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´╗┐Title: Le Mort d'Arthur: Volume 1
Author: Malory, Thomas, Sir, 1400-1470
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Le Mort d'Arthur: Volume 1" ***

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LE MORTE D'ARTHUR

By Sir Thomas Malory


King Arthur and of his Noble Knights of the Round Table


IN TWO VOLS.--VOL. I

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

PREFACE OF WILLIAM CAXTON



CONTENTS:

CHAPTER I. How Uther Pendragon sent for the duke of Cornwall and Igraine
his wife, and of their departing suddenly again.

CHAPTER II. How Uther Pendragon made war on the duke of Cornwall, and
how by the mean of Merlin he lay by the duchess and gat Arthur.

CHAPTER III. Of the birth of King Arthur and of his nurture.

CHAPTER IV. Of the death of King Uther Pendragon.

CHAPTER V. How Arthur was chosen king, and of wonders and marvels of a
sword taken out of a stone by the said Arthur.

CHAPTER VI. How King Arthur pulled out the sword divers times.

CHAPTER VII. How King Arthur was crowned, and how he made officers.

CHAPTER VIII. How King Arthur held in Wales, at a Pentecost, a great
feast, and what kings and lords came to his feast.

CHAPTER IX. Of the first war that King Arthur had, and how he won the
field.

CHAPTER X. How Merlin counselled King Arthur to send for King Ban and
King Bors, and of their counsel taken for the war.

CHAPTER XI. Of a great tourney made by King Arthur and the two kings Ban
and Bors, and how they went over the sea.

CHAPTER XII. How eleven kings gathered a great host against King Arthur.

CHAPTER XIII. Of a dream of the King with the Hundred Knights.

CHAPTER XIV. How the eleven kings with their host fought against Arthur
and his host, and many great feats of the war.

CHAPTER XV. Yet of the same battle.

CHAPTER XVI. Yet more of the same battle.

CHAPTER XVII. Yet more of the same battle, and how it was ended by
Merlin.

CHAPTER XVIII. How King Arthur, King Ban, and King Bors rescued King
Leodegrance, and other incidents.

CHAPTER XIX. How King Arthur rode to Carlion, and of his dream, and how
he saw the questing beast.

CHAPTER XX. How King Pellinore took Arthur's horse and followed the
Questing Beast, and how Merlin met with Arthur.

CHAPTER XXI. How Ulfius impeached Queen Igraine, Arthur's mother, of
treason; and how a knight came and desired to have the death of his
master

CHAPTER XXII. How Griflet was made knight, and jousted with a knight

CHAPTER XXIII. How twelve knights came from Rome and asked truage for
this land of Arthur, and how Arthur fought with a knight.

CHAPTER XXIV. How Merlin saved Arthur's life, and threw an enchantment
on King Pellinore and made him to sleep.

CHAPTER XXV. How Arthur by the mean of Merlin gat Excalibur his sword of
the Lady of the Lake.

CHAPTER XXVI. How tidings came to Arthur that King Rience had overcome
eleven kings, and how he desired Arthur's beard to trim his mantle.

CHAPTER XXVII. How all the children were sent for that were born on May-
day, and how Mordred was saved.

BOOK II.

CHAPTER I. Of a damosel which came girt with a sword for to find a man
of such virtue to draw it out of the scabbard.

CHAPTER II. How Balin, arrayed like a poor knight, pulled out the sword,
which afterward was the cause of his death.

CHAPTER III. How the Lady of the Lake demanded the knight's head that
had won the sword, or the maiden's head.

CHAPTER IV. How Merlin told the adventure of this damosel.

CHAPTER V. How Balin was pursued by Sir Lanceor, knight of Ireland, and
how he jousted and slew him.

CHAPTER VI. How a damosel, which was love to Lanceor, slew herself for
love, and how Balin met with his brother Balan.

CHAPTER VII. How a dwarf reproved Balin for the death of Lanceor, and
how King Mark of Cornwall found them, and made a tomb over them.

CHAPTER VIII. How Merlin prophesied that two the best knights of the
world should fight there, which were Sir Lancelot and Sir Tristram.

CHAPTER IX. How Balin and his brother, by the counsel of Merlin, took
King Rience and brought him to King Arthur.

CHAPTER X. How King Arthur had a battle against Nero and King Lot of
Orkney, and how King Lot was deceived by Merlin, and how twelve kings
were slain.

CHAPTER XI. Of the interment of twelve kings, and of the prophecy of
Merlin, and how Balin should give the dolorous stroke.

CHAPTER XII. How a sorrowful knight came before Arthur, and how Balin
fetched him, and how that knight was slain by a knight invisible.

CHAPTER XIII. How Balin and the damosel met with a knight which was in
likewise slain, and how the damosel bled for the custom of a castle.

CHAPTER XIV. How Balin met with that knight named Garlon at a feast, and
there he slew him, to have his blood to heal therewith the son of his
host.

CHAPTER XV. How Balin fought with King Pellam, and how his sword brake,
and how he gat a spear wherewith he smote the dolorous stroke.

CHAPTER XVI. How Balin was delivered by Merlin, and saved a knight that
would have slain himself for love.

CHAPTER XVII. How that knight slew his love and a knight lying by her,
and after, how he slew himself with his own sword, and how Balin rode
toward a

CHAPTER XVIII. How Balin met with his brother Balan, and how each of
them slew other unknown, till they were wounded to death.

CHAPTER XIX. How Merlin buried them both in one tomb, and of Balin's
sword.

BOOK III.

CHAPTER I. How King Arthur took a wife, and wedded Guenever, daughter to
Leodegrance, King of the Land of Cameliard, with whom he had the Round
Table.

CHAPTER II. How the Knights of the Round Table were ordained and their
sieges blessed by the Bishop of Canterbury.

CHAPTER III. How a poor man riding upon a lean mare desired King Arthur
to make his son knight.

CHAPTER IV. How Sir Tor was known for son of King Pellinore, and how
Gawaine was made knight.

CHAPTER V. How at feast of the wedding of King Arthur to Guenever, a
white hart came into the hall, and thirty couple hounds, and how a
brachet

CHAPTER VI. How Sir Gawaine rode for to fetch again the hart, and how
two brethren fought each against other for the hart.

CHAPTER VII How the hart was chased into a castle and there slain, and
how Sir Gawaine slew a lady.

CHAPTER VIII. How four knights fought against Gawaine and Gaheris, and
how they were overcome, and their lives saved at request of four ladies.

CHAPTER IX. How Sir Tor rode after the knight with the brachet, and of
his adventure by the way.

CHAPTER X. How Sir Tor found the brachet with a lady, and how a knight
assailed him for the said brachet.

CHAPTER XI. How Sir Tor overcame the knight, and how he lost his head at
the request of a lady.

CHAPTER XII. How King Pellinore rode after the lady and the knight that
led her away, and how a lady desired help of him, and how he fought with
two

CHAPTER XIII. How King Pellinore gat the lady and brought her to Camelot
to the court of King Arthur.

CHAPTER XIV. How on the way he heard two knights, as he lay by night in
a valley, and of their adventures.

CHAPTER XV. How when he was come to Camelot he was sworn upon a book to
tell the truth of his quest.

BOOK IV.

CHAPTER I. How Merlin was assotted and doted on one of the ladies of the
lake, and how he was shut in a rock under a stone and there died.

CHAPTER II. How five kings came into this land to war against King
Arthur, and what counsel Arthur had against them.

CHAPTER III. How King Arthur had ado with them and overthrew them, and
slew the five kings and made the remnant to flee.

CHAPTER IV. How the battle was finished or he came, and how King Arthur
founded an abbey where the battle was.

CHAPTER V. How Sir Tor was made knight of the Round Table, and how
Bagdemagus was displeased.

CHAPTER VI. How King Arthur, King Uriens, and Sir Accolon of Gaul,
chased an hart, and of their marvellous adventures.

CHAPTER VII. How Arthur took upon him to fight to be delivered out of
prison, and also for to deliver twenty knights that were in prison.

CHAPTER VIII. How Accolon found himself by a well, and he took upon him
to do battle against Arthur.

CHAPTER IX. Of the battle between King Arthur and Accolon.

CHAPTER X. How King Arthur's sword that he fought with brake, and how he
recovered of Accolon his own sword Excalibur, and overcame his enemy.

CHAPTER XI. How Accolon confessed the treason of Morgan le Fay, King
Arthur's sister, and how she would have done slay him.

CHAPTER XII. How Arthur accorded the two brethren, and delivered the
twenty knights, and how Sir Accolon died.

CHAPTER XIII. How Morgan would have slain Sir Uriens her husband, and
how Sir Uwaine her son saved him.

CHAPTER XIV. How Queen Morgan le Fay made great sorrow for the death of
Accolon, and how she stole away the scabbard from Arthur.

CHAPTER XV. How Morgan le Fay saved a knight that should have been
drowned, and how King Arthur returned home again.

CHAPTER XVI. How the Damosel of the Lake saved King Arthur from mantle
that should have burnt him.

CHAPTER XVII. How Sir Gawaine and Sir Uwaine met with twelve fair
damosels, and how they complained on Sir Marhaus.

CHAPTER XVIII. How Sir Marhaus jousted with Sir Gawaine and Sir Uwaine,
and overthrew them both.

CHAPTER XIX. How Sir Marhaus, Sir Gawaine, and Sir Uwaine met three
damosels, and each of them took one.[*1]

CHAPTER XX. How a knight and a dwarf strove for a lady.

CHAPTER XXI. How King Pelleas suffered himself to be taken prisoner
because he would have a sight of his lady, and how Sir Gawaine promised
him to get

CHAPTER XXII. How Sir Gawaine came to the Lady Ettard, and how Sir
Pelleas found them sleeping.

CHAPTER XXIII. How Sir Pelleas loved no more Ettard by means of the
Damosel of the Lake, whom he loved ever after.

CHAPTER XXIV. How Sir Marhaus rode with the damosel, and how he came to
the Duke of the South Marches.

CHAPTER XXV. How Sir Marhaus fought with the duke and his four sons and
made them to yield them.

CHAPTER XXVI. How Sir Uwaine rode with the damosel of sixty year of age,
and how he gat the prize at tourneying.

CHAPTER XXVII. How Sir Uwaine fought with two knights and overcame them.

CHAPTER XXVIII. How at the year's end all three knights with their three
damosels met at the fountain.

BOOK V.

CHAPTER I. How twelve aged ambassadors of Rome came to King Arthur to
demand truage for Britain.

CHAPTER II. How the kings and lords promised to King Arthur aid and help
against the Romans.

CHAPTER III. How King Arthur held a parliament at York, and how he
ordained the realm should be governed in his absence.

CHAPTER IV. How King Arthur being shipped and lying in his cabin had a
marvellous dream and of the exposition thereof.

CHAPTER V. How a man of the country told to him of a marvellous giant,
and how he fought and conquered him.

CHAPTER VI. How King Arthur sent Sir Gawaine and other to Lucius, and
how they were assailed and escaped with worship.

CHAPTER VII. How Lucius sent certain spies in a bushment for to have
taken his knights being prisoners, and how they were letted.

CHAPTER VIII. How a senator told to Lucius of their discomfiture, and
also of the great battle between Arthur and Lucius.

CHAPTER IX How Arthur, after he had achieved the battle against the
Romans, entered into Almaine, and so into Italy.

CHAPTER X. Of a battle done by Sir Gawaine against a Saracen, which
after was yielden and became Christian.

CHAPTER XI. How the Saracens came out of a wood for to rescue their
beasts, and of a great battle.

CHAPTER XII. How Sir Gawaine returned to King Arthur with his prisoners,
and how the King won a city, and how he was crowned Emperor.

BOOK VI.

CHAPTER I. How Sir Launcelot and Sir Lionel departed from the court, and
how Sir Lionel left him sleeping and was taken.

CHAPTER II. How Sir Ector followed for to seek Sir Launcelot, and how he
was taken by Sir Turquine.

CHAPTER III How four queens found Launcelot sleeping, and how by
enchantment he was taken and led into a castle.

CHAPTER IV. How Sir Launcelot was delivered by the mean of a damosel.

CHAPTER V. How a knight found Sir Launcelot lying in his leman's bed,
and how Sir Launcelot fought with the knight.

CHAPTER VI. How Sir Launcelot was received of King Bagdemagus' daughter,
and how he made his complaint to her father.

CHAPTER VII. How Sir Launcelot behaved him in a tournament, and how he
met with Sir Turquine leading Sir Gaheris.

CHAPTER VIII. How Sir Launcelot and Sir Turquine fought together.

CHAPTER IX. How Sir Turquine was slain, and how Sir Launcelot bade Sir
Gaheris deliver all the prisoners.

CHAPTER X. How Sir Launcelot rode with a damosel and slew a knight that
distressed all ladies and also a villain that kept a bridge.

CHAPTER XI. How Sir Launcelot slew two giants, and made a castle free.

CHAPTER XII. How Sir Launcelot rode disguised in Sir Kay's harness, and
how he smote down a knight.

CHAPTER XIII. How Sir Launcelot jousted against four knights of the
Round Table and overthrew them.

CHAPTER XIV. How Sir Launcelot followed a brachet into a castle, where
he found a dead knight, and how he after was required of a damosel to
heal her

CHAPTER XV. How Sir Launcelot came into the Chapel Perilous and gat
there of a dead corpse a piece of the cloth and a sword.

CHAPTER XVI. How Sir Launcelot at the request of a lady recovered a
falcon, by which he was deceived.

CHAPTER XVII. How Sir Launcelot overtook a knight which chased his wife
to have slain her, and how he said to him.

CHAPTER XVIII. How Sir Launcelot came to King Arthur's Court, and how
there were recounted all his noble feats and acts.

BOOK VII.

CHAPTER I. How Beaumains came to King Arthur's Court and demanded three
petitions of King Arthur.

CHAPTER II. How Sir Launcelot and Sir Gawaine were wroth because Sir Kay
mocked Beaumains, and of a damosel which desired a knight to fight for a

CHAPTER III. How Beaumains desired the battle, and how it was granted to
him, and how he desired to be made knight of Sir Launcelot.

CHAPTER IV. How Beaumains departed, and how he gat of Sir Kay a spear
and a shield, and how he jousted with Sir Launcelot.

CHAPTER V. How Beaumains told to Sir Launcelot his name, and how he was
dubbed knight of Sir Launcelot, and after overtook the damosel.

CHAPTER VI. How Beaumains fought and slew two knights at a passage.

CHAPTER VII. How Beaumains fought with the Knight of the Black Launds,
and fought with him till he fell down and died.

CHAPTER VIII. How the brother of the knight that was slain met with
Beaumains, and fought with Beaumains till he was yielden.

CHAPTER IX. How the damosel again rebuked Beaumains, and would not
suffer him to sit at her table, but called him kitchen boy.

CHAPTER X. How the third brother, called the Red Knight, jousted and
fought against Beaumains, and how Beaumains overcame him.

CHAPTER XI. How Sir Beaumains suffered great rebukes of the damosel, and
he suffered it patiently.

CHAPTER XII. How Beaumains fought with Sir Persant of Inde, and made him
to be yielden.

CHAPTER XIII. Of the goodly communication between Sir Persant and
Beaumains, and how he told him that his name was Sir Gareth.

CHAPTER XIV. How the lady that was besieged had word from her sister how
she had brought a knight to fight for her, and what battles he had
achieved.

CHAPTER XV. How the damosel and Beaumains came to the siege; and came to
a sycamore tree, and there Beaumains blew a horn, and then the Knight of
the

CHAPTER XVI. How the two knights met together, and of their talking, and
how they began their battle.

CHAPTER XVII. How after long fighting Beaumains overcame the knight and
would have slain him, but at the request of the lords he saved his life,
and

CHAPTER XVIII. How the knight yielded him, and how Beaumains made him to
go unto King Arthur's court, and to cry Sir Launcelot mercy.

CHAPTER XIX How Beaumains came to the lady, and when he came to the
castle the gates were closed against him, and of the words that the lady
said to

CHAPTER XX. How Sir Beaumains rode after to rescue his dwarf, and came
into the castle where he was.

CHAPTER XXI. How Sir Gareth, otherwise called Beaumains, came to the
presence of his lady, and how they took acquaintance, and of their love.

CHAPTER XXII. How at night came an armed knight, and fought with Sir
Gareth, and he, sore hurt in the thigh, smote off the knight's head.

CHAPTER XXIII. How the said knight came again the next night and was
beheaded again, and how at the feast of Pentecost all the knights that
Sir Gareth

CHAPTER XXIV. How King Arthur pardoned them, and demanded of them where
Sir Gareth was.

CHAPTER XXV. How the Queen of Orkney came to this feast of Pentecost,
and Sir Gawaine and his brethren came to ask her blessing. [*3]

CHAPTER XXVI. How King Arthur sent for the Lady Lionesse, and how she
let cry a tourney at her castle, whereas came many knights.

CHAPTER XXVII. How King Arthur went to the tournament with his knights,
and how the lady received him worshipfully, and how the knights
encountered.

CHAPTER XXVIII. How the knights bare them in the battle.

CHAPTER XXIX. Yet of the said tournament.

CHAPTER XXX. How Sir Gareth was espied by the heralds, and how he
escaped out of the field.

CHAPTER XXXI. How Sir Gareth came to a castle where he was well lodged,
and he jousted with a knight and slew him.

CHAPTER XXXII. How Sir Gareth fought with a knight that held within his
castle thirty ladies, and how he slew him.

CHAPTER XXXIII. How Sir Gareth and Sir Gawaine fought each against
other, and how they knew each other by the damosel Linet.

CHAPTER XXXIV. How Sir Gareth acknowledged that they loved each other to
King Arthur, and of the appointment of their wedding.

CHAPTER XXXV. Of the Great Royalty, and what officers were made at the
feast of the wedding, and of the jousts at the feast.

BOOK VIII

CHAPTER I. How Sir Tristram de Liones was born, and how his mother died
at his birth, wherefore she named him Tristram.

CHAPTER II. How the stepmother of Sir Tristram had ordained poison for
to have poisoned Sir Tristram.

CHAPTER III. How Sir Tristram was sent into France, and had one to
govern him named Gouvernail, and how he learned to harp, hawk, and hunt.

CHAPTER IV. How Sir Marhaus came out of Ireland for to ask truage of
Cornwall, or else he would fight therefore.

CHAPTER V. How Tristram enterprized the battle to fight for the truage
of Cornwall, and how he was made knight.

CHAPTER VI. How Sir Tristram arrived into the Island for to furnish the
battle with Sir Marhaus.

CHAPTER VII. How Sir Tristram fought against Sir Marhaus and achieved
his battle, and how Sir Marhaus fled to his ship.

CHAPTER VIII. How Sir Marhaus after that he was arrived in Ireland died
of the stroke that Sir Tristram had given him, and how Tristram was
hurt.

CHAPTER IX. How Sir Tristram was put to the keeping of La Beale Isoud
first for to be healed of his wound.

CHAPTER X. How Sir Tristram won the degree at a tournament in Ireland,
and there made Palamides to bear no more harness in a year.

CHAPTER XI. How the queen espied that Sir Tristram had slain her brother
Sir Marhaus by his sword, and in what jeopardy he was.

CHAPTER XII. How Sir Tristram departed from the king and La Beale Isoud
out of Ireland for to come into Cornwall.

CHAPTER XIII. How Sir Tristram and King Mark hurted each other for the
love of a knight's wife.

CHAPTER XIV. How Sir Tristram lay with the lady, and how her husband
fought with Sir Tristram.

CHAPTER XV. How Sir Bleoberis demanded the fairest lady in King Mark's
court, whom he took away, and how he was fought with.

CHAPTER XVI. How Sir Tristram fought with two knights of the Round
Table.

CHAPTER XVII. How Sir Tristram fought with Sir Bleoberis for a lady, and
how the lady was put to choice to whom she would go.

CHAPTER XVIII. How the lady forsook Sir Tristram and abode with Sir
Bleoberis, and how she desired to go to her husband.

CHAPTER XIX. How King Mark sent Sir Tristram for La Beale Isoud toward
Ireland, and how by fortune he arrived into England.

CHAPTER XX. How King Anguish of Ireland was summoned to come to King
Arthur's court for treason.

CHAPTER XXI. How Sir Tristram rescued a child from a knight, and how
Gouvernail told him of King Anguish.

CHAPTER XXII. How Sir Tristram fought for Sir Anguish and overcame his
adversary, and how his adversary would never yield him.

CHAPTER XXIII. How Sir Blamore desired Tristram to slay him, and how Sir
Tristram spared him, and how they took appointment.

CHAPTER XXIV. How Sir Tristram demanded La Beale Isoud for King Mark,
and how Sir Tristram and Isoud drank the love drink.

CHAPTER XXV. How Sir Tristram and Isoud were in prison, and how he
fought for her beauty, and smote of another lady's head.

CHAPTER XXVI. How Sir Tristram fought with Sir Breunor, and at the last
smote off his head.

CHAPTER XXVII. How Sir Galahad fought with Sir Tristram, and how Sir
Tristram yielded him and promised to fellowship with Launcelot.

CHAPTER XXVIII. How Sir Launcelot met with Sir Carados bearing away Sir
Gawaine, and of the rescue of Sir Gawaine.

CHAPTER XXIX. Of the wedding of King Mark to La Beale Isoud, and of
Bragwaine her maid, and of Palamides.

CHAPTER XXX. How Palamides demanded Queen Isoud, and how Lambegus rode
after to rescue her, and of the escape of Isoud.

CHAPTER XXXI. How Sir Tristram rode after Palamides, and how he found
him and fought with him, and by the means of Isoud the battle ceased.

CHAPTER XXXII. How Sir Tristram brought Queen Isoud home, and of the
debate of King Mark and Sir Tristram.

CHAPTER XXXIII. How Sir Lamorak jousted with thirty knights, and Sir
Tristram at the request of King Mark smote his horse down.

CHAPTER XXXIV. How Sir Lamorak sent an horn to King Mark in despite of
Sir Tristram, and how Sir Tristram was driven into a chapel.

CHAPTER XXXV. How Sir Tristram was holpen by his men, and of Queen Isoud
which was put in a lazar-cote, and how Tristram was hurt.

CHAPTER XXXVI. How Sir Tristram served in war King Howel of Brittany,
and slew his adversary in the field.

CHAPTER XXXVII. How Sir Suppinabiles told Sir Tristram how he was
defamed in the court of King Arthur, and of Sir Lamorak.

CHAPTER XXXVIII. How Sir Tristram and his wife arrived in Wales, and how
he met there with Sir Lamorak.

CHAPTER XXXIX. How Sir Tristram fought with Sir Nabon, and overcame him,
and made Sir Segwarides lord of the isle.

CHAPTER XL

CHAPTER XLI. How Sir Lamorak slew Sir Frol, and of the courteous
fighting with Sir Belliance his brother.

BOOK IX.

CHAPTER I. How a young man came into the court of King Arthur, and how
Sir Kay called him in scorn La Cote Male Taile.

CHAPTER II. How a damosel came into the court and desired a knight to
take on him an enquest, which La Cote Male Taile emprised.

CHAPTER III. How La Cote Male Taile overthrew Sir Dagonet the king's
fool, and of the rebuke that he had of the damosel.

CHAPTER IV. How La Cote Male Taile fought against an hundred knights,
and how he escaped by the mean of a lady.

CHAPTER V. How Sir Launcelot came to the court and heard of La Cote Male
Taile, and how he followed after him, and how La Cote Male Taile was

CHAPTER VI. How Sir Launcelot fought with six knights, and after with
Sir Brian, and how he delivered the prisoners.

CHAPTER VII. How Sir Launcelot met with the damosel named Male disant,
and named her the Damosel Bienpensant.

CHAPTER VIII. How La Cote Male Taile was taken prisoner, and after
rescued by Sir Launcelot, and how Sir Launcelot overcame four brethren.

CHAPTER IX. How Sir Launcelot made La Cote Male Taile lord of the Castle
of Pendragon, and after was made knight of the Round Table.

CHAPTER X. How La Beale Isoud sent letters to Sir Tristram by her maid
Bragwaine, and of divers adventures of Sir Tristram.

CHAPTER XI. How Sir Tristram met with Sir Lamorak de Galis, and how they
fought, and after accorded never to fight together.

CHAPTER XII. How Sir Palomides followed the Questing Beast, and smote
down Sir Tristram and Sir Lamorak with one spear.

