Chapter 18:

How all the bishops in the kingdom, and all the counts, dukes, and noblemen came to the coronation of King Arthur and received him as their lord, and crowned him with three crowns and consecrated him very honorably

The crown and the vestments with which they were to consecrate him were on the altar, and they dressed him, and after they had dressed him the archbishop sang mass, and after that ended he said to Arthur, "Go and take the sword and the land of which you are to be lord; and defend the church, and guard Christianity in all ways in your power."

Then they went in a procession to the stone, and after they were gathered around it the archbishop said, "Arthur, if you choose to promise God and Saint Mary, and our lords Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and all the male and female saints, that you will guard and defend their sacred church, and maintain peace and loyalty in the land, and counsel the counselless, and be the voice of the poor and those who have no advocate, and maintain right and loyalty in such a manner that justice progresses, take this sword, for our Lord chose you to be king of this land."

And he took it and granted everything the archbishop said, and he gave him the sword and crossed him, and did him all the honor which ought to be done to a crowned and consecrated king. And after mass was sung they went out of the church with him and looked and did not see the stone, and were very grieved.

And thus was Arthur king in Londres, and held the land in his power and in peace. And the noblemen saw in him no reason they should not esteem him greatly, save that they did not know of what lineage he was come. And they marveled that it pleased Our Lord that such a young and unknown man should be king and have to govern such a great people as that of Londres.

The noblemen talked a great deal about this, some in secrecy and some in council, but not before him, for many doubted him. And Antor revealed that he was not his son, but was given to him to raise, and recounted to them who gave him to him and how.

Merlin was with Blaise for a long time during this interval. And when he found out that Arthur was king, he said to Blaise, "The son of Uterpadragon received the crown of the kingdom of Londres, and already reigns, but the noblemen do not hold to his will, nor do the other people, because they do not know whose son he is. And I must go there, and let them know the whole truth about whose son he is, and make them as sure as they were once doubtful because of me, and any other action would be a mortal sin for me."

Blaise said to him, "If he is not recognized despite your knowledge, watch what you do so that you are not blasphemed because of it, nor your soul made guilty."

Merlin said, "I will do so much that they will be made as sure of his lineage by me as they are now doubtful, because I can tell them who he is, and I will tell them such things as no one would have thought, nor could have known."

And the night before he got up to leave, Merlin saw a vision, which was in a lovely meadow, and in it a oak tree, and near that oak tree a small and nearly worthless sapling, which had not the least sign of fruit. And the sapling grew near that oak tree, and it took away its bark and leaves, and because of that the sapling made the oak fall to the earth. And he marveled much, and so he remained all that night until he woke, and he was not as happy as he had been before.

In the morning Merlin arose, and Blaise arose and said mass. And as soon as Blaise had said mass, Merlin said laughing, "Master, I saw last night a marvelous vision which is nothing other than a sign, and now I shall see whether you will tell me the truth."

Blaise said, "Why are you asking me about the vision, for you are the one who knows what it signified! You do it to test my wit, and in good faith, I do not know much of hidden things, and because of this I would not know how to give you advice; but you told me that you know the things which are to be."

"Certes," said Merlin. "Put in writing just what I tell you. It is true that in this vision I see my death, and it will happen just as I saw; and I tell you that you should understand the tall, large oak tree of the long branches to be my wit; since just as the oak tree is held to be a strong and great tree, so they hold me for a marvelous man for knowledge. The sapling which was born next to the oak tree signifies a damsel who will accompany me and will learn of the science which God gave me, and for her knowledge she will put me under the earth alive, and there she will leave me to die. Nothing will hinder this chance save God alone; until now I was sure to prevent or arrive at what he wished, but now something comes of this which I could not know what to do about, nor can I know who that damsel is who will kill me, nor in what land she is, but I know for certain that she is very beautiful, and I believe without a doubt that God for my sins makes this unrecognized by me, because through lack of recognition I made the very noble and holy lady Iguerna sin. And now I have told you the sign of my death, and I would not have told you so openly if I did not trust you so much."

And Blaise said to him, "You tell me marvels. And how can it be that you know the ends of other people, and do not know the truth of your own?""This I will explain to you," said Merlin. "Many times it happens that an art benefits many and does not benefit he who knows it, instead injuring him. This I tell you in my favor, that I helped those I chose to and now I cannot help myself in this adventure, for it does not please Our Lord, who wants me to die like any other mortal man, and even in a worse way."

