Le Morte D'Arthur (Book IV)

Week 9: Medieval Heroes - Assignments - Reading - Resources - Images


CHAPTER IV How the battle was finished or he came, and how King Arthur founded an abbey where the battle was.

Reading time: 3 minutes. Word count: 500 words.

In order to replace the knights of the Round Table who were lost, Arthur consults with King Pellinore about who should be promoted to be a king of the Table.

THEREWITHAL came one to King Arthur, and told him that King Pellinore was within three mile with a great host; and he said, Go unto him, and let him understand how we have sped.

So within a while King Pellinore came with a great host, and saluted the people and the king, and there was great joy made on every side. Then the king let search how much people of his party there was slain; and there were found but little past two hundred men slain and eight knights of the Table Round in their pavilions. Then the king let rear and devise in the same place whereat the battle was done a fair abbey, and endowed it with great livelihood, and let it call the Abbey of La Beale Adventure.

But when some of them came into their countries, whereof the five kings were kings, and told them how they were slain, there was made great dole. And all King Arthur's enemies, as the King of North Wales, and the kings of the North, [when they] wist of the battle, they were passing heavy. And so the king returned unto Camelot in haste.

And when he was come to Camelot he called King Pellinore unto him, and said, Ye understand well that we have lost eight knights of the best of the Table Round, and by your advice we will choose eight again of the best we may find in this court.

Sir, said Pellinore, I shall counsel you after my conceit the best: there are in your court full noble knights both of old and young; and therefore by mine advice ye shall choose half of the old and half of the young.

Which be the old? said King Arthur.

Sir, said King Pellinore, meseemeth that King Uriens that hath wedded your sister Morgan le Fay, and the King of the Lake, and Sir Hervise de Revel, a noble knight, and Sir Galagars, the fourth.

This is well devised, said King Arthur, and right so shall it be. Now, which are the four young knights? said Arthur.

Sir, said Pellinore, the first is Sir Gawaine, your nephew, that is as good a knight of his time as any is in this land; and the second as meseemeth best is Sir Griflet le Fise de Dieu, that is a good knight and full desirous in arms, and who may see him live he shall prove a good knight; and the third as meseemeth is well to be one of the knights of the Round Table, Sir Kay the Seneschal, for many times he hath done full worshipfully, and now at your last battle he did full honourably for to undertake to slay two kings.

By my head, said Arthur, he is best worth to be a knight of the Round Table of any that ye have rehearsed, an he had done no more prowess in his life days.


Questions. Make sure you can answer these questions about what you just read:

  • what did Arthur do to commemorate the battle against the five kings?
  • who were the four old knights that Pellinore advised Arthur to add to the round table?
  • who were the three young knights that he recommended?

Source: Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, published by William Caxton (1485), with spelling modernized. Weblink. The original Caxton text is also available online: weblink.


Modern Languages / Anthropology 3043: Folklore & Mythology. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one.
Page last updated: October 9, 2004 12:52 PM