CHAPTER XIII. How Sir Lamorak met with Sir Meliagaunce, and fought
together for the beauty of Dame Guenever.

CHAPTER XIV. How Sir Meliagaunce told for what cause they fought, and
how Sir Lamorak jousted with King Arthur.

CHAPTER XV. How Sir Kay met with Sir Tristram, and after of the shame
spoken of the knights of Cornwall, and how they jousted.

CHAPTER XVI. How King Arthur was brought into the Forest Perilous, and
how Sir Tristram saved his life.

CHAPTER XVII. How Sir Tristram came to La Beale Isoud, and how Kehydius
began to love Beale Isoud, and of a letter that Tristram found.

CHAPTER XIX. How Sir Tristram soused Dagonet in a well, and how
Palomides sent a damosel to seek Tristram, and how Palomides met with
King Mark.

CHAPTER XX. How it was noised how Sir Tristram was dead, and how La
Beale Isoud would have slain herself.

CHAPTER XXI. How King Mark found Sir Tristram naked, and made him to be
borne home to Tintagil, and how he was there known by a brachet.

CHAPTER XXII. How King Mark, by the advice of his council, banished Sir
Tristram out of Cornwall the term of ten years.

CHAPTER XXIII. How a damosel sought help to help Sir Launcelot against
thirty knights, and how Sir Tristram fought with them.

CHAPTER XXIV. How Sir Tristram and Sir Dinadan came to a lodging where
they must joust with two knights.

CHAPTER XXV. How Sir Tristram jousted with Sir Kay and Sir Sagramore le
Desirous, and how Sir Gawaine turned Sir Tristram from Morgan le Fay.

CHAPTER XXVI. How Sir Tristram and Sir Gawaine rode to have foughten
with the thirty knights, but they durst not come out.

CHAPTER XXVII. How damosel Bragwaine found Tristram sleeping by a well,
and how she delivered letters to him from La Beale Isoud.

CHAPTER XXVIII. How Sir Tristram had a fall with Sir Palomides, and how
Launcelot overthrew two knights.

CHAPTER XXIX. How Sir Launcelot jousted with Palomides and overthrew
him, and after he was assailed with twelve knights.

CHAPTER XXX. How Sir Tristram behaved him the first day of the
tournament, and there he had the prize.

CHAPTER XXXI. How Sir Tristram returned against King Arthur's party
because he saw Sir Palomides on that party.

CHAPTER XXXII. How Sir Tristram found Palomides by a well, and brought
him with him to his lodging.

CHAPTER XXXIII. How Sir Tristram smote down Sir Palomides, and how he
jousted with King Arthur, and other feats.

CHAPTER XXXIV. How Sir Launcelot hurt Sir Tristram, and how after Sir
Tristram smote down Sir Palomides.

CHAPTER XXXV. How the prize of the third day was given to Sir Launcelot,
and Sir Launcelot gave it to Sir Tristram.

CHAPTER XXXVI. How Palomides came to the castle where Sir Tristram was,
and of the quest that Sir Launcelot and ten knights made for Sir
Tristram.

CHAPTER XXXVII. How Sir Tristram, Sir Palomides, and Sir Dinadan were
taken and put in prison.

CHAPTER XXXVIII. How King Mark was sorry for the good renown of Sir
Tristram. Some of King Arthur's knights jousted with knights of
Cornwall.

CHAPTER XXXIX. Of the treason of King Mark, and how Sir Gaheris smote
him down and Andred his cousin.

CHAPTER XL. How after that Sir Tristram, Sir Palomides, and Sir Dinadan
had been long in prison they were delivered.

CHAPTER XLI. How Sir Dinadan rescued a lady from Sir Breuse Saunce Pite,
and how Sir Tristram received a shield of Morgan le Fay.

CHAPTER XLII. How Sir Tristram took with him the shield, and also how he
slew the paramour of Morgan le Fay.

CHAPTER XLIII. How Morgan le Fay buried her paramour, and how Sir
Tristram praised Sir Launcelot and his kin.

CHAPTER XLIV. How Sir Tristram at a tournament bare the shield that
Morgan le Fay delivered to him.



BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

THE Morte D'Arthur was finished, as the epilogue tells us, in the ninth
year of Edward IV., i.e. between March 4, 1469 and the same date in
1470. It is thus, fitly enough, the last important English book written
before the introduction of printing into this country, and since no
manuscript of it has come down to us it is also the first English
classic for our knowledge of which we are entirely dependent on a
printed text. Caxton's story of how the book was brought to him and he
was induced to print it may be read farther on in his own preface. From
this we learn also that he was not only the printer of the book, but
to some extent its editor also, dividing Malory's work into twenty-one
books, splitting up the books into chapters, by no means skilfully,
and supplying the "Rubrish" or chapter-headings. It may be added that
Caxton's preface contains, moreover, a brief criticism which, on the
points on which it touches, is still the soundest and most sympathetic
that has been written.

Caxton finished his edition the last day of July 1485, some fifteen
or sixteen years after Malory wrote his epilogue. It is clear that the
author was then dead, or the printer would not have acted as a clumsy
editor to the book, and recent discoveries (if bibliography may, for the
moment, enlarge its bounds to mention such matters) have revealed with
tolerable certainty when Malory died and who he was. In letters to The
Athenaeum in July 1896 Mr. T. Williams pointed out that the name of
a Sir Thomas Malorie occurred among those of a number of other
Lancastrians excluded from a general pardon granted by Edward IV.
in 1468, and that a William Mallerye was mentioned in the same year
as taking part in a Lancastrian rising. In September 1897, again, in
another letter to the same paper, Mr. A. T. Martin reported the
finding of the will of a Thomas Malory of Papworth, a hundred partly
in Cambridgeshire, partly in Hunts. This will was made on September 16,
1469, and as it was proved the 27th of the next month the testator
must have been in immediate expectation of death. It contains the most
careful provision for the education and starting in life of a family of
three daughters and seven sons, of whom the youngest seems to have been
still an infant. We cannot say with certainty that this Thomas Malory,
whose last thoughts were so busy for his children, was our author, or
that the Lancastrian knight discovered by Mr. Williams was identical
with either or both, but such evidence as the Morte D'Arthur offers
favours such a belief. There is not only the epilogue with its petition,
"pray for me while I am alive that God send me good deliverance and
when I am dead pray you all for my soul," but this very request is
foreshadowed at the end of chap. 37 of Book ix. in the touching passage,
surely inspired by personal experience, as to the sickness "that is
the greatest pain a prisoner may have"; and the reflections on English
fickleness in the first chapter of Book xxi., though the Wars of the
Roses might have inspired them in any one, come most naturally from an
author who was a Lancastrian knight.

If the Morte D'Arthur was really written in prison and by a prisoner
distressed by ill-health as well as by lack of liberty, surely no task
was ever better devised to while away weary hours. Leaving abundant
scope for originality in selection, modification, and arrangement, as a
compilation and translation it had in it that mechanical element which
adds the touch of restfulness to literary work. No original, it is said,
has yet been found for Book vii., and it is possible that none will ever
be forthcoming for chap. 20 of Book xviii., which describes the arrival
of the body of the Fair Maiden of Astolat at Arthur's court, or vii for
chap. 25 of the same book, with its discourse on true love; but the
great bulk of the work has been traced chapter by chapter to the
"Merlin" of Robert de Borron and his successors (Bks. i.-iv.), the
English metrical romance La Morte Arthur of the Thornton manuscript (Bk.
v.), the French romances of Tristan (Bks. viii.-x.) and of Launcelot
(Bks. vi., xi.-xix.), and lastly to the English prose Morte Arthur of
Harley MS. 2252 (Bks. xviii., xx., xxi.). As to Malory's choice of his
authorities critics have not failed to point out that now and again he
gives a worse version where a better has come down to us, and if he
had been able to order a complete set of Arthurian manuscripts from his
bookseller, no doubt he would have done even better than he did! But of
the skill, approaching to original genius, with which he used the books
from which he worked there is little dispute.

Malory died leaving his work obviously unrevised, and in this condition
it was brought to Caxton, who prepared it for the press with his usual
enthusiasm in the cause of good literature, and also, it must be added,
with his usual carelessness. New chapters are sometimes made to begin in
the middle of a sentence, and in addition to simple misprints there are
numerous passages in which it is impossible to believe that we have the
text as Malory intended it to stand. After Caxton's edition Malory's
manuscript must have disappeared, and subsequent editions are
differentiated only by the degree of closeness with which they follow
the first. Editions appeared printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1498 and
1529, by William Copland in 1559, by Thomas East about 1585, and by
Thomas Stansby in 1634, each printer apparently taking the text of his
immediate predecessor and reproducing it with modifications. Stansby's
edition served for reprints in 1816 and 1856 (the latter edited by
Thomas Wright); but in 1817 an edition supervised by Robert Southey went
back to Caxton's text, though to a copy (only two are extant, and
only one perfect!) in which eleven leaves were supplied from Wynkyn
de Worde's reprint. In 1868 Sir Edward Strachey produced for the
present publishers a reprint of Southey's text in modern spelling,
with the substitution of current words for those now obsolete, and the
softening of a handful of passages likely, he thought, to prevent the
book being placed in the hands of boys. In 1889 a boon was conferred
on scholars by the publication of Dr. H. Oskar Sommer's page-for-page
reprint of Caxton's text, with an elaborate discussion of Malory's
sources. Dr. Sommer's edition was used by Sir E. Strachey to revise his
Globe text, and in 1897 Mr. Israel Gollancz produced for the "Temple
Classics" a very pretty edition in which Sir Edward Strachey's
principles of modernisation in spelling and punctuation were adopted,
but with the restoration of obsolete words and omitted phrases. As to
the present edition, Sir Edward Strachey altered with so sparing a hand
that on many pages differences between his version and that here printed
will be looked for in vain; but the most anxious care has been taken to
produce a text modernised as to its spelling, but in other respects in
accurate accordance with Caxton's text, as represented by Dr Sommer's
reprint. Obvious misprints have been silently corrected, but in a few
cases notes show where emendations have been introduced from Wynkyn de
Worde--not that Wynkyn had any more right to emend Caxton than we, but
because even a printer's conjecture gains a little sanctity after four
centuries. The restoration of obsolete words has necessitated a much
fuller glossary, and the index of names has therefore been separated
from it and enlarged. In its present form the index is the work of Mr.
Henry Littlehales.

    A. W. POLLARD.



PREFACE OF WILLIAM CAXTON

AFTER that I had accomplished and finished divers histories, as well of
contemplation as of other historial and worldly acts of great conquerors
and princes, and also certain books of ensamples and doctrine, many
noble and divers gentlemen of this realm of England came and demanded
me many and oft times, wherefore that I have not do made and imprint
the noble history of the Saint Greal, and of the most renowned Christian
king, first and chief of the three best Christian, and worthy, King
Arthur, which ought most to be remembered among us Englishmen to-fore
all other Christian kings; for it is notoyrly known through the
universal world, that there be nine worthy and the best that ever were,
that is to wit, three Paynims, three Jews, and three Christian men. As
for the Paynims, they were to-fore the Incarnation of Christ, which were
named, the first Hector of Troy, of whom the history is comen both in
ballad and in prose, the second Alexander the Great, and the third
Julius Caesar, Emperor of Rome, of whom the histories be well known and
had. And as for the three Jews, which also were to-fore the incarnation
of our Lord, of whom the first was duke Joshua which brought the
children of Israel into the land of behest, the second David king of
Jerusalem, and the third Judas Machabeus, of these three the Bible
rehearseth all their noble histories and acts. And since the said
Incarnation have been three noble Christian men, stalled and admitted
through the universal world into the number of the nine best and worthy.
Of whom was first the noble Arthur, whose noble acts I purpose to write
in this present book here following. The second was Charlemain, or
Charles the Great, of whom the history is had in many places, both in
French and in English. And the third and last was Godfrey of Boloine, of
whose acts and life I made a book unto the excellent prince and king of
noble memory, King Edward the Fourth.

The said noble gentlemen instantly required me to imprint the history of
the said noble king and conqueror King Arthur, and of his knights, with
the history of the Saint Greal, and of the death and ending of the said
Arthur; affirming that I ought rather to imprint his acts and
noble feats, than of Godfrey of Boloine, or any of the other eight,
considering that he was a man born within this realm, and king and
emperor of the same: and that there be in French divers and many noble
volumes of his acts, and also of his knights. To whom I answered that
divers men hold opinion that there was no such Arthur, and that all
such books as been made of him be feigned and fables, because that some
chronicles make of him no mention, nor remember him nothing, nor of his
knights. Whereto they answered, and one in special said, that in him
that should say or think that there was never such a king called Arthur
might well be aretted great folly and blindness. For he said that there
were many evidences of the contrary. First ye may see his sepulchre in
the monastery of Glastonbury. And also in Policronicon, in the fifth
book the sixth chapter, and in the seventh book the twenty-third
chapter, where his body was buried, and after found, and translated into
the said monastery. Ye shall see also in the history of Bochas, in his
book De Casu Principum, part of his noble acts, and also of his fall.
Also Galfridus in his British book recounteth his life: and in divers
places of England many remembrances be yet of him, and shall remain
perpetually, and also of his knights. First in the abbey of Westminster,
at St. Edward's shrine, remaineth the print of his seal in red wax
closed in beryl, in which is written, Patricius Arthurus Britannie,
Gallie, Germanie, Dacie, Imperator. Item in the castle of Dover ye may
see Gawaine's skull, and Cradok's mantle: at Winchester the Round Table:
in other places Launcelot's sword and many other things. Then all these
things considered, there can no man reasonably gainsay but there was
a king of this land named Arthur. For in all places, Christian and
heathen, he is reputed and taken for one of the nine worthy, and the
first of the three Christian men. And also, he is more spoken of beyond
the sea, more books made of his noble acts, than there be in England, as
well in Dutch, Italian, Spanish, and Greekish, as in French. And yet of
record remain in witness of him in Wales, in the town of Camelot, the
great stones and the marvellous works of iron lying under the ground,
and royal vaults, which divers now living have seen. Wherefore it is
a marvel why he is no more renowned in his own country, save only it
accordeth to the Word of God, which saith that no man is accepted for a
prophet in his own country.

Then all these things aforesaid alleged, I could not well deny but that
there was such a noble king named Arthur, and reputed one of the nine
worthy, and first and chief of the Christian men. And many noble volumes
be made of him and of his noble knights in French, which I have seen
and read beyond the sea, which be not had in our maternal tongue. But in
Welsh be many and also in French, and some in English but nowhere nigh
all. Wherefore, such as have late been drawn out briefly into English
I have after the simple conning that God hath sent to me, under the
favour and correction of all noble lords and gentlemen, enprised to
imprint a book of the noble histories of the said King Arthur, and of
certain of his knights, after a copy unto me delivered, which copy Sir
Thomas Malorye did take out of certain books of French, and reduced it
into English. And I, according to my copy, have done set it in imprint,
to the intent that noble men may see and learn the noble acts of
chivalry, the gentle and virtuous deeds that some knights used in those
days, by which they came to honour, and how they that were vicious were
punished and oft put to shame and rebuke; humbly beseeching all noble
lords and ladies, with all other estates of what estate or degree they
been of, that shall see and read in this said book and work, that they
take the good and honest acts in their remembrance, and to follow the
same. Wherein they shall find many joyous and pleasant histories, and
noble and renowned acts of humanity, gentleness, and chivalry. For
herein may be seen noble chivalry, courtesy, humanity, friendliness,
hardiness, love, friendship, cowardice, murder, hate, virtue, and sin.
Do after the good and leave the evil, and it shall bring you to good
fame and renown. And for to pass the time this book shall be pleasant
to read in, but for to give faith and belief that all is true that is
contained herein, ye be at your liberty: but all is written for our
doctrine, and for to beware that we fall not to vice nor sin, but to
exercise and follow virtue, by which we may come and attain to good fame
and renown in this life, and after this short and transitory life
to come unto everlasting bliss in heaven; the which He grant us that
reigneth in heaven, the blessed Trinity. Amen.

Then to proceed forth in this said book, which I direct unto all noble
princes, lords and ladies, gentlemen or gentlewomen, that desire to read
or hear read of the noble and joyous history of the great conqueror and
excellent king, King Arthur, sometime king of this noble realm,
then called Britain; I, William Caxton, simple person, present this book
following, which I have enprised to imprint: and treateth of the noble
acts, feats of arms of chivalry, prowess, hardiness, humanity, love,
courtesy, and very gentleness, with many wonderful histories and
adventures. And for to understand briefly the content of this volume, I
have divided it into XXI Books, and every book chaptered, as hereafter
shall by God's grace follow. The First Book shall treat how Uther
Pendragon gat the noble conqueror King Arthur, and containeth xxviii
chapters. The Second Book treateth of Balin the noble knight, and
containeth xix chapters. The Third Book treateth of the marriage of
King Arthur to Queen Guenever, with other matters, and containeth xv
chapters. The Fourth Book, how Merlin was assotted, and of war made to
King Arthur, and containeth xxix chapters. The Fifth Book treateth of
the conquest of Lucius the emperor, and containeth xii chapters. The
Sixth Book treateth of Sir Launcelot and Sir Lionel, and marvellous
adventures, and containeth xviii chapters. The Seventh Book treateth of
a noble knight called Sir Gareth, and named by Sir Kay Beaumains, and
containeth xxxvi chapters. The Eighth Book treateth of the birth of Sir
Tristram the noble knight, and of his acts, and containeth xli chapters.
The Ninth Book treateth of a knight named by Sir Kay Le Cote Male
Taille, and also of Sir Tristram, and containeth xliv chapters. The
Tenth Book treateth of Sir Tristram, and other marvellous adventures,
and containeth lxxxviii chapters. The Eleventh Book treateth of Sir
Launcelot and Sir Galahad, and containeth xiv chapters. The Twelfth Book
treateth of Sir Launcelot and his madness, and containeth xiv chapters.
The Thirteenth Book treateth how Galahad came first to king Arthur's
court, and the quest how the Sangreal was begun, and containeth xx
chapters. The Fourteenth Book treateth of the quest of the Sangreal,
and containeth x chapters. The Fifteenth Book treateth of Sir Launcelot,
and containeth vi chapters. The Sixteenth Book treateth of Sir Bors and
Sir Lionel his brother, and containeth xvii chapters. The Seventeenth
Book treateth of the Sangreal, and containeth xxiii chapters. The
Eighteenth Book treateth of Sir Launcelot and the queen, and containeth
xxv chapters. The Nineteenth Book treateth of Queen Guenever and
Launcelot, and containeth xiii chapters. The Twentieth Book treateth
of the piteous death of Arthur, and containeth xxii chapters. The
Twenty-first Book treateth of his last departing, and how Sir Launcelot
came to revenge his death, and containeth xiii chapters. The sum is
twenty-one books, which contain the sum of five hundred and seven
chapters, as more plainly shall follow hereafter.



BOOK I



CHAPTER I. How Uther Pendragon sent for the duke of Cornwall and Igraine
his wife, and of their departing suddenly again.

IT befell in the days of Uther Pendragon, when he was king of all
England, and so reigned, that there was a mighty duke in Cornwall that
held war against him long time. And the duke was called the Duke of
Tintagil. And so by means King Uther sent for this duke, charging him to
bring his wife with him, for she was called a fair lady, and a passing
wise, and her name was called Igraine.

So when the duke and his wife were come unto the king, by the means of
great lords they were accorded both. The king liked and loved this lady
well, and he made them great cheer out of measure, and desired to have
lain by her. But she was a passing good woman, and would not assent unto
the king. And then she told the duke her husband, and said, I suppose
that we were sent for that I should be dishonoured; wherefore, husband,
I counsel you, that we depart from hence suddenly, that we may ride
all night unto our own castle. And in like wise as she said so they
departed, that neither the king nor none of his council were ware of
their departing. All so soon as King Uther knew of their departing
so suddenly, he was wonderly wroth. Then he called to him his privy
council, and told them of the sudden departing of the duke and his wife.


Then they advised the king to send for the duke and his wife by a great
charge; and if he will not come at your summons, then may ye do your
best, then have ye cause to make mighty war upon him. So that was done,
and the messengers had their answers; and that was this shortly, that
neither he nor his wife would not come at him.

Then was the king wonderly wroth. And then the king sent him plain word
again, and bade him be ready and stuff him and garnish him, for within
forty days he would fetch him out of the biggest castle that he hath.

When the duke had this warning, anon he went and furnished and garnished
two strong castles of his, of the which the one hight Tintagil, and
the other castle hight Terrabil. So his wife Dame Igraine he put in the
castle of Tintagil, and himself he put in the castle of Terrabil, the
which had many issues and posterns out. Then in all haste came Uther
with a great host, and laid a siege about the castle of Terrabil. And
there he pight many pavilions, and there was great war made on both
parties, and much people slain. Then for pure anger and for great love
of fair Igraine the king Uther fell sick. So came to the king Uther Sir
Ulfius, a noble knight, and asked the king why he was sick. I shall tell
thee, said the king, I am sick for anger and for love of fair Igraine,
that I may not be whole. Well, my lord, said Sir Ulfius, I shall seek
Merlin, and he shall do you remedy, that your heart shall be pleased. So
Ulfius departed, and by adventure he met Merlin in a beggar's array, and
there Merlin asked Ulfius whom he sought. And he said he had little
ado to tell him. Well, said Merlin, I know whom thou seekest, for thou
seekest Merlin; therefore seek no farther, for I am he; and if King
Uther will well reward me, and be sworn unto me to fulfil my desire,
that shall be his honour and profit more than mine; for I shall cause
him to have all his desire. All this will I undertake, said Ulfius, that
there shall be nothing reasonable but thou shalt have thy desire. Well,
said Merlin, he shall have his intent and desire. And therefore, said
Merlin, ride on your way, for I will not be long behind.



CHAPTER II. How Uther Pendragon made war on the duke of Cornwall, and
how by the mean of Merlin he lay by the duchess and gat Arthur.

THEN Ulfius was glad, and rode on more than a pace till that he came to
King Uther Pendragon, and told him he had met with Merlin. Where is he?
said the king. Sir, said Ulfius, he will not dwell long. Therewithal
Ulfius was ware where Merlin stood at the porch of the pavilion's door.
And then Merlin was bound to come to the king. When King Uther saw him,
he said he was welcome. Sir, said Merlin, I know all your heart every
deal; so ye will be sworn unto me as ye be a true king anointed, to
fulfil my desire, ye shall have your desire. Then the king was sworn
upon the Four Evangelists. Sir, said Merlin, this is my desire: the
first night that ye shall lie by Igraine ye shall get a child on her,
and when that is born, that it shall be delivered to me for to nourish
there as I will have it; for it shall be your worship, and the child's
avail, as mickle as the child is worth. I will well, said the king, as
thou wilt have it. Now make you ready, said Merlin, this night ye shall
lie with Igraine in the castle of Tintagil; and ye shall be like the
duke her husband, Ulfius shall be like Sir Brastias, a knight of the
duke's, and I will be like a knight that hight Sir Jordanus, a knight
of the duke's. But wait ye make not many questions with her nor her men,
but say ye are diseased, and so hie you to bed, and rise not on the morn
till I come to you, for the castle of Tintagil is but ten miles hence;
so this was done as they devised. But the duke of Tintagil espied how
the king rode from the siege of Terrabil, and therefore that night he
issued out of the castle at a postern for to have distressed the king's
host. And so, through his own issue, the duke himself was slain or ever
the king came at the castle of Tintagil.


So after the death of the duke, King Uther lay with Igraine more than
three hours after his death, and begat on her that night Arthur, and
on day came Merlin to the king, and bade him make him ready, and so he
kissed the lady Igraine and departed in all haste. But when the lady
heard tell of the duke her husband, and by all record he was dead or
ever King Uther came to her, then she marvelled who that might be that
lay with her in likeness of her lord; so she mourned privily and held
her peace. Then all the barons by one assent prayed the king of accord
betwixt the lady Igraine and him; the king gave them leave, for fain
would he have been accorded with her. So the king put all the trust in
Ulfius to entreat between them, so by the entreaty at the last the king
and she met together. Now will we do well, said Ulfius, our king is a
lusty knight and wifeless, and my lady Igraine is a passing fair lady;
it were great joy unto us all, an it might please the king to make her
his queen. Unto that they all well accorded and moved it to the king.
And anon, like a lusty knight, he assented thereto with good will, and
so in all haste they were married in a morning with great mirth and joy.

