Arthur and Gonnore; and The Battle against King Rion
ARTHUR AND GONNORE; AND THE BATTLE AGAINST KING RION: FOOTNOTES1 the kynge, i.e., Leodegan.
2 er, before; ascape, escapes.
3 all naked, i.e., vulnerable; by the condicion, with the result.
4 at soche myschef, in such a plight; but that, because.
6-7 asspie ne ribaude, spy nor robber.
8 ordenaunce, plans; devise, arrange.
9 wardes, companies; bateilles, divisions.
10 hem, them.
11 esely, slowly; and, so.
13 wite, know.
14 flessh, meat.
15 vitaile, food; foyson, amounts.
16 wacche in, guard on; playnes, fields.
17 closed, blocked off; charietts, wagons; oon, one.
18 hem mysdo, harm them.
19 whereas, where.
20 yef, if; will, wishes.
21 envay, assault; corage, desire.
22 werrye, make war.
23 what, who.
24 beheilde, studied.
25 koy, quiet; o, one.
27 yaf, gave; corage, heart.
28 right, very; cowde thinke, realized.
29 errour, emotion; teeres, tears; yien, eyes.
30 unethe, scarcely; sowne oute o, say one.
31 her, their.
33 all lese yef, everything lose if; warant, protection.
34 at erthe, on the ground.
38 reson, explanation; fayn wite, happily know.
38-39 what we ben, who we are.
43 whatsoever he be, whoever he is.
46 yeve, give.
47 What, Why.
48 holden, considered.
49 defaute, lack.
50 yef, if; yeve, give.
51 mo, more.
52 discesse, death.
54 fecche, fetch.
55 be, by.
56 route, company.
61 hem ageyns, to meet them.
64 therto, also.
65 yeve, give.
67 stode, stepped.
69 debonerly, courteously.
72 heringe, in the hearing of.
73 yoven, given.
75 wite, know.
76 tho, those.
77 yoven, given.
80 wightly, swiftly.
81 werryen, war upon.
82 do, want.
83 oon, one; cleped, called.
86 castelleynes, constables.
91 riall, royal; over alle other, beyond all others.
94 withoute eny moo, but to no one else.
95 eure, fortune.
96 yove, given.
97 seth, since.
99 yede, went.
100 tho parties, those companies; whereas, where.
101 wardes, divisions; bataile, army.
109 prise, great value.
111 puyssaunt, powerful.
114 drough, drew.
121 this chese oute, i.e., he chose.
123 what oon and other, all told.
124 lif ne lym, life nor limb.
125 dissevered, separated.
126 acorded, agreed.
128 the Witsonday, Whitsunday.
130 deyse, dais.
131 hem, them; wonder like, wondrously alike; saf, except that.
132 heigher, taller.
135 unethe, scarcely; oon, one.
137 chierté, affection; wolde, desired.
141 right wele cowde her therof entermete, i.e., very much wished to be involved.
142 saf, safe.
144 shewde to, showed.
144-45 hir entermeted, involved herself.
145 peyned hym to serve, took pains to serve him.
146 fin, end; guerdon, reward.
147 mysaventure, ill fortune.
148 lough, laughed.
149 the kynge, i.e., Arthur; jape, joke.
151 sey, say.
152 hens, hence.
154 but yef, unless; to grete, too hard.
159 no reprof ne, no blame.
162 baisyers, kisses; yef, if.
163 leve, fail.
164 lese, fail; but that, so that.
165 preyen, ask; also well, just as much.
169 apareiled, readied; yaf, gave.
170 bountee, strength.
170-71 comaunded other, commended the other.
171 ganfanouns folden, standards furled.
172 a softe pas, at a slow pace; guyded, directed.
173 passages, backroads.
174 pantoneres, spies.
175 kepte, watched.
176 dide condite, conducted.
178 trouble, darkly.
179 strongeliche, deeply; relented, remained.
180 hete, heat.
181 sette in, placed them; presse into, attack.
183 abode, awaited.
188 do yow to wete, want you to know.
190 slaked, loosened.
191 ravyne, rage.
192 reverse, fall.
193 trobellion, wind; nother, neither.
194 parties, sides.
195 slowgh, slew; what, whoever; areche, find.
196 were aparceyved, realized.
197 brayes, shouts.
203 Cristin, Christians.
204 araied, stood.
207 tho apered, then appeared.
208 drowen up, were drawn up; appereilled hem, arranged.
209 flekered, flapped.
210 glistered, glistened; bright, brightly.
212-13 nygh wode for ire, nearly mad with rage.
213 swight, swift.
216 cleped, called.
219 wolde well, would.
221 wight, able.
222 hym ageins, toward him.
223 hym disfigured, disguised himself; it bar saf, the dragon carried except.
226 yaf, gave.
227 feyntise, cowardice.
229 in fewtre, in their holders.
233 And, And when; he, i.e., Jonap.
234 douted, feared.
235 smyte, smitten.
236 rudely, strongly; lifte, left.
241 astonyed, stunned; ton, one.
242 tother, other.
243 crased, shattered; stour, clash.
245 traveyled, labored; parties, sides.
246 stoure, battle.
247-48 noon harneys, no weapons.
248 warde, troop; sheltron, company.
249 he, i.e., Arthur; atteyned in, reached.
254 moo, more.
255 maneced, challenged.
256 dispite, insult; saugh, saw.
257 betell, club, hammer; targe, shield.
258 bon, bone; olyfaunte, elephant.
260 maletalentif, angrily; pris, praise.
261 covetouse, desiring.
262 betill, club.
264 plites, layers.
265 lifte, left; foyson, quantity.
267 remeve, budge from.
269 iyen, eyes; malentelent, hatred.
270 betill, club; tho, those.
275 malle, mallet; douted, feared.
276 rudely, strongly.
278 were reised, got up.
279 wight, agile; lifly, lively.
