Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK IX CHAPTER VIII
Legends and Sagas
How La Cote Male Taile was taken prisoner, and after
rescued by Sir Launcelot, and how Sir Launcelot overcame
THIS meanwhile Sir La Cote Male Taile sank right down upon the
earth, what for-wounded and what for-bled he might not stand.
Then the other knight had pity of him, and said: Fair young
knight, dismay you not, for had ye been fresh when ye met with
me, as I was, I wot well that I should not have endured so long
as ye have done; and <365>therefore for your noble deeds of arms
I shall show to you kindness and gentleness in all that I may.
And forthwithal this noble knight, Sir Plenorius, took him up in
his arms, and led him into his tower. And then he commanded him
the wine, and made to search him and to stop his bleeding wounds.
Sir, said La Cote Male Taile, withdraw you from me, and hie you
to yonder bridge again, for there will meet with you another
manner knight than ever was I. Why, said Plenorius, is there
another manner knight behind of your fellowship? Yea, said La
Cote Male Taile, there is a much better knight than I am. What
is his name? said Plenorius. Ye shall not know for me, said La
Cote Male Taile. Well, said the knight, he shall be encountered
withal whatsomever he be.
Then Sir Plenorius heard a knight call that said: Sir Plenorius,
where art thou? either thou must deliver me the prisoner that
thou hast led unto thy tower, or else come and do battle with me.
Then Plenorius gat his horse, and came with a spear in his hand
walloping toward Sir Launcelot; and then they began to feutre
their spears, and came together as thunder, and smote either
other so mightily that their horses fell down under them. And
then they avoided their horses, and pulled out their swords, and
like two bulls they lashed together with great strokes and foins;
but ever Sir Launcelot recovered ground upon him, and Sir
Plenorius traced to have gone about him. But Sir Launcelot would
not suffer that, but bare him backer and backer, till he came
nigh his tower gate. And then said Sir Launcelot: I know thee
well for a good knight, but wit thou well thy life and death is
in my hand, and therefore yield thee to me, and thy prisoner.
The other answered no word, but struck mightily upon Sir
Launcelot's helm, that the fire sprang out of his eyes. Then Sir
Launcelot doubled his strokes so thick, and smote at him so
mightily, that he made him kneel upon his knees. And therewith
Sir Launcelot leapt upon him, and pulled him grovelling down.
Then Sir Plenorius yielded him, and his tower, and all his
prisoners at his will.
Then Sir Launcelot received him and took his troth; <366>and then
he rode to the other bridge, and there Sir Launcelot jousted with
other three of his brethren, the one hight Pillounes, and the
other hight Pellogris, and the third Sir Pellandris. And first
upon horseback Sir Launcelot smote them down, and afterward he
beat them on foot, and made them to yield them unto him; and then
he returned unto Sir Plenorius, and there he found in his prison
King Carados of Scotland, and many other knights, and all they
were delivered. And then Sir La Cote Male Taile came to Sir
Launcelot, and then Sir Launcelot would have given him all these
fortresses and these bridges. Nay, said La Cote Male Taile, I
will not have Sir Plenorius' livelihood; with that he will grant
you, my lord Sir Launcelot, to come unto King Arthur's court, and
to be his knight, and all his brethren, I will pray you, my lord,
to let him have his livelihood. I will well, said Sir Launcelot,
with this that he will come to the court of King Arthur and
become his man, and his brethren five. And as for you, Sir
Plenorius, I will undertake, said Sir Launcelot, at the next
feast, so there be a place voided, that ye shall be Knight of the
Round Table. Sir, said Plenorius, at the next feast of Pentecost
I will be at Arthur's court, and at that time I will be guided
and ruled as King Arthur and ye will have me. Then Sir Launcelot
and Sir La Cote Male Taile reposed them there, unto the time that
Sir La Cote Male Taile was whole of his wounds, and there they
had merry cheer, and good rest, and many good games, and there
were many fair ladies.