And King Lot of Lothian and of Orkney then wedded Margawse that was
Gawaine's mother, and King Nentres of the land of Garlot wedded Elaine.
All this was done at the request of King Uther. And the third sister
Morgan le Fay was put to school in a nunnery, and there she learned so
much that she was a great clerk of necromancy. And after she was
wedded to King Uriens of the land of Gore, that was Sir Ewain's le
Blanchemain's father.


CHAPTER III. Of the birth of King Arthur and of his nurture.

THEN Queen Igraine waxed daily greater and greater, so it befell after
within half a year, as King Uther lay by his queen, he asked her, by the
faith she owed to him, whose was the body; then she sore abashed to give
answer. Dismay you not, said the king, but tell me the truth, and I
shall love you the better, by the faith of my body. Sir, said she, I
shall tell you the truth. The same night that my lord was dead, the hour
of his death, as his knights record, there came into my castle of
Tintagil a man like my lord in speech and in countenance, and two
knights with him in likeness of his two knights Brastias and Jordanus,
and so I went unto bed with him as I ought to do with my lord, and the
same night, as I shall answer unto God, this child was begotten upon me.
That is truth, said the king, as ye say; for it was I myself that came
in the likeness, and therefore dismay you not, for I am father of the
child; and there he told her all the cause, how it was by Merlin's
counsel. Then the queen made great joy when she knew who was the father
of her child.

Soon came Merlin unto the king, and said, Sir, ye must purvey you for
the nourishing of your child. As thou wilt, said the king, be it. Well,
said Merlin, I know a lord of yours in this land, that is a passing true
man and a faithful, and he shall have the nourishing of your child, and
his name is Sir Ector, and he is a lord of fair livelihood in many parts
in England and Wales; and this lord, Sir Ector, let him be sent for, for
to come and speak with you, and desire him yourself, as he loveth you,
that he will put his own child to nourishing to another woman, and that
his wife nourish yours. And when the child is born let it be delivered
to me at yonder privy postern unchristened. So like as Merlin devised it
was done. And when Sir Ector was come he made fiaunce to the king for to
nourish the child like as the king desired; and there the king granted
Sir Ector great rewards. Then when the lady was delivered, the king
commanded two knights and two ladies to take the child, bound in a cloth
of gold, and that ye deliver him to what poor man ye meet at the postern
gate of the castle. So the child was delivered unto Merlin, and so he
bare it forth unto Sir Ector, and made an holy man to christen him, and
named him Arthur; and so Sir Ector's wife nourished him with her own
pap.



CHAPTER IV. Of the death of King Uther Pendragon.

THEN within two years King Uther fell sick of a great malady. And in the
meanwhile his enemies usurped upon him, and did a great battle upon his
men, and slew many of his people. Sir, said Merlin, ye may not lie so as
ye do, for ye must to the field though ye ride on an horse-litter: for
ye shall never have the better of your enemies but if your person be
there, and then shall ye have the victory. So it was done as Merlin had
devised, and they carried the king forth in an horse-litter with a great
host towards his enemies. And at St. Albans there met with the king a
great host of the North. And that day Sir Ulfius and Sir Brastias did
great deeds of arms, and King Uther's men overcame the Northern battle
and slew many people, and put the remnant to flight. And then the king
returned unto London, and made great joy of his victory. And then he
fell passing sore sick, so that three days and three nights he was
speechless: wherefore all the barons made great sorrow, and asked Merlin
what counsel were best. There is none other remedy, said Merlin, but God
will have his will. But look ye all barons be before King Uther to-morn,
and God and I shall make him to speak. So on the morn all the barons
with Merlin came to-fore the king; then Merlin said aloud unto King
Uther, Sir, shall your son Arthur be king after your days, of this realm
with all the appurtenance? Then Uther Pendragon turned him, and said
in hearing of them all, I give him God's blessing and mine, and bid him
pray for my soul, and righteously and worshipfully that he claim the
crown, upon forfeiture of my blessing; and therewith he yielded up
the ghost, and then was he interred as longed to a king. Wherefore the
queen, fair Igraine, made great sorrow, and all the barons.



CHAPTER V. How Arthur was chosen king, and of wonders and marvels of a
sword taken out of a stone by the said Arthur.

THEN stood the realm in great jeopardy long while, for every lord that
was mighty of men made him strong, and many weened to have been king.
Then Merlin went to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and counselled him for
to send for all the lords of the realm, and all the gentlemen of arms,
that they should to London come by Christmas, upon pain of cursing; and
for this cause, that Jesus, that was born on that night, that he would
of his great mercy show some miracle, as he was come to be king of
mankind, for to show some miracle who should be rightwise king of this
realm. So the Archbishop, by the advice of Merlin, sent for all the
lords and gentlemen of arms that they should come by Christmas even
unto London. And many of them made them clean of their life, that their
prayer might be the more acceptable unto God. So in the greatest church
of London, whether it were Paul's or not the French book maketh no
mention, all the estates were long or day in the church for to pray.
And when matins and the first mass was done, there was seen in the
churchyard, against the high altar, a great stone four square, like unto
a marble stone; and in midst thereof was like an anvil of steel a foot
on high, and therein stuck a fair sword naked by the point, and letters
there were written in gold about the sword that said thus:--Whoso
pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil, is rightwise king
born of all England. Then the people marvelled, and told it to the
Archbishop. I command, said the Archbishop, that ye keep you within your
church and pray unto God still, that no man touch the sword till the
high mass be all done. So when all masses were done all the lords went
to behold the stone and the sword. And when they saw the scripture some
assayed, such as would have been king. But none might stir the sword
nor move it. He is not here, said the Archbishop, that shall achieve the
sword, but doubt not God will make him known. But this is my counsel,
said the Archbishop, that we let purvey ten knights, men of good fame,
and they to keep this sword. So it was ordained, and then there was made
a cry, that every man should assay that would, for to win the sword. And
upon New Year's Day the barons let make a jousts and a tournament, that
all knights that would joust or tourney there might play, and all this
was ordained for to keep the lords together and the commons, for the
Archbishop trusted that God would make him known that should win the
sword.

So upon New Year's Day, when the service was done, the barons rode unto
the field, some to joust and some to tourney, and so it happened that
Sir Ector, that had great livelihood about London, rode unto the
jousts, and with him rode Sir Kay his son, and young Arthur that was his
nourished brother; and Sir Kay was made knight at All Hallowmass afore.
So as they rode to the jousts-ward, Sir Kay lost his sword, for he had
left it at his father's lodging, and so he prayed young Arthur for to
ride for his sword. I will well, said Arthur, and rode fast after the
sword, and when he came home, the lady and all were out to see the
jousting. Then was Arthur wroth, and said to himself, I will ride to the
churchyard, and take the sword with me that sticketh in the stone, for
my brother Sir Kay shall not be without a sword this day. So when he
came to the churchyard, Sir Arthur alighted and tied his horse to the
stile, and so he went to the tent, and found no knights there, for they
were at the jousting. And so he handled the sword by the handles, and
lightly and fiercely pulled it out of the stone, and took his horse and
rode his way until he came to his brother Sir Kay, and delivered him
the sword. And as soon as Sir Kay saw the sword, he wist well it was the
sword of the stone, and so he rode to his father Sir Ector, and said:
Sir, lo here is the sword of the stone, wherefore I must be king of this
land. When Sir Ector beheld the sword, he returned again and came to the
church, and there they alighted all three, and went into the church. And
anon he made Sir Kay swear upon a book how he came to that sword. Sir,
said Sir Kay, by my brother Arthur, for he brought it to me. How gat ye
this sword? said Sir Ector to Arthur. Sir, I will tell you. When I came
home for my brother's sword, I found nobody at home to deliver me his
sword; and so I thought my brother Sir Kay should not be swordless, and
so I came hither eagerly and pulled it out of the stone without any
pain. Found ye any knights about this sword? said Sir Ector. Nay, said
Arthur. Now, said Sir Ector to Arthur, I understand ye must be king of
this land. Wherefore I, said Arthur, and for what cause? Sir, said
Ector, for God will have it so; for there should never man have drawn
out this sword, but he that shall be rightwise king of this land. Now
let me see whether ye can put the sword there as it was, and pull it out
again. That is no mastery, said Arthur, and so he put it in the stone;
wherewithal Sir Ector assayed to pull out the sword and failed.


CHAPTER VI. How King Arthur pulled out the sword divers times.

Now assay, said Sir Ector unto Sir Kay. And anon he pulled at the sword
with all his might; but it would not be. Now shall ye assay, said Sir
Ector to Arthur. I will well, said Arthur, and pulled it out easily. And
therewithal Sir Ector knelt down to the earth, and Sir Kay. Alas, said
Arthur, my own dear father and brother, why kneel ye to me? Nay, nay,
my lord Arthur, it is not so; I was never your father nor of your blood,
but I wot well ye are of an higher blood than I weened ye were. And then
Sir Ector told him all, how he was betaken him for to nourish him, and
by whose commandment, and by Merlin's deliverance.


Then Arthur made great dole when he understood that Sir Ector was not
his father. Sir, said Ector unto Arthur, will ye be my good and gracious
lord when ye are king? Else were I to blame, said Arthur, for ye are the
man in the world that I am most beholden to, and my good lady and mother
your wife, that as well as her own hath fostered me and kept. And if
ever it be God's will that I be king as ye say, ye shall desire of me
what I may do, and I shall not fail you; God forbid I should fail you
Sir, said Sir Ector, I will ask no more of you, but that ye will make
my son, your foster brother, Sir Kay, seneschal of all your lands. That
shall be done, said Arthur, and more, by the faith of my body, that
never man shall have that office but he, while he and I live Therewithal
they went unto the Archbishop, and told him how the sword was achieved,
and by whom; and on Twelfth-day all the barons came thither, and to
assay to take the sword, who that would assay. But there afore them all,
there might none take it out but Arthur; wherefore there were many lords
wroth, and said it was great shame unto them all and the realm, to be
overgoverned with a boy of no high blood born. And so they fell out at
that time that it was put off till Candlemas and then all the barons
should meet there again; but always the ten knights were ordained to
watch the sword day and night, and so they set a pavilion over the stone
and the sword, and five always watched. So at Candlemas many more great
lords came thither for to have won the sword, but there might none
prevail. And right as Arthur did at Christmas, he did at Candlemas, and
pulled out the sword easily, whereof the barons were sore aggrieved and
put it off in delay till the high feast of Easter. And as Arthur sped
before, so did he at Easter; yet there were some of the great lords had
indignation that Arthur should be king, and put it off in a delay till
the feast of Pentecost.

Then the Archbishop of Canterbury by Merlin's providence let purvey
then of the best knights that they might get, and such knights as Uther
Pendragon loved best and most trusted in his days. And such knights were
put about Arthur as Sir Baudwin of Britain, Sir Kay, Sir Ulfius, Sir
Brastias. All these, with many other, were always about Arthur, day and
night, till the feast of Pentecost.



CHAPTER VII. How King Arthur was crowned, and how he made officers.

AND at the feast of Pentecost all manner of men assayed to pull at the
sword that would assay; but none might prevail but Arthur, and pulled it
out afore all the lords and commons that were there, wherefore all the
commons cried at once, We will have Arthur unto our king, we will put
him no more in delay, for we all see that it is God's will that he shall
be our king, and who that holdeth against it, we will slay him. And
therewithal they kneeled at once, both rich and poor, and cried Arthur
mercy because they had delayed him so long, and Arthur forgave them,
and took the sword between both his hands, and offered it upon the altar
where the Archbishop was, and so was he made knight of the best man that
was there. And so anon was the coronation made. And there was he sworn
unto his lords and the commons for to be a true king, to stand with true
justice from thenceforth the days of this life. Also then he made all
lords that held of the crown to come in, and to do service as they ought
to do. And many complaints were made unto Sir Arthur of great wrongs
that were done since the death of King Uther, of many lands that were
bereaved lords, knights, ladies, and gentlemen. Wherefore King Arthur
made the lands to be given again unto them that owned them.

When this was done, that the king had stablished all the countries about
London, then he let make Sir Kay seneschal of England; and Sir Baudwin
of Britain was made constable; and Sir Ulfius was made chamberlain; and
Sir Brastias was made warden to wait upon the north from Trent forwards,
for it was that time the most party the king's enemies. But within few
years after Arthur won all the north, Scotland, and all that were under
their obeissance. Also Wales, a part of it, held against Arthur, but he
overcame them all, as he did the remnant, through the noble prowess of
himself and his knights of the Round Table.



CHAPTER VIII. How King Arthur held in Wales, at a Pentecost, a great
feast, and what kings and lords came to his feast.

THEN the king removed into Wales, and let cry a great feast that it
should be holden at Pentecost after the incoronation of him at the city
of Carlion. Unto the feast came King Lot of Lothian and of Orkney, with
five hundred knights with him. Also there came to the feast King Uriens
of Gore with four hundred knights with him. Also there came to that
feast King Nentres of Garlot, with seven hundred knights with him. Also
there came to the feast the king of Scotland with six hundred knights
with him, and he was but a young man. Also there came to the feast a
king that was called the King with the Hundred Knights, but he and his
men were passing well beseen at all points. Also there came the king
of Carados with five hundred knights. And King Arthur was glad of their
coming, for he weened that all the kings and knights had come for great
love, and to have done him worship at his feast; wherefore the king made
great joy, and sent the kings and knights great presents. But the kings
would none receive, but rebuked the messengers shamefully, and said they
had no joy to receive no gifts of a beardless boy that was come of low
blood, and sent him word they would none of his gifts, but that they
were come to give him gifts with hard swords betwixt the neck and
the shoulders: and therefore they came thither, so they told to the
messengers plainly, for it was great shame to all them to see such a boy
to have a rule of so noble a realm as this land was. With this answer
the messengers departed and told to King Arthur this answer. Wherefore,
by the advice of his barons, he took him to a strong tower with five
hundred good men with him. And all the kings aforesaid in a manner laid
a siege to-fore him, but King Arthur was well victualed. And within
fifteen days there came Merlin among them into the city of Carlion. Then
all the kings were passing glad of Merlin, and asked him, For what cause
is that boy Arthur made your king? Sirs, said Merlin, I shall tell you
the cause, for he is King Uther Pendragon's son, born in wedlock, gotten
on Igraine, the duke's wife of Tintagil. Then is he a bastard, they said
all. Nay, said Merlin, after the death of the duke, more than three
hours, was Arthur begotten, and thirteen days after King Uther wedded
Igraine; and therefore I prove him he is no bastard. And who saith nay,
he shall be king and overcome all his enemies; and, or he die, he shall
be long king of all England, and have under his obeissance Wales,
Ireland, and Scotland, and more realms than I will now rehearse. Some of
the kings had marvel of Merlin's words, and deemed well that it should
be as he said; and some of them laughed him to scorn, as King Lot; and
more other called him a witch. But then were they accorded with Merlin,
that King Arthur should come out and speak with the kings, and to come
safe and to go safe, such surance there was made. So Merlin went unto
King Arthur, and told him how he had done, and bade him fear not, but
come out boldly and speak with them, and spare them not, but answer them
as their king and chieftain; for ye shall overcome them all, whether
they will or nill.



CHAPTER IX. Of the first war that King Arthur had, and how he won the
field.

THEN King Arthur came out of his tower, and had under his gown a
jesseraunt of double mail, and there went with him the Archbishop of
Canterbury, and Sir Baudwin of Britain, and Sir Kay, and Sir Brastias:
these were the men of most worship that were with him. And when they
were met there was no meekness, but stout words on both sides; but
always King Arthur answered them, and said he would make them to bow an
he lived. Wherefore they departed with wrath, and King Arthur bade keep
them well, and they bade the king keep him well. So the king returned
him to the tower again and armed him and all his knights. What will ye
do? said Merlin to the kings; ye were better for to stint, for ye shall
not here prevail though ye were ten times so many. Be we well advised to
be afeared of a dream-reader? said King Lot. With that Merlin vanished
away, and came to King Arthur, and bade him set on them fiercely; and in
the meanwhile there were three hundred good men, of the best that were
with the kings, that went straight unto King Arthur, and that comforted
him greatly. Sir, said Merlin to Arthur, fight not with the sword that
ye had by miracle, till that ye see ye go unto the worse, then draw it
out and do your best. So forthwithal King Arthur set upon them in their
lodging. And Sir Baudwin, Sir Kay, and Sir Brastias slew on the right
hand and on the left hand that it was marvel; and always King Arthur on
horseback laid on with a sword, and did marvellous deeds of arms, that
many of the kings had great joy of his deeds and hardiness.

Then King Lot brake out on the back side, and the King with the Hundred
Knights, and King Carados, and set on Arthur fiercely behind him. With
that Sir Arthur turned with his knights, and smote behind and before,
and ever Sir Arthur was in the foremost press till his horse was slain
underneath him. And therewith King Lot smote down King Arthur. With that
his four knights received him and set him on horseback. Then he drew his
sword Excalibur, but it was so bright in his enemies' eyes, that it gave
light like thirty torches. And therewith he put them a-back, and slew
much people. And then the commons of Carlion arose with clubs and staves
and slew many knights; but all the kings held them together with their
knights that were left alive, and so fled and departed. And Merlin came
unto Arthur, and counselled him to follow them no further.



CHAPTER X. How Merlin counselled King Arthur to send for King Ban and
King Bors, and of their counsel taken for the war.

SO after the feast and journey, King Arthur drew him unto London, and so
by the counsel of Merlin, the king let call his barons to council, for
Merlin had told the king that the six kings that made war upon him would
in all haste be awroke on him and on his lands. Wherefore the king asked
counsel at them all. They could no counsel give, but said they were big
enough. Ye say well, said Arthur; I thank you for your good courage, but
will ye all that loveth me speak with Merlin? ye know well that he hath
done much for me, and he knoweth many things, and when he is afore you,
I would that ye prayed him heartily of his best advice. All the barons
said they would pray him and desire him. So Merlin was sent for, and
fair desired of all the barons to give them best counsel. I shall say
you, said Merlin, I warn you all, your enemies are passing strong for
you, and they are good men of arms as be alive, and by this time they
have gotten to them four kings more, and a mighty duke; and unless that
our king have more chivalry with him than he may make within the bounds
of his own realm, an he fight with them in battle, he shall be overcome
and slain. What were best to do in this cause? said all the barons. I
shall tell you, said Merlin, mine advice; there are two brethren beyond
the sea, and they be kings both, and marvellous good men of their hands;
and that one hight King Ban of Benwick, and that other hight King Bors
of Gaul, that is France. And on these two kings warreth a mighty man of
men, the King Claudas, and striveth with them for a castle, and great
war is betwixt them. But this Claudas is so mighty of goods whereof he
getteth good knights, that he putteth these two kings most part to the
worse; wherefore this is my counsel, that our king and sovereign lord
send unto the kings Ban and Bors by two trusty knights with letters well
devised, that an they will come and see King Arthur and his court, and
so help him in his wars, that he will be sworn unto them to help them
in their wars against King Claudas. Now, what say ye unto this counsel?
said Merlin. This is well counselled, said the king and all the barons.

Right so in all haste there were ordained to go two knights on the
message unto the two kings. So were there made letters in the pleasant
wise according unto King Arthur's desire. Ulfius and Brastias were made
the messengers, and so rode forth well horsed and well armed and as the
guise was that time, and so passed the sea and rode toward the city of
Benwick. And there besides were eight knights that espied them, and at
a strait passage they met with Ulfius and Brastias, and would have taken
them prisoners; so they prayed them that they might pass, for they were
messengers unto King Ban and Bors sent from King Arthur. Therefore, said
the eight knights, ye shall die or be prisoners, for we be knights of
King Claudas. And therewith two of them dressed their spears, and Ulfius
and Brastias dressed their spears, and ran together with great raundom.
And Claudas' knights brake their spears, and theirs to-held and bare the
two knights out of their saddles to the earth, and so left them lying,
and rode their ways. And the other six knights rode afore to a passage
to meet with them again, and so Ulfius and Brastias smote other two
down, and so passed on their ways. And at the fourth passage there met
two for two, and both were laid unto the earth; so there was none of
the eight knights but he was sore hurt or bruised. And when they come to
Benwick it fortuned there were both kings, Ban and Bors.


And when it was told the kings that there were come messengers, there
were sent unto them two knights of worship, the one hight Lionses, lord
of the country of Payarne, and Sir Phariance a worshipful knight. Anon
they asked from whence they came, and they said from King Arthur, king
of England; so they took them in their arms and made great joy each of
other. But anon, as the two kings wist they were messengers of Arthur's,
there was made no tarrying, but forthwith they spake with the knights,
and welcomed them in the faithfullest wise, and said they were most
welcome unto them before all the kings living; and therewith they kissed
the letters and delivered them. And when Ban and Bors understood the
letters, then they were more welcome than they were before. And after
the haste of the letters they gave them this answer, that they would
fulfil the desire of King Arthur's writing, and Ulfius and Brastias,
tarry there as long as they would, they should have such cheer as might
be made them in those marches. Then Ulfius and Brastias told the kings
of the adventure at their passages of the eight knights. Ha! ah! said
Ban and Bors, they were my good friends. I would I had wist of them;
they should not have escaped so. So Ulfius and Brastias had good cheer
and great gifts, as much as they might bear away; and had their answer
by mouth and by writing, that those two kings would come unto Arthur
in all the haste that they might. So the two knights rode on afore, and
passed the sea, and came to their lord, and told him how they had sped,
whereof King Arthur was passing glad. At what time suppose ye the two
kings will be here? Sir, said they, afore All Hallowmass. Then the king
let purvey for a great feast, and let cry a great jousts. And by All
Hallowmass the two kings were come over the sea with three hundred
knights well arrayed both for the peace and for the war. And King Arthur
met with them ten mile out of London, and there was great joy as could
be thought or made. And on All Hallowmass at the great feast, sat in the
hall the three kings, and Sir Kay seneschal served in the hall, and Sir
Lucas the butler, that was Duke Corneus' son, and Sir Griflet, that was
the son of Cardol, these three knights had the rule of all the service
that served the kings. And anon, as they had washen and risen, all
knights that would joust made them ready; by then they were ready on
horseback there were seven hundred knights. And Arthur, Ban, and Bors,
with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Sir Ector, Kay's father, they
were in a place covered with cloth of gold like an hall, with ladies and
gentlewomen, for to behold who did best, and thereon to give judgment.



CHAPTER XI. Of a great tourney made by King Arthur and the two kings Ban
and Bors, and how they went over the sea.

AND King Arthur and the two kings let depart the seven hundred knights
in two parties. And there were three hundred knights of the realm of
Benwick and of Gaul turned on the other side. Then they dressed their
shields, and began to couch their spears many good knights. So Griflet
was the first that met with a knight, one Ladinas, and they met so
eagerly that all men had wonder; and they so fought that their shields
fell to pieces, and horse and man fell to the earth; and both the French
knight and the English knight lay so long that all men weened they had
been dead. When Lucas the butler saw Griflet so lie, he horsed him again
anon, and they two did marvellous deeds of arms with many bachelors.
Also Sir Kay came out of an ambushment with five knights with him, and
they six smote other six down. But Sir Kay did that day marvellous deeds
of arms, that there was none did so well as he that day. Then there came
Ladinas and Gracian, two knights of France, and did passing well, that
all men praised them.

