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First Line: "at yule the bishop bricius, he / gave proof that he no fool should be"
Last Line: "both knight, I trow, and vavassour / their demoiselles love par amour"
Subject(s): Arthurian Legend; "arthur, King;

AT Yule the Bishop Bricius, he
Gave proof that he no fool should be,
There stood he forth amid them all,
In this wise did upon them call:
"Lordings, since ye may not accord
To choose unto ye here a lord,
I pray, for love of Christ so dear,
Ye work by wile and wisdom here;
For such a choice the time is right --
Now go we all to church to-night
And pray to Christ, so good and free,
A king to send us, who shall be
Strong for the right against the wrong,
Whom He shall choose our ranks among;
Pray that to us He token send
When the morn's Mass be brought to end."
That in such wise it might be done,
To this, they say, "Amen," each one.
Thus they betake them, more or less,
That night to church, with morn to Mass,
In prayer their cause to God commend
That He a rightful king should send.
And thus, when at the end of Mass,
From out the church the folk would pass,
Before the church door, there they found
A great stone standing on the ground,
'T was long and high, the sooth to say,
Therein a right fair sword, it lay.
Then king and duke, baron, and knight,
Were filled with wonder at that sight;
The Bishop, he beheld with eye,
And rendered thanks to Christ on high,
And here I rede ye all to wit
That on the pommel fair 't was writ:
"Excalibur, the name I bear,
For a king's treasure fashioned fair."
In English writing there displayed,
In steel 't was graven on the blade.
The Bishop quoth to them anon:
"Who draws this sword from out the stone
That same shall be our king indeed,
By God's Will, and by this, our rede."
Thereto they give consent alway, --
King Lot, his hand to hilt did lay,
Thinking to draw it out forthright,
But stirred it not, for all his might;
King Nanters, nor King Clarion,
Might not withdraw it from the stone,
Nor gentle man, whoe'er he be,
Was there might stir it, verily.
Thither came all of noble blood,
And there till Candlemas it stood;
All who were born in English land
Each to this stone he set his hand,
For life or death, I trow, was none
Might stir that sword from out the stone.
There did it stand till Easter-tide;
Thither came men from far and wide,
From this shore, from beyond the sea,
But prospered not, 't was God's decree!
The stone stood there till Pentecost;
And thither came a goodly host,
For tournament at that same tide
E'en as it were the stone beside.
Sir Antour did his son then, Kay,
With honour make a knight, that day,
This Kay was ta'en, so saith the Geste,
Away from this, his mother's breast,
For Arthur's sake, she nursed that child
Who grew up courteous, meek, and mild.
Kay was a noble knight, I trow,
Save that he stammered somewhat now,
Thro' nurture did he win that same,
They say that from his nurse it came;
And Arthur, he had served King Lot
For this long time, so do I wot.

When thus, Sir Kay, he was made knight,
Sir Antour counselled him forthright
Arthur to fetch to him again
And there to make of him his swain,
For he was hardy, true to test,
Thro' all the land of youths the best.
Therewith Kay, he was right well paid --
Then all was done as Antour said,
Arthur came home, and was with Kay,
To tourney went with him alway;
There Kay, he shewed himself in fight
To be a very valiant knight,
O'er all the field, at end, by side,
Full many did he fell that tide.

Then, as he came amid the throng,
He laid about with strokes so strong
That this, his sword, asunder brake --
Anon, to Arthur thus he spake:
"Now to my lady swiftly wend,
Pray her another sword to send."
And so he did, nor thought to bide,
But swiftly home again did ride,
His lady found he not that day
So turned him back upon his way.

