THE BOOK OF ROMANCE - online children's book

King Arthur, His Court and Knights in the Age of Chivalry, by Andrew Lang

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THE END OF IT ALL
173
Amesbuiy, and it took them two days to compass the distance, for it was far and they were weak with fasting. When they reached the nunnery Queen Guenevere had been dead but half an hour, and she had first summoned her ladies to her, and told them that Sir Lancelot had been a priest for near a twelvemonth. ' And hither he cometh as fast as he may,' she said, ' to fetch my corpse, and beside my lord King Arthur he shall bury me. And I beseech Almighty God that I may never have power to see Sir Lancelot with my bodily eyes.' ' Thus,' said the ladies, ' she prayed for two days till she was dead.' Then Sir Lancelot looked upon her face and sighed, but wept little, and next day he sang Mass. After that the Queen was laid on a bier drawn by horses, and an hundred torches were carried round her, and Sir Lancelot and his fellows walked behind her singing holy chants, and at times one would come forward and throw incense on the dead. So they came to Glastonbury, and the Bishop of Canterbury sang a Requiem Mass over the Queen, and she was wrapped in cloth, and placed first in a web of lead, and then in a coffin of marble, and when she was put into the earth Sir Lancelot swooned away.
' You are to blame,' said the hermit, when he awaked from his swoon, ''you ought not make such manner of sorrow.'
' Truly,' answered Sir Lancelot, ' I trust I do not displease God, but when I remember her beauty, and her nobleness, and that of the King, and when I saw his corpse and her corpse lie together, my heart would not bear up my body. And I remembered, too, that it was through me and my pride that they both came to their end.'
From that day Sir Lancelot ate §o little food that he dwined away, and for the most part was found kneeling by the tomb of King Arthur and Queen Guenevere. None could comfort him, and after six weeks he was too weak to rise from his bed. Then he sent for the hermit
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