How Kyng Arthure axede of Merlyn þe aventures of vj the laste kynges þat weren to regne in Engeland, and how þe lande shulde ende. ¶ Capitulo ¶ Septuagesimo ¶ Quinto.
"SIre," quod Merlyn, "in þe ȝere of Incarnacioun of oure Lorde Ihesu Crist Ml CC xv þere shal come a lambe oute of Wynchestre þat shal haue a white tong and trew lippis, and he shal haue wryten in his hert 'Holynesse.' ¶ This lambe shal make meny Goddes house, and he shal haue pees þe most parte of his lif, & he shal make one of þe faireste places of þe worlde þat in his tyme shal nouȝt fully ben made an ende. And in þe ende of his lif, a wolf of a straunge lande shal do him grete harme; but at þe ende þe lambe shal be maistre, þrouȝ helpe of a rede Fox þat shal [MS Rawlinson B 171 35a] come out of þe Northwest, and him shal ouercome; and þe wolfe shal dye [in] water; and after þat tyme þe lambe shal leue no while þat he ne shal dye. ¶ His sede þan shal bene in strange lande, and þe lande shal bene wiþout a gouernoure a litil tyme. "ANd after him shal come a dragoun mellede wiþ mercy and ek wodenesse, þat shal haue a berde as a goot, þat shal ȝeue in Engeland shadewe, and shal kepe the lande from colde and hete; and his o foote shal be sette in Wik, and þat oþere in London; and he shal vnbrace iij habitacions, and he shal oppen his mouþ toward Walys, and þe tremblyng of þe hidure of his mouþe, his heres shal strecche towarde meny habitaciouns and contres, and his breþ shal bene ful suete in straunge landes; & in his tyme shal ryuers renne wiþ bloode and wiþ brayne, & he shal make in places of his lande, walles, þat shal done miche harme to his seede after his tyme.
¶ Than shal þere come a peple out of þe Northwest duryng his regne, þat shal bene lade þrouȝ an wickede hare, þat þe dragoun shal done crone Kyng, þat afterwarde shal flee ouer þe see wiþout comyng aȝeyne, for drede of þe dragoun. ¶ In þat tyme þe sonne shal bene also rede as blode, as meny men shul see þrouȝ al þe worlde: þat shal bitoken grete pestilence, and deþ of folc þrouȝ dent of swerde; and þis peple shal bene faderles til þe tyme þat þe dragon shal dye þrouȝ an hare þat shal meve aȝeynes him werrPage 73 in þe ende of his lif, þat should nouȝt bene fulliche endede in his tyme. ¶ This dragoun shal bene holden in his tyme þe best body of al þe worlde; & he shal dye bisides þe Marche of a straunge lande; and þe lande shalle [MS Rawlinson B 171 35b] duelle fade[r]lesse, wiþouten a gode gouernoure; and me shal wepe for his deþ fram þe Ile of Shepe vnto þe hauen of Marcill; wherfore, 'allas' shal bene þe commune songe of faderles folc, þat shal ouerleuen in his land destroiede. "ANd after þis dragone shal come a gote oute of a Kar, þat shal haue hornes & berde of siluer; and þere shal come out of his noseþrelles a drop þat shal bitoken hunger & sorw, & grete deþ of þe peple; and miche of his lande in þe bigynnyng of his regne shal be wastede. ¶ This goot shal go ouer into Fraunce, & shal oppon þe floure of lif and of deþ. In his tyme þere shal arise an Egle in Cornewaile þat shal haue feþeres of golde, þat of pride shal bene wiþouten pere of alle þe lande; and he shal despise lordes of blode; and after, he shal flee shamefully by a Bere at Gauersiche; and after shal bene made brigges of men oppon þe costes of þe see; and stones shal falle fram castelles, and meny oþere tounes shal ben made pleyne; and a bataile shalle bene done vppon an Arme of þe see in a felde ordeynede as a shelde; and at þat bataile shal dye meny white hedes; wherfore þat bataile shal bene callede 'þe white bataile.' ¶ And þe forsaide Beere shal done þis goote michel harme, and it shal bene oute of þe Southwest; & of his bloode þan shal þe goote lese miche of his lande til at þe tyme þat shendeship shal him ouercomen; & þan shal he cloþen him in a lyoneȝ skyn; and þan shal he wynne þat he hade loste, and more þerto, ffor a peple shal [MS Rawlinson B 171 36a] come out of þe northwest þat shal make þe goot sore to bene adrade; and he shal avenge him oppon his enemys, þrouȝ conseil of ij oweles, þat ferst shal bene in peril forto bene vndone; but þe olde owel shal wende ouer þe se into a st[r]aunge lande, and þere he shal duelle vnto a certeyne tyme; and after, he shal come aȝeyne into þis lande. ¶ þise ij oweles shullen do grete harmePage 74 to meny on; and so þai shullen counseil þe gote þat he shal arere werre aȝeynes þe forsaid bere; and at þe last, þe goot and þe oweles shullen come atte Bur vp Trent, and shullen wende ouer; and for drede, þe Bere shal flee, and a swan wiþ him, for his company, to Bur towarde þe North, & þere þai shal bene wiþ an harde shoure. And þan þe swan shal bene slayne wiþ sorwe, and þe Bere taken & biheuedede, alþer nexte his neste, þat shal [stand] vppon a broken brigge, vp wham þe sone shal caste his beemes; and meny shal him seche, for vertu þat fro hym shal come. ¶ In þat same tyme shal dye, for sorwe and care, a peple of his lande, so þat meny shal