Legends Every Child Should Know - H. W. Mabie
Of all the nobles of Britain none was so strong as Rohand, Earl of Warwick, Rockingham, and Oxford. He made just laws, and made them to be obeyed; nor king nor baron in the land could buy his favour with fine words or gold, or shield the wrong-doer from his punishment. Passing fair was Felice, his daughter, like some stately marble shaft of perfect mould; haughty was she as the great gerfalcon which spurns the earth and towers up into the noon to look the burning sun in the face. Wise masters, hoar with learning, came out from Toulouse to teach her the seven arts and sciences, until there was not her like for wisdom anywhere.
Earl Rohand had a favourite page, named Guy, son of his just and upright steward, Segard of Wallingford; a brave and fearless youth, of strong and well-knit frame, whom Heraud of Ardenne, his tutor, taught betimes to just with lance and sword, and how to hunt with hawk and hound by wood and river side.
It was the feast of Pentecost, when by old custom every maiden chose her love and every knight his leman. Guy, clad in a new silken dress, being made cup-bearer at the banquet table, saw for the first time the beautiful Felice, as, kneeling, he offered the golden ewer and basin and demask napkin to wash her finger-tips before the banquet. Thenceforward he became so love-stricken with her beauty that he heard not the music of the glee-men, saw neither games nor tourneys, but dured in a dream, like one crazed, all through the fourteen days festival. Knights and fair dames praised his handsome figure and well grown sinewy limbs; he heeded not—but once Felice gave him a courteous word as he offered her the wine-cup; he blushed and stammered and spilled the wine, and was rebuked for awkwardness.
The feast being over, Guy went away to his chamber, and there fell into a great love-sickness. Hopeless it seemed for a vassal to love one so far above him as his sovereign's daughter; so he gave himself up to despair, and his disease grew so sore that the most skilful leeches of Earl Rohand's court were unable to cure his complaint. In vain they let him of blood or gave him salve or potion. "There is no medicine of any avail," the leeches said. Guy murmured, "Felice: if one might find and bring Felice to me, I yet might live." "Felice?" the leeches said among themselves, and shook their heads, "It is not in the herbal. Felice? Felix? No, there is no plant of that name."
"No herb is Felice," sighing answered Guy, "but a flower—the fairest flower that grows."
"He is light-headed," they said. "The flower Felice? He seeks perchance the flower of happiness, growing in the garden of the blessed, away in Paradise. He is surely near his end."
"It is truly Paradise where Felice is," Guy answered,
"You hear? You see," the leeches whispered one to another. "Come, let us go; for we can be of no more good."
Night came, and being left alone Guy thought to rise up from his bed and drag himself into the presence of his mistress, there to die at her feet. So weak was he become, he scarce could stand, but fainted many times upon the way.
Now Felice had heard many whisperings how Guy was dying for love of her, since her handmaidens had compassion on the youth, and sought to turn her heart toward him; but Felice was in no mind to have a page for a lover. Howbeit on this very night she had a dream, wherein being straitly enjoined to entreat the youth with kindness as the only way to save a life which would hereafter be of great service to the world, she arose and came to a bower in the garden where Guy lay swooning on the floor. Felice would not stoop to help him, but her maids having restored him to his senses, Guy fell at her feet and poured out all his love before her. Never a word answered Felice, but stood calmly regarding him with haughty coldness. Then said one of her maids, "O lady! were I the richest king's daughter in the land, I could not turn away from love so strong and true." Felice rebuked her, saying, "Could not? Silly child, see that your soft heart do not prove your shame." So with a tingling cheek the maid withdrew abashed. Then said Felice to Guy, "Why kneel there weeping like a girl? Get up, and show if there is the making of a man in you. Hear what I have to say. The swan mates not with the swallow, and I will never wed beneath me. Prove that your love is not presumption. Show yourself my peer. For I could love a brave and valiant knight before whose spear men bowed as to a king, nor would I ask his parentage, prouder far to know that my children took their nobleness from a self-made nobleman. But a weeping, love-sick page! No! Go, fight and battle—show me something that you do that I can love. Meantime I look for such a lover, and I care not if his name be Guy the page."
Then Guy took heart and said, "Lady, I ask no better boon than to have you for witness of what love for you can do."
Felice answered, "Deeds, not words. Be strong and valiant. I will watch and I will wait."