281 largely, at least.
283 yove, given.
284 hit yaf, it gave.
285 raught, dealt.
291 helve, handle; by, near.
292 rudely smyten, strongly struck.
293 bokill, buckle.
295 brasen malle, brass hammer.
297 flees, fleece.
299 failled, betrayed.
300 debonertee, courtesy.
307 saugh, saw; malle, mallet; drough, drew.
309 claretee, brightness.
314 here, hear.
315 wote never what, never knew who; do, done.
316 durste sue, dare to pursue.
318 Yeve, Give.
319 quyte, free.
321 dispite, insult; felly, fiercely; How wenest to, Why do you.
322 recreaunt, shamed.
324 outerly, entirely; thee assure but, promise you [nothing] but.
325 lowgh, laughed; in traverse, around.
326 what1, who; conjured, urged; creaunce, faith.
330 all quyte, entirely; yove, given; me, to me.
335 slough, slew.
337 do thee to wite, want you to know.
344 thee on lyve, you [are] alive.
345 disconfited, defeated.
346 dooll yef, sorrow if.
350 of, off.
352 yede, went.
354 fill, fell.
355 yaf, gave; yie, eye.
357 raile, flow.
358 wode, mad.
359 wende, hoped.
360 raught, struck.
361 atteyne, catch.
362 demened hem, conducted themselves.
364 oon hight, one was named.
366 rocher sore hem, field vigorously themselves.
368 brunt, tumult.
370 tho, those.
373 kutte, cut.
374 astoned, stunned; bowed on, slumped over.
375 recovered, received.
378 slayin, slain.
382 glenched, moved.
387 dide hym but gref, hindered him.
394 clippid, clasped.
395 drough, tugged; arace, remove.
398 douted, feared.
406 creaunce, religion.
410 do hem, cause them.
410-11 flayn all quyk, skinned alive.
411 weymentacion, lamentation.
416 shrewe, wretch.
420 yede, went.
425 ther, where.
427 ner, nearer to; wende, thought.
428 wight ne, able nor; done, do.
432 spousen, marry.
435 counseile, private.
437 repeire, return.
441 at his wille, i.e., as Merlin wished.
ARTHUR AND GONNORE; AND THE BATTLE AGAINST KING RION: NOTESArthur and Gonnore; and The Battle against King Rion
[Fols. 109v (line 23)-128v (line 12)]
The author of the PM treats the initial phase of the Arthur-Gonnore relationship at great length and with great tenderness, in contrast to Malory, who describes it in just two sentences -- "And there had Arthure the firste sighte of queene Gwenyvere, the kyngis doughter of the londe of Camylarde, and ever aftir he love hir. And aftir they were wedded, as hit tellith in the booke" (Vinaver, p. 26). Especially important in this section is Gonnore's desire to attend upon Arthur as he is armed for battle; and as Merlin insists, Arthur's arming is not completed until he has been armed with Gonnore's kiss.
The battle with King Rion is also treated at great length in the PM, although we have summarized much of it here. One especially notable aspect of the battle concerns King Rion's weapons. While it is mentioned at one point that he carries a huge ax, King Rion's preferred weapon is his betill of brass, a mighty hammer or club. Only after Arthur has destroyed the club does Rion resort to using his famous sword "Marmyadoise," about which the author provides a detailed background account. After King Rion loses his acclaimed sword to Arthur, Arthur delights in using it himself.
Summary Based on EETS 21, pp. 312-17.
102 the dragon. This is the same fire-breathing battle standard that Merlin had used so effectively in earlier battles.
112-16 Ydiers . . . yow declare hereafter. Here the writer alludes to a marvelous deed that Ydiers will perform at a later time, when he will be able to do what no one else in Arthur's court can do -- remove five rings from a dead man's hand. Ydiers's deed is similar to other one-of-a-kind deeds in Arthurian literature such as Balyn's extracting the sword from the sheath and Lancelot's healing of Sir Urry.
131 the two Gonnores. As will be explained more fully later, Gonnore has a half-sister (also named Gonnore) who is practically her twin. They differ only slightly in physical appearance, but the real Gonnore surpasses her sister in virtue andcourteous speaking. One physical difference not noted here is Gonnore's birthmark, which will serve as an important recognition token later on.
147 Bertelaux the traitour. The initial phase of the Bertelaux (or Bertelak) story will soon be related in the PM. The later phase of his story, in which he commits his acts of treachery, occurs when he seeks revenge on Arthur for the harsh punishment he received for his alleged crime. It is probable that this figure is connected in some way to Bertilak de Hautdesert in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
Summary Based on EETS 21, pp. 326-38.
296-97 it was som tyme Hercules. King Rion's sword "Marmyadoise" had once belonged to Hercules, who is also King Rion's distant ancestor. This sword is a weapon of great distinction; it was originally made by Vulcan and subsequently owned by many men of great renown.
339-43 oon may never passe . . . it moste be fallen. This obscure passage seems to suggest that no one will be able to pass beyond King Rion's realm -- i.e., Iceland -- until the laws established by Judas Maccabeus (hero of 1 and 2 Maccabees in the Old Testament, and one of the Nine Worthies) are nullified by a Grail Knight (presumably Galahad), who will succeed in passing through the gates of the Gulf of Satan.
Summary Based on EETS 21, pp. 342-46.
Summary Based on EETS 21, pp. 347-59.
Summary Based on EETS 21, pp. 360-63.
[Arthur and Gonnore; and The Battle against King Rion]
[Summary. The rebel barons meet at Leicester and commiserate over the damage
done to their lands by the Saxons; King Lot laments the loss of his wife and children.
The King de Cent Chevaliers urges them to join forces and engage the Saxons as a
united army. They assemble their forces and camp beside the Severn River.
Meanwhile Merlin arrives at the city of Toraise in Tamelide; he tells Arthur, Ban,
and Bors how they must assist Leodogan in his forthcoming battle with King Rion.
