixe kynges that made warre vpon hym wold in al haste be awroke on hym & on his landys wherfor the kyng asked counceil at hem al / they coude no counceil gyue but said they were bygge ynough / ye saye wel said Arthur / I thanke you for your good courage / but wil ye al that loveth me speke with Merlyn ye knowe wel that he hath done moche for me / and he knoweth many thynges / & whan he is afore you / I wold that ye prayd hym hertely of his best auyse / Alle the barons sayd they wold pray hym and desyr hym / Soo Merlyn was sente for & fair desyred of al the barons to gyue them best counceil / I shall say you said Merlyn I warne yow al / your enemyes are passyng strong for yow / and they are good men of armes as ben on lyue / & by thys tyme they haue goten to them four kynges mo / and a myghty duke / and onlesse that our kyng haue more chyualry with hym than he may make within þe boundys of his own reame and he fyghte with hem in batail / he shal be ouercome & slayn what were best to doo in this cause said al the barons / I shal telle you said Merlyn myne aduys / there ar two bretheren beyond the see / & they be kynges bothe and merueillous good men of her handes / And that one hyghte kyng Ban of Benwic And that other hyght Kyng Bors of Gaule that is Fraunce And on these two Kynges warrith a myghty man of men the kyng Claudas / and stryueth with hem for a castel / and grete werre is betwixt them / But this Claudas is so myghty of goodes wherof he geteth good knyghtes that he putteth these two kynges moost parte do the werse / wherfor this is my counceil that our kyng and souerayne lord sende vnto the kynges Ban and Bors by two trusty knyghtes with letters wel deuysed / that and they wil come and see kyng Arthur and his courte / & so helpe hym in his warrys that he wil be sworne vnto them to helpe them in their warrys ageynst kyng Claudas / Now what saye ye vnto this counceill said Merlyn / thys is wel counceilled said the kyng & alle the Barons / right so in alle haste ther were ordeyned to goo two knyghtes on the message vnto the two kynges / Soo were there made letters in the plesaunt wyse accordyng vnto kyng Arthurs desyr / Vlfyus and Brastias were made the messagers / & so rode forth wel horsed and wel armed / and as they gyse was that tyme & so passed the see & rode toward the cyte of Benwyck / and there bysydes were viij knyghtes that aspyed them / And at a strayt passage they mette with Vlfyus & Brastias / & wold haue taken hem prysoners / so they prayd hem that they myght passe / for they were messagers vnto kyng Ban & Bors sent from kyng Arthur / therfor said the viij knyghtes ye shalle dye or be prysoners / for we ben knyghtes of kyng Claudas And therwith two of them dressid theire sperys / and Vlfyus and Brastias dressid theire speres and ranne to gyder with grete raundon / And Claudas knyghtes brack their speres / and ther to hylde and bare the two knyghtes out of her sadels to the erthe / and so lefte hem lyeng and rode her wayes / And the other sixe knyghtes rode afore to a passage to mete wyth hem ageyne / and so Vlfyus & Brastias smote other two doun And so past on her wayes / And at the fourth passage there mette two for two / and bothe were leid vnto the erthe / so ther was none of the viij knyghtes but he was sore hurte or brysed And whan they come to Benwick it fortuned ther were both kynges Ban and Bors / And whan it was told the kynges that there were come messagers / there were sente vnto them ij knyghtes of worship / the one hyghte Lyonses lord of the country of Payarne and syr Phariaunce a worshipful knyght Anone they asked from whens they came / and they said from kyng Arthur kyng of Englond / so they took them in theyre armes and made grete ioye eche of other / But anon as the ij kynges wist they were messagers of Arthurs / ther was made no taryenge / but forthwith they spak with the knyghtes / & welcomed hem in the feythfullest wyse / & said / they were most welcome vnto them before alle the kynges lyuynge / and ther with they kyst the letters & delyuerd hem / And whan Ban and Bors vnderstood the letters / thenne were they more wel come than they were before / And after the hast of the letters / they gaf hem this ansuer that they wold fulfille the desyr of kyng Arthurs wrytyng & Vlfyus & Brastias tary there as longe as they wold / they shold haue suche chere as myghte be made them in tho marchys / Thenne Vlfyus & Brastias told the kyng of the aduenture at their passages of the eyghte knyghtes / Ha A said Ban and Bors they were my good frendes I wold I had wyst of hem they shold not haue escaped so So Vlfius & Brastias had good chere and grete yeftes as moche as they myghte bere awey / and hadde their ansuere by mouthe and by wrytynge that tho two Kynges wold come vnto Arthur in all the hast that they myghte / So the two knyghtes rode on a fore / and passed the see / and come to their lord and told hym how they had spedde / wherof kyng Arthur was passyng gladde / At what tyme suppose ye / the ij Kynges wol be here / syr said they afore all halowmasse / Thenne the kyng lete puruey for a grete feeste / and lete crye a grete Iustes / And by all halowmasse the two kynges were come ouer the see with thre honderd knyghtes wel arayed both for the pees and for the werre / And kyng Arthur mette with hem x myle oute of London / and ther was grete ioye as coude be thought or made / And on al halowmasse / at the grete feeste sate in the halle the thre kynges / and syr Kay sencial serued in the halle And syr Lucas the bottelere that was duke Corneus sone / & syr Gryflet that was the sone of Cardol / these iij knyghtes had the rule of alle the seruyse that serued the kynges / And anon as they had wasshen & rysen / al knyghtes that wold Iuste made hem redy / by than they were redy on horsbak there were vij C knyghtes / And Arthur Ban and Bors with the Archebisshop of Caunterbury / and syr Ector Kays fader they were in a place couerd with clothe of gold lyke an halle with ladyes and gentylwymmen for to behold who dyd best and theron to giue Iugement

Capitulum xj
And kyng Arthur and the two Kynges lete departe the vij C knyghtes in two partyes And there were iij C knyghtes of the reame of Benwick and of Gaule torned on the other syde than they dressid her sheldes / and beganne to couche her speres many good knyghtes / So Gryflet was the first that mette with a knyghte one Ladynas and they mett so egerly that al men hadde wonder / And they soo faughte that her sheldes felle to pyeces / and hors and man felle to the erthe / And bothe the Frensshe knyghte and the Englysshe knyghte lay so longe that alle men wend they had ben dede / Whan Lucas the botteler sawe Gryflet soo lye / he horsed hym ageyne anon / and they two dyd merueillous dedes of armes with many bachelers / Also syr Kay came oute of an enbusshement with fyue knyghtes with hym / and they sixe smote other sixe doune / But syr Kay dyd that day merueillous dedes of armes / that ther was none dyd so wel as he that day Thenne ther come Ladynas & Grastian two knyghtes of Fraunce / and dyd passynge wel that all men preysed them / Thenne come there syr Placidas a good knyghte and mette with syr Kay and smote hym doune hors and man / wherfore syr Gryflet was wrothe and mette with syr Placidas soo harde that hors and man felle to the erthe / But whan the / v / knyghtes wyst that syr Kay had a falle they were wrothe out of wyt / And therwith eche of them / v / bare doune a knyghte / Whanne kyng Arthur and the two kynges sawe hem begyn waxe wrothe on bothe partyes / they lepte on smale hakeneis / and lete crye that all men shold departe vnto their lodgynge And so they wente home and vnarmed them and so to euensonge and souper / And after the thre kynges wente in to a gardyn / and gaf the pryce vnto syr Kay and to Lucas the bottelere / and vnto syr Gryflet / And thenne they wente vnto counceil / and with hem Gwenbaus the brother vnto syr Ban & Bors a wyse Clerk / and thyder went Vlfyus and Brastias and Merlyn / And after they had ben in counceill / they wente vn to bedde / And on the morne they herde masse and to dyner / and so to their counceille and made many argumentis what were best to doo / At the last they were concluded / that Merlyn shold goo with a token of kyng Ban and that was a rynge vnto his men and kyng Bors and Gracian & placidas sholde goo ageyne and kepe theire castels and her countreyes / as for kyng Ban of Benwick and kyng Bors of Gaules had ordeyned hem / and so passed the see and came to Benwyck / And whan the peple sawe kyng Bans rynge & Gracian and Placidas they were glad / and asked how the kynges ferd / and made grete ioye of their welfare and cordyng / and accordynge vnto the souerayne lordes desyr / the men of warre made hem redy in al hast possyble / soo that they were xv M on hors and foot / and they had grete plente of vytaylle with hem by Merlyns prouysyon / But Gracian and Placidas were lefte to furnysshe and garnysshe the castels for drede of kyng Claudas / ryght so Merlyn passed the see wel vytailled bothe by water and by land / And whan he came to the see / he sente home the foote men ageyne and took no mo with hym / but x M men on horsbak the moost parte men of armes and so shypped and passed the see in to Englond / and londed at Douer / and thorow the wytte of Merlyn he had the hoost Northward the pryuyest wey that coude be thoughte vnto the foreist of Bedegrayne / and there in a valey he lodged hem secretely /
Thenne rode Merlyn vnto Arthur and the two kynges & told hem how he had sped / wherof they had grete merueylle / that man on erthe myghte spede so soone / and goo and come So Merlyn told them x M were in the forest of Bedegrayne wel armed at al poyntes / thenne was there no more to saye / but to horsbak wente all the hoost as Arthur had afore purueyed / So with xx M he passed by nyghte and day / but ther was made suche an ordenaunce afore by Merlyn that ther shold no man of werre ryde nor go in no countrey on this syde trent water / but yf he had a token from kyng Arthur / where thorow the kynges enemyes durste not ryde as they dyd to fore to aspye

