The now lost "Yvain Fragments," first mentioned by Edmund Smythe in a September 1901 letter as "the odd bits my brother found in the shelving" (a reference to the move of the Ashley Hall library from the west to the east wing of the building in 1894-95), are three small sections of a much larger poem in Middle English. Whether the poem was originally composed in English or was translated from a now lost French original is unknown. What is clear is that the poet had more than a passing familiarity with Chretien de Troyes' Le Chavalier au Lion and with his Le Chevalier de la Charrette. Indeed, the third fragment directly refers to the events of the latter poem as well as the former.
All three fragments were found folded together at the back of a shelf of early printed books. All three were vellum and all were written in the same hand, a clear fifteenth-century Bastard Secretary. Unfortunately, the original fragments were lost in the Ashley Hall fire of 1942, and all that remains are the translations Smythe included in his notes from the move and the cataloging of the Ashley Hall manuscripts. While Smythe found the pieces to be of only passing interest as small examples of late Middle English octosyllabic couplets, the hints of the romance narrative contained within these three short selections are enough to suggest that there existed, at one time, a fully-realized sequel to Chretien's poem about Yvain, a sequel that accepted Chretien's narrative but explicitly rejected his claim that he had told the entire story and that any other stories would be lies.
from Smythe's Catalogue of Ashley Hall Manuscripts
[initial capital is illuminated, fragment contains part of what seems to be an illustration of a man writing which probably took up the upper half of the original folio, reverse is blank]
The great Christian, my master, feared to write more of my lord Yvain and his lady Laudine, and their friends, my lord Gawain and the wise woman Lunete and the faithful lion that saved all their lives, but I do not fear to write the truth of what happened after lord Yvain's madness and his reconciliation with his lady, for the truth cannot harm them or me.
[from the top of a folio, reverse shows half-page illustration of a walled town in snow with armed riders and a lion]
My lord Yvain and my lord Gawain arrived at the gate long after the sun had set, but the men on the walls recognized their lord's shield and opened the gate for him and his guest. They welcomed them both heartily, and sent a boy to let the lady Laudine's household know that her lord had arrived. All the household rejoiced with their lady, for the storms and the snows had made all worry that their lord Yvain would not be able to arrive for the feast of Christ's Birth, and as his lady had not yet observed the feast with her husband, all had looked forward to this celebration. The lady herself, wrapped in a fur cloak, her bright hair braided for sleeping, met him as he entered the main hall, and welcomed him as warmly as you can imagine. She urged him to come above to her chambers, where the fires had been lit and burning for days, so that he could be disarmed and made comfortable. Likewise, the damsel Lunette took charge of lord Gawain so that he was made most welcomed in Landuc.
[this folio includes two quarter-page illustrations: one of a knight and lady holding court and the second of a knight and lady in a solar with a lion sleeping at the lady's feet; the lady in the first illustration is clearly blond, while the lady in the second is clearly a brunette; there is also considerable rubrication in this fragment]
While my Lord Yvain and his lady spoke with her knights, giving to them all the honor that they deserved from their lady and her lord, my Lord Gawain stayed with Lunete. They conversed easily, as they had when they first met, when Yvain had first won his lady to wife by listening to Lunete's wise counsel. But she, who perhaps knew more than many in the land, waited for an opportunity to speak to the good Gawain when no one would interrupt. Finally, she seized her time, sending one maiden off to fetch her harp and another to bring warm spiced wine and yet another to have warm furs brought to the chamber.
"My lord," said she, when they were alone, "I beg you not to find me too bold, but I wished to speak with you about your uncle's wife, the gracious Queen Guinevere."
My lord Gawain said nothing to stop her, and so she continued.
"As you know, I searched for you during the time you and Sir Lancelot were away seeking to retrieve the queen."
"Alas, my sweet moon, I regret that I knew not of your need, for surely I should have stood your champion."
"I understand, my lord, but I cannot regret my past distress as it gave me opportunity to restore my lord Yvain to my lady." She met his eyes and smiled. "And I cannot regret that you and he have been reconciled to one another as well. These rooms were empty of both of you, and my lady and I did not do well with it. But, my lord Gawain, we run short of time for what I must say to you, which is this: when the time comes that your uncle and his wife's champion must part, know that you can come to us here."
"I will not abandon my king and uncle. You cannot ask such a thing," he cried.
"I ask nothing, my lord; I merely offer for myself and my lady and her lord. Now, let us no longer speak of this." And saying so, she returned to the other chair by the fire just as the maidens returned with harp and wine and furs, and after making sure my lord Gawain had a full cup and was comfortably warm, she bade the girl with the harp to sing for them. And so they passed the rest of the afternoon.