Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK XVIII  Previous  Next 


Of the joy King Arthur and the queen had of the achievement
of the Sangreal; and how Launcelot fell to his old
love again.

SO after the quest of the Sangreal was fulfilled, and all
knights that were left alive were come again unto the
Table Round, as the book of the Sangreal maketh
mention, then was there great joy in the court; and in
especial King Arthur and Queen Guenever made great
joy of the remnant that were come home, and passing
glad was the king and the queen of Sir Launcelot and of
Sir Bors, for they had been passing long away in the
quest of the Sangreal.

Then, as the book saith, Sir Launcelot began to resort
unto Queen Guenever again, and forgat the promise and
the perfection that he made in the quest.  For, as the
book saith, had not Sir Launcelot been in his privy
thoughts and in his mind so set inwardly to the queen
as he was in seeming outward to God, there had no
knight passed him in the quest of the Sangreal; but
ever his thoughts were privily on the queen, and so
they loved together more hotter than they did to-forehand,
and had such privy draughts together, that many in the
court spake of it, and in especial Sir Agravaine, Sir
Gawaine's brother, for he was ever open-mouthed.

So befell that Sir Launcelot had many resorts of ladies
and damosels that daily resorted unto him, that besought
him to be their champion, and in all such matters of right
Sir Launcelot applied him daily to do for the pleasure of
Our Lord, Jesu Christ.  And ever as much as he might
he withdrew him from the company and fellowship of
Queen Guenever, for to eschew the slander and noise;
wherefore the queen waxed wroth with Sir Launcelot.
And upon a day she called Sir Launcelot unto her chamber,
and said thus:  Sir Launcelot, I see and feel daily that thy
love beginneth to slake, for thou hast no joy to be in my
presence, but ever thou art out of this court, and quarrels
and matters thou hast nowadays for ladies and gentlewomen
more than ever thou wert wont to have aforehand.

Ah madam, said Launcelot, in this ye must hold me
excused for divers causes; one is, I was but late in the
quest of the Sangreal; and I thank God of his great
mercy, and never of my desert, that I saw in that my
quest as much as ever saw any sinful man, and so was it
told me.  And if I had not had my privy thoughts to
return to your love again as I do, I had seen as great
mysteries as ever saw my son Galahad, outher Percivale,
or Sir Bors; and therefore, madam, I was but late in that
quest.  Wit ye well, madam, it may not be yet lightly
forgotten the high service in whom I did my diligent
labour.  Also, madam, wit ye well that there be many
men speak of our love in this court, and have you and me
greatly in await, as Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred; and
madam, wit ye well I dread them more for your sake than
for any fear I have of them myself, for I may happen to
escape and rid myself in a great need, where ye must
abide all that will be said unto you.  And then if that ye
fall in any distress through wilful folly, then is there none
other remedy or help but by me and my blood.  And wit
ye well, madam, the boldness of you and me will bring us
to great shame and slander; and that were me loath to see
you dishonoured.  And that is the cause I take upon me
more for to do for damosels and maidens than ever I did
to-fore, that men should understand my joy and my delight
is my pleasure to have ado for damosels and maidens.