Chapter 38:

How Bandemagus went with the damsel whom Morlot took, and with a squire of hers

After Bandemagus took back his damsel, he did not respond to a single thing Morlot said to him, but rather went to the mountain with her, which was very thick with trees, and rode very happily because he had recovered his damsel. And they traveled all that day until the hour of vespers, without eating or drinking; and they arrived in a strange and very deep valley, difficult to travel in, for all was loose rock on one side and the other, and the whole road was rockstrewn and full of great boulders, and they entered the bottom of the valley, and saw horses grazing. And going further, they saw two new huts, and those huts were for Merlin's and the Damsel of the Lake's company, who were there, and they entered a cave which was in that valley. This Damsel of the Lake enclosed Merlin there, in a strangely made sepulchre, for it was of scarlet marble, and she put him inside with the enchantments he had shown her, in such manner that he could not leave it before he died there, and the manner in which it happened, the author recounts here.

It is true that Merlin was the son of the devil, and so it is agreed in all the histories, and likewise that he was the wisest man in the world and that he knew most, save for God, of the things which were to come. And no other man has ever been known to speak so marvelously of things past and to come, and nothing, not even the accession of princes, occurred which he did not know of before it happened, and to what end they would come as well; but without doubt, because of the great knowledge he had, he spoke so obscurely that no man could understand what he said, because he said in the Book of the Holy Grail that his prophecies would not be understood until they had come to pass. And he told so much of the things which were to come that he was called the English prophet, and even now he is called that, since he knew much of himself and others; and also he said of his death that a woman would kill him, and he saved many good men from death and could not save himself, and he himself said so. And this befalls in many places, that those who are learned and wise and give counsel and prophesy for others, cannot give themselves counsel nor prophesy what would benefit them at their deaths; and so it befell Merlin, who prophesied to all the world and was the wisest, and could not counsel nor prophesy for himself, for he loved the Damsel of the Lake for his sins, who was in that time one of the loveliest women in the world. And she was very rich as well, and held great lands, and was a native of Little Britain; her baptismal name was Niviana, and she raised many good men and many ladies and did much good. And when she saw that Merlin loved her to her dishonor, she began to learn from him all the enchantments he knew, and pretended that she loved greatly him whom she loved little, and, certes, she did so much to learn science from him, that she knew more than any man or woman of that time, save Merlin, who knew more, and she could prophesy what Merlin could not show to others. And he loved her with all his heart, and she hated him as much as she possibly could, so that no woman ever hated man more, and she showed it in the end; but she showed him so much love that he believed she loved him very much. And so they traveled a long time, she still learning from him, until they arrived at that valley where Bandemagus arrived, where they made the huts. And one day that they came there, the Damsel of the Lake said to Merlin, "Does this place seem strange to you?"

"Yes," said Merlin, "but it is not so strange that I will not show you the richest and most beautiful room you ever saw in it."

"Ah, God!" said the damsel. "Who could make as beautiful a room as you say in such a strange place?"

