Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK XVIII  Previous  Next 

How Sir Launcelot fought against Sir Mador for the queen,
and how he overcame Sir Mador, and discharged the

THEN the king called to that knight, and asked him if
he would fight for the queen.  Then he answered to the
king:  Therefore came I hither, and therefore, sir king, he
said, tarry me no longer, for I may not tarry.  For anon
as I have finished this battle I must depart hence, for I
have ado many matters elsewhere.  For wit you well, said
that knight, this is dishonour to you all knights of the
Round Table, to see and know so noble a lady and so
courteous a queen as Queen Guenever is, thus to be
rebuked and shamed amongst you.  Then they all marvelled
what knight that might be that so took the battle upon
him.  For there was not one that knew him, but if it were
Sir Bors.

Then said Sir Mador de la Porte unto the king:  Now
let me wit with whom I shall have ado withal.  And then
they rode to the lists' end, and there they couched their
spears, and ran together with all their might, and Sir
Mador's spear brake all to pieces, but the other's spear
held, and bare Sir Mador's horse and all backward to the
earth a great fall.  But mightily and suddenly he avoided
his horse and put his shield afore him, and then drew his
sword, and bade the other knight alight and do battle
with him on foot.  Then that knight descended from his
horse lightly like a valiant man, and put his shield afore
him and drew his sword; and so they came eagerly unto
battle, and either gave other many great strokes, tracing
and traversing, racing and foining, and hurtling together
with their swords as it were wild boars.  Thus were they
fighting nigh an hour, for this Sir Mador was a strong
knight, and mightily proved in many strong battles.  But
at the last this knight smote Sir Mador grovelling upon
the earth, and the knight stepped near him to have pulled
Sir Mador flatling upon the ground; and therewith
suddenly Sir Mador arose, and in his rising he smote that
knight through the thick of the thighs that the blood ran
out fiercely.  And when he felt himself so wounded, and
saw his blood, he let him arise upon his feet.  And then
he gave him such a buffet upon the helm that he fell to
the earth flatling, and therewith he strode to him to have
pulled off his helm off his head.  And then Sir Mador
prayed that knight to save his life, and so he yielded him
as overcome, and released the queen of his quarrel.  I will
not grant thee thy life, said that knight, only that thou
freely release the queen for ever, and that no mention be
made upon Sir Patrise's tomb that ever Queen Guenever
consented to that treason.  All this shall be done, said Sir
Mador, I clearly discharge my quarrel for ever.

Then the knights parters of the lists took up Sir
Mador, and led him to his tent, and the other knight
went straight to the stair-foot where sat King Arthur;
and by that time was the queen come to the king, and
either kissed other heartily.  And when the king saw that
knight, he stooped down to him, and thanked him, and
in likewise did the queen; and the king prayed him to
put off his helmet, and to repose him, and to take a sop
of wine.  And then he put off his helm to drink, and then
every knight knew him that it was Sir Launcelot du Lake.
Anon as the king wist that, he took the queen in his hand,
and yode unto Sir Launcelot, and said:  Sir, grant mercy
of your great travail that ye have had this day for me and
for my queen.  My lord, said Sir Launcelot, wit ye well I
ought of right ever to be in your quarrel, and in my lady
the queen's quarrel, to do battle; for ye are the man that
gave me the high order of knighthood, and that day my
lady, your queen, did me great worship, and else I had
been shamed; for that same day ye made me knight,
through my hastiness I lost my sword, and my lady, your
queen, found it, and lapped it in her train, and gave me
my sword when I had need thereto, and else had I been
shamed among all knights; and therefore, my lord Arthur, I
promised her at that day ever to be her knight in right outher
in wrong.  Grant mercy, said the king, for this journey;
and wit ye well, said the king, I shall acquit your goodness.

And ever the queen beheld Sir Launcelot, and wept so
tenderly that she sank almost to the ground for sorrow
that he had done to her so great goodness where she
shewed him great unkindness.  Then the knights of his
blood drew unto him, and there either of them made great
joy of other.  And so came all the knights of the Table
Round that were there at that time, and welcomed him.
And then Sir Mador was had to leech-craft, and Sir
Launcelot was healed of his wound.  And then there was
made great joy and mirths in that court.