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╔dition d'╔lite

HISTORICAL TALES

The Romance of Reality

by

CHARLES MORRIS

Author of "Half-Hours with the Best American Authors," "Tales
from the Dramatists," etc.

In Fifteen Volumes

VOLUME XIII

King Arthur

1


J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY

PHILADELPHIA AND LONDON


Copyright, 1891, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY.

Copyright, 1904, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY.

Copyright, 1908, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY.

* * * * *


[Illustration: FURNESS ABBEY.]




CONTENTS OF VOLUME I.


BOOK I.

HOW ARTHUR WON THE THRONE.

CHAPTER. PAGE.

I.--THE MAGIC SWORD 19

II.--ARTHUR'S WARS AND THE MYSTERY OF HIS BIRTH 28

III.--THE LADY OF THE LAKE 39

IV.--GUENEVER AND THE ROUND TABLE 46


BOOK II.

THE DEEDS OF BALIN.

I.--HOW BALIN WON AND USED THE ENCHANTED SWORD 55

II.--HOW ARTHUR TRIUMPHED OVER THE KINGS 65

III.--HOW BALIN GAVE THE DOLOROUS STROKE 72

IV.--THE FATE OF BALIN AND BALAN 81

V.--MERLIN'S FOLLY AND FATE 89


BOOK III.

THE TREASON OF MORGAN LE FAY.

I.--THE ADVENTURE OF THE ENCHANTED SHIP 94

II.--THE COMBAT OF ARTHUR AND ACCOLAN 102

III.--HOW MORGAN CHEATED THE KING 110

IV.--THE COUNTRY OF STRANGE ADVENTURES 120


BOOK IV.

LANCELOT DU LAKE.

I.--HOW TROUBLE CAME TO LIONEL AND HECTOR 137

II.--THE CONTEST OF THE FOUR QUEENS 143

III.--HOW LANCELOT AND TURQUINE FOUGHT 153

IV.--THE CHAPEL AND PERILOUS 164

V.--THE ADVENTURE OF THE FALCON 174


BOOK V.

THE ADVENTURES OF BEAUMAINS.

I.--THE KNIGHTING OF KAY'S KITCHEN BOY 179

II.--THE BLACK, THE GREEN, AND THE RED KNIGHTS 187

III.--THE RED KNIGHT OF THE RED LAWNS 201

IV.--HOW BEAUMAINS WON HIS BRIDE 212


BOOK VI.

TRISTRAM OF LYONESSE AND THE FAIR ISOLDE.

I.--HOW TRISTRAM WAS KNIGHTED 238

II.--LA BELLA ISOLDE 249

III.--THE WAGER OF BATTLE 258

IV.--THE DRAUGHT OF LOVE 267

V.--THE PERILS OF TRUE LOVE 275

VI.--THE MADNESS OF SIR TRISTRAM 289


BOOK VII.

HOW TRISTRAM CAME TO CAMELOT.

I.--TRISTRAM AND DINADAN 304

II.--ON THE ROAD TO THE TOURNAMENT 312

III.--AT THE CASTLE OF MAIDENS 322

IV.--THE QUEST OF THE TEN KNIGHTS 335

V.--THE KNIGHT WITH THE COVERED SHIELD 345




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

KING ARTHUR. VOL. I.


PAGE

FURNESS ABBEY _Frontispiece_.

STATUE OF KING ARTHUR AT INNSBRUCK 24

KING ARTHUR'S FAIR LOVE 48

KING ARTHUR'S TOMB 70

MERLIN AND NIMUE 89

THE GREAT FOREST 94

NIMUE 105

THE LOVE OF PELLEAS AND NIMUE 134

DREAM OF SIR LANCELOT 139

OLD ARCHES OF THE ABBEY WALL 149

KING ARTHUR'S ROUND TABLE, WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL 179

BEAUMAINS, DAMSEL, AND DWARF 213

THE JOYOUS WEDDING 235

SIR TRISTRAM HARPING TO ISOLDE 250

A CASTLE OF CORNWALL 258

TRISTRAM AND THE FAIR ISOLDE 273

THE CLIFFS ABOVE THE SEA 288

TINTAGIL KING ARTHUR'S CASTLE 302

TRISTRAM THEREUPON DEPARTED TO HIS PAVILION 325

ADMISSION OF SIR TRISTRAM TO THE KING OF THE
ROUND TABLE 359

* * * * *




INTRODUCTORY.


