Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK V CHAPTER II

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CHAPTER II

How the kings and lords promised to King Arthur aid
and help against the Romans.

THEN answered King Anguish of Scotland, Sir, ye ought of right to
be above all other kings, for unto you is none like nor pareil in
Christendom, of knighthood nor of dignity, and I counsel you
never to obey the Romans, for when they reigned on us they
distressed our elders, and put this land to great extortions and
tallies, wherefore I make here mine avow to avenge me on them;
and for to strengthen your quarrel I shall furnish twenty
thousand good men of war, and wage them on my costs, which shall
await on you with myself when it shall please you.  And the king
of Little Britain granted him to the same thirty thousand;
wherefore King Arthur thanked them.  And then every man agreed to
make war, and to aid after their power; that is to wit, the lord
of West Wales promised to bring thirty thousand men, and Sir
Uwaine, Sir Ider his son, with their cousins, promised to bring
thirty thousand.  Then Sir Launcelot with all other promised in
likewise every man a great multitude.

And when King Arthur understood their courages and good wills he
thanked them heartily, and after let call the ambassadors to hear
their answer.  And in presence of all his lords and knights he
said to them in this wise:  I will that ye return unto your lord
and Procuror of the Common Weal for the Romans, and say ye to
him, Of his demand and commandment I set nothing, and that I know
of no truage nor tribute that I owe to him, nor to none earthly
prince, Christian nor heathen; but I pretend to have and occupy
the sovereignty of the empire, wherein I am entitled by the right
of my predecessors, sometime kings of this land; and say to him
that I am delibered and fully concluded, to go with mine army
with strength and power unto Rome, by the grace of God, to take
<152>possession in the empire and subdue them that be rebel. 
Wherefore I command him and all them of Rome, that incontinent
they make to me their homage, and to acknowledge me for their
Emperor and Governor, upon pain that shall ensue.  And then he
commanded his treasurer to give to them great and large gifts,
and to pay all their dispenses, and assigned Sir Cador to convey
them out of the land.  And so they took their leave and departed,
and took their shipping at Sandwich, and passed forth by
Flanders, Almaine, the mountains, and all Italy, until they came
unto Lucius.  And after the reverence made, they made relation of
their answer, like as ye to-fore have heard.

When the Emperor Lucius had well understood their credence, he
was sore moved as he had been all araged, and said, I had
supposed that Arthur would have obeyed to my commandment, and
have served you himself, as him well beseemed or any other king
to do.  O Sir, said one of the senators, let be such vain words,
for we let you wit that I and my fellows were full sore afeard to
behold his countenance; I fear me ye have made a rod for
yourself, for he intendeth to be lord of this empire, which sore
is to be doubted if he come, for he is all another man than ye
ween, and holdeth the most noble court of the world, all other
kings nor princes may not compare unto his noble maintenance.  On
New Year's Day we saw him in his estate, which was the royalest
that ever we saw, for he was served at his table with nine kings,
and the noblest fellowship of other princes, lords, and knights
that be in the world, and every knight approved and like a lord,
and holdeth Table Round: and in his person the most manly man
that liveth, and is like to conquer all the world, for unto his
courage it is too little: wherefore I advise you to keep well
your marches and straits in the mountains; for certainly he is a
lord to be doubted.  Well, said Lucius, before Easter I suppose
to pass the mountains, and so forth into France, and there
bereave him his lands with Genoese and other mighty warriors of
Tuscany and Lombardy.  And I shall send for them all that be
subjects and <153>allied to the empire of Rome to come to mine
aid.  And forthwith sent old wise knights unto these countries
following: first to Ambage and Arrage, to Alexandria, to India,
to Armenia, whereas the river of Euphrates runneth into Asia, to
Africa, and Europe the Large, to Ertayne and Elamye, to Araby,
Egypt, and to Damascus, to Damietta and Cayer, to Cappadocia, to
Tarsus, Turkey, Pontus and Pamphylia, to Syria and Galatia.  And
all these were subject to Rome and many more, as Greece, Cyprus,
Macedonia, Calabria, Cateland, Portugal, with many thousands of
Spaniards.  Thus all these kings, dukes, and admirals, assembled
about Rome, with sixteen kings at once, with great multitude of
people.  When the emperor understood their coming he made ready
his Romans and all the people between him and Flanders.

Also he had gotten with him fifty giants which had been
engendered of fiends; and they were ordained to guard his person,
and to break the front of the battle of King Arthur.  And thus
departed from Rome, and came down the mountains for to destroy
the lands that Arthur had conquered, and came unto Cologne, and
besieged a castle thereby, and won it soon, and stuffed it with
two hundred Saracens or Infidels, and after destroyed many fair
countries which Arthur had won of King Claudas.  And thus Lucius
came with all his host, which were disperplyd sixty mile in
breadth, and commanded them to meet with him in Burgoyne, for he
purposed to destroy the realm of Little Britain.