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How the queen required Sir Bors to fight for her, and how
he granted upon condition; and how he warned Sir
Launcelot thereof.

SO the queen departed from the king, and sent for Sir
Bors into her chamber.  And when he was come she
besought him of succour.  Madam, said he, what would
ye that I did? for I may not with my worship have ado
in this matter, because I was at the same dinner, for dread
that any of those knights would have me in suspicion.
Also, madam, said Sir Bors, now miss ye Sir Launcelot,
for he would not have failed you neither in right nor in
wrong, as ye have well proved when ye have been in
danger; and now ye have driven him out of this country,
by whom ye and all we were daily worshipped by; therefore,
madam, I marvel how ye dare for shame require
me to do any thing for you, in so much ye have chased
him out of your country by whom we were borne up and
honoured.  Alas, fair knight, said the queen, I put me
wholly in your grace, and all that is done amiss I will
amend as ye will counsel me.  And therewith she kneeled
down upon both her knees, and besought Sir Bors to have
mercy upon her:  Outher I shall have a shameful death,
and thereto I never offended.

Right so came King Arthur, and found the queen
kneeling afore Sir Bors; then Sir Bors pulled her up, and
said:  Madam, ye do me great dishonour.  Ah, gentle
knight, said the king, have mercy upon my queen, courteous
knight, for I am now in certain she is untruly
defamed.  And therefore, courteous knight, said the king,
promise her to do battle for her, I require you for the
love of Sir Launcelot.  My lord, said Sir Bors, ye require
me the greatest thing that any man may require me; and
wit ye well if I grant to do battle for the queen I shall
wrath many of my fellowship of the Table Round.  But
as for that, said Bors, I will grant my lord that for my
lord Sir Launcelot's sake, and for your sake I will at that
day be the queen's champion unless that there come by
adventure a better knight than I am to do battle for her.
Will ye promise me this, said the king, by your faith?
Yea sir, said Sir Bors, of that I will not fail you, nor her
both, but if there come a better knight than I am, and
then shall he have the battle.  Then was the king and the
queen passing glad, and so departed, and thanked him

So then Sir Bors departed secretly upon a day, and
rode unto Sir Launcelot thereas he was with the hermit,
Sir Brasias, and told him of all their adventure.  Ah Jesu,
said Sir Launcelot, this is come happily as I would have
it, and therefore I pray you make you ready to do battle,
but look that ye tarry till ye see me come, as long as ye
may.  For I am sure Mador is an hot knight when he is
enchafed, for the more ye suffer him the hastier will he
be to battle.  Sir, said Bors, let me deal with him, doubt
ye not ye shall have all your will.  Then departed Sir
Bors from him and came to the court again.  Then was
it noised in all the court that Sir Bors should do battle
for the queen; wherefore many knights were displeased
with him, that he would take upon him to do battle in
the queen's quarrel; for there were but few knights in
all the court but they deemed the queen was in the
wrong, and that she had done that treason.

So Sir Bors answered thus to his fellows of the Table
Round:  Wit ye well, my fair lords, it were shame to us
all an we suffered to see the most noble queen of the
world to be shamed openly, considering her lord and our
lord is the man of most worship in the world, and most
christened, and he hath ever worshipped us all in all
places.  Many answered him again:  As for our most
noble King Arthur, we love him and honour him as well
as ye do, but as for Queen Guenever we love her not,
because she is a destroyer of good knights.  Fair lords,
said Sir Bors, meseemeth ye say not as ye should say, for
never yet in my days knew I never nor heard say that
ever she was a destroyer of any good knight.  But at all
times as far as ever I could know she was a maintainer of
good knights; and ever she hath been large and free of
her goods to all good knights, and the most bounteous
lady of her gifts and her good grace, that ever I saw or
heard speak of.  And therefore it were shame, said Sir
Bors, to us all to our most noble king's wife, an we
suffered her to be shamefully slain.  And wit ye well,
said Sir Bors, I will not suffer it, for I dare say so much,
the queen is not guilty of Sir Patrise's death, for she owed
him never none ill will, nor none of the four-and-twenty
knights that were at that dinner; for I dare say for good
love she bade us to dinner, and not for no mal engine,
and that I doubt not shall be proved hereafter, for
howsomever the game goeth, there was treason among us.
Then some said to Sir Bors:  We may well believe your
words.  And so some of them were well pleased, and
some were not so.