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

THEN rode they a great while till that they came to the castle of Carbonek. And when they were entered within the castle, King Pelles knew them. Then there was great joy, for they wist well by their coming that they had fulfilled the quest of the Sancgreal. Then Eliazar, King Pelles’s son, brought afore them the broken sword wherewith Joseph was stricken through the thigh. Then Bors set his hand thereto, if he might have soldered it again, but it would not be. Then he took it to Percivale, but he had no more power thereto than he. Now have ye it again, said Percivale to Galahad, for and it be ever achieved by one bodily man, ye must do it. And then took he the pieces and set them together, and they seemed that they had never been broken, and as well as it had been first forged. And when they within espied that the adventure of the sword was achieved, then they gave the sword to Bors; for it might not be better set, for he was a good knight and a worthy man. And a little afore even the sword arose great and marvelous, and was full of great heat, that many men fell for dread. And anon alight a voice among them, and said, They that ought not to sit at the table of Jesu Christ arise, for now shall very knights be fed. So they went thence all save King Pelles and Eliazar his son, the which were holy men, and a maid which was his niece. And so these three fellows and they three were there; no more. Anon they saw knights all armed come in at the hall door, and did off their helms and their arms, and said unto Galahad, Sir, we have hied right much for to be with you at this table, where the holy meat shall be parted. Then said he, Ye be welcome: but of whence be ye? So three of them said they were of Gaul, and other three said they were of Ireland, and the other three said they were of Denmark. So as they sat thus, there came out of a bed of tree of a chamber, the which four gentlewomen brought, and in the bed lay a good man sick, and a crown of gold upon his head; and there in the midst of the place they set him down, and went again their way. Then he lift up his head and said, Galahad, knight, ye be welcome, for much have I desired your coming, for in such pain and in such anguish I have been long. But now I trust to God the term is come that my pain shall be allayed, that I shall pass out of this world, so as it was promised me long ago. Therewith a voice said, There be two among you that be not in the quest of the Sancgreal, and therefore depart ye.  1
 
  THEN King Pelles and his son departed. And therewithal beseemed them that there came a man and four angels from heaven, clothed in likeness of a bishop, and had a cross in his hand, and these four angels bare him up in a chair, and set him down before the table of silver whereupon the Sancgreal was, and it seemed that he had in midst of his forehead letters that said, See ye here Joseph the first bishop of Christendom, the same which our Lord succored in the City of Sarras, in the Spiritual Place. Then the knights marveled, for that bishop was dead more than three hundred year tofore. O knights, said he, marvel not, for I was sometime an earthly man. With that they heard the chamber door open, and there they saw angels, and two bare candles of wax, and the third a towel, and the fourth a spear which bled marvelously, that three drops fell within a box which he held with his other hand. And they set the candles upon the table, and the third the towel upon the vessel, and the fourth the holy spear even upright upon the vessel. And then the bishop made semblant as though he would have gone to the sacring of the mass. And then he took an ubbly, 1 which was made in likeness of bread; and at the lifting up there came a figure in likeness of a child, and the visage was as red and as bright as any fire, and smote himself into the bread, so that they all saw it, that the bread was formed of a fleshly man, and then he put it into the holy vessel again. And then he did that longed to a priest to do to a mass. And then he went to Galahad and kissed him, and bad him go and kiss his fellows, and so he did anon. Now, said he, servants of Jesu Christ, ye shall be fed afore this table with sweet meats, that never knights tasted. And when he had said, he vanished away; and they set them at the table in great dread, and made their prayers.  2
  Then looked they, and saw a man come out of the holy vessel that had all the signs of the passion of Jesu Christ, bleeding all openly, and said, My knights and my servants and my true children, which be come out of deadly life into spiritual life, I will now no longer hide me from you, but ye shall see now a part of my secrets and of my hid things: now hold and receive the high meat which ye have so much desired. Then took he himself the holy vessel and came to Galahad, and he kneeled down and there he received his Savior, and after him so received all his fellows; and they thought it so sweet that it was marvelous to tell. Then said he to Galahad, Son, wotest thou what I hold betwixt my hands? Nay, said he, but if ye will tell me. This is, said he, the holy dish wherein I ate the lamb on Sher-thursday. And now hast thou seen that thou most desiredst to see, but yet hast thou not seen it so openly as thou shalt see it in the City of Sarras, in the Spiritual Place. Therefore thou must go hence, and bear with thee this holy vessel, for this night it shall depart from the realm of Logris, that it shall never be seen more here; and wotest thou wherefore? for he is not served nor worshiped to his right by them of this land, for they be turned to evil living; therefore I shall disherit them of the honor which I have done them. And therefore go ye three to-morrow unto the sea, where ye shall find your ship ready, and with you take the sword with the strange girdles, and no more with you but Sir Percivale and Sir Bors. Also I will that ye take with you of the blood of this spear, for to anoint the maimed king, both his legs and all his body, and he shall have his health. Sir, said Galahad, why shall not these other fellows go with us?—For this cause, for right as I departed mine apostles, one here and another there, so I will that ye depart And two of you shall die in my service, but one of you shall come again, and tell tidings. Then gave he them his blessing and vanished away.  3
 
