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How Sir Launcelot began to sicken, and after died, whose
body was borne to Joyous Gard for to be buried

THEN Sir Launcelot never after ate but little meat, ne
drank, till he was dead.  For then he sickened more and
more, and dried, and dwined away.  For the Bishop nor
none of his fellows might not make him to eat, and little
he drank, that he was waxen by a cubit shorter than he
was, that the people could not know him.  For evermore,
day and night, he prayed, but sometime he slumbered a
broken sleep; ever he was lying grovelling on the tomb
of King Arthur and Queen Guenever.  And there was no
comfort that the Bishop, nor Sir Bors, nor none of his
fellows, could make him, it availed not.  So within six
weeks after, Sir Launcelot fell sick, and lay in his bed; and
then he sent for the Bishop that there was hermit, and all
his true fellows.  Then Sir Launcelot said with dreary
steven:  Sir Bishop, I pray you give to me all my rites that
longeth to a Christian man.  It shall not need you, said
the hermit and all his fellows, it is but heaviness of your
blood, ye shall be well mended by the grace of God
to-morn.  My fair lords, said Sir Launcelot, wit you well
my careful body will into the earth, I have warning more
than now I will say; therefore give me my rites.  So
when he was houseled and anealed, and had all that a
Christian man ought to have, he prayed the Bishop that his
fellows might bear his body to Joyous Gard.  Some men
say it was Alnwick, and some men say it was Bamborough.
Howbeit, said Sir Launcelot, me repenteth sore, but I made
mine avow sometime, that in Joyous Gard I would be
buried.  And because of breaking of mine avow, I pray
you all, lead me thither.  Then there was weeping and
wringing of hands among his fellows.

So at a season of the night they all went to their beds,
for they all lay in one chamber.  And so after midnight,
against day, the Bishop [that] then was hermit, as he lay in
his bed asleep, he fell upon a great laughter.  And
therewith all the fellowship awoke, and came to the Bishop, and
asked him what he ailed.  Ah Jesu mercy, said the Bishop,
why did ye awake me?  I was never in all my life so merry
and so well at ease.  Wherefore? said Sir Bors.  Truly
said the Bishop, here was Sir Launcelot with me with mo
angels than ever I saw men in one day.  And I saw the
angels heave up Sir Launcelot unto heaven, and the gates
of heaven opened against him.  It is but dretching of
swevens, said Sir Bors, for I doubt not Sir Launcelot aileth
nothing but good.  It may well be, said the Bishop; go
ye to his bed, and then shall ye prove the sooth.  So when
Sir Bors and his fellows came to his bed they found him
stark dead, and he lay as he had smiled, and the sweetest
savour about him that ever they felt.

Then was there weeping and wringing of hands, and
the greatest dole they made that ever made men.  And
on the morn the Bishop did his mass of Requiem,
and after, the Bishop and all the nine knights put Sir
Launcelot in the same horse bier that Queen Guenever
was laid in to-fore that she was buried.  And so the Bishop
and they all together went with the body of Sir Launcelot
daily, till they came to Joyous Gard; and ever they had
an hundred torches brenning about him.  And so within
fifteen days they came to Joyous Gard.  And there they
laid his corpse in the body of the quire, and sang and
read many psalters and prayers over him and about him.

And ever his visage was laid open and naked, that all
folks might behold him.  For such was the custom in
those days, that all men of worship should so lie with
open visage till that they were buried.  And right thus
as they were at their service, there came Sir Ector de
Maris, that had seven years sought all England, Scotland,
and Wales, seeking his brother, Sir Launcelot.