Capitulum xij
And soo within a lytel space the thre kynges came vnto the Castel of Bedegrayne / and fond there a passynge fayr felauship and wel be sene / wherof they had grete ioye / and vytaille they wanted none / This was the cause of the northeren hoost that they were rered for the despyte and rebuke the syx kynges had at Carlyon / And tho vj kynges by her meanes gate vnto hem fyue other kynges / And thus they beganne to gadre theyr peple
And how they sware that for wele nor woo they shold not leue other / tyl they had destroyed Arthur / and thenne they made an oth The fyrst that beganne the othe was the duke of Candebenet / that he wold brynge with hym v M men of armes the which were redy on horsbak / Thenne sware kyng Brandegoris of Stranggore that he wold brynge v M men of armes on horsbak / Thenne sware kyng Claryuaus of Northumberland he wold brynge thre thousand men of armes / thenne sware the kyng of the C knyghtes that was a passynge good man and a yonge that he wold brynge four thousand men of armes on horsbak / thenne ther swore kyng Lot a passyng good knyght and syr Gawaynes fader that he wold brynge v M men of armes on horsbak / Also ther swore kyng Vryence that was syr Vwayns fader of the lond of gore and he wold brynge vj M men of armes on horsbak / Also ther swore kyng Idres of Cornewayl that he wold brynge v M men of armes on horsbak / Also ther swore kyng Cardelmans to brynge v M men on horsbak / Also ther swore kyng Agwysaunce of Irlond to brynge v M men of armes on horsbak / Also ther swore kyng Nentres to brynge v M men of armes on horsbak / Also there swore kyng Carados to brynge v M of armes on horsbak / Soo her hool hoost was of clene men of armes on horsbak fyfty thousand and a foot x thousand of good mennes bodyes / thenne were they soone redy and mounted vpon hors and sente forth their fore rydars / for these xj kynges in her wayes leyd a syege unto the castel of Bedegrayne / and so they departed and drewe toward Arthur and lefte fewe to abyde at the syege for the castel of Bedegrayne was holden of kyng Arthur / and the men that were theryn were Arthurs

Capitulum xiij
Soo by Merlyns aduys ther were sente fore rydars to skumme the Countreye / & they mette with the fore rydars of the north / and made hem to telle whiche wey the hooste cam / and thenne they told it to Arthur / and by kyng Ban and Bors counceill they lete brenne and destroye alle the contrey afore them there they shold ryde /
The kyng with the honderd knyghtes mette a wonder dreme two nyghtes a fore the bataille / that ther blewe a grete wynde & blewe doun her castels and her townes / and after that cam a water and bare hit all awey / Alle that herd of the sweuen said / it was a token of grete batayll / Thenne by counceill of Merlyn whan they wist whiche wey the xj kynges wold ryde and lodge that nyghte At mydnyght they sette vpon them as they were in theyr pauelyons / But the scoute watche by her hoost cryed lordes att armes for here be your enemyes at your hand

