NIGHTBRINGER | The Arthurian Encyclopedia

Dame Brisen

Briane, Brisane, Brisanie, Brisiane, Brissane, Brissanne

Dame Brisen,

one of the greatest enchantresses that was at that time in the world living,

came to King Pellam and offered to arrange matters so that his daughter Elaine (Elaine of Carbonek) could lie with Lancelot. Pellam setting them up in his nearby Castle of Case for the trick, Brisen had a message brought to Lancelot by a man in the likeness of one he knew well, who brought him a ring that looked like one of Guenevere’s and told him that his lady awaited him in Case Castle. When he arrived, Brisen gave Lancelot a cup of wine, which may have been drugged, before sending him upstairs to Elaine, who was already abed.

Some time later, Brisen accompanied Elaine as handmaiden to Arthur’s court at Camelot for the festivities celebrating the victory over Claudas of France. Again Brisen helped her mistress enjoy Lancelot’s love, this time, apparently, through simple intrigue. Elaine’s chamber was next to the Queen’s, Lancelot and Guenevere planned to sleep together, and Brisen simply beat Guenevere’s messenger to Lancelot and guided him to Elaine’s room instead.

Lancelot went mad after that night’s wor, and turned up, a few years later, at Carbonek, where eventually Dame Brisen recognized him and tactfully cast him into an enchanted sleep for an hour until he could be carried before the Sangreal, which healed him.

Elaine became mother to Galahad.

Vulgate Lancelot | 1215-1230
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470