"Certes," said Merlin, "I will tell you how it was made here. In this land there was a powerful king who had a son who was a great and handsome knight, and he was fifteen years old. And in that time there was in this land a poor knight who had a very lovely daughter, and that king's son loved her so much that he wished to marry her and take her to wife. And when the king found this out, he was very angry and he said to his son: `Oh, evil, crazy man! Do you wish to dishonor and lower your lineage so? Certainly, if you do not leave off this madness, I will chastise you so harshly that never will you see the world, for she is not one who can be the wife you ought to have, and there is nothing in the world which would make me wish for that, for it would be a great shame to me, and discredit to you. And just because you thought of this, I will have her killed.' The son was so frightened at this that he did not know what to tell himself, and because of the great anger he saw in his father, he thought about how to guard the damsel more, since he thought he would lose her, and he thought about hiding himself with her. And he took whatever he might, which seemed to him to be enough for him: her, two squires, a damsel he greatly trusted, and their horses and dogs to spend a long time together, and they came here because he knew that forward from here was a great cliff which was called Alpia. And no one came to this cliff save by chance, and no one walked there save wild beasts, and he said in his heart that he would hide himself there with his damsel, and he did just as he thought. And he took artificers to build houses as secretly as they could, and he had a room built in that cave so rich and so beautiful that there is no other like it in the kingdom of Londres, and it was all made with picks and chisels of iron in the living rock, and afterwards he had it painted with gold and blue and other tinctures so elegantly that it is a very enjoyable thing to see. After that prince had made his room, he put his damsel inside and said that she should never depart from there while his father lived, and that he would rather lose all he had than that damsel, and he said that he would never leave there; and they lived in that cave for three years, so that they did not leave that mountain, so that through the great dwelling he made there, leaving on the hunt sometimes, so that some people saw him and told his father of it. And when his father found out, he called three of his knights whom he greatly trusted, and they went to seek out that mountain, and he told those three knights not to depart from there until they found him, and they traveled seeking him a long time but could find out nothing about him, and the son knew nothing of this. And he went to hunt one day with his dogs and his squires and by chance the king told each of those knights to go on his own way, so that they could find him sooner than they could together, and he told them to go together at night to a castle whose name was Rochandera, because it was on top of a strong cliff. And the knights did as the king commanded them, and the king went alone and crossed over the mountain. As he traveled thus, he found a brachet in a valley, which ran after a stag which his son had started, and the king called it, and the dog who knew him from birth, since he had raised it, went to him showing great pleasure, and the king understood because of the dog he saw that his son was not far from there, and that he could find him where the dog went. Then he let it go, and the dog, because it knew the king, thought that it was free from its hunt and left its quarry, and went on the road straight for the prince's lodging, and the king after it.

"The prince was not there when his father arrived, but was hunting as I already told you. And when the king saw the dwelling in the cave, and saw it so beautiful and so rich, he understood that his son dwelt there with his paramour, and he dismounted and tied his horse to a tree, and stopped at the door with his sword cinched, for he had no other arms, and he saw a damsel who had come out because of the noise of the horse, believing that it was the prince her lord. And when the king saw the damsel, he knew her, and she him, and since she saw it was not her lord, she returned to her room frightened. The king was very angry at her, from grief, because he thought that he had lost his son because of her, and he entered and found no one save the damsel who was his son's paramour and the other damsel who was with her. And the king asked who was inside. And they were very frightened and said, "`Lord, there is no one here but us.'

"And the king said: `Where is the king's son who dwells here?'

"And they said: `He left for the hunt this morning.'

"Then the king turned toward that damsel, and said to her, "`You have done me much harm and made me grieve for the son you tore away from me.'

"Then he put his hand to his sword and gave the damsel such a blow that he cut off her head, for he believed that if she were killed, he would recover his son.

"The damsel dead, the king left the sword with which he killed her, and took another which he had given to his son. This he did so that his son should know who had killed her. And afterwards he left the room, and rode so far that he arrived at his castle and joined his knights at nighttime, and after all were there, he recounted all that had befallen him and said to them, "`We will return there tomorrow and comfort my son.'

"And all agreed to this; but some of those who were there said to him that he had done ill to kill the damsel, and that it was not a kingly deed, but that of a savage and disloyal knight, and he was much ashamed because he had committed such a villainy.

"The history says that after this, toward the hour of vespers, the prince arrived at his lodging from the hunt, and as soon as the horse saw the lodging, he began to neigh; and the lady kept a custom that when she heard the horse neigh, she then went out to receive her lord, and when he arrived and did not see her, he marveled. And know that when the king killed her and left, each of the other damsels went out on the mountain as if mad and with great fear, and when the prince arrived and found his paramour dead, whom he loved more than himself, he gave a great cry and fell to the earth, and was unconscious a long time; and when the squires entered and saw their lord lying there and his paramour dead, they were very frightened, and made very great dole, and cried out loudly. And the prince awoke and said, "`Ah, God! Who did me such evil as to kill my paramour thus? Friends, do you know who did this to me?'

