Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK IV CHAPTER I

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How Merlin was assotted and doted on one of the ladies of
the lake, and how he was shut in a rock under a stone
and there died.

SO after these quests of Sir Gawaine, Sir Tor, and King
Pellinore, it fell so that Merlin fell in a dotage on the damosel
that King Pellinore brought to court, and she was one of the
damosels of the lake, that hight Nimue.  But Merlin would let her
have no rest, but always he would be with her.  And ever she made
Merlin good cheer till she had learned of him all manner thing
that she desired; and he was assotted upon her, that he might not
be from her.  So on a time he told King Arthur that he should not
dure long, but for all his crafts he should be put in the earth
quick.  And so he told the king many things that should befall,
but always he warned the king to keep well his sword and the
scabbard, for he told him how the sword and the scabbard should
be stolen by a woman from him that he most trusted.  Also he told
King Arthur that he should miss him,--Yet had ye liefer than all
your lands to have me again.  Ah, said the king, since ye know of
your adventure, purvey for it, and put away by your crafts that
misadventure.  Nay, said Merlin, it will not be; so he departed
from the king.  And within a while the Damosel of the Lake
departed, and Merlin went with her evermore wheresomever she
went.  And ofttimes Merlin would have had her privily away by his
subtle crafts; then she made him to swear that he <103>should
never do none enchantment upon her if he would have his will. 
And so he sware; so she and Merlin went over the sea unto the
land of Benwick, whereas King Ban was king that had great war
against King Claudas, and there Merlin spake with King Ban's
wife, a fair lady and a good, and her name was Elaine, and there
he saw young Launcelot.  There the queen made great sorrow for
the mortal war that King Claudas made on her lord and on her
lands.  Take none heaviness, said Merlin, for this same child
within this twenty year shall revenge you on King Claudas, that
all Christendom shall speak of it; and this same child shall be
the most man of worship of the world, and his first name is
Galahad, that know I well, said Merlin, and since ye have
confirmed him Launcelot.  That is truth, said the queen, his
first name was Galahad.  O Merlin, said the queen, shall I live
to see my son such a man of prowess?  Yea, lady, on my peril ye
shall see it, and live many winters after.

And so, soon after, the lady and Merlin departed, and by the way
Merlin showed her many wonders, and came into Cornwall.  And
always Merlin lay about the lady to have her maidenhood, and she
was ever passing weary of him, and fain would have been delivered
of him, for she was afeard of him because he was a devil's son,
and she could not beskift him by no mean.  And so on a time it
happed that Merlin showed to her in a rock whereas was a great
wonder, and wrought by enchantment, that went under a great
stone.  So by her subtle working she made Merlin to go under that
stone to let her wit of the marvels there; but she wrought so
there for him that he came never out for all the craft he could
do.  And so she departed and left Merlin.