Sir Thomas Malory (d. 1471). The Holy Grail. The Harvard Classics. 190914.
The Sixteenth Book
Of the Good Counsel That the Hermit Gave to Him
CERTES, said Gawaine, soothly have ye said, that I see it openly. Now, I pray you, good man and holy father, tell me why we met not with so many adventures as we were wont to do, and commonly have the better. I shall tell you gladly, said the good man; the adventure of the Sangreal which ye and many other have undertaken the quest of it and find it not, the cause is for it appeareth not to sinners. Wherefore marvel not though ye fail thereof, and many other. For ye be an untrue knight, and a great murderer, and to good men signifieth other things than murder. For I dare say as sinful as Sir Launcelot hath been, sith that he went into the quest of the Sangreal he slew never man, nor nought shall, till that he come unto Camelot again, for he hath taken upon him for to forsake sin. And nere that he nys not stable, but by his thought he is likely to turn again, he should be next to achieve it save Galahad, his son. But God knoweth his thought and his unstableness, and yet shall he die right an holy man, and no doubt he hath no fellow of no earthly sinful man. Sir, said Gawaine, it seemeth me by your words that for our sins it will not avail us to travel in this quest. Truly, said the good man, there be an hundred such as ye be that never shall prevail, but to have shame. And when they had heard these voices they commended him unto god. Then the good man called Gawaine, and said: It is long time passed sith that ye were made knight, and never sithen thou servedst thy Maker, and now thou art so old a tree that in thee is neither life nor fruit; wherefore bethink thee that thou yield to Our Lord the bare rind, sith the fiend hath the leaves and the fruit. Sir, said Gawaine, an I had leisure I would speak with you, but my fellow here, Sir Ector, is gone, and abideth me yonder beneath the hill. Well, said the good man, thou were better to be counselled. Then departed Gawaine and came to Ector, and so took their horses and rode till they came to a foresters house, which harboured them right well. And on the morn they departed from their host, and rode long or they could find any adventure.