Capitulum xiiij
Thenne kyng Arthur and kyng Ban and kyng Bors with her good and trusty knyghtes set on hem so fyersly that he made them ouer throwe her pauelions on her hedys / but the xj kynges by manly prowesse of armes tooke a fayre champayne / but there was slayne that morowe tyde x M good mennys bodyes / And so they had afore hem a strong passaye yet were they fyfty M of hardy men / Thenne it drewe toward day / now shalle ye doo by myne aduys said Merlyn vnto the thre kynges I wold that kyng Ban and kyng Bors with her felauship of x M men were put in a wood here besyde in an enbusshement and kepe them preuy / and that they be leid or the lyght of the daye come / and that they stere not tyll ye and your knyghtes haue foughte with hem longe And whanne hit is daye lyght dresse your bataille euen afore them and the passage that they may see alle your hooste / For thenne wyl they be the more hardy when they see yow but aboute xx M / and cause hem to be the gladder to suffre yow and youre hoost to come ouer the passage / All the thre kynges and the hoole barons sayde that Merlyn said passyngly wel / and it was done anone as Merlyn had deuysed / Soo on the morn whan eyther hoost sawe other / the hoost of the north was well comforted / Thenne to Vlfyus and Brastias were delyuerd thre thowsand men of armes / and they sette on them fyersly in the passage / and slewe on the ryght hand and on the lyft hand that it was wonder to telle /
Whanne that the enleuen kynges sawe that there was so fewe a felauship dyd suche dedes of armes they were ashamed and sette on hem agayne fyersly / and ther was syr Vlfyus hors slayne vnder hym / but he dyd merueyllously well on foote /
But the Duke Eustace of Cambenet and kyng Claryaunce of Northumberland / were alweye greuous on Vlfyus / thenne Brastias sawe his felawe ferd so with al / he smote the duke with a spere that hors & man fell doune / that sawe kyng Claryaunce and retorned vnto Brastias / and eyther smote other soo that hors & man wente to the erthe / and so they lay long astonyed / & their hors knees brast to the hard bone / Thenne cam syr Kay the sencyal with syxe felawes with hym / and dyd passyng wel / with that cam the xj kynges / and ther was Gryflet put to the erthe hors & man and Lucas the bottelere hors and man by kyng Brandegorys and kyng Idres & kyng Agwysaunce / Thenne waxed the medle passynge hard on bothe partyes / whan syr Kay sawe Gryflet on foote / he rode on kyng Nentres & smote hym doun and lad his hors vnto syr Gryflet & horsed hym ageyne / Also syr Kay with the same spere smote doun kyng Lot / & hurt hym passyng sore / that sawe the kyng with the C knyghtes and ran vnto syr Kay and smote hym doune and toke his hors / & gaf hym kyng Lot wherof he said gramercy / whan syr Gryflet sawe syr Kay & Lucas the bottelere on foote / he tooke a sharp spere grete and square / and rode to Pynel a good man of armes / and smote hors and man doune / And thenne he tooke his hors / and gaf hym vnto syr Kay / Thenne kyng Lot saw kyng Nentres on foote / he ranne vnto Melot de la Roche / & smote hym doune hors and man & gaf kyng Nentres the hors & horsed hym ageyne / Also the kyng of the C knyghtes sawe kyng Idres on foot thenne he ran vnto Gwymyart de Bloy and smote hym doune hors and man & gaf kyng Idres the hors & horsed hym ageyne / & kyng Lot smote doun Claryaunce de Foreist Saueage & gaf the hors vnto duke Eustace / And so whanne they had horsed the kynges ageyne they drewe hem al xj kynges to gyder and said they wold be reuenged of the dommage that they had taken that day / The meane whyle cam in syr Ector with an egyr countenaunce / and found Vlfyus and Brastias on foote in grete perylle of deth that were fowle defoyled vnder horsfeet / Thenne Arthur as a lyon ranne vnto kyng Cradelment of North Walys / and smote hym thorowe the lyfte syde that the hors and the kyng fylle doune / And thenne he tooke the hors by the rayne / and ladde hym vnto Vlfyus & said haue this hors myn old frend / for grete nede hast thow of hors / gramercy said Vlfyus / thenne syr Arthur dyd so merueillously in armes that all men had wondyr / Whan the kyng with the C knyghtes sawe kyng Cradelment on foote / he ranne vnto syr Ector that was wel horsed syr Kayes fader / and smote hors and man doune / and gaf the hors vnto the kyng / and horsed hym ageyne / and when kyng Arthur sawe the kyng ryde on syr Ectors hors he was wroth and with his swerd he smote the kyng on the helme / that a quarter of the helme and shelde fyll doune / and so the swerd carf doune vnto the hors neck / and so the kyng & the hors fyll doune to the ground / Thenne syr Kay cam vnto syr Morganore sencial with the kyng of the C knyghtes & smote hym doun hors and man / and lad the hors vnto his fader syr Ector / thenne syr Ector ranne vnto a knyght hyghte Iardans / & smote hors & man doune / & lad the hors vto syr Brastias that grete nede had of a hors and was gretely defoyled / whan Brastias beheld Lucas the botteler that lay lyke a dede man vnder the horse feet / and euer syr Gryflet dyd merueillously for to rescowe hym / and there were alweyes xiiij knyghtes on syr Lucas / & thenne Brastias smote one of hem on the helme / that it wente to the teeth / & he rode to another and smote hym that the arme flewe in to the feld / Thenne he wente to the third and smote hym on the sholder that sholder and arme flewe in the feld / And whan Gryflet sawe rescowes / he smote a knyght on the tempils that hede & helme wente to the erthe / and Gryflet took the hors of that knyght & lad hym vnto syr Lucas / & bad hym mounte vpon the hors & reuenge his hurtes / For Brastias had slayne a knyghte to fore & horsed Gryflet

Capitulum xv
Thenne Lucas sawe kyng Agwysaunce that late hadde slayne Morys de la Roche / and Lucas ran to hym with a short spere that was grete / that he gaf hym suche a falle that the hors felle doun to the erthe / Also Lucas found there on fote Bloyas de la Flaundres and syr Gwynas ij hardy knyghtes & in that woodenes that Lucas was in / he slewe ij bachelers & horsed hem ageyn / Thenne waxid the batail possyng hard on both partyes / but Arthur was glad þt his knyghtes were horsed ayene & Thenne they foughte to gyders that the noyse and sowne rang by the water & the wood / wherfor kyng Ban and kyng Bors made them redy and dressyd theyr sheldes and harneys / and they were so couragyous that many Knyghtes shoke & beuerd for egrenes / All this whyle Lucas and Gwynas & Bryaunte & Bellyas of Flaundrys helde strong medle ayenst vj kynges / that was kyng Lot / kyng Nentres / kyng Brandegorys / Kyng Idres / kyng Vryens & kyng Agwysaunce / Soo with the helpe of syr Kay & of syr Gryflet / they helde these vj kynges hard that vnnethe they had ony power to defend them But whan syr Arthur sawe the batail wold not be endyd by no maner / he ferd wood as a lyon / & stered his hors here & there on the right hand & on the lyft hand / that he stynte not tyl he had slayne xx knyghtes / Also he wounded kyng Lot sore on the sholder and made hym to leue that ground / for syr Kay & Gryflet dyd with kyng Arthur there grete dedes of armes / Thenne Vlfyus and Brastias & syr Ector encountred ageynst the duke Eustace & kyng Cradelment & kyng Cradelmant and kyng Claryaunce of Northumberland & kyng Carados & ageynst the kyng with the C knyghtes / So these knyghtes encountred with these kynges that they made them to auoyde the grounde / Thenne Kyng Lot made grete dool for his dommagis & his felawes / & said vnto the x kynges but yf ye wil do as I deuyse we shalle be slayn & destroyed / lete me haue the kyng with the C knyghtes & kyng Agwysaunce & kyng Idres and the duke of Canbenec / & we v Kynges wol haue xv M men of armes with vs & we wille go on parte / wyle ye vj Kynges holde medle with xij M / & we see that ye haue foughten with hem long Thenne will we come on fyersly / & ellys shall we neuer matche hem said kyng Lot but by this meane So they departed as they here deuysed / & vj kynges made her party strong ageynst Arthur and made grete warre longe / In the meane whyle brake the enbusshement of kyng Ban and kyng Bors and Lyonses and Pharyaunce had the aduant garde / and they two knyghtes mette with kyng Idres and his felauship / and there began a grete medele of brekyng of speres and smytynge of swerdys with sleynge of men and horses/ And kyng Idres was nere at discomforture
That sawe Agwysaunce the kyng and put Lyonses and Pharyaunce in poynte of dethe / for the duke of Canbenek came on with all with a grete felauship / soo these two knyghtes were in grete daunger of their lyues that they were fayn to retorne but alweyes they rescowed hem self and their felauship merueillously / Whan kyng Bors sawe tho knyghtes put on bak it greued hym sore / Thenne he cam on so fast that his felauship semed as blak as Inde / whan kyng Lot had aspyed kyng Bors / he knewe hym wel / thenne he said O Ihesu defende vs from deth & horryble maymes / for I see wel we ben in grete perylle of dethe / for I see yonder a kyng one of the most worshipfullest men & one of the best knyghtes of the world ben enclyned vnto his felauship / what is he said the kyng with the C knyghtes / it is said kyng Lot kyng Bors of Gaule / I merueile how they come in to this countreye without wetynge of vs all It was by Merlyns auyse said the knyghte / As for hym sayd kyng Carados / I wylle encountre with kyng Bors / and ye wil rescowe me whan myster is / go on said they al / we wil do all that we may / thenne kyng Carados & his hoost rode on a softe pace tyl that they come as nyghe kyng Bors as bowe draughte / thenne eyther bataill lete their hors renne as fast as they myghte / And Bleoberys that was godson vnto kyng Bors he bare his chyef standard / that was a passynge good knyghte / Now shall we see said kyng Bors hou these northeren bretons can bere the armes / & kyng Bors encountred with a knyght / and smote hym thorow out with a spere that he fel dede vnto the erthe / and after drewe his swerd & dyd merueillous dedes of armes that all partyes had grete wonder therof / & his knyghtes failled not but dyd their part / & kyng Carados was smyten to the erthe / With that came the kyng with the C knyghtes & rescued kyng Carados  myghtely by force of armes / for he was a passyng good knyght of a kyng / & but a yong man

