BVt whyles the kyng sate in his trone royal,
His prynces all, and knyghtes of dignite,
Aboute him, there thambassade Note the imbassiate imperyall
Were fayre brought Note brought ynne vnto his [royall dignite ;] Note roialte
[That prynces] Note Whiche princes twelue were of authoryte,
Of [moste] rype age and Note and of reuerende chere,
With olliffe braunchies in their landes Note hondes clere.
¶ Otokyn Note A token. edit. alt. In tokyn. MS. of message and legacye,
A stately pase Note paase vnto his hye presence,
Where they offered of Lucius Heberye
The letters then, on knees with reuerence,
Of whiche this Note this was the wordes and comprehence
As foloweth nowe, when they were reed and sene,
As [chronyclers wryten thus do] Note cronycles so wretyn doth contene.
¶ "Lucius of Rome, the emperoure,
Procurator for all the hole senate,
Of [the] publyke profyte chiefe gouernoure,
By hole senate made and denominate ;
To Arthure kyng of Britayne procreate,
Sendeth gretyng, [lyke] as thou haste deserued,
Nowe in Note Late in Fraunce, which was to vs preserued.
¶ Amerueled Note Mervailynge much of wronge[s] that thou hast done
Within our lande of Fraunce, by great rygour,
Without Note Withoutyn ryght , that better had been vndone ;
But yf thy wytte amende thy foule erroure
That syth of Fraunce then Note thou were the gouernour,
No trybute payde, but as thyne owne conquest
Haste [holde it aye] Note holden it vnder thyne Note thine oun areste.
¶ And for thou haste no wyll it to amende,
And were Note was so prowde to do [so cruel a] Note such cruell dede,
Kyng Froyle to sle, to vs that dyd apende,
And mekell Note muche more, for cause thou takest no Note noone hede
Of the gate Note greate. edit. alt. astate. MS. imperyall that Note whiche we lede ;
To whiche all landes obey and paye truage,
Saue Note Saufe thou alone gaynstandest of thyne outrage.
¶ Wherfore we byd strayghtly and cōmaunde,
That from August nowe nexte within a yere,
Thou come to Rome, and pay that we demaunde,
The truage, which thou haste of thy power
Of Britayne longe withholde Note witholdyn so in feare ;
And thy defautes amende thou did in Fraunce,
By sentence of the senates ordynaunce.
¶ And elles we shall approche to thy countre,
And what so thy foly hath vs [be]refte,
With sweordes wee shall it make restored bee,
Till Note To our senate, as first it was infefte,
The liuelode that thy father so the lefte:
Thou art els like for thine intrusion,
To lose and [be brought] Note bryng into confusion.
¶ Wrytten at Roome in the consistorye,
By whole auise of all the wise senate,
At Pasche last past, to byde in memorie,
Their regestred and determinate,
Lest thy youthed our letter[s] and the date
Would couer with feyned forgetfulnesse,
Trustyng in vs the same defaute I gesse."
¶ With that the kyng went to the giaūtes toure,
With princes all that were of his counsaile,
By their aduise to wryte to themperour,
For his honour and for his gouernall,
Of whiche so wise would not [for gette] Note foryete ne faill :
So well were made to Lucius and endite,
Whiche saied right thus, as in Note with my stile I wryte.
"ARthure, kyng Note the of all the greate Brytain,
And emperour of Rome by title of right,
[Whiche deforced] Note With wronge deforced by Lucius Romain Note Lucius ,
Pretendyng hym for emperour of might,
Vnto the same Lucius, for Note of thyne vnright,
Vsurper of the sea Note cee emperiall,
Sendeth gretyng, as enemie moost mortall.
¶ To the senate of Roome it is well knowe[n,]
How Iulyus Ceaser with iniurye
The truage had, Brytain was brought so lowe,
By helpe of erle Note duke Androgeus and [his] traytorye,
That brought hym in by his fase policye,
Without right or title of discent,
Or any right [that to the senate] Note the senate appent.
¶ And what so he had then by iniurye,
Leefull to vs [nowe is it to] Note is nowe forto withstande ;
For what euer Note maner thyng is take vniustly Note vnjustfullie ,
Maye neuer be had, as I can vnderstande,
By any other, to hold it with strong hand,
Frome hym that had it well and rightfully,
By none other maye bee had lawfully.
¶ By whiche reason the Note thy wrong we shall defende,
And hold our realme so in our Note his first astate,
Of seruage free, as it to Brute apende,
Who held it free afore that Roome bare date,
Whose right to vs is nowe determinate ;
And by suche right as thou dooest nowe pretende,
We maye clayme Roome & to thempire Note the empere ascende.