Then Guy took leave of his mistress and in the course of a few days regained his health, to the surprise of all the court, but more especially of the leeches who had given him over for dead, and coming to Earl Rohand, entreated him to make him a knight. To this Earl Rohand having agreed, Guy was knighted at the next feast of Holy Trinity with a dubbing worthy a king's son; and they brought him rich armour, and a good sword and spear and shield, and a noble steed with costly trappings, together with rich silken cloaks and mantles fur-trimmed, and of great price. Then bidding farewell to Segard his father, Sir Guy left Warwick with Heraud his tutor, and Sir Thorold and Sir Urry for company, and having reached the nearest seaport, set sail for Normandy in search of adventures wherein to prove his valour.
They came to Rouen, and whilst they tarried at an inn a tournament was proclaimed in honour of the fair Blancheflor, daughter to Regnier, Emperor of Germany, and the prize was the hand of the Princess, a white horse, two white hounds, and a white falcon. So Sir Guy and his companions rode into the lists, where was a great company of proven knights and champions. Three days they tourneyed, but none could withstand Sir Guy's strong arm. He overthrew Otho Duke of Pavia, Sir Garie the Emperor's son, Regnier Duke of Sessoyne, the Duke of Lowayne, and many more, till not a man was left who dared encounter him; and being master of the field, he was adjudged the prize. The horse and hounds and falcon he sent by two messengers to Felice in England as trophies of his valour. Then he knelt before the beautiful Princess Blancheflor and said, "Lady, I battle in honour of my mistress, the peerless Felice, and am her servant," whereat the Emperor and his daughter, admiring his constancy, loaded him with rich presents and allowed him to depart.
Sir Guy then travelled through Spain, Lombardy, and Almayne, into far lands; and wheresoever a tournament was held, there he went and justed, coming out victor from them all; till the fame of his exploits spread over Christendom. So a year passed, and he returned to England unconquered, and renowned as the most valiant knight of his time. A while he sojourned in London with King Athelstan, who rejoiced to do him honour; then he came to Warwick, where he received from Earl Rohand a princely welcome. Then Sir Guy hastened to Felice.
"Fair mistress," said he, "have I now won your love? You have heard my deeds, how I have travelled all through Christendom, and have yet found no man stand against my spear. I have been faithful in my love, Felice, as well as strong in fight. I might have wedded with the best. King's daughters and princesses were prizes in the tournaments; but I had no mind for any prize but thee. Say, is it mine, sweet mistress?"
Then Felice kissed her knight and answered, "Right nobly have you won my love and worship, brave Sir Guy. You are more than my peer; you are become my sovereign; and my love pays willing homage to its lord. But for this same cause I will not wed you yet. I will not have men point at me and say, 'There is a woman who for selfish love's sake, wedded the knight of most renown in Christendom ere yet he did his bravest deeds-drew him from his level to her own-made him lay by his sword and spear for the slothful pleasures of a wedded life, and dwarfed a brave man down to a soft gentleman.' Nay, dear one, I can wait, and very proudly, knowing myself your chiefest prize. But seek not to possess the prize too soon, lest your strivings for renown, being aimless, should wax feeble. It is because I love you that I hold your fame far dearer than my love. Go rather forth again, travel through heathen lands, defend the weak against the strong; go, battle for the right, show yourself the matchless knight you are; and God and my love go with thee."
Then Sir Guy got him ready for his new quest. Earl Rohand tried to persuade him to remain at home, as likewise did his father Segard; and his mother, weeping, prayed him stay. She said, "Another year it may not fare so well with thee, my son. Leave well alone. Felice is cold and proud and cares not for thee, else she would not risk thy life again. What is it to her? If thou wert slain she would get another lover; we have no more sons."
Yet would not Sir Guy be turned from his purpose, but embarked with his companions, Sir Heraud, Sir Thorold, and Sir Urry, for Flanders. Thence he rode through Spain, Germany, and Lombardy, and bore away the prize at every tournament. But coming into Italy, he got a bad wound jousting at Beneventum, which greatly weakened him.
Duke Otho of Pavia, whom Sir Guy overthrew in his first tournament at Rouen, thought now to be avenged on him. So he set a chosen knight, Earl Lombard, with fifteen other knights to lie in ambush in a wood and slay Sir Guy; and as Sir Guy, with his three companions, came ambling slowly through the wood, he smarting and well-nigh faint with his wound, the men in ambush broke out from their concealment and called on him to yield. The danger made him forget his pain, and straightway he dressed his shield and spurred among them.