Capitulum xvj
By than come in to the feld kyng Ban as fyers as a lyon with bandys of grene / & therupon gold / Ha a said kyng Lot we must be discomfyte / for yonder I see the moste valyaunt knyght of the world / and the man of the most renoume / for suche ij bretheren as is kyng Ban & kyng Bors ar not lyuynge / wherfore we must nedes voyde or deye/ And but yf we auoyde manly and wysely / ther is but dethe / whanne kyng Ban came in to the bataill / he cam in so fiersly / that the strokes redounded ageyne fro the woode and the water / wherfor kyng Lot wepte for pyte and doole that he sawe so many good knyghtes take theyr ende / But thorowe the grete force of kyng Ban they made both the Northeren bataylles that were departed / hurtled to gyders for grete drede / and the thre kynges & their knyghtes slewe on euer that it was pyte on to behold that multitude of the people that fledde / But kyng Lot and kyng of the honderd knyghtes & kyng Morganore gadred the peple to gyders passyng knyghtly / and dyd grete prowesse of armes / and helde the bataill all that daye lyke hard /
Whanne the kyng of the honderd knyghtes beheld the grete damage that kyng Ban dyd / he threst vnto hym wyth his hors and smote hym in hyhe vpon the helme a grete stroke and stonyed hym sore / Thenne kyng Ban was wroth with hym / and folowed on hym fyersly / the other sawe that / and cast vp his sheld & spored his hors forward / But the stroke of kyng Ban felle doune and carfe a cantel of the sheld / and the swerd slode doune by the hauberk behynde his back / & cut thorow the trappere of stele / and the hors euen in two pyeces that the swerd felte the erthe / Thenne the kyng of the C knyghtes voyded the hors lyghtly and with his swerd he broched the hors of kyng Ban thorow and thorow / with that kyng Ban voyded lyghtly from the deede hors / and thenne kyng Ban smote at the other so egrely / and smote hym on the helme that he felle to the erth / Also in that yre he feld kyng Morganore and there was grete slaughter of good knyghtes and moche peple / by than come in to the prees kyng Arthur / and fond kyng Ban stondynge among dede men and dede hors fyghtynge on foote as a wood lyon / that ther came none nyghe hym as fer as he myght reche with his swerd / but he caughte a greuous buffet wherof kyng Arthur had grete pyte / And Arthur was so blody that by his shelde ther myght no man knowe hym / for all was blood and braynes on his swerd / And as Arthur loked by hym he sawe a knyght that was passyngly wel horsed / and therwith syr Arthur ranne to hym / and smote hym on the helme that his swerd wente vnto his teeth / and the knyght sanke doune to the erthe dede / & anon Arthur tooke the hors by the rayne and ladde hym vnto kyng Ban & said fair broder / haue this hors / for ye haue grete myster thereof & me repenteth sore of your grete dammage Hit shall be soone reuengid said kyng Ban / for I truste in god myn eure is not suche but some of them may sore repente thys / I wol wel said Arthur / for I see your dedes full actual / Neuertheles I myghte not come at yow at that tyme / But whanne kyng Ban was mounted on horsbak / thenne there beganne newe bataill the whyche was sore and hard / and passyng grete slaughter / And so thurgh grete force kyng Arthur / kyng Ban and kyng Bors made her kynghtes a litel to with drawe them / But alwey the xj Kynges with her chyualrye neuer torned bak / and so withdrewe hem to a lytil woode / and so ouer a lytyl ryuer / & there they rested hem / for on the nyghte they myghte haue no rest on the feld / And Thenne the xj kynges and knyghtes put hem on a hepe all to gyders as men adrad and out of alle comforte / but ther was no man myghte passe them / they helde hem so hard to gyders bothe behynde and before that kyng Arthur had merueille of their dedes of armes and was passynge wrothe / A syr Arthur said kyng Ban and kyng Bors blame hem noughte / For they doo as good men ought to doo / For by my feith said kyng Ban / they are the best fyghtyng men and knyghtes of moost prowesse that euer I sawe or herd speke of / And tho xj kynges are men of grete worship / And yf they were longyng vn to yow / there were no kyng vnder the heuen hadde suche xj knyghtes and of suche worship / I may not loue hem said Arthur / they wold destroye me / that wote we wel said kyng Ban and kyng Bors / for they are your mortal enemyes / and that hath ben preued afore hand / And this day they haue done theire parte / and that is grete pyte of theire wilfulnes Thenne alle the xj kynges drewe hem to gyder / And thenne said kyng Lot / lordes ye must other wayes than ye do / or els the grete losse is behynde / ye may see what peple we haue lost / and what good men we lese / by cause we waytte alweyes on these foote men / and euer in sauynge of one of the foote men we lese x horsmen for hym / therfore this is myne aduys / lete vs put our foote men from vs / for it is nere nyghte / For the noble Arthur wille not tary on the foote men / for they maye saue hym self / the woode is nerehand / And whan we horsmen be to gyders / loke eueryche of yow kynges lete make suche ordinaunce that none breke vpon payne of dethe / And who that seeth ony man dresse hym to flee / lightly that he be slayne / for it is better that we slee a coward than thorow a coward alle we to be slayne / How saye ye said kyng Lot / ansuere me all ye kynges / it is wel said quod kyng Nentres / so said the kyng of the honderd knyghtes / the same saide the kyng Carados and kyng Vryence / so dyd kyng Idres and kyng Brandegorys / and so dyd kyng Cradulmas and the duke of Candebenet / the same said kyng Claryaunce & kyng Agwysaunce and sware they wold neuer faille other neyther for lyf nor for dethe / And who so that fledde but did as they dyd shold be slayne / Thenne they amended their harneys and ryghted theire sheldes and tooke newe sperys and sette hem on theire thyes and stode stille as hit had ben a plompe of wood 

