Le Morte Darthur
Syr Thomas Malory
William Caxton, H. Oskar Sommer

¶ Capitulum iiij

THan were they condesended that Kyng Arthure and syr mordred shold mete betwyxte bothe theyr hoostes and eueryche of them shold brynge fourtene persones And they came wyth thys word vnto Arthure / Than sayd he I am glad that thys is done And so he wente in to the felde / And whan Arthure shold departe he warned al hys hoost that and they see ony swerde drawen look ye come on fyersly and slee that traytour syr Mordred for I in noo wyse truste hym / In lyke wyse syr mordred warned his hoost that and ye see ony swerde drawen look that ye come on fyersly & soo slee alle that euer before you stondeth / for in no wyse I wyl not truste for thys treatyse / For I knowe wel my fader wyl be auenged on me / And soo they mette as theyr poyntemente was & so they were agreyd & accorded thorouly / And wyn was fette and they dranke / Ryght soo came an adder oute of a lytel hethe busshe & hyt stonge a knyghte on the foot / & whan the knyght felte hym stongen he looked doun and sawe the adder / & than he drewe his swerde to slee the adder / & thought of none other harme / And whan the hoost on bothe partyes saw that swerde Page  846 [leaf 423v] drawen than they blewe beamous trumpettes and hornes and shouted grymly And so bothe hoostes dressyd hem to gyders And kyng Arthur took his hors and sayd allas thys vnhappy day & so rode to his partye

¶ And syr mordred in like wyse / And neuer was there seen a more doolfuller bataylle in no crysten londe / For there was but russhyng & rydyng fewnyng and strykyng & many a grymme worde was there spoken eyder to other & many a dedely stroke But euer kyng Arthur rode thorugh oute the bataylle of syr Mordred many tymes / & dyd ful nobly as a noble Kyng shold / & at al tymes he faynted neuer & syr Mordred that day put hym in deuoyr and in grete perylle

¶ And thus they faughte alle the longe day & neuer stynted tyl the noble knyghtes were layed to the colde erthe / & euer they faught stylle tyl it was nere nyghte & by that tyme was there an hondred thousand layed deed vpon the down / Thenne was Arthure wode wrothe oute of mesure whan he sawe his peple so slayn from hym /

¶ Thenne the kyng loked aboute hym / & thenne was he ware of al hys hoost & of al his good knyghtes were lefte no moo on lyue but two knyghtes that one was Syr Lucan de butlere & his broder Syr Bedwere / And they were ful sore wounded / Ihesu mercy sayd the kyng where are al my noble knyghtes becomen Alas that euer I shold see thys dolefull day / for now sayd Arthur I am come to myn ende /

¶ But wolde to god that I wyste where were that traytour Syr mordred that hath caused alle thys meschyef / Thenne was kyng arthure ware where syr Mordred lenyd vpon his swerde emonge a grete hepe of deed men / Now gyue me my spere sayd Arthur vnto Syr Lucan / For yonder I haue espyed the traytour that alle thys woo hath wrought / Syr late hym be sayd Syr Lucan for he is vnhappy / And yf ye passe thys vnhappy day ye shalle be ryght wel reuengyd vpon hym

¶ Good lord remembre ye of your nyghtes dreme / & what the spyryte of Syr Gauwayn tolde you this nyght / yet god of his grete goodnes hath preserued you hyderto / Therfore for goddes sake my lord leue of by thys / for blessyd by god ye haue wonne the felde / For here we ben thre on lyue / and wyth syr Mordred is none on lyue / And yf ye leue of now thys wycked day of desteynye Page  847 [leaf 424r] is paste / Tyde me deth betyde me lyf sayth the kyng now I see hym yonder allone he shal neuer escape myn handes / For at a better auaylle shal I neuer haue hym /

¶ God spede you wel sayd syr bedwere / Thenne the kyng gate hys spere in bothe his handes & ranne toward syr Mordred cryeng tratour now is thy deth day come / And whanne syr Mordred herde syr Arthur he ranne vntyl hym with his swerde drawen in his hande And there kyng Arthur smote syr mordred vnder the shelde wyth a foyne of his spere thorughoute the body more than a fadom / And whan syr Mordred felte that he had hys dethes wounde / He thryst hym self wyth the myght that he had vp to the bur of kynge Arthurs spere / And right so he smote his fader Arthur wyth his swerde holden in bothe his handes on the syde of the heed that he swerde persyd the helmet and the brayne panne / and therwythall syr Mordred fyl starke deed to the erthe / And the nobyl Arthur fyl in a swoune to the erthe / and there he swouned ofte tymes / And syr Lucan de butlere and syr Bedwere oftymes heue hym vp / And soo waykely they ledde hym betwyxte them bothe to a lytel chapel not ferre from the see syde / And whan the kyng was there he thought hym wel eased / Thenne herde they people crye in the felde / Now goo thou syr Lucan sayd the kyng and do me to wyte what bytokenes that noyse in the felde / So syr Lucan departed for he was greuously wounded in many places And so as he yede he sawe and herkened by the mone lyght how that pyllars and robbers were comen in to the felde To pylle and robbe many a ful noble knyghte of brochys and bedys of many a good rynge & of many a ryche Iewel / and who that were not deed al oute / there they slewe theym for theyr harneys and theyr rychesse / Whan syr Lucan vnderstode thys werke he came to the kyng assone as he myght and tolde hym al what he had herde & seen / Therfore be my rede sayd syr Lucan it is beste that we brynge you to somme towne I wolde it were soo sayd the kyng /