Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK XI CHAPTER II

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CHAPTER II

How Sir Launcelot came to Pelles, and of the Sangreal, and
of Elaine, King Pelles' daughter.


SIR, said Launcelot, wit you well my name is Sir Launcelot
du Lake.  And my name is, said the king, Pelles,
king of the foreign country, and cousin nigh unto Joseph
of Armathie.  And then either of them made much of
other, and so they went into the castle to take their
repast.  And anon there came in a dove at a window, and
in her mouth there seemed a little censer of gold.  And
herewithal there was such a savour as all the spicery of
the world had been there.  And forthwithal there was
upon the table all manner of meats and drinks that they
could think upon.  So came in a damosel passing fair and
young, and she bare a vessel of gold betwixt her hands;
and thereto the king kneeled devoutly, and said his
prayers, and so did all that were there.  O Jesu, said Sir
Launcelot, what may this mean?  This is, said the king,
the richest thing that any man hath living.  And when
this thing goeth about, the Round Table shall be broken;
and wit thou well, said the king, this is the holy Sangreal
that ye have here seen.  So the king and Sir Launcelot
led their life the most part of that day.  And fain would
King Pelles have found the mean to have had Sir Launcelot
to have lain by his daughter, fair Elaine.  And for
this intent: the king knew well that Sir Launcelot should
get a child upon his daughter, the which should be named
Sir Galahad the good knight, by whom all the foreign
country should be brought out of danger, and by him the
Holy Greal should be achieved.

Then came forth a lady that hight Dame Brisen, and
she said unto the king:  Sir, wit ye well Sir Launcelot
loveth no lady in the world but all only Queen Guenever;
and therefore work ye by counsel, and I shall make him
to lie with your daughter, and he shall not wit but that
he lieth with Queen Guenever.  O fair lady, Dame Brisen,
said the king, hope ye to bring this about?  Sir, said she,
upon pain of my life let me deal; for this Brisen was one
of the greatest enchantresses that was at that time in the
world living.  Then anon by Dame Brisen's wit she made
one to come to Sir Launcelot that he knew well.  And
this man brought him a ring from Queen Guenever like
as it had come from her, and such one as she was wont for
the most part to wear; and when Sir Launcelot saw that
token wit ye well he was never so fain.  Where is my
lady? said Sir Launcelot.  In the Castle of Case, said the
messenger, but five mile hence.  Then Sir Launcelot
thought to be there the same might.  And then this
Brisen by the commandment of King Pelles let send
Elaine to this castle with twenty-five knights unto the
Castle of Case.  Then Sir Launcelot against night rode
unto that castle, and there anon he was received worshipfully
with such people, to his seeming, as were about Queen
Guenever secret.

So when Sir Launcelot was alighted, he asked where
the queen was.  So Dame Brisen said she was in her bed;
and then the people were avoided, and Sir Launcelot was
led unto his chamber.  And then Dame Brisen brought Sir
Launcelot a cup full of wine; and anon as he had drunken
that wine he was so assotted and mad that he might make
no delay, but withouten any let he went to bed; and he
weened that maiden Elaine had been Queen Guenever.
Wit you well that Sir Launcelot was glad, and so was that
lady Elaine that she had gotten Sir Launcelot in her arms.
For well she knew that same night should be gotten upon
her Galahad that should prove the best knight of the
world; and so they lay together until underne of the'
morn; and all the windows and holes of that chamber
were stopped that no manner of day might be seen.  And
then Sir Launcelot remembered him, and he arose up and
went to the window.