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

Capitulum tercium

*. [As listed in the table of contents, chapters iii, iiij, and v go together, and there are no chapter breaks between them in the text.]

THen̄e quene Igrayne waxid dayly gretter & gretter / so it befel after within half a yere as kyng Vther lay by his quene he asked hir by the feith she ouȝt to hym whos was the child within her body / thēne she sore abasshed to yeue ansuer / Desmaye you not said the kyng but telle me the trouthe / and I shall loue you the better by the feythe of my body Syre saide she I shalle telle you the trouthe / the same nyghte þt my lord was dede the houre of his deth as his knyȝtes record ther came in to my castel of Tyntigaill a man lyke my lord in speche and in countenaunce / and two knyghtes with hym in lykenes of his two knyghtes barcias and Iordans / & soo I went vnto bed with hym as I ouȝt to do with my lord / & the same nyght as I shal answer vnto god this child was begoten vpon me / that is trouthe saide the kynge as ye say / for it was I my self that cam in the lykenesse / & therfor desmay you not for I am fader to the child / & ther he told her alle the cause / how it was by Merlyns counceil / thenne the quene made grete ioye whan she knewe who was the fader of her child / Sone come merlyn vnto the kyng / & said syr ye must puruey yow / for the nourisshyng of your child / as thou wolt said the kyng be it / wel said Merlyn I knowe a lord of yours in this land that is a passyng true man & a feithful / & he shal haue the nourysshyng of your child / & his name is sir Ector / & he is a lord of fair lyuelode in many partyes in Englond & walys / & this lord sir ector lete hym be sent for / for to come & speke with you / & desyre hym your self as he loueth you that he will put his owne child to nourisshynge to another woman / and that his wyf nourisshe yours / And whan the child is borne lete it be delyuerd to me at yōder pryuy posterne vncrystned / So like Page  39 [leaf 20r] as Merlyn deuysed it was done / And whan syre Ector was come / he made fyaūce to the kyng for to nourisshe the child lyke as the Kynge desyred / and there the kyng graunted syr ector grete rewardys / Thenne when the lady was delyuerd the kynge commaunded ij knyghtes & ij ladyes to take the child bound in a cloth of gold / & that ye delyuer hym to what poure man ye mete at the posterne yate of the castel / So the child was delyuerd vnto Merlyn / and so he bare it forth vnto Syre Ector / and made an holy man to crysten hym / and named hym Arthur / and so sir Ectors wyf nourysshed hym with her owne pappe / Thenne within two yeres kyng Vther felle seke of a grete maladye / And in the meane whyle hys enemyes Vsurpped vpon hym / and dyd a grete bataylle vpon his men / and slewe many of his peple / Sir said Merlyn ye may not lye so as ye doo / for ye must to the feld though ye ryde on an hors lyttar / for ye shall neuer haue the better of your enemyes / but yf your persone be there / and thenne shall ye haue the vyctory So it was done as Merlyn had deuysed / and they caryed the kynge forth in an hors lyttar with a grete hooste towarde his enemyes / And at saynt Albons ther mette with the kynge a grete hoost of the north / And that day Syre Vlfyus and sir Bracias dyd grete dedes of armes / and kyng Vthers men ouercome the northeryn bataylle and slewe many peple & putt the remenaunt to flight / And thenne the kyng retorned vnto london and made grete ioye of his vyctory / And thēne he fyll passynge sore seke / so that thre dayes & thre nyghtes he was specheles / wherfore alle the barons made grete sorow and asked Merlyn what counceill were best / There nys none other remedye said Merlyn but god wil haue his wille / But loke ye al Barons be bifore kynge Vther to morne / and god and I shalle make hym to speke / So on the morne alle the Barons with merlyn came to fore the kyng / then̄e Merlyn said aloud vnto kyng Vther / Syre shall your sone Arthur be kyng after your dayes of this realme with all the appertenaunce / thenne Vtherpendragon torned hym and said in herynge of them alle I gyue hym gods blissing & myne / & byd hym pray for my soule / & righteuously & worshipfully that he clayme þe croune vpon forfeture of my blessyng / & therwith he yelde vp the ghost &Page  40 [leaf 20v] thenne was he enterid as longed to a kyng / wherfor the quene fayre Igrayne made grete sorowe and alle the Barons / Thenne stood the reame in grete ieopardy long whyle / for euery lord that was myghty of men maade hym stronge / and many wende to haue ben kyng / Thenne Merlyn wente to the archebisshop of Caunterbury / and counceilled hym for to sende for alle the lordes of the reame / and alle the gentilmen of armes that