Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK XV CHAPTER V

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How Sir Launcelot jousted with many knights, and
how he was taken.

AND then mounted upon his horse, and rode into a forest,
and held no highway.  And as he looked afore him he
saw a fair plain, and beside that a fair castle, and afore the
castle were many pavilions of silk and of diverse hue.
And him seemed that he saw there five hundred knights
riding on horseback; and there were two parties: they
that were of the castle were all on black horses and their
trappings black, and they that were without were all on
white horses and trappings, and everych hurtled to other
that it marvelled Sir Launcelot.  And at the last him
thought they of the castle were put to the worse.

Then thought Sir Launcelot for to help there the
weaker party in increasing of his chivalry.  And so Sir
Launcelot thrust in among the party of the castle, and
smote down a knight, horse and man, to the earth.  And
then he rashed here and there, and did marvellous deeds
of arms.  And then he drew out his sword, and struck
many knights to the earth, so that all those that saw him
marvelled that ever one knight might do so great deeds
of arms.  But always the white knights held them nigh
about Sir Launcelot, for to tire him and wind him.  But
at the last, as a man may not ever endure, Sir Launcelot
waxed so faint of fighting and travailing, and was so weary
of his great deeds, that[1] he might not lift up his arms for
to give one stroke, so that he weened never to have borne
arms; and then they all took and led him away into a
forest, and there made him to alight and to rest him.
And then all the fellowship of the castle were overcome
for the default of him.  Then they said all unto Sir
Launcelot:  Blessed be God that ye be now of our fellowship,
for we shall hold you in our prison; and so they left

[1] So W. de Worde; Caxton ``but.''

him with few words.  And then Sir Launcelot made great
sorrow, For never or now was I never at tournament nor
jousts but I had the best, and now I am shamed; and
then he said:  Now I am sure that I am more sinfuller
than ever I was.

Thus he rode sorrowing, and half a day he was out of
despair, till that he came into a deep valley.  And when
Sir Launcelot saw he might not ride up into the mountain,
he there alighted under an apple tree, and there he left
his helm and his shield, and put his horse unto pasture.
And then he laid him down to sleep.  And then him
thought there came an old man afore him, the which said:
Ah, Launcelot of evil faith and poor belief, wherefore is
thy will turned so lightly toward thy deadly sin?  And
when he had said thus he vanished away, and Launcelot
wist not where he was become.  Then he took his horse,
and armed him; and as he rode by the way he saw a
chapel where was a recluse, which had a window that she
might see up to the altar.  And all aloud she called
Launcelot, for that he seemed a knight errant.  And then
he came, and she asked him what he was, and of what
place, and where about he went to seek.