Arthur and the Sword in the Stone
ARTHUR AND THE SWORD IN THE STONE: FOOTNOTES1 hem, them (i.e., the barons).
3 availeth, thrives.
4 chese, choose.
6 no soche man, not the right man; owe, ought; entermete of, be involved in.
7 acorde, agree; awarde, advice.
8 yef, if.
12 faire aventure, good fortune.
13 is now deed sithe Martinmasse, has now been dead since November 11; Yoole, Yule, Christmas.
14 leve, believe; ageyn, towards.
18 will undirtake, suggest that.
19 comynyally, together.
20 as, just as; liste, chose.
23 demonstraunce, demonstration.
24 eleccion, choice.
38 norisshed, raised; moche, grown.
39 moche, large.
41 wiste not whether, knew not which.
42 he2, i.e., Arthur.
45 Yoole Even, Christmas Eve.
47 symple, plain.
48 orisouns, prayers.
51 abode, awaited.
52 trowed, believed; her, their.
55 araied, ready; er, before.
61-62 profitable, qualified.
62 owe, ought.
63 verry tokenynge, true sign.
64 as, because.
67 and that, after.
68 voyde place, open space.
69 dawe, to dawn; clere, brighten.
71 styth, anvil.
72 ficchid, fixed.
77 lowted to, bent over.
80 this, these.
81 delivered, assigned; kepe, guard.
83 mynistre, minster.
84 Te Deum Laudamus, see note.
85 awter, alter.
88 highnesse, high rank.
90 surpluys, remainder; volunté, desire.
95 puyssaunt, powerful; force, power.
98 wende, thought; wite, know.
100 gentilnesse, nobility; richesse, wealthy.
104-05 stonde the ordenaunce, follow the plan.
105 heringe, in the hearing of.
107 is of, comes from.
113 styth, anvil.
114 take, entrusted.
118 poure, poor.
120 reson, proper.
121 kowthe, could.
129 assaye wolde, wished to try.
130 kept with, guarded by.
135 all be leysere, all by leisure, i.e., later on.
137 will, wishes.
138 westen, knew.
141 mete1, dine; mete2, dining.
142 boorde, play; pleyn, field.
143 this bourdise, these games; turneyd, tourneyed.
144 toke, gave.
146 medlé, melee.
147 oste, hostel.
149 spores, spurs.
155 hente, seized.
156 lappe, surcoat; abode after, waited.
159 cote, coat; anoon as, as soon as.
164 leved, believed.
165 ther, where; the tother squyre, i.e., Arthur.
167 and1, if.
180 purchase, arrange; gode, benefit.
181 nother, neither.
183 certes, indeed; ne I wot never, nor do I know.
187 purchase, obtain.
188 what, how; so as, just as; will, desire.
189 bounté, kindnesses.
191 owe, ought; guerdon, reward.
195 wite whether, know where.
199 stywarde, steward.
200 forfet, offence; lese, lose.
201 fool, foolish; fell, cruel; owe better, ought more.
208 and, if.
212 Te Deum Laudamus, We praise thee, O Lord.
218 abode by, stood by.
220 hardynesse, boldness.
221 and, if.
222 will, wishes.
223 affiaunce, trust.
225 selve, same.
231 garcion, boy.
234 be stille, remain.
238 be pleser, pleases.
241 gunne, began.
243 Passh, Easter; but, unless; terme, time.
244 thens, thence; ellis, then; obbey, agree; And yef, Or if; suffre, wait.
250 ordeyned, assigned.
251 kepe, guard.
252 in warde, in his care.
258 seme, think.
265 condiciouns, personal conduct.
268 lyngnage, linage.
273 sacringe, consecration.
274 respite, delayed.
280 debonerly, courteously.
282 will, desires.
283 of, from.
284 respite, delay.
286 volunté, desire.
289 ther, where.
299 cacchynge, greedy.
300 departed, divided.
301 envoisies, lively.
302 averouse, avaricious; sadde, serious.
306 demened, behaved.
309 avers, properties; besette, assigned.
310 assaide, tested.
311 nought, nothing.
312 Witsontide, i.e., Pentecost.
315 longed, pertained.
316 be comen, by common.
324 of that, because.
328 mote, must; quyte, forgiven.
331 wherewith, with which.
333 yede, rode.