Merlin also makes several prophecies, including one about the engendering of "the
gret leopart" (i.e., Lancelot). Fols. 109v (line 23)-111v (line 7).]
Than spake Merlin to the kynge and seide, "Sir, dismay yow nothinge, for be
the feith that I owe unto yow, er that the Kynge Rion from yow ascape, he wolde
have ben in hys contré all naked by the condicion that it hadde coste hym the
beste citee that he hath. Ne ye be not at soche myschef but that ye have sixty
thousande men at armes and moo. But I shall telle yow what ye shall do: sendeth
ten of youre beste men for to serche the contrey that ther be neither asspie ne
ribaude but anoon he be taken and brought before yow and put in prison, so that
youre enmyes may nothinge knowe of youre ordenaunce. And than devise youre
wardes and youre bateilles, and loke that ye make ten withoute mo; and in eche of
hem ye shall putte ten thousande men. And than meveth on Monday two houres
before day, and goth all esely oon after another withoute sore traveile and that we
be ther on Wednysday at even.
"And I do yow to wite that on Thursday, a litill before day, we shall hem fynde
all slepinge, for into the hoste is come grete plenté of flessh and of wyne and of
corne and other vitaile grete foyson; and thei drinke and ete ech day and trouble so
theire braynes that thei sette litill wacche in theire hoste. But towarde the playnes
thei have hemself closed with cartes and chariettes, that litill or nought oon may
hem mysdo on that side. And therfore we moste werke wisely, for I knowe a
place whereas thei take litill hede, and that wey ye shull hem alle fynde aslepe. And
therfore, yef God will, we shull somwhat have hem at oure wille, and we shull so
chastice hem at this envay that thei shull have litill corage eny more in this londe to
Whan the Kynge Leodogan herde Merlin thus speke, he merveiled what he
myght be. And he beheilde hym ententefly that he loked on noon other, and after
that he beheilde his felowes, that were stille and koy, that seiden not o worde but
beheilde hym that spake. And whan he hadden hem beholden a longe while, he
yaf a grete sighe and that was right sore. And [he] thought well in his corage that
thei were right high men and gretter of astate than he cowde thinke. And aboute
his herte com so grete errour that it wete all his visage with teeres of his yien, that
com from the herte that unethe myght he sowne oute o worde. And he fill down at
her feet as half deed, and cride hem mercy so as he myght, that for the love of God
thei sholde of hym have pitee and of his londe. "For I wote well," quod he, "and
also myn herte telleth me, that I shall all lese yef God and ye be not my warant."
Whan that the Kynge Arthur saugh hym at erthe before hym knelinge, he hadde
therof grete pité, and so hadde the other kynges, and caught hym in her armes and
reised hym up and assured hym of all that thei myght. And than thei wente to sitte
down alle five togeder as goode felowes and trewe; and than began Merlin his
reson and seide to the Kynge Leodogan, "Sir sire, ye wolde fayn wite what we
ben and of what peple and of what lynage." And he seide ther wasnothinge that
he desired so moche to knowe.
"I shall telle yow," quod Merlin, "firste for what we be come to seche. Lo, here
a yonge lorde that is a goode knyght, as ye knowe well inough; and wite ye well
in trouthe, whatsoever he be, he is a man of higher lynage and of londe and
frendes than ye be, and yet ye be a kynge crowned. And he hath no wif, and
therfore we come through londes to seche aventures till that we may fynde some
high prince that his doughter wolde yeve hym in mariage."
Lorde mercy!" quod the Kynge Leodogan. "What go ye ferther than
sechinge? I have a doughter that is holden oon of the feirest of the worlde and the
wiseste and oon of the beste lerned, and for defaute of goode lynage ne of goode
londe ought she not to be refused. And yef it be youre plesier, I yeve hir yow to be
youre wif. And I have no mo heires to whom my londe moste falle after my
discesse." And Merlin ansuerde that he hir not sholde refuse never, yef God will;
and thanked hym the foure felowes right hertely.
Than the kynge hymself wente to fecche his doughter, and made hir to be
appareiled in the richest wise, and ledde hir be the honde into the chambre where-
as the foure felowes dide abide. And after hem com grete route of knyghtes
whereof therynne were grete plenté; and ther also were alle the companye of the
Rounde Table, and the forty that the storye hath rehersed, and many other of high
astate that were come into the hoste for to socoure the Kynge Leodogan.
And whan the kynge and his doughter entred thourgh the chambre that was
feire and grete, the foure felowes com hem ageyns. And spake the Kynge Leodogan
that he myght wele ben herde and seide, "Gentill sir, cometh forth -- for I can not
yet yow namen -- and resceive here my doughter to be youre wif, that is so feire
and courteise and therto right wise, with all the honour that to hir appendeth after
my deth. For to a worthier than yow may I not hir yeve, and that knowe well alle
these worthi men hereynne."
And Arthur stode forth and seide, "Sir, gramercy." And the Kynge Leodogan
delyvered hir to hym by the right honde. And that oon graunted to that other full
debonerly; and the kynge hem blissed with his right honde, and the Bisshop of
Toraise was sent fore. And than was the joye grete therynne that never before
was ther seyn gretter.
And than com Merlin and spake to the kynge heringe alle that were therynne,
"Sir, ye wolde gladly knowe what we be and to whom ye have yoven youre
doughter." And the kynge that it so moche desired that yet wende it not to have
knowen, seide certeynly, that gladly wolde he wite yef it were hir plesier.
"Now knoweth wele," quod Merlin, "and alle tho that it will heren, that ye have
yoven youre doughter to Arthur, the Kynge of Bretaigne, the sone of Kynge
Uterpendragon; and thei owe hym homage, bothe ye and alle the barouns of this
reame. Now let hem don it, alle tho that will hym honour. And after shall we go
the gladlyer and the more wightly to turneyen agein these sarazins that this londe
do werryen and wolde take and distroien; but it shall be otherwise than thei wene.