Sir Heraud, Sir Thorold, and Sir Urry killed the three first knights they rode against. Then Earl Lombard slew Sir Urry; and at the same time Hugo, nephew to Duke Otho, laid Sir Thorold dead at his horse's feet. Then only Sir Guy and Sir Heraud being left to fight, Sir Guy attacked Earl Lombard and smote him to the heart, whilst Sir Heraud chased Hugo, fleeing like a hound, and drove his spear throughout his body. Thus were Sir Urry and Sir Thorold avenged. But one of the felon knights, called Sir Gunter, smote Sir Heraud a mighty stroke when he was off his guard, and hewed his shield and coat of mail in pieces, and Sir Heraud fell to the earth covered with blood and lay as dead.
Thereupon Sir Guy's anger waxed furious at his master's death; and he spurred his horse so that fire rose from under its feet, and with one blow of his sword cleft Sir Gunter from his helmet to the pummel of his saddle. As for the other knights he slew them all except Sir Guichard, who fled on his swift steed to Pavia, and got back to Duke Otho.
Heavily Sir Guy grieved for the loss of his three friends, but most of all for his dear master Sir Heraud. He sought about the wood until he found a hermit. To him he gave a good steed, charging him to bury the bodies of Sir Urry and Sir Thorold. From Sir Heraud's body he would not part. Lifting the old knight to his arms, he laid him across his horse, and led the steed by the bridle-rein till they came to an abbey, where he left the body with the abbot, promising rich presents in return for giving it sumptuous burial with masses and chants. But Sir Guy departed and hid himself in a hermit's cave away from the malice of Duke Otho, until his wound should be healed.
Now there was in the abbey whither Heraud's body was taken, a monk well skilled in leech-craft, who knew the virtues of all manner of grasses and herbs. And this monk, finding by his craft that life still flickered in the body, nursed and tended it; and after a long while Sir Heraud was well enough to travel. Disguised as a palmer he came into Burgundy, and there, to his great joy, found Sir Guy, who had come thither meaning to take his way back to England. But they lingered still, till Heraud should grow stronger, and so it fell out that they came to St. Omers. There they heard how the Emperor Regnier had come up against Segwin, Duke of Lavayne, laid waste his land, and besieged him in his strong city Seysone, because he had slain Sadoc, the Emperor's cousin, in a tournament. But when Sir Guy learned that Sadoc had first provoked Duke Segwin, and brought his death upon himself, he determined to help Segwin against his sovereign the Emperor Regnier. He therefore gathered fifty knights together with Heraud, and coming secretly at night to the city of Seysone, was let in at a postern gate without the enemy being aware. In the morning after mass they made a sally against their foes, which numbered thirty thousand strong, and routed them, taking many noble prisoners. Three times the Emperor came against the Greeks, each time with a new army larger than before. Twice did Sir Guy vanquish the host, and drive them from the walls. The third time he took Sir Gaire, the Emperor's son, prisoner, and carried him into the city. Then the Emperor Regnier determined, since he could not take the place by assault, to beleaguer it, and starve the town into surrender. And it was so that, while his army was set down before the walls, the Emperor hunted alone in a wood hard by, and Sir Guy, meeting him there, gathered a branch of olive tree, and came bending to the Emperor, saying, "God save you, gentle sire. Duke Segwin sendeth me to make his peace with you. He will yield you all his lands and castles in burg and city, and hold them of you henceforth in vassalage, but he now would have your presence in the city to a feast." So the Emperor was forced to go with him into the city as a prisoner, albeit he was served with the humility due to a sovereign both by Sir Guy and Duke Segwin's knights. Sir Gaire and the other captive nobles came also and prayed for peace with Duke Segwin, for they had been so well treated that they felt nothing but the truest friendship for their captor. So it befell when the Emperor found himself feasting in the enemy's castle, surrounded by the flower of his own knights and nobles, and Duke Segwin and his band serving them humbly at table as though they had been servants in place of masters, he was touched by their generosity, and willingly agreed to a free and friendly peace. And this was celebrated by the Emperor giving Duke Segwin his niece to wife, whilst the Duke of Saxony wedded Duke Segwin's sister amid great rejoicings.
Now after this, learning that Ernis, Emperor of Greece, was besieged in Constantinople his capital by the Saracens, Sir Guy levied an army of a thousand knights and went to his assistance. Well pleased was Ernis at so timely a succor, and he promised to reward Sir Guy by making him heir to the throne and giving him the hand of his only daughter the beautiful Loret. Then Sir Guy led the army forth from the city against the Soudan and his host, and defeated them so badly that for some days they were unable to rally their men for another encounter.