Then came there Sir Placidas, a good knight, and met with Sir Kay, and
smote him down horse and man, where fore Sir Griflet was wroth, and met
with Sir Placidas so hard, that horse and man fell to the earth. But
when the five knights wist that Sir Kay had a fall, they were wroth out
of wit, and therewith each of them five bare down a knight. When King
Arthur and the two kings saw them begin to wax wroth on both parties,
they leapt on small hackneys, and let cry that all men should depart
unto their lodging. And so they went home and unarmed them, and so to
evensong and supper. And after, the three kings went into a garden, and
gave the prize unto Sir Kay, and to Lucas the butler, and unto Sir
Griflet. And then they went unto council, and with them Gwenbaus, the
brother unto Sir Ban and Bors, a wise clerk, and thither went Ulfius and
Brastias, and Merlin. And after they had been in council, they went unto
bed. And on the morn they heard mass, and to dinner, and so to their
council, and made many arguments what were best to do. At the last they
were concluded, that Merlin should go with a token of King Ban, and that
was a ring, unto his men and King Bors'; and Gracian and Placidas should
go again and keep their castles and their countries, as for [dread of
King Claudas] King Ban of Benwick, and King Bors of Gaul had ordained
them, and so passed the sea and came to Benwick. And when the people saw
King Ban's ring, and Gracian and Placidas, they were glad, and asked how
the kings fared, and made great joy of their welfare and cording, and
according unto the sovereign lords desire, the men of war made them
ready in all haste possible, so that they were fifteen thousand on horse
and foot, and they had great plenty of victual with them, by Merlin's
provision. But Gracian and Placidas were left to furnish and garnish the
castles, for dread of King Claudas. Right so Merlin passed the sea, well
victualled both by water and by land. And when he came to the sea he
sent home the footmen again, and took no more with him but ten thousand
men on horseback, the most part men of arms, and so shipped and passed
the sea into England, and landed at Dover; and through the wit of
Merlin, he had the host northward, the priviest way that could be
thought, unto the forest of Bedegraine, and there in a valley he lodged
them secretly.

Then rode Merlin unto Arthur and the two kings, and told them how he had
sped; whereof they had great marvel, that man on earth might speed so
soon, and go and come. So Merlin told them ten thousand were in the
forest of Bedegraine, well armed at all points. Then was there no more
to say, but to horseback went all the host as Arthur had afore purveyed.
So with twenty thousand he passed by night and day, but there was made
such an ordinance afore by Merlin, that there should no man of war ride
nor go in no country on this side Trent water, but if he had a token
from King Arthur, where through the king's enemies durst not ride as
they did to-fore to espy.


CHAPTER XII. How eleven kings gathered a great host against King Arthur.


AND SO within a little space the three kings came unto the castle of
Bedegraine, and found there a passing fair fellowship, and well beseen,
whereof they had great joy, and victual they wanted none. This was the
cause of the northern host: that they were reared for the despite and
rebuke the six kings had at Carlion. And those six kings by their means,
gat unto them five other kings; and thus they began to gather their
people.

And now they sware that for weal nor woe, they should not leave other,
till they had destroyed Arthur. And then they made an oath. The first
that began the oath was the Duke of Cambenet, that he would bring with
him five thousand men of arms, the which were ready on horseback. Then
sware King Brandegoris of Stranggore that he would bring five thousand
men of arms on horseback. Then sware King Clariance of Northumberland he
would bring three thousand men of arms. Then sware the King of the
Hundred Knights, that was a passing good man and a young, that he would
bring four thousand men of arms on horseback. Then there swore King Lot,
a passing good knight, and Sir Gawain's father, that he would bring five
thousand men of arms on horseback. Also there swore King Urience, that
was Sir Uwain's father, of the land of Gore, and he would bring six
thousand men of arms on horseback. Also there swore King Idres of
Cornwall, that he would bring five thousand men of arms on horseback.
Also there swore King Cradelmas to bring five thousand men on horseback.
Also there swore King Agwisance of Ireland to bring five thousand men of
arms on horseback. Also there swore King Nentres to bring five thousand
men of arms on horseback. Also there swore King Carados to bring five
thousand men of arms on horseback. So their whole host was of clean men
of arms on horseback fifty thousand, and a-foot ten thousand of good
men's bodies. Then were they soon ready, and mounted upon horse and sent
forth their fore-riders, for these eleven kings in their ways laid a
siege unto the castle of Bedegraine; and so they departed and drew
toward Arthur, and left few to abide at the siege, for the castle of
Bedegraine was holden of King Arthur, and the men that were therein were
Arthur's.


CHAPTER XIII. Of a dream of the King with the Hundred Knights.

So by Merlin's advice there were sent fore-riders to skim the country,
and they met with the fore-riders of the north, and made them to tell
which way the host came, and then they told it to Arthur, and by King
Ban and Bors' council they let burn and destroy all the country afore
them, there they should ride.

The King with the Hundred Knights met a wonder dream two nights afore
the battle, that there blew a great wind, and blew down their castles
and their towns, and after that came a water and bare it all away. All
that heard of the sweven said it was a token of great battle. Then by
counsel of Merlin, when they wist which way the eleven kings would ride
and lodge that night, at midnight they set upon them, as they were in
their pavilions. But the scout-watch by their host cried, Lords! at
arms! for here be your enemies at your hand!


CHAPTER XIV. How the eleven kings with their host fought against Arthur
and his host, and many great feats of the war.

THEN King Arthur and King Ban and King Bors, with their good and trusty
knights, set on them so fiercely that they made them overthrow their
pavilions on their heads, but the eleven kings, by manly prowess of
arms, took a fair champaign, but there was slain that morrowtide ten
thousand good men's bodies. And so they had afore them a strong passage,
yet were they fifty thousand of hardy men. Then it drew toward day. Now
shall ye do by mine advice, said Merlin unto the three kings: I would
that King Ban and King Bors, with their fellowship of ten thousand men,
were put in a wood here beside, in an ambushment, and keep them privy,
and that they be laid or the light of the day come, and that they stir
not till ye and your knights have fought with them long. And when it is
daylight, dress your battle even afore them and the passage, that they
may see all your host, for then will they be the more hardy, when they
see you but about twenty thousand men, and cause them to be the gladder
to suffer you and your host to come over the passage. All the three
kings and the whole barons said that Merlin said passingly well, and it
was done anon as Merlin had devised. So on the morn, when either host
saw other, the host of the north was well comforted. Then to Ulfius and
Brastias were delivered three thousand men of arms, and they set on them
fiercely in the passage, and slew on the right hand and on the left hand
that it was wonder to tell.

When that the eleven kings saw that there was so few a fellowship did
such deeds of arms, they were ashamed and set on them again fiercely;
and there was Sir Ulfius's horse slain under him, but he did
marvellously well on foot. But the Duke Eustace of Cambenet and King
Clariance of Northumberland, were alway grievous on Ulfius. Then
Brastias saw his fellow fared so withal he smote the duke with a spear,
that horse and man fell down. That saw King Clariance and returned
unto Brastias, and either smote other so that horse and man went to the
earth, and so they lay long astonied, and their horses' knees brast to
the hard bone. Then came Sir Kay the seneschal with six fellows with
him, and did passing well. With that came the eleven kings, and there
was Griflet put to the earth, horse and man, and Lucas the butler, horse
and man, by King Brandegoris, and King Idres, and King Agwisance. Then
waxed the medley passing hard on both parties. When Sir Kay saw Griflet
on foot, he rode on King Nentres and smote him down, and led his horse
unto Sir Griflet, and horsed him again. Also Sir Kay with the same spear
smote down King Lot, and hurt him passing sore. That saw the King with
the Hundred Knights, and ran unto Sir Kay and smote him down, and took
his horse, and gave him King Lot, whereof he said gramercy. When Sir
Griflet saw Sir Kay and Lucas the butler on foot, he took a sharp spear,
great and square, and rode to Pinel, a good man of arms, and smote horse
and man down, and then he took his horse, and gave him unto Sir Kay.
Then King Lot saw King Nentres on foot, he ran unto Melot de la Roche,
and smote him down, horse and man, and gave King Nentres the horse, and
horsed him again. Also the King of the Hundred Knights saw King Idres on
foot; then he ran unto Gwiniart de Bloi, and smote him down, horse and
man, and gave King Idres the horse, and horsed him again; and King Lot
smote down Clariance de la Forest Savage, and gave the horse unto Duke
Eustace. And so when they had horsed the kings again they drew them, all
eleven kings, together, and said they would be revenged of the damage
that they had taken that day. The meanwhile came in Sir Ector with an
eager countenance, and found Ulfius and Brastias on foot, in great peril
of death, that were foul defoiled under horse-feet.

Then Arthur as a lion, ran unto King Cradelment of North Wales, and
smote him through the left side, that the horse and the king fell down;
and then he took the horse by the rein, and led him unto Ulfius, and
said, Have this horse, mine old friend, for great need hast thou of
horse. Gramercy, said Ulfius. Then Sir Arthur did so marvellously in
arms, that all men had wonder. When the King with the Hundred Knights
saw King Cradelment on foot, he ran unto Sir Ector, that was well
horsed, Sir Kay's father, and smote horse and man down, and gave the
horse unto the king, and horsed him again. And when King Arthur saw the
king ride on Sir Ector's horse, he was wroth and with his sword he smote
the king on the helm, that a quarter of the helm and shield fell down,
and so the sword carved down unto the horse's neck, and so the king and
the horse fell down to the ground. Then Sir Kay came unto Sir Morganore,
seneschal with the King of the Hundred Knights, and smote him down,
horse and man, and led the horse unto his father, Sir Ector; then Sir
Ector ran unto a knight, hight Lardans, and smote horse and man down,
and led the horse unto Sir Brastias, that great need had of an horse,
and was greatly defoiled. When Brastias beheld Lucas the butler, that
lay like a dead man under the horses' feet, and ever Sir Griflet did
marvellously for to rescue him, and there were always fourteen knights
on Sir Lucas; then Brastias smote one of them on the helm, that it went
to the teeth, and he rode to another and smote him, that the arm flew
into the field. Then he went to the third and smote him on the shoulder,
that shoulder and arm flew in the field. And when Griflet saw rescues,
he smote a knight on the temples, that head and helm went to the earth,
and Griflet took the horse of that knight, and led him unto Sir Lucas,
and bade him mount upon the horse and revenge his hurts. For Brastias
had slain a knight to-fore and horsed Griflet.


CHAPTER XV. Yet of the same battle.

THEN Lucas saw King Agwisance, that late had slain Moris de la Roche,
and Lucas ran to him with a short spear that was great, that he gave
him such a fall, that the horse fell down to the earth. Also Lucas found
there on foot, Bloias de La Flandres, and Sir Gwinas, two hardy knights,
and in that woodness that Lucas was in, he slew two bachelors and horsed
them again. Then waxed the battle passing hard on both parties, but
Arthur was glad that his knights were horsed again, and then they fought
together, that the noise and sound rang by the water and the wood.
Wherefore King Ban and King Bors made them ready, and dressed their
shields and harness, and they were so courageous that many knights shook
and bevered for eagerness. All this while Lucas, and Gwinas, and Briant,
and Bellias of Flanders, held strong medley against six kings, that was
King Lot, King Nentres, King Brandegoris, King Idres, King Uriens, and
King Agwisance. So with the help of Sir Kay and of Sir Griflet they held
these six kings hard, that unnethe they had any power to defend them.
But when Sir Arthur saw the battle would not be ended by no manner, he
fared wood as a lion, and steered his horse here and there, on the right
hand, and on the left hand, that he stinted not till he had slain twenty
knights. Also he wounded King Lot sore on the shoulder, and made him to
leave that ground, for Sir Kay and Griflet did with King Arthur
there great deeds of arms. Then Ulfius, and Brastias, and Sir Ector
encountered against the Duke Eustace, and King Cradelment, and King
Clariance of Northumberland, and King Carados, and against the King with
the Hundred Knights. So these knights encountered with these kings, that
they made them to avoid the ground. Then King Lot made great dole for
his damages and his fellows, and said unto the ten kings, But if ye will
do as I devise we shall be slain and destroyed; let me have the King
with the Hundred Knights, and King Agwisance, and King Idres, and the
Duke of Cambenet, and we five kings will have fifteen thousand men of
arms with us, and we will go apart while ye six kings hold medley with
twelve thousand; an we see that ye have foughten with them long, then
will we come on fiercely, and else shall we never match them, said King
Lot, but by this mean. So they departed as they here devised, and six
kings made their party strong against Arthur, and made great war long.

In the meanwhile brake the ambushment of King Ban and King Bors, and
Lionses and Phariance had the vanguard, and they two knights met
with King Idres and his fellowship, and there began a great medley
of breaking of spears, and smiting of swords, with slaying of men and
horses, and King Idres was near at discomforture.

That saw Agwisance the king, and put Lionses and Phariance in point of
death; for the Duke of Cambenet came on withal with a great fellowship.
So these two knights were in great danger of their lives that they were
fain to return, but always they rescued themselves and their fellowship
marvellously When King Bors saw those knights put aback, it grieved him
sore; then he came on so fast that his fellowship seemed as black as
Inde. When King Lot had espied King Bors, he knew him well, then he
said, O Jesu, defend us from death and horrible maims! for I see well
we be in great peril of death; for I see yonder a king, one of the most
worshipfullest men and one of the best knights of the world, is inclined
unto his fellowship. What is he? said the King with the Hundred Knights.
It is, said King Lot, King Bors of Gaul; I marvel how they came into
this country without witting of us all. It was by Merlin's advice, said
the knight. As for him, said King Carados, I will encounter with King
Bors, an ye will rescue me when myster is. Go on, said they all, we will
do all that we may. Then King Carados and his host rode on a soft pace,
till that they came as nigh King Bors as bow-draught; then either battle
let their horse run as fast as they might. And Bleoberis, that was
godson unto King Bors, he bare his chief standard, that was a passing
good knight. Now shall we see, said King Bors, how these northern
Britons can bear the arms: and King Bors encountered with a knight, and
smote him throughout with a spear that he fell dead unto the earth; and
after drew his sword and did marvellous deeds of arms, that all parties
had great wonder thereof; and his knights failed not, but did their
part, and King Carados was smitten to the earth. With that came the King
with the Hundred Knights and rescued King Carados mightily by force of
arms, for he was a passing good knight of a king, and but a young man.



CHAPTER XVI. Yet more of the same battle.

BY then came into the field King Ban as fierce as a lion, with bands of
green and thereupon gold. Ha! a! said King Lot, we must be discomfited,
for yonder I see the most valiant knight of the world, and the man of
the most renown, for such two brethren as is King Ban and King Bors are
not living, wherefore we must needs void or die; and but if we avoid
manly and wisely there is but death. When King Ban came into the battle,
he came in so fiercely that the strokes redounded again from the wood
and the water; wherefore King Lot wept for pity and dole that he saw so
many good knights take their end. But through the great force of King
Ban they made both the northern battles that were departed hurtled
together for great dread; and the three kings and their knights slew on
ever, that it was pity on to behold that multitude of the people that
fled. But King Lot, and King of the Hundred Knights, and King Morganore
gathered the people together passing knightly, and did great prowess of
arms, and held the battle all that day, like hard.

When the King of the Hundred Knights beheld the great damage that King
Ban did, he thrust unto him with his horse, and smote him on high upon
the helm, a great stroke, and astonied him sore. Then King Ban was wroth
with him, and followed on him fiercely; the other saw that, and cast up
his shield, and spurred his horse forward, but the stroke of King Ban
fell down and carved a cantel off the shield, and the sword slid down by
the hauberk behind his back, and cut through the trapping of steel and
the horse even in two pieces, that the sword felt the earth. Then the
King of the Hundred Knights voided the horse lightly, and with his sword
he broached the horse of King Ban through and through. With that King
Ban voided lightly from the dead horse, and then King Ban smote at the
other so eagerly, and smote him on the helm that he fell to the earth.
Also in that ire he felled King Morganore, and there was great slaughter
of good knights and much people. By then came into the press King
Arthur, and found King Ban standing among dead men and dead horses,
fighting on foot as a wood lion, that there came none nigh him, as
far as he might reach with his sword, but he caught a grievous buffet;
whereof King Arthur had great pity. And Arthur was so bloody, that by
his shield there might no man know him, for all was blood and brains
on his sword. And as Arthur looked by him he saw a knight that was
passingly well horsed, and therewith Sir Arthur ran to him, and smote
him on the helm, that his sword went unto his teeth, and the knight sank
down to the earth dead, and anon Arthur took the horse by the rein, and
led him unto King Ban, and said, Fair brother, have this horse, for he
have great myster thereof, and me repenteth sore of your great damage.
It shall be soon revenged, said King Ban, for I trust in God mine ure
is not such but some of them may sore repent this. I will well, said
Arthur, for I see your deeds full actual; nevertheless, I might not come
at you at that time.

But when King Ban was mounted on horseback, then there began new battle,
the which was sore and hard, and passing great slaughter. And so through
great force King Arthur, King Ban, and King Bors made their knights a
little to withdraw them. But alway the eleven kings with their chivalry
never turned back; and so withdrew them to a little wood, and so over
a little river, and there they rested them, for on the night they might
have no rest on the field. And then the eleven kings and knights put
them on a heap all together, as men adread and out of all comfort. But
there was no man might pass them, they held them so hard together both
behind and before, that King Arthur had marvel of their deeds of arms,
and was passing wroth. Ah, Sir Arthur, said King Ban and King Bors,
blame them not, for they do as good men ought to do. For by my faith,
said King Ban, they are the best fighting men, and knights of most
prowess, that ever I saw or heard speak of, and those eleven kings are
men of great worship; and if they were longing unto you there were no
king under the heaven had such eleven knights, and of such worship. I
may not love them, said Arthur, they would destroy me. That wot we well,
said King Ban and King Bors, for they are your mortal enemies, and that
hath been proved aforehand; and this day they have done their part, and
that is great pity of their wilfulness.

Then all the eleven kings drew them together, and then said King Lot,
Lords, ye must other ways than ye do, or else the great loss is behind;
ye may see what people we have lost, and what good men we lose, because
we wait always on these foot-men, and ever in saving of one of the
foot-men we lose ten horsemen for him; therefore this is mine advice,
let us put our foot-men from us, for it is near night, for the noble
Arthur will not tarry on the footmen, for they may save themselves, the
wood is near hand. And when we horsemen be together, look every each of
you kings let make such ordinance that none break upon pain of death.
And who that seeth any man dress him to flee, lightly that he be slain,
for it is better that we slay a coward, than through a coward all we to
be slain. How say ye? said King Lot, answer me all ye kings. It is well
said, quoth King Nentres; so said the King of the Hundred Knights; the
same said the King Carados, and King Uriens; so did King Idres and King
Brandegoris; and so did King Cradelment, and the Duke of Cambenet; the
same said King Clariance and King Agwisance, and sware they would never
fail other, neither for life nor for death. And whoso that fled, but
did as they did, should be slain. Then they amended their harness, and
righted their shields, and took new spears and set them on their thighs,
and stood still as it had been a plump of wood.



CHAPTER XVII. Yet more of the same battle, and how it was ended by
Merlin.

WHEN Sir Arthur and King Ban and Bors beheld them and all their knights,
they praised them much for their noble cheer of chivalry, for the
hardiest fighters that ever they heard or saw. With that, there dressed
them a forty noble knights, and said unto the three kings, they would
break their battle; these were their names: Lionses, Phariance, Ulfius,
Brastias, Ector, Kay, Lucas the butler, Griflet le Fise de Dieu, Mariet
de la Roche, Guinas de Bloi, Briant de la Forest Savage, Bellaus,
Morians of the Castle [of] Maidens, Flannedrius of the Castle of Ladies,
Annecians that was King Bors' godson, a noble knight, Ladinas de la
Rouse, Emerause, Caulas, Graciens le Castlein, one Blois de la Case, and
Sir Colgrevaunce de Gorre; all these knights rode on afore with spears
on their thighs, and spurred their horses mightily as the horses might
run. And the eleven kings with part of their knights rushed with their
horses as fast as they might with their spears, and there they did on
both parties marvellous deeds of arms. So came into the thick of the
press, Arthur, Ban, and Bors, and slew down right on both hands, that
their horses went in blood up to the fetlocks. But ever the eleven kings
and their host was ever in the visage of Arthur. Wherefore Ban and Bors
had great marvel, considering the great slaughter that there was, but
at the last they were driven aback over a little river. With that came
Merlin on a great black horse, and said unto Arthur, Thou hast never
done! Hast thou not done enough? of three score thousand this day hast
thou left alive but fifteen thousand, and it is time to say Ho! For God
is wroth with thee, that thou wilt never have done; for yonder eleven
kings at this time will not be overthrown, but an thou tarry on them
any longer, thy fortune will turn and they shall increase. And therefore
withdraw you unto your lodging, and rest you as soon as ye may, and
reward your good knights with gold and with silver, for they have well
deserved it; there may no riches be too dear for them, for of so few men
as ye have, there were never men did more of prowess than they have done
today, for ye have matched this day with the best fighters of the world.
That is truth, said King Ban and Bors. Also said Merlin, withdraw you
where ye list, for this three year I dare undertake they shall not dere
you; and by then ye shall hear new tidings. And then Merlin said unto
Arthur, These eleven kings have more on hand than they are ware of, for
the Saracens are landed in their countries, more than forty thousand,
that burn and slay, and have laid siege at the castle Wandesborow, and
make great destruction; therefore dread you not this three year. Also,
sir, all the goods that be gotten at this battle, let it be searched,
and when ye have it in your hands, let it be given freely unto these two
kings, Ban and Bors, that they may reward their knights withal; and that
shall cause strangers to be of better will to do you service at
need. Also you be able to reward your own knights of your own goods
whensomever it liketh you. It is well said, quoth Arthur, and as thou
hast devised, so shall it be done. When it was delivered to Ban and
Bors, they gave the goods as freely to their knights as freely as it
was given to them. Then Merlin took his leave of Arthur and of the
two kings, for to go and see his master Bleise, that dwelt in
Northumberland; and so he departed and came to his master, that was
passing glad of his coming; and there he told how Arthur and the two
kings had sped at the great battle, and how it was ended, and told the
names of every king and knight of worship that was there. And so Bleise
wrote the battle word by word, as Merlin told him, how it began, and by
whom, and in likewise how it was ended, and who had the worse. All the
battles that were done in Arthur's days Merlin did his master Bleise do
write; also he did do write all the battles that every worthy knight did
of Arthur's court.

After this Merlin departed from his master and came to King Arthur, that
was in the castle of Bedegraine, that was one of the castles that stand
in the forest of Sherwood. And Merlin was so disguised that King Arthur
knew him not, for he was all befurred in black sheep-skins, and a great
pair of boots, and a bow and arrows, in a russet gown, and brought wild
geese in his hand, and it was on the morn after Candlemas day; but King
Arthur knew him not. Sir, said Merlin unto the king, will ye give me
a gift? Wherefore, said King Arthur, should I give thee a gift, churl?
Sir, said Merlin, ye were better to give me a gift that is not in your
hand than to lose great riches, for here in the same place where the
great battle was, is great treasure hid in the earth. Who told thee so,
churl? said Arthur. Merlin told me so, said he. Then Ulfius and Brastias
knew him well enough, and smiled. Sir, said these two knights, it is
Merlin that so speaketh unto you. Then King Arthur was greatly abashed,
and had marvel of Merlin, and so had King Ban and King Bors, and so they
had great disport at him. So in the meanwhile there came a damosel that
was an earl's daughter: his name was Sanam, and her name was Lionors, a
passing fair damosel; and so she came thither for to do homage, as other
lords did after the great battle. And King Arthur set his love greatly
upon her, and so did she upon him, and the king had ado with her, and
gat on her a child: his name was Borre, that was after a good knight,
and of the Table Round. Then there came word that the King Rience of
North Wales made great war on King Leodegrance of Cameliard, for the
which thing Arthur was wroth, for he loved him well, and hated King
Rience, for he was alway against him. So by ordinance of the three kings
that were sent home unto Benwick, all they would depart for dread of
King Claudas; and Phariance, and Antemes, and Gratian, and Lionses [of]
Payarne, with the leaders of those that should keep the kings' lands.



CHAPTER XVIII. How King Arthur, King Ban, and King Bors rescued King
Leodegrance, and other incidents.

AND then King Arthur, and King Ban, and King Bors departed with their
fellowship, a twenty thousand, and came within six days into the country
of Cameliard, and there rescued King Leodegrance, and slew there much
people of King Rience, unto the number of ten thousand men, and put
him to flight. And then had these three kings great cheer of King
Leodegrance, that thanked them of their great goodness, that they would
revenge him of his enemies; and there had Arthur the first sight of
Guenever, the king's daughter of Cameliard, and ever after he loved her.
After they were wedded, as it telleth in the book. So, briefly to make
an end, they took their leave to go into their own countries, for King
Claudas did great destruction on their lands. Then said Arthur, I will
go with you. Nay, said the kings, ye shall not at this time, for ye have
much to do yet in these lands, therefore we will depart, and with the
great goods that we have gotten in these lands by your gifts, we shall
wage good knights and withstand the King Claudas' malice, for by the
grace of God, an we have need we will send to you for your succour; and
if ye have need, send for us, and we will not tarry, by the faith of our
bodies. It shall not, said Merlin, need that these two kings come again
in the way of war, but I know well King Arthur may not be long from you,
for within a year or two ye shall have great need, and then shall he
revenge you on your enemies, as ye have done on his. For these eleven
kings shall die all in a day, by the great might and prowess of arms
of two valiant knights (as it telleth after); their names be Balin le
Savage, and Balan, his brother, that be marvellous good knights as be
any living.

