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How Sir Mordred rode hastily to the king, to tell him of
the affray and death of Sir Agravaine and the other

NOW turn we again unto Sir Mordred, that when he was
escaped from the noble knight, Sir Launcelot, he anon gat
his horse and mounted upon him, and rode unto King
Arthur, sore wounded and smitten, and all forbled; and
there he told the king all how it was, and how they were
all slain save himself all only.  Jesu mercy, how may this
be? said the king; took ye him in the queen's chamber?
Yea, so God me help, said Sir Mordred, there we found
him unarmed, and there he slew Colgrevance, and armed
him in his armour; and all this he told the king from
the beginning to the ending.  Jesu mercy, said the king,
he is a marvellous knight of prowess.  Alas, me sore
repenteth, said the king, that ever Sir Launcelot should
be against me.  Now I am sure the noble fellowship of
the Round Table is broken for ever, for with him will
many a noble knight hold; and now it is fallen so, said
the king, that I may not with my worship, but the queen
must suffer the death.  So then there was made great
ordinance in this heat, that the queen must be judged to
the death.  And the law was such in those days that
whatsomever they were, of what estate or degree, if they
were found guilty of treason, there should be none other
remedy but death; and outher the men or the taking with
the deed should be causer of their hasty judgment.  And
right so was it ordained for Queen Guenever, because
Sir Mordred was escaped sore wounded, and the death of
thirteen knights of the Round Table.  These proofs and
experiences caused King Arthur to command the queen to
the fire there to be brent.

Then spake Sir Gawaine, and said:  My lord Arthur,
I would counsel you not to be over-hasty, but that ye
would put it in respite, this judgment of my lady the
queen, for many causes.  One it is, though it were so
that Sir Launcelot were found in the queen's chamber, yet
it might be so that he came thither for none evil; for ye
know my lord, said Sir Gawaine, that the queen is much
beholden unto Sir Launcelot, more than unto any other
knight, for ofttimes he hath saved her life, and done battle
for her when all the court refused the queen; and
peradventure she sent for him for goodness and for none
evil, to reward him for his good deeds that he had done
to her in times past.  And peradventure my lady, the
queen, sent for him to that intent that Sir Launcelot
should come to her good grace privily and secretly,
weening to her that it was best so to do, in eschewing
and dreading of slander; for ofttimes we do many things
that we ween it be for the best, and yet peradventure it
turneth to the worst.  For I dare say, said Sir Gawaine,
my lady, your queen, is to you both good and true; and
as for Sir Launcelot, said Sir Gawaine, I dare say he will
make it good upon any knight living that will put upon
himself villainy or shame, and in like wise he will make
good for my lady, Dame Guenever.

That I believe well, said King Arthur, but I will not
that way with Sir Launcelot, for he trusteth so much upon
his hands and his might that he doubteth no man; and
therefore for my queen he shall never fight more, for she
shall have the law.  And if I may get Sir Launcelot, wit
you well he shall have a shameful death.  Jesu defend,
said Sir Gawaine, that I may never see it.  Why say ye
so? said King Arthur; forsooth ye have no cause to love
Sir Launcelot, for this night last past he slew your brother,
Sir Agravaine, a full good knight, and almost he had slain
your other brother, Sir Mordred, and also there he slew
thirteen noble knights; and also, Sir Gawaine, remember
you he slew two sons of yours, Sir Florence and Sir Lovel.
My lord, said Sir Gawaine, of all this I have knowledge,
of whose deaths I repent me sore; but insomuch I gave
them warning, and told my brethren and my sons aforehand
what would fall in the end, insomuch they would
not do by my counsel, I will not meddle me thereof, nor
revenge me nothing of their deaths; for I told them it
was no boot to strive with Sir Launcelot.  Howbeit I am
sorry of the death of my brethren and of my sons, for
they are the causers of their own death; for ofttimes I
warned my brother Sir Agravaine, and I told him the
perils the which be now fallen.