342 lightly, easily.
ARTHUR AND THE SWORD IN THE STONE: NOTES
Arthur and the Sword in the Stone
[Fols. 31v (line 14)-35v (line 26)]
The "sword in the stone" episode became a integral part of the Arthurian story during the thirteenth century; its origin, however, is obscure. The episode is not found or even alluded to in the works of Geoffrey of Monmouth, Wace, Layamon, or Chrétien de Troyes, but it does occur in the OF Vulgate. Perhaps a parallel to it occurs in the Volsunga Saga (ch. 3), in an episode in which Sigmund succeeds in pulling a sword out of the Branstock after others have failed -- a sword that was divinely sent from the wizard-god Odin, whom some have seen as a forerunner of Merlin. Rough similarities may also be seen in the story of Theseus and his father Aegeus in Greek myth. Theseus is fathered out of wedlock by Aegeus, who leaves a pair of shoes and a sword under a huge stone; later, Thesues proves himself by having the strength to raise the stone and retrieve the shoes and the sword. A stone playing a vital role in the selection of the king is also encountered in Celtic tradition in the magical stone called Lia Fail, or Stone of Destiny, which gave a shriek when the rightful king stood upon it. That tradition may still be reflected in the British custom of a monarch being crowned while seated upon the Stone of Scone. Nonetheless, medieval romance literature contains many episodes in which only one person can accomplish a particular deed -- several such episodes occur in Malory alone.What is especially significant about this episode is that the sword provides proof that Arthur, despite the questions surrounding his birth, is king by divine election. It is also significant that Merlin bows out of the proceeding, turning it over to the archbishop, thehighest official of the church. The PM does not identify the archbishop, who in Geoffrey and Wace is said to be the Archbishop Dubricius. It is likely that he is the same clergyman who is called Bishop Brice in several other Arthurian stories.Malory's rendition of this episode, while somewhat briefer, contains most of the basic narrative elements found here in the PM. In the PM, however, the tactics of the feet-dragging barons are drawn in much greater detail. In both versions Arthur's foster father (here named Antor, in Malory named Ector) does not know the real identity of the child he has raised as his own son, and in both versions the scene in which Arthur learns that Antor/Ector is not his father possesses considerable dramatic power.
13 Martinmasse. The Feast of St. Martin, which celebrates St. Martin of Tours, occurs on November 11.
33 I shall not be ther. Merlin's decision to be absent during the episode in which Arthur proves himself to be Uther's rightful successor probably has to do with Merlin's fiendish origins. Because Merlin is the son of a devil, and because Arthur is being chosen according to the Divine Will, it might be inappropriate for Merlin to have any direct involvement with Arthur's election.
42 Halowmasse. Allhallows, or All Saints' Day, a church festival honoring all the saints; it is November 1.
47-48 thei ledde . . . Yoole Even. Christmas Eve, which was the feast of Adam and Eve, was a day of partial fasting.
84 Te Deum Laudamus. "We praise thee, O Lord" -- a famous Latin hymn, frequently used for official celebrations, from funerals to coronations.
112-13 justice in erthe . . . in the swerde. The archbishop observes that the sword represents the king's responsibility to uphold justice for all people, to defend the church, and to maintain righteousness. He also seems to suggest that the sword symbolizes the nobility, while the anvil symbolizes the commoners.
133 the eight dayes. This is the octave of Christmas, which extends from Christmas Day through New Year's Day.
141-42 the knyghtes to boorde. The knights customarily hold a great tournament on New Year's Day following Mass.
200 that for no forfet. Antor's main request of Arthur is that he assign the high office of King's Steward to Sir Kay, Arthur's foster brother. In addition, Antor (Ector) wants Arthur to overlook any future offences that Kay may commit, anticipating Kay's later rude behavior, and helping to explain why Arthur is so tolerant of Kay's frequent lack of civility.
235 Candelmesse. Candlemas, observed on February 2, is an important feast day celebrating the Presentation of the baby Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:22-39), as well as the Purification of the Virgin Mary.
245 every man do . . . . I.e., "In that case, it is every man for himself," meaning that all agreements are canceled. The barons are trying to have things all their own way, and the archbishop, in order to preserve the peace, tolerates their delaying tactics.
317 Alle that nyght. On the Eve of Pentecost, Arthur keeps an all-night vigil in the minster; he is preparing himself spiritually for his coronation on the following day.