And also I do yow to undirstonde that these two noble men ben bretheren and also
kynges crowned, and that oon is cleped the Kynge Ban of Benoyk, and that other
the Kynge Boore of Gannes, and [thei] be comen of the heighest lynage that eny
man knoweth. And alle these other felowes beth the sones of erles and barouns
Whan the Kynge Leodogan and the other felowes undirstode that this was the
Kynge Arthur, thei weren so gladde that never hadde thei so grete joye beforn.
And the two kynges com first before hym and dide hym homage, and after the
Kynge Leodogan and alle the other barouns; and thei made the feste of the mariage
so riall that never in that londe was seyn soche. But over alle other was the Quene
Gonnore gladde of hir newe lorde.
And that nyght Merlin lete hymself be knowen of the Knyghtes of the Rounde
Table withoute eny moo. And whan the Kynge Leodogan hym knewe, he seide
that God in this worlde hadde sente hym goode eure that to so noble and worthi
man hadde hym yove the love and aqueyntance. "And from hensforth, gode Lorde
God, do with me Thy wille, seth my londe and my doughter is be sette in so noble
wise to the worthiest of the worlde." Thus seide the Kynge Leodogan;and than
after thei yede to bedde for to reste. And on the morowe the kynge sente the
knyghtes into tho parties as Merlin hym taught whereas the peple of Kynge Rion
sholde assemble, and than devised his wardes of his bataile whereof were ten.
In the firste warde, whereas the dragon was, was the Kynge Arthur and the
Kynge Ban and the Kynge Boors and her forty felowes; and so were the Knyghtes
of the Rounde Table and so many of other that thei were seven thousand men right
well armed. And the seconde warde ledde Guyomar, the kynges cosin, with seven
thousand men of armes. The thridde warde ledde Elunadas, a yonge lorde that was
nevew to the Wise Lady of the Foreste Saunz Retour. The fourthe bataile ledde
Blios, the lorde of Cloadas, a merveillouse castell, and were with hym seven thou-
sand men of armes and horse of prise. The fifth warde ledde Aridolus, a knyght of
grete renoun, and weren also seven thousand men. The sixte bataile ledde Belcys
le Loys, that was inough riche and puyssaunt, and hadde with hym also seven
thousand men of armes well horsed. The seventh bataile ledde Ydiers of the londe
of Norwey, to whom the feire aventure fell in the courte of Kynge Arthur of the
five ringes that he drough oute of the deed knyghtes honde that asked vengaunce,
that never knyght that was in that court myght have, as the tale shall yow declare
hereafter; and he hadde in hys companye seven thousand, and he was a noble
knyght and an hardy. The eighth bateile ledde Landons, the nevew of the stiward
of Tamelide, that was a full noble knyght of his honde; and he ledde seven thou-
sand in his companye soche as he hadde brought. The ninth bateile ledde Groinge
Poire Mole, that was a noble knyght of his body, but he hadde no gretter nose than
a cat; this chese oute seven thousand in whom he trusted. And the tenth bataile
ledde the Kynge Leodogan and his stiwarde Cleodalis, that right wele cowde hym
helpe; and were in her companye ten thousand, what oon and other, that wolde not
fle for lif ne lym.
Whan these batailes were dissevered that oon from that other and renged by
hemself, thei devised whan thei shulde meve. And thus thei acorded that on the
morowe after Pentecoste thei shulde move at the firste cok crowynge. And than
thei rested all day and on the morn, for on the Witsonday the Kynge Leodogan
helde court roiall for love of the barouns that ther were assembled.
And the thre kynges and Merlin satte togeder at the hede of the deyse; and
before hem satte the two Gonnores that were wonder like, saf a litill that oon was
heigher and fressher coloured, and that was Arthurs wif; and the better tonge she
hadde, for she was of all the worlde the feirest speker and the beste, and also she
hadde more heer than the tother Gonnore. But of alle other thinges thei resembled
so like that unethe myght oon knowe that oon from that other. And after satte the
felowes that Arthur hadde brought with the Knyghtes of the Rounde Table for
chierté and gret love, for so wolde Merlin and Gynebans the Clerke. And whan
thei hadde eten, thei wente to bedde; but litill while thei lay, for thei roos at
Whan the armes of Kynge Arthur were brought, Gonnore hym helped for to
arme right wele and feire, as she that right wele cowde her therof entermete; and
hirself girde hym with his swerde. And whan the kynge was all armed saf his
helme, she toke the spores and sette hem on bothe knelinge. And Merlin, that all
this behilde, began to laughe and shewde to the two kynges how Gonnore hir
entermeted and peyned hym to serve. And hir preised moche the twey kynges.
But in the fin, she hadde a riche guerdon whan she loste the kynge hir lorde by
mysaventure and by Bertelaux the traitour, as the book shall reherse hereafter.
And while Merlin beheilde the maiden that served hir lorde, he lough and seide
to the kynge as he that cowde all goode and full well cowde jape in myrthe and
game, "Sir sire, never were ye so verily a newe knyght as ye be now, and ther ne
faileth bot o thinge that ye were alle a newe knyght. And well may ye sey whanye
departe hens that a maiden that is a kynges doughter and quenes hath made yow a
newe knyght." "Sir," seide the kynge, "sey what thinge that is and my lady shall it
do, but yef it be to grete a thinge or that she sholde therby have shame."
"Certes, sire," seide the maiden full wisely, as she that [was] full well lerned,
"in nothinge that I do to yow may I have no shame ne vilonye, for I knowe yow
so noble and worthy and also curteyse that ye wolde me not requere nothinge that
to vilonye shulde turne for the beste castell that ye have." "Lady," seide Merlin,
"ye sey wisely. Never for nothinge that I have seide shall ye have no reprof ne that
sholde turne yow to no shame."
