Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XI Chapter 6
Bors has to sit down for a second, after seeing all that. He lands in a chair, and in another chair next to him notices an old man with snakes wrapped around his neck. The old man is also carrying a harp, and he strums it and starts to sing:
And did those feet in ancient time.
Walk upon England’s mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England’s pleasant pastures seen!
And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?
Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!
I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England’s green & pleasant Land!
Now those are not the words Malory uses of course, that’s William Blake. But Malory makes it clear that this is the subject matter of the song: Joseph of Arimathea bearing the Grail off to England.
“This is heavy,” says Bors.
“Go home,” the old man suggests to Bors. “Go on, git. Your strange adventure is over.”
Then, just to punctuate the point, the bird with the incense (seen in Chapter 2 and again in Chapter 4) comes in, and a magical feast appears, and the old man produces four dancing children and the Spear of Longinus, for good measure.
“Whoa,” says Bors.
“Go back to Camelot, find Launcelot, and tell him all about this,” the old man says. “Also, tell him he’s too much of a sinner to ever achieve the Grail, though he is the greatest warrior alive today.” At this point four women come in with banners and also an altar with pillars and a silver light and a shining sword, and basically it’s all so crazy-magical that Bors is struck blind by the awesomeness of it, and he passes out.
In the morning, Bors wakes up and he can see, which is nice. He has a good breakfast with Pellam and Elaine and little baby Galahad, then politely excuses himself and gets the hell out of there.
Bors doesn’t stop until he arrives back at Camelot, where he finds Launcelot, in an unspecified situation with Guenever.
“Launcelot, cousin, listen to this crazy story!” shouts Bors, and unloads the whole tale of Castle Corbin onto Launcelot. Everything from Chapter 4 on.
Guenever listens, too, but stops hearing anything when Bors gets to the part about Elaine being the mother of Launcelot’s son. “What?!” She turns to Launcelot and demands an explanation, calling him false knight.
“It was magic,” Launcelot says lamely. Which explanation Guenever reluctantly accepts.
Later Arthur comes home from France — he was in France, you guys — where he just won a campaign against Claudas, the foe of Ban and Bors last mentioned way way back in Book I. To celebrate the victory, Arthur throws a party, and invites everyone in his kingdom to show up, the inhabitants of Castle Corbin included.
Woah, Claudas still exists! I didn’t think he would ever be mentioned again.