[Arthur and the Sword in the Stone]
Whan he was come before hem they seide, "Merlyn, we knowe well thow art
wise and haste alwey loved wele the kynges of this reame. And thow knowest
wele that this londe is lefte withouten heir, and a londe withoute a lorde availeth
litill. Therfore we pray thee and requere to helpe us to chese soche a man as
myght the reame governe to the profite of the peple and savacion of Holy Cherche."
And Merlin seide, "I am no soche man that owe to entermete of soche counseile,
ne that I sholde chese a man to be a governoure. But yef ye acorde to myn awarde
I shall telle yow; and yef I sey not wele, acordeth not therto." And thei seide,
"Alle to the welfare and profite of us alle oure Lorde sende grace!" And Merlin
seide, "I have moche loved this reame and the peple therinne, and yef I wolde
telle yow whom ye sholde make youre kynge, I ought wele to be beleved, and it
were right. Bot oon faire aventure is yow befallen, yef ye will it knowen. The
kynge is now deed sithe Martinmasse, and fro hens to Yoole is but litill space.
And yef ye leve my counseile, I shall yeve yow gode and trewe, bothe ageyn God
and the worlde." And thei seiden alle at ones, "Sey what thow wilte, and we shall
And he seide, "Ye knowe wele that now cometh the feste that oure Lorde was
inne ibore, and He is Lorde of alle lordes. And I will undirtake, yef ye and alle the
peple comynyally pray to oure Lorde for His grete pité for to sende yow a rightfull
governour, as He thourgh His grete humylité at this feste cleped Yooleliste to be
born of a virgyn, and Kynge of alle kynges, that He at this feste chese yow soche
a man to be youre kynge and lorde, that the peple may rule and governe to His
plesir; and that He shew soche demonstraunce that the peple may se and knowe
that it is be His eleccion, and that he that so is chosen be kynge withoute eny other
eleccion. And wite ye well, yef ye thus do, ye shull se the eleccion of oure Lorde
Jhesu Criste." Than they ansuerde alle with oon assent and seide, "We acorde with
this counseile, and ther is noon erthly man but that he ought therto acorde."
Than thei praide alle bisshopis and archebisshopes to comaunde thourgh all the
cherches that the peple to praye as ye have herde. And alle the lordes were sworne
oon to another to holde the awarde of Holy Cherche, in that God wolde hem shewen.
In this maner be thei acorded to the counseile of Merlin. And Merlyn toke leve of
hem, and thei hym praide to be with hem at Cristemasse, to se yef it were soth or
no that he hadde hem taught. And Merlyn seide, "I shall not be ther, for ye shull
not se me till the elecccion be made." Thus wente Merlin to Blase and tolde hym
alle these thinges.
Than alle the worthy men of the reame of Logres, thei come unto Logres at the
Yole. Thus was this thinge don and abiden to the Yole. And Antor, that hadde this
childe norisshed till he was a moche man of fifteen yere of age, he hadde hym
trewly norisshed so that he was faire and moche; and he hadde never soken other
mylke but of his wif, and his sone he hadde made to be norysshed of another
woman. Ne Antor wiste not whether he loved better, ne he cleped hym never but
his sone; and he wende verily that he hadde ben his fader. At Halowmasse Antor
made hys sone knyght, and at Yoole he come to Logres, as did the other knyghtes
of the londe, and brought with hym his two sones.
On Yoole Even was assembled alle the clergie of the reame, and alle the barouns
that weren of valoure and wele hadde don as Merlin hadde seide. And whan they
were alle come, thei ledde alle symple lif and honeste. Thus thei abode all the
Yoole Even and weren at messe at mydnyght, and made mekely theire orisouns to
oure Lorde, that He of His grace sende hem soche a man that myght profitably
meyntene hem and the Cristen feith.
Thus they abode the messe of the day, and so ther were many that seide thei
were foles that trowed oure Lorde wolde put his entente to chesinge of her kynge.