they shold to london come by Cristmas vpon payne of cursynge / And for this cause þt Ihū that was borne on that nyghte that he wold of his grete mercy shewe some myracle / as he was come to be kynge of mankynde for to shewe somme myracle who shold be rightwys kynge of this reame / So the Archebisshop by the aduys of Merlyn send for alle the lordes and gentilmen of armes that they shold come by crystmasse euen vnto london / And many of hem made hem clene of her lyf that her prayer myghte be the more acceptable vnto god / Soo in the grettest chirch of london whether it were Powlis or not the Frensshe booke maketh no mencyon / alle the estates were longe or day in the chirche for to praye / And whan matyns & the first masse was done / there was sene in the chircheyard ayēst the hyghe aulter a grete stone four square lyke vnto a marbel stone / And in myddes therof was lyke an Anuylde of stele a foot on hyghe / & theryn stack a sayre swerd naked by the poynt / and letters there were wryten in gold aboute the swerd that saiden thus / who so pulleth oute this swerd of this stone and anuyld / is rightwys kynge borne of all Enlond / Thenne the peple merueilled & told it to the Archebisshop I commande said tharchebisshop that ye kepe yow within your chirche / and pray vnto god still that no man touche the swerd tyll the hyghe masse be all done / So whan all masses were done all the lordes wente to beholde the stone and the swerd / And whan they sawe the scripture / som assayed suche as wold haue ben kyng / But none myght stere the swerd nor meue hit He is not here said the Archebisshop that shall encheue the swerd but doubte not god will make hym knowen / But this is my counceill said the archebisshop / that we lete puruey x knyȝtes men of good fame / & they to kepe this swerd / so it was ordeyned / & thēne ther was made a crye / þt euery mā shold assay þtPage  41 [leaf 21r] wold for to wynne the swerd / And vpon newe yeersday the barons lete maake a Iustes and a tournement / that alle knyȝtes shat wold Iuste or tourneye / there myȝt playe / & all this was ordeyned for to kepe the lordes to gyders & the comyns / for the Archebisshop trusted / that god wold make hym knowe that shold wynne the swerd / So vpon newe yeresday whan the seruyce was done / the barons rode vnto the feld / some to Iuste / & som to torney / & so it happed that syre Ector that had grete lyuelode aboute london rode vnto the Iustes / & with hym rode syr kaynus his sone & yong Arthur that was hys nourisshed broder / & syr kay was made knyȝt at al halowmas afore So as they rode to ye Iustes ward / sir kay lost his swerd for he had lefte it at his faders lodgyng / & so he prayd yong Arthur for to ryde for his swerd / I wyll wel said Arthur / & rode fast after ye swerd / & whan he cam home / the lady & al were out to see the Ioustyng / thenne was Arthur wroth & saide to hym self / I will ryde to the chircheyard / & take the swerd with me that stycketh in the stone / for my broder sir kay shal not be without a swerd this day / so whan he cam to the chircheyard sir Arthur aliȝt & tayed his hors to the style / & so he wente to the tent / & found no knyȝtes there/ for they were atte Iustyng & so he handled the swerd by the handels / and liȝtly & fiersly pulled it out of the stone / & took his hors & rode his way vntyll he came to his broder sir kay / & delyuerd hym the swerd / & as sone as sir kay saw the swerd he wist wel it was the swerd of the stone / & so he rode to his fader syr Ector / & said / sire / loo here is the swerd of the stone / wherfor I must be kyng of thys land / when syre Ector beheld the swerd / he retorned ageyne & cam to the chirche / & there they aliȝte al thre / & wente in to the chirche / And anon he made sir kay swere vpon a book / how he came to that swerd / Syr said sir kay by my broder Arthur for he brought it to me / how gate ye this swerd said sir Ector to Arthur / sir I will telle you when I cam home for my broders swerd / I fond no body at home to delyuer me his swerd And so I thought my broder syr kay shold not be swerdles & so I cam hyder egerly & pulled it out of the stone withoute ony payn / found ye ony knyȝtes about this swerd seid sir ector Nay said Arthur / Now said sir Ector to Arthur I vnderstāde Page  42 [leaf 21v] ye must be kynge of this land / wherfore I / sayd Arthur and for what cause / Sire saide Ector / for god wille haue hit soo for ther shold neuer man haue drawen oute this swerde / but he that shal be rightwys kyng of this land / Now lete me see whether ye can putte the swerd ther as it was / and pulle hit oute ageyne / that is no maystry said Arthur / and soo he put it in the stone / wherwith alle Sir Ector assayed to pulle oute the swerd and faylled.