Then to that sword within the stone
I trow me, he hath swiftly gone,
(And never man was there to see
Since all should at the Tourney be,)
Arthur, he took the hilt in hand
Towards himself he drew the brand,
Light from the stone it came away --
He took it in his hand straightway
And leapt upon his horse anon,
Back to the Tourney hath he gone
And said: "Have here this sword, Sir Kay,
Thy lady found I not to-day."
Right well Kay knew the sword, I wis,
To Arthur spake "Whence had'st thou this?"
"Certes" quoth Arthur, "that same brand
There, in a stone, I saw it stand."
(Arthur, he saw it ne'er before
Nor wist the meaning that it bore.)
With that, to Arthur spake Sir Kay,
"Par amour, now to no man say
Whence thou didst take this sword, I trow,
And riches shalt thou have enow."
Arthur he answered, "Certes, nay!"
With that he gat him forth, Sir Kay,
And led his father, Sir Antour
Straight to the church of Saint Saviour,
And saith: "The sword I forth did draw,
Now am I king, by right and law!"
Sir Antour, he beheld that sword,
Answered again with ready word
"'T is but a boast, by God above!
An sooth it be, that must thou prove
Before these nobles everyone,
Must thrust this sword back in the stone;
Save thou again canst draw it free
Then shame upon thy head shall be!"

With that, they get them to the stone,
And Kay thrust back the sword anon,
But tho' a knight both stiff and stout
He had no strength to draw it out.
With that besought him Sir Antour,
"Now tell me son, here, par amour,
Who was it drew this sword so good?"
Sir Kay, he laughed as there he stood,
And sware: "By God, as here I stand,
Arthur, he brought it in his hand!"
Antour, he called Arthur there
And to the stone he bade him fare
And there, I trow me, swift and soft,
Both in and out he drew it oft.
Antour was blithe and glad that day,
Arthur he took to church straightway
And saith to him full secretly,
"Arthur, I prithee, hearken me,
Since thou wast born, 't is true, I ween,
In my house nourished hast thou been."
With that he told him all that morn
How he begotten was, and born;
How that King Uther was his sire,
And how, at that same king's desire,
"A nurse I took for my son Kay,
And thee at my wife's breast did lay."
Then Antour quoth: "Now list to me,
Thro' nurture thou my son shalt be,
It were not right didst thou gainsay
A boon that I should rightful pray,
So I beseech, grant me a boon
Which I will ask of thee full soon,
And Arthur, son, I will thee aid
That king with honour thou be made."
Then Arthur answered, fair and free:
"Now Christ in Heaven forbid it me
That I deny thee anything
When thou to me a prayer dost bring."
Quoth Antour: "God thee well repay;
Now I for love this boon will pray,
To Kay my son the stewardship give
For all the years that thou mayst live;
In weal, in woe, I pray thee fair,
In every stead, protection swear,
And I shall aid, in this, thy need,
That thro' God's Help thou surely speed."

With that Sir Arthur spake full soon;
"Sir Antour, take thou this, thy boon,
Kay shall be steward in my land,
For weal or woe I'll by him stand,
And if I ever fail Sir Kay
Then Christ forget me, that same day!"
With that Sir Antour, he forthright
Took Arthur, and hath dubbed him knight,
First gave him cloth and fitting weed,
Then found him harness for his steed,
Helmet, and byrnie, coat of mail,
Nor plate for arm or thigh did fail;
With collar, shield, and sword to smite,
And shaft with blade that well could bite.
Anon, of knights he gave him there
Forty, to do him service fair.
With morn to tournament they go,
And so they dealt, I'ld have ye know,
That here Sir Arthur, day by day,
Honour and praise he bare away.
At morn Sir Antour, who should be
No fool, to Bishop Brice went he,
And saith to him, a knight he knew
Both fair and noble, good and true,
"Who shall be king, by this our law,
For that the sword he forth may draw."
With that, the Bishop, well content,
After Sir Arthur straightway sent,
Before the nobles of that land
Arthur, he took the sword in hand,
He drew it out, he thrust it in --
Then many a man must wonder win,
For none might stir it from that stone
I plight my word, save he alone!
Then kings and earls, without a doubt,
They crowded there, the lad about,
Thinking to prove his knowledge here --
Ever he was of gracious cheer,
Nor better could a man devise
Than this, his speech, in every wise.
With that, Sir Antour help did bring
So that he there was chosen king,
And to his crowning there withal
Full many a prince and king they call,
All who would come, they pray them well
To gather, as Saint John's-tide fell.

. . . . . . . .

