Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK XIX  Previous  Next 


How Sir Launcelot came in the night to the queen and lay
with her, and how Sir Meliagrance appeached the
queen of treason

THEN the knights that were hurt were searched, and soft
salves were laid to their wounds; and so it passed on till
supper time, and all the cheer that might be made them
there was done unto the queen and all her knights.  Then
when season was, they went unto their chambers, but in
no wise the queen would not suffer the wounded knights
to be from her, but that they were laid within draughts by
her chamber, upon beds and pillows, that she herself might
see to them, that they wanted nothing.

So when Sir Launcelot was in his chamber that was
assigned unto him, he called unto him Sir Lavaine, and
told him that night he must go speak with his lady, Dame
Guenever.  Sir, said Sir Lavaine, let me go with you an
it please you, for I dread me sore of the treason of Sir
Meliagrance.  Nay, said Sir Launcelot, I thank you, but
I will have nobody with me.  Then Sir Launcelot took
his sword in his hand, and privily went to a place where
he had espied a ladder to-forehand, and that he took under
his arm, and bare it through the garden, and set it up to
the window, and there anon the queen was ready to meet
him.  And then they made either to other their complaints
of many divers things, and then Sir Launcelot
wished that he might have come into her.  Wit ye well,
said the queen, I would as fain as ye, that ye might come
in to me.  Would ye, madam, said Sir Launcelot, with
your heart that I were with you?  Yea, truly, said the
queen.  Now shall I prove my might, said Sir Launcelot,
for your love; and then he set his hands upon the bars
of iron, and he pulled at them with such a might that he
brast them clean out of the stone walls, and therewithal
one of the bars of iron cut the brawn of his hands
throughout to the bone; and then he leapt into the chamber
to the queen.  Make ye no noise, said the queen, for my
wounded knights lie here fast by me.  So, to pass upon
this tale, Sir Launcelot went unto bed with the queen, and
he took no force of his hurt hand, but took his pleasaunce
and his liking until it was in the dawning of the day; and
wit ye well he slept not but watched, and when he saw his
time that he might tarry no longer he took his leave and
departed at the window, and put it together as well as he
might again, and so departed unto his own chamber; and
there he told Sir Lavaine how he was hurt.  Then Sir
Lavaine dressed his hand and staunched it, and put upon
it a glove, that it should not be espied; and so the queen
lay long in her bed until it was nine of the clock.

Then Sir Meliagrance went to the queen's chamber,
and found her ladies there ready clothed.  Jesu mercy,
said Sir Meliagrance, what aileth you, madam, that ye
sleep thus long?  And right therewithal he opened the
curtain for to behold her; and then was he ware where
she lay, and all the sheet and pillow was bebled with the
blood of Sir Launcelot and of his hurt hand.  When Sir
Meliagrance espied that blood, then he deemed in her
that she was false to the king, and that some of the
wounded knights had lain by her all that night.  Ah,
madam, said Sir Meliagrance, now I have found you a
false traitress unto my lord Arthur; for now I prove well
it was not for nought that ye laid these wounded knights
within the bounds of your chamber; therefore I will
call you of treason before my lord, King Arthur.  And
now I have proved you, madam, with a shameful deed;
and that they be all false, or some of them, I will make
good, for a wounded knight this night hath lain by you.
That is false, said the queen, and that I will report me
unto them all.  Then when the ten knights heard Sir
Meliagrance's words, they spake all in one voice and said
to Sir Meliagrance: Thou sayest falsely, and wrongfully
puttest upon us such a deed, and that we will make good
any of us; choose which thou list of us when we are whole
of our wounds.  Ye shall not, said Sir Meliagrance, away
with your proud language, for here ye may all see, said
Sir Meliagrance, that by the queen this night a wounded
knight hath lain.  Then were they all ashamed when they
saw that blood; and wit you well Sir Meliagrance was
passing glad that he had the queen at such an advantage,
for he deemed by that to hide his treason.  So with this
rumour came in Sir Launcelot, and found them all at a
great array.