Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK XX CHAPTER II
Legends and Sagas
How Sir Agravaine disclosed their love to King Arthur,
and how King Arthur gave them licence to take him
AND then Sir Arthur asked them what noise they made.
My lord, said Agravaine, I shall tell you that I may keep
no longer. Here is I, and my brother Sir Mordred,
brake unto my brothers Sir Gawaine, Sir Gaheris, and to
Sir Gareth, how this we know all, that Sir Launcelot
holdeth your queen, and hath done long; and we be your
sister's sons, and we may suffer it no longer, and all we
wot that ye should be above Sir Launcelot; and ye are
the king that made him knight, and therefore we will
prove it, that he is a traitor to your person.
If it be so, said Sir Arthur, wit you well he is none
other, but I would be loath to begin such a thing but I
might have proofs upon it; for Sir Launcelot is an hardy
knight, and all ye know he is the best knight among us
all; and but if he be taken with the deed, he will fight
with him that bringeth up the noise, and I know no
knight that is able to match him. Therefore an it be
sooth as ye say, I would he were taken with the deed.
For as the French book saith, the king was full loath
thereto, that any noise should be upon Sir Launcelot and
his queen; for the king had a deeming, but he would not
hear of it, for Sir Launcelot had done so much for him
and the queen so many times, that wit ye well the king
loved him passingly well. My lord, said Sir Agravaine,
ye shall ride to-morn a-hunting, and doubt ye not Sir
Launcelot will not go with you. Then when it draweth
toward night, ye may send the queen word that ye will lie
out all that night, and so may ye send for your cooks,
and then upon pain of death we shall take him that night
with the queen, and outher we shall bring him to you
dead or quick. I will well, said the king; then I counsel
you, said the king, take with you sure fellowship. Sir,
said Agravaine, my brother, Sir Mordred, and I, will take
with us twelve knights of the Round Table. Beware,
said King Arthur, for I warn you ye shall find him wight.
Let us deal, said Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred.
So on the morn King Arthur rode a-hunting, and sent
word to the queen that he would be out all that night.
Then Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred gat to them twelve
knights, and hid themself in a chamber in the Castle of
Carlisle, and these were their names: Sir Colgrevance, Sir
Mador de la Porte, Sir Gingaline, Sir Meliot de Logris,
Sir Petipase of Winchelsea, Sir Galleron of Galway, Sir
Melion of the Mountain, Sir Astamore, Sir Gromore
Somir Joure, Sir Curselaine, Sir Florence, Sir Lovel. So
these twelve knights were with Sir Mordred and Sir
Agravaine, and all they were of Scotland, outher of Sir
Gawaine's kin, either well-willers to his brethren.
So when the night came, Sir Launcelot told Sir Bors
how he would go that night and speak with the queen.
Sir, said Sir Bors, ye shall not go this night by my counsel.
Why? said Sir Launcelot. Sir, said Sir Bors, I dread me
ever of Sir Agravaine, that waiteth you daily to do you
shame and us all; and never gave my heart against no
going, that ever ye went to the queen, so much as now;
for I mistrust that the king is out this night from the
queen because peradventure he hath lain some watch for
you and the queen, and therefore I dread me sore of
treason. Have ye no dread, said Sir Launcelot, for I
shall go and come again, and make no tarrying. Sir, said
Sir Bors, that me repenteth, for I dread me sore that your
going out this night shall wrath us all. Fair nephew,
said Sir Launcelot, I marvel much why ye say thus, sithen
the queen hath sent for me; and wit ye well I will not be
so much a coward, but she shall understand I will see her
good grace. God speed you well, said Sir Bors, and send
you sound and safe again.