  AND Galahad went anon to the spear which lay upon the table, and touched the blood with his fingers, and came after to the maimed king, and anointed his legs. And therewith he clothed him anon, and start upon his feet out of his bed as a whole man, and thanked our Lord that he had healed him. And that was not the world-ward, for anon he yield him to a place of religion of white monks, and was a full holy man. That same night about midnight came a voice among them, which said, My sons and not my chieftains, my friends and not my warriors, go ye hence, where ye hope best to do, and as I bade you.—Ah! thanked be thou, Lord, that thou wilt vouchsafe to call us thy sinners. Now may we well prove that we have not lost our pains.  4
  And anon in all haste they took their harness and departed. But the three knights of Gaul, one of them hight Claudine, King Claudas’s son, and the other two were great gentlemen. Then prayed Galahad to every each of them, that if they come to King Arthur’s court, that they should salute my lord Sir Launcelot my father, and of them of the Round Table, and prayed them if that they came on that part that they should not forget it. Right so departed Galahad, Percivale, and Bors with him. And so they rode three days, and then they came to a rivage, and found the ship whereof the tale speaketh of tofore. And when they came to the board, they found in the midst the table of silver which they had left with the maimed king, and the Sancgreal, which was covered with red samite. Then were they glad to have such things in their fellowship, and so they entered, and made great reverence thereto, and Galahad fell in his prayer long time to our Lord, that at what time he asked, that he should pass out of this world: so much he prayed, till a voice said to him, Galahad, thou shalt have thy request, and when thou askest the death of thy body thou shalt have it, and then shalt thou find the life of the soul. Percivale heard this, and prayed him of fellowship that was between them, to tell him wherefore he asked such things. That shall I tell you, said Galahad: The other day when we saw a part of the adventures of the Sancgreal, I was in such a joy of heart that I trow never man was that was earthly, and therefore I wot well when my body is dead my soul shall be in great joy to see the blessed Trinity every day, and the majesty of our Lord Jesu Christ. So long were they in the ship that they said to Galahad, Sir, in this bed ought ye to lie, for so saith the Scripture. And so he laid him down and slept a great while. And when he awaked he looked afore him, and saw the City of Sarras. And as they would have landed, they saw the ship wherein Percivale had put his sister in. Truly, said Percivale, in the name of God, well hath my sister holden us covenant. Then took they out of the ship the table of silver, and he took it to Percivale and to Bors to go tofore, and Galahad came behind, and right so they went to the city, and at the gate of the city they saw an old man crooked. Then Galahad called him, and bad him help to bear this heavy thing. Truly, said the old man, it is ten year ago that I might not go but with crutches. Care thou not, said Galahad, and arise up and shew thy good will. And so he assayed, and found himself as whole as ever he was. Then ran to the table, and took one part against Galahad. And anon arose there great noise in the city, that a cripple was made whole by knights marvelous that entered into the city. Then anon after, the three knights went to the water, and brought up into the palace Percivale’s sister, and buried her as richly as a king’s daughter ought to be. And when the king of the city, which was cleped Estorause, saw the fellowship, he asked them of whence they were, and what thing it was that they had brought upon the table of silver. And they told him the truth of the Sancgreal, and the power which that God had set there. Then the king was a tyrant, and was come of the line of paynims, and took them and put them in prison in a deep hole.  5
  But as soon as they were there, our Lord sent them the Sancgreal, through whose grace they were always fulfilled while that they were in prison. So at the year’s end it befell that this King Estorause lay sick, and felt that he should die. Then he sent for the three knights, and they came afore him, and he cried them mercy of that he had done to them, and they forgave it him goodly, and he died anon. When the king was dead, all the city was dismayed, and wist not who might be their king. Right so as they were in counsel, there came a voice among them, and bad them choose the youngest knight of them three to be their king, for he shall well maintain you and all yours. So they made Galahad king by all the assent of the whole city, and else they would have slain him. And when he was come to behold the land, he let make about the table of silver a chest of gold and of precious stones that covered the holy vessel, and every day early the three fellows would come afore it and make their prayers. Now at the year’s end, and the self day after Galahad had borne the crown of gold, he arose up early, and his fellows, and came to the palace, and saw tofore them the holy vessel, and a man kneeling on his knees, in likeness of a bishop, that had about him a great fellowship of angels, as it had been Jesu Christ himself. And then he arose and began a mass of Our Lady. And when he came to the sacrament of the mass, and had done, anon he called Galahad, and said to him, Come forth, the servant of Jesu Christ, and thou shalt see that thou hast much desired to see. And then he began to tremble right hard, when the deadly flesh began to behold the spiritual things. Then he held up his hands toward heaven, and said, Lord, I thank thee, for now I see that that hath been my desire many a day. Now, blessed Lord, would I not longer live, if it might please thee, Lord. And therewith the good man took our Lord’s body betwixt his hands, and proffered it to Galahad, and he received it right gladly and meekly. Now, wotest thou what I am? said the good man. Nay, said Galahad.—I am Joseph of Arimathie, which our Lord hath sent here to thee to bear thee fellowship. And wotest thou wherefore that he hath sent me more than any other? For thou hast resembled me in two things, in that thou hast seen the marvels of the Sancgreal, and in that thou hast been a clean maiden, as I have been and am. And when he had said these words, Galahad went to Percivale and kissed him, and commanded him to God. And so he went to Sir Bors and kissed him, and commanded him to God, and said, Fair lord, salute me to my lord Sir Launcelot, my father, and as soon as ye see him bid him remember of this unstable world. And therewith he kneeled down tofore the table and made his prayers, and then suddenly his soul departed to Jesu Christ, and a great multitude of angels bare his soul up to heaven, that the two fellows might well behold it. Also the two fellows saw come from heaven an hand, but they saw not the body; and then it came right to the vessel, and took it and the spear, and so bare it up to heaven. Sithen was there never man so hardy to say that he had seen the Sancgreal.  6
 
Note 1. Oblate—unconsecrated loaf. [back]
 
 
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