I think more people should know about Sir Morien, AKA The Greatest Arthurian Knight You’ve Never Heard Of. His story can be read for free on Project Gutenburg or heard on the Internet Archive.
Awesome! I didn’t know about the Internet Archive audio version! It’s a great reading, and about 3 hours long for those who’d prefer to listen. Sir Morien, for those who don’t know, is a Black Arthurian Knight who has his own Romance, also featuring Sirs Lancelot, Gawain, and Perceval, as well as King Arthur himself. There is also an annotated version here, by Jessie Weston, at the Celtic literature collective.
On the ninth day there came riding towards them a knight on a goodly steed, and well armed withal. He was all black, even as I tell ye: his head, his body, and his hands were all black, saving only his teeth. His shield and his armour were even those of a Moor, and black as a raven. He rode his steed at full gallop, with many a forward bound. […]
Quoth the Moor: “How come ye to speak thus to me? Wot ye that I be afraid to fight against the twain of ye; or that I have held my hand through fear of death? Were the one of ye Sir Lancelot, and the other King Arthur’s sister’s son (these twain are wont to be praised above all in Arthur’s court as I have ofttimes heard, though never have I seen them), yet would I not yield a foot to them!” Then thought Sir Gawain with himself, “We were foolish and unwise an we failed to show courtesy to one who praises us so highly.” […]
Quoth Sir Lancelot: “By my good days, nevermore will I be wrathful, nor bear rancour against ye for any lack of courtesy; ye need no longer stand on guard against me, my heart is not evil towards ye, and we will counsel ye well.” Then was the black knight blithe, and drew near to Sir Lancelot, and bared his head, which was black as pitch; that was the fashion of his land–Moors are black as burnt brands. But in all that men would praise in a knight was he fair, after his kind. Though he were black, what was he the worse? In him was naught unsightly; he was taller by half a foot than any knight who stood beside him, and as yet was he scarce more than a child! It pleased him so well when he heard them speak thus of Sir Agloval that he knelt him straightway on the earth; but Sir Gawain raised him up, and told him their tidings, how they were but as messengers, and belonged to the court of King Arthur, which was of high renown, and that they rode at that time seeking Sir Perceval and Sir Agloval, since the king desired them both.
All posts on medievalpoc tagged Sir Morien.
Artwork Info: Hans Krell. Black Knight. Oil and Tempera on Canvas, c. 1550s. 202 x 90 cm, Liepzig, Germany. Image of the Black in Western Art (Harvard University).