"And the squires said weeping: `Sir, we know nothing of this. And who was so evil as to kill this lady, and to do such a bold deed?'

"And the prince said, `Who was this who did such a thing, and came here to make me lose my heart and my soul and everything I had?'

"After the prince said this, he took the sword with which the lady had been killed, and said to the squires, "`Friends, you served me well and loyally for a long time, and my father thought he would recover me by killing my lady, and he lost me through her death. And it must be, since she died for me by this sword, that with this same sword I shall die for her, and tell my father when he comes that I ask him in the name of mercy to command a noble sepulchre to be built in that room where I and this damsel many times felt pleasure, and that he have us both placed there, and that he do well and mercifully by us, in reward for the good he ought to have done me.'

"After he said this and other things, he took the sword by the hilts and struck himself in the chest with it, in such manner that the point appeared through his shoulders. After he struck this blow, he fell to his hands and knees on the earth and gave a great cry with the affliction of death, and in a little space his soul left his body. And when the squires saw this, they felt greater grief than before, and made great dole all that night. And the next morning the king arrived to comfort his son and take him from there, and when he found him dead, and the squires told how he had killed himself, he said, "`I killed my son and myself with my own hands, and now I am wretched and caitiff.'

"And so he made great dole, and the squires recounted to the king all the things the prince had said, and they begged the father to inter his son with his paramour in that his room, and that on his sepulchre letters should be put which said,

'Just as the swan weeps for its death,

when death, because of that cry, comes,

and hallows it with that sad moan,

so I shall weep for my great ills

and deeply sigh for the life I left

in this most caitiff of all worlds.

Here shall I weep for my sad ills,

here shall I weep for my great toils,

so unfair that they pass all else;

Here shall I weep for death, which came

to her whom I see here is dead,

since the sad ending of her life

gave woeful death to my desire.'

"And that the king should do mercy unto them for the services they had done his son.

"The king said that he would fulfill all that his son had commanded. And he did so, and interred them in that room, in a sepulchre of scarlet marble, very richly worked with gold and silver and precious stones, and he had written around the sepulchre the letters his son had commanded. And when the king had done this, he went out and never returned there again."

The Damsel of the Lake said, "I wish to go see this room, which you say is so well made and in such a strange place."

And this was already late, in the watches of the night, and Merlin had many candles lit, and went to the cave with the damsel, and knights and squires and damsels went with them, and they left the other company in the lodging where they had the equipage. And when they arrived at the cave, they found an iron door which seemed not to have been opened in many years, and they entered it and went inside, and found that place to be so rich and beautiful that no man could tell it all. And they went to the room and found another iron door, and opened it and went inside, and found that sepulchre there covered with a cover of colored silk. After the Damsel of the Lake examined the entire room and the bodies of the two lovers who lay dead there, she said in her heart that since that room was in such a strange and secluded place, so that she believed that no man would ever come there, it would be good for Merlin to stay there forever, and she said to Merlin, "Certes, a happy and sweet life these two lovers lived who loved each other well in this place, and marvelously they loved who left the world to have pleasure of their love."

Merlin said, "Certes, madame, as these left the world for their love, so I left it for your love, since you well know that I was lord of Great and Little Britain, and of King Arthur and all his deeds, and the honor done to me by all peoples; and they believed whatever I said, and guided themselves by my counsel, and all this I left for love of you."

And the damsel said to him, "Merlin, this I know very well. So will I do for you. And, certes, I am very envious of that glorious life those two lovers had, and I wish us to rest here tonight and take pleasure in each other."

And Merlin said to her, "Madame, we will do as you wish."

Then she commanded her people to come, and commanded her bed to be brought there as well as a good supper, and Merlin had his own bed brought. And in a little time, Merlin became very sad and began to appear discontented. And the damsel asked him what was wrong.

