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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Sir Launcelot Fails of the Quest
The Legend of the Holy Grail
 
From Malory’s ‘Morte d’Arthur

THEN Sir Launcelot enforced him mickle to undo the door. Then he listened, and heard a voice which sang so sweetly that it seemed none earthly thing; and him thought the voice said, Joy and honor be to the Father of Heaven! Then Launcelot kneeled down tofore the chamber, for well wist he that there was the Sancgreal within that chamber. Then said he, Fair sweet Father Jesu Christ, if ever I did thing that pleased the Lord, for thy pity have me not in despite for my sins done aforetime, and that thou shew me something of that I seek! And with that he saw the chamber door open, and there came out a great clearness, that the house was as bright as all the torches of the world had been there. So came he to the chamber door, and would have entered. And anon a voice said to him, Flee, Launcelot, and enter not, for thou oughtest not to do it: and if thou enter thou shalt forthink it, Then he withdrew him aback right heavy. Then looked he up in the midst of the chamber and saw a table of silver, and the holy vessel covered with red samite, and many angels about it, whereof one held a candle of wax burning, and the other held a cross, and the ornaments of an altar. And before the holy vessel he saw a good man clothed as a priest, and it seemed that he was at the sacring of the mass. And it seemed to Launcelot that above the priest’s hands there were three men, whereof the two put the youngest by likeness between the priest’s hands, and so he lift it up right high, and it seemed to shew so to the people. And then Launcelot marveled not a little, for him thought that the priest was so greatly charged of the figure, that him seemed that he should fall to the earth. And when he saw none about him that would help him, then came he to the door a great pace, and said, Fair Father Jesu Christ, ne take it for no sin though I help the good man, which hath great need of help. Right so entered he into the chamber, and came toward the table of silver; and when he came nigh he felt a breath that him thought it intermeddled with fire, which smote him so sore in the visage that him thought it burnt his visage; and therewith he fell to the earth, and had no power to arise, as he that was so araged that had lost the power of his body, and his hearing, and his saying. Then felt he many hands about him, which took him up and bare him out of the chamber door, without any amending of his swoon, and left him there seeming dead to all people. So upon the morrow, when it was fair day, they within were arisen, and found Launcelot lying afore the chamber door. All they marveled how that he came in. And so they looked upon him, and felt his pulse, to wit whether there were any life in him; and so they found life in him, but he might neither stand, nor stir no member that he had; and so they took him by every part of the body, and bare him into a chamber, and laid him in a rich bed, far from all folk; and so he lay four days. Then the one said he was on live, and the other said nay. In the name of God, said an old man, for I do you verily to wit he is not dead, but he is so full of life as the mightiest of you all, and therefore I counsel you that he be well kept till God send him life again.  1
 
 
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