In the meantime, one of Sir Guy's knights named Sir Morgadour fell in love with the Princess Loret, and being envious of Sir Guy's achievements as well as jealous of such a rival, he sought how to embroil him with the Emperor and compass his disgrace. Wherefore one day when the Emperor Ernis was gone a-rivering with his hawks, Sir Morgadour challenged Sir Guy to play a game of chess in the Princess Loret's chamber. They played there, Sir Guy not thinking of treachery. But by-and-by the Princess entered, and Sir Morgadour after greeting her took his leave quickly and came to the Emperor Ernis, telling him how Sir Guy was alone in the chamber with his daughter. Ernis, however, paid little heed to the tale, for he said: "Well, and what of it? Loret is his promised bride, and Sir Guy is a good true knight. Away with your tales!" But Sir Morgadour was not to be baffled, so he went to Sir Guy and said: "Behold how little trust is to be placed in a king! Here is the Emperor Ernis mad wroth to hear you were alone with the Princess Loret, and swears he will have your life." Then Sir Guy in great anger summoned his knights, and was going over to the Saracens, when, on his way, he met the Emperor, who told him of the malice of Sir Morgadour and all was made plain.
But now the Saracens coming anew against the city, Sir Guy went forth to meet them with many engines upon wheels which threw great stones quarried from a hill. Sir Guy and his army again defeated the Saracens, insomuch that a space of fifteen acres was covered so thick with dead that a man might not walk between, whilst the pile of slain around Sir Guy reached breast high. So the Soudan and his host withdrew to their camps.
Then Sir Morgadour bethought him of another wile. The Soudan had sworn to kill every Christian found in his camp, without regard to flag of truce or ambassage. So Sir Morgadour persuaded Ernis to send Sir Guy to the Soudan saying, that, since the war seemed likely to come to no speedy issue, it should be settled by single combat between two champions chosen from the Christian and the Saracen hosts. The counsel seemed good to Ernis, but yet he liked not to risk his son-in-law's life; wherefore he called his Parliament together and asked for some bold knight to go and bear this message. When all the others held their peace, Sir Guy demanded to be sent upon the business, neither could the prayers and entreaties of Ernis cause him to forego the enterprise. He clad himself in iron hose and a trusty hauberk, set a helm of steel, gold-circled, on his head, and having girt his sword about him, leapt on his steed without so much as touching stirrup, and rode up to the Soudan's pavilion. He well knew it from the rest, since on the top thereof flashed a great carbuncle stone.
There were feasting the Soudan, ten kings, and many barons, when Sir Guy walked into the pavilion and delivered his message with great roughness of speech. "Seize him and slay him!" cried the Soudan. But Sir Guy cut his way through his assailants and rushing on the Soudan cut off his head; and while he stooped to pick up the trophy with his left hand, with his right he slew six Saracens , then fought his passage past them all to the tent door, and leapt upon his horse. But the whole Saracen host being roused he never would have got back for all his bravery, but that Heraud within the city saw in a dream the danger he was in, and assembling the Greek army and Sir Guy's knights, came to his rescue and put the Saracens to flight. Then after the battle, Sir Guy came in triumph to Constantinople and laid the Soudan's head at the feet of the Emperor Ernis.
Ernis now, being at peace from his enemies, would take Sir Guy through his realms. On their way they saw a dragon fighting a lion, and the lion having much the worst of the combat, Sir Guy must needs go and fight the dragon. After a hard battle he laid the monster dead at his feet, and the lion came and licked the hands of his deliverer, and would in no wise depart from his side.
Soon afterward the Emperor Ernis gathered a great company of princes, dukes, earls, barons, bishops, abbots, and priors to the wedding feast, and in presence of them all he gave Sir Guy to be ruler over half the kingdom, and led forth the Princess Loret to be his bride.
But when Sir Guy saw the wedding-ring, his old love came to his mind, and he bethought him of Felice. "Alas!" he cried, "Felice the bright and beautiful, my heart misgives me of forgetting thee. None other maid shall ever have my love." Then he fell into a swoon and when he came to himself he pleaded sudden sickness. So the marriage was put off, to the great distress of Ernis and his daughter Loret, and Sir Guy gat him to an Inn. Heraud tended him there, and learned how it was for the sake of Felice that Guy renounced so fair a bride, dowered with so rich a kingdom. But after a fortnight, when he could no longer feign illness because of the watchfullness of the Emperor and the Princess after his health, he was forced to return to court, and delay his marriage from day to day by one excuse and another, until at length fortune delivered him from the strait. The lion which Sir Guy had tamed was used to roam about the palace, and grew so gentle that none feared him and none sought him harm. But Sir Morgadour, being sore vexed to think that all his plans against Sir Guy had failed, determined to wreak his spite upon the lion. He therefore watched until he found the lion asleep within an arbour, and then wounded him to death with his sword. The faithful beast dragged himself so far as Sir Guy's chamber, licked his master's hands, and fell dead at his feet. But a little maid which had espied Sir Morgadour told Sir Guy who had slain his lion. Then Sir Guy went forth in quest of Sir Morgadour, and fought with him and slew him. He had forgiven the wrongs against himself, since he outwitted them; but he was fain to avenge his faithful favourite. Now Sir Morgadour was steward to the German Emperor Regnier. So Sir Guy showed Ernis that if he remained longer at his court, Regnier would surely make war on Greece to avenge his steward's death. Wherefore with this excuse he took his departure and set sail with Heraud in the first ship he could find. They landed in Germany, and visited the Emperor Regnier without telling anything about his steward's death. Then they came to Lorraine.
