LANCELOT AND GUENEVEHE 157
himself, saying softly, ' Alas ! that ever this war began,' and rode away, while the battle ended for that time and the dead were buried.
But Sir Gawaine would not suffer the King to make peace, and they fought on, now in one place, and now in another, till the Pope heard of the strife and sent a noble clerk, the Bishop of Rochester, to charge the King to make peace with Sir Lancelot, and to take back unto him his Queen, the Lady Guenevere. Now the King, as has been said, would fain have followed the Pope's counsel and have accorded with Sir Lancelot, but Sir Gawaine would not suffer him. However, as to the Queen Sir Gawaine said nothing; and King Arthur gave audience to the Bishop, and swore on his great seal that he would take back the Queen as the Pope desired, and that if Sir Lancelot brought her he should come safe and go safe. So the Bishop rode to Joyous Gard and showed Sir Lancelot what the Pope had written and King Arthur had answered, and told him of the perils which would befall him if he withheld the Queen. ' It was never in my thought,' answered Sir Lancelot, 'to withhold the Queen from King Arthur, but as she would have been dead for my sake it was my part to save her life, and to keep her from danger till better times came. And I thank God that the Pope has made peace, and I shall be a thousand times gladder to bring her back than I was to take her away. Therefore ride to the King, and say that in eight days I myself will bring the Lady Guenevere unto him.' So the Bishop departed, and came to the King at Carlisle and told him what Sir Lancelot had answered, and tears burst from the King's eyes once more.
A goodly host of a hundred Knights rode eight days later from the Castle of Joyous Gard; every Knight was clothed in green velvet, and held in his hand a branch of olive, and bestrode a horse with trappings down to his heels. And behind the Queen were four and twenty gentlewomen clad in green likewise, while twelve esquires