Capitulum xvij
Whanne syr Arthur and kyng Ban and Bors byhelde the mand all her knyghtes they preysed hem moche for their noble chere of chyualrye for the hardyest fyghters that euer they herd or sawe / with that there dressyd hem a xl noble knyghtes and saide vnto the thre kynges / they wold breke their bataille / these were her names Lyonses / Pharyaunce / Vlfyus / Brastias / Ector / Kaynes / Lucas the bottelere / Gryflet la Fyse de Dieu / Mariet de la Roche / Gwynas de Bloy / Briant de la Foreyst Saueage / Bellaus / Moryans of the Castel Maydyns / Flannedreus of the castel of ladyes / Annecians that was kyng Bors godsone a noble knyght / Ladynas de la Rouse / Emerause / Caulas / Gracyens le Casteleyn / one Bloyse de la Caase / and syr Colgreueaunce de Gorre / all these knyghtes rode on afore with sperys on their thyes / and spored their horses myghtely as the horses  myghte renne / And the xj kynges with parte of her knyghtes russched with their horses as fast as they  myghte with their speres / & ther they dyd on both partyes merueillous dedes of armes / soo came in the thycke of the prees Arthur ban & Bors & slewe doune right on both handes that her horses went in bloood vp to the fytlokys / But euer the xj Kynges and their hooste was euer in the vysage of Arthur / wherfore Ban and Bors had grete merueille consyderyng the grete slauter that there was / but at the last they were dryuen abak ouer a lytil ryuer / with that came Merlyn on a grete black hors / and said vnto Arthur thow hast neuer done / hast thou not done ynough / of thre score thousand this day hast thow lefte on lyue but xv M / and it is tyme to saye ho for god is wrothe with the that thow wolt neuer haue done / for yonder xj kynges at this tyme will not be ouerthrowen / but and thow tary on them ony lenger / thy fortune wille torne and they shall encreace / And therfor withdrawe yow vnto your lodgyng and reste you as soone as ye may and rewarde your good knyghtes with gold and with syluer / for they haue wel deserued hit / there may no rychesse be to dere for them / for of so fewe men as ye haue ther were neuer men dyd more of prowesse than they haue done to day / for ye haue matched this day with the beste fyghters of the world / that is trouthe said kyng Ban and Bors / Also said Merlyn / withdrawe yow where ye lyst / For this thre yere I dar vndertake they shalle not dere yow / And by than ye shalle here newe tydynges / And thenne Merlyn said vnto Arthur / these xj kynges haue more on hand than they are ware of / for the Sarasyns are londed in their countreyes mo than xl M that brenne and slee / and haue leid syege att the castel Wandesborow and make grete destruction / therfore drede yow not this thre yere /
Also syr al the goodes that ben goten at this bataill lete it be serched / And whanne ye haue it in your handys lete it be gyuen frely vnto these two kynges Ban and Bors that they may rewarde theyr knyght with all / And that shalle cause straungers to be of better wyll to do yow seruyse at nede / Also ye be able to reward youre owne knyghtes of your owne goodes whan someuer it lyketh you It is wel said Arthur And as thow hast deuysed so shal it be done / whanne it was delyuerd to Ban & Bors they gaf the goodes as frely to their knyghtes as frely as it was yeuen to them / Thenne Merlyn took his leue of Arthur and of the ij kynges for to go and see his mayster Bleyse that dwelde in Northumberland / and so he departed and cam to his maister that was passyng glad of his comynge / & there he tolde / how Arthur and the two kynges had sped at the grete batayll / and how it was ended / and told the names of euery kyng and knyght of worship that was there / And soo Bleyse wrote the bataill word by word as Merlyn told hym how it began / & by whome / and in lyke wyse how it was endyd / And who had the werre / All the batails that were done in Arthurs dayes / Merlyn dyd his maister Bleyse do wryte / Also he did do wryte all the batails that euery worthy knyght dyd of Arthurs Courte / After this Merlyn departed from his mayster and came to kyng Arthur that was in the castel of Bedegrayne / that was one of the castels that stondyn in the forest of Sherewood / And Merlyn was so disguysed that kyng Arthur knewe hym not for he was al be furred in black shepe skynnes and a grete payre of bootes / and a bowe and arowes in a russet gowne / and broughte wild gyse in his hand and it was on the morne after candelmas day / but kyng Arthur knewe hym not / Syre said Merlyn vnto the kyng / Wil ye gyue me a yefte / wherfor said kyng Arthur shold I gyue the a yefte chorle / syr said Merlyn ye were better to gyue me a yefte that is not in your hand than to lese grete rychesse / for here in the same place there the grete bataill was is grete tresour hyd in the erthe / who told the so chorle said Arthur / Merlyn told me so said he / thenne Vlfyus and Brastias knew hym wel ynough and smyled / Syre said these two knyghtes It is Merlyn that so speketh vnto yow / thenne kyng Arthur was gretely abasshed and had merueyll of Merlyn / & so had kyng Ban and kyng Bors / and soo they had grete dysport at hym / Soo in the meane whyle there cam a damoysel that was an erlys doughter his name was Sanam / and her name was Lyonors a passynge fair damoysel / and so she cam thyder for to do homage as other lordes dyd after the grete bataill / And kyng Arthur sette his loue gretely vpon her and so dyd she vpon hym / and the kyng had adoo with her / and gat on her a child / his name was Borre that was after a good knyghte and of the Table Rounde / thenne ther cam word that the kyng Ryence of Northen Walys maade grete werre on kyng Lodegreance of Camylyard / for the whiche thyng Arthur was wroth for he loued hym wel and hated kyng Ryence / for he was alwey ageynst hym / So by ordenaunce of the thre kynges that were sente home vnto Benwyck / alle they wold departe for drede of kyng Claudas and Pharyaunce and Antemes and Grasians and Lyonses / Payarne with the leders of tho that shold kepe the kynges landys

Capitulum xviij
And thenne kyng Arthur and kyng Ban & kyng Bors departed with her felauship a xx M and came within vj dayes in to the countrey of Camylyard and there rescowed kyng Lodegreaunce and slewe ther moche people of kyng Ryence vnto the nombre of x M men and put hym to flyghte / And thenne had these thre kynges grete chere of kyng Lodegreaunce / that thanked them of their grete goodnesse that they wold reuenge hym of his enemyes / and there hadde Arthur the fyrst syght of Gweneuer the kynges doughter of Camylyard / and euer after he loued her / After they were weddyd as it telleth in the booke / Soo breuely to make an ende / they took theyr leue to goo in to theyre owne Countreyes for kyng Claudas dyd grete destruction on their landes / Thenne said Arthur I wille goo with yow / Nay said the kynges ye shalle not at this tyme / for ye haue moche to doo yet in these landes / therfore we wille departe / and with the grete goodes that we haue goten in these landes by youre yeftes we shalle wage good knyghtes & withstande the kyng Claudas malyce / for by the grace of god and we haue nede we wille sende to yow for youre socour / And yf ye haue nede sende for vs / and we wille not tary by the feythe of our bodyes / Hit shalle not saide Merlyn nede that these two kynges come ageyne in the wey of werre / But I knowe wel kyng Arthur maye not be longe from yow / for within a yere or two ye shalle haue grete nede / And thenne shalle he reuenge yow on youre enemyes as ye haue done on his / For these xj kynges shal deye all in a day by the grete myghte and prowesse of armes of ij valyaunt knyghtes as it telleth after / her names ben Balyn le Saueage and Balan his broder that ben merueillous good knyghtes as ben ony lyuyng /
Now torne we to the xj kynges that retorned vnto a cyte that hyghte Sorhaute / the whiche cyte was within kyng Vryens / and ther they refresshed hem as wel as they myght / and made leches serche theyr woundys and sorowed gretely for the dethe of her peple / with that ther came a messager and told how ther was comen in to their landes people that were laules as wel as sarasyns a xl M / and haue brent & slayne al the peple that they may come by withoute mercy / and haue leyd syege on the castel of Wandesborow / Allas sayd the xj kynges here is sorow vpon sorou And yf we had not warryd ageynst Arthur as we haue done / he wold soone reuenge vs / as for kyng Lodegryaunce he loueth Arthur better than vs / And as for kyng Ryence / he hath ynough to doo with Lodegreans / for he hath leyd syege vnto hym / Soo they consentyd to gyder to kepe alle the marches of Cornewayl / of Walys and of the northe / soo fyrst they putte kyng Idres in the Cyte of Nauntys in Brytayne with iiij thowsand men of armes / to watche bothe the water and the land / Also they put in the cyte of Wyndesan kyng Nauntres of Garlot with four thousand knyghtes to watche both on water and on lond / Also they had of other men of werre moo than eyght thousand for to fortyfye alle the fortresses in the marches of Cornewayl / Also they put moo knyghtes in alle the marches of Walys and Scotland with many good men of armes / and soo they kepte hem to gyders the space of thre yere And euer alyed hem with myghty kynges and dukes and lordes / And to them felle kyng Ryence of North Walys / the whiche was a myghty man of men & Nero that was a myghty man of men / And all this whyle they furnysshed hem and garnysshed hem of good men of armes and vytaille and of alle maner of abylement that pretendith to the werre to auenge hem for the bataille of Bedegrayne / as it telleth in the book of auentures folowynge