And as thei were in this talkynge, thei rounge to messe of the day, and so thei
yede to servise. Whan thei were alle assembled, ther was oon of the holiest men
of the londe araied to singe the messe. But er he yede to messe, he spake to the
peple and seide, "Ye be assembled for thre thinges for youre profite, and I shall
say yow whiche thei be: first of all, for the savacion of youre soules; and for the
wurship of God; and the myracle and high vertu that He thys day shall shewe
amonge us, yef it be His plesir to yeve us a kynge and chiefteyn that may save
and mayntene Holy Cherche, that is the sustenaunce of alle trewe Cristen peple.
We be come to chese oon of us; we be not so wise to knowe who is moste profit-
able of alle this peple. And for that we ne knowe, we owe to praye to the Kynge
of kynges that is Jhesu Criste oure Saveoure, that He shewe us verry tokenynge
to His pleasaunce, as He was bore on this day. So every man praye in the beste
wise he can."
And thus they did as the gode man hem counseiled. And he yede forth to masse,
and he com to the gospell and that thei hadden offred. Some of the peple yede
oute of the cherche where ther was a voyde place. And whan they com oute of the
cherche, thei sawgh it gan dawe and clere, and saugh before the cherche dore a
grete ston foure square, and ne knewe of what ston it was -- but some seide it
was marble. And above, in the myddill place of this ston, ther stode a styth of iren
that was largely half a fote of height. And thourgh this stithi was a swerde ficchid
into the ston.
When thei sye this that firste weren come oute of the chirche, thei hadde gret
merveile and yede agein into the chirche and tolde the archebisshop. And whan
the gode man that sange masse herde this, he toke haly water and caste upon the
stith. And the archebisshop lowted to the swerde and sawgh letteres of golde in
the stiel. And he redde the letteres that seiden, "Who taketh this swerde out of
this ston sholde be kynge by the eleccion of Jhesu Criste." And when he hadde
redde this letteres, he seide to the peple what it ment.
Than was the ston delivered to ten worthi men to kepe, and to two clerkes.
Than thei seiden that oure Lorde hadde hem shewed feire myracle, and yeden
agein into the mynistre to heir oute the masse and to yelde oure Lorde graces. And
thei songen "Te Deum Laudamus." And whan the gode man was come to the
awter, he turned to the peple and seide, "Feire lordes, now may ye se that some of
yow be goode men, when thourgh youre prayers and orisouns oure Lorde hath
shewde this grete myracle. Wherfore I praye and reqire yow above alle vertues in
this erthe, for highnesse ne erthly richesse that God hath yoven in this worlde, that
noon be agein this eleccion that God hath us shewde the demonstraunce. And the
surpluys He shall us shewen at His volunté."
Thanne the gode man sange forth the masse. And whan it was fynisshed they
assembled aboute the ston, bothe oon and other who that myght take oute this
swerde firste. And than thei seiden and acorded alle that thei sholde assaien it as
the mynistres of Holy Cherche wolde assigne. To this ther was grete discorde
amonge the higheste men and moste puyssaunt. And thei that hadde force seide
they wolden asseyen firste. So ther were many wordes that ought not to be rehersed.
The archebisshop spake that alle myght heren and seide, "Sirs, ye ne be not so
wise ne so wele avised men as I wende. And I will wele that ye alle wite that oure
Lorde hath oon ichosen, but I knowe not whom. And thus moche may I say to
yow, that gentilnesse ne richesse shall have no power agein the wille of Jhesu
Criste, but truste so moche in Hym that yef he that is therto chosen were yet unbore,
it shall never be taken oute of the ston till he come that it is ordeyned the honour."
Than acorded alle the noble men and wise, and seide that he hadde seide soth.
And the wise men and the high barouns toke their counseile and acorded to stonde
the ordenaunce of the archebisshop, and [thei] com agein and seiden heringe alle
the peple. And than made the bisshop grete joye and dide wepe for pité and seide,
"This humylité that is in youre hertes is of God. And I will that ye knoweafter
myn entente shall be to the volunté of God and profite of Cristen feith, so that I
shall have no blame yef God will." This parlament was before high messe of the
assay of the swerde, till that high messe was saide.