¶ For kyng Belyn, that was our auncetour,
And Brenny also Note als , the kyng of Albanye,
All Roomain did wyn by [conquest there ;]Note theire conquestre
Of Note And Roome thei had, and all greate Italie,
[And sleugh themperour by their great maistrie,]Note In their power by their grete victory
And crouned were in [the sea] Note cee empiriall,
Wher no prince was that tyme to theim egall.
¶ But yet we haue a better title of right
To thempire Note the empere whiche nowe we will pretende ;
For Constantyne, sainct Elyn soonne of right Note myght ,
By right of bloodde , of Constaūce downe discēde,
Emperour was, that Roome did well defende
Again Maxence, and his feloes tweyn Note tweye ,
Whiche there Note thre made muche Christē people [to dien.]Note deye
¶ Maximian kyng of greate Note the greate Brytain,
By whole decre, and will of the senate,
Was emperour of Roome, and ruled Almaigne,
Whose rightes we haue, and al their [whole] astate,
And Note As heire of bloodde borne and generate ;
Wherfore we clayme the throne empirial,
Frome hens furth by lawe iudicial.
¶ As to the daye whiche Note the whiche thou hast vs sette,
To paye to Roome the tribute and truage,
We shall bee their to chalenge, of dewe debte,
Truage of Roome, with all [their rerage,]Note the arerage
And to enioyse and hold our heritage
Of Roome citee, to kepe the souereigne sea Note cee
With all that longeth to themperalite Note the imperialite .
¶ And if thou wilt me sooner haue or seeke,
Bryng Romanye with the wher so thou will,
With me I shall Note shall so than bryng Brytain eke,
And whiche of vs that daye maye other kyll,
Bere Roome with hym, and Brytain also Note als their till.
Wryten at our citee of Cairlion,
By whole aduise of all our region."
THe kyng then gaue [vnto Note to ye hie ambassate,
Full riche giftes & golde enough to spend,
And bad theim giue their lordes Note lorde in whole senate
His letters so, whiche he then to hym send,
And bad theim saie, that soner then he wend,
He should hym se, before the daye assigned
In trust of whiche theim with his seale assignedNote he signed .
¶ This noble kyng Arthure his princes prayed,
And barons all, and knightes honorable,
To passe with hym at wagis to bee payed,
With their power and their retenue able,
For to directe his right full resonable ;
Marciall Note By marciall actes thempire to obtein,
To whome thei all [consented whole and clene.]Note consente the soth to seyne
¶ And with the kyng thei passed forth anone
Into Brytain, wher Howell Note Hoell then was kyng,
Wher than he hard ye countre make greate mone,
For a gyaunt horrible in all thyng,
That rauished had, by his cruell werkyng,
Kyng Howell Note Hoell sister, Elein without pere
Bytwene his armes was slain and layed on bere.
¶ For whiche ye kyng to [mount Michell] Note Michell mounte thē wēt,
With that gyaunt that Note ther faught a bataile sore,
With Caliborne his sweord, or that he stint,
He sleugh hym there, to death for euermore,
And charged Kay for his victorie thore,
To smyte his hedde of then for memorye,
In Note For worship of his worthy victorye.
¶ In whiche mount Note mount so kyng Howell Note Hoell hir tōbe made,
A chapell faire theron Note therouer he edefied,
Sith that tyme hether vpon that place abade,
Wher that gyaunt and she were homycied :
But all his hoost and people hym magnified,
[And all the landes about wholy enioyed,]Note The londes about also highly enyoied
[Of] that gyauntes death so Note that theym soore felly anoyed.
¶ The kynges all, of Portyngale and Spain,
Of Nauerne also Note als , and eke of Catheloyne,
Vnto hym came, and dukes of Almaigne,
The dukes of Sauoy, and of Burgoyne,
Douze peres of Fraunce, and the duke of Lorain,
The kynges also of Denmarke and Irelande,
Of Norwey, [Iselande, and of] Note and of Iselande and Gotelande.
¶ Through Fraūce, Burgoyn Note Burboyne , Sauoye & Lumbardie,
Into Italy, and so through all Tuskayn ;
Fro Tuskayn then so into Romany,
To Awbe ryuer kyng Arthure came so than,
And [loged on that water as]Note on that water hym loged as a manne ;
Wher with Lucius he faught in Note a battaile strong,
Either other proued with strokes sore emong.
¶ But kyng Arthure, and the Note eke his princes all,
His knightes also Note als there of the round table,
So manfully theim bare that daye ouer all,
That neuer their better were seen, [nor] more able,
[So were Romaynes] Note the Romayns als that daye full Note were cōmendable ;
[Ne none]Note no man might dooe better in any wise,
So worthely thei faught without feyntise.