'T is merry in the June-tide fair
When fennel hangeth everywhere,
And violets and rose in flower
Be found in every maiden's bower;
The sun is hot, the day is long,
And merry sounds the birdling's song;
Then first King Arthur bare the crown
Within Cardoil, that noble town.
King Lot, who wedded Belisent,
He to the coronation went,
The King of Lyoneis was he,
A strong man, of great courtesie.
Five hundred knights were in his train,
Hardy and strong, for fighting fain.
King Nanters came, as I am told,
Who did the land of Garlot hold,
A noble man, a valiant wight,
Strong to defend himself in fight.
The same had wedded with Blasine,
King Arthur's sister, fair and fine,
Full seven hundred knights, the king
Did with him, as his mesnie, bring,
And many a charger, many a steed,
That should be found right good at need.
And thither too, King Urien sped,
Who did with the third sister wed,
'T was from the land of Gorre he came,
A young man he, of noble fame,
With twenty thousand men, and five,
No better knights were there alive.

King Carados, he too, was there,
The crown of Strangore did he bear,
A mighty man, and well renowned,
Knight was he of the Table Round,
From far, unto Cardoil he sought,
Six hundred knights with him he brought,
Who well knew how to joust in field,
With stiff lance, 'neath the sheltering shield.
Thither came Ider in that hour,
King of the Marches, of great power,
And with him brought full thirty score
Of knights who rode his face before.

King Anguisant did thither ride,
The King of Scotland at that tide,
The richest he, among them all,
Youngest, and of great power withal,
Five hundred knights he brought, I wot,
Both shout and strong, each man a Scot;
And many more, from South and East,
Thither have come, to that high feast.
Then king and baron, as I tell,
Nobly they welcomed them, and well,
And Bishop Brice, the court among,
Crowned Arthur, and the office sung.
And when the service came to end,
Unto the feast their way they wend;
They found all ready, cloth and board,
And first hath gone the highest lord;
Men serve them then with plenteous fare,
With meat and drink, and dainties rare,
With venison of hart and boar,
Swan, peacock, bustard, to them bore;
Of pheasant, partridge, crane, that day
Great plenty and no lack had they.
Piment and claret served they free
To high lords, and their companie,
Serving them in such noble wise
As any man might well devise.
And when the guests had eaten all,
Both high and low, within that hall,
His gifts to give did Arthur rise,
To noble men, of high emprise,
Their homage they should straightway plight
E'en as the custom was, and right.
But e'en as this he did, I trow,
King Lot, King Nanters, men enow,
Of these his gifts they had despite,
And to the crown denied his right.

Up from the board they spring with boast,
Each king of them, with all his host,
Swearing that ne'er for anything
They'ld own a bastard for their king,
Thus, with dishonour great they fare,
Thinking to slay King Arthur there.
But Arthur's men, they came between,
And Merlin, in that strife, I ween,
Stood forth, and spake, no bastard he,
But nobler than them all should be,
And there he told them all that morn
How Arthur was begat, and born.
The wise men of that country, they
Gave thanks to Jesu Christ, alway,
In that their king, thro' this, His Grace,
Was come of royal Pendragon's race.
The barons, they to Merlin say:
"Thy witchcraft wrought his birth alway,
Thou traitor, know that verily,
For all enchantments known to thee,
No child born in adultery
The king and lord o'er us shall be,
But he shall starve here, now anon --"
Towards King Arthur have they gone,
The king was armed, from head to heel,
And all his friends, in iron and steel,
Resistance made they, strong, and stout,
And of a surety, drave them out,
With swords and knives full speedily,
From hall, who Arthur's foes should be.
Those same six kings, they were right wroth,
And all their barons sware an oath,
That never they two meals should eat
Till they had taken vengeance meet;
With that they pitch their tents that day
Without the town, a little way.

. . . . . . . .

List, tho' ye many be or few,
In May the sun doth slay the dew,
The day is merry, waxing long,
The lark doth, soaring, pour his song,
The meads they seek, the maidens fair,
And many a floweret gather there.

. . . . . . . .

'T is merry in the month of May,
Birds in the woodland groves be gay,
In every land ariseth song --
Christ Jesu, be Thy folk among!

. . . . . . . .

Merry it is in summer-tide
When birds sing in the forest wide,
On jousting bent, the squires they ride,
And maidens deck them in their pride.

. . . . . . . .

Merry is June, when flowers blow fair,
And meadows sweet perfume the air,
Lily and rose be bright to see,
The rivers clear from mire be free,
Both knight, I trow, and vavassour,
Their demoiselles love par amour.

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