Now turn we to the eleven kings that returned unto a city that hight
Sorhaute, the which city was within King Uriens', and there they
refreshed them as well as they might, and made leeches search their
wounds, and sorrowed greatly for the death of their people. With that
there came a messenger and told how there was come into their lands
people that were lawless as well as Saracens, a forty thousand, and have
burnt and slain all the people that they may come by, without mercy,
and have laid siege on the castle of Wandesborow. Alas, said the eleven
kings, here is sorrow upon sorrow, and if we had not warred against
Arthur as we have done, he would soon revenge us. As for King
Leodegrance, he loveth Arthur better than us, and as for King Rience, he
hath enough to do with Leodegrance, for he hath laid siege unto him. So
they consented together to keep all the marches of Cornwall, of Wales,
and of the North. So first, they put King Idres in the City of Nauntes
in Britain, with four thousand men of arms, to watch both the water and
the land. Also they put in the city of Windesan, King Nentres of Garlot,
with four thousand knights to watch both on water and on land. Also they
had of other men of war more than eight thousand, for to fortify all the
fortresses in the marches of Cornwall. Also they put more knights in all
the marches of Wales and Scotland, with many good men of arms, and so
they kept them together the space of three year, and ever allied them
with mighty kings and dukes and lords. And to them fell King Rience of
North Wales, the which and Nero that was a mighty man of men. And all
this while they furnished them and garnished them of good men of arms,
and victual, and of all manner of habiliment that pretendeth to the war,
to avenge them for the battle of Bedegraine, as it telleth in the book
of adventures following.



CHAPTER XIX. How King Arthur rode to Carlion, and of his dream, and how
he saw the questing beast.

THEN after the departing of King Ban and of King Bors, King Arthur rode
into Carlion. And thither came to him, King Lot's wife, of Orkney, in
manner of a message, but she was sent thither to espy the court of
King Arthur; and she came richly beseen, with her four sons, Gawaine,
Gaheris, Agravine, and Gareth, with many other knights and ladies. For
she was a passing fair lady, therefore the king cast great love unto
her, and desired to lie by her; so they were agreed, and he begat upon
her Mordred, and she was his sister, on his mother's side, Igraine. So
there she rested her a month, and at the last departed. Then the king
dreamed a marvellous dream whereof he was sore adread. But all this time
King Arthur knew not that King Lot's wife was his sister. Thus was the
dream of Arthur: Him thought there was come into this land griffins
and serpents, and him thought they burnt and slew all the people in the
land, and then him thought he fought with them, and they did him passing
great harm, and wounded him full sore, but at the last he slew them.
When the king awaked, he was passing heavy of his dream, and so to
put it out of thoughts, he made him ready with many knights to ride
a-hunting. As soon as he was in the forest the king saw a great hart
afore him. This hart will I chase, said King Arthur, and so he spurred
the horse, and rode after long, and so by fine force oft he was like
to have smitten the hart; whereas the king had chased the hart so
long, that his horse lost his breath, and fell down dead. Then a yeoman
fetched the king another horse.

So the king saw the hart enbushed, and his horse dead, he set him down
by a fountain, and there he fell in great thoughts. And as he sat so,
him thought he heard a noise of hounds, to the sum of thirty. And with
that the king saw coming toward him the strangest beast that ever he saw
or heard of; so the beast went to the well and drank, and the noise was
in the beast's belly like unto the questing of thirty couple hounds; but
all the while the beast drank there was no noise in the beast's belly:
and there with the beast departed with a great noise, whereof the king
had great marvel. And so he was in a great thought, and therewith he
fell asleep. Right so there came a knight afoot unto Arthur and said,
Knight full of thought and sleepy, tell me if thou sawest a strange
beast pass this way. Such one saw I, said King Arthur, that is past two
mile; what would ye with the beast? said Arthur. Sir, I have followed
that beast long time, and killed mine horse, so would God I had another
to follow my quest. Right so came one with the king's horse, and when
the knight saw the horse, he prayed the king to give him the horse: for
I have followed this quest this twelvemonth, and either I shall achieve
him, or bleed of the best blood of my body. Pellinore, that time king,
followed the Questing Beast, and after his death Sir Palamides followed
it.



CHAPTER XX. How King Pellinore took Arthur's horse and followed the
Questing Beast, and how Merlin met with Arthur.

SIR knight, said the king, leave that quest, and suffer me to have it,
and I will follow it another twelvemonth. Ah, fool, said the knight unto
Arthur, it is in vain thy desire, for it shall never be achieved but
by me, or my next kin. Therewith he started unto the king's horse and
mounted into the saddle, and said, Gramercy, this horse is my own. Well,
said the king, thou mayst take my horse by force, but an I might prove
thee whether thou were better on horseback or I.--Well, said the knight,
seek me here when thou wilt, and here nigh this well thou shalt find me,
and so passed on his way. Then the king sat in a study, and bade his men
fetch his horse as fast as ever they might. Right so came by him Merlin
like a child of fourteen year of age, and saluted the king, and asked
him why he was so pensive. I may well be pensive, said the king, for I
have seen the marvellest sight that ever I saw. That know I well, said
Merlin, as well as thyself, and of all thy thoughts, but thou art but a
fool to take thought, for it will not amend thee. Also I know what thou
art, and who was thy father, and of whom thou wert begotten; King Uther
Pendragon was thy father, and begat thee on Igraine. That is false,
said King Arthur, how shouldest thou know it, for thou art not so old of
years to know my father? Yes, said Merlin, I know it better than ye or
any man living. I will not believe thee, said Arthur, and was wroth with
the child. So departed Merlin, and came again in the likeness of an old
man of fourscore year of age, whereof the king was right glad, for he
seemed to be right wise.

Then said the old man, Why are ye so sad? I may well be heavy, said
Arthur, for many things. Also here was a child, and told me many things
that meseemeth he should not know, for he was not of age to know my
father. Yes, said the old man, the child told you truth, and more would
he have told you an ye would have suffered him. But ye have done a thing
late that God is displeased with you, for ye have lain by your sister,
and on her ye have gotten a child that shall destroy you and all the
knights of your realm. What are ye, said Arthur, that tell me these
tidings? I am Merlin, and I was he in the child's likeness. Ah, said
King Arthur, ye are a marvellous man, but I marvel much of thy words
that I must die in battle. Marvel not, said Merlin, for it is God's will
your body to be punished for your foul deeds; but I may well be sorry,
said Merlin, for I shall die a shameful death, to be put in the earth
quick, and ye shall die a worshipful death. And as they talked this,
came one with the king's horse, and so the king mounted on his horse,
and Merlin on another, and so rode unto Carlion. And anon the king asked
Ector and Ulfius how he was begotten, and they told him Uther Pendragon
was his father and Queen Igraine his mother. Then he said to Merlin, I
will that my mother be sent for that I may speak with her; and if she
say so herself then will I believe it. In all haste, the queen was sent
for, and she came and brought with her Morgan le Fay, her daughter, that
was as fair a lady as any might be, and the king welcomed Igraine in the
best manner.



CHAPTER XXI. How Ulfius impeached Queen Igraine, Arthur's mother, of
treason; and how a knight came and desired to have the death of his
master revenged.

RIGHT SO came Ulfius, and said openly, that the king and all might hear
that were feasted that day, Ye are the falsest lady of the world, and
the most traitress unto the king's person. Beware, said Arthur, what
thou sayest; thou speakest a great word. I am well ware, said Ulfius,
what I speak, and here is my glove to prove it upon any man that will
say the contrary, that this Queen Igraine is causer of your great
damage, and of your great war. For, an she would have uttered it in
the life of King Uther Pendragon, of the birth of you, and how ye were
begotten ye had never had the mortal wars that ye have had; for the most
part of your barons of your realm knew never whose son ye were, nor of
whom ye were begotten; and she that bare you of her body should have
made it known openly in excusing of her worship and yours, and in like
wise to all the realm, wherefore I prove her false to God and to you and
to all your realm, and who will say the contrary I will prove it on his
body.

Then spake Igraine and said, I am a woman and I may not fight, but
rather than I should be dishonoured, there would some good man take my
quarrel. More, she said, Merlin knoweth well, and ye Sir Ulfius, how
King Uther came to me in the Castle of Tintagil in the likeness of my
lord, that was dead three hours to-fore, and thereby gat a child that
night upon me. And after the thirteenth day King Uther wedded me, and by
his commandment when the child was born it was delivered unto Merlin and
nourished by him, and so I saw the child never after, nor wot not what
is his name, for I knew him never yet. And there, Ulfius said to the
queen, Merlin is more to blame than ye. Well I wot, said the queen, I
bare a child by my lord King Uther, but I wot not where he is become.
Then Merlin took the king by the hand, saying, This is your mother.
And therewith Sir Ector bare witness how he nourished him by Uther's
commandment. And therewith King Arthur took his mother, Queen Igraine,
in his arms and kissed her, and either wept upon other. And then the
king let make a feast that lasted eight days.

Then on a day there came in the court a squire on horseback, leading
a knight before him wounded to the death, and told him how there was a
knight in the forest had reared up a pavilion by a well, and hath slain
my master, a good knight, his name was Miles; wherefore I beseech
you that my master may be buried, and that some knight may revenge my
master's death. Then the noise was great of that knight's death in the
court, and every man said his advice. Then came Griflet that was but
a squire, and he was but young, of the age of the king Arthur, so he
besought the king for all his service that he had done him to give the
order of knighthood.



CHAPTER XXII. How Griflet was made knight, and jousted with a knight

THOU art full young and tender of age, said Arthur, for to take so high
an order on thee. Sir, said Griflet, I beseech you make me knight.
Sir, said Merlin, it were great pity to lose Griflet, for he will be
a passing good man when he is of age, abiding with you the term of his
life. And if he adventure his body with yonder knight at the fountain,
it is in great peril if ever he come again, for he is one of the best
knights of the world, and the strongest man of arms. Well, said Arthur.
So at the desire of Griflet the king made him knight. Now, said Arthur
unto Sir Griflet, sith I have made you knight thou must give me a gift.
What ye will, said Griflet. Thou shalt promise me by the faith of thy
body, when thou hast jousted with the knight at the fountain, whether
it fall ye be on foot or on horseback, that right so ye shall come
again unto me without making any more debate. I will promise you, said
Griflet, as you desire. Then took Griflet his horse in great haste, and
dressed his shield and took a spear in his hand, and so he rode a great
wallop till he came to the fountain, and thereby he saw a rich pavilion,
and thereby under a cloth stood a fair horse well saddled and bridled,
and on a tree a shield of divers colours and a great spear. Then Griflet
smote on the shield with the butt of his spear, that the shield fell
down to the ground. With that the knight came out of the pavilion, and
said, Fair knight, why smote ye down my shield? For I will joust with
you, said Griflet. It is better ye do not, said the knight, for ye are
but young, and late made knight, and your might is nothing to mine. As
for that, said Griflet, I will joust with you. That is me loath, said
the knight, but sith I must needs, I will dress me thereto. Of whence be
ye? said the knight. Sir, I am of Arthur's court. So the two knights ran
together that Griflet's spear all to-shivered; and there withal he smote
Griflet through the shield and the left side, and brake the spear that
the truncheon stuck in his body, that horse and knight fell down.



CHAPTER XXIII. How twelve knights came from Rome and asked truage for
this land of Arthur, and how Arthur fought with a knight.

WHEN the knight saw him lie so on the ground, he alighted, and was
passing heavy, for he weened he had slain him, and then he unlaced
his helm and gat him wind, and so with the truncheon he set him on his
horse, and so betook him to God, and said he had a mighty heart, and if
he might live he would prove a passing good knight. And so Sir Griflet
rode to the court, where great dole was made for him. But through good
leeches he was healed and saved. Right so came into the court twelve
knights, and were aged men, and they came from the Emperor of Rome, and
they asked of Arthur truage for this realm, other else the emperor would
destroy him and his land. Well, said King Arthur, ye are messengers,
therefore ye may say what ye will, other else ye should die therefore.
But this is mine answer: I owe the emperor no truage, nor none will I
hold him, but on a fair field I shall give him my truage that shall be
with a sharp spear, or else with a sharp sword, and that shall not be
long, by my father's soul, Uther Pendragon. And therewith the messengers
departed passingly wroth, and King Arthur as wroth, for in evil time
came they then; for the king was passingly wroth for the hurt of Sir
Griflet. And so he commanded a privy man of his chamber that or it be
day his best horse and armour, with all that longeth unto his person, be
without the city or to-morrow day. Right so or to-morrow day he met with
his man and his horse, and so mounted up and dressed his shield and took
his spear, and bade his chamberlain tarry there till he came again.
And so Arthur rode a soft pace till it was day, and then was he ware
of three churls chasing Merlin, and would have slain him. Then the king
rode unto them, and bade them: Flee, churls! then were they afeard when
they saw a knight, and fled. O Merlin, said Arthur, here hadst thou been
slain for all thy crafts had I not been. Nay, said Merlin, not so, for
I could save myself an I would; and thou art more near thy death than I
am, for thou goest to the deathward, an God be not thy friend.

So as they went thus talking they came to the fountain, and the rich
pavilion there by it. Then King Arthur was ware where sat a knight armed
in a chair. Sir knight, said Arthur, for what cause abidest thou here,
that there may no knight ride this way but if he joust with thee? said
the king. I rede thee leave that custom, said Arthur. This custom, said
the knight, have I used and will use maugre who saith nay, and who is
grieved with my custom let him amend it that will. I will amend it, said
Arthur. I shall defend thee, said the knight. Anon he took his horse
and dressed his shield and took a spear, and they met so hard either
in other's shields, that all to-shivered their spears. Therewith anon
Arthur pulled out his sword. Nay, not so, said the knight; it is fairer,
said the knight, that we twain run more together with sharp spears. I
will well, said Arthur, an I had any more spears. I have enow, said the
knight; so there came a squire and brought two good spears, and Arthur
chose one and he another; so they spurred their horses and came together
with all their mights, that either brake their spears to their hands.
Then Arthur set hand on his sword. Nay, said the knight, ye shall do
better, ye are a passing good jouster as ever I met withal, and once
for the love of the high order of knighthood let us joust once again.
I assent me, said Arthur. Anon there were brought two great spears, and
every knight gat a spear, and therewith they ran together that Arthur's
spear all to-shivered. But the other knight hit him so hard in midst of
the shield, that horse and man fell to the earth, and therewith Arthur
was eager, and pulled out his sword, and said, I will assay thee, sir
knight, on foot, for I have lost the honour on horseback. I will be
on horseback, said the knight. Then was Arthur wroth, and dressed his
shield toward him with his sword drawn. When the knight saw that, he
alighted, for him thought no worship to have a knight at such avail, he
to be on horseback and he on foot, and so he alighted and dressed his
shield unto Arthur. And there began a strong battle with many great
strokes, and so hewed with their swords that the cantels flew in the
fields, and much blood they bled both, that all the place there as they
fought was overbled with blood, and thus they fought long and rested
them, and then they went to the battle again, and so hurtled together
like two rams that either fell to the earth. So at the last they smote
together that both their swords met even together. But the sword of the
knight smote King Arthur's sword in two pieces, wherefore he was heavy.
Then said the knight unto Arthur, Thou art in my daunger whether me
list to save thee or slay thee, and but thou yield thee as overcome and
recreant, thou shalt die. As for death, said King Arthur, welcome be it
when it cometh, but to yield me unto thee as recreant I had liefer die
than to be so shamed. And therewithal the king leapt unto Pellinore, and
took him by the middle and threw him down, and raced off his helm. When
the knight felt that he was adread, for he was a passing big man of
might, and anon he brought Arthur under him, and raced off his helm and
would have smitten off his head.



CHAPTER XXIV. How Merlin saved Arthur's life, and threw an enchantment
on King Pellinore and made him to sleep.

THEREWITHAL came Merlin and said, Knight, hold thy hand, for an thou
slay that knight thou puttest this realm in the greatest damage that
ever was realm: for this knight is a man of more worship than thou
wotest of. Why, who is he? said the knight. It is King Arthur. Then
would he have slain him for dread of his wrath, and heaved up his sword,
and therewith Merlin cast an enchantment to the knight, that he fell to
the earth in a great sleep. Then Merlin took up King Arthur, and rode
forth on the knight's horse. Alas! said Arthur, what hast thou done,
Merlin? hast thou slain this good knight by thy crafts? There liveth not
so worshipful a knight as he was; I had liefer than the stint of my land
a year that he were alive. Care ye not, said Merlin, for he is wholer
than ye; for he is but asleep, and will awake within three hours. I told
you, said Merlin, what a knight he was; here had ye been slain had I not
been. Also there liveth not a bigger knight than he is one, and he shall
hereafter do you right good service; and his name is Pellinore, and he
shall have two sons that shall be passing good men; save one they shall
have no fellow of prowess and of good living, and their names shall be
Percivale of Wales and Lamerake of Wales, and he shall tell you the name
of your own son, begotten of your sister, that shall be the destruction
of all this realm.



CHAPTER XXV. How Arthur by the mean of Merlin gat Excalibur his sword of
the Lady of the Lake.

RIGHT SO the king and he departed, and went unto an hermit that was a
good man and a great leech. So the hermit searched all his wounds and
gave him good salves; so the king was there three days, and then were
his wounds well amended that he might ride and go, and so departed.
And as they rode, Arthur said, I have no sword. No force, said Merlin,
hereby is a sword that shall be yours, an I may. So they rode till they
came to a lake, the which was a fair water and broad, and in the midst
of the lake Arthur was ware of an arm clothed in white samite, that held
a fair sword in that hand. Lo! said Merlin, yonder is that sword that I
spake of. With that they saw a damosel going upon the lake. What damosel
is that? said Arthur. That is the Lady of the Lake, said Merlin; and
within that lake is a rock, and therein is as fair a place as any on
earth, and richly beseen; and this damosel will come to you anon, and
then speak ye fair to her that she will give you that sword. Anon
withal came the damosel unto Arthur, and saluted him, and he her again.
Damosel, said Arthur, what sword is that, that yonder the arm holdeth
above the water? I would it were mine, for I have no sword. Sir Arthur,
king, said the damosel, that sword is mine, and if ye will give me a
gift when I ask it you, ye shall have it. By my faith, said Arthur, I
will give you what gift ye will ask. Well! said the damosel, go ye
into yonder barge, and row yourself to the sword, and take it and the
scabbard with you, and I will ask my gift when I see my time. So Sir
Arthur and Merlin alighted and tied their horses to two trees, and so
they went into the ship, and when they came to the sword that the hand
held, Sir Arthur took it up by the handles, and took it with him, and
the arm and the hand went under the water. And so [they] came unto
the land and rode forth, and then Sir Arthur saw a rich pavilion. What
signifieth yonder pavilion? It is the knight's pavilion, said Merlin,
that ye fought with last, Sir Pellinore; but he is out, he is not there.
He hath ado with a knight of yours that hight Egglame, and they have
foughten together, but at the last Egglame fled, and else he had been
dead, and he hath chased him even to Carlion, and we shall meet with him
anon in the highway. That is well said, said Arthur, now have I a sword,
now will I wage battle with him, and be avenged on him. Sir, you shall
not so, said Merlin, for the knight is weary of fighting and chasing, so
that ye shall have no worship to have ado with him; also he will not be
lightly matched of one knight living, and therefore it is my counsel,
let him pass, for he shall do you good service in short time, and his
sons after his days. Also ye shall see that day in short space, you
shall be right glad to give him your sister to wed. When I see him, I
will do as ye advise, said Arthur.

Then Sir Arthur looked on the sword, and liked it passing well. Whether
liketh you better, said Merlin, the sword or the scabbard? Me liketh
better the sword, said Arthur. Ye are more unwise, said Merlin, for the
scabbard is worth ten of the swords, for whiles ye have the scabbard
upon you, ye shall never lose no blood, be ye never so sore wounded;
therefore keep well the scabbard always with you. So they rode unto
Carlion, and by the way they met with Sir Pellinore; but Merlin had done
such a craft, that Pellinore saw not Arthur, and he passed by without
any words. I marvel, said Arthur, that the knight would not speak. Sir,
said Merlin, he saw you not, for an he had seen you, ye had not lightly
departed. So they came unto Carlion, whereof his knights were passing
glad. And when they heard of his adventures, they marvelled that he
would jeopard his person so, alone. But all men of worship said it
was merry to be under such a chieftain, that would put his person in
adventure as other poor knights did.



CHAPTER XXVI. How tidings came to Arthur that King Rience had overcome
eleven kings, and how he desired Arthur's beard to trim his mantle.

THIS meanwhile came a messenger from King Rience of North Wales, and
king he was of all Ireland, and of many isles. And this was his message,
greeting well King Arthur in this manner wise, saying that King Rience
had discomfited and overcome eleven kings, and everych of them did him
homage, and that was this, they gave him their beards clean flayed off,
as much as there was; wherefore the messenger came for King Arthur's
beard. For King Rience had purfled a mantle with kings' beards, and
there lacked one place of the mantle; wherefore he sent for his beard,
or else he would enter into his lands, and burn and slay, and never
leave till he have the head and the beard. Well, said Arthur, thou hast
said thy message, the which is the most villainous and lewdest message
that ever man heard sent unto a king; also thou mayest see my beard is
full young yet to make a purfle of it. But tell thou thy king this: I
owe him none homage, nor none of mine elders; but or it be long to, he
shall do me homage on both his knees, or else he shall lose his head, by
the faith of my body, for this is the most shamefulest message that ever
I heard speak of. I have espied thy king met never yet with worshipful
man, but tell him, I will have his head without he do me homage. Then
the messenger departed.

Now is there any here, said Arthur, that knoweth King Rience? Then
answered a knight that hight Naram, Sir, I know the king well; he is a
passing good man of his body, as few be living, and a passing proud man,
and Sir, doubt ye not he will make war on you with a mighty puissance.
Well, said Arthur, I shall ordain for him in short time.



CHAPTER XXVII. How all the children were sent for that were born on
May-day, and how Mordred was saved.

THEN King Arthur let send for all the children born on May-day, begotten
of lords and born of ladies; for Merlin told King Arthur that he that
should destroy him should be born on May-day, wherefore he sent for them
all, upon pain of death; and so there were found many lords' sons, and
all were sent unto the king, and so was Mordred sent by King Lot's wife,
and all were put in a ship to the sea, and some were four weeks old, and
some less. And so by fortune the ship drave unto a castle, and was all
to-riven, and destroyed the most part, save that Mordred was cast up,
and a good man found him, and nourished him till he was fourteen year
old, and then he brought him to the court, as it rehearseth afterward,
toward the end of the Death of Arthur. So many lords and barons of this
realm were displeased, for their children were so lost, and many put the
wite on Merlin more than on Arthur; so what for dread and for love, they
held their peace. But when the messenger came to King Rience, then
was he wood out of measure, and purveyed him for a great host, as it
rehearseth after in the book of Balin le Savage, that followeth next
after, how by adventure Balin gat the sword.

Explicit liber primus. Incipit liber secundus



BOOK II.



CHAPTER I. Of a damosel which came girt with a sword for to find a man
of such virtue to draw it out of the scabbard.

AFTER the death of Uther Pendragon reigned Arthur his son, the which had
great war in his days for to get all England into his hand. For there
were many kings within the realm of England, and in Wales, Scotland, and
Cornwall. So it befell on a time when King Arthur was at London, there
came a knight and told the king tidings how that the King Rience of
North Wales had reared a great number of people, and were entered into
the land, and burnt and slew the king's true liege people. If this be
true, said Arthur, it were great shame unto mine estate but that he were
mightily withstood. It is truth, said the knight, for I saw the host
myself. Well, said the king, let make a cry, that all the lords,
knights, and gentlemen of arms, should draw unto a castle called Camelot
in those days, and there the king would let make a council-general and a
great jousts.