¶ And at the last the Brytons bare the bell,
And had the felde and all the victorye,
Wher Arthure sleugh, as chronicles dooeth tell,
[Themperour Lucius Hibery,]Note The procuratour of the comonte Lucius Hiberie
And [toke his feloe] Note made Leone the emperoure contributorye ;
But Lucyus [hedde to] Note had Roome for his truage
He sent, [his corps also for their] Note to Rome his corps for the arerage.
THe senate sent vnto the kyng Arthure,
[And praysed]Note prayinge hym thempire to admit,
Whiche became hym & semed hym of nature,
As Constantyne did in the honour sitte,
And al truage forthward Note thens forwarde thei would remitte
Of greate Brytain, neuer to aske it more,
But make it free as [it was euer before :]Note euer it was
¶ To whiche prayer kyng Arthure did consent,
And came to Roome in Note with royall high astate,
Wher the citee, by good and whole assent,
Full richely Note roially hym mette, and the senate,
With greatest laude that might been Note be estimate,
And Note At euery gate his triumphe and his glorie,
Full curyously was wrought in greate storie.
¶ The seuen orders in procession,
Full solemplye at Peters churche hym mette ;
The wifes whole by good discrecion,
The wydowes after full deuoutly sette,
In order came then Note ther nexte, as was there dette,
The virgyns Note maydens then, of pure virgynitee,
[And then thynnocentes] Note the Innocentes of tender iuuentee.
¶ Thorders all of good religion,
The preastes and clerkes seculer,
The byshop and cardinalles in vnyon,
With the sacrement and lightes clere,
And belles ryngyng therewith in fere ;
Euery order with laude and reuerence,
Reioysed Note enyoied greatly of his magnificence.
¶ At [the] Capytole, in [the sea]Note cee imperiall,
They crowned hym with crownes thre of golde
As emperoure moste principall,
And conqueror that daye moste worthy holde ;
Wher then he fested Note feeste the citee manyfolde,
[Of Rome the byshop, and all his cardinals,]Note The pope and all his worthy cardynals
The senatours, with other estates als.
ALl that wynter at Rome he did soiourne,
In palays of Mayns Note Mayus palacium ;
The Note To somer cā yt home he might retourne,
At whiche somer so when it was come,
Tydynges came to Arthure hole Note all and some,
That duke Mordred was kyng of all Britayn,
And wedded Note had Gwaynour to Note as for his wyfe certayn.
¶ For whiche at Rome he made his ordenaunce
To rule that lande and all the Note that hole empire,
And home in hast with full great purueyaunce
To Note Towarde Britayne [came,] to venge hym on that sire
That Note Whiche trayterously agayn hym did conspire,
[To rauyshe his wife by stronge and mighty hāde,
And also for vsurpyng the crowne of his lande.]Note With all his hooste that thedir with hym went, Theym outakyn that there were dede and spent.
¶ At porte Rupyn, which nowe Note this daye Douer hight,
He landed then, where duke Mordred hym met,
And fought full sore, by all a daye to night,
Wher syr Gawen & Anguzell Note Agnyzell were sore bet,
And slayne both two, so sore they were ouer set ;
But Arthure had the felde, and Mordred fled
To Wynchester that night, full fast hym sped.
¶ The kyng folowed fast vpon the chace,
And there he fought agayn with hym full sore,
Where many princes and lordes, in that case,
Were slayn on bothe sydes for euermore ;
Of the round table, that longe had been afore,
Many worthy knightes there were spended,
For Arthures loue, that might not been Note be amended.
¶ The rounde table at Wynchester beganne,
And there it ended Note ende , and there it hangeth yet ;
For there were slayn [at this ylke battayl] Note of that rounde table than,
The knightes all that euer did at it sitte,
Of Britayne borne, saue Launcelot yode quyte,
And with the kyng folowed on Note upon the chase,
When Mordred fled to Cornwayle for ye case.
WHer on the water yt called was Camblayne,
Mordred abode, wt mightie hoste & stronge,
With Arthur fought yt day [of hie] Note with grete disdayne,
Full oft alone euer as they met amonge ;
But Arthure slewe Mordred with his knyfe Note suerde long,
That Calibourne was called, of suche vertue,
That whomsoeuer he smote therwith he slewe.
¶ But this Mordred gaue Arthure deaths woūd,
For whiche he yode his woundes to medifie Note mediecye ,
Into thysle of Aualon that Note wher he diede that stound,
[And gaue]Note He gaufe Britayne that was full solitarie,
To Constantyne, duke Cader Note Cador sonne on Note in hye,
His neuewe was, for Cader Note Cador was his brother,
As well was knowen they had but one mother.
