Lancelot - The Deaths of Arthur and Lancelot

Hearing of this, Lancelot returned to aid Arthur but arrived too late to save him from a mortal wound. Gawaine, dying at Dover, wrote a plea to Lancelot to return and aid Arthur, but, thanks to the famous premature battle at Salisbury, Lancelot and his men arrived too late; Mordred and virtually all the men of both armies were dead, and Arhur had passed. Lancelot was able, however, to mop up the last of the rebellion, which was being kept alive by Mordred's two sons.

After the war, Lancelot visited Guenevere one last time in a nunnery at Almesbury and then put aside his weapons and armor to become a hermit, which was how he lived out the rest of his life together with another hermit. The Archbishop of Canterbury and a cousin to Lancelot joined him, including many of his kinsmen. For four years he stayed there. Here the great king died, in Tennyson's words, "a holy man". His body was taken to Joyous Garde and buried beside that of Duke Galeholt.

The Death of Sir Lancelot | Artist: Walter Crane

At the same time as he died the Archbishop had a vision about Lancelot's soul being brought to the heaven by angels. He was buried at Joyous Guard, and Sir Ector, the last of the original Knights of the Round Table delivered the following eulogy:

Ah Lancelot, thou are head of all Christians knights, and now I dare say, thou Sir Lancelot, there thou liest, that thou was never matched of earthly knights. And thou were the courteous knight that ever bare shield. And thou were the truest friend to thy lover that ever bestrad horse. And thou were the truest lover of a sinful man that ever loved woman. And thou were the kindest man that ever struck with sword. And thou were the goodliest person that ever came among press of knights. And thou was the meekest man and the gentlest that ever ate in hall among ladies. And thou were the sternest knight to they mortal foe that ever put spear in the rest.

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