As Sir Guy took his way alone through a forest, having sent his servants on to prepare a place for him at an inn, he heard the groaning of a man in pain, and turning his horse that way, found a knight sore wounded, and like to die. This knight was named Sir Thierry, and served the Duke of Lorraine. He told how he was riding through the wood with his lady, Osile, when fifteen armed men beset him, and forcibly carried off the lady to take her to Duke Otho of Pavia, his rival Then said Sir Guy, "I also have a score to settle with Otho, the felon duke." Then he took Sir Thierry's arms and armour, and went in pursuit of the ravishers whom he soon overtook, and having slain every one, he set the lady on his steed and returned to the place where he had left the wounded knight. But now Sir Thierry was gone; for four knights of Duke Otho's band had come and carried him off. So Sir Guy set down the lady, and started to find the four knights. Having fought and vanquished them, he set Sir Thierry on his horse and returned. But now Osile was gone. He searched for many hours to find her, but in vain. So as nightfall drew on he took Sir Thierry to the inn. There by good fortune they found the lady, Sir Guy's servants having met her in the wood and brought her with them to await his coming. A leech soon came and dressed Sir Thierry's wounds, and by the careful tending of Osile and Sir Guy, he got well Then Sir Guy and Sir Thierry swore brotherhood in arms.
Soon there came a messenger, saying that Duke Otho, hotly wroth at losing the fair Osile, had gone to lay waste the lands of Aubry, Sir Thierry's father; the Duke of Lorraine was likewise helping him. Thereupon Sir Guy equipped five hundred knights and came with Sir Thierry to the city of Gurmoise where Aubry dwelt. It was a well ramparted city, and after being beaten in two battles with Sir Guy, Duke Otho found, despite the larger numbers of his host, that he could not stand against the courage of the little army and the valour of its leader. Thinking therefore to gain Osile by treachery, he sent an archbishop to Aubry, offering peace and pledging himself to confirm the marriage of Sir Thierry and Osile, provided only that the lovers would go and kneel in homage to their sovereign Duke of Lorraine. Thereon Sir Thierry and his bride, together with Sir Guy and Sir Heraud, set out unarmed, and after wending a day's journey out of Gurmoise, they met the Duke of Lorraine, who embraced and kissed them in token of peace. But Otho coming forward as if to do the like, made a sign to a band of men whom he had in waiting to seize them. These quickly surrounded Sir Heraud and Sir Thierry and carried them off; but Sir Guy with only his fists slew many of his assailants, and broke away to where a countryman stood with a staff in his hand. Snatching this for a weapon, Sir Guy beat down the quickest of his pursuers, and made his escape. Duke Otho cast Sir Thierry into a deep dungeon in Pavia, and meanwhile gave Osile a respite of forty days wherein to consent to be his bride. But the Duke of Lorraine carried off Sir Heraud.
Weary and hungered, and vexed at the loss of his friends, Sir Guy came to a castle where he sought harbour for the night. Sir Amys of the Mountain, who dwelt there, welcomed him with a good will, and hearing his adventures, offered to raise an army of fifteen hundred men to help him against Duke Otho. But to this Sir Guy said nay, because it would take too long. So, after a day or two, having hit upon a plan, he disguised, himself by staining his face and darkening his hair and beard and eyebrows; and setting out alone, came to Duke Otho with a present of a war-horse of great price, and said, "You have in your keeping a dastard knight by name Sir Thierry, who has done me much despite, and I would fain be avenged upon him." Then Duke Otho, falling into the trap, appointed him jailor of Sir Thierry.
