The first great English writer of the stories of Arthur was named Layamon.
Like Wace, Layamon called his book the Brut, because it is the story of the Britons, who took their name from Brutus, and of Arthur the great British hero.
This book proves how little hold the French language had upon the English people, for although our land had been ruled by Frenchmen for a hundred and fifty years, there are very few words in Layamon that are French or that are even made from French.
But although Layamon wrote his book in English, it was not the English that we speak to-day.
Layamon began to journey, far he went over the land And won the noble books, which he for pattern took.
That, in words such as we use now, is how Layamon begins his poem.
Layamon wrote his Brut more than a hundred years after the coming of the Normans, and although his poem is in the main alliterative, sometimes he has rhyming lines such as "mochel dal heo iwesten: mid harmen pen mesten," that is:--
At times, too, Layamon has neither rhyme nor alliteration in his lines, sometimes he has both, so that his poem is a link between the old poetry and the new.
This is how Layamon tells the story of Arthur's death, or rather of his "passing":
You see by this last line that Layamon has forgotten the difference between Briton and English.