And he said to her, "Certes, lady, my whole body pains me and all my limbs are trembling, and my strength and heart fail me, and I feel such great fear that I do not know what will become of me."

And the damsel said to him, "Merlin, do not fear, and rally yourself, since you usually appear strong before others. Why do you lose your senses?"

Merlin answered nothing. After she said that, they ate supper and Merlin went to bed, and slept then as one who was mortally weary. After the damsel saw him asleep, she did upon him her enchantment which he himself had taught her, and enchanted him so strongly that he felt nothing which was done to him. And she called those of her company whom she most trusted and said to them, "Take Merlin, and drag him through this house by his hair and his arms, and I shall see if he awakens."

And they did so, but he did not awaken no matter what harm they did to him. And after they had done this, she said to those who hauled him through the house, "Friends, what do you think of my knowledge? What? Is this man who usually enchanted others well enchanted?"

"Certes, he is," they said.

"Friends," she said, "know that this man is the son of the devil, and did his works, and traveled after me to do me dishonor and disgrace, if he could; for he thought to have my virginity, which I have offered to God, and no other will have it if not He, as the Lord who made me and all other things. And I would have escaped from this devil's son without dishonoring myself, if I could have; but God liberated me from him, who knew my intention and his, and since he wished to disgrace me, it is better that I disgrace him. Certes, he thought about dishonoring me to his own detriment, for I will cut his life short for what he thought about doing to me."

And she then commanded her men to take him, and put him inside that sepulchre which was open, and she had it closed as it had been before, and did an enchantment upon its top with letters and witcheries which he himself had taught her, so strong that no man could be strong enough to open or raise the sepulchre's cover, nor remove it, nor was it raised until Tristan arrived there afterwards, the good knight who raised it. And she did this enchantment in such manner that he lay above the two lovers, and she put a canopy on the sepulchre in such way that it could be raised by no one until he should come who loved more loyally than all others who loved. And when this lover of lovers should come, and see that sepulchre and the letters on it, and the name of Merlin, he should undo the enchantment, because he was to raise the canopy to see the bones of the lovers. So she did the enchantment which Merlin had taught her, and it happened that it lasted until Tristan came afterwards, and he remained there as you will hear hereafter.

In this manner was Merlin placed in the sepulchre, and although he was very wise and a great prophet of the things which were to come, God, who is wiser and powerful in all things, did not wish him to know this nor to be able to guard himself from it, and so he was buried alive and tricked by a virgin woman, just as he himself prophesied, and so he was killed by the same enchantments that he showed to the Damsel of the Lake, for in no other manner could she or anyone else have killed him save for God. And she slept there that night, and in the morning she rode away with her company. On the third day Bandemagus and his damsel arrived there, and when he saw the huts and the broken branches, he said to the damsel, "Damsel, we will repose here in these huts today, if we find someone we know, and if we can find out who built them in such a strange place."

And then they went there, and found no man nor woman, and such good came to them that in one of the huts they found what they needed for themselves and their horses, which provision the Damsel of the Lake's company had left because they could not take it with them. And they were happy at this chance, for they needed it, since they wished to rest there that night. And the next morning, Bandemagus arose armed as he was, since he had not disarmed that night, and the damsel slept, for she was tired from the journey they had made. And Bandemagus left the hut and looked to see whether there was some church where they could go to hear mass, for it was at that time the custom of knights errant to hear mass before they went on their way, if they were in a place where they could find a priest, and those of the Round Table did it also because of a court command and because it was the custom. And while Bandemagus was looking for a church, he saw a road by which the Damsel of the Lake and her company were leaving the cave where Merlin was buried alive, and he went on that road until he entered the cave, and found the iron door I told of. Then he entered, and looked all around and said, "Ah, Saint Mary, what a good and lovely place is this!"

And as he said this, he heard a terrifying voice, as of a man who lay under the earth, and he looked around him and saw nothing and was frightened and said, "I will not fail to find out what this voice is."

