Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK XIV CHAPTER X
Legends and Sagas
How Sir Percivale for penance rove himself through the
thigh; and how she was known for the devil.
FAIR sweet Father, Jesu Christ, ne let me not be shamed,
the which was nigh lost had not thy good grace been.
And then he looked into a ship, and saw her enter therein,
which said: Sir Percivale, ye have betrayed me. And so
she went with the wind roaring and yelling, that it seemed
all the water brent after her. Then Sir Percivale made
great sorrow, and drew his sword unto him, saying:
Sithen my flesh will be my master I shall punish it; and
therewith he rove himself through the thigh that the blood
stert about him, and said: O good Lord, take this in
recompensation of that I have done against thee, my Lord.
So then he clothed him and armed him, and called himself
a wretch, saying: How nigh was I lost, and to have lost
that I should never have gotten again, that was my
virginity, for that may never be recovered after it is once
lost. And then he stopped his bleeding wound with a
piece of his shirt.
Thus as he made his moan he saw the same ship come
from Orient that the good man was in the day afore, and
the noble knight was ashamed with himself, and therewith
he fell in a swoon. And when he awoke he went unto
him weakly, and there he saluted this good man. And
then he asked Sir Percivale: How hast thou done sith
I departed? Sir, said he, here was a gentlewoman and
led me into deadly sin. And there he told him altogether.
Knew ye not the maid? said the good man. Sir, said he,
nay, but well I wot the fiend sent her hither to shame me.
O good knight, said he, thou art a fool, for that gentlewoman
was the master fiend of hell, the which hath power
above all devils, and that was the old lady that thou sawest
in thine advision riding on the serpent. Then he told
Sir Percivale how our Lord Jesu Christ beat him out of
heaven for his sin, the which was the most brightest angel
of heaven, and therefore he lost his heritage. And that
was the champion that thou foughtest withal, the which
had overcome thee had not the grace of God been. Now
beware Sir Percivale, and take this for an ensample. And
then the good man vanished away. Then Sir Percivale
took his arms, and entered into the ship, and so departed