bene oppon him þe more bolder afterward. And þo ij oweles shullen do miche harme to þe forsaide floure of lif, and here shul lede in distresse, so þat she shal passe ouer into Fraunce, forto make pees bituene þe gote & þe flour delice; and þere she shal duelle to a tyme þat her sede shal come to seche here; and þere þai shul bene stille til a tyme þat þai shul ham cloþe with grace: and þai shul seche [MS Rawlinson B 171 36b] the Owelyn, and put ham vnto despitous deþ. And after shal þis goot bene brouȝt to disese; and in grete anguisshe and sorwe he shal leue al his lif. "Aftre þis goote, shal come out of Wyndesore a Boor, þat shal haue an heuede of witte, a lyons hert, a pitouse lokyng; his vesage shal be reste to sike men; his breþ shal bene stanchyn of þerst to ham þat bene aþreste þerof shal; his worde shal bene gospelle; his beryng shal bene meke as a Lambe. In þe ferste ȝere of his regne he shal haue grete payne to iustifien ham þat bene vntrew; and in his tyme shal his lande bene multipliede wiþ Aliens. ¶ And þis Boor, þrouȝ fersenesse of hert þat he shal haue, shal make wolfes bicome lambes; & he shal bene callede þrouȝ-oute þe worlde 'Boor of holynesse and of fersenesse, of nobeleye and of mekenesse,' and he shal do mesurabli al þat he shal haue to done vnto þe Burgh of Ierusalem; and he shal whet his teiþ vppon þe ȝates of Parys, and vppon iiij landes. Spayne shal tremble for drede of him; Gascoyne shal swete; in Fraunce he shal put his wynge; his grete taile shal reste in Engeland softely; Almayn shal quake for drede of him. ¶ þis Boor shalPage 75 ȝeue mantels to ij tounes of Engeland, and he shal make þe ryuer rynne wiþ blode & wiþ brayn, and he shal make meny medowes reede, and he shal gete as miche as his auncestres deden; & er þat he bene dede he shal bere iij crones; and he shal put on lande into gret subieccioun; and after hit shal bene releuede, but nouȝt in his tyme. ¶ This Boor, after þat he is dede, [MS Rawlinson B 171 37a] for his douȝtynesse shal bene enterede at Coloigne, and his lande shal bene þan fulfillede wiþ al goode. "After þis Boor shal come a lambe, þat shal haue feete of leede, an heuede of bras, an hert of a loppe, and a swynes skyn, and herde; and in his tyme his land shal bene in pees. þe ferst ȝere of his regne he shal do make a citee, þat al þe worlde shal speke þerof. þis lambe shal lese in his tyme a grete parte of his lande þrouȝ an hidouse wolf; but he shal recouer it, an ȝif an Lordeship to an Egle of his landes; and þis Egle shal wel gouerne hit, til þe tyme þat pride shal him ouergone,—allas þe sorwe!—for he shal dye þrouȝ his broþeres suorde. and after shal þe lande falle to þe forsaide lambe, þat shal gouerne in pees al his lifes tyme; and after, he shal dye, and þe lande bene fulfillede wiþ al maner gode. "After þis lambe shal come a Moldewerpe acursede of Godes mouþ, a caitif, a cowarde as an here. he shal haue an elderliche skyn as a goot; and vengeance shal fal vppon him for synne. In þe ferst ȝere of his regne he shal haue of al gode grete plente in his lande, and toward him also; and in his lande he shal haue grete praising til þe tyme þat he shal soffre his peple lyuen in to miche pride wiþouten chastisyng, wherfore God wil ben wroþ. ¶ Than shal arisen vp a dragoun in þe North, þat shal bene ful fers, and shal meve werre aȝeynes þe forsaide Moldewerpe, and shal ȝeue him bataile vppon a ston. þis dragoun shal gadre aȝeyne into his company a wolf þat shal come oute of the West, þat shal bygynne werre aȝeynes þe forsaide Moldewerp in his side; & so shal þe dragoun and he bynde here tailes to-geder.
"¶ þan shal come a lyon oute of Irlande, þat shal fal in company wiþ ham; and þan shal tremble þe lande, þat þan shal bene callede Engeland, as an aspe lef, and in þat tyme shalPage 76 castelles bene fellede adoune vppon Tamise; and it shal semen þat Seuerne shal bene drye, for þe bodyes þat shal fallen dede þerin. ¶ Þe iiij chief flodes of Engeland shal rynne in blode; and grete drede shal bene, and anguisshe, þat shul arisen after þe Moldewerpe shal fle for drede; and þe dragoun, þe lyoun and þe wolf, him shal dryuen away, and the lande shal bene wiþout ham, and þe Moldewerpe shal haue no maner power, saf onely a shipp wherto he may wende; and after þat, he shal come to lande when þe see is wiþdraw. ¶ And after þat he shal ȝeue þe þride part of his lande forto haue þe ferþe part in pees & reste; and after he shal leue in sorw al his lif-tyme; and in his tyme þe hote baþes shullen bicome colde; and after þat shal þe Moldewerp dye aventurly and sodeynely,—allas þe sorwe!—for he shal bene drenchede in a flode of þe see, his seede shal bicome pure faderles in straunge lande for euermore, and þan shal the lande bene departede in iij parties, þat is to seyn, to the Wolf, to þe dragoune, & to þe lioun; and so shal it bene for euermore. And þan shal þis land bene callede 'þe lande of conquest,' & so shal þe riȝt heires of Engeland ende."