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How Sir Launcelot came the same time that Sir Meliagrance
abode him in the field and dressed him to battle

NOW leave we Sir Launcelot wallop all that he might, and
speak we of Queen Guenever that was brought to a fire to
be brent; for Sir Meliagrance was sure, him thought, that
Sir Launcelot should not be at that battle; therefore he
ever cried upon King Arthur to do him justice, other-else
bring forth Sir Launcelot du Lake.  Then was the king
and all the court full sore abashed and shamed that the
queen should be brent in the default of Sir Launcelot.
My lord Arthur, said Sir Lavaine, ye may understand that
it is not well with my lord Sir Launcelot, for an he were
alive, so he be not sick outher in prison, wit ye well he
would be here; for never heard ye that ever he failed his
part for whom he should do battle for.  And therefore,
said Sir Lavaine, my lord, King Arthur, I beseech you
give me license to do battle here this day for my lord and
master, and for to save my lady, the queen.  Gramercy
gentle Sir Lavaine, said King Arthur, for I dare say all
that Sir Meliagrance putteth upon my lady the queen is
wrong, for I have spoken with all the ten wounded
knights, and there is not one of them, an he were whole
and able to do battle, but he would prove upon Sir
Meliagrance's body that it is false that he putteth upon
my queen.  So shall I, said Sir Lavaine, in the defence of
my lord, Sir Launcelot, an ye will give me leave.  Now
I give you leave, said King Arthur, and do your best,
for I dare well say there is some treason done to Sir

Then was Sir Lavaine armed and horsed, and suddenly
at the lists' end he rode to perform this battle; and right
as the heralds should cry: Lesses les aler, right so came in
Sir Launcelot driving with all the force of his horse.  And
then Arthur cried:  Ho! and Abide!  Then was Sir
Launcelot called on horseback to-fore King Arthur, and
there he told openly to-fore the king and all, how Sir
Meliagrance had served him first to last.  And when the
king, and the queen, and all the lords, knew of the
treason of Sir Meliagrance they were all ashamed on his
behalf.  Then was Queen Guenever sent for, and set by the
king in great trust of her champion.  And then there was
no more else to say, but Sir Launcelot and Sir Meliagrance
dressed them unto battle, and took their spears; and so
they came together as thunder, and there Sir Launcelot
bare him down quite over his horse's croup.  And then
Sir Launcelot alighted and dressed his shield on his
shoulder, with his sword in his hand, and Sir Meliagrance
in the same wise dressed him unto him, and there they
smote many great strokes together; and at the last Sir
Launcelot smote him such a buffet upon the helmet that
he fell on the one side to the earth.  And then he cried
upon him aloud:  Most noble knight, Sir Launcelot du
Lake, save my life, for I yield me unto you, and I require
you, as ye be a knight and fellow of the Table Round,
slay me not, for I yield me as overcome; and whether I
shall live or die I put me in the king's hands and yours.

Then Sir Launcelot wist not what to do, for he had had
liefer than all the good of the world he might have been
revenged upon Sir Meliagrance; and Sir Launcelot looked
up to the Queen Guenever, if he might espy by any sign
or countenance what she would have done.  And then the
queen wagged her head upon Sir Launcelot, as though she
would say:  Slay him.  Full well knew Sir Launcelot by
the wagging of her head that she would have him dead;
then Sir Launcelot bade him rise for shame and perform
that battle to the utterance.  Nay, said Sir Meliagrance, I
will never arise until ye take me as yolden and recreant.
I shall proffer you large proffers, said Sir Launcelot, that
is for to say, I shall unarm my head and my left quarter
of my body, all that may be unarmed, and let bind my
left hand behind me, so that it shall not help me, and
right so I shall do battle with you.  Then Sir Meliagrance
started up upon his legs, and said on high:  My lord
Arthur, take heed to this proffer, for I will take it, and
let him be disarmed and bounden according to his proffer.
What say ye, said King Arthur unto Sir Launcelot, will ye
abide by your proffer?  Yea, my lord, said Sir Launcelot,
I will never go from that I have once said.

Then the knights parters of the field disarmed Sir
Launcelot, first his head, and sithen his left arm, and his
left side, and they bound his left arm behind his back,
without shield or anything, and then they were put
together.  Wit you well there was many a lady and
knight marvelled that Sir Launcelot would jeopardy
himself in such wise.  Then Sir Meliagrance came with his
sword all on high, and Sir Launcelot showed him openly
his bare head and the bare left side; and when he weened
to have smitten him upon the bare head, then lightly he
avoided the left leg and the left side, and put his right
hand and his sword to that stroke, and so put it on side
with great sleight; and then with great force Sir Launcelot
smote him on the helmet such a buffet that the stroke
carved the head in two parts.  Then there was no more
to do, but he was drawn out of the field.  And at the
great instance of the knights of the Table Round, the
king suffered him to be interred, and the mention made
upon him, who slew him, and for what cause he was slain;
and then the king and the queen made more of Sir
Launcelot du Lake, and more he was cherished, than ever
he was aforehand.