And it seemed to him that it came out of that cave. And he took his sword in his hand, and opened it and entered; and he saw that good house, and said in his heart that that room was a paradise, but he was afraid of being enchanted, because he saw such a beautiful thing in such a strange place. And when he saw the sepulchre, he marveled, because he had never seen another so rich and so lovely. And there was great light in the room, for above him there were three very good windows. And after he saw the sepulchre, he went to its foot, and saw letters on the canopy and the sepulchre, and once he read what they said, he stood thinking about who the two lovers could have been. Suddenly he heard a great voice which said, "Ah, captive! Why was I born?"

And he was so frightened of this voice, that he had nothing to say and did not know what to do, for he saw that the voice came out of the sepulchre, and he wanted to leave, but he said, "It would be great shame to be in a place where I heard such a thing, if I did not find out whence comes that voice and what it is about."

And he was still very frightened. Then he listened and heard him who lay in the sepulchre speaking gently, and he said this, "Bandemagus, do not be afraid of me, for no evil at all will come to you from me."

And when the knight heard this, he was heartened and spoke more boldly and said, "Who are you who know me and know my name, and feel such anguish? Are you dead or alive? Certes, I marvel greatly at you, and in the name of God, tell me your name, and let me find out your deeds, and what thing you are."

And after this a great voice came out of the sepulchre, very dolorous and very terrifying to hear, and it spoke more clearly and said, "Ah, Bandemagus! Know that I am the most ill-fortuned man in the world, and it is truly so; because I myself caused myself to die so cruelly; since I killed myself with my own hands, because I taught the most mortal enemy I had in the world what she needed to kill me."

And after he said this, he gave another very dolorous cry. Then Bandemagus crossed himself, and spoke more fearlessly and said, "Are you a man, or how were you enclosed in this sepulchre?"

And the voice said, "Ah, Bandemagus! Trusting myself to a damsel in whom cruelty and disloyalty and treachery never failed, and to whom I did much good and gave much help, because I loved her more than anything; she enclosed me here, although by her knowledge and power she could never have done anything; but I taught her, so that she has given me such a cruel death."

And Bandemagus said to him, "Tell me, in the name of God, who you are and what your name is."

And the voice said to him, "Bandemagus, you already saw me many times in great honor and highly prized, for the world held me partly as its lord, and it believed all that I said, as if one of the Lord's apostles had said it, and I do not wish to hide anything from you. Know that I am Merlin, he whom you much loved in King Arthur's household, and all those who saw me held me for the wisest man in the world. But, certes, I was the most foolish man and the most removed from wisdom that was ever born in the world, for I taught my enemy how she might kill me; and since I was thus the most foolish man in the world, I showed others how to guard themselves, and could not realize my own harm or guard myself from it, nor did God choose to let me realize it, because of my sin. And certes, you may well tell King Arthur that in my death he lost one of the best friends he had in the world, and certes, the kingdom of Londres will miss me very much when it will need me, for if I had lived to that time, the kingdom of Londres would not have been destroyed as it is to be."

When Bandemagus heard this, he was very frightened and he said, "What? You are that marvelously wise Merlin whom we took for a prophet?"

"I am," said Merlin, "but I did not have as much knowledge as you think, since I told you that I myself brought myself to death."

And Bandemagus said to him, "Merlin, do not be discomfited, for I will open the sepulchre and take you out of there, if there is nothing else wrong with you, since if you die there, it would be a great harm and a very painful thing."

Then Merlin said, "You would work in vain, for this sepulchre is closed by an enchantment so strong, and by such strong words which are of such quality, that there is no man in the world who can open them, and because of this I must die, for there is no man in the world who can give me life. And this canopy you see will not be moved by any knight who will come here, until Tristan the good knight comes here, who is to take me out."

And Bandemagus said to him, "Tell me who this Tristan is, and I will seek him to liberate you from this death, if he is near here."

