Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK XII CHAPTER I

Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK XII  Previous  Next 


How Sir Launcelot in his madness took a sword and fought
with a knight, and leapt in a bed.

AND now leave we of a while of Sir Ector and of Sir
Percivale, and speak we of Sir Launcelot that suffered and
endured many sharp showers, that ever ran wild wood
from place to place, and lived by fruit and such as he
might get, and drank water two year; and other clothing
had he but little but his shirt and his breech.  Thus as
Sir Launcelot wandered here and there he came in a fair
meadow where he found a pavilion; and there by, upon
a tree, there hung a white shield, and two swords hung
thereby, and two spears leaned there by a tree.  And
when Sir Launcelot saw the swords, anon he leapt to the
one sword, and took it in his hand, and drew it out.  And
then he lashed at the shield, that all the meadow rang of
the dints, that he gave such a noise as ten knights had
foughten together.

Then came forth a dwarf, and leapt unto Sir Launcelot,
and would have had the sword out of his hand.  And
then Sir Launcelot took him by the both shoulders and
threw him to the ground upon his neck, that he had
almost broken his neck; and therewithal the dwarf cried
help.  Then came forth a likely knight, and well
apparelled in scarlet furred with minever.  And anon as
he saw Sir Launcelot he deemed that he should be out of
his wit.  And then he said with fair speech:  Good man,
lay down that sword, for as meseemeth thou hadst more
need of sleep and of warm clothes than to wield that
sword.  As for that, said Sir Launcelot, come not too
nigh, for an thou do, wit thou well I will slay thee.

And when the knight of the pavilion saw that, he
stert backward within the pavilion.  And then the dwarf
armed him lightly; and so the knight thought by force
and might to take the sword from Sir Launcelot, and so
he came stepping out; and when Sir Launcelot saw him
come so all armed with his sword in his hand, then Sir
Launcelot flew to him with such a might, and hit him
upon the helm such a buffet, that the stroke troubled his
brains, and therewith the sword brake in three.  And the
knight fell to the earth as he had been dead, the blood
brasting out of his mouth, the nose, and the ears.  And
then Sir Launcelot ran into the pavilion, and rushed even
into the warm bed; and there was a lady in that bed, and
she gat her smock, and ran out of the pavilion.  And when
she saw her lord lie at the ground like to be dead, then
she cried and wept as she had been mad.  Then with her
noise the knight awaked out of his swoon, and looked up
weakly with his eyes; and then he asked her, where was
that mad man that had given him such a buffet:  For
such a buffet had I never of man's hand.  Sir, said the
dwarf, it is not worship to hurt him, for he is a man out
of his wit; and doubt ye not he hath been a man of great
worship, and for some heartly sorrow that he hath taken,
he is fallen mad; and me beseemeth, said the dwarf, he
resembleth much unto Sir Launcelot, for him I saw at the
great tournament beside Lonazep.  Jesu defend, said
that knight, that ever that noble knight, Sir Launcelot,
should be in such a plight; but whatsomever he be, said
that knight, harm will I none do him: and this knight's
name was Bliant.  Then he said unto the dwarf:  Go
thou fast on horseback, unto my brother Sir Selivant, that
is at the Castle Blank, and tell him of mine adventure,
and bid him bring with him an horse litter, and then will
we bear this knight unto my castle.