f.485-493v (from 1485 Caxton)

Page 855 [leaf 428r]


[/ excepte syr Galahad my sone / and therfore lady sythen ye haue taken you to perfeccion I must nedys take me to perfection of ryght / for I take recorde of god in you I haue had myn erthly Ioye / and yf I had founden you now so dysposed I had caste me to haue had you in to myn owne royame /


¶ Capitulum x


BVt sythen I fynde you thus desposed I ensure you faythfully I wyl euer take me to penaunce & praye whyle my lyf lasteth / yf that I may fynde ony heremyte other graye or whyte that wyl receyue me / wherfore madame I praye you kysse me & neuer nomore / Nay sayd the quene that shal I neuer do / but absteyne you from suche werkes & they departed but there was neuer so harde an herted man but he wold haue wepte to see the dolour that they made / for there was laementacyon as they had be stungyn wyth sperys / and many tymes they swouned / & the ladyes bare the quene to hir chambre / & syr Launcelot awok & went & took his hors & rode al that day & al nyȝt in a forest wepyng / & atte last he was ware of an Ermytage & a chappel stode betwyxte two clyffes / and than he herde a lytel belle rynge to masse / and thyder he rode & alyght & teyed his hors to the gate & herd masse / & he that sange masse was the bysshop of caunterburye / bothe the bysshop & sir Bedwer knewe syr Launcelot / & they spake to gyders after masse but whan syr Bedwere had tolde his tale al hole syr Launcelottes hert almost braste for sorowe / & sir Launcelot threwe hys armes abrode / & sayd alas who may truste thys world / & than he knelyd doun on his knee and prayed the bysshop to shryue hym and assoyle hym / and than he besought the bysshop that he myght be hys brother / Than the bysshop sayd I wyll gladly and there he put an habyte vpon Syr Launcelot / and there he seruyd god day and nyȝt with prayers and fastynges / Thus the grete hoost abode at douer and than sir Lyonel toke fyftene lordes with hym & rode to london to seke sir Launcelot / & there syr Lyonel was slayn and many of his lordes / Thenne Syr Bors de ganys made the grete hoost for to goo hoome ageyn


Page 856[leaf 428v]


And syr boors / syr Ector de maris / Syr Blamour / syr bleoboris with moo other of syr Launcelottes kynne toke on hem to ryde al englond ouerthwart & endelonge to seek syr Launcelot / So syr Bors by fortune rode so longe tyl he came to the same chapel where syr Launcelot was / & so syr Bors herde a lytel belle knylle that range to masse / & there he alyght & herde masse / & whan masse was doon the bysshop syr Launcelot & sir Bedwere came to syr Bors / & whan syr bors sawe sir Launcelot in that maner clothyng / than he preyed the bysshop that he myght be in the same sewte / and so there was an habyte put vpon hym / & there he lyued in prayers & fastyng / and wythin halfe a yere there was come syr Galyhud / syr Galyhodyn / sir Blamour / syr Bleoheris / syr wyllyars / syr Clarras / and sir Gohaleaniyne / So al these vij noble knyȝtes there abode styll and whan they sawe syr Launcelot had taken hym to suche perfeccion they had no last to departe / but toke suche an habyte as he had / Thus they endured in grete penaunce syx yere / and than syr Launcelot took thabyte of preesthod of the bysshop / & a twelue monthe he sange masse / & there was none of these other knyghtes but they redde in bookes / & holpe for to synge masse & range bellys & dyd bodoly al maner of seruyce / & soo their horses wente where they wolde / fro they toke no regarde of no worldly rychesses / for whan they sawe syr Launcelot endure suche penaunce in prayers & fastynges they toke no force what payne they endured for to see the nobleste knyght of the world take suche abstynaunce that he waxed ful lene / & thus vpon a nyght there came a vysyon to syr Launcelot & charged hym in remyssyon of his synnes to haste hym vnto almysbury & by thenne then come there thou shall fynde quene Gueneuer dede / & therfore take thy felowes with the & parcuey them of an hors bere / & fetche thou the cors of hir / & burye hir by her husbond the noble kyng Arthur / So this auysyon came to Launcelot thryse in one nyght


¶ Capitulum xi


THan syr Launcelot rose vp oe day & tolde the heremyte It were wel done sayd the heremyte that ye made you redy / & that ye dyshobeye not the auysyon / Than syr Launcelot toke his vij felowes with hym & on fore they yede from glastynburye to almysburye the whyche is lytel more