And Merlin said to him, "Bandemagus, what are you saying of Tristan, who is still so small that he still toys with his nurse's breast, and is not yet two years old? He will come here to see my bones and my sepulchre and to weep for my death, and that will open this sepulchre, and until the time he comes, it will not be opened. And he will be such a good knight, that his good chivalry and his good deeds and his handsomeness and courtesy will gladden the whole world. And believe this without doubt; but I will not see it and that grieves me greatly, and I would hold myself most fortunate if I could rest my eyes on the sight of such a good knight as he will be, and all good men ought to desire to see him."

And Bandemagus said, "Ah, Merlin, since you tell me that that Tristan will be such a good man and good knight, that because of his excellence and knightly deeds the world will be happy and pleased, in the name of God show me, if it please you, how I will know when he will become a knight."

Merlin said, "Bandemagus, just as the moon is known from among the stars, since it is much greater and gives greater light, so will Tristan appear from all knights; but truly he will have two knights in his company, and one will be only a little older than he, and will be his peer, and the other will be a little better than he; but Tristan will be the flower of knights in excellence and in all chivalry, and none of the others will be as good as these, and they will be very good in knightly deeds, but Tristan will pass them all in excellence and handsomeness."

Bandemagus said, "Since you, Merlin, tell me that these three will be such good knights, that they will pass in excellence and knightliness all others, and since you have told me the name of one, tell me the names of the other two."

"I will not," said Merlin.

And after he said this, he gave a great dolorous cry which transfixed the heavens, so that Bandemagus felt great trouble and sadness at it, and if he could have succored him, he would have willingly; and Merlin made dole inside marvelously dolorously and withdrew away, so that no human heart would not have felt great sadness at it. And Bandemagus said to him, "Ah, Merlin, good friend, tell me, if it please you: what will become of the Round Table which was built at your counsel?"

And Merlin said, "Bandemagus, it will find great honor and in great happiness and highness as well, and will be of such great power that people will speak of it forever; and all the good knights of the world who prize themselves, will come to see it; and he who is a companion will hold himself fortunate. And when it is held in most honor and has its greatest power, then its shame will begin and its lowering will come, and it will begin to lose all its good men. In that time King Arthur will call himself a king of tribulation and will desire his own death a long time; and in that time the flower of knighthood of all the world will fail, and the kingdom of Londres which you will see full of all good fortune over all other kingdoms, will turn to great pain and trouble; but you will not see that time, for He who gives neither fear nor shame to anyone will send for you."

And Bandemagus said to him, "Tell me what you will of King Arthur. Will he be able to reign a long time?"

"Yes," said Merlin, "and the world greatly needs for him to reign a long time. And all the kings of this world will be worth little without him, for he will cause much happiness in his life, and strange things will come to him; but at the end his household will be a fountain of tears, and his end will be on the dolorous day in which an end will be made of those who remain of the Round Table. That day will be a day of blood and sadness and mortal grief; that day anger and grief and pain will come; that day there will be cloths tied over the eyes which will not see, that day chance will be a second mother to all the world, and all in that time will be washed in the blood of men. There brothers and relatives will kill each other, and the son will kill the father, and the father the son, and they will not be ashamed, nor will they fear each other, and there will be nothing there but fear and dolor. After the father gives his son such an evil and ill-struck blow that he dies, from that blow will die the flower of all knighthood; and that day will be a day of great pain and grief, so that no man will be able to believe it; and all the world ought to beg God that that day should not be, and on that day there will be earthquakes and dark night; and that day will come to the land because of Queen Ginebra, and for love of the cursed serpent who appeared to the king in a vision."

After Merlin had said these and many other things, he was silent; and after a time he returned to making dole very loudly. After he had made dole, Bandemagus said to him, "Merlin, I have to fight with Meliadus the Mighty. What can you tell me? Can I vanquish him?"

