Le Morte Darthur Book 20
- 1 Capitulum i
- 2 Capitulum ii
- 3 Capitulum iii
- 4 Capitulum iv
- 5 Capitulum v
- 6 Capitulum vi
- 7 Capitulum vii
- 8 Capitulum viii
- 9 Capitulum ix
- 10 Capitulum x
- 11 Capitulum xi
- 12 Capitulum xii
- 13 Capitulum xiii
- 14 Capitulum xiiii
- 15 Capitulum xv
- 16 Capitulum xvi
- 17 Capitulum xvii
- 18 Capitulum xviii
- 19 Capitulum xix
- 20 Capitulum xx
- 21 Capitulum xxi
- 22 Capitulum xxii
May (again). Agravain’s and Mordred’s hate grows and they plan an open speech that Lancelot lies day and night by the queen. Gawain asks them to not do the like and reminds of Lancelot’s deeds and that the three of them were rescued by Lancelot before (Dolorus Tower => ??.?; Sir Turquin => ?.??). Arthur comes in. Gareth, Gaheris and Gawain won’t participate in A & M’s doings.
Aggrevain and Mordred accuse Guenever and Lancelot before Arthur (privately) and suppose a trap to prove it. The king shall go hunting and some knights shall wait in the castle and see if Lancelot visits the queen. It is done so and 12 knights wait with Agrevaine, all from Scotland or of A’s kin. Bors warns Lance of a trap (he is Lance’s nephew [?!]) Lance goes nevertheless.
He takes is sword to the queen’s chamber [um… pretty suggestive, innit?]. When inside, Mordred calls him a traitor and to come out. The queen tells him to escape and to recue her if they try to burn her. Lancelot makes sure that he “never fayled [her] in ryghte nor in wrong” [!]. He is sure that all his kin will support him. He prays for Jesus to be his shield.
The knights outside have taken a provisiorical battering-ram and run against the doors. Lancelot opens them after talk. A knight storms in (Colegrevance of Gore) and is killed by Lancelot who takes his armour. Lancelot offers to fight all that challenge him the next day but the knights decline and Lancelot fights his way out through them, slaying Agrevaine and twelve of his knights (but not Mordred) and flees after changing rings with Guenever.
Bors et al. get armed due to dreams they had. Lancelot tells them to look for friend and foe (list of friends…) and Lancelot tells of the events. He is determined to fight for the queene and “that she is a true lady unto her lord”.
Bors, too, advises him to hold with the queen and to recue her when they try to burn her. He compares Lancelot to Tristram and Isould – but Arthur and King Mark do not match the roles since Arthur was never untrue of any promise.
Mordred informs Arthur of the events and Arthur now is sure that the TR is broken. He proclaims death to be the punishment for his queen if she is found guilty. Gawain counsels him to not be hasty and that it might all be without evil. But Arthur is determined to have her burnt. Arthur reminds Gawain that Lancelot slew his brother Agrevain and two sons of Gawain (Florencel, Lovel) but Gawain answers that he warned them all to not strive with Lancelot
Gawain declines to take Guenever to the stack. Arthur then orders Gareth and Gaheris to do so; they accept the command only as they go there unarmed. Guenever makes her confessions. As she is to be brunt, Lancelot and his men attack, many knights get slain (names here) and Lancelot also accidentally and unnoticing slays Gareth and Gaheris (whom he both loves). The queen is rescued and Lancelot treats her “as a noble knight should do”. Many are glad of this and many are not.
Arthur is informed of the events and decides to not tell Gawain. Arthur himself is more sorry about the dead knights than about the loss of the queen. Gawain asks a servant about his brethren and learns of their death. Gawain cannot believe it as Gaheris would have joined Lancelot in any cause if he had been asked.
Gawain faints. He wants to see his brother, then, but both are already entombed. Gawain is told the whole story and makes a pledge of vengeance upon Lancelot to hunt him until either of them is dead. Launcelot withdraws to Joyous Gard (a castle), Arthur musters his host, a siege ensues.
Arthur and Lancelot talk a lot. Arthur is willing to make peace but Gawain burns with hatred and accuses Lancelot of killing his brothers which he does not deny but state that he had not seen them an that he regrets their death
Gawain thus prevents a peace. Bors suggests an excursion to fight on the field. Lancelot does not want this and warns Arthur and Gawain that he is required by his men to do so. They attack but Lancelot commands to avoid Arthur and Gawain
They battle. Arthur is wounded. Lancelot re-horses him and tells him to stop the fighting. Both parties withdraw. Gawain encounters Bors (draw). Lancelot re-joins the fight after his men tell him to. Arthur withdraws, Lancelot withdraws. A Popish bull is given out requiring Arthur to accept back the queen and to make peace.
Arthur consents to take back the Queen and Lancelot consents to hand her over. Lancelot once more makes his point to only protect the queen – from anything. “The pope must be obeyed.” Lancelot comes out with an olive branch as sign of peace; he and Guenever are clothed in white and gold. They kneel before Arthur.
Lancelot once more states that Guenever did not do treason and gives his reasons for protecting her. He invokes God who could be the only one making him victorious so long and his cause thereby right. He hails the (“evil”) knights he had defeated as full noble knight and reminds Gawain of what he did for him
Gawain renews his pledge of vengeance. Lancelot offers a pilgrimage for repentance. Gawain declines – the king may do as he pleases but only death can solve matters between himself and Lancelot. Gawain accepts no more explanations – that time has gone. He threatens Lancelot to fight him wherever he is
Lancelot weeps for this. The Queen is handed over. Lancelot kisses her and all knights, dukes etc. are touched by the scene. The Joyous Gard is renamed the Dolorous Gard. Lancelot decides to leave the realm. His men decide to follow him; he parts his lands and possessions among them. His men once more want to follow him
Lancelot fears that Mordred will make trouble. He and his men sail to his lands, Benwick; Lancelot is king of all France [!] and now gives parts of the land to his followers
Arthur prepares a great host. He leaves England under Mordred’s governance and also the queen. They burn through France because of Gawain’s thirst for vengeance. Lancelot’ men request to battle them and Lancelot finally agrees. (His father is given as King Ban; King Bors is his uncle. [cf. contradiction XX.2? Am I reading wrong? That says the exact opposite but this is more likely…]. A damsel is sent to Arthur to require peace. Arthur weeps but cannot agree for Gawain’s sake.
Gawain sends word that it is too late. Benwick is besieged. Gawain encounters Bors; then Lionel and other knights, one each day for half a year. Finally Lancelot comes out
Gawain fights Lancelot. Gawin has a hidden blessing: he grows stronger three times from underne to high noon each day. Lancelot defends while Gawain grows stronger and stronger, then he attacks and defeats him but declines to kill him.
Siege lasts. Gawain cures his wounds and challenges Lancelot again. The same battle ensues to the same end. Later a third fight takes place. News from England arrive and Arthur departs with the host