Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK I CHAPTER IV

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Of the death of King Uther Pendragon.

THEN within two years King Uther fell sick of a great malady. 
And in the meanwhile his enemies usurped upon him, and did a
great battle upon his men, and slew many of his people.  Sir,
said Merlin, ye may not lie so as ye do, for ye must to the field
though ye ride on an horse-litter: for ye shall never have the
better of your enemies but if your person be there, and then
shall ye have the victory.  So it was done as Merlin had devised,
and they carried the king forth in an horse-litter with a great
host towards his enemies.  And at St. Albans there met with the
king a great host of the North.  And that day Sir Ulfius and Sir
Brastias did great deeds of arms, and King Uther's men overcame
the Northern battle and slew many people, and put the remnant to
flight.  And then the king returned unto London, and made great
joy of his victory.  And then he fell passing sore sick, so that
three days and three nights he was speechless: wherefore all the
barons made great sorrow, and asked Merlin what counsel were
best.  There is none other remedy, said Merlin, but God will have
his will.  But look ye all barons be before King Uther to-morn,
and God and I shall make him to speak.  So on the morn all the
barons with Merlin came to-fore the king; then Merlin said aloud
unto King Uther, Sir, shall your son Arthur be king after your
days, of this realm with all the appurtenance?  Then Uther
Pendragon turned him, and said in hearing of them all, I give him
God's blessing and mine, and bid him pray for my soul, and
righteously and worshipfully that he claim the crown, upon
forfeiture of my blessing; and therewith he yielded up the ghost,
and then was he interred as longed to a king.  Wherefore the
queen, fair Igraine, made great sorrow, and all the barons.