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How Sir Launcelot was shriven, and what sorrow he made
and of the good ensamples which were shewed him.

THEN Sir Launcelot wept with heavy cheer, and said:
Now I know well ye say me sooth.  Sir, said the good
man, hide none old sin from me.  Truly, said Sir Launcelot,
that were me full loath to discover.  For this fourteen
year I never discovered one thing that I have used, and
that may I now wite my shame and my disadventure.
And then he told there that good man all his life.  And
how he had loved a queen unmeasurably and out of
measure long.  And all my great deeds of arms that I
have done, I did for the most part for the queen's sake,
and for her sake would I do battle were it right or wrong,
and never did I battle all only for God's sake, but for to
win worship and to cause me to be the better beloved
and little or nought I thanked God of it.  Then Sir
Launcelot said: I pray you counsel me.  I will counsel
you, said the hermit, if ye will ensure me that ye will
never come in that queen's fellowship as much as ye may
forbear.  And then Sir Launcelot promised him he nold,
by the faith of his body.  Look that your heart and your
mouth accord, said the good man, and I shall ensure you
ye shall have more worship than ever ye had.

Holy father, said Sir Launcelot, I marvel of the voice
that said to me marvellous words, as ye have heard to-
forehand.  Have ye no marvel, said the good man
thereof, for it seemeth well God loveth you; for men
may understand a stone is hard of kind, and namely one
more than another; and that is to understand by thee, Sir
Launcelot, for thou wilt not leave thy sin for no goodness
that God hath sent thee; therefore thou art more than
any stone, and never wouldst thou be made nesh nor by
water nor by fire, and that is the heat of the Holy Ghost
may not enter in thee.  Now take heed, in all the world
men shall not find one knight to whom Our Lord hath
given so much of grace as He hath given you, for He
hath given you fairness with seemliness, He hath given
thee wit, discretion to know good from evil, He hath
given thee prowess and hardiness, and given thee to work
so largely that thou hast had at all days the better
wheresomever thou came; and now Our Lord will suffer thee
no longer, but that thou shalt know Him whether thou
wilt or nylt.  And why the voice called thee bitterer than
wood, for where overmuch sin dwelleth, there may be but
little sweetness, wherefore thou art likened to an old
rotten tree.

Now have I shewed thee why thou art harder than the
stone and bitterer than the tree.  Now shall I shew thee
why thou art more naked and barer than the fig tree.
It befell that Our Lord on Palm Sunday preached in
Jerusalem, and there He found in the people that all
hardness was harboured in them, and there He found in
all the town not one that would harbour him.  And then
He went without the town, and found in midst of the
way a fig tree, the which was right fair and well garnished
of leaves, but fruit had it none.  Then Our Lord cursed
the tree that bare no fruit; that betokeneth the fig tree
unto Jerusalem, that had leaves and no fruit.  So thou,
Sir Launcelot, when the Holy Grail was brought afore
thee, He found in thee no fruit, nor good thought nor
good will, and defouled with lechery.  Certes, said Sir
Launcelot, all that you have said is true, and from
henceforward I cast me, by the grace of God, never to be so
wicked as I have been, but as to follow knighthood and
to do feats of arms.

Then the good man enjoined Sir Launcelot such
penance as he might do and to sewe knighthood, and so
assoiled him, and prayed Sir Launcelot to abide with him
all that day.  I will well, said Sir Launcelot, for I have
neither helm, nor horse, nor sword.  As for that, said the
good man, I shall help you or to-morn at even of an horse,
and all that longed unto you.  And then Sir Launcelot
repented him greatly.