Le Morte D'Arthur
by Sir Thomas Malory
Le Morte D'Arthur Tradition and Customs Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Page.Line) [from Malory, Thomas. Le Morte D'Arthur. Stephen H. A. Shepherd, ed. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2004. Print.]
"For this muche have I founde in the cronycles of this londe: that Sir Belyne and Sir Bryne, of my bloode elders, that borne were in Bretayne, and they hath ocupyed the empyreship eyght score wyntyrs;
"And aftir, Constantyne our kynnesman conquerd hit – and dame Elyneys son, of Ingelonde, was emperoure of Roome – and he recoverde the crosse that Cryste dyed uppon;
"And thus was the Empyre kepte be my kynde elders, and thus have we evydence inowghe to the empyre of hole Rome." (115.18-26)
Arthur fights fire with fire here by using the history of his ancestors' conquests to refuse Lucius's request for tribute. How 'bout that, Lucius? In the end, this is really about two conflicting versions of history -- one in which England is dominant, the other in which Rome is. And, as usual, the version that wins out will be determined by whoever has the stronger army.
So evir the Kynge had a custom that at the feste of Pentecoste in especiall, afore other festys in the yere, he wolde nat gho that day to mete unto that he had herde other sawe of a grete mervayle.
And for that custom, all maner of strange adventures com byfore Arthure, as at that feste before all other festes. (177.21-26)
Arthur's refusal to sit down before he's seen or heard a marvel is basically an open invitation to wonders in his court. This custom is perfect for the situation. Arthur has got a lot of knights who need to prove themselves, and what better opportunity to do so than when a supernatural being shows up in court.
The custom of that castell was suche that who that rode by the castell and brought ony lady wyth hym, he muste nedys fyght with the lorde that hyght Brewnour. And yf hit so were that Brewnor wan the fylde, than sholde the knyght straunger and his lady be put to deth, what that ever they were; and yf hit were so that the straunge knyght wan the fylde of Sir Brewnor, than sholde he dye and hys lady bothe. So this custom was used many wyntyrs, wherefore hit was called the Castell Plewre – that is to sey, "the wepynge castell." (257.12-20)
When Trystram and Isode get stranded at the Castell Plewre, Trystram has to defend himself against Brewnour. He wins the fight, and in doing so brings the "custom" of this particular castle to an end. This turns out to be quite a relief to Brewnour's sons, who don't like the custom in the first place.