Than seide the archebisshop to the peple and shewde hem the gret myracle that
God hadde don for hem at this eleccion: "And whan oure Lorde sette justice in
erthe, He sette it in the styth and in the swerde. And the justice over the lay peple
ought to be the swerde, for the swerde at the begynynge was take to thre orderes
to diffende Holy Cherche and mayntene rightwisnesse. And oure Lorde hath now
made eleccion be the swerde. And wite it wele, alle that this have seen and beholde,
to whom He will the justice yeve. And lete no man be to hasty for to assaye, for it
shall never be drawen oute for richesse ne for pride. Ne the poure peple be not
displesed though the lordes and the high astates assaye before, for it is right and
reson that the lordes assaien firste. For ther ne is noon of yow but he ought to
have his kynge and his lorde the beste and moste worthy man that he kowthe
knowe be his reson."
Thus thei acorded to the archebisshop with gode herte and withouten evyll
will, that he sholde chese hem that he wolde to assaye firste. Thus thei graunted
alle to holde hym for hir kynge to whom God wolde shewe his grace. Thanne the
archebisshop chese oute one hundred fifty of the hiest and moste worthi lordes
and made hem go to the assaie. And whan they hadde alle assayed, than he
commaunded alle other to assaye. And than they assayden alle they, oon after
another, that assaye wolde. But ther was noon that myght it taken oute. And so it
was comaunded to be kept with ten noble men, and thei were charged to take
goode hede who com to assaien, and yef eny ther were that myght drawen out of
Thus was the swerde assaied alle the eight dayes, and alle the barouns were at
high messe. And the archebisshop hem preched and shewde as hym semed beste.
And than he seide, "I tolde yow wele that all be leysere myght he come that was
ferthest fro the assaye of this swerde. Now may ye verily knowe that never noon,
saf he that oure Lorde will, ne shall it not oute take." And than thei seiden alle
that thei wolde not out of the town till thei westen to whom God wolde graunte
In that maner thei abiden oute the messe, and after thei wente to their hosteles
to mete. And after mete, as they were used that tyme, yede the barouns and the
knyghtes to boorde in a feire pleyn, and the ten men that were ordeyned to kepe
this swerde yede also to se this bourdise. And when the knyghtes hadde turneyd
awhile, thei toke their sheldes to their squeres so that the peple of the town yede to
arme them. And Antor hadde made his eldeste sone knyght at the Halowtide be-
fore Yoole. And whan the medlé was begunne, Kay called his brother Arthur and
seide, "Go faste to oure oste and fecche my swerde."
And Arthur was goode and servisable and seide, "With gode will." And than
[he] smote the hors with the spores and rode forth to his ostell for to fecche his
brothers swerde, or ellis some other, yef he myght eny fynde. And he fonde noon,
for the hostesse hadde sette it in hir chambir. And so he turned to hem agein. And
whan he saugh he myght noon fynde, he gan to wepe for grete anger. And as he
come before the mynster ther the ston was, he saugh the swerde whiche he hadde
never assaide, and thought, yef he myght it gete, to bere it to his brother.
And as he com therby on horse bakke, he hente the swerde be the hiltes and
drough it oute, and covered it with his lappe. And his brother that abode after
withoute the towne saugh hym come, and rode agein hym and asked his swerde.
And Arthur seide he myght not have it, "but I have brought heere another," and
drough it oute from undyr his cote and toke it to his brother. And anoon as Kay
saugh this swerde, he knewe it wele that it was the swerde of the ston and thought
he wolde be kynge, and seide he wolde seche his fader till he fonde hym; and than
he seide, "Sire, I shall be kynge. Lo, here is the swerde of the ston."
Whan the fader it saugh, he hadde merveile how he it gatt. And he seide he toke
it oute of the ston. Whan Antor herde that he leved it not but seide he dide lye.
Than thei yede to the mynster ther the ston was, and the tother squyre after. Whan
Antor sigh the ston and the swerde not therynne he seide, "Feire sone, how hadde
ye this swerde? Loke ye do not lye; and thow do lye, I shall it knowewele and
never shall I thee love."
And he ansuerde as he that was sore ashamed, "I shall yow lye no lesynge, for
my brother Arthur it me brought whan I badde hym to go fecche myn. But I wote
never how he it hadde."
Whan Antor herde this he seide, "Sone, yeve it me, for ye have therto no ryght."
And Kay it delivered to his fader. And he loked behynde hym and saugh Arthur
and cleped hym and seide, "Come hider, faire sone, and take this swerde and put
it theras ye it toke." And he toke the swerde and put it in the stith, and it heilde as
wele or better than it dide before. And Antor comaunded his sone Kay to take it
oute. And he assaied, but it wolde not be. Than Antor cleped hem bothe and seide
to Kay, "I wiste well that thow haddest not take the swerde oute."