"No," said Merlin, "for he is a greater and better knight than you, and much mightier than you. And believe that if you fight with him at your age, he will kill you."

And Bandemagus said, "Then what shall I do? For I still have to fight him, willing or not."

And Merlin said, "Bandemagus, I will tell you what to do, and if you do anything else, you will be killed. Just as you travel seeking Meliadus the Great to battle with him, so does Morlot of Ireland ride seeking him until he shall find him; and seek to keep company and make friends with Morlot, and as soon as you are friendly with him, make sure you seek Meliadus together, and let Morlot take up the battle with him before you do; and be certain that Morlot is to kill Meliadus, and so your quest will be ended. Then you may return to King Arthur's court without shame at this quest whenever you wish; but your honor lies in looking well at this dishonor, and because of this I counsel you to do thusly, for in no other manner can you avoid receiving death."

When Bandemagus heard this, he said that he would do so. And Merlin said to Bandemagus, "If you go to King Arthur's court, tell him on my behalf that his nephew Galvan is prisoner, and he cannot be freed except by his brother Gariete, and he must look how Galvan's brother Gariete arms himself knight, if he wishes Galvan to be freed."

And after Merlin had said this, he was silent, and at the end of a little space Bandemagus asked, "Ah, Merlin, who was she who took you thus and enclosed you so strongly here that no man may give you remedy?"

And Merlin said to him, "A damsel whom I saw on an evil day and whose baptismal name is Niviana, and she is a native of Little Britain, and she is called the Damsel of the Lake, who was born in a bad hour for me and many other men, to whom she will do great wrong, and in a terrible hour I joined her company."

And as soon as he had said this word, he was silent; so that he did not answer to anything Bandemagus asked him. And many times he asked him things, and he did not answer, and so he waited until the next day. Then a great thundering came with lightning and hail and water and such great darkness that it seemed to be dark night. And Bandemagus fell to the earth and lost a great part of his strength.

A little after the hour of nones Merlin gave a great cry and such a terrifying wail that Bandemagus felt great fear, and at the end of a time he spoke more in the voice of a devil than a man, and said, "Ah, evil creature, and vile, and ugly and terrifying to see and hear, misfortuned and of evil doings, you who were already the flower of beauty, and were already in the blessed seat in the celestial glory with all happiness and all-plentiful goodness; cursed creature of ill-will, unknown and proud, who because of your pride wished to be in God's place and therefore were overthrown with your wretched and caitiff company, and who were thrown from that happy and pleasing place because of your guilt, and placed in trembling and trouble, so that you should never be found in all time; and this you have earned because of your great pride, cursed thing, who did so unreasonably unto me, since you saw that so I would disgrace myself through sin, because God wanted no part of me! Why do you not come for me with your great and evil company of servents and have me come to a bad end, for I am your flesh and blood? Come and take me, since I came from you for ill fortune, and I wish to return to you; since I am yours from the beginning; since I always did your works, and I neither want nor love anything but you, and I beg and command you not to leave me. Ah hell, which is always open to me and others! Be happy, for Merlin will enter you, and I give myself straight to you."

And when Bandemagus heard this, he was so frightened that he did not know what to do, and he crossed himself many times, because of the great marvels he heard. And he said to himself, "Henceforth I wish to leave here."

And then he came to another mind and said, "Certes, I will not do it; I instead choose to wait to see in what manner Merlin will come to an end."

And as he stood thus before that sepulchre, a great thunder and hailstorm came, and such a great terrifying noise and such great darkness, that he saw nothing, as if it were dark night, although it was a little before nones; and he heard a great tumult and disturbance in the house, as if a thousand men were there, and as if each one shouted as loudly as he could; and there were many ugly and terrifying voices among them, which Bandemagus was very afraid of, so that he could not stay on his feet, and it seemed as if his heart was failing him, and that he lacked all the strength in his body; and he fell fainting and senseless to the earth, and he believed he would soon be dead, so much fear he felt. And while he lay on the earth thus, he heard a cry as great as if a thousand voices shouted at once; and among them all there was a voice so great, that it sounded above all the others, and it seemed that it arrived in the heavens and said, "Ah, caitiff! Why was I born, since I end with such great sadness? Say, wretched Merlin, where you will go to be damned! Ah, what a dolorous loss!"