The dungeon wherein Sir Thierry was prisoned was a pit of forty fathoms deep, and very soon Sir Guy spake from the pit's mouth bidding him be of good cheer, for he would certainly deliver him. But a false Lombard overheard these words, and thereby knowing that it was Sir Guy, ran off straightway to tell Duke Otho. Sir Guy followed quickly and sought to bribe the man with money to hold his peace, but without avail, for he would go into the palace where the Duke was, and opened his mouth to tell the tale. Then with one blow Sir Guy slew him at Duke Otho's feet. But Otho, very wroth, would have killed Sir Guy then and there, only that he averred that this was a certain traitor whom he found carrying food to the prisoner. Thus having appeased the Duke's anger, he gat away secretly to Osile, and bade her change her manner to Duke Otho, and make as though she was willing to have his love. The night before the day fixed for the wedding, Sir Guy let down a rope to Thierry in his pit, and having drawn him up, the two made all speed to the castle of Sir Amys. There, getting equipped with arms and armour, they leaped to horse on the morrow, and riding back to Pavia, met the wedding procession. Rushing into the midst Sir Guy slew Otho and Sir Thierry carried off Osile, whereupon they returned to Sir Amys with light hearts. And when the Duke of Lorraine had tidings of what had befallen Otho he had great fear of Sir Guy, and sent Sir Heraud back with costly gifts to make his peace. So Sir Thierry and Osile were wed, and a sumptuous banquet was held in their honour, with game, and hunting, and hawking, and justing, and singing of glee-men, more than can be told.
Now as Sir Guy went a-hunting one day, he rode away from his party to pursue a boar of great size. And this boar, being very nimble and fleet of foot, led him a long chase till he came into Flanders. And when he killed the boar he blew upon his horn the prize. Florentine, King of Flanders, hearing it in his palace, said, "Who is this that slays the tall game on my lands?" And he bade his son go forth and bring him in. The young prince coming with a haughty message to Sir Guy, the knight struck him with his hunting-horn, meaning no more than chastisement for his discourtesy. But by misadventure the prince fell dead at his feet. Thinking no more of the mishap, and knowing not who it was whom he had slain, Sir Guy rode on to the palace, and was received with good cheer at the King's table. But presently the prince's body being brought in, and Guy owning that he had done this deed, King Florentine took up an axe, and aimed a mighty blow at the slayer of his son. This Sir Guy quickly avoided, and when all arose to seize him, he smote them down on either hand, and fought his way through the hall till he reached his steed, whereon lightly leaping he hasted back to Sir Thierry.
Then after a short while he took leave of Sir Thierry, and came with Sir Heraud to England, to the court of King Athelstan at York. Scarce had he arrived there when tidings came that a great black and winged dragon was ravaging Northumberland, and had destroyed whole troops of men which went against him. Sir Guy at once armed himself in his best proven armour, and rode off in quest of the monster. He battled with the dragon from prime till undern, and on from undern until evensong, but for all the dragon was so strong and his hide so flinty Sir Guy overcame him, and thrust his sword down the dragon's throat, and having cut off his head brought it to King Athelstan. Then while all England rang with this great exploit, he took his journey to Wallingford to see his parents. But they were dead; so after grieving many days for them he gave his inheritance to Sir Heraud, and hasted to Felice at Warwick.
Proudly she welcomed her true knight, and listened to the story of his deeds. Then laughingly Sir Guy asked, should he go another quest before they two were wed?
"Nay, dear one," said Felice, "my heart misgives me I was wrong to peril your life so long for fame's sake and my pride in you. A great love-longing I have borne to have you home beside me. But now you shall go no more forth. My pride it was that made me wish you great and famous, and for that I bade you go; but now, beside your greatness and your fame, I am become so little and so unworthy that I grow jealous lest you seek a worthier mate. We will not part again, dear lord Sir Guy." Then he kissed her tenderly and said, "Felice, whatever of fame and renown I may have gained, I owe it all to you. It was won for you, and but for you it had not been—and so I lay it at your feet in loving homage, owning that I hold it all of you."
So they were wed amid the joy of all the town of Warwick; for the spousings were of right royal sort, and Earl Rohand held a great tournament, and kept open court to all Warwick, Rockingham, and Oxford for fourteen days.
Forty days they had been wed, when it happened that as Sir Guy lay by a window of his tower, looking out upon the landscape, he fell to musing on his life. He thought, "How many men I have slain, how many battles I have fought, how many lands I have taken and destroyed! All for a woman's love; and not one single deed done for my God!" Then he thought, "I will go a pilgrimage for the sake of the Holy Cross." And when Felice knew what he meditated she wept, and with many bitter tears besought him not to leave her. But he sighed and said, "Not yet one single deed for God above!" and held fast to his intent. So he clad himself in palmer's dress, and having taken a gold ring from his wife's hand and placed upon his own, he set out without any companion for the Holy Land.