Thanne he toke Arthur in his armes and seide, "Feire dere sone, yef I myght
purchase that ye be kynge, what gode sholde I have therfore?" "Fader," quod he,
"I may nother have that honour ne noon other goode but that ye be therof lorde, as
my lorde and my fader." And he seide, "Sir, youre fader I am as in norture, but
certes, I dide yow never engender, ne I wot never who dide yow engender."
Whan Arthur saugh that Antor hym denyed to ben hys fader, he wepte tendirly
and hadde grete doel and seide, "Feire sir, how sholde I have this dignité or eny
other whan I have failed to have a fader?" "A fader muste ye nede have. But feire
dere sir, yef oure Lorde will that ye have this grace and I helpe yow it to purchase,
telle me what I shall be the better." And Arthur seide, "Sir, so as ye will youreself."
Thanne Antor tolde hym what bounté he hadde hym don, and how he hadde
hym norisshed, and how he put awey his sone Kay and made hym to be norisshed
of a straunge woman. "Wherefore ye owe to yeve my sone and me guerdon, for
ther was never man more tenderly norisshed than I have yow. Wherefore I praye
yow, yef God yeve yow this grace and I may helpe yow therto, that ye guerdon me
and my sone." And Arthur seide, "I pray yow that ye denye not me to be my fader,
for than I sholde not wite whether that I sholde go. And yef ye may helpeto
purchase this grace, and God will that I have it, ye can nothinge sey ne comaunde
but I shall it do."
And Antor seide, "I shall not aske thi londe; but thus moche I will praye yow,
that yef ye be kynge, that ye make my sone Kay youre stywarde in soche maner
that for no forfet that he do to yow, ne to man of youre londe, that he lese not hys
office. And yef he be fool or fell or vilenis, ye owe better to suffre hym than eny
other. And therfore I praye yow to graunte hym that I yow demaunde." And Arthur
seide he wolde it do with gode will. And than he ledde hym to the auter and swore
that he sholde this trewly performe. And whan he hadde sworne, he com before
the mynster; and the turnement was ended, and the barouns com to hire evesonge.
Than Antor cleped alle his frendes and com to the archebisshop and seide, "Sir,
lo, here is a childe of myn that is no knyght, that prayeth me that I wolde helpe
that he myght assay the aventure of the swerde, and that it plese yow to clepe the
barouns." And so he did, and thei assembled aboute the ston. Than Antor bad
Arthur take oute the swerde and delyvere it to the archebisshop. And Arthur toke
the swerde be the hiltes and withoute more taryinge yaf it to the archebisshop.
And anoon he toke Arthur in his armes and seide, "Te Deum Laudamus," and so
brought hym into the mynster.
And the barouns and high men that this hadde seyn and herde were angry and
sorowfull for this, and seiden it myght not be that soche a symple man of so lowe
degré sholde be lorde of hem alle. Therwith was the archebisshop displesed and
seide, "Sirs, oure Lorde knoweth beste what every man is." And Antor and his
frendes abode by Arthur, and alle the comen peple. And alle the barouns were
ageyn them and ageyn Arthur.
And thanne seide the archebisshop wordes of grete hardynesse: "I do yow to
wite thaugh alle thei that ben in the worlde wolde be agein this eleccion, and oure
Lorde will that this man be kynge, he shall be it withouten faile. And I shall shewe
yow how and what affiaunce I have in oure Lorde Jhesu Criste. Now, feire brother
Arthur, go put the swerde ageyn in the same place that ye toke itfro."
And Arthur put the swerde ageyn in the selve place, and it hilde as faste as
byfore. And than seide the archebisshop, "So feire eleccion was never sene. Now
go ye riche barouns and lordes and assay yef ye may take oute the swerde." Than
yede alle for to assaye, but noon it myght remeve fro the place that it was inne.
