Le Morte Darthur Book 2

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Capitulum i

After Uther’s death Arthur reigns. One day when he was in London, a knight tells of King Royne laying waste to Wales. A damsel from the lady Lyle of Albion visits Arthur. She tells him she needs to find a knight without treason to pull a sword out of a scabbard. Arthur and his men try and fail [-> mirroring sword-in-stone episode].

Capitulum ii

At the same time there was a poor knight at Arthur’s court, just released from prison. He declines to try as unworthy but is encouraged to and consequently succeeds. Many knights despise him for it. He declines to give the sword back upon request and the damsel prohesies that he will slay his best friend with it. Balyn still wants to keep it and does so. The damsel departs and so attempts Balyn. He is held back by Arthur but eventually allowed to go away. Other knights suspect B. having pulled the sword by witchcraft.

Capitulum iii

While B. makes himself ready to depart, the Lady of the Lake comes and demands the a favour from Arthur, which he promised before: Balyn’s head. Arthur asks her to ask for sth. else, she declines. When B. sees the Lady, he slays her, for she had slain his mother. Arthur is greatly displeased and scolds Balyn, banishing him from court. Balyn departs and is blamed by his squire again. Balyn plans to destroy King Royne to re-gain the favour of Arthur. Arthur buries the Lady of the Lake richly.

Capitulum iiij

Launceor asks permission to persue B. from Arthur and is granted it. Merlin calls the damsel the falsest that lives, had a lover who was slain by her brother.

Capitulum v

The sword was enchanted upon request by Lyle so that who pulls it out should slay his brother. [? So she wanted to slay her brother with it herself? Caxton is clear here: the knight who draws it shall slay her brother.] Merlin also prophecies that B. shall do great honour unto Arthur but ruin himself. Lanceour depars and meets with Balyn, is slain by Balyn after jousting by the sword (from horseback).

Capitulum vi

Balyn sees a damsel coming after L. She mourns L’s death and eventually kills herself with L’s sword. Balyn repents this. He meets with his brother Balan and tells him of his story.

Capitulum vii

A dwarf appears and Balyn reveals himself as the one who killed the knight – the dwarf tells him that his kin will hunt Balyn. Balyn has no fear. King Mark of Cornwall appears and eventually erects a tomb for the knight and the lady (Columbe).

Capitulum viii

Merlin speaks to Mark and prophecies a battle at this place between Launcelot du Lake and Tristram. Merlin does not give his name. M. scolds Balyn for not having saved the lady for his own sake and prophecies that Balyn will do a Dolorous Stroke and destroy three kingdoms. Balyn assumes the name of the Knight with the Two Swords. Mark departs to Camelot. Balyn recognises Merlin.

Capitulum ix

Balyn, Balan and Merlin lodge together. King Roynes comes with his men. The king and his men are defeated, Royne taken prisoner and sent to Arthur. Arthur is told of the events by Merlinm Royne submits himself, Merlin reveals the knight as Balyn and says that he shall do more; furthermore King Nero, Royne’s brother comes with a host.

Capitulum x

Arthur prepares to meet Nero in battle. Merlin speaks with Lot prophesying things until Nero is defeated. [distraction] Lot is informed of Nero’s destruction. Merlin’s motifs are explained: protecting Arthur from Lot. Arthur and the two knights battle Lot. Lot is eventually defeated, Arthur sleept with his wife begetting Mordred which is cause for the enmity. (Malory’s source: enmity from May Day Children Slaughter). Pellinore appears and smites down Lot, making the host flee. Lot’s death will eventually be revenged on Pellinore by Gawain. Twelve more knights on Lot’s side were slain and buried in a chapel in Camelot.

Capitulum xi

Lot gets a great tomb separate from the others. Merlin makes a statue of Arthur subduing the twelve knights. B, B and Pellinore are gone. Merlin tells Arthur of Ecalibur’s scabbard’s power. The scabbard is given to Morgan Le Fey who secretly makes a copy to get Arthur slain. The plot fails. [see book IV for this actually happening] Merlin prophecies a battle between Mordred and Arthur.

Capitulum xii

Arthur gets sick and makes camp. Balyn meets with Arthur. Balyn rides forth to do more for Arthur. Balyn picks up another knight who is almost immediately slain by the knight Garlonde – under the conduct of BAlyn - walking around invisible. Arthur lets bury the knight, inscribing his name (Harleus le Berbeus) and the “trechory” of Garlond. H’s damsel keeps the spear with which he was slaun.

Capitulum xiii

Balyn takes the damsel with him, seeking Garlonde. He meets the knight Peryne de Mounte Belarde who also gets slain by Garlonde. When he is buried a prophecy of Gawain’s revenge on Pellinore is on the stone. Balyn and the damsel come to a town; she needs to give a cup of her blood to pass to cure the princess of an illness. She gives the blood freely. Eventually the lady will be cured by Sir Percival’s sister.

Capitulum xiv

They ride more days and hear that Garlond is on a feast of king Pellam. Despite having no lady [? Yeah…] Balyn attends the feast and eventually slays Garlond while still on the feast.

Capitulum xv

all other knights arise and king Pellam attacks Balyn. Balyn heavily wounds Pellam and the castle breaks, paralysing Balyn – most people are dead through this “Dolorous Stroke” [see also Eschenbach’s Parzival].

Capitulum xvi

Merlin comes after 3 days. Balyn is given a horse. Pellam lies heavily wounded till Galahad will heal in the quest for the grail. Merlin tells Balyn of the harm he did. Balyn meets a knight (Garnysh of the Mownte) and offers to help him with his lady who was abducted by another knight (Duke Harmel) [CAXTON TEXT, MISSING IN WINCHESTER!: Balyn discovers the lady lying with the knight. Garnysh is told and let there

Capitulum xvii

He kills them both and laments being shown this. Balyn comes to a cross forbidding a single knight to ride on. He hears a horn blow and says it was a hunt for him. He has to joust if he wants to go on. A knight advises him to put away his shield supplies him with another one.

Capitulum xviii

Balyn sees come out a knight and they joust. Both lie dying and only then it is clear that Balyn slew his own brother Balan who did not recognise him due to the replaced shield BAlan tells Balyn that he had slain a knight on the island he is and could therefoe not depart any more. A lady with knights comes and gives them the last rites. Balan dies, Balin dies the midnight after.

Capitulum ixx

Merlin comes and writes the name of Balyn on the tomb. He makes a bed on which nobody shall lie – this is eventually destroyed by Launcelot de Lake. Merlin takes Balyn’s sword and replaces the pomel; END MISSING WINCHESTER] M. says that only the best knight, Launcelot or Galahad, shall wield the sword and that Lancelot shall slay Gawain with it. Merlin makes a bridge to be crossed only be men without villany. The sword is put into a marble stone [sword in stone echo]. Malory equates Winchester with Camelot wherto the stone which swam “by adventure” and was taken out by Galahad. Arthur is told of the story of B&B and mourns their loss.

For quite a full account also compare Wikipedia on Sir Balin