Page 857[leaf 429r]


than xxx myle / & thyder they came within two dayes for they were wayke & feble to goo / & whan syr Launcelot was come to almysburye within the Nunerye quene gueneuer deyed but halfe an oure afore / and the ladyes tolde syr Launcelot that quene Gueneuer tolde hem al or she passyd that syr Launcelot had ben preest nere a twelue monthe / & hyder he cometh as faste as he may to fetche my cors. & besyde my lord kyng Arthur he shal berye me / wherfore the quene sayd in heryng of hem al / I beseche almyghty god that I may neuer haue power to see syr Launcelot wyth my worldly eyen / And thus said al the ladyes was euer hir prayer these two dayes tyl she was dede / Than syr Launcelot sawe hir vysage bat he wepte not gretelye but syghed / & so he dyd al the obseruaunce of the seruyce hym self bothe the dyryge / and on the morne he sange masse / & there was ordeyned an hors bere / & so wyth an hondred torches euer brennyng aboute the cors of the quene / & euer syr Launcelot with his viij felowes wente aboute the hors bere syngyng & redyng many an holy oryson / & frankensens vpon the corps encensed / Thus syr Launcelot & his eyght felowes wente on foot from almysburye vnto glastynburye / & whan they were come to the chapel & the hermytage there she had a dyryge wyth grete deuocyon / & on the morne the heremyte that somtyme was bysshop of canterburye sāge the masse of requyem wyth grete deuocyon / and syr Launcelot was the fyrst that offeryd / & than als his eyght felowes / & than she was wrapped in cered clothe of raynes from the toppe to the too in xxx folde / & after she was put in a webbe of leed & than in a coffyn of marbyl / and whan she was put in therth syr Launcelot swouned & laye longe stylle whyle the hermyte came and awaked hym / and sayd ye be to blame / for ye dysplese god with suche maner of sorow makyng / Truly sayd syr Launcelot I trust I do not dysplese god / for he knoweth myn entente / For my sorow was not nor is not for ony reioysyng of synne / but my sorow may neuer haue ende / For whan I remembre of hir beaulte & of hir noblesse / that was bothe wyth hyr kyng & wyth hyr / So whan I sawe his corps & hir corps so lye togyders / truly myn herte wold not serue to susteyne my careful body / Also whan I remēbre me how by my defaute


Page 858[leaf 429v]


& myn orgule and my pryde / that they were bothe layed ful lowe that were pereles that euer was lyuyng of cristen people wyt you wel sayd syr Launcelot this remembred of there kyndenes and myn vnkyndenes sanke so to myn herte that I myȝt not susteyne my self so the frensshe book maketh mencyon /


¶ Capitulum xii


THen̄e syr Launcelot neuer after ete but lytel mete nor dranke tyl he was dede / for than he seekened more and more and dryed & dwyned awaye / for the bysshop nor none of his felowes myȝt not make hym to ete and lytel he dranke that he was waxen by a kybbet shorter than he was / that the peple coude not knowe hym / for euermore day & nyȝt he prayed but somtyme he slombred a broken slepe / euer he was lyeng grouelyng on the tombe of kyng Arthur & quene Gueneuer / & there was no comforte that the bysshop nor syr Bors nor none of his felowes coude make hym it auaylled not / Soo wythin syx wekye after syr Launcelot fyl seek and laye in his bedde & thenne he sente for the bysshop that there was heremyte and al his trewe felowes / Than Syr Launcelot sayd wyth drery steuen / syr bysshop I praye you gyue to me al my ryghtes that longeth to a chrysten man / It shal not nede you sayd the heremyte and al his felowes / It is but heuynesse of your blood ye shal be wel mended by the grace of god to morne / My fayr lordes sayd syr Launcelot wyt you wel my careful body wyl in to therthe I houe warnyng more than now I wyl say / therfore gyue me my ryghtes / So whan he was howselyd and enelyd / and had al that a crysten man ought to haue he prayed the bysshop that his felowes myght bere his body to Ioyous garde / Somme men say it was anwyk / & somme may say it was hamborow how be it sayd syr Launcelot me repenteth sore but I made myn auowe somtyme that in ioyous garde I wold be buryed / and by cause of brekyng of myn auowe I praye you al lede me thyder / Than there was wepyng and wryngyng of handes among his felowes / So at a seson of the nyght they al wente to theyr beddes for they alle laye in one chambre / And so after mydnyght ayenst day the bysshop then was hermyte as he laye in his bedd a slepe he fyl vpon a grete laughter / and therwyth al the felyshyp awoke and came to


 Page 859[leaf 430r]


the bysshop & asked hym what he eyled / A Iu mercy sayd the bysshop why dyd ye awake me I was neuer in al my lyf so mery & so wel at ease / wherfore sayd syr bors / Truly sayd the bysshop here was syr Launcelot with me with mo angellis than euer I sawe men in one day / & I sawe the angellys heue vp syr Launcelot vnto heuen & the yates of heuen opened ayenst hym / It is but dretchyng of sweuens sayd syr Bors for I doubte not syr Launcelot ayleth no thynge but good / It may wel be sayd the bysshop goo ye to his bedde & than shall ye proue the soth / So whan syr Bors & his felowes came to his bedde they founde hym starke dede / & he laye as he had smyled & the swettest fauour aboute hym that euer they felte / than was there wepyng & wryngyng of handes / & the grettest dole they made that euer made men / & on the morne the bysshop dyd his masse of requyem / & after the bysshop & al the ix knyghtes put syr Launcelot in the same hors bere that quene Gueneuere was layed in tofore that she was buryed / & soo the bysshop & they al togydere wente wyth the body of syr Launcelot dayly tyl they came to Ioyous garde / & euer they had an / C / torches bernnyng aboute hym / & so within xv dayes they came to Ioyous garde . & there they layed his corps in the body of the quere / & sange & redde many saulters & prayes ouer hym and aboute hym / & euer his vysage was layed open & naked that al folkes myght beholde hym / for suche was the custom in tho dayes that al men of worshyp shold so lye wyth open vysage tyl that they were buryed / and ryght thus as they were at theyr seruyce there came syr Ector de maris that had vij yere sought al Englond scotland & walys sekyng his brother syr Launcelot /