Than seide the archebisshop, "Grete folye do ye that be ageyn oure Lordes wille
-- for now ye se well how it is." And thei seide, "Sir, we ne be not agein oure
Lordes wille, but it ys grevouse thinge to us to have a garcion to be lorde over us
alle." And the archebisshop seide, "He that hath hym chosyn knoweth beste what
Thanne the barouns praide the bisshop to lete the swerde be stille in the ston
tille Candelmesse; and by that tyme, men of ferther contrees myght come to assaye
the aventure. And the archebisshop hem graunted. Than come oute of every contree
and asseyde, who that wolde. And whan they hadden assaied, the archebisshop
seide, "Arthur, yef it be pleser to oure Lorde Jhesu Criste that thow be kynge, go
forth and brynge that swerde." And Arthur yede to the swerde and toke it oute as
lyghtly as nothinge hadde it holden. Whan the prelates and the comen peple saugh
this, thei gunne to wepe for joye and pité and seiden, "Sirs, is ther yet eny man
that seith agein this eleccion?" And the barouns seide, "Syr, we pray yow that the
swerde be suffred yet in the ston to Passh, but eny man come by that terme that
may take it thens; and ellis we will obbey to this. And yef ye will not suffre so
longe tyme, every man do the beste he may."
And the archebisshop seide, "Yef so be he abide to Passh, and noon other come
that may parforme this aventure, wele ye than obbey yow to this eleccion?" And
thei seide alle, "Ye." Thanne the archebisshop seide to Arthur, "Sette the swerde
agein in the ston, for yef God will, thow shalt not faile of the dignité that he hath
thee promysed." And Arthur did as he comaunded. And ther was ordeyned to
kepe the ston ten men and five clerkes; and in this maner thei bode to Pasch.
And the archebisshop that hadde take Arthur in warde seide, "Wite ye right
well ye shall be kynge and lorde of this peple. Now loke that ye be a gode man,
and fro hensforth cheseth soche men as shull be of youre counseile and officers
for youre housolde, even as ye were now kynge, for so ye shall be with the helpe
And Arthur seide, "I put me holly in God and in Holy Cherche and in youre
gode counseile. Therfore chese ye as ye seme be moste to the plesaunce of Jhesu
Criste. And I praye yow clepe to yow my lorde my fader." Than the archebisshop
cleped Antor and shewde hym the ansuere of Arthur. Thanne chose they soche
counsellers as thei wolde; and be counseile of the archebisshop and certein of the
barouns, Kay was made stiwarde. And of alle othir thinges thei abode to Pasch,
and than thei assembled at Logres.
Whan thei were alle assembled on the Ester Even, the archebisshop drough
hem alle to his paleis and rehersed hem the grete wisdom and the gode condiciouns
that he fonde in Arthur. And the barouns seide, "We will not be agein Godes
ordenaunce; but it is unto us a mervelouse thynge that so yonge a man, and of so
base lyngnage, sholde be lorde and governour of us alle." The archebisshop seide,
"Ye do not as Cristen men thus to be agein Cristes eleccion." And they seide, "We
be not ther agein; but ye have seyn his condiciouns, and we ne have not don so.
And therfore we praye yow to suffre us to knowe his condiciouns and the manere
of hys governaunce that he will ben of hereafter." The archebisshop seide, "Will
ye thus delaye his coronacioun?" And they seide, "We wolde that his sacringe and
coronacion be respite to Penticoste. Thus we alle pray and requere." And the
archebisshop it graunted.
Thus departed alle the counseile. And on the morowe whan high messe was
seide, Arthur yede to the swerde and toke it oute as lightly as he hadde don before.
Than thei seiden alle that thei wolde have hym to their lorde and governoure, and
thei praide hym to sette ther the swerde agein. And Arthur ansuerde to the barouns
full debonerly and seide he wolde do their requeste, or eny thinge that thei wolde
of hym desire. Thanne they ledde hym into the mynster to speke with hym and to
assaye his condiciouns and seide, "Sir, we se well that God will that ye be oure
kynge and lorde over us, wherfore we will do to yow oure homage and of yow
holde oure honoures. And we beseke yow to respite youre sacringe into Pentecoste,
ne therfore shull ye nothynge be inteript but that ye shull be oure lorde and oure
kynge. But to this we praye yow to seye us what is your volunté."
Quod Arthur, "Of that ye sey ye will do to me youre homages and holde youre
honoures of me, I may it not receyve, ne I ne ought not to do so, for I may not to
yow ne to noon other yeve noon honoures till I have receyved myn. And ther ye
sey ye will that I be lorde of yow and of the reame, that may not be byfore that I be
sacred and receyved the honoure of the empere. But the respite that ye desire I it
graunte yow with gode will, for I will not be sacred, ne nothinge that therto
aperteneth, ne I may not withouten Godes will and youre volunté."
