Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK XVI CHAPTER X
Legends and Sagas
How Sir Bors left to rescue his brother, and rescued the
damosel; and how it was told him that Lionel was dead.
THEN dressed he him unto the knight the which had the
gentlewoman, and then he cried: Sir knight, let your
hand off that maiden, or ye be but dead. And then he
set down the maiden, and was armed at all pieces save he
lacked his spear. Then he dressed his shield, and drew
out his sword, and Bors smote him so hard that it went
through his shield and habergeon on the left shoulder.
And through great strength he beat him down to the
earth, and at the pulling out of Bors' spear there he
swooned. Then came Bors to the maid and said: How
seemeth it you? of this knight ye be delivered at this
time. Now sir, said she, I pray you lead me thereas this
knight had me. So shall I do gladly: and took the horse
of the wounded knight, and set the gentlewoman upon
him, and so brought her as she desired. Sir knight, said
she, ye have better sped than ye weened, for an I had lost
my maidenhead, five hundred men should have died for it.
What knight was he that had you in the forest? By my
faith, said she, he is my cousin. So wot I never with what
engine the fiend enchafed him, for yesterday he took me
from my father privily; for I, nor none of my father's
men, mistrusted him not, and if he had had my maidenhead
he should have died for the sin, and his body shamed and
dishonoured for ever. Thus as she stood talking with
him there came twelve knights seeking after her, and anon
she told them all how Bors had delivered her; then they
made great joy, and besought him to come to her father,
a great lord, and he should be right welcome. Truly, said
Bors, that may not be at this time, for I have a great
adventure to do in this country. So he commended them
unto God and departed.
Then Sir Bors rode after Lionel, his brother, by the
trace of their horses, thus he rode seeking a great while.
Then he overtook a man clothed in a religious clothing;
and rode on a strong black horse blacker than a berry, and
said: Sir knight, what seek you? Sir, said he, I seek my
brother that I saw within a while beaten with two knights.
Ah, Bors, discomfort you not, nor fall into no wanhope;
for I shall tell you tidings such as they be, for truly he is
dead. Then showed he him a new slain body lying in a
bush, and it seemed him well that it was the body of Lionel,
and then he made such a sorrow that he fell to the earth
all in a swoon, and lay a great while there. And when he
came to himself he said: Fair brother, sith the company
of you and me is departed shall I never have joy in my
heart, and now He which I have taken unto my master,
He be my help. And when he had said thus he took his
body lightly in his arms, and put it upon the arson of his
saddle. And then he said to the man: Canst thou tell me
unto some chapel where that I may bury this body? Come
on, said he, here is one fast by; and so long they rode
till they saw a fair tower, and afore it there seemed an old
feeble chapel. And then they alighted both, and put him
into a tomb of marble.