Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK VI CHAPTER XV

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How Sir Launcelot came into the Chapel Perilous and gat
there of a dead corpse a piece of the cloth and a sword.

RIGHT so Sir Launcelot departed, and when he came unto the Chapel
Perilous he alighted down, and tied his horse unto a little gate. 
And as soon as he was within the churchyard he saw on the front
of the chapel many fair rich shields turned up-so-down, and many
of the shields Sir Launcelot had seen knights bear beforehand. 
With that he saw by him there stand a thirty great knights, more
by a yard than any man that ever he had seen, and all those
grinned and gnashed at Sir Launcelot.  And when he saw their
countenance he dreaded him sore, and so put his shield afore him,
and took his sword ready in his hand ready unto battle, and they
were all armed in black harness ready with their shields and
their swords drawn.  And when Sir Launcelot would have gone
throughout them, they scattered on every side of him, and gave
him the way, and therewith he waxed all bold, and entered into
the chapel, and then he saw no light but a dim lamp burning, and
then was he ware of a corpse hilled with a cloth of silk.  Then
Sir Launcelot stooped down, and cut a piece away of that cloth,
and then it fared under him as the earth had quaked a little;
therewithal he feared.  And then he saw a fair sword lie by the
dead knight, and that he gat in his hand and hied him out of the

Anon as ever he was in the chapel yard all the knights spake to
him with a grimly voice, and said, Knight, Sir Launcelot, lay
that sword from thee or else thou shalt die.  Whether that I live
or die, said Sir Launcelot, with no great word get ye it again,
therefore fight for it an ye list.  Then right so he passed
throughout them, and beyond the chapel yard there met him a fair
damosel, and said, Sir Launcelot, leave that sword behind thee,
or thou wilt die for it.  I leave it not, said Sir Launcelot, for
no treaties.  No, <202>said she, an thou didst leave that sword,
Queen Guenever should thou never see.  Then were I a fool an I
would leave this sword, said Launcelot.  Now, gentle knight, said
the damosel, I require thee to kiss me but once.  Nay, said Sir
Launcelot, that God me forbid.  Well, sir, said she, an thou
hadst kissed me thy life days had been done, but now, alas, she
said, I have lost all my labour, for I ordained this chapel for
thy sake, and for Sir Gawaine.  And once I had Sir Gawaine within
me, and at that time he fought with that knight that lieth there
dead in yonder chapel, Sir Gilbert the Bastard; and at that time
he smote the left hand off of Sir Gilbert the Bastard.  And, Sir
Launcelot, now I tell thee, I have loved thee this seven year,
but there may no woman have thy love but Queen Guenever.  But
sithen I may not rejoice thee to have thy body alive, I had kept
no more joy in this world but to have thy body dead.  Then would
I have balmed it and served it, and so have kept it my life days,
and daily I should have clipped thee, and kissed thee, in despite
of Queen Guenever.  Ye say well, said Sir Launcelot, Jesu
preserve me from your subtle crafts.  And therewithal he took his
horse and so departed from her.  And as the book saith, when Sir
Launcelot was departed she took such sorrow that she died within
a fourteen night, and her name was Hellawes the sorceress, Lady
of the Castle Nigramous.

Anon Sir Launcelot met with the damosel, Sir Meliot's sister. 
And when she saw him she clapped her hands, and wept for joy. 
And then they rode unto a castle thereby where lay Sir Meliot. 
And anon as Sir Launcelot saw him he knew him, but he was passing
pale, as the earth, for bleeding.  When Sir Meliot saw Sir
Launcelot he kneeled upon his knees and cried on high:  O lord
Sir Launcelot, help me!  Anon Sir Launcelot leapt unto him and
touched his wounds with Sir Gilbert's sword.  And then he wiped
his wounds with a part of the bloody cloth that Sir Gilbert was
wrapped in, and anon an wholer man in his life was he never.  And
then there was great joy between them, and they made Sir
Launcelot all <203>the cheer that they might, and so on the morn
Sir Launcelot took his leave, and bade Sir Meliot hie him to the
court of my lord Arthur, for it draweth nigh to the Feast of
Pentecost, and there by the grace of God ye shall find me.  And
therewith they departed.