"What is it, than?" seide the kynge. "I pray yow telle me."
"Sir," seide Merlin, "hit is the baisyers, yef to the lady it plese." "Certes," seide
the kynge, "and for that shall I not leve to be a newe made knyght." "No," quod
the maiden, "as for that shall I yow not lese, but that ye shull be myn and I yowrs.
And why sholde ye therof me preyen, for also well it pleseth me as it doth to
Whan the kynge herde hir thus sey, he began to laugh. Than the kynge toke hir
in armes and kissed hir swetly, as yonge peple that full well togeder loved. And
than were the horse apareiled and brought forth. And Gonnore yaf hir lorde an
helme of merveillouse bountee, and he sette it on his heed; and than ech comaunded
other to God. And rode forth eche warde after other, the ganfanouns folden and
the speres lowe, and rode a softe pas as Merlin hym guyded, as he that wele knewe
alle the passages. And the ten knyghtes that were gon before hadde taken mo than
ten pantoneres that alle weren espies of the Kynge Rion, and bounde hem and
sette hem in prison, and kepte so well the passages that thei herde no tidinges.
And so well spedde hym Merlin that the firste warde dide condite that thei
come the Wednysday at nyght after the mydnyght into the hoste of Kynge Rion.
And the nyght was right clere and stille, but the moone shone a litill trouble. And
thei slepte strongeliche in the hoste for the tyme that relented, for on the day was
right grete hete in the hoste, and therto thei hadden dronken inough. And Merlin
sette in betwene the wode and the river, and comaunded that no man presse into
the hoste till that thei herde an horne blowe. And as the wardes passeden over oon
after another, Merlin abode hem alle and made hem close togeder. And than wente
Merlin to the baner and toke an horne and blewe it so lowde that all the foreste
and the river resownnded, that a man myght heere the horne well half a myle.
Than Merlin cried, "Lady Seint Marie, praye to oure Lorde God, thi blissed
Sone, that He now be oure helpe. Now sette on manly," quod he, "gentill knyghtes,
for now shall it be sein who is noble and worthi; for I do yow to wete that ye be
alle at the deth or at the lif, and noon ne hath no heede but he hit now deffende."
And whan thei herde the horne, anoon thei slaked theire reynes and spored
theire horse and smote into the hoste with grete ravyne. And ther ye sholde have
sein tentes and pavilouns reverse to the grounde, for Merlin by crafte made soche
a trobellion arise that ther lefte nother tente ne pavilon stondinge, but fellen upon
theire heedes that lay withynne. And thei smyten into the hoste on alle parties, and
slowgh and maymed what thei myght areche, for ther was made of hem grete
slaughter er thei were aparceyved in the hoste what peple thei were, till that thei
herde the brayes and the dolerouse cries as thei weren slain and mangeled of hem
that of hir deth hadde no pitee.
Than comaunded the heigh lordes to theire squyres to make theire horse redy
thourgh the hoste, and thei so dide; and than thei ronne to armes hastely, and
peyned hem harde to be smartly armed and soone. And as soone as thei myght be
armed, thei assembled at the tente of Kynge Rion, and blowen hornes and trumpes
right harde. And the Cristin hadde so hurled amonge hem up and down that mo
than thre thousande thei hadde so araied that never repeired thens, and [thei]
chase the remenaunt to Kynge Rions tente ther thei made hir gaderinge; and ther
thei stalled, for thei were moche peple and stronge. And than armed hem thei that
were not armed, and tho apered the feire day and cleire. And than the wardes
drowen up and appereilled hem in ordre, and eche gadered his peple aboute hym;
and ther thei reised theire baners alofte that flekered in the wynde. And the bright
sonne smote upon the bright armurs that it glistered so bright that merveile was to
Whan the Kynge Rion saugh the damage that thei hadde hym don, he was nygh
wode for ire, and satte upon a grete horse that was wonder stronge and swight,
and hadde an ax hanginge at his sadill before that was grete and hevy of harde
stiell, and rode up and down, devisinge who sholde go before and who sholde go
behynde. And than he cleped Solynas, a knyght of grete prowesse and right hardy
that was his nevew, and seide, "Solinas, thow shalt lede the first bataile with an
hundred thousande men of armes of soche peple as ye will; and thow shalt go and
avenge my shame and youre harmes." And he seide he wolde well, so that he
wolde deserve of hym no blame.
Than departed he that was wight and hardy and merveillouse stronge. And as
soone as Merlin saugh hym come, he rode hym ageins with the dragon, and he
hym disfigured in soche manere that no man saugh who it bar saf the thre kynges.
Whan Merlin saugh that he com nygh, he seide to the Kynge Arthur, "Arthur,"
quod he, "now shall it be sene how well ye shull do, and loke that the kisse that
youre love yow yaf be to somme solde so dere that ever after therof be spoken."
And he ansuerde agein and seide that in hym sholde be no feyntise; and no more
he ne seide. And than approched that oon bataile to that other right nygh, and than
thei leide theire speres in fewtre and mette togeder with trenchaunt heedes upon
the sheldes that ech hurte other and wounded and bar to the grounde. Ther dide
the Kynge Arthur a pointe that moche was beholden.