¶ Kyng Arthure then in Aualon so died,
Wher he was buried in Note beside a chapell fayre,
Whiche nowe is made and fully edified,
[The mynster churche this daye]Note Weste fro the mynstre churche of grete repayre
Of Glastenbury, where nowe he hath his leyre ;
But then it was called the blacke chapell
Of our Lady, as chronycles can tell.
¶ Wher Geryn, erle of Charters, then Note ther abode,
Besyde his toumbe for whole deuocion,
Whether Launcelot Delake came, as he rode
Vpon the chace, with trompette and clarion ;
And Geryn tolde hym ther, [all] vp and downe,
Howe Arthure was there layde in sepulture,
For whiche with hym to byde he hight full sure.
¶ And so they abode together in contemplacion,
An preastes were aboute his toumbe alwaye
In prayers greate, and holy meditacion,
With heare the fleshe repressyng night and daye,
Three days eche weke at breade and water aye,
They fasted Note faste & lyued in great [sorowe and] Note and sore penaūce,
To soules helth and Goddes hye pleasaunce.
¶ But whē the quene Gwaynour had perceyued
Howe Mordred was fled awaye then thryse,
Frō Yorke then yode, lest she was deceyued Note out disseived ,
On fote by night, with a mayden full wise,
To Carlion to lyue in Goddes seruice,
In the mynster of saynt Iuly, with nonnes,
In prayers whole and greate deuocions.
¶ This kyng Arthure, to whō none was cōdigne
Through all the world, so was he then perelesse,
His life and soule to God he dyd resigne,
The yere of Christ, as chronicles expresse,
Fyue hudrethhundreth and two, in sothefastnesse,
And fourtye also accompted hole Note faire and clere,
At his endyng without Note withoutyn any were.
REigned he had then sixe and twenty yere,
Moste redoubted in erth & moste famous,
The worthiest and wysest without pere Note any pere ,
The hardyest man and moste coragious,
In actes marciall moste Note in hooste victorious.
In hym was neuer a drope of cowardise,
Nor in his herte a Note oon poynte of couetyse.
¶ There was neuer prince [of giftes more] Note yit of yiftes so liberal,
Of landes geuyng, ne of meate so plenteous,
Agayn his fooen was moste imperiall,
And with his owne subiectes Note sogettis moste bounteous ;
As Note And as a lyon in felde was moste douteous,
In house a lambe of mercy euer replete,
And in iudgement euer [eguall was]Note wase egall and discrete.
¶ O good Lorde God, suche treason & vnrightes,
Why suffred thy deuyne omnipotente,
That of theim Note hym had precience and forsightes,
That Note And myght haue lette that cursed violence
Of Mordredes pryde, and all his insolence,
That noble kyng forpassyng Note ferre passynge conqueroure,
So to destroye by treason and erroure.
¶ Fortune Note O Fortune , false executryse of weerdes Note worldes ,
That euermore so with thy subtilitee,
To all debates [thou strongly so enherdes,]Note so strongely enheredes
That where men euer Note aie would lyue in charitee,
Thou doest perturbe with mutabilitee,
Why stretchest Note streched [thou] so thy whele vpon Mordred
Agayne his eme to do so cruel dede.
¶ Wherthrough that high & noble conqueroure
Without Note Withoutyn cause shuld algates Note sogates peryshed bee,
With so [many kynges] Note goode knyghtes and princes of honour,
In all the worlde might [none there] Note there no better bee.
O fals Fallas, of Mordredes propertee,
Howe might thou so in Gwynoure haue such might,
That she the death caused of so many Note goode knightes.
¶ O false beautie of Gwaynour, predestinate,
What vnhappe made the [false to]Note falsen thy lorde,
So good a prince and so fortunate Note well fortunate
Was neuer yet seen, as all men can recorde,
The whiche betwene you made so greate discorde,
That he and [all] his princes wer there slayne,
Thy chaungeable hert to venge he was so fayne.
¶ But O Mordred, tofore Note before so good a knight,
In greate manhode proudly [aye approued,]Note ever thou proued
In whom thyne eme, the noblest prince of might,
Put all his trust, so greately he the loued,
What vnhappe thy Note so thy manly ghost hath moued,
Vnto so foule and cruell hardynesse,
So [many] to be slayn through thyn vnhappynes.
¶ The highnesse of thyne honoure had a fall,
When thou began to do that iniurie,
That great falshode thy prowesse did appall,
As soone as [in the entred]Note thou entred into periurie,
By consequens treason and traitourie,
Thy lorde and eme, and also Note als thy kyng souerayn,
So to betraye thy felowes eke certayne.
Winchester Facsimile SectionsView all