Capitulum xix
Thenne after the departyng of kyng Ban and of kyng Bors kyng Arthur rode vnto Carlyon / And thyder cam to hym kyng Lots wyf of Orkeney in maner of a message / but she was sente thyder to aspye the Courte of kyng Arthur / and she cam rychely bisene with her four sones / Gawayne /Gaherys / Agrauaynes / and Gareth with many other knyghtes and ladyes / for she was a possynge fayr lady / wherfore the kyng cast grete loue vnto her / and desyred to lye by her / so they were agreed / and he begate vpon her Mordred / and she was his syster on the moder syde Igrayne / So ther she rested her a moneth and at the last departed / Thenne the kyng dremed a merueillous dreme wherof he was sore adrad / But al this tyme kyng Arthur knewe not that kyng Lots wyf was his syster / Thus was the dreme of Arthur / hym thought ther was come in to this land Gryffons and Serpentes / And hym thoughte they brente and slough alle the peple in the land And thenne hym thoughte / he faughte with hem / and they dyd hym passynge grete harme / and wounded hym ful sore / but at the last he slewe hem / Whanne the kyng awaked / he was passynge heuy of his dreme / and so to put it oute of thoughtes / he made hym redy with many knyghtes to ryde on huntynge / As soone as he was in the forest / the kyng sawe a grete hert afore hym / this herte wille I chace said kyng Arthur / And so he spored the hors / and rode after longe / And so by fyne force ofte he was lyke to haue smyten the herte / where as the kyng had chaced the herte soo long that his hors had loste hys brethe and fylle doune dede / Thenne a yoman fette the kyng another hors / So the kyng sawe the herte enbusshed and his hors dede / he sette hym doune by a fontayne and there he fell in grete thoughtes / And as he satte so hym thoughte he herd a noyse of houndes to the somme of xxx / And with that the kyng sawe comyng toward hym the straungest best that euer he sawe or herd of / so the best wente to the welle and drank / and the noyse was in the bestes bely lyke vnto the questyng of xxx coupyl houndes / but alle the whyle the beest dranke there was no noyse in the bestes bely / and therwith the best departed with a grete noyse / wheros the kyng had grete merueyll / And so he was in a grete thoughte / and therwith he fell on slepe / Ryght so ther came a knyght a foote vnto Arthur / and sayd knyght full of thought and slepy / telle me yf thow sawest a straunge best passe this waye / Suche one sawe I said kyng Arthur / that is past two myle / what wold ye with the best said Arthur Syre I haue folowed that best long tyme / and kyld myne hors / so wold god I had another to folowe my quest / ryghte so came one with the kynges hors / and whan the knyght sawe the hors / he prayd the kyng to yeue hym the hors / for I haue folowed this quest this xij moneth / and other I shal encheue hym or blede of the best blood of my body / Pellynore that tyme kyng folowed the Questynge Best / and after his deth syr Palomydes folowed hit


Arthur and the Questing Beest


Capitulum xx
syr knyghte said the kyng leue that quest / and suffre me to haue hit / and I wyll folowe it another xij moneth / A foole said the knyghte vnto Arthur / it is in veyne thy desyr / for it shalle neuer ben encheued but by me / or my next kyn / there with he sterte vnto the kynges hors and mounted in to the sadel / and said gramercy this hors is myn owne / wel said the kyng thow mayst take myn hors by force but and I  myghte preue the whether thow were better on horsbak or I / wel said the knyght seke me here whan thow wolt and here nygh this wel thow shalt fynde me / and soo passyd on his weye / thenne the kyng sat in a study and bad his men fetche his hors as faste as euer they myghte / Ryght soo came by hym Merlyn lyke a child of xiiij yere of age and salewed the kyng / and asked hym why he was so pensyf / I may wel be pensyf sayd the kyng / for I haue sene the merueyllest syght that euer I sawe / that knowe I wel said Merlyn as wel as thy self and of all thy thoughtes / but thow art but a foole to take thought / for it wylle not amend the / Also I knowe what thow arte / and who was thy fader / and of whome thow were begoten / kyng Vtherpendragon was thy fader / and begat the on Igrayne / that is fals said kyng Arthur / how sholdest thou knowe it / for thow arte not so old of yeres to knowe my fader / yes sayd Merlyn I knowe it better than ye or ony man lyuynge / I wille not bileue the said Arthur and was wroth with the child / Soo departed Merlyn and came ageyne in the lykenes of an old man of iiij score yere of age / wherof the kyng was ryght glad / for he semed to be ryghte wyse Thenne saide the old man why are ye so sad / I maye wel be heuy said Arthur for many thynges / Also here was a chyld and told me many thynges that me semeth / he shold not knowe / for he was not of age to knowe my fader / yes said the old man / the child told yow trouthe / and more wold he haue tolde yow and ye wolde haue suffred hym / But ye haue done a thynge late that god is displeasyd with yow / for ye haue layne by your syster / and on her ye haue goten a chyld / that shalle destroye yow and all the knyghtes of your realme What are ye said Arthur that telle me these tydynges / I am Merlyn / and I was he in the childes lykenes / A sayd kyng Arthur ye are a merueillous man / but I merueylle moche / of thy wordes that I mote dye in bataille / Merueylle not said Merlyn / for it is gods wyll youre body to be punysshed for your fowle dedes / but I may wel be sory said Merlyn / for I shalle dye a shameful deth / to be put in the erthe quyck / and ye shall dye a worshipful deth / And as they talked this / cam one with the kynges hors / and so the kyng mounted on his hors and Merlyn on another and so rode vnto Carlyon / & anone the kyng asked Ector and Vlfyus how he was bigoten / & they told hym Vtherpendragon was his fader & quene Igrayne his moder / thenne he sayd to Merlyn I wylle that my moder be sente for that I may speke with her / And yf she saye so her self / Thenne wylle I byleue hit / In all hast the quene was sente for / and she cam & broughte with her Morgan le Fay her doughter that was as fayre a lady as ony myghte be / & the kyng welcomed Igrayne in the best maner

Capitulum xxj
Ryght soo cam Vlfyus & saide openly that the kyng and all myght here that were fested that day / ye are the falsest lady of the world and the most traitresse vnto the kynges person / Beware saide Arthur what thow saist / thow spekest a grete word / I am wel ware said Vlfyus what I speke / & here is my gloue to preue hit vpon ony man that will seye the contrary / that this quene Igrayne is causar af your grete domage / & of your grete werre For and she wold haue vtterd it in the lyf of kyng Vtherpendragon of the byrthe of yow / and how ye were begoten ye had neuer had the mortal werrys that ye haue had for the moost party of your barons of your realme knewe neuer whos sone ye were / nor of whome ye were begoten / & she that bare yow of her body shold haue made it knowen openly in excusyng of her worship & yours / & in lyke wyse to alle the reame / wherfor I preue her fals to god and to yow and to al your realme and who wyll saye the contrary I wyll preue it on his body Thenne spak Igrayne and sayd I am a woman and I may not fyghte / but rather than I shold be dishonoured / ther wold some good man take my quarel / More she sayd / Merlyn knoweth wel and ye syr Vlfyus how kyng Vther cam to me in the Castel of Tyntagyl in the lykenes of my lord that was dede thre houres to fore / and therby gat a child that nyght vpon me / And after the xiij day kyng Vther wedded me / and by his commaundement whan the child was borne it was delyuerd vnto Merlyn and nourysshed by hym / and so I sawe the child neuer after / nor wote not what is his name / for I knewe hym neuer yet / And there Vlfyus saide to the quene Merlyn is more to blame than ye / wel I wote said the quene I bare a child by my lord kyng Vther / but I wote not where he is become / thenne Merlyn toke the kyng by the hand sayeng / this is your moder / and therwith syr Ector bare wytnes how he nourysshed hym by Vthers commaundement / And therwith kyng Arthur toke his moder quene Igrayne in his armes and kyst her / and eyther wepte vpon other / And thenne the kyng lete make a feest that lasted eyght dayes / Thenne on a day ther come in the courte a squyer on hors back ledynge a knyght before hym wounded to the dethe / and told hym how ther was a knyght in the forest had rered vp a pauelione by a well and hath slayne my mayster a good knyght / his name was mylis / wherfor I byseche yow that my mayster maye be buryed / and that somme knyght maye reuenge my maysters deth / thenne the noyse was grete of that knyghtes dethe in the Court / and euery man said his aduys / thenne came Gryflet that was but a squyer / and he was but yonge of the age of the kyng Arthur / soo he besoughte the kyng for alle his seruyse that he had done hym to gyue the ordre of knyghthode

