Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK VII CHAPTER XXXIV

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CHAPTER XXXIV

How Sir Gareth acknowledged that they loved each other
to King Arthur, and of the appointment of their wedding.

AND among all these ladies she was named the fairest, and
peerless.  Then when Sir Gawaine saw her there was many a goodly
look and goodly words, that all men of worship had joy to behold
them.  Then came King Arthur and many other kings, and Dame
Guenever, and the Queen of Orkney.  And there the king asked his
nephew, Sir Gareth, whether he would have that lady as paramour,
or to have her to his wife.  My lord, wit you well that I love
her above all ladies living.  Now, fair lady, said King Arthur,
what say ye?  Most noble King, said Dame Lionesse, wit you well
that my lord, Sir Gareth, is to me more liefer to have and wield
as my husband, than any king or prince that is christened; and if
I may not have him I promise you I will never have none.  For, my
lord Arthur, said Dame Lionesse, wit ye well he is my first love,
and he shall be the last; and if ye will suffer him to <274>have
his will and free choice I dare say he will have me.  That is
truth, said Sir Gareth; an I have not you and wield not you as my
wife, there shall never lady nor gentlewoman rejoice me.  What,
nephew, said the king, is the wind in that door? for wit ye well
I would not for the stint of my crown to be causer to withdraw
your hearts; and wit ye well ye cannot love so well but I shall
rather increase it than distress it.  And also ye shall have my
love and my lordship in the uttermost wise that may lie in my
power.  And in the same wise said Sir Gareth's mother.

Then there was made a provision for the day of marriage; and by
the king's advice it was provided that it should be at Michaelmas
following, at Kink Kenadon by the seaside, for there is a
plentiful country.  And so it was cried in all the places through
the realm.  And then Sir Gareth sent his summons to all these
knights and ladies that he had won in battle to-fore, that they
should be at his day of marriage at Kink Kenadon by the sands. 
And then Dame Lionesse, and the damosel Linet with Sir
Gringamore, rode to their castle; and a goodly and a rich ring
she gave to Sir Gareth, and he gave her another.  And King Arthur
gave her a rich pair of beads[*6] of gold; and so she departed;
and King Arthur and his fellowship rode toward Kink Kenadon, and
Sir Gareth brought his lady on the way, and so came to the king
again and rode with him.  Lord! the great cheer that Sir
Launcelot made of Sir Gareth and he of him, for there was never
no knight that Sir Gareth loved so well as he did Sir Launcelot;
and ever for the most part he would be in Sir Launcelot's
company; for after Sir Gareth had espied Sir Gawaine's
conditions, he withdrew himself from his brother, Sir Gawaine's,
fellowship, for he was vengeable, and where he hated he would be
avenged with murder, and that hated Sir Gareth.


[*6] So W. de Worde; Caxton ``bee.''


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