“Do not fear,” said Guy, “the countess will not be angry; rather will she reward thee. Tell her to come hastily or I die.”
So the countryman took the ring, and, coming to the countess fell upon his knees. “Lady,” he said, “a pilgrim who lives yonder in the forest sends thee this ring.”
Phyllis took the ring, and, as she looked at it, a strange light came into her eyes. Like one in a dream she passed her hand over her forehead. “It is mine own lord, Sir Guy,” she cried, and fell senseless to the ground.
The countryman was much frightened, but her ladies ran to the countess and raised her, and soon she opened her eyes.
“Friend,” she said to the countryman, “tell me where is he who gave thee this ring?”
“He is in the hermit’s cave,” replied the man, “and he bade me to say that thou must hasten ere he die.”
Right glad was Phyllis at the thought of seeing Guy again, yet sorrowful lest she should find him dead. So, calling for her mule, she mounted and rode speedily towards the cave, the countryman running before to show the way.
And when they came to the cave Phyllis went in, and kneeling beside Guy, put her arms round him, crying bitterly. “Dear,” he said, “weep not, for I go where sorrows end.” Then
“He kissed her fair and courteously,
With that he died hastily.”
There was sorrow through all the land when it was known that Guy, the great hero, was dead. He was buried with much pomp and ceremony, the King and Queen, and all the greatest nobles of the land, coming to the funeral. And Phyllis, not caring to live longer, now that she knew that Guy was indeed dead, died too, and they were both buried in the same grave.
Then minstrels sang of Guy’s valiant deeds, and of how he had slain giants and dragons, and of how he might have been an emperor and a king over many lands, and how he was ever a gentle and courteous knight.
“Thus endeth the tale of Sir Guy:
God, on his soul have mercy,
And on ours when we be dead,
And grant us in heaven to have stead.”
If you ever go to Warwick you will see, in the castle there, Guy’s sword and armor. Wise people will tell you that they never belonged to Guy, but to some other men who lived much later. Well, perhaps they are right.
Then, when you are at Warwick, you must go to Guy’s Cliff, which is about a mile and a half away. There, in the chapel, is a statue of Guy, very old and broken.
You will also see there Fair Phyllis’s Walk, the spring from which Guy used to drink, still called Guy’s Well, and the cave where he lived as a hermit, and where he died.
Upon the walls of the cave is some writing. You will not be able to read it, for it is Saxon, but it means, “Cast out, Thou Christ, from Thy servant this burden.”
Did Guy, I wonder, or some other, in days of loneliness and despair, carve these words?