Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK XX CHAPTER XV

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Of the deliverance of the queen to the king by Sir Launcelot,
and what language Sir Gawaine had to Sir Launcelot

MY most redoubted king, ye shall understand, by the
Pope's commandment and yours, I have brought to you
my lady the queen, as right requireth; and if there be
any knight, of whatsomever degree that he be, except
your person, that will say or dare say but that she is true
and clean to you, I here myself, Sir Launcelot du Lake,
will make it good upon his body, that she is a true lady
unto you; but liars ye have listened, and that hath
caused debate betwixt you and me.  For time hath been,
my lord Arthur, that ye have been greatly pleased with
me when I did battle for my lady, your queen; and full
well ye know, my most noble king, that she hath been
put to great wrong or this time; and sithen it pleased you
at many times that I should fight for her, meseemeth, my
good lord, I had more cause to rescue her from the fire,
insomuch she should have been brent for my sake.  For
they that told you those tales were liars, and so it fell
upon them; for by likelihood had not the might of God
been with me, I might never have endured fourteen
knights, and they armed and afore purposed, and I
unarmed and not purposed.  For I was sent for unto my
lady your queen, I wot not for what cause; but I was not
so soon within the chamber door, but anon Sir Agravaine
and Sir Mordred called me traitor and recreant knight.
They called thee right, said Sir Gawaine.  My lord Sir
Gawaine, said Sir Launcelot, in their quarrel they proved
themselves not in the right.  Well well, Sir Launcelot,
said the king, I have given thee no cause to do to me as
thou hast done, for I have worshipped thee and thine more
than any of all my knights.

My good lord, said Sir Launcelot, so ye be not
displeased, ye shall understand I and mine have done you
oft better service than any other knights have done, in
many divers places; and where ye have been full hard
bestead divers times, I have myself rescued you from
many dangers; and ever unto my power I was glad to
please you, and my lord Sir Gawaine; both in jousts, and
tournaments, and in battles set, both on horseback and on
foot, I have often rescued you, and my lord Sir Gawaine,
and many mo of your knights in many divers places.
For now I will make avaunt, said Sir Launcelot, I will
that ye all wit that yet I found never no manner of
knight but that I was overhard for him, an I had done
my utterance, thanked be God; howbeit I have been
matched with good knights, as Sir Tristram and Sir
Lamorak, but ever I had a favour unto them and a
deeming what they were.  And I take God to record,
said Sir Launcelot, I never was wroth nor greatly heavy
with no good knight an I saw him busy about to win
worship; and glad I was ever when I found any knight
that might endure me on horseback and on foot: howbeit
Sir Carados of the Dolorous Tower was a full noble
knight and a passing strong man, and that wot ye, my
lord Sir Gawaine; for he might well be called a noble
knight when he by fine force pulled you out of your
saddle, and bound you overthwart afore him to his saddle
bow; and there, my lord Sir Gawaine, I rescued you, and
slew him afore your sight.  Also I found his brother,
Sir Turquin, in likewise leading Sir Gaheris, your brother,
bounden afore him; and there I rescued your brother
and slew that Turquin, and delivered three-score-and-four
of my lord Arthur's knights out of his prison.  And now
I dare say, said Sir Launcelot, I met never with so strong
knights, nor so well fighting, as was Sir Carados and Sir
Turquin, for I fought with them to the uttermost.  And
therefore, said Sir Launcelot unto Sir Gawaine, meseemeth
ye ought of right to remember this; for, an I might
have your good will, I would trust to God to have my
lord Arthur's good grace.