When Blaise heard this, he began to think and he said to Merlin, "Where do you think this damsel is through whom you are to taste death?"

"I tell you," said Merlin, "that I cannot see or know more, for I tell you that it does not please God that I avoid my death, and because I know truly that I will die."

"And the other things which are to come, are you as sure of them as you usually were?"

Merlin said, "Yes, of everything. I am greatly delaying my trip to the kingdom of Londres; it is harmful to me. But before I go there, I will tell you a marvel, of which I know nothing but truth: that if I could live a long time, I would be very valuable to the kingdom of Londres and I would help it as best I could; but because my help will fail Londres because of my death which must soon come, our Lord thought, as a pious father, marvelously long about the earth; for in that hour in which I saw my death in a vision, a child was born of the wife of King Van, the eighth Nacian, and from he who was born, will come the good knight who will bring a high end to the adventures which will come to the kingdom of Londres because of the marvel of the Holy Grail, and he will be that good and valiant knight, the ninth of Nacian's lineage."

"And that knight," said Blaise, "whom you say was born last night, will be able to help or be worthwhile to the kingdom of Londres in some way?"

"Yes," said Merlin, "for he will be such a marvelous knight and of such greatness in arms, that all those who see him will fear him greatly. Such grace God will give him, and he will be worth so much because of greatness in arms, that through him some of the loss they will feel will be remedied, and they will be honorable and feared. Now you may know," said Merlin, "that our Lord had that man of whom I speak born in place of me, and through his greatness and chivalry he will fill the place I filled with my wit; but as our Lord showed me that I would be ill-treated by woman, so he will also be in travail and trouble and shame through woman."

And Blaise asked him what the knight's name would be.

"Lanzarote of the Lake," said Merlin. "He will be the greatest knightly lover and best warrior there will be in the world, save for his son Galahad."

And all that Merlin said, Blaise put in writing. And he said to Merlin, "Since you are leaving both me and my deeds, make me understand why you must die so soon, and also counsel me what I may do, for you told me to write and work on the history of the Holy Grail, and you left me here and gave me the recounting at very great length of the chances which befell the kingdom of Londres. How may I end my work, when I will not know the truth? And I began my book, and it will not be finished."

"To this I will respond," said Merlin: "There is nothing which has no end, and this work you began is such a great deed, that neither in my life nor in yours will it be finished, but afterwards it will be finished by another, and I tell you," said Merlin, "that because you began this work, you will soon be blessed by many people."

And Blaise said to him, "Now tell me, since you choose to go to the king, if I will ever see you again."

And Merlin said, "If you want to follow your book and see me, go after me to Great Britain."

"And where will I be able to find you?" said Blaise, "for I cannot leave this land at present."

And Merlin said, "Eight months from today, on the first day of May, you will find me at the entrance of the Copse of Vadoan at the midday hour before the Cross of Adventure, and there I will tell you a large part of the adventures of the Holy Grail and of its marvels. Thus you may have something more of an end to your book."

So Merlin left Blaise, and went away from him and went to Great Britain. In this interval, a little while after Arthur was king, Elena, the wife of Lot of Orkney and sister of King Arthur, came to a great court which he had called in Cardoyl, in Wales, but Arthur did not know she was his sister, nor did Elena know that he was her brother, and the lady came to the court of the king very richly arrayed, with a great company of knights and ladies and damsels, and she brought with her four sons she had by King Lot, who were very handsome boys and of such an age that the eldest was no more than ten, and his name was Galvan, and the next Agravain, and the next Gariete, and the last Garres. And so the lady came to court with her sons whom she loved very much, and she was also beautiful, that her like could scarcely be found in the land. And she was one of the most honorable women there was in all the lands of the kingdom of Londres, since she was the daughter of the most honorable duke of Tintagel, and the king received this queen very well and commanded that much service be done to her. And as soon as he saw her, he fell in love with her, and had her dwell in his court fifteen days; and in this time he strove in all the ways he could, as much with gifts as with letters and messengers and many other ways that are not recounted here so as not to give cause for prolix writing, to be able to sleep with her, and he did so and had Mordred with her, and because of this much evil was done in the kingdom of Londres.