So when the king was come thither with all his baronage, and lodged as
they seemed best, there was come a damosel the which was sent on message
from the great lady Lile of Avelion. And when she came before King
Arthur, she told from whom she came, and how she was sent on message
unto him for these causes. Then she let her mantle fall that was richly
furred; and then was she girt with a noble sword whereof the king had
marvel, and said, Damosel, for what cause are ye girt with that sword?
it beseemeth you not. Now shall I tell you, said the damosel; this sword
that I am girt withal doth me great sorrow and cumbrance, for I may not
be delivered of this sword but by a knight, but he must be a passing
good man of his hands and of his deeds, and without villainy or
treachery, and without treason. And if I may find such a knight that
hath all these virtues, he may draw out this sword out of the sheath,
for I have been at King Rience's it was told me there were passing good
knights, and he and all his knights have assayed it and none can speed.
This is a great marvel, said Arthur, if this be sooth; I will myself
assay to draw out the sword, not presuming upon myself that I am the
best knight, but that I will begin to draw at your sword in giving
example to all the barons that they shall assay everych one after other
when I have assayed it. Then Arthur took the sword by the sheath and by
the girdle and pulled at it eagerly, but the sword would not out.

Sir, said the damosel, you need not to pull half so hard, for he that
shall pull it out shall do it with little might. Ye say well, said
Arthur; now assay ye all my barons; but beware ye be not defiled with
shame, treachery, nor guile. Then it will not avail, said the damosel,
for he must be a clean knight without villainy, and of a gentle strain
of father side and mother side. Most of all the barons of the Round
Table that were there at that time assayed all by row, but there might
none speed; wherefore the damosel made great sorrow out of measure, and
said, Alas! I weened in this court had been the best knights without
treachery or treason. By my faith, said Arthur, here are good knights,
as I deem, as any be in the world, but their grace is not to help you,
wherefore I am displeased.



CHAPTER II. How Balin, arrayed like a poor knight, pulled out the sword,
which afterward was the cause of his death.

THEN fell it so that time there was a poor knight with King Arthur, that
had been prisoner with him half a year and more for slaying of a knight,
the which was cousin unto King Arthur. The name of this knight was
called Balin, and by good means of the barons he was delivered out of
prison, for he was a good man named of his body, and he was born in
Northumberland. And so he went privily into the court, and saw this
adventure, whereof it raised his heart, and he would assay it as other
knights did, but for he was poor and poorly arrayed he put him not far
in press. But in his heart he was fully assured to do as well, if his
grace happed him, as any knight that there was. And as the damosel took
her leave of Arthur and of all the barons, so departing, this knight
Balin called unto her, and said, Damosel, I pray you of your courtesy,
suffer me as well to assay as these lords; though that I be so poorly
clothed, in my heart meseemeth I am fully assured as some of these
others, and meseemeth in my heart to speed right well. The damosel
beheld the poor knight, and saw he was a likely man, but for his poor
arrayment she thought he should be of no worship without villainy or
treachery. And then she said unto the knight, Sir, it needeth not to
put me to more pain or labour, for it seemeth not you to speed there as
other have failed. Ah! fair damosel, said Balin, worthiness, and good
tatches, and good deeds, are not only in arrayment, but manhood and
worship is hid within man's person, and many a worshipful knight is not
known unto all people, and therefore worship and hardiness is not in
arrayment. By God, said the damosel, ye say sooth; therefore ye shall
assay to do what ye may. Then Balin took the sword by the girdle and
sheath, and drew it out easily; and when he looked on the sword it
pleased him much. Then had the king and all the barons great marvel that
Balin had done that adventure, and many knights had great despite of
Balin. Certes, said the damosel, this is a passing good knight, and the
best that ever I found, and most of worship without treason, treachery,
or villainy, and many marvels shall he do. Now, gentle and courteous
knight, give me the sword again. Nay, said Balin, for this sword will I
keep, but it be taken from me with force. Well, said the damosel, ye are
not wise to keep the sword from me, for ye shall slay with the sword the
best friend that ye have, and the man that ye most love in the world,
and the sword shall be your destruction. I shall take the adventure,
said Balin, that God will ordain me, but the sword ye shall not have
at this time, by the faith of my body. Ye shall repent it within short
time, said the damosel, for I would have the sword more for your avail
than for mine, for I am passing heavy for your sake; for ye will not
believe that sword shall be your destruction, and that is great pity.
With that the damosel departed, making great sorrow.

Anon after, Balin sent for his horse and armour, and so would depart
from the court, and took his leave of King Arthur. Nay, said the king, I
suppose ye will not depart so lightly from this fellowship, I suppose ye
are displeased that I have shewed you unkindness; blame me the less,
for I was misinformed against you, but I weened ye had not been such a
knight as ye are, of worship and prowess, and if ye will abide in
this court among my fellowship, I shall so advance you as ye shall be
pleased. God thank your highness, said Balin, your bounty and highness
may no man praise half to the value; but at this time I must needs
depart, beseeching you alway of your good grace. Truly, said the king,
I am right wroth for your departing; I pray you, fair knight, that ye
tarry not long, and ye shall be right welcome to me, and to my barons,
and I shall amend all miss that I have done against you; God thank your
great lordship, said Balin, and therewith made him ready to depart. Then
the most part of the knights of the Round Table said that Balin did not
this adventure all only by might, but by witchcraft.



CHAPTER III. How the Lady of the Lake demanded the knight's head that
had won the sword, or the maiden's head.

THE meanwhile, that this knight was making him ready to depart, there
came into the court a lady that hight the Lady of the Lake. And she came
on horseback, richly beseen, and saluted King Arthur, and there asked
him a gift that he promised her when she gave him the sword. That is
sooth, said Arthur, a gift I promised you, but I have forgotten the
name of my sword that ye gave me. The name of it, said the lady, is
Excalibur, that is as much to say as Cut-steel. Ye say well, said the
king; ask what ye will and ye shall have it, an it lie in my power to
give it. Well, said the lady, I ask the head of the knight that hath won
the sword, or else the damosel's head that brought it; I take no force
though I have both their heads, for he slew my brother, a good knight
and a true, and that gentlewoman was causer of my father's death.
Truly, said King Arthur, I may not grant neither of their heads with
my worship, therefore ask what ye will else, and I shall fulfil your
desire. I will ask none other thing, said the lady. When Balin was ready
to depart, he saw the Lady of the Lake, that by her means had slain
Balin's mother, and he had sought her three years; and when it was told
him that she asked his head of King Arthur, he went to her straight and
said, Evil be you found; ye would have my head, and therefore ye shall
lose yours, and with his sword lightly he smote off her head before
King Arthur. Alas, for shame! said Arthur, why have ye done so? ye have
shamed me and all my court, for this was a lady that I was beholden to,
and hither she came under my safe-conduct; I shall never forgive you
that trespass. Sir, said Balin, me forthinketh of your displeasure,
for this same lady was the untruest lady living, and by enchantment and
sorcery she hath been the destroyer of many good knights, and she was
causer that my mother was burnt, through her falsehood and treachery.
What cause soever ye had, said Arthur, ye should have forborne her in
my presence; therefore, think not the contrary, ye shall repent it, for
such another despite had I never in my court; therefore withdraw you out
of my court in all haste ye may.

Then Balin took up the head of the lady, and bare it with him to his
hostelry, and there he met with his squire, that was sorry he had
displeased King Arthur and so they rode forth out of the town. Now, said
Balin, we must depart, take thou this head and bear it to my friends,
and tell them how I have sped, and tell my friends in Northumberland
that my most foe is dead. Also tell them how I am out of prison, and
what adventure befell me at the getting of this sword. Alas! said the
squire, ye are greatly to blame for to displease King Arthur. As for
that, said Balin, I will hie me, in all the haste that I may, to meet
with King Rience and destroy him, either else to die therefore; and if
it may hap me to win him, then will King Arthur be my good and gracious
lord. Where shall I meet with you? said the squire. In King Arthur's
court, said Balin. So his squire and he departed at that time. Then King
Arthur and all the court made great dole and had shame of the death of
the Lady of the Lake. Then the king buried her richly.



CHAPTER IV. How Merlin told the adventure of this damosel.

AT that time there was a knight, the which was the king's son of
Ireland, and his name was Lanceor, the which was an orgulous knight, and
counted himself one of the best of the court; and he had great despite
at Balin for the achieving of the sword, that any should be accounted
more hardy, or more of prowess; and he asked King Arthur if he would
give him leave to ride after Balin and to revenge the despite that he
had done. Do your best, said Arthur, I am right wroth with Balin; I
would he were quit of the despite that he hath done to me and to my
court. Then this Lanceor went to his hostelry to make him ready. In the
meanwhile came Merlin unto the court of King Arthur, and there was told
him the adventure of the sword, and the death of the Lady of the Lake.
Now shall I say you, said Merlin; this same damosel that here standeth,
that brought the sword unto your court, I shall tell you the cause of
her coming: she was the falsest damosel that liveth. Say not so, said
they. She hath a brother, a passing good knight of prowess and a
full true man; and this damosel loved another knight that held her to
paramour, and this good knight her brother met with the knight that held
her to paramour, and slew him by force of his hands. When this false
damosel understood this, she went to the Lady Lile of Avelion, and
besought her of help, to be avenged on her own brother.



CHAPTER V. How Balin was pursued by Sir Lanceor, knight of Ireland, and
how he jousted and slew him.

AND so this Lady Lile of Avelion took her this sword that she brought
with her, and told there should no man pull it out of the sheath but if
he be one of the best knights of this realm, and he should be hard and
full of prowess, and with that sword he should slay her brother. This
was the cause that the damosel came into this court. I know it as well
as ye. Would God she had not come into this court, but she came never in
fellowship of worship to do good, but always great harm; and that knight
that hath achieved the sword shall be destroyed by that sword, for
the which will be great damage, for there liveth not a knight of more
prowess than he is, and he shall do unto you, my Lord Arthur, great
honour and kindness; and it is great pity he shall not endure but a
while, for of his strength and hardiness I know not his match living.

So the knight of Ireland armed him at all points, and dressed his shield
on his shoulder, and mounted upon horseback, and took his spear in his
hand, and rode after a great pace, as much as his horse might go; and
within a little space on a mountain he had a sight of Balin, and with a
loud voice he cried, Abide, knight, for ye shall abide whether ye will
or nill, and the shield that is to-fore you shall not help. When Balin
heard the noise, he turned his horse fiercely, and said, Fair knight,
what will ye with me, will ye joust with me? Yea, said the Irish knight,
therefore come I after you. Peradventure, said Balin, it had been better
to have holden you at home, for many a man weeneth to put his enemy to
a rebuke, and oft it falleth to himself. Of what court be ye sent from?
said Balin. I am come from the court of King Arthur, said the knight of
Ireland, that come hither for to revenge the despite ye did this day to
King Arthur and to his court. Well, said Balin, I see well I must have
ado with you, that me forthinketh for to grieve King Arthur, or any of
his court; and your quarrel is full simple, said Balin, unto me, for the
lady that is dead, did me great damage, and else would I have been loath
as any knight that liveth for to slay a lady. Make you ready, said the
knight Lanceor, and dress you unto me, for that one shall abide in the
field. Then they took their spears, and came together as much as their
horses might drive, and the Irish knight smote Balin on the shield, that
all went shivers off his spear, and Balin hit him through the shield,
and the hauberk perished, and so pierced through his body and the
horse's croup, and anon turned his horse fiercely, and drew out his
sword, and wist not that he had slain him; and then he saw him lie as a
dead corpse.



CHAPTER VI. How a damosel, which was love to Lanceor, slew herself for
love, and how Balin met with his brother Balan.

THEN he looked by him, and was ware of a damosel that came riding full
fast as the horse might ride, on a fair palfrey. And when she espied
that Lanceor was slain, she made sorrow out of measure, and said, O
Balin, two bodies thou hast slain and one heart, and two hearts in one
body, and two souls thou hast lost. And therewith she took the sword
from her love that lay dead, and fell to the ground in a swoon. And when
she arose she made great dole out of measure, the which sorrow grieved
Balin passingly sore, and he went unto her for to have taken the sword
out of her hand, but she held it so fast he might not take it out of her
hand unless he should have hurt her, and suddenly she set the pommel
to the ground, and rove herself through the body. When Balin espied her
deeds, he was passing heavy in his heart, and ashamed that so fair a
damosel had destroyed herself for the love of his death. Alas, said
Balin, me repenteth sore the death of this knight, for the love of this
damosel, for there was much true love betwixt them both, and for sorrow
might not longer behold him, but turned his horse and looked toward a
great forest, and there he was ware, by the arms, of his brother Balan.
And when they were met they put off their helms and kissed together, and
wept for joy and pity. Then Balan said, I little weened to have met with
you at this sudden adventure; I am right glad of your deliverance out
of your dolorous prisonment, for a man told me, in the castle of Four
Stones, that ye were delivered, and that man had seen you in the court
of King Arthur, and therefore I came hither into this country, for here
I supposed to find you. Anon the knight Balin told his brother of his
adventure of the sword, and of the death of the Lady of the Lake, and
how King Arthur was displeased with him. Wherefore he sent this knight
after me, that lieth here dead, and the death of this damosel grieveth
me sore. So doth it me, said Balan, but ye must take the adventure that
God will ordain you. Truly, said Balin, I am right heavy that my Lord
Arthur is displeased with me, for he is the most worshipful knight that
reigneth now on earth, and his love will I get or else will I put my
life in adventure. For the King Rience lieth at a siege at the Castle
Terrabil, and thither will we draw in all haste, to prove our worship
and prowess upon him. I will well, said Balan, that we do, and we will
help each other as brethren ought to do.



CHAPTER VII. How a dwarf reproved Balin for the death of Lanceor, and
how King Mark of Cornwall found them, and made a tomb over them.

Now go we hence, said Balin, and well be we met. The meanwhile as they
talked, there came a dwarf from the city of Camelot on horseback, as
much as he might; and found the dead bodies, wherefore he made great
dole, and pulled out his hair for sorrow, and said, Which of you knights
have done this deed? Whereby askest thou it? said Balan. For I would wit
it, said the dwarf. It was I, said Balin, that slew this knight in my
defence, for hither he came to chase me, and either I must slay him or
he me; and this damosel slew herself for his love, which repenteth me,
and for her sake I shall owe all women the better love. Alas, said the
dwarf, thou hast done great damage unto thyself, for this knight that is
here dead was one of the most valiantest men that lived, and trust well,
Balin, the kin of this knight will chase you through the world till they
have slain you. As for that, said Balin, I fear not greatly, but I am
right heavy that I have displeased my lord King Arthur, for the death of
this knight. So as they talked together, there came a king of Cornwall
riding, the which hight King Mark. And when he saw these two bodies
dead, and understood how they were dead, by the two knights above said,
then made the king great sorrow for the true love that was betwixt them,
and said, I will not depart till I have on this earth made a tomb, and
there he pight his pavilions and sought through all the country to find
a tomb, and in a church they found one was fair and rich, and then the
king let put them both in the earth, and put the tomb upon them, and
wrote the names of them both on the tomb. How here lieth Lanceor the
king's son of Ireland, that at his own request was slain by the hands
of Balin; and how his lady, Colombe, and paramour, slew herself with her
love's sword for dole and sorrow.



CHAPTER VIII. How Merlin prophesied that two the best knights of the
world should fight there, which were Sir Lancelot and Sir Tristram.

THE meanwhile as this was a-doing, in came Merlin to King Mark, and
seeing all his doing, said, Here shall be in this same place the
greatest battle betwixt two knights that was or ever shall be, and the
truest lovers, and yet none of them shall slay other. And there Merlin
wrote their names upon the tomb with letters of gold that should fight
in that place, whose names were Launcelot de Lake, and Tristram. Thou
art a marvellous man, said King Mark unto Merlin, that speakest of such
marvels, thou art a boistous man and an unlikely to tell of such deeds.
What is thy name? said King Mark. At this time, said Merlin, I will not
tell, but at that time when Sir Tristram is taken with his sovereign
lady, then ye shall hear and know my name, and at that time ye shall
hear tidings that shall not please you. Then said Merlin to Balin, Thou
hast done thyself great hurt, because that thou savest not this lady
that slew herself, that might have saved her an thou wouldest. By the
faith of my body, said Balin, I might not save her, for she slew herself
suddenly. Me repenteth, said Merlin; because of the death of that lady
thou shalt strike a stroke most dolorous that ever man struck, except
the stroke of our Lord, for thou shalt hurt the truest knight and the
man of most worship that now liveth, and through that stroke three
kingdoms shall be in great poverty, misery and wretchedness twelve
years, and the knight shall not be whole of that wound for many years.
Then Merlin took his leave of Balin. And Balin said, If I wist it were
sooth that ye say I should do such a perilous deed as that, I would slay
myself to make thee a liar. Therewith Merlin vanished away suddenly. And
then Balan and his brother took their leave of King Mark. First, said
the king, tell me your name. Sir, said Balan, ye may see he beareth two
swords, thereby ye may call him the Knight with the Two Swords. And so
departed King Mark unto Camelot to King Arthur, and Balin took the
way toward King Rience; and as they rode together they met with Merlin
disguised, but they knew him not. Whither ride you? said Merlin. We have
little to do, said the two knights, to tell thee. But what is thy name?
said Balin. At this time, said Merlin, I will not tell it thee. It is
evil seen, said the knights, that thou art a true man that thou wilt not
tell thy name. As for that, said Merlin, be it as it be may, I can tell
you wherefore ye ride this way, for to meet King Rience; but it will not
avail you without ye have my counsel. Ah! said Balin, ye are Merlin; we
will be ruled by your counsel. Come on, said Merlin, ye shall have great
worship, and look that ye do knightly, for ye shall have great need. As
for that, said Balin, dread you not, we will do what we may.



CHAPTER IX. How Balin and his brother, by the counsel of Merlin, took
King Rience and brought him to King Arthur.

THEN Merlin lodged them in a wood among leaves beside the highway, and
took off the bridles of their horses and put them to grass and laid them
down to rest them till it was nigh midnight. Then Merlin bade them rise,
and make them ready, for the king was nigh them, that was stolen away
from his host with a three score horses of his best knights, and twenty
of them rode to-fore to warn the Lady de Vance that the king was coming;
for that night King Rience should have lain with her. Which is the king?
said Balin. Abide, said Merlin, here in a strait way ye shall meet with
him; and therewith he showed Balin and his brother where he rode.

Anon Balin and his brother met with the king, and smote him down, and
wounded him fiercely, and laid him to the ground; and there they slew on
the right hand and the left hand, and slew more than forty of his men,
and the remnant fled. Then went they again to King Rience and would have
slain him had he not yielded him unto their grace. Then said he thus:
Knights full of prowess, slay me not, for by my life ye may win, and by
my death ye shall win nothing. Then said these two knights, Ye say
sooth and truth, and so laid him on a horse-litter. With that Merlin was
vanished, and came to King Arthur aforehand, and told him how his most
enemy was taken and discomfited. By whom? said King Arthur. By two
knights, said Merlin, that would please your lordship, and to-morrow ye
shall know what knights they are. Anon after came the Knight with the
Two Swords and Balan his brother, and brought with them King Rience of
North Wales, and there delivered him to the porters, and charged them
with him; and so they two returned again in the dawning of the day. King
Arthur came then to King Rience, and said, Sir king, ye are welcome: by
what adventure come ye hither? Sir, said King Rience, I came hither by
an hard adventure. Who won you? said King Arthur. Sir, said the king,
the Knight with the Two Swords and his brother, which are two marvellous
knights of prowess. I know them not, said Arthur, but much I am beholden
to them. Ah, said Merlin, I shall tell you: it is Balin that achieved
the sword, and his brother Balan, a good knight, there liveth not a
better of prowess and of worthiness, and it shall be the greatest dole
of him that ever I knew of knight, for he shall not long endure. Alas,
said King Arthur, that is great pity; for I am much beholden unto him,
and I have ill deserved it unto him for his kindness. Nay, said Merlin,
he shall do much more for you, and that shall ye know in haste. But,
sir, are ye purveyed, said Merlin, for to-morn the host of Nero,
King Rience's brother, will set on you or noon with a great host, and
therefore make you ready, for I will depart from you.



CHAPTER X. How King Arthur had a battle against Nero and King Lot of
Orkney, and how King Lot was deceived by Merlin, and how twelve kings
were slain.

THEN King Arthur made ready his host in ten battles and Nero was ready
in the field afore the Castle Terrabil with a great host, and he had
ten battles, with many more people than Arthur had. Then Nero had the
vanguard with the most part of his people, and Merlin came to King Lot
of the Isle of Orkney, and held him with a tale of prophecy, till Nero
and his people were destroyed. And there Sir Kay the seneschal did
passingly well, that the days of his life the worship went never from
him; and Sir Hervis de Revel did marvellous deeds with King Arthur, and
King Arthur slew that day twenty knights and maimed forty. At that time
came in the Knight with the Two Swords and his brother Balan, but they
two did so marvellously that the king and all the knights marvelled of
them, and all they that beheld them said they were sent from heaven as
angels, or devils from hell; and King Arthur said himself they were the
best knights that ever he saw, for they gave such strokes that all men
had wonder of them.

In the meanwhile came one to King Lot, and told him while he tarried
there Nero was destroyed and slain with all his people. Alas, said King
Lot, I am ashamed, for by my default there is many a worshipful man
slain, for an we had been together there had been none host under the
heaven that had been able for to have matched with us; this faiter with
his prophecy hath mocked me. All that did Merlin, for he knew well
that an King Lot had been with his body there at the first battle, King
Arthur had been slain, and all his people destroyed; and well Merlin
knew that one of the kings should be dead that day, and loath was Merlin
that any of them both should be slain; but of the twain, he had liefer
King Lot had been slain than King Arthur. Now what is best to do? said
King Lot of Orkney; whether is me better to treat with King Arthur or to
fight, for the greater part of our people are slain and destroyed? Sir,
said a knight, set on Arthur for they are weary and forfoughten and we
be fresh. As for me, said King Lot, I would every knight would do
his part as I would do mine. And then they advanced banners and smote
together and all to-shivered their spears; and Arthur's knights, with
the help of the Knight with the Two Swords and his brother Balan put
King Lot and his host to the worse. But always King Lot held him in the
foremost front, and did marvellous deeds of arms, for all his host
was borne up by his hands, for he abode all knights. Alas he might not
endure, the which was great pity, that so worthy a knight as he was one
should be overmatched, that of late time afore had been a knight of King
Arthur's, and wedded the sister of King Arthur; and for King Arthur
lay by King Lot's wife, the which was Arthur's sister, and gat on her
Mordred, therefore King Lot held against Arthur. So there was a knight
that was called the Knight with the Strange Beast, and at that time his
right name was called Pellinore, the which was a good man of prowess,
and he smote a mighty stroke at King Lot as he fought with all his
enemies, and he failed of his stroke, and smote the horse's neck, that
he fell to the ground with King Lot. And therewith anon Pellinore smote
him a great stroke through the helm and head unto the brows. And then
all the host of Orkney fled for the death of King Lot, and there were
slain many mothers' sons. But King Pellinore bare the wite of the death
of King Lot, wherefore Sir Gawaine revenged the death of his father the
tenth year after he was made knight, and slew King Pellinore with his
own hands. Also there were slain at that battle twelve kings on the
side of King Lot with Nero, and all were buried in the Church of Saint
Stephen's in Camelot, and the remnant of knights and of others were
buried in a great rock.



CHAPTER XI. Of the interment of twelve kings, and of the prophecy of
Merlin, and how Balin should give the dolorous stroke.

