Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK XVII  Previous  Next 

 How Sir Launcelot was to-fore the door of the chamber
 wherein the Holy Sangreal was.
 THEN he enforced him mickle to undo the door.  Then
 he listened and heard a voice which sang so sweetly that
 it seemed none earthly thing; and him thought the voice
 said:  Joy and honour be to the Father of Heaven.  Then
 Launcelot kneeled down to-fore the chamber, for well
 wist he that there was the Sangreal within that chamber.
 Then said he:  Fair sweet Father, Jesu Christ, if ever I
 did thing that pleased Thee, Lord for Thy pity never
 have me not in despite for my sins done aforetime, and
 that Thou show me something of that I seek.  And with
 that he saw the chamber door open, and there came out a
 great clearness, that the house was as bright as all the
 torches of the world had been there.
 So came he to the chamber door, and would have
 entered.  And anon a voice said to him:  Flee, Launcelot,
 and enter not, for thou oughtest not to do it; and if
 thou enter thou shalt for-think it.  Then he withdrew
 him aback right heavy.  Then looked he up in the midst
 of the chamber, and saw a table of silver, and the Holy
 Vessel, covered with red samite, and many angels about it,
 whereof one held a candle of wax burning, and the other
 held a cross, and the ornaments of an altar.  And before
 the Holy Vessel he saw a good man clothed as a priest.
 And it seemed that he was at the sacring of the mass.  And
 it seemed to Launcelot that above the priest's hands were
 three men, whereof the two put the youngest by likeness
 between the priest's hands; and so he lift it up right high,
 and it seemed to show so to the people.  And then
 Launcelot marvelled not a little, for him thought the
 priest was so greatly charged of the figure that him
 seemed that he should fall to the earth.  And when he
 saw none about him that would help him, then came he to
 the door a great pace, and said: Fair Father Jesu Christ,
 ne take it for no sin though I help the good man which
 hath great need of help.
 Right so entered he into the chamber, and came
 toward the table of silver; and when he came nigh he felt
 a breath, that him thought it was intermeddled with fire,
 which smote him so sore in the visage that him thought it
 brent his visage; and therewith he fell to the earth, and
 had no power to arise, as he that was so araged, that had
 lost the power of his body, and his hearing, and his seeing.
 Then felt he many hands about him, which took him up
 and bare him out of the chamber door, without any
 amending of his swoon, and left him there, seeming dead
 to all people.
 So upon the morrow when it was fair day they within
 were arisen, and found Launcelot lying afore the chamber
 door.  All they marvelled how that he came in, and so
 they looked upon him, and felt his pulse to wit whether
 there were any life in him; and so they found life in him,
 but he might not stand nor stir no member that he had.
 And so they took him by every part of the body, and
 bare him into a chamber, and laid him in a rich bed, far
 from all folk; and so he lay four days.  Then the one
 said he was alive, and the other said, Nay.  In the name
 of God, said an old man, for I do you verily to wit he is
 not dead, but he is so full of life as the mightiest of you
 all; and therefore I counsel you that he be well kept till
 God send him life again.