Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK XVIII CHAPTER XVI

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CHAPTER XVI

How Sir Bors sought Launcelot and found him in the
hermitage, and of the lamentation between them.


NOW turn we unto Sir Bors de Ganis that came unto
Winchester to seek after his cousin Sir Launcelot.  And
so when he came to Winchester, anon there were men
that Sir Lavaine had made to lie in a watch for such a
man, and anon Sir Lavaine had warning; and then Sir
Lavaine came to Winchester and found Sir Bors, and
there he told him what he was, and with whom he was,
and what was his name.  Now fair knight, said Sir Bors,
I require you that ye will bring me to my lord, Sir
Launcelot.  Sir, said Sir Lavaine, take your horse, and
within this hour ye shall see him.  And so they departed,
and came to the hermitage.

And when Sir Bors saw Sir Launcelot lie in his bed
pale and discoloured, anon Sir Bors lost his countenance,
and for kindness and pity he might not speak, but wept
tenderly a great while.  And then when he might speak
he said thus:  O my lord, Sir Launcelot, God you bless,
and send you hasty recover; and full heavy am I of my
misfortune and of mine unhappiness, for now I may call
myself unhappy.  And I dread me that God is greatly
displeased with me, that he would suffer me to have such
a shame for to hurt you that are all our leader, and all our
worship; and therefore I call myself unhappy.  Alas that
ever such a caitiff-knight as I am should have power by
unhappiness to hurt the most noblest knight of the world.
Where I so shamefully set upon you and overcharged you,
and where ye might have slain me, ye saved me; and so
did not I, for I and your blood did to you our utterance.
I marvel, said Sir Bors, that my heart or my blood would
serve me, wherefore my lord, Sir Launcelot, I ask your
mercy.  Fair cousin, said Sir Launcelot, ye be right
welcome; and wit ye well, overmuch ye say for to please
me, the which pleaseth me not, for why I have the same I
sought; for I would with pride have overcome you all,
and there in my pride I was near slain, and that was in
mine own default, for I might have given you warning of
my being there.  And then had I had no hurt, for it is an
old said saw, there is hard battle thereas kin and friends
do battle either against other, there may be no mercy but
mortal war.  Therefore, fair cousin, said Sir Launcelot,
let this speech overpass, and all shall be welcome that God
sendeth; and let us leave off this matter and let us speak
of some rejoicing, for this that is done may not be
undone; and let us find a remedy how soon that I may
be whole.

Then Sir Bors leaned upon his bedside, and told Sir
Launcelot how the queen was passing wroth with him,
because he wore the red sleeve at the great jousts; and
there Sir Bors told him all how Sir Gawaine discovered it:
By your shield that ye left with the Fair Maiden of
Astolat.  Then is the queen wroth, said Sir Launcelot
and therefore am I right heavy, for I deserved no wrath,
for all that I did was because I would not be known.
Right so excused I you, said Sir Bors, but all was in vain,
for she said more largelier to me than I to you now.  But
is this she, said Sir Bors, that is so busy about you, that
men call the Fair Maiden of Astolat?  She it is, said Sir
Launcelot, that by no means I cannot put her from me.
Why should ye put her from you? said Sir Bors, she is a
passing fair damosel, and a well beseen, and well taught;
and God would, fair cousin, said Sir Bors, that ye could
love her, but as to that I may not, nor I dare not, counsel
you.  But I see well, said Sir Bors, by her diligence about
you that she loveth you entirely.  That me repenteth,
said Sir Launcelot.  Sir, said Sir Bors, she is not the first
that hath lost her pain upon you, and that is the more
pity: and so they talked of many more things.  And so
within three days or four Sir Launcelot was big and strong
again.