In the Gautier section of the Conte del Graal, and in the description of Gawain's visit to the Graal Castle, he sees among the sacred objects a Lance, which bleeds into a silver cup, but it is not the Cup of the Graal. The Lance is the weapon which pierced the side of Christ, and it is said that it will bleed till Doomsday. The body of the arm was of wood. The blade was white as snow, and the weapon was at the head of the master dais; it seems to have reposed in the vessel, and two tapers were burning before it. The stream of blood issued from the point of the Lance and ran down into the vessel, from which, as it overflowed, it poured into a channel of gold and ran without the Hall. This extravagant description is substituted for a much simpler account in Chrétien's portion of the poem; there only a single drop of blood trickles down to the hand of the squire who bears the weapon in the pageant. The fuller historical account is found in Manessier's section, which says that the Lance is that of the Roman soldier who pierced the side of Christ. According to a Montpellier manuscript, Joseph of Arimathæa was present at the foot of the Cross, and seeing, as the spear was withdrawn, how the blood ran down, he collected it in the Holy Vessel, turning black as he did so with sorrow. The Didot Perceval says only that a squire in the Graal Castle carried a Lance in his two hands, that it was that of Longinus, and that a drop of blood flowed from the sacred point. I believe that this romance represents a primitive state of the Christian Quest, though it is late in its
actual form, the reason being that the Hallows of the Passion are the only wonder-objects which belong properly to the Quest. The wider field of vision offered in the Greater Chronicles and the multiplication of relics are indubitable signs of lateness. In the Book of the Holy Graal the Hallows which are seen in the vision preceding the ordination of the younger Joseph are a great ensanguined cross, three nails from which blood seems to flow, a Lance of which the iron point is stained also with blood, an ensanguined cincture and a bended rod dyed in the same manner. It will be seen that the writer of this romance knew well enough that with the Graal itself he could connect only the things thereto belonging--namely, the other Relics of the Passion, and realising this fact in later branches of his Chronicle, while he perpetuates other objects through centuries of hidden life, he is careful not to locate them in the Graal Castle. The Huth Merlin is the only legend of the prophet which knows of another Hallow than the Sacred Vessel; and this is the Lance, but the circumstances under which it is introduced and the account which is given concerning it belong to a later stage of our research. I may say, however, that it was an instrument of mystic vengeance, and as such it reappears in the great prose Lancelot. It is seen there by Gawain, who is smitten by its blade of fire, and afterwards is healed by the Graal. It is seen also by Sir Bors when he visits Corbenic; an old man carries it in one hand, while he swings a censer with the other. In the romance of Galahad, as we know it, the Lance manifests twice, and this is at the end of the Quest, when it is borne in one hand by an angel, who holds in the other a box to receive the blood from its point. The ipsissima verba of the Longer Prose Perceval are that of the Hallows there are "right great plenty." Perceval's shield had in the boss thereof some of the Blood of our Lord and a piece of His garment; they were placed therein by Joseph of Arimathæa. As regards the Lance itself, the point
bleeds into the Holy Graal, and here also the weapon is one of vengeance, or rather of doom, for he who is elected to the Quest has something to perform in respect of it, and he fails therein. This notwithstanding, the Hallow in the romance under notice serves little purpose, because it does nothing. For, the sake of completeness the Lesser Hallows of the German cycle may be mentioned with great brevity in this section, though their history and import must be held over for a very long time to come. In the Parsifal of Wolfram, the ensanguined head of a Lance is carried round a certain chamber; it has no connection with the Passion, but once more it is a memorial of vengeance, of fatality which is long and grievous. In Heinrich's Diu Crône, the Lance is held by two young men, and it sheds three great drops of blood, which are received in a salver. I should observe in conclusion, for the time being, as to this Hallow that the French cycle may be classified in three sections, of which A does not mention the Lance, B mentions but does not explain its antecedents, and C says that it is the Lance of Longinus used at the Crucifixion. Late or early, there is no other history concerning it.