Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK XX  Previous  Next 


How the cousins and kinsmen of Sir Launcelot excited him
to go out to battle, and how they made them ready

WELL, well, said Sir Gawaine to Launcelot, sithen thou
enbraidest me of Sir Lamorak, wit thou well I shall never
leave thee till I have thee at such avail that thou shalt not
escape my hands.  I trust you well enough, said Sir
Launcelot, an ye may get me I get but little mercy.  But
as the French book saith, the noble King Arthur would
have taken his queen again, and have been accorded with
Sir Launcelot, but Sir Gawaine would not suffer him by no
manner of mean.  And then Sir Gawaine made many men
to blow upon Sir Launcelot; and all at once they called
him false recreant knight.

Then when Sir Bors de Ganis, Sir Ector de Maris, and
Sir Lionel, heard this outcry, they called to them Sir
Palomides, Sir Safere's brother, and Sir Lavaine, with many
more of their blood, and all they went unto Sir Launcelot,
and said thus:  My lord Sir Launcelot, wit ye well we have
great scorn of the great rebukes that we heard Gawaine
say to you; wherefore we pray you, and charge you as ye
will have our service, keep us no longer within these walls;
for wit you well plainly, we will ride into the field and do
battle with them; for ye fare as a man that were afeard,
and for all your fair speech it will not avail you.  For wit
you well Sir Gawaine will not suffer you to be accorded
with King Arthur, and therefore fight for your life and
your right, an ye dare.  Alas, said Sir Launcelot, for to
ride out of this castle, and to do battle, I am full loath.

Then Sir Launcelot spake on high unto Sir Arthur and
Sir Gawaine:  My lords, I require you and beseech you,
sithen that I am thus required and conjured to ride into
the field, that neither you, my lord King Arthur, nor you
Sir Gawaine, come not into the field.  What shall we do
then? said Sir Gawaine, [N]is this the king's quarrel with
thee to fight? and it is my quarrel to fight with thee, Sir
Launcelot, because of the death of my brother Sir Gareth.
Then must I needs unto battle, said Sir Launcelot.  Now
wit you well, my lord Arthur and Sir Gawaine, ye will
repent it whensomever I do battle with you.

And so then they departed either from other; and then
either party made them ready on the morn for to do battle,
and great purveyance was made on both sides; and Sir
Gawaine let purvey many knights for to wait upon Sir
Launcelot, for to overset him and to slay him.  And on
the morn at underne Sir Arthur was ready in the field with
three great hosts.  And then Sir Launcelot's fellowship
came out at three gates, in a full good array; and Sir Lionel
came in the foremost battle, and Sir Launcelot came in the
middle, and Sir Bors came out at the third gate.  Thus
they came in order and rule, as full noble knights; and
always Sir Launcelot charged all his knights in any wise to
save King Arthur and Sir Gawaine.