Capitulum xxij
Thou arte full yong and tendyr of age sayd Arthur for to take so hyghe an ordre on the / syr said Gryflet I byseche yow make me knyght / syr said Merlyn it were grete pyte to lese Gryflet / for he wille be a passynge good man / whanne he is of age / abydynge with yow the terme of his lyf / And yf he auenture his body with yonder knyght at the fontayne it is in grete peryll yf euer he come ageyne / for he is one of the best knyghtes of the world / and the strengyst man of armes / wel said Arthur / so at the desyr of Gryflet the kyng made hym knyght / Now said Arthur vnto syr Gryflet / Sythen I haue made yow knyghte thow must yeue me a gyfte / what ye will said Gryflet / thou shalt promyse me by the feythe of thy body whan thou hast Iusted with the knyght at the fontayne / whether it falle ye be on foote or on horsbak / that ryght so ye shal come ageyne vnto me withoute makyng ony more debate / I wyll promyse yow said Gryflet as yow desyr / Thenne toke Gryflet his hors in grete haste / & dressyd his sheld and toke a spere in his hand / and so he rode a grete wallop tyll he cam to the fontayne / and ther by he sawe a ryche pauelion / and ther by vnder a clothe stode a fayr hors wel sadeled and brydeled / and on a tree a shelde of dyuerse colours and a grete spere / Thenne Gryflet smote on the sheld with the bott of his spere that the shylde felle doune to the ground / with that the knyght cam oute of the pauelione / & sayd fair knyght why smote ye doune my sheld / for I wil Iuste with yow said Gryflet / it is better ye doo not sayd the knyghte for ye are but yong and late made knyght / and your myghte is nothyng to myn / as for that saide Gryflet I wylle Iuste with yow / that is me loth said the knyght / but sythen I muste nedes I wille dresse me therto / of whens be ye sayd the knyghte syr I am of Arthurs courte / So the two knyghtes ranne to gyder that Gryflets spere al to sheuered / and ther with all he smote Gryflet thorowe the shelde & the lyfte syde / and brake the spere that the troncheon stack in his body / that hors and knyghte fylle doune

Capitulum xxiij
Than the knyght sawe hym lye soo on the ground / he alyght and was passynge heuy / for he wende he had slayne hym / and thenne he vnlaced his helme and gate hym wynde / and so with the troncheon he set hym on his hors and gate him wynde / and so bytoke hym to god / and seid he had a myghty hert and yf he myght lyue he wold preue a passynge good knyght / & so syr Gryflet rode to the court where grete doole was made for hym / But thorowe good leches he was heled / and saued / Ryght so cam in to the Courte xij knyghtes & were aged men / and they cam from themperour of Rome / & they asked of Arthur truage for this realme / other els the emperour wold destroye hym & his land / wel said kyng Arthur ye are messagers / therfor ye may say what ye wil other els ye shold dye therfore / But this is myn ansuer I owe the emperour noo truage nor none will I hold hym / but on a fayr felde I shall yeue hym my truage that shal be with a sharp spere / or els with a sharp swerd / & that shall not be long by my faders soule Vtherpendragon / & therwith the messagers departed passyngly wroth / & kyng Arthur as wroth / for in euyl tyme cam they thenne / for the kyng was passyngly wroth for the hurte of syr Gryflet / & soo he commaunded a pryuy man of his chambre / that or hit be day his best hors and armour with all that longeth vnto his persone be withoute the cyte or to morowe daye Ryght so or to morow day he met with his man and his hors and so mounted vp and dressid his sheld / & toke his spere and bad his chamberlayne tary there tyll he came ageyne / And so Arthur roode a softe paas tyll it was day / & thenne was he ware of thre chorles chacynge Merlyn / and wold haue slayne hym / thenne the kyng rode vnto them / and bad them flee chorles / thenne were they aferd whan they sawe a knyght and fled / O Merlyn said Arthur / here haddest thou be slayne for all thy craftes had I not byn / Nay said Merlyn not soo for I coude saue my self and I wold / and thou arte more nere thy deth than I am for thow gost to the deth ward & god be not thy frend / So as they wente thus talkyng / they came to the fontayne / and the ryche pauelione there by hit / thenne kyng Arthur was ware where sat a knyght armed in a chayer / syr knyght said Arthur / for what cause abydest thow here that ther maye no knyght ryde this wey but yf he Iuste wyth the said the kyng / I rede the leue that custome said Arthur This customme saide the knyght haue I vsed and wille vse magre who saith nay / & who is greued with my custome / lete hym amende hit that wol / I wil amende it said Arthur / I shal defende the said the knyght / anon he toke his hors & dressid his shylde & toke a spere & they met so hard either in others sheldes that al to sheuered their sperys / ther with anone Arthur pulled oute his swerd / nay not so said the knyght / it is fayrer sayd the knyght that we tweyne renne more to gyders with sharp sperys / I wille wel said Arthur and I had ony mo sperys I haue ynow said the knyght / so ther cam a squyer and brought in good sperys / and Arthur chose one & he another / so they spored their horses & cam to gyders with al the myghtes / that eyther brak her speres to her handes / thenne Arthur sette hand on his swerd / nay seid the knyght / ye shal do better / ye are a passynge good Iuster as euer I mette with al / & ones for the loue of the hyghe ordre of knyghthode lete vs Iuste ones ageyn / I assente me said Arthur / anone there were brought two grete sperys / and euery knyght gat a spere / and therwith they ranne to gyders that Arthurs spere al to sheuered / But the other knyghte hyt hym so hard in myddes of the shelde / that horse & man felle to the erthe / and ther with Arthur was egre & pulled oute his swerd / and said I will assay the syr knyghte on foote / for I haue lost the honour on horsbak / I will be on horsbak said the knyght / thenne was Arthur wrothe and dressid his sheld toward hym with his swerd drawen / whan the knyght sawe that / he a lyghte / for hym thought no worship to haue a knyght at suche auaille he to be on horsbak and he on foot and so he alyght & dressid his sheld vnto Arthur & ther began a strong bataille with many grete strokes / & soo hewe with her swerdes that the cantels flewe in the feldes / and moche blood they bledde bothe / that al the place there as they faught was ouer bledde with blood / and thus they fought long and rested hem / and thenne they wente to the batayl ageyne / and so hurtled to gyders lyke two rammes that eyther felle to the erthe So at the last they smote to gyders that both her swerdys met euen to gyders / But the swerd of the knyght smote kyng Arthurs swerd in two pyeces / wherfor he was heuy / thenne said the knyghte vnto Arthur / thow arte in my daunger whether my lyst to saue the or slee the / and but thou yelde the as ouercome and recreaunt / thow shalt deye / as for deth said kyng Arthur welcome be it whan it cometh / But to yelde me vnto the as recreaunt I had leuer dye than to be soo shamed / And ther with al the kyng lepte vnto Pellynore & tooke hym by the myddel and threwe hym doune and raced of his helme / Whan the knyght felt that / he was adrad / for he was passynge bygge man of myghte / and anone he broughte Arthur vnder hym / and reaced of his helme and wold haue smyten of his hede