Geoffrey of Monmouth, the famous chronicler of legendary British
history, tells us,--in reference to the time when the Celtic kings of
Britain were struggling against the Saxon invaders,--that "there
appeared a star of wonderful magnitude and brightness, darting its rays,
at the end of which was a globe of fire in the form of a dragon, out of
whose mouth issued two rays; one of which seemed to stretch itself
beyond the extent of Gaul, the other towards the Irish Sea, and ended in
two lesser rays." He proceeds to say, that Merlin, the magician, being
called on to explain this portent, declared that the dragon represented
Uther, the brother of King Ambrose, who was destined himself soon to
become king; that the ray extending towards Gaul indicated a great son,
who should conquer the Gallic Kingdoms; and that the ray with two lesser
rays indicated a daughter, whose son and grandson should successively
reign over Britain. Uther, in consequence, when he came to the throne,
had two gold dragons made, one of which he placed in the cathedral of
Winchester, which it brightly illuminated; the other he kept, and from
it gained the name of _Pendragon_. The powerful ray represented his
great son Arthur, destined to become the flower of chivalry, and the
favorite hero of mediŠval romance.

This is history as Geoffrey of Monmouth understood it, but hardly so in
the modern sense, and Arthur remains as mystical a figure as Achilles,
despite the efforts of various writers to bring him within the circle of
actual kings. After the Romans left Britain, two centuries passed of
whose history hardly a coherent shred remains. This was the age of
Arthur, one of the last champions of Celtic Britain against the
inflowing tide of Anglo-Saxon invasion. That there was an actual Arthur
there is some, but no very positive, reason to believe. After all the
evidence has been offered, we still seem to have but a shadowy hero
before us, "a king of shreds and patches," whose history is so pieced
out with conjecture that it is next to impossible to separate its facts
from its fancies.

The Arthur of the legends, of the Welsh and Breton ballads, of the later
_Chansons de Geste_, of Malory and Tennyson, has quite stepped out of
the historic page and become a hero without time or place in any real
world, a king of the imagination, the loftiest figure in that great
outgrowth of chivalric romance which formed the favorite fictitious
literature of Europe during three or four of the mediŠval centuries.
Charlemagne, the leading character in the earlier romances of chivalry,
was, in the twelfth century, replaced by Arthur, a milder and more
Christian-like hero, whose adventures, with those of his Knights of the
Round Table, delighted the tenants of court and castle in that
marvel-loving and uncritical age. That the stories told of him are all
fiction cannot be declared. Many of them may have been founded on fact.
But, like the stones of a prehistoric wall, their facts are so densely
enveloped by the ivy of fiction that it is impossible to delve them out.

The ballads and romances in which the King Arthur of mediŠval story
figures as the hero, would scarcely prove pleasant and profitable
reading to us now, however greatly they delighted our ancestors. They
are marked by a coarseness and crudity which would be but little to our
taste. Nor have we anything of modern growth to replace them. Milton
entertained a purpose of making King Arthur the hero of an epic poem,
but fortunately yielded it for the nobler task of "Paradise Lost."
Spenser gives this hero a minor place in his "Fairie Queen." Dryden
projected a King Arthur epic, but failed to write it. Recently Bulwer
has given us a cumbersome "King Arthur," which nobody reads; and
Tennyson has handled the subject brilliantly in his "Idyls of the King,"
splendid successes as poems, yet too infiltrated with the spirit of
modernism to be acceptable as a reproduction of the Arthur of romance.
For a true rehabilitation of this hero of the age of chivalry we must go
to the "Morte Darthur" of Sir Thomas Malory, a writer of the fifteenth
century, who lived when men still wore armor, and so near to the actual
age of chivalry as to be in full sympathy with the spirit of its
fiction, and its pervading love of adventure and belief in the magical.

Malory did a work of high value in editing the confused mass of earlier
fiction, lopping off its excrescences and redundancies, reducing its
coarseness of speech, and producing from its many stories and episodes
a coherent and continuous narrative, in which the adventures of the
Round Table Knights are deftly interwoven with the record of the birth,
life, and death of the king, round whom as the central figure all these
knightly champions revolve.



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