Whan Arthur saugh bothe parties so nygh approche, he smote the horse with
the spores agein Jonap, a grete geaunt and merveillous stronge. And he saugh
hym so come, he douted hym but litill, for he semed agein hym but a chielde. Thei
com faste and rudely, and Arthur was smyte with Jonappes spere in the shelde so
rudely that the shafte passed thourgh his lifte flanke an arme lengthe; and Arthur
smote hym agein so sore that thourgh shelde and sholdre he shof the trenchaunt
spere; but the sarazin was so proude and of so grete strength that he made no
semblaunt of no grevaunce. But [thei] hurteled togeder so rudely with theire bodyes
and with the myght of theire horse that eche bar other to erthe, and the horse upon
theire bodyes; and ther thei lay a longe while sore astonyed that the ton cowde
telle no tidinges of the tother. Than ronne to the rescowse on bothe two sides; ther
was many a grete spere crased and stronge stour of swerdes upon helmes and
sheldes. Ther loste the geauntes more than the Cristin, but nevertheles, thei
traveyled so on bothe parties that bothe were thei releved and sette on horse; and
than began the stoure stronge and merveillouse. Ther dide the Knyghtes of the
Rounde Table wondres, and the Forty Felowes, for agein hem myght endure noon
harneys ne no kynge ne warde ne sheltron, were it never so clos.
[Summary. A great and lengthy battle ensues between the Christians and King
Rion's army. A young knight named Nascien performs deeds of great valor, and the
writer notes that later on Nascien becomes a hermit and is the person who records the
events of the Grail story, which he writes in a book that is "anexed to the booke that
Blase wrote." During the battle Merlin rebukes Arthur for having done little, and
shortly thereafter, Arthur spies King Rion among the throng and pursues him relent-
lessly. Fols. 114v (line 13)-119r (line 14).]
So longe Arthur enchased the Kynge Rion that he hym atteyned in a depe valey
betwene a litill wode and a medowe at a passage of a litill brooke that comrennynge
of two welle sprynges of a mountayne; and the sonne was so lowe that for the
mounteynes and the wode hit was all derke. And ther overtoke Arthur the Kynge
Rion, and than he cried, "Turne thee, cowarde geaunte, or thow shalt dye fleynge,
for thow seist well ther is no moo here but thow and I."
And whan the geaunte undirstode the kynge that so hym maneced, he helde
therof grete dispite, for he saugh that he semed ageyn hym but a childe. Than he
returned toward hym with his betell in his honde, and put his targe hym beforn
that was of the bon of an olyfaunte; and the Kynge Arthur helde a shorte spere
with a longe trenchaunt heede of sharp grounde steill. And [thei] ronne togeder
wroth and maletalentif that oon agein that other, and that oon desiraunt of pris and
honour, and that other covetouse to avenge hys shame and his harme. The Kynge
Arthur com faste for he was meved from fer, and Rion hym abode with his betill
in his honde; and Arthur hym smote so sore with this spere thourgh the shelde,
though it were never so harde, that the stiell passed through two plites of the
hauberke on the lifte side, that the blode lepe oute grete foyson that all the shafte
was covered in blode. But for no myght that he cowde shove myght he not make
hym to remeve his sadill; and the spere splyndered in peces.
And whan the geaunte felte hymselfe wounded, he gnasshed his teth and rolled
his iyen that were grete swollen for ire and malentelent that he hadde; and he lifte
up his betill of brasse as he that was merveillouse grete and stronge above alle tho
that eny man knewe in tho dayes; and as the boke seith, he was fourteen foote of
lengthe, and half a palme betwene his browes, and was grete and lene and full of
veynes and senewes, and was also so grym a figure that he was dredefull for to
Whan Arthur saugh the geaunte lifte up his malle, he douted the stroke and ran
to hym so rudely with the body of his horse that he bar to the erthe bothe Rion and
his horse. But soone was he upon his foote, but first was Arthur garnysshed of his
armes er the geaunt were reised; for Arthur was also fallen to groundewith the
frayinge that thei hurteled togeder. And Arthur was wight and lifly, and yet hadde
he not but twenty yere of age; and the Kynge Rion hadde moo than forty-two
largely, and was grete and hevy by the thirde part more than he. And as soone as
thei were up, thei ronne ther togeder; and Arthur griped Calibourne, his goode
swerde that he pulde oute of the ston, wherewith that day he hadde yove many a
stroke. And as soone as he hadde it drawen oute, hit yaf so grete light as it hadde
ben a grete bronde of fire, and covered hym with his shelde and raught a stroke to
the geaunte er he were covered upon the heede. And whan he saugh the stroke
comynge, he caste the shelde ther agein, for sore he dredde the stroke of the
swerde that he saugh so bright shynynge, for he knewe it was of right grete
And the Kynge Arthur smote so in the malle that he helde before hym in bothe
hondes that he kutte the helve asonder faste by the hede, and yet was it bounde
with iren. The stroke was grete and rudely smyten and discended upon the corner
of his shelde that he slitte it to the bokill; and with the plukkynge of his swerde
agein to hym, he made the Kynge Rion for to stomble, that was sory for his
brasen malle that he hadde so loste. And than he leide honde to his swerde that
was oon of the beste of the worlde, for as the booke seith, it was som tyme
Hercules, that ledde Jason into the Ile of Colchos for to fecche the flees of goolde;
and with that swerde dide Hercules sle many a geaunte in that londe where Jason
ledde Medea that so moche hym loved; but after, he hir failled, whereas Hercules
hir dide helpe by his grete debonertee. And the booke seith that Vlcan iforged that
swerde in the tyme of Adrastus, the Kynge of Greece, that many a day hadde in
his tresour. This same swerde hadde Tideus, the sone of the Duke of Calcedoyne,
that day that he dide the message to Ethiocles for Polemyte; and in his comynge
homwarde with the same swerde he slowgh fifty at an hill. And after wente this
swerde fro hande to hande and from heir to heir that now hath it the Kynge Rion
that com of the lynage of Hercules that was so noble and hardy.
Whan the Kynge Rion saugh his malle smyten asonder, he drough this swerde
that was of so grete bountee; and as soone as it was oute of the skawberke, it caste
so grete claretee that it semed a flame of fire; and the name of this swerde was
Marmyadoise. And whan Arthur saugh the swerde that so flambed, he preised it
moche in his herte and drough hym a litill up, hit to beholde, and coveyted it right
sore, and thought that in goode houre were he born that it myght conquere. And
whan the Kynge Rion saugh hym stonde so stille, he withstode and hym aresoned
as ye shull here.