¶ Capitulum xiii


ANd whan syr Ector herde suche noyse & lyghte in the quyre of Ioyous garde he alyght & put his hors from hym & came in to the quyre & there he sawe men synge wepe / & al they knewe syr Ector / but he knewe not them / than wente syr Bors vnto syr Evctor & tolde hym how there laye his brother syr Launcelot dede / & than Syr Ector threwe hys shelde swerde & helme from hym / & whan he behelde syr Launcelottes vysage he fyl doun in a swoun / & whan he waked it were harde ony tonge to telle the doleful complayntes that


Page 860[leaf 430v]


he made for his brother / A Launcelot he sayd thou were hede of al crysten knyghtes / & now I dare say sayd syr Ector thou sir Launcelot there thou lyest that thou were neuer matched of erthely knyghtes hande / & thou were the curtest knyght that euer bare shelde / & thou were the truest frende to thy louar that euer bestrade hors / & thou were the trewest louer of a synful man that euer loued woman / & thou were the kyndest man that euer strake wyth swerde / & thou were the godelyest persone þt euer cam emonge prees of knyghtes / & thou was the mekest man & the Ientyllest that euer ete in halle emonge ladyes / & thou were the sternest knyght to thy mortal foo that euer put spere in the breste / than there was wepyng & dolour out of mesure / Thus they kepte syr Launcelots corps on lofte xv dayes & than they buryed it with grete deuocyon / & than at leyser they wente al with the bysshop of canterburye to his ermytage & there they were to gyder more than a monthe / Than syr costantyn that was syr Cadores sone of cornwayl was chosen kyng of Englond / & he was a ful noble knyght / & worshypfully he rulyd this royame / & than thys kyng Costantyn sent for the bysshop of caunterburye for he herde saye where he was & so he was restored vnto his bysshopryche / & lefte that Ermytage / And Syr Bedwere was there euer stylle heremyte to his lyues ende / Than syr Bors de ganys / syr Ector de maris / syr Gahalantyne / syr Galyhud / sir Galyhodyn / syr Blamour / syr Bleoberys / syr Wyllyats de balyaunt / syr Clartus of clere mounte / al these knyȝtes drewe them to theyr contreyes How be it kyng Costantyn wold haue had them wyth hym but they wold not abyde in this royame / & there they al lyued in their cuntreys as holy men / & somme englysshe bookes maken mencyon that they wente neuer oute of englond after the deth of syr Launcelot / but that was but fauour of makers/ for the frensshe book maketh mencyon & is auctorysed that syr Bors / syr Ector / syr Blamour / & syr Bleoberis wente in to the holy lande there as Ihesu Cryst was quycke & deed / And anone as they had stablysshed theyr londes / for the book saith so syr Launcelot commaunded them for to do or euer he passyd oute of thys world / & these foure knyghtes dyd many bataylles vpon the myscreantes or turkes / and there they ded vpon a good fryday for goddes sake /


Here is the end of the booke


Page 861[leaf 431r]


of kyng Arthur & of his noble knyghtes of the rounde table / that whan they were hole togyders there was euer an C and xl / and here is the ende of the deth of Arthur / I praye you all Ientyl men and Ientyl wymmen that redeth this book of Arthur and his knyghtes from the begynnyng to the endyng / praye for me whyle I am on lyue that god sende me good delyueraunce / & whan I am deed I praye you all praye for my soule / for this book was ended the ix yere of the reygne of kyng edward the fourth / by syr Thomas Maleore knyght as Ihesu helpe hym for hys grete myght / as he is the seruaunt of Ihesu bothe day and nyght /


¶ Thus endeth thys noble and Ioyous book entytled le morte Darthur / Notwythstondyng it treateth of the byrth / lyf / and actes of the sayd kyng Arthur / of his noble knyghtes of the rounde table / theyr meruayllous enquestes and aduentures / thachyeuyng of the sangreal / & in thende the dolorous deth & departyng out of thys world of them al / whiche book was reduced in to englysshe by syr Thomas Malory knyght as afore is sayd / and by me deuyded in to xxi bookes chapytred and enprynted / and fynysshed in thabbey westmestre the last day of Juyl the yere of our lord / M / CCCC / lxxxv /


Caxton me fieri fecit]



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