Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK X CHAPTER XV

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How King Mark had slain Sir Amant wrongfully to-fore
King Arthur, and Sir Launcelot fetched King Mark to
King Arthur.

THEN by the license of King Arthur they went to him
and spake with him; for while the truncheon of the spear
stuck in his body he spake:  Ah, fair damosels, said
Amant, recommend me unto La Beale Isoud, and tell her
that I am slain for the love of her and of Sir Tristram.
And there he told the damosels how cowardly King Mark
had slain him, and Sir Bersules, his fellow.  And for that
deed I appealed him of treason, and here am I slain in a
righteous quarrel; and all was because Sir Bersules and I
would not consent by treason to slay the noble knight, Sir
Tristram.  Then the two maidens cried aloud that all the
court might hear it, and said:  O sweet Lord Jesu, that
knowest all hid things, why sufferest Thou so false a
traitor to vanquish and slay a true knight that fought in
a righteous quarrel?  Then anon it was sprung to the
king, and the queen, and to all the lords, that it was King
Mark that had slain Sir Amant, and Sir Bersules afore
hand; wherefore they did their battle.  Then was King
Arthur wroth out of measure, and so were all the other
knights.  But when Sir Tristram knew all the matter he
made great dole and sorrow out of measure, and wept for
sorrow for the loss of the noble knights, Sir Bersules and
of Sir Amant.

When Sir Launcelot espied Sir Tristram weep he went
hastily to King Arthur, and said:  Sir, I pray you give me
leave to return again to yonder false king and knight.  I
pray you, said King Arthur, fetch him again, but I would
not that ye slew him, for my worship.  Then Sir Launcelot
armed him in all haste, and mounted upon a great horse,
and took a spear in his hand and rode after King Mark.
And from thence a three mile English Sir Launcelot over
took him, and bade him:  Turn recreant king and knight,
for whether thou wilt or not thou shalt go with me to
King Arthur's court.  King Mark returned and looked
upon Sir Launcelot, and said:  Fair sir, what is your name?
Wit thou well, said he, my name is Sir Launcelot, and
therefore defend thee.  And when King Mark wist that it
was Sir Launcelot, and came so fast upon him with a spear,
he cried then aloud:  I yield me to thee, Sir Launcelot,
honourable knight.  But Sir Launcelot would not hear
him, but came fast upon him.  King Mark saw that, and
made no defence, but tumbled adown out of his saddle
to the earth as a sack, and there he lay still, and cried Sir
Launcelot mercy.  Arise, recreant knight and king.  I
will not fight, said King Mark, but whither that ye will
I will go with you.  Alas, alas, said Sir Launcelot, that I
may not give thee one buffet for the love of Sir Tristram
and of La Beale Isoud, and for the two knights that thou
hast slain traitorly.  And so he mounted upon his horse
and brought him to King Arthur; and there King Mark
alighted in that same place, and threw his helm from him
upon the earth, and his sword, and fell flat to the earth of
King Arthur's feet, and put him in his grace and mercy.
So God me help, said Arthur, ye are welcome in a manner,
and in a manner ye are not welcome.  In this manner ye
are welcome, that ye come hither maugre thy head, as I
suppose.  That is truth, said King Mark, and else I had
not been here, for my lord, Sir Launcelot, brought me
hither through his fine force, and to him am I yolden to
as recreant.  Well, said Arthur, ye understand ye ought
to do me service, homage, and fealty.  And never would
ye do me none, but ever ye have been against me, and a
destroyer of my knights; now, how will ye acquit you?
Sir, said King Mark, right as your lordship will require
me, unto my power, I will make a large amends.  For he
was a fair speaker, and false thereunder.  Then for great
pleasure of Sir Tristram, to make them twain accorded,
the king withheld King Mark as at that time, and made a
broken love-day between them.