Medieval Arthurian Legend

Sir Thomas Malory: Le Morte d'Arthur

15th century, late-Medieval English.

'Sir,' said Sir Gawain to King Arthur. 'These are all ladies whom I fought for whilst I was alive.'

Before his final battle, King Arthur fell into a drowsy contemplation somewhere between waking and sleeping and it seemed to him that Sir Gawain, who had recently been killed, was approaching him in the company of a number of beautiful women.

'Welcome my nephew,' said King Arthur, startled. 'I thought you were dead! And now that I see that you are alive I am greatly in the debt of Almighty Jesus. But who are these ladies with you?'

'Sir,' said Sir Gawain. 'These are all ladies whom I fought for whilst I was alive. And at their request God has allowed that they bring me to you. He has let me come to warn you of your impending death; for if you fight tomorrow with Sir Mordred, as you plan to do, have no doubt that you will be killed, and thousands of others on both sides. For the love that Jesus bears you he warns you not to do battle tomorrow. Arrange for a truce that will last a month. Within this time Sir Lancelot will have arrived with his noble knights and he will rescue you and kill Sir Mordred and all his supporters.'

Than sir Gawayne and all the ladyes vanysshed...

Vinaver, Eugene, 1971, reprinted in paperback, 1977. Malory: Works. Oxford University Press. The Most Piteous Tale of the Morte Arthur saunz guerdon. IV. The Day of Destiny, pp 711–2.

See for yourself

Sir Thomas Malory – Wikipedia

Le Morte d'Arthur – Wikipedia

Gawain – Wikipedia

Sir Thomas Malory's 'Le Morte Darthur' – British Library, online exhibition

King Arthur – Wikipedia

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