But Felice fell into a great wan-hope at his departure, and grieved continually, neither would be comforted; for she said, "I have brought this on myself by sending him such perilous journeys heretofore, and now I cannot bear to part from him." But that she bore his child she would have taken her own life for very trouble of heart; only for that child's sake she was fain to live and mature it when it should be born.
Now after Sir Guy had made his toilsome pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and shrived him of his life, and done his prayers and penances about the holy places, he took his way to Antioch.
Beside a well he met a certain Earl Jonas, whose fifteen sons were held in prison till he should find a champion to deliver the Saracen Sir Triamour from the hands of a fierce and terrible Ethiopian giant named Amiraunt. So Sir Guy took arms again, and rode into the lists, and fought with Amiraunt and slew him; thus both Sir Triamour was delivered from his enemy, and the sons of Earl Jonas were restored to him. After this, Sir Guy travelled many years as a pilgrim of the Cross, till in his wanderings, chancing to come into Almayne, he there fell in with Sir Thierry, who, dressed in palmer's weeds, made sorry complaint. Sir Thierry told how a knight named Barnard inherited Pavia in the room of his cousin Duke Otho; and how Barnard, being at enmity with him because of the slaying of Duke Otho, had never rested from doing him mischief with his sovereign, until the Duke of Lorraine dispossessed him from his lands and brought him into poverty. Howbeit Sir Guy would not reveal himself, and Sir Thierry being faint and weary, laid his head upon Sir Guy's knees, and so great a heaviness came over him that he fell asleep. As he slept, Sir Guy, watching him, saw a small white weasel creep out from the mouth of the sleeping man, and run to a little rivulet that was hard by, going to and fro beside the bank, not seeming wistful how to get across. Then Sir Guy rose gently and laid his sword athwart the stream from bank to bank; so the weasel passed over the sword, as it had been a bridge, and having made his way to a hole at the foot of the hill on the other side, went in thereat. But presently the weasel came out, and crossing the stream in the same manner as before jumped into the sleeper's mouth again. Then Sir Thierry woke and told his dream. "I dreamed," said he, "that I came beside a mighty torrent which I knew not how to pass, until I found a bridge of shining steel, over which I went, and came into a cavern underground, and therein I found a palace full of gold and jewels. I pray thee, brother palmer, read to me this dream."
Then Sir Guy said that without doubt it betokened a fair treasure hid by a waterside, and with that showed him the hole under the hill whereat he had seen the weasel go in. There they digged and found the treasure, which was very great; yet Sir Guy would have no share therein, but took leave of Sir Thierry without ever making himself known, and came to Lorraine the duke that was Sir Thierry's sovereign.
Seeing a palmer the Duke of Lorraine asked tidings of his travels. "Sir," said the palmer, "men in all lands speak of Sir Thierry, and much do blame you for taking away his heritage at the bidding of so false a knight as Sir Barnard. And palmer though I be, I yet will prove Sir Barnard recreant and traitor upon his body, and thereto I cast down my glove." Then Sir Barnard took up the glove, and Sir Guy being furnished with armour and a sword and shield and spear, they did battle together. And in the end Sir Guy overcame and slew Sir Barnard, and demanded of the duke to restore Sir Thierry to his possessions, which being granted, he went in search of the banished man, and having found him in a church making his prayer, brought him straightway to the duke, and thus they were made friends. And when Sir Thierry found who his deliverer was he was exceeding glad and would willingly have divided all his inheritance with him. But Sir Guy would receive neither fee nor reward, and after he had abode some time with him at the court, he took his way to England.
Now Athelstan was besieged in Winchester by Anlaf King of Denmark, and could not come out of the city for the great host that was arrayed against him, whilst all the folk within the city walls were famishing for want of food and thought of nothing but surrender. Moreover King Anlaf had proclaimed a challenge, giving them seven days' grace wherein either to deliver up the city keys, or to find a champion who should fight against the great and terrible Danish giant Colbrand; and every day for seven days' the giant came before the walls and cried for a man to fight with him. But there was found no man so hardy to do battle with Colbrand. Then King Athelstan, as he walked to and fro in his city and saw the distress of his people, was suddenly aware of a light that shone about him very brightly, and he heard a voice which charged him to intrust his cause to the first poor palmer he should meet. Soon after he met a palmer in the city, and weening not that it was Sir Guy, kneeled humbly to him, in sure faith in the heavenly voice, and asked his help. "I am an old man," said the palmer, "with little strength except what Heaven might give me for a people's need beset by enemies. But yet for England's sake and with Heaven's help I will undertake this battle."