These and many other very sorrowful words it said. And at that Merlin was silent and died with a very dolorous cry, which was so loud that, as the author and many others who speak of this write, this cry that Merlin gave then was heard over all the other voices, so that it sounded two days' travel in all directions, and the stones which the good men of that time placed there are still there today, and they are there so that it should be known where the voice was heard and up to what point its sound was heard. And the candles which he had made burn a long time ago over the thirteen kings whom King Arthur killed when he killed King Rion's brother, were then quenched, and many other things befell that day that Merlin died, which were taken for marvels. Because of this it is called the "Cry of Merlin" in the romance, which will be heard willingly by many people, especially by those knights who never did villainy, but prowess and great deeds of chivalry, and which tells of strange things which the knights of the Round Table did. This the "History of the Holy Grail" recounts at length.

Bandemagus was unconscious there from the fright he felt at hearing the cry of Merlin and the great shouts, as has already been said, and he was unconscious as long as it would take to travel a league. And as soon as his senses returned, he saw such a multitude of devils that it seemed to him that they covered the whole earth, and he left there with great fear and much sadness, because he could not remedy Merlin's death; and as the saddest of men he returned to where he had left his damsel, who, as soon as he saw her, was very afflicted, because she saw him so disfigured that she hardly recognized him, and asked him with infinite pleas to tell her why he came thus disfigured, and where he had been for such a long time. Bandemagus, when he saw the anxious pleas his damsel made him, endeavored to speak, his voice such that what he said could barely be understood; and as best he could, he recounted point by point to the damsel all he had seen and heard.

The damsel marveled to hear the things Bandemagus said, and begged him for them to leave there, which Bandemagus did; and he went over the mountain, to see if he could find Morlot or Meliadus the Mighty, to end his adventure as Merlin had counseled him, and he traveled so that he found Morlot and made friends with him, and they sent the damsel honorably to her land. And they went to seek Meliadus and in a short time they found him. And Morlot chose the first battle, and they lowered their lances, and met each other with all their strength, and Morlot passed his lance through Meliadus's chest out the other side, and he fell dead to the earth. And Bandemagus, who saw this, was grieved, although Merlin had already said that so it was to be, as it is said above.

So did Bandemagus end his adventure, and he and Morlot departed, each one very agreeable, on his own road: Morlot, to Ireland; Bandemagus, to the court of King Arthur, and he recounted what he had seen, and the death of Merlin, which was so dolorous that he could not remedy it, at which all those of the court felt great sadness, especially King Arthur, who lost much when he lost Merlin, just as did all the kingdom of Londres; and certes, he was so mourned in so many places, that never was prince or lord so mourned in the kingdom of Londres or in other provinces, and the knights of the Table remained there for some days, not doing knightly deeds or anything worthy of recounting.

So passed the death of Merlin, as it is said above, and with more sadness than can be written here; but anyone may gather by the way of reason how much reason all had to weep a man who served his king and kingdom so.

Thus does the present tractate end, most illustrious lord, silencing the pen, supplicating your royal excellency to receive the present compliation, not done for profane service, but with all rectitude and desire to serve you. And if any defect is found in anything written by me, which I do not doubt, most enlightened lord, I supplicate your royal majesty to command it to be corrected and emended, since I did not compile this book from my works, but transferred it from one language to another, because it seemed to do something for your purpose or your prison, humbly supplicating that your serenity may give my small service some place in the least part of your royal and virtuous human condition.


The present work was printed in the noble and most loyal city of Burgos, Castile's head, by Juan de Burgos, on the tenth day of the month of February, in the year of our salvation one thousand four hundred ninety-eight.