SO at the interment came King Lot's wife Margawse with her four sons,
Gawaine, Agravaine, Gaheris, and Gareth. Also there came thither King
Uriens, Sir Ewaine's father, and Morgan le Fay his wife that was King
Arthur's sister. All these came to the interment. But of all these
twelve kings King Arthur let make the tomb of King Lot passing richly,
and made his tomb by his own; and then Arthur let make twelve images
of latten and copper, and over-gilt it with gold, in the sign of twelve
kings, and each one of them held a taper of wax that burnt day and
night; and King Arthur was made in sign of a figure standing above
them with a sword drawn in his hand, and all the twelve figures had
countenance like unto men that were overcome. All this made Merlin
by his subtle craft, and there he told the king, When I am dead these
tapers shall burn no longer, and soon after the adventures of the
Sangreal shall come among you and be achieved. Also he told Arthur how
Balin the worshipful knight shall give the dolorous stroke, whereof
shall fall great vengeance. Oh, where is Balin and Balan and Pellinore?
said King Arthur. As for Pellinore, said Merlin, he will meet with
you soon; and as for Balin he will not be long from you; but the other
brother will depart, ye shall see him no more. By my faith, said Arthur,
they are two marvellous knights, and namely Balin passeth of prowess of
any knight that ever I found, for much beholden am I unto him; would God
he would abide with me. Sir, said Merlin, look ye keep well the scabbard
of Excalibur, for ye shall lose no blood while ye have the scabbard upon
you, though ye have as many wounds upon you as ye may have. So after,
for great trust, Arthur betook the scabbard to Morgan le Fay his sister,
and she loved another knight better than her husband King Uriens or King
Arthur, and she would have had Arthur her brother slain, and therefore
she let make another scabbard like it by enchantment, and gave the
scabbard Excalibur to her love; and the knight's name was called
Accolon, that after had near slain King Arthur. After this Merlin told
unto King Arthur of the prophecy that there should be a great battle
beside Salisbury, and Mordred his own son should be against him. Also he
told him that Bagdemegus was his cousin, and germain unto King Uriens.



CHAPTER XII. How a sorrowful knight came before Arthur, and how Balin
fetched him, and how that knight was slain by a knight invisible.

WITHIN a day or two King Arthur was somewhat sick, and he let pitch his
pavilion in a meadow, and there he laid him down on a pallet to sleep,
but he might have no rest. Right so he heard a great noise of an horse,
and therewith the king looked out at the porch of the pavilion, and saw
a knight coming even by him, making great dole. Abide, fair sir, said
Arthur, and tell me wherefore thou makest this sorrow. Ye may little
amend me, said the knight, and so passed forth to the castle of Meliot.
Anon after there came Balin, and when he saw King Arthur he alighted off
his horse, and came to the King on foot, and saluted him. By my head,
said Arthur, ye be welcome. Sir, right now came riding this way a knight
making great mourn, for what cause I cannot tell; wherefore I would
desire of you of your courtesy and of your gentleness to fetch again
that knight either by force or else by his good will. I will do more for
your lordship than that, said Balin; and so he rode more than a pace,
and found the knight with a damosel in a forest, and said, Sir knight,
ye must come with me unto King Arthur, for to tell him of your sorrow.
That will I not, said the knight, for it will scathe me greatly, and do
you none avail. Sir, said Balin, I pray you make you ready, for ye must
go with me, or else I must fight with you and bring you by force, and
that were me loath to do. Will ye be my warrant, said the knight, an I
go with you? Yea, said Balin, or else I will die therefore. And so he
made him ready to go with Balin, and left the damosel still. And as they
were even afore King Arthur's pavilion, there came one invisible, and
smote this knight that went with Balin throughout the body with a spear.
Alas, said the knight, I am slain under your conduct with a knight
called Garlon; therefore take my horse that is better than yours, and
ride to the damosel, and follow the quest that I was in as she will lead
you, and revenge my death when ye may. That shall I do, said Balin, and
that I make vow unto knighthood; and so he departed from this knight
with great sorrow. So King Arthur let bury this knight richly, and made
a mention on his tomb, how there was slain Herlews le Berbeus, and by
whom the treachery was done, the knight Garlon. But ever the damosel
bare the truncheon of the spear with her that Sir Herlews was slain
withal.



CHAPTER XIII. How Balin and the damosel met with a knight which was in
likewise slain, and how the damosel bled for the custom of a castle.

So Balin and the damosel rode into a forest, and there met with a knight
that had been a-hunting, and that knight asked Balin for what cause he
made so great sorrow. Me list not to tell you, said Balin. Now, said
the knight, an I were armed as ye be I would fight with you. That should
little need, said Balin, I am not afeard to tell you, and told him all
the cause how it was. Ah, said the knight, is this all? here I ensure
you by the faith of my body never to depart from you while my life
lasteth. And so they went to the hostelry and armed them, and so rode
forth with Balin. And as they came by an hermitage even by a churchyard,
there came the knight Garlon invisible, and smote this knight, Perin de
Mountbeliard, through the body with a spear. Alas, said the knight, I am
slain by this traitor knight that rideth invisible. Alas, said Balin, it
is not the first despite he hath done me; and there the hermit and Balin
buried the knight under a rich stone and a tomb royal. And on the morn
they found letters of gold written, how Sir Gawaine shall revenge his
father's death, King Lot, on the King Pellinore. Anon after this
Balin and the damosel rode till they came to a castle, and there Balin
alighted, and he and the damosel went to go into the castle, and anon
as Balin came within the castle's gate the portcullis fell down at his
back, and there fell many men about the damosel, and would have slain
her. When Balin saw that, he was sore aggrieved, for he might not help
the damosel. Then he went up into the tower, and leapt over walls into
the ditch, and hurt him not; and anon he pulled out his sword and would
have foughten with them. And they all said nay, they would not fight
with him, for they did nothing but the old custom of the castle; and
told him how their lady was sick, and had lain many years, and she might
not be whole but if she had a dish of silver full of blood of a clean
maid and a king's daughter; and therefore the custom of this castle is,
there shall no damosel pass this way but she shall bleed of her blood in
a silver dish full. Well, said Balin, she shall bleed as much as she may
bleed, but I will not lose the life of her whiles my life lasteth. And
so Balin made her to bleed by her good will, but her blood helped not
the lady. And so he and she rested there all night, and had there right
good cheer, and on the morn they passed on their ways. And as it telleth
after in the Sangreal, that Sir Percivale's sister helped that lady with
her blood, whereof she was dead.



CHAPTER XIV. How Balin met with that knight named Garlon at a feast, and
there he slew him, to have his blood to heal therewith the son of his
host.

THEN they rode three or four days and never met with adventure, and by
hap they were lodged with a gentle man that was a rich man and well
at ease. And as they sat at their supper Balin overheard one complain
grievously by him in a chair. What is this noise? said Balin. Forsooth,
said his host, I will tell you. I was but late at a jousting, and there
I jousted with a knight that is brother unto King Pellam, and twice
smote I him down, and then he promised to quit me on my best friend; and
so he wounded my son, that cannot be whole till I have of that knight's
blood, and he rideth alway invisible; but I know not his name. Ah! said
Balin, I know that knight, his name is Garlon, he hath slain two knights
of mine in the same manner, therefore I had liefer meet with that knight
than all the gold in this realm, for the despite he hath done me. Well,
said his host, I shall tell you, King Pellam of Listeneise hath made do
cry in all this country a great feast that shall be within these twenty
days, and no knight may come there but if he bring his wife with him,
or his paramour; and that knight, your enemy and mine, ye shall see that
day. Then I behote you, said Balin, part of his blood to heal your son
withal. We will be forward to-morn, said his host. So on the morn they
rode all three toward Pellam, and they had fifteen days' journey or
they came thither; and that same day began the great feast. And so they
alighted and stabled their horses, and went into the castle; but Balin's
host might not be let in because he had no lady. Then Balin was well
received and brought unto a chamber and unarmed him; and there were
brought him robes to his pleasure, and would have had Balin leave his
sword behind him. Nay, said Balin, that do I not, for it is the custom
of my country a knight always to keep his weapon with him, and that
custom will I keep, or else I will depart as I came. Then they gave him
leave to wear his sword, and so he went unto the castle, and was set
among knights of worship, and his lady afore him.

Soon Balin asked a knight, Is there not a knight in this court whose
name is Garlon? Yonder he goeth, said a knight, he with the black face;
he is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many
good knights, for he goeth invisible. Ah well, said Balin, is that he?
Then Balin advised him long: If I slay him here I shall not escape, and
if I leave him now, peradventure I shall never meet with him again
at such a steven, and much harm he will do an he live. Therewith this
Garlon espied that this Balin beheld him, and then he came and smote
Balin on the face with the back of his hand, and said, Knight, why
beholdest me so? for shame therefore, eat thy meat and do that thou came
for. Thou sayest sooth, said Balin, this is not the first despite that
thou hast done me, and therefore I will do what I came for, and rose
up fiercely and clave his head to the shoulders. Give me the truncheon,
said Balin to his lady, wherewith he slew your knight. Anon she gave
it him, for alway she bare the truncheon with her. And therewith Balin
smote him through the body, and said openly, With that truncheon thou
hast slain a good knight, and now it sticketh in thy body. And then
Balin called unto him his host, saying, Now may ye fetch blood enough to
heal your son withal.



CHAPTER XV. How Balin fought with King Pellam, and how his sword brake,
and how he gat a spear wherewith he smote the dolorous stroke.

ANON all the knights arose from the table for to set on Balin, and King
Pellam himself arose up fiercely, and said, Knight, hast thou slain my
brother? thou shalt die therefore or thou depart. Well, said Balin, do
it yourself. Yes, said King Pellam, there shall no man have ado with
thee but myself, for the love of my brother. Then King Pellam caught
in his hand a grim weapon and smote eagerly at Balin; but Balin put the
sword betwixt his head and the stroke, and therewith his sword burst in
sunder. And when Balin was weaponless he ran into a chamber for to seek
some weapon, and so from chamber to chamber, and no weapon he could
find, and always King Pellam after him. And at the last he entered into
a chamber that was marvellously well dight and richly, and a bed arrayed
with cloth of gold, the richest that might be thought, and one lying
therein, and thereby stood a table of clean gold with four pillars of
silver that bare up the table, and upon the table stood a marvellous
spear strangely wrought. And when Balin saw that spear, he gat it in his
hand and turned him to King Pellam, and smote him passingly sore with
that spear, that King Pellam fell down in a swoon, and therewith the
castle roof and walls brake and fell to the earth, and Balin fell down
so that he might not stir foot nor hand. And so the most part of the
castle, that was fallen down through that dolorous stroke, lay upon
Pellam and Balin three days.



CHAPTER XVI. How Balin was delivered by Merlin, and saved a knight that
would have slain himself for love.

THEN Merlin came thither and took up Balin, and gat him a good horse,
for his was dead, and bade him ride out of that country. I would have
my damosel, said Balin. Lo, said Merlin, where she lieth dead. And King
Pellam lay so, many years sore wounded, and might never be whole till
Galahad the haut prince healed him in the quest of the Sangreal, for in
that place was part of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, that Joseph
of Arimathea brought into this land, and there himself lay in that rich
bed. And that was the same spear that Longius smote our Lord to the
heart; and King Pellam was nigh of Joseph's kin, and that was the most
worshipful man that lived in those days, and great pity it was of his
hurt, for through that stroke, turned to great dole, tray and tene. Then
departed Balin from Merlin, and said, In this world we meet never no
more. So he rode forth through the fair countries and cities, and found
the people dead, slain on every side. And all that were alive cried,
O Balin, thou hast caused great damage in these countries; for the
dolorous stroke thou gavest unto King Pellam three countries are
destroyed, and doubt not but the vengeance will fall on thee at the
last. When Balin was past those countries he was passing fain.

So he rode eight days or he met with adventure. And at the last he
came into a fair forest in a valley, and was ware of a tower, and there
beside he saw a great horse of war, tied to a tree, and there beside sat
a fair knight on the ground and made great mourning, and he was a likely
man, and a well made. Balin said, God save you, why be ye so heavy?
tell me and I will amend it, an I may, to my power. Sir knight, said he
again, thou dost me great grief, for I was in merry thoughts, and now
thou puttest me to more pain. Balin went a little from him, and looked
on his horse; then heard Balin him say thus: Ah, fair lady, why have ye
broken my promise, for thou promisest me to meet me here by noon, and
I may curse thee that ever ye gave me this sword, for with this sword I
slay myself, and pulled it out. And therewith Balin stert unto him and
took him by the hand. Let go my hand, said the knight, or else I shall
slay thee. That shall not need, said Balin, for I shall promise you my
help to get you your lady, an ye will tell me where she is. What is your
name? said the knight. My name is Balin le Savage. Ah, sir, I know you
well enough, ye are the Knight with the Two Swords, and the man of most
prowess of your hands living. What is your name? said Balin. My name is
Garnish of the Mount, a poor man's son, but by my prowess and hardiness
a duke hath made me knight, and gave me lands; his name is Duke Hermel,
and his daughter is she that I love, and she me as I deemed. How far is
she hence? said Balin. But six mile, said the knight. Now ride we hence,
said these two knights. So they rode more than a pace, till that they
came to a fair castle well walled and ditched. I will into the castle,
said Balin, and look if she be there. So he went in and searched from
chamber to chamber, and found her bed, but she was not there. Then Balin
looked into a fair little garden, and under a laurel tree he saw her
lie upon a quilt of green samite and a knight in her arms, fast halsing
either other, and under their heads grass and herbs. When Balin saw her
lie so with the foulest knight that ever he saw, and she a fair lady,
then Balin went through all the chambers again, and told the knight
how he found her as she had slept fast, and so brought him in the place
there she lay fast sleeping.



CHAPTER XVII. How that knight slew his love and a knight lying by her,
and after, how he slew himself with his own sword, and how Balin rode
toward a castle where he lost his life.

AND when Garnish beheld her so lying, for pure sorrow his mouth and nose
burst out a-bleeding, and with his sword he smote off both their heads,
and then he made sorrow out of measure, and said, O Balin, much sorrow
hast thou brought unto me, for hadst thou not shewed me that sight I
should have passed my sorrow. Forsooth, said Balin, I did it to this
intent that it should better thy courage, and that ye might see and
know her falsehood, and to cause you to leave love of such a lady;
God knoweth I did none other but as I would ye did to me. Alas, said
Garnish, now is my sorrow double that I may not endure, now have I slain
that I most loved in all my life; and therewith suddenly he rove himself
on his own sword unto the hilts. When Balin saw that, he dressed him
thenceward, lest folk would say he had slain them; and so he rode forth,
and within three days he came by a cross, and thereon were letters of
gold written, that said, It is not for no knight alone to ride toward
this castle. Then saw he an old hoar gentleman coming toward him,
that said, Balin le Savage, thou passest thy bounds to come this way,
therefore turn again and it will avail thee. And he vanished away anon;
and so he heard an horn blow as it had been the death of a beast. That
blast, said Balin, is blown for me, for I am the prize and yet am I
not dead. Anon withal he saw an hundred ladies and many knights, that
welcomed him with fair semblant, and made him passing good cheer unto
his sight, and led him into the castle, and there was dancing and
minstrelsy and all manner of joy. Then the chief lady of the castle
said, Knight with the Two Swords, ye must have ado and joust with a
knight hereby that keepeth an island, for there may no man pass this
way but he must joust or he pass. That is an unhappy custom, said Balin,
that a knight may not pass this way but if he joust. Ye shall not have
ado but with one knight, said the lady.

Well, said Balin, since I shall thereto I am ready, but travelling men
are oft weary and their horses too, but though my horse be weary my
heart is not weary, I would be fain there my death should be. Sir, said
a knight to Balin, methinketh your shield is not good, I will lend you
a bigger. Thereof I pray you. And so he took the shield that was unknown
and left his own, and so rode unto the island, and put him and his
horse in a great boat; and when he came on the other side he met with a
damosel, and she said, O knight Balin, why have ye left your own shield?
alas ye have put yourself in great danger, for by your shield ye should
have been known; it is great pity of you as ever was of knight, for of
thy prowess and hardiness thou hast no fellow living. Me repenteth,
said Balin, that ever I came within this country, but I may not turn
now again for shame, and what adventure shall fall to me, be it life
or death, I will take the adventure that shall come to me. And then he
looked on his armour, and understood he was well armed, and therewith
blessed him and mounted upon his horse.



CHAPTER XVIII. How Balin met with his brother Balan, and how each of
them slew other unknown, till they were wounded to death.

THEN afore him he saw come riding out of a castle a knight, and his
horse trapped all red, and himself in the same colour. When this knight
in the red beheld Balin, him thought it should be his brother Balin by
cause of his two swords, but by cause he knew not his shield he deemed
it was not he. And so they aventryd their spears and came marvellously
fast together, and they smote each other in the shields, but their
spears and their course were so big that it bare down horse and man,
that they lay both in a swoon. But Balin was bruised sore with the fall
of his horse, for he was weary of travel. And Balan was the first that
rose on foot and drew his sword, and went toward Balin, and he arose and
went against him; but Balan smote Balin first, and he put up his shield
and smote him through the shield and tamed his helm. Then Balin smote
him again with that unhappy sword, and well-nigh had felled his brother
Balan, and so they fought there together till their breaths failed. Then
Balin looked up to the castle and saw the towers stand full of ladies.
So they went unto battle again, and wounded everych other dolefully, and
then they breathed ofttimes, and so went unto battle that all the place
there as they fought was blood red. And at that time there was none of
them both but they had either smitten other seven great wounds, so that
the least of them might have been the death of the mightiest giant in
this world.

Then they went to battle again so marvellously that doubt it was to hear
of that battle for the great blood-shedding, and their hauberks unnailed
that naked they were on every side. At last Balan the younger brother
withdrew him a little and laid him down. Then said Balin le Savage, What
knight art thou? for or now I found never no knight that matched me. My
name is, said he, Balan, brother unto the good knight, Balin. Alas, said
Balin, that ever I should see this day, and therewith he fell backward
in a swoon. Then Balan yede on all four feet and hands, and put off the
helm off his brother, and might not know him by the visage it was so ful
hewn and bled; but when he awoke he said, O Balan, my brother, thou
hast slain me and I thee, wherefore all the wide world shall speak of us
both. Alas, said Balan, that ever I saw this day, that through mishap I
might not know you, for I espied well your two swords, but by cause
ye had another shield I deemed ye had been another knight. Alas, said
Balin, all that made an unhappy knight in the castle, for he caused me
to leave my own shield to our both's destruction, and if I might live
I would destroy that castle for ill customs. That were well done, said
Balan, for I had never grace to depart from them since that I came
hither, for here it happed me to slay a knight that kept this island,
and since might I never depart, and no more should ye, brother, an ye
might have slain me as ye have, and escaped yourself with the life.

Right so came the lady of the tower with four knights and six ladies
and six yeomen unto them, and there she heard how they made their moan
either to other, and said, We came both out of one tomb, that is to say
one mother's belly, and so shall we lie both in one pit. So Balan prayed
the lady of her gentleness, for his true service, that she would bury
them both in that same place there the battle was done. And she granted
them, with weeping, it should be done richly in the best manner. Now,
will ye send for a priest, that we may receive our sacrament, and
receive the blessed body of our Lord Jesus Christ? Yea, said the lady,
it shall be done; and so she sent for a priest and gave them their
rights. Now, said Balin, when we are buried in one tomb, and the mention
made over us how two brethren slew each other, there will never good
knight, nor good man, see our tomb but they will pray for our souls. And
so all the ladies and gentlewomen wept for pity. Then anon Balan died,
but Balin died not till the midnight after, and so were they buried
both, and the lady let make a mention of Balan how he was there slain by
his brother's hands, but she knew not Balin's name.



CHAPTER XIX. How Merlin buried them both in one tomb, and of Balin's
sword.

IN the morn came Merlin and let write Balin's name on the tomb with
letters of gold, that Here lieth Balin le Savage that was the Knight
with the Two Swords, and he that smote the Dolorous Stroke. Also Merlin
let make there a bed, that there should never man lie therein but he
went out of his wit, yet Launcelot de Lake fordid that bed through his
noblesse. And anon after Balin was dead, Merlin took his sword, and took
off the pommel and set on another pommel. So Merlin bade a knight that
stood afore him handle that sword, and he assayed, and he might not
handle it. Then Merlin laughed. Why laugh ye? said the knight. This is
the cause, said Merlin: there shall never man handle this sword but
the best knight of the world, and that shall be Sir Launcelot or else
Galahad his son, and Launcelot with this sword shall slay the man that
in the world he loved best, that shall be Sir Gawaine. All this he let
write in the pommel of the sword. Then Merlin let make a bridge of iron
and of steel into that island, and it was but half a foot broad, and
there shall never man pass that bridge, nor have hardiness to go over,
but if he were a passing good man and a good knight without treachery or
villainy. Also the scabbard of Balin's sword Merlin left it on this side
the island, that Galahad should find it. Also Merlin let make by his
subtilty that Balin's sword was put in a marble stone standing upright
as great as a mill stone, and the stone hoved always above the water and
did many years, and so by adventure it swam down the stream to the City
of Camelot, that is in English Winchester. And that same day Galahad the
haut prince came with King Arthur, and so Galahad brought with him
the scabbard and achieved the sword that was there in the marble stone
hoving upon the water. And on Whitsunday he achieved the sword as it is
rehearsed in the book of Sangreal.

Soon after this was done Merlin came to King Arthur and told him of the
dolorous stroke that Balin gave to King Pellam, and how Balin and Balan
fought together the marvellest battle that ever was heard of, and how
they were buried both in one tomb. Alas, said King Arthur, this is the
greatest pity that ever I heard tell of two knights, for in the world I
know not such two knights. Thus endeth the tale of Balin and of Balan,
two brethren born in Northumberland, good knights.

Sequitur iii liber.



BOOK III.



CHAPTER I. How King Arthur took a wife, and wedded Guenever, daughter to
Leodegrance, King of the Land of Cameliard, with whom he had the Round
Table.

IN the beginning of Arthur, after he was chosen king by adventure and
by grace; for the most part of the barons knew not that he was Uther
Pendragon's son, but as Merlin made it openly known. But yet many kings
and lords held great war against him for that cause, but well Arthur
overcame them all, for the most part the days of his life he was ruled
much by the counsel of Merlin. So it fell on a time King Arthur said
unto Merlin, My barons will let me have no rest, but needs I must take a
wife, and I will none take but by thy counsel and by thine advice. It
is well done, said Merlin, that ye take a wife, for a man of your bounty
and noblesse should not be without a wife. Now is there any that ye love
more than another? Yea, said King Arthur, I love Guenever the king's
daughter, Leodegrance of the land of Cameliard, the which holdeth in his
house the Table Round that ye told he had of my father Uther. And this
damosel is the most valiant and fairest lady that I know living, or yet
that ever I could find. Sir, said Merlin, as of her beauty and fairness
she is one of the fairest alive, but, an ye loved her not so well as ye
do, I should find you a damosel of beauty and of goodness that should
like you and please you, an your heart were not set; but there as a
man's heart is set, he will be loath to return. That is truth, said
King Arthur. But Merlin warned the king covertly that Guenever was not
wholesome for him to take to wife, for he warned him that Launcelot
should love her, and she him again; and so he turned his tale to the
adventures of Sangreal.

Then Merlin desired of the king for to have men with him that should
enquire of Guenever, and so the king granted him, and Merlin went forth
unto King Leodegrance of Cameliard, and told him of the desires of the
king that he would have unto his wife Guenever his daughter. That is to
me, said King Leodegrance, the best tidings that ever I heard, that so
worthy a king of prowess and noblesse will wed my daughter. And as for
my lands, I will give him, wist I it might please him, but he hath lands
enow, him needeth none; but I shall send him a gift shall please
him much more, for I shall give him the Table Round, the which Uther
Pendragon gave me, and when it is full complete, there is an hundred
knights and fifty. And as for an hundred good knights I have myself,
but I faute fifty, for so many have been slain in my days. And so
Leodegrance delivered his daughter Guenever unto Merlin, and the Table
Round with the hundred knights, and so they rode freshly, with great
royalty, what by water and what by land, till that they came nigh unto
London.



CHAPTER II. How the Knights of the Round Table were ordained and their
sieges blessed by the Bishop of Canterbury.

WHEN King Arthur heard of the coming of Guenever and the hundred knights
with the Table Round, then King Arthur made great joy for her coming,
and that rich present, and said openly, This fair lady is passing
welcome unto me, for I have loved her long, and therefore there is
nothing so lief to me. And these knights with the Round Table please me
more than right great riches. And in all haste the king let ordain for
the marriage and the coronation in the most honourable wise that could
be devised. Now, Merlin, said King Arthur, go thou and espy me in all
this land fifty knights which be of most prowess and worship. Within
short time Merlin had found such knights that should fulfil twenty and
eight knights, but no more he could find. Then the Bishop of Canterbury
was fetched, and he blessed the sieges with great royalty and devotion,
and there set the eight and twenty knights in their sieges. And when
this was done Merlin said, Fair sirs, ye must all arise and come to King
Arthur for to do him homage; he will have the better will to maintain
you. And so they arose and did their homage, and when they were gone
Merlin found in every sieges letters of gold that told the knights'
names that had sitten therein. But two sieges were void. And so anon
came young Gawaine and asked the king a gift. Ask, said the king, and I
shall grant it you. Sir, I ask that ye will make me knight that same
day ye shall wed fair Guenever. I will do it with a good will, said King
Arthur, and do unto you all the worship that I may, for I must by reason
ye are my nephew, my sister's son.



CHAPTER III. How a poor man riding upon a lean mare desired King Arthur
to make his son knight.

FORTHWITHAL there came a poor man into the court, and brought with him a
fair young man of eighteen years of age riding upon a lean mare; and
the poor man asked all men that he met, Where shall I find King Arthur?
Yonder he is, said the knights, wilt thou anything with him? Yea, said
the poor man, therefore I came hither. Anon as he came before the king,
he saluted him and said: O King Arthur, the flower of all knights and
kings, I beseech Jesu save thee. Sir, it was told me that at this time
of your marriage ye would give any man the gift that he would ask, out
except that were unreasonable. That is truth, said the king, such cries
I let make, and that will I hold, so it apair not my realm nor mine
estate. Ye say well and graciously, said the poor man; Sir, I ask
nothing else but that ye will make my son here a knight. It is a great
thing thou askest of me, said the king. What is thy name? said the king
to the poor man. Sir, my name is Aries the cowherd. Whether cometh this
of thee or of thy son? said the king. Nay, sir, said Aries, this desire
cometh of my son and not of me, for I shall tell you I have thirteen
sons, and all they will fall to what labour I put them, and will be
right glad to do labour, but this child will not labour for me, for
anything that my wife or I may do, but always he will be shooting or
casting darts, and glad for to see battles and to behold knights, and
always day and night he desireth of me to be made a knight. What is thy
name? said the king unto the young man. Sir, my name is Tor. The king
beheld him fast, and saw he was passingly well-visaged and passingly
well made of his years. Well, said King Arthur unto Aries the cowherd,
fetch all thy sons afore me that I may see them. And so the poor man
did, and all were shaped much like the poor man. But Tor was not like
none of them all in shape nor in countenance, for he was much more than
any of them. Now, said King Arthur unto the cow herd, where is the sword
he shall be made knight withal? It is here, said Tor. Take it out of the
sheath, said the king, and require me to make you a knight.

Then Tor alighted off his mare and pulled out his sword, kneeling, and
requiring the king that he would make him knight, and that he might be
a knight of the Table Round. As for a knight I will make you, and
therewith smote him in the neck with the sword, saying, Be ye a good
knight, and so I pray to God so ye may be, and if ye be of prowess and
of worthiness ye shall be a knight of the Table Round. Now Merlin, said
Arthur, say whether this Tor shall be a good knight or no. Yea, sir,
he ought to be a good knight, for he is come of as good a man as any
is alive, and of kings' blood. How so, sir? said the king. I shall tell
you, said Merlin: This poor man, Aries the cowherd, is not his father;
he is nothing sib to him, for King Pellinore is his father. I suppose
nay, said the cowherd. Fetch thy wife afore me, said Merlin, and
she shall not say nay. Anon the wife was fetched, which was a fair
housewife, and there she answered Merlin full womanly, and there she
told the king and Merlin that when she was a maid, and went to milk
kine, there met with her a stern knight, and half by force he had my
maidenhead, and at that time he begat my son Tor, and he took away from
me my greyhound that I had that time with me, and said that he would
keep the greyhound for my love. Ah, said the cowherd, I weened not this,
but I may believe it well, for he had never no tatches of me. Sir, said
Tor unto Merlin, dishonour not my mother. Sir, said Merlin, it is more
for your worship than hurt, for your father is a good man and a king,
and he may right well advance you and your mother, for ye were begotten
or ever she was wedded. That is truth, said the wife. It is the less
grief unto me, said the cowherd.



CHAPTER IV. How Sir Tor was known for son of King Pellinore, and how
Gawaine was made knight.

SO on the morn King Pellinore came to the court of King Arthur, which
had great joy of him, and told him of Tor, how he was his son, and how
he had made him knight at the request of the cowherd. When Pellinore
beheld Tor, he pleased him much. So the king made Gawaine knight, but
Tor was the first he made at the feast. What is the cause, said King
Arthur, that there be two places void in the sieges? Sir, said Merlin,
there shall no man sit in those places but they that shall be of most
worship. But in the Siege Perilous there shall no man sit therein but
one, and if there be any so hardy to do it he shall be destroyed, and
he that shall sit there shall have no fellow. And therewith Merlin took
King Pellinore by the hand, and in the one hand next the two sieges and
the Siege Perilous he said, in open audience, This is your place and
best ye are worthy to sit therein of any that is here. Thereat sat Sir
Gawaine in great envy and told Gaheris his brother, yonder knight is
put to great worship, the which grieveth me sore, for he slew our father
King Lot, therefore I will slay him, said Gawaine, with a sword that
was sent me that is passing trenchant. Ye shall not so, said Gaheris, at
this time, for at this time I am but a squire, and when I am made knight
I will be avenged on him, and therefore, brother, it is best ye suffer
till another time, that we may have him out of the court, for an we did
so we should trouble this high feast. I will well, said Gawaine, as ye
will.



CHAPTER V. How at feast of the wedding of King Arthur to Guenever,
a white hart came into the hall, and thirty couple hounds, and how a
brachet pinched the hart which was taken away.

THEN was the high feast made ready, and the king was wedded at Camelot
unto Dame Guenever in the church of Saint Stephen's, with great
solemnity. And as every man was set after his degree, Merlin went to all
the knights of the Round Table, and bade them sit still, that none of
them remove. For ye shall see a strange and a marvellous adventure.
Right so as they sat there came running in a white hart into the hall,
and a white brachet next him, and thirty couple of black running hounds
came after with a great cry, and the hart went about the Table Round as
he went by other boards. The white brachet bit him by the buttock
and pulled out a piece, wherethrough the hart leapt a great leap and
overthrew a knight that sat at the board side; and therewith the knight
arose and took up the brachet, and so went forth out of the hall, and
took his horse and rode his way with the brachet. Right so anon came in
a lady on a white palfrey, and cried aloud to King Arthur, Sir, suffer
me not to have this despite, for the brachet was mine that the knight
led away. I may not do therewith, said the king.

With this there came a knight riding all armed on a great horse, and
took the lady away with him with force, and ever she cried and made
great dole. When she was gone the king was glad, for she made such a
noise. Nay, said Merlin, ye may not leave these adventures so lightly;
for these adventures must be brought again or else it would be
disworship to you and to your feast. I will, said the king, that all
be done by your advice. Then, said Merlin, let call Sir Gawaine, for he
must bring again the white hart. Also, sir, ye must let call Sir Tor,
for he must bring again the brachet and the knight, or else slay him.
Also let call King Pellinore, for he must bring again the lady and the
knight, or else slay him. And these three knights shall do marvellous
adventures or they come again. Then were they called all three as it
rehearseth afore, and each of them took his charge, and armed them
surely. But Sir Gawaine had the first request, and therefore we will
begin at him.



CHAPTER VI. How Sir Gawaine rode for to fetch again the hart, and how
two brethren fought each against other for the hart.

SIR GAWAINE rode more than a pace, and Gaheris his brother that rode
with him instead of a squire to do him service. So as they rode they
saw two knights fight on horseback passing sore, so Sir Gawaine and his
brother rode betwixt them, and asked them for what cause they fought so.
The one knight answered and said, We fight for a simple matter, for we
two be two brethren born and begotten of one man and of one woman. Alas,
said Sir Gawaine, why do ye so? Sir, said the elder, there came a white
hart this way this day, and many hounds chased him, and a white brachet
was alway next him, and we understood it was adventure made for the high
feast of King Arthur, and therefore I would have gone after to have won
me worship; and here my younger brother said he would go after the hart,
for he was better knight than I: and for this cause we fell at debate,
and so we thought to prove which of us both was better knight. This is a
simple cause, said Sir Gawaine; uncouth men ye should debate withal, and
not brother with brother; therefore but if you will do by my counsel I
will have ado with you, that is ye shall yield you unto me, and that ye
go unto King Arthur and yield you unto his grace. Sir knight, said the
two brethren, we are forfoughten and much blood have we lost through our
wilfulness, and therefore we would be loath to have ado with you. Then
do as I will have you, said Sir Gawaine. We will agree to fulfil your
will; but by whom shall we say that we be thither sent? Ye may say, By
the knight that followeth the quest of the hart that was white. Now what
is your name? said Gawaine. Sorlouse of the Forest, said the elder. And
my name is, said the younger, Brian of the Forest. And so they departed
and went to the king's court, and Sir Gawaine on his quest.

And as Gawaine followed the hart by the cry of the hounds, even afore
him there was a great river, and the hart swam over; and as Sir Gawaine
would follow after, there stood a knight over the other side, and said,
Sir knight, come not over after this hart but if thou wilt joust with
me. I will not fail as for that, said Sir Gawaine, to follow the quest
that I am in, and so made his horse to swim over the water. And anon
they gat their spears and ran together full hard; but Sir Gawaine smote
him off his horse, and then he turned his horse and bade him yield
him. Nay, said the knight, not so, though thou have the better of me
on horseback. I pray thee, valiant knight, alight afoot, and match we
together with swords. What is your name? said Sir Gawaine. Allardin of
the Isles, said the other. Then either dressed their shields and smote
together, but Sir Gawaine smote him so hard through the helm that it
went to the brains, and the knight fell down dead. Ah! said Gaheris,
that was a mighty stroke of a young knight.



CHAPTER VII How the hart was chased into a castle and there slain, and
how Sir Gawaine slew a lady.

THEN Gawaine and Gaheris rode more than a pace after the white hart, and
let slip at the hart three couple of greyhounds, and so they chased the
hart into a castle, and in the chief place of the castle they slew the
hart; Sir Gawaine and Gaheris followed after. Right so there came a
knight out of a chamber with a sword drawn in his hand and slew two of
the greyhounds, even in the sight of Sir Gawaine, and the remnant he
chased them with his sword out of the castle. And when he came again, he
said, O my white hart, me repenteth that thou art dead, for my sovereign
lady gave thee to me, and evil have I kept thee, and thy death shall be
dear bought an I live. And anon he went into his chamber and armed him,
and came out fiercely, and there met he with Sir Gawaine. Why have ye
slain my hounds? said Sir Gawaine, for they did but their kind, and
liefer I had ye had wroken your anger upon me than upon a dumb beast.
Thou sayest truth, said the knight, I have avenged me on thy hounds,
and so I will on thee or thou go. Then Sir Gawaine alighted afoot
and dressed his shield, and struck together mightily, and clave their
shields, and stoned their helms, and brake their hauberks that the blood
ran down to their feet.

At the last Sir Gawaine smote the knight so hard that he fell to the
earth, and then he cried mercy, and yielded him, and besought him as he
was a knight and gentleman, to save his life. Thou shalt die, said Sir
Gawaine, for slaying of my hounds. I will make amends, said the knight,
unto my power. Sir Gawaine would no mercy have, but unlaced his helm to
have stricken off his head. Right so came his lady out of a chamber and
fell over him, and so he smote off her head by misadventure. Alas, said
Gaheris, that is foully and shamefully done, that shame shall never from
you; also ye should give mercy unto them that ask mercy, for a knight
without mercy is without worship. Sir Gawaine was so stonied of the
death of this fair lady that he wist not what he did, and said unto the
knight, Arise, I will give thee mercy. Nay, nay, said the knight, I take
no force of mercy now, for thou hast slain my love and my lady that
I loved best of all earthly things. Me sore repenteth it, said Sir
Gawaine, for I thought to strike unto thee; but now thou shalt go unto
King Arthur and tell him of thine adventures, and how thou art overcome
by the knight that went in the quest of the white hart. I take no force,
said the knight, whether I live or I die; but so for dread of death
he swore to go unto King Arthur, and he made him to bear one greyhound
before him on his horse, and another behind him. What is your name? said
Sir Gawaine, or we depart. My name is, said the knight, Ablamar of the
Marsh. So he departed toward Camelot.



CHAPTER VIII. How four knights fought against Gawaine and Gaheris, and
how they were overcome, and their lives saved at request of four ladies.

AND Sir Gawaine went into the castle, and made him ready to lie there
all night, and would have unarmed him. What will ye do, said Gaheris,
will ye unarm you in this country? Ye may think ye have many enemies
here. They had not sooner said that word but there came four knights
well armed, and assailed Sir Gawaine hard, and said unto him, Thou
new-made knight, thou hast shamed thy knighthood, for a knight without
mercy is dishonoured. Also thou hast slain a fair lady to thy great
shame to the world's end, and doubt thou not thou shalt have great need
of mercy or thou depart from us. And therewith one of them smote Sir
Gawaine a great stroke that nigh he fell to the earth, and Gaheris smote
him again sore, and so they were on the one side and on the other, that
Sir Gawaine and Gaheris were in jeopardy of their lives; and one with
a bow, an archer, smote Sir Gawaine through the arm that it grieved him
wonderly sore. And as they should have been slain, there came four fair
ladies, and besought the knights of grace for Sir Gawaine; and goodly at
request of the ladies they gave Sir Gawaine and Gaheris their lives,
and made them to yield them as prisoners. Then Gawaine and Gaheris made
great dole. Alas! said Sir Gawaine, mine arm grieveth me sore, I am like
to be maimed; and so made his complaint piteously.

Early on the morrow there came to Sir Gawaine one of the four ladies
that had heard all his complaint, and said, Sir knight, what cheer? Not
good, said he. It is your own default, said the lady, for ye have done
a passing foul deed in the slaying of the lady, the which will be great
villainy unto you. But be ye not of King Arthur's kin? said the lady.
Yes truly, said Sir Gawaine. What is your name? said the lady, ye must
tell it me or ye pass. My name is Gawaine, the King Lot of Orkney's son,
and my mother is King Arthur's sister. Ah! then are ye nephew unto King
Arthur, said the lady, and I shall so speak for you that ye shall have
conduct to go to King Arthur for his love. And so she departed and told
the four knights how their prisoner was King Arthur's nephew, and his
name is Sir Gawaine, King Lot's son of Orkney. And they gave him the
hart's head because it was in his quest. Then anon they delivered Sir
Gawaine under this promise, that he should bear the dead lady with him
in this manner; the head of her was hanged about his neck, and the whole
body of her lay before him on his horse's mane. Right so rode he forth
unto Camelot. And anon as he was come, Merlin desired of King Arthur
that Sir Gawaine should be sworn to tell of all his adventures, and
how he slew the lady, and how he would give no mercy unto the knight,
wherethrough the lady was slain. Then the king and the queen were
greatly displeased with Sir Gawaine for the slaying of the lady. And
there by ordinance of the queen there was set a quest of ladies on Sir
Gawaine, and they judged him for ever while he lived to be with all
ladies, and to fight for their quarrels; and that ever he should be
courteous, and never to refuse mercy to him that asketh mercy. Thus was
Gawaine sworn upon the Four Evangelists that he should never be against
lady nor gentlewoman, but if he fought for a lady and his adversary
fought for another. And thus endeth the adventure of Sir Gawaine that he
did at the marriage of King Arthur. Amen.



CHAPTER IX. How Sir Tor rode after the knight with the brachet, and of
his adventure by the way.

WHEN Sir Tor was ready, he mounted upon his horseback, and rode after
the knight with the brachet. So as he rode he met with a dwarf suddenly
that smote his horse on the head with a staff, that he went backward his
spear length. Why dost thou so? said Sir Tor. For thou shalt not pass
this way, but if thou joust with yonder knights of the pavilions. Then
was Tor ware where two pavilions were, and great spears stood out, and
two shields hung on trees by the pavilions. I may not tarry, said Sir
Tor, for I am in a quest that I must needs follow. Thou shalt not pass,
said the dwarf, and therewithal he blew his horn. Then there came one
armed on horseback, and dressed his shield, and came fast toward Tor,
and he dressed him against him, and so ran together that Tor bare him
from his horse. And anon the knight yielded him to his mercy. But, sir,
I have a fellow in yonder pavilion that will have ado with you anon.
He shall be welcome, said Sir Tor. Then was he ware of another knight
coming with great raundon, and each of them dressed to other, that
marvel it was to see; but the knight smote Sir Tor a great stroke in
midst of the shield that his spear all to-shivered. And Sir Tor smote
him through the shield below of the shield that it went through the
cost of the knight, but the stroke slew him not. And therewith Sir Tor
alighted and smote him on the helm a great stroke, and therewith the
knight yielded him and besought him of mercy. I will well, said Sir
Tor, but thou and thy fellow must go unto King Arthur, and yield you
prisoners unto him. By whom shall we say are we thither sent? Ye shall
say by the knight that went in the quest of the knight that went with
the brachet. Now, what be your two names? said Sir Tor. My name is,
said the one, Sir Felot of Langduk; and my name is, said the other, Sir
Petipase of Winchelsea. Now go ye forth, said Sir Tor, and God speed you
and me. Then came the dwarf and said unto Sir Tor, I pray you give me a
gift. I will well, said Sir Tor, ask. I ask no more, said the dwarf,
but that ye will suffer me to do you service, for I will serve no more
recreant knights. Take an horse, said Sir Tor, and ride on with me. I
wot ye ride after the knight with the white brachet, and I shall bring
you where he is, said the dwarf. And so they rode throughout a forest,
and at the last they were ware of two pavilions, even by a priory, with
two shields, and the one shield was enewed with white, and the other
shield was red.



CHAPTER X. How Sir Tor found the brachet with a lady, and how a knight
assailed him for the said brachet.

THEREWITH Sir Tor alighted and took the dwarf his glaive, and so he came
to the white pavilion, and saw three damosels lie in it, on one pallet,
sleeping, and so he went to the other pavilion, and found a lady lying
sleeping therein, but there was the white brachet that bayed at her
fast, and therewith the lady yede out of the pavilion and all her
damosels. But anon as Sir Tor espied the white brachet, he took her by
force and took her to the dwarf. What, will ye so, said the lady, take
my brachet from me? Yea, said Sir Tor, this brachet have I sought from
King Arthur's court hither. Well, said the lady, knight, ye shall not go
far with her, but that ye shall be met and grieved. I shall abide what
adventure that cometh by the grace of God, and so mounted upon his
horse, and passed on his way toward Camelot; but it was so near night he
might not pass but little further. Know ye any lodging? said Tor. I know
none, said the dwarf, but here beside is an hermitage, and there ye must
take lodging as ye find. And within a while they came to the hermitage
and took lodging; and was there grass, oats and bread for their horses;
soon it was sped, and full hard was their supper; but there they rested
them all night till on the morn, and heard a mass devoutly, and took
their leave of the hermit, and Sir Tor prayed the hermit to pray for
him. He said he would, and betook him to God. And so mounted upon
horseback and rode towards Camelot a long while.

With that they heard a knight call loud that came after them, and he
said, Knight, abide and yield my brachet that thou took from my lady.
Sir Tor returned again, and beheld him how he was a seemly knight and
well horsed, and well armed at all points; then Sir Tor dressed his
shield, and took his spear in his hands, and the other came fiercely
upon him, and smote both horse and man to the earth. Anon they arose
lightly and drew their swords as eagerly as lions, and put their shields
afore them, and smote through the shields, that the cantels fell off
both parties. Also they tamed their helms that the hot blood ran out,
and the thick mails of their hauberks they carved and rove in sunder
that the hot blood ran to the earth, and both they had many wounds and
were passing weary. But Sir Tor espied that the other knight fainted,
and then he sued fast upon him, and doubled his strokes, and gart him go
to the earth on the one side. Then Sir Tor bade him yield him. That will
I not, said Abelleus, while my life lasteth and the soul is within my
body, unless that thou wilt give me the brachet. That will I not do,
said Sir Tor, for it was my quest to bring again thy brachet, thee, or
both.



CHAPTER XI. How Sir Tor overcame the knight, and how he lost his head at
the request of a lady.

WITH that came a damosel riding on a palfrey as fast as she might drive,
and cried with a loud voice unto Sir Tor. What will ye with me? said Sir
Tor. I beseech thee, said the damosel, for King Arthur's love, give me a
gift; I require thee, gentle knight, as thou art a gentleman. Now, said
Tor, ask a gift and I will give it you. Gramercy, said the damosel;
now I ask the head of the false knight Abelleus, for he is the most
outrageous knight that liveth, and the greatest murderer. I am loath,
said Sir Tor, of that gift I have given you; let him make amends in that
he hath trespassed unto you. Now, said the damosel, he may not, for he
slew mine own brother before mine own eyes, that was a better knight
than he, an he had had grace; and I kneeled half an hour afore him in
the mire for to save my brother's life, that had done him no damage, but
fought with him by adventure of arms, and so for all that I could do
he struck off his head; wherefore I require thee, as thou art a true
knight, to give me my gift, or else I shall shame thee in all the
court of King Arthur; for he is the falsest knight living, and a great
destroyer of good knights. Then when Abelleus heard this, he was more
afeard, and yielded him and asked mercy. I may not now, said Sir Tor,
but if I should be found false of my promise; for while I would have
taken you to mercy ye would none ask, but if ye had the brachet again,
that was my quest. And therewith he took off his helm, and he arose and
fled, and Sir Tor after him, and smote off his head quite.

Now sir, said the damosel, it is near night; I pray you come and lodge
with me here at my place, it is here fast by. I will well, said Sir Tor,
for his horse and he had fared evil since they departed from Camelot,
and so he rode with her, and had passing good cheer with her; and she
had a passing fair old knight to her husband that made him passing good
cheer, and well eased both his horse and him. And on the morn he heard
his mass, and brake his fast, and took his leave of the knight and of
the lady, that besought him to tell them his name. Truly, he said, my
name is Sir Tor that was late made knight, and this was the first quest
of arms that ever I did, to bring again that this knight Abelleus took
away from King Arthur's court. O fair knight, said the lady and her
husband, an ye come here in our marches, come and see our poor lodging,
and it shall be always at your commandment. So Sir Tor departed and came
to Camelot on the third day by noon, and the king and the queen and all
the court was passing fain of his coming, and made great joy that he was
come again; for he went from the court with little succour, but as King
Pellinore his father gave him an old courser, and King Arthur gave him
armour and a sword, and else had he none other succour, but rode so
forth himself alone. And then the king and the queen by Merlin's advice
made him to swear to tell of his adventures, and so he told and made
proofs of his deeds as it is afore rehearsed, wherefore the king and the
queen made great joy. Nay, nay, said Merlin, these be but japes to that
he shall do; for he shall prove a noble knight of prowess, as good
as any is living, and gentle and courteous, and of good tatches, and
passing true of his promise, and never shall outrage. Wherethrough
Merlin's words King Arthur gave him an earldom of lands that fell unto
him. And here endeth the quest of Sir Tor, King Pellinore's son.



CHAPTER XII. How King Pellinore rode after the lady and the knight that
led her away, and how a lady desired help of him, and how he fought with
two knights for that lady, of whom he slew the one at the first stroke.

THEN King Pellinore armed him and mounted upon his horse, and rode more
than a pace after the lady that the knight led away. And as he rode in a
forest, he saw in a valley a damosel sit by a well, and a wounded knight
in her arms, and Pellinore saluted her. And when she was ware of him,
she cried overloud, Help me, knight; for Christ's sake, King Pellinore.
And he would not tarry, he was so eager in his quest, and ever she cried
an hundred times after help. When she saw he would not abide, she prayed
unto God to send him as much need of help as she had, and that he might
feel it or he died. So, as the book telleth, the knight there died that
there was wounded, wherefore the lady for pure sorrow slew herself with
his sword. As King Pellinore rode in that valley he met with a poor man,
a labourer. Sawest thou not, said Pellinore, a knight riding and leading
away a lady? Yea, said the man, I saw that knight, and the lady that
made great dole; and yonder beneath in a valley there shall ye see two
pavilions, and one of the knights of the pavilions challenged that lady
of that knight, and said she was his cousin near, wherefore he should
lead her no farther. And so they waged battle in that quarrel, the one
said he would have her by force, and the other said he would have the
rule of her, by cause he was her kinsman, and would lead her to her kin.
For this quarrel he left them fighting. And if ye