They then clothed him in the richest armour that the city could furnish, with a good hauberk of steel, and a helmet whose gold circle sparkled with precious stones, and on the top whereof stood a flower wrought of divers colours in rare gems. Gloves of mail he wore, and greaves upon his legs, and a shirt of ring-mail upon his body, with a quilted gambeson beneath: sharp was the sword, and richly carved the heavy spear he bare; his threefold shield was overlaid with gold. They led forth to him a swift steed; but before he mounted he went down upon his knees and meekly told his beads, praying God to succor him that day. And the two kings held a parley for an hour, Anlaf promising on his part that if his champion fell he would go back with all his host to Denmark and never more make war on Britain, whilst Athelstan agreed, if his knight were vanquished, to make Anlaf King of England, and henceforth to be his vassal and pay tribute both of gold and silver money.
Then Colbrand stode forth to the battle. So great was he of stature that no horse could bear him, nor indeed could any man make a cart wherein to carry him. He was armed with black armour of so great weight that a score of men could scarce bear up his hauberk only, and it took three to carry his helmet. He bare a great dart within his hand, and slung around his body were swords and battle-axes more than two hundred in number.
Sir Guy rode boldly at him, but his spear shivered into pieces against the giant's armour. Then Colbrand threw three darts. The first two passed wide, but the third crashed through Sir Guy's shield, and glided betwixt his arm and side, nor fell to ground till it had sped over a good acre of the field. Then a blow from the giant's sword just missed the knight, but lighting on his saddle at the back of him hewed horse and saddle clean in two; so Sir Guy was brought to ground. Yet lightly sprang he to his feet, and though seemingly but a child beside the monster man, he laid on hotly with his sword upon the giant's armour, until the sword brake in his hands. Then Colbrand called on him to yield, since he had no longer a weapon wherewith to fight. "Nay," answered Sir Guy, "but I will have one are of thine," and with that ran deftly to the giant's side and wrenched away a battle-axe wherewith he maintained the combat. Right well Sir Guy endured while Colbrand's mighty strokes shattered his armour all about him, until his shield being broke in pieces it seemed he could no longer make defence, and the Danes raised a great shout at their champion's triumph. Then Colbrand aimed a last stroke at the knight to lay him low, but Sir Guy lightly avoiding it, the giant's sword smote into the earth a foot or more, and before he could withdraw it or free his hand, Sir Guy hewed off the arm with his battle-axe; and since Colbrand's weight leaned on that arm, he fell to the ground. So Sir Guy cut off his head, and triumphed over the giant Colbrand, and the Danes withdrew to their own country.
Then without so much as telling who he was, Sir Guy doffed his armour and put on his palmer's weeds again, and secretly withdrawing himself from all the feasts and games they held in honour of him in the city of Winchester, passed out alone and took his journey toward Warwick on foot.
Many a year had gone since he had left his wife and home. The boy whom Felice had borne him, named Raynburn, he had never seen; nor, as it befell, did he ever see his son. For Raynburn in his childhood had been stolen away by Saracens and carried to a far heathen country, where King Aragus brought him up and made him first his page, then chamberlain, and as he grew to manhood, knighted him. And now he fought the battles of King Aragus with a strong arm like his father Guy's, neither could any endure against his spear. But all these years Felice had passed in prayer and charity, entertaining pilgrims and tired wayfarers, and comforting the sick and the distressed. And it was so that Sir Guy, all travel-worn and with his pilgrim's staff in hand, came to her house and craved an alms. She took him in and washed his feet and ministered to him, asking oftentimes if in his travels he had seen her lord Sir Guy. But when he watched her gentleness to the poor and to the children at her gate, he feared to break in upon her holy life, and so refrained himself before her and would not reveal himself, but with a heavy heart came out from the lady's door and gat him to a hermit's cell. There he abode in fasting and in penitence many weeks, till feeling his end draw near, he took the ring from his finger and sent it by a herdsman to Felice. "Where got you this token?" cried Felice, all trembling with her wonderment and fear. "From a poor beggar-man that lives in yonder cell," the herdsman answered. "From a beggar? Nay, but from a kingly man," said Felice, "for he is my husband, Guy of Warwick!" and gave the herdsman a hundred marks. Then she hasted and came to Sir Guy in his hermit's cell, and for a long space they wept in each other's arms and neither spake a word.
Weaker and fainter waxed Sir Guy. In a little while he died, and Felice closed his tired eyes. Fifteen weary days she lingered sore in grief, and then God's angel came and closed her own.