Capitulum xxiiij
Ther with all came Merlyn and sayd knyghte / hold thy hand / For and thow slee that knyghte thou puttest this reame in the grettest dammage that euer was reame / For this knyght is a man of more worship than thou wotest of / Why / who is he said the knyghte / it is kyng Arthur Thenne wold he haue slayn hym for drede of his wrathe / and heue vp his swerd / and therwith Merlyn cast an enchauntement to the knyghte that he felle to the erthe in a grete slepe / Thenne Merlyn tooke vp kyng Arthur and rode forth on the knyghtes hors / Allas said Arthur what hast thou done Merlyn hast thow slayne this good knyghte by thy craftes / there lyueth not soo worshipful a knyghte as he was / I had leuer than the stynte of my land a yere that he were on lyue / care ye not sayd Merlyn / for he is holer than ye / for he is but on slepe and will awake within thre houres / I told you said Merlyn what a knyghte he was / Here had ye be slayn had I not ben Also ther lyueth not a bygger knyght than he is one / and he shal here after do yow ryght good seruyse & his name is Pellynore / and he shal haue two sones that shal be passyng good men sauf one / they shalle haue no felawe or prowesse and of good lyuynge / and her names shal be Persyual of Walys / & Lamorak of Walys / & he shal telle yow the name of your own sone bygoten of your syster that shal be the destruction of alle this royame

Capitulum xxv
Ryghte so the kyng and he departed & wente vn tyl an ermyte that was a good man and a grete leche / Soo the heremyte serched all his woundys & gaf hym good salues so the kyng was there thre dayes & thenne were his woundes wel amendyd that he myght ryde and goo / & so departed / & as they rode Arthur said I haue no swerd / no force said Merlyn here by is a swerd that shalle be yours and I may / Soo they rode tyl they came to a lake the whiche was a fayr water / and brood / And in the myddes of the lake Arthur was ware of an arme clothed in whyte samyte / that held a fayr swerd in that hand / loo said Merlyn yonder is that swerd that I spak of / with that they sawe a damoysel goyng vpon the lake / what damoysel is that said Arthur / that is the lady of the lake said Merlyn / And within that lake is a roche / and theryn is as fayr a place as ony on erthe and rychely besene / and this damoysel wylle come to yow anone / and thenne speke ye fayre to her that she will gyue yow that swerd / Anone with all came the damoysel vnto Arthur / and salewed hym / and he her ageyne / Damoysel said Arthur / what swerd is that / that yonder the arme holdeth aboue the water / I wold it were myne / for I haue no swerd / syr Arthur kyng said the damoysel / that swerd is myn / And yf ye will gyue me a yefte whan I aske it yow / ye shal haue it by my feyth said Arthur / I will yeue yow what yefte ye will aske / wel said the damoysel go ye into yonder barge / & rowe your self to the swerd / and take it / and scaubart with yow / & I will aske my yefte whan I see my tyme / So syr Arthur & Merlyn alyght & tayed their horses to two trees / & so they went in to the ship / & whanne they came to the swerd that the hand held / syr Arthur toke it vp by the handels / & toke it with hym / & the arme & the hand went vnder the water / & so come vnto the lond & rode forth / & Thenne syr Arthur sawe a ryche pauelion / what sygnyfyeth yonder pauelion / þt is þe knyghtes pauelion seid Merlyn þt ye fought with last / syr Pellynore / but he is out / he is not there / he hath adoo with a knyght of yours that hyght Egglame & they haue foughten to gyder / but al the last Egglame / fledde and els he had ben dede / & he hath chaced hym euen to Carlyon / and we shal mete with hym anon in the hygh wey / that is wel sayd / said Arthur / now haue I a swerd / now wille I wage bataill with hym & be auenged on hym / syr ye shal not so said Merlyn / for the knyght is wery of fyghtyng & chacyng so that ye shal haue no worship to haue a do with hym / Also he will not be lyghtly matched of one knyght lyuyng / & therfor it is my counceil / lete hym passe / for he shal do you good seruyse in shorte tyme & his sones after his dayes / Also ye shal see that day in short space ye shal be right glad to yeue him your sister to wedde Whan I see hym I wil doo as ye aduyse sayd Arthur
Thenne syr Arthur loked on the swerd / and lyked it passynge wel / whether lyketh yow better sayd Merlyn the suerd or the scaubard / Me lyketh better the swerd sayd Arthur / ye are more vnwyse sayd Merlyn / for the scaubard is worth x of the swerdys / for whyles ye haue the scaubard vpon yow ye shalle neuer lese no blood / be ye neuer so sore wounded therfor kepe wel the scaubard alweyes with yow / so they rode vnto Carlyon / and by the way they met with syr Pellynore / but Merlyn had done suche a crafte / that pellinore sawe not Arthur / and he past by withoute ony wordes / I merueylle sayd Arthur that the knyght wold not speke / syr said Merlyn / he sawe yow not / for and he had sene yow ye had not lyghtly departed / Soo they come vnto Carlyon / wherof his knyghtes were passynge glad / And whanne they herd of his auentures / they merueilled that he wold ieoparde his persone soo al one / But alle men of worship said it was mery to be vnder suche a chyuetayne that wolde put his persone in auenture as other poure knyghtes dyd

Capitulum xxvij
This meane whyle came a messager from kyng Ryons of Northwalys / And kyng he was of all Ireland and of many Iles / And this was his message gretynge wel kyng Arthur in this manere wyse sayenge / that kyng Ryons had discomfyte and ouercome xj kynges / and eueryche of hem did hym homage / and that was this / they gaf hym their berdys clene flayne of / as moche as ther was / wher for the messager came for kyng Arthurs berd / For kyng Ryons had purfyled a mantel with kynges berdes / and there lacked one place of the mantel / wherfor he sente for his berd or els he wold entre in to his landes / and brenne and slee / & neuer leue tyl he haue the hede and the berd / wel sayd Arthur thow hast said thy message / the whiche is the most vylaynous and lewdest message that euer man herd sente vnto a kyng / Also thow mayst see / my berd is ful yong yet to make a purfyl of hit / But telle thow thy kyng this / I owe hym none homage / ne none of myn elders / but or it be longe to / he shall do me homage on bothe his kneys / or els he shall lese his hede by the feith of my body / for this is the most shamefullest message that euer I herd speke of / I haue aspyed / thy kyng met neuer yet with worshipful man / but telle hym / I wyll haue his hede withoute he doo me homage / thenne the messager departed Now is there ony here said Arthur that knoweth kyng Ryons thenne ansuerd a knyght that hyght Naram / Syre I knowe the kyng wel / he is a passyng good man of his body / as fewe ben lyuynge / and a passyng prowde man / and syr doubte ye not / he wille make warre on yow with a myghty puyssaunce / wel said Arthur I shall ordeyne for hym in short tyme

Capitulum xxviij
Thenne kyng Arthur lete sende for al the children born on may day begoten of lordes & born of ladyes / for Merlyn told kyng Arthur that he that shold destroye hym / shold be borne in may day / wherfor he sent for hem all vpon payn of deth and so ther were founde many lordes sones / and all were sente vnto the kyng / and soo was Mordred sente by kyng Lotts wyf / and all were put in a ship to the see / and some were iiij wekes old and some lasse / And so by fortune the shyp drofe vnto a castel and was al to ryuen and destroyed the most part sauf that Mordred was cast vp and a good man fonde hym / and nourysshed hym tyl he was xiiij yere olde / & thenne he brought hym to the Court / as it reherceth afterward toward the ende of the deth of Arthur / So many lordes and barons of this reame were displeasyd / for her children were so lost / and many put the wyte on Merlyn more than on Arthur / so what for drede and for loue they helde their pees / But whanne the messager came to kyng Ryons / thenne was he woode oute of mesure and purueyed hym for a grete hoost as it rehercyth after in the book of Balyn le Saueage that foloweth next after / how by aduenture Balyn gat the swerd.

Explicit liber primus
Incipit liber secundus