Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK XX CHAPTER IX

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 Of the sorrow and lamentation of King Arthur for the
 death of his nephews and other good knights, and also
 for the queen, his wife
 SO turn we again unto King Arthur, that when it was told
 him how and in what manner of wise the queen was taken
 away from the fire, and when he heard of the death of
 his noble knights, and in especial of Sir Gaheris and Sir
 Gareth's death, then the king swooned for pure sorrow.
 And when he awoke of his swoon, then he said:  Alas,
 that ever I bare crown upon my head! for now have
 I lost the fairest fellowship of noble knights that ever
 held Christian king together.  Alas, my good knights be
 slain away from me: now within these two days I have
 lost forty knights, and also the noble fellowship of Sir
 Launcelot and his blood, for now I may never hold
 them together no more with my worship.  Alas that
 ever this war began.  Now fair fellows, said the king,
 I charge you that no man tell Sir Gawaine of the death
 of his two brethren; for I am sure, said the king, when
 Sir Gawaine heareth tell that Sir Gareth is dead he will go
 nigh out of his mind.  Mercy Jesu, said the king, why
 slew he Sir Gareth and Sir Gaheris, for I dare say as for
 Sir Gareth he loved Sir Launcelot above all men earthly.
 That is truth, said some knights, but they were slain in
 the hurtling as Sir Launcelot thrang in the thick of the
 press; and as they were unarmed he smote them and wist
 not whom that he smote, and so unhappily they were
 slain.  The death of them, said Arthur, will cause the
 greatest mortal war that ever was; I am sure, wist Sir
 Gawaine that Sir Gareth were slain, I should never have
 rest of him till I had destroyed Sir Launcelot's kin and
 himself both, outher else he to destroy me.  And therefore,
 said the king, wit you well my heart was never so
 heavy as it is now, and much more I am sorrier for my
 good knights' loss than for the loss of my fair queen;
 for queens I might have enow, but such a fellowship of
 good knights shall never be together in no company.
 And now I dare say, said King Arthur, there was never
 Christian king held such a fellowship together; and alas
 that ever Sir Launcelot and I should be at debate.  Ah
 Agravaine, Agravaine, said the king, Jesu forgive it thy soul,
 for thine evil will, that thou and thy brother Sir Mordred
 hadst unto Sir Launcelot, hath caused all this sorrow: and
 ever among these complaints the king wept and swooned.
 Then there came one unto Sir Gawaine, and told him
 how the queen was led away with Sir Launcelot, and nigh
 a twenty-four knights slain.  O Jesu defend my brethren,
 said Sir Gawaine, for full well wist I that Sir Launcelot
 would rescue her, outher else he would die in that field;
 and to say the truth he had not been a man of worship had
 he not rescued the queen that day, insomuch she should
 have been brent for his sake.  And as in that, said Sir
 Gawaine, he hath done but knightly, and as I would have
 done myself an I had stood in like case.  But where are
 my brethren? said Sir Gawaine, I marvel I hear not of
 them.  Truly, said that man, Sir Gareth and Sir Gaheris
 be slain.  Jesu defend, said Sir Gawaine, for all the world
 I would not that they were slain, and in especial my good
 brother, Sir Gareth.  Sir, said the man, he is slain, and
 that is great pity.  Who slew him? said Sir Gawaine.
 Sir, said the man, Launcelot slew them both.  That may I
 not believe, said Sir Gawaine, that ever he slew my brother,
 Sir Gareth; for I dare say my brother Gareth loved him
 better than me, and all his brethren, and the king both.
 Also I dare say, an Sir Launcelot had desired my brother
 Sir Gareth, with him he would have been with him against
 the king and us all, and therefore I may never believe that
 Sir Launcelot slew my brother.  Sir, said this man, it is
 noised that he slew him.