Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK XX CHAPTER X

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How King Arthur at the request of Sir Gawaine concluded
to make war against Sir Launcelot, and laid siege to
his castle called Joyous Gard

ALAS, said Sir Gawaine, now is my joy gone.  And then
he fell down and swooned, and long he lay there as he had
been dead.  And then, when he arose of his swoon, he
cried out sorrowfully, and said:  Alas!  And right so Sir
Gawaine ran to the king, crying and weeping:  O King
Arthur, mine uncle, my good brother Sir Gareth is slain,
and so is my brother Sir Gaheris, the which were two
noble knights.  Then the king wept, and he both; and so
they fell a-swooning.  And when they were revived then
spake Sir Gawaine:  Sir, I will go see my brother, Sir
Gareth.  Ye may not see him, said the king, for I caused
him to be interred, and Sir Gaheris both; for I well
understood that ye would make over-much sorrow, and the sight
of Sir Gareth should have caused your double sorrow.
Alas, my lord, said Sir Gawaine, how slew he my brother,
Sir Gareth?  Mine own good lord I pray you tell me.
Truly, said the king, I shall tell you how it is told me, Sir
Launcelot slew him and Sir Gaheris both.  Alas, said Sir
Gawaine, they bare none arms against him, neither of them
both.  I wot not how it was, said the king, but as it is
said, Sir Launcelot slew them both in the thickest of the
press and knew them not; and therefore let us shape a
remedy for to revenge their deaths.

My king, my lord, and mine uncle, said Sir Gawaine,
wit you well now I shall make you a promise that I shall
hold by my knighthood, that from this day I shall never
fail Sir Launcelot until the one of us have slain the other.
And therefore I require you, my lord and king, dress you
to the war, for wit you well I will be revenged upon Sir
Launcelot; and therefore, as ye will have my service and
my love, now haste you thereto, and assay your friends.
For I promise unto God, said Sir Gawaine, for the death
of my brother, Sir Gareth, I shall seek Sir Launcelot
throughout seven kings' realms, but I shall slay him or else
he shall slay me.  Ye shall not need to seek him so far,
said the king, for as I hear say, Sir Launcelot will abide
me and you in the Joyous Gard; and much people draweth
unto him, as I hear say.  That may I believe, said Sir
Gawaine; but my lord, he said, assay your friends, and I
will assay mine.  It shall be done, said the king, and as I
suppose I shall be big enough to draw him out of the
biggest tower of his castle.

So then the king sent letters and writs throughout all
England, both in the length and the breadth, for to assummon
all his knights.  And so unto Arthur drew many knights,
dukes, and earls, so that he had a great host.  And when
they were assembled, the king informed them how Sir
Launcelot had bereft him his queen.  Then the king and all
his host made them ready to lay siege about Sir Launcelot,
where he lay within Joyous Gard.  Thereof heard Sir
Launcelot, and purveyed him of many good knights, for
with him held many knights; and some for his own sake,
and some for the queen's sake.  Thus they were on both
parties well furnished and garnished of all manner of thing
that longed to the war.  But King Arthur's host was so
big that Sir Launcelot would not abide him in the field,
for he was full loath to do battle against the king; but Sir
Launcelot drew him to his strong castle with all manner of
victual, and as many noble men as he might suffice within
the town and the castle.  Then came King Arthur with
Sir Gawaine with an huge host, and laid a siege all about
Joyous Gard, both at the town and at the castle, and there
they made strong war on both parties.  But in no wise Sir
Launcelot would ride out, nor go out of his castle, of long
time; neither he would none of his good knights to issue
out, neither none of the town nor of the castle, until fifteen
weeks were past.