"Sir knyght," quod he, "I wote never what thow art, but thow haste do grete
hardynesse that me durste sue or chace alone withoute companye; and for the
prowesse that I se in thee, I shall do thee grete curtesie that I dide never to no
man. Yeve me that swerde and thyn armes and telle me thy name; and after thow
shalt go quyte, for I have grete pité for to sle thee for that thow semest so yonge."
Whan Arthur undirstode the wordes of the Kynge Rion, he hadde therof grete
dispite, and ansuerde hym felly. "How wenest to take me so lightly, that I sholde
yelde me recreaunt for that thow art so grete and so stronge! But ley down that
swerde and tho armes and putte thee in my mercy, to do with thee my plesier
outerly, for I thee assure but the deth."
At these wordes lowgh the geaunte and turned the heede in traverse and asked
hym what he was and what was his name, and conjured hym by his creaunce to
sey the trouthe. And Arthur seide he wolde telle hym by covenaunt what he were;
and he hym graunted. "Now knowe thow well," quod he, "that my name is Arthur
of Bretaigne, the sone of Uterpendragon, that am come to chalenge this reame that
is myn all quyte, for the Kynge Leodogan hath yove me hys doughter to my wif,
and me have don homage alle the high barouns of this reame, and also he hymself.
Now telle me what thow art, and what is thy name, for I have tolde the thee
trouthe of myn."
Quod the geaunte, "Seist thow trouthe that thow art Arthur, the sone of
Uterpendragon, that slough Aungis before the Roche of Saisnes?" "Of the same,
speke I withoute faile," quod Arthur. "I have made covenaunt," quod the geaunte,
"that I shall telle thee myn name. I do thee to wite that I am the Kynge Rion of
Iselonde and of alle the londes unto pastures and yef ferther, yef a man myght
ferther passe. But oon may never passe till that the lawes be broken that Judas
Makabeus ther sette; and as olde auncient seyn that thei shall never be hadde
awey till the aventures begynne in the reame of Logres of the Seynt Graal; and it
behoveth hym to caste to the portes of the Goulf of Sathanye that it be never seyn
after, for it is so of soche maner that so it moste be fallen. Now I have tolde thee
what I am. But I will never ete while I knowe thee on lyve, for by thee it is that I
am thus disconfited and chased from the felde; and therfore shall I avenge my
dooll yef I may."
"So helpe me God," quod Arthur, "than shalt thow longe be fastinge, for that
shall never falle that I shall be deed thourgh thee. And lo, here my swerde that thee
deffieth to the deth! And yef thow be so hardy, take now the vengaunce of hym
that thee diffieth to smyte of thyn heede."
And whan the geaunte herde Arthur thus speke, he was so wroth that nygh he
yede oute of his witte, and griped his shelde and com with his swerde in his honde
and lifte it high to smyte Arthur on the helme. But he caste the shelde ther agein
and lepte aside in the felde; and he smote so harde that a quarter fill to the erthe.
And Arthur stepped forth and yaf hym soche a stroke by the lifte yie and made
hym a grete wounde; and yef the swerde hadde not swarved, maymed hadde he
ben for ever. Whan the geaunte felt hym wounded and saugh the blode raile downe
by the lifte iye, he was nygh wode out of witte; and than he ran upon hym, for he
wende to take hym in his armes. But Arthur dide lepe aside, for abide that wolde
he not, and therwith raught hym a grete stroke; and ever he hym pursued with
swerde in honde, but atteyne hym myght he not.
And while thei demened hem in this manere, fill so that Nascien and Adragains
and Hervy de Rivell com upon hem, that chaced six Sarazins full fiercely, andalle
six were kynges; and that oon hight Cahainus, and that other Maltaillees, and the
thirde Fernicans, and the forth Heroars, and the fifth Branremes, and the sexthe
the stronge Kynge Mahidrap. These six kynges com down the rocher sore hem
diffendinge, and the swyfte horse com dryvinge like a tempest. And whan the
tweyne that foughten herde this noyse and brunt of hem that fledden, and behelde
and saugh the six kynges that the thre knyghtes chaced, the Kynge Rion was sore
adredde, for he knewe tho that ther com, for he wiste well thei were noble and
hardy; and yef he lenger ther abide, he knewe well that dye he moste.
Than he com to his horse and lept up lightly, and in the lepinge up Arthur hym
smote so harde that he kutte awey a quarter of his helme that the mailes of the
hauberke apered all white, and astoned hym sore that he bowed on his horse
nekke; and yef he myght have recovered another stroke, he hadde fallen of his
horse to the erthe. But the horse was of grete force and aferde of the stroke, and
turned to flight with the kynge down the roche.
[Summary. Arthur chases Rion but is overtaken by the six kings who attack him.
Arthur quickly hacks the arms off one of them and slices another clear down to his
teeth; then Nascien and Adrageins and Hervey rush to Arthur's aid. The battle rages
on, and a little later King Rion and Arthur once again confront each other. Fols.
120v (line 29)-122r (line 12).]