Thanne seide the barouns amonge hemselfe, "Yef this childe live, he shall be
right wise; and wele he hath us ansuerde." And than thei seide, "Sir, us semeth
with youre advice that ye be crowned and sacred at Pentecoste, and by that terme
we shull obbey to yow at the comaundement of this archebisshop." Thanne thei
made be brought juellis and alle othir richesse and yaf it to hym to se whedir he
wolde be covetouse and cacchynge. And whan he hadde alle these yeftes resceyved,
the booke seith he departed it: to knyghtes, the stedes and coursers and fresshe
robes; and to hem that were joly and envoisies, he yaf the juwellis; and to hem
that were averouse, golde and silver; and to sadde wise men, he yaf soche thinge
as hym thought sholde hem plese. And with hem he heilde companye and enquered
in the contré what myght hem beste plese.
Thus departed he the yeftes that were yoven hym, for to knowe of what condicion
that he wolde be of. And whan thei sawgh hym thus demened, ther was noon but
that hym gretly preysed in theire hertes, and seide that he sholde be of high renon,
and that thei cowde not in hym espie no poynte of covetise. But as sone as he
hadde the grete avers, he besette hem in soche manere that every man seide that
noon cowde have do better, everych astate and degré. Thus thei assaide Arthur
and nought cowde fynde in hym but high vertu and grete discrecion.
And so thei abiden to the Witsontide, and than alle the baronage assembled at
Logres. And ther thei assaide agein at the swerde alle that assaie wolde, but never
was ther founde man that it myght remeve fro the ston. And the archebisshop
hadde ordeyned redy the crowne and septre and all that longed to the sacringe. On
Witson Even, be comen counseile of alle the barouns, the archebisshop made Arthur
knyght. Alle that nyght dide he wake in the chief mynster till on the morowe day.
And whan it was day, alle the baronye come to the mynster. The archebisshop
seide, "Sirs, lo, here is the man that God hath chosen to be youre kynge, like as ye
have seyn and knowe. And lo, here is the crowne and the vestementis rioall,
ordeyned by youre avys and alle the comen assent. And yef ther be eny of yow
that to this eleccion will not assent, lete hym now sey."
And they ansuerde and seide, "We acorde that in Godes name he be sacred and
anoynted with this, that yef ther be eny of us that he be with displesed of that we
have be ageyn his coronacion, that he pardon us alle into this day." And therwith
thei kneled alle at ones to Arthur, askynge hym mercy. And Arthur for pité gan
wepe and seide to hem, "That Lorde whiche hath graunted me to have this honoure
mote yow pardon; and as moche as is in me, I make yow quyte." And therwith
thei risen up and toke hym bytwene their armes and ledde hym to the vestymentis
rioall. And whan he was araied, the archebisshop was redy to synge masse and
seide to Arthur, "Now go fecche the swerde wherewith ye shull kepe justice, to
deffende Holy Cherche, and mayntene right and the Cristin feith to youre power."
And so they yede in procession to the ston. Thanne seide the archebisshop to
Arthur, "Yef thow wilt swere to God and to oure Lady Seint Marye and to oure
Modir Holy Cherche and to Seint Petir and to Alle Seyntes, to save and to hold
throuth and pees in the londe, and to thy power kepe trewe justice, com forth and
take this swerde wherby God hath made the eleccion upon thee."
Whan Arthur herde this, of pité he gan wepe, and so dide many other. And he
seide, "As verily as God is Lorde over alle thynge, so He of His grete mercy
graunte me grace and power this to mayntene like as ye have rehersed, and I have
it well undirstonde." And than he sette hym on his knees, holdinge up his hondes,
and than toke oute the suerde lightly withoute grevaunce, and so bar it upright.
And thei ledde hym to the auter, and ther he leide the swerde. And than thei hym
sacred and anoynted and dide that longed to a kynge. And after all the servise was
ended, thei yede oute of the mynstir and come by the place theras was the ston.
And no man cowde knowe where it was become. Thus was Arthur chosen to
kynge, and heilde the reame of Logres longe in pees.
Go To The Baron's Revolt