Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK XV CHAPTER VI
Legends and Sagas
How Sir Launcelot told his advision to a woman, and
how she expounded it to him.
AND then he told her altogether word by word, and the
truth how it befell him at the tournament. And after
told her his advision that he had had that night in his
sleep, and prayed her to tell him what it might mean, for
he was not well content with it. Ah, Launcelot, said she,
as long as ye were knight of earthly knighthood ye were
the most marvellous man of the world, and most adventurous.
Now, said the lady, sithen ye be set among the
knights of heavenly adventures, if adventure fell thee
contrary at that tournament have thou no marvel, for that
tournament yesterday was but a tokening of Our Lord.
And not for then there was none enchantment, for they
at the tournament were earthly knights. The tournament
was a token to see who should have most knights, either
Eliazar, the son of King Pelles, or Argustus, the son of
King Harlon. But Eliazar was all clothed in white, and
Argustus was covered in black, the which were [over]come.
All what this betokeneth I shall tell you. The day of
Pentecost, when King Arthur held his court, it befell that
earthly kings and knights took a tournament together,
that is to say the quest of the Sangreal. The earthly
knights were they the which were clothed all in black,
and the covering betokeneth the sins whereof they be not
confessed. And they with the covering of white betokeneth
virginity, and they that chose chastity. And
thus was the quest begun in them. Then thou beheld
the sinners and the good men, and when thou sawest the
sinners overcome, thou inclinest to that party for bobaunce
and pride of the world, and all that must be left in that
quest, for in this quest thou shalt have many fellows and
thy betters. For thou art so feeble of evil trust and good
belief, this made it when thou were there where they took
thee and led thee into the forest. And anon there appeared
the Sangreal unto the white knights, but thou was so feeble
of good belief and faith that thou mightest not abide it for
all the teaching of the good man, but anon thou turnest
to the sinners, and that caused thy misadventure that thou
should'st know good from evil and vain glory of the
world, the which is not worth a pear. And for great
pride thou madest great sorrow that thou hadst not
overcome all the white knights with the covering of white, by
whom was betokened virginity and chastity; and therefore
God was wroth with you, for God loveth no such deeds
in this quest. And this advision signifieth that thou were
of evil faith and of poor belief, the which will make thee
to fall into the deep pit of hell if thou keep thee not.
Now have I warned thee of thy vain glory and of thy
pride, that thou hast many times erred against thy Maker.
Beware of everlasting pain, for of all earthly knights I
have most pity of thee, for I know well thou hast not thy
peer of any earthly sinful man.
And so she commended Sir Launcelot to dinner. And
after dinner he took his horse and commended her to God,
and so rode into a deep valley, and there he saw a river
and an high mountain. And through the water he must
needs pass, the which was hideous; and then in the name
of God he took it with good heart. And when he came
over he saw an armed knight, horse and man black as any
bear; without any word he smote Sir Launcelot's horse to
the earth; and so he passed on, he wist not where he was
become. And then he took his helm and his shield, and
thanked God of his adventure.