Ther was slayin Mahidrap and Balfinnes and Gloriex and Mandones, where-
fore the Kynge Rion was full wroth, for thei were his nygh kyn. And whan Kynge
Rion saugh this myschaunce turne upon hym so grete, he was so wroth that nygh
he was oute of his witte. And he helde his swerde naked and ran upon Arthur and
wende to smyte hym on the heede; but he glenched aside, for sore he dredde the
stroke of the geaunte. And he smote so harde in the shelde that he slitte it into the
myddell; and whan that he wende to pulle agein his swerde, the Kynge Arthur
smote hym on the arme that sore he hym hurte. And he lefte the swerde stykinge
in the shelde, that sore felt hym hurte and was wode for wrath.And Arthur caste
down the shelde with the swerde, for it dide hym but gref. And whan the geaunte
saugh that he hadde so loste his swerde, he was full of grete sorowe, and ran
upon Arthur with his horse and caught hym by the shuldres and wolde have hym
born with force, and so he sholde have don yef he hadde leiser, for he was of
Whan Arthur felte the geaunte that so hym helde, he caste the swerde to the
erthe, for he was ferde leste he sholde have taken it from hym by force, and than
clippid his horse in bothe his armes aboute the nekke. And the geaunte pulled and
drough, but he myght hym not arace from the sadell. And the Kynge Ban behelde
and saugh the strif betwene the geaunte and Arthur, and anoon spored his horse
that wey, for he hadde of hym grete drede. And [whan] the geaunte saugh hym
come he lefte Arthur, for sore he douted the Kynge Ban, and ran upon hym with
his handes that were grete and square. And the Kynge Ban hym smote with
Corsheuse, his goode swerde, that he rente his hauberke betwene his sholderes
and wounde hym right depe.
And whan the Kynge Rion felt hym so sore wounded and saugh his felowes ly
at erthe deed bledynge, he hadde grete drede, for he hadde nothinge hym to diffende,
and turned the horse that was of gret bounté and wente fleynge as faste as he
myght renne. And thei lete hym passe, for it was nyght. And he wente so wroth
that for litill he hadde gon oute of witte. And he cursed his feith and his creaunce,
and seide he wolde never cesse in all his age till that he were avenged; and as
soone as he com into his contré he wolde sende for his grete hoste so that no
londe sholde agein hym endure till he hadde confounded all Bretaigne and all the
peple therynne, and take the Kynge Arthur and his helpers, and do hem be flayn all
quyk. Thus wente Kynge Rion, makynge grete sorowe and weymentacion into his
Whan the Kynge Ban socoured the Kynge Arthur from the Kynge Rion that so
wolde aborn hym awey, he com to Arthur and asked hym yef he hadde eny harme;
and he seide "Nay." Than seide Ban, "Where is youre swerde?" And Arthur seide
it was at erthe, "For I caste it down as soone as the shrewe com rennynge on me
to gripe me in his armes. And I have wonne the richest jewell,and that I love more
than the richest citee that I have."
"What thinge is that?" seide the Kynge Ban. "That shall ye se anoon," quod
Arthur. Than he sette foot to grounde and yede firste to Calibourne and putte it in
the skaberke, whan he hadde dried it clene, and than com to his shelde where-
ynne stake the swerde of Kynge Rion. And he drough it oute and toke the shelde
and com to his horse and lepte up, and than shewde the swerde to the Kynge Ban.
And it shone so bright that Arthur hadde therof grete joye, and preide God sende
hym som aventure ther he myght it assay and prove yef it were so grete of bounté
as it hadde bewtee.
And thei were ner the citee than thei wende; but er thei com ther hem fill soche
aventure that ther was noon so wight ne hardy but he hadde inough to done. But
now resteth a litell of hem and speke of the Kynge Leodogan.
[Summary. King Leodegan and his steward Cleodalis find themselves separated
from the rest of their troops in the dark. The enemy attack them, killing Leodegan's
horse; Cleodalis sets his lord on his own horse and urges him to ride to safety, but
Leodegan will not go without him. By enchantment, Merlin raises a storm and con-
founds the enemy. Meanwhile Arthur fights well using Marmyadoise, the sword he
captured from King Rion. Then Merlin urges Arthur and the others to ride to the
rescue of Cleodalis and Leodegan; Arthur's troop arrives at midnight and saves them.
After losing several of their leaders, the enemy forces flee. Arthur's forces rest and eat,
and then Arthur dispenses riches among his men. Then they ride toward the city of
Toraise. Fols. 122v (line 23)-127r (line 30).]
Whan the Kynge Arthur and his companye com to Toraise, thei were richely
resceyved with grete honour. And ther thei sojourned two dayes. And the thridde
day com the Kynge Leodogan to the Kynge Arthur and hym somowned to spousen
his doughter Gonnore. And Merlin seide that he moste firste do another grete
werke, and the kynge asked what. And Merlin seide that he moste firste passe into
the reame of Benoyk, and tolde hym for what nede; but that was in counseile, for
he wolde not have the thinge knowen of no man that sholde go thider. And whan
he herde the nede, he praide hym to repeire agein as sone as he myght. AndMer-
lin seide he neded not nothinge therof hym to prayen, and bad make hem redy,
"for tomorowe moste we remove." Quod Arthur, "Shall we not abide the Kynge
Bohors, that is at the Castell of Charroye?" Quod Merlin, "Ye shull abyde hym at
Bredigan, youre castell." And Arthur seide that all sholde be at his wille.
Than thei hem appareilleden, and on the morowe sette hem on here wey. And
so departed the Kynge Leodogan and the Kynge Arthur, and kisten at the
departynge. And Gonnore hym praide soone to come agein, "For never," quod
[she], "shall I be in ese of herte unto the tyme that I yow se agein." And the kynge
seide that he wolde he were come agein oute of the contrey.
[Summary. Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, and a force of 20,000 travel to
Bredigan. In the meantime, King Ban and his brother Guynebans the Clerk have an
adventure deep in a forest where they encounter an old knight, a lovely young woman,
and carol dancers in a meadow. Guynebans is smitten by the woman's beauty; he tells
her that if she will give him her love, he will make the dancers go on dancing until a
knight comes who has never been false to his love, a knight who will be the best
knight of his time. She agrees, and Guynebans begins his enchantments. He also
makes a chessboard on which only a man who has never been false to his love can
achieve checkmate. Ban then departs to rejoin Arthur; but Guynebans chooses to stay
with the lady, and he remains with her for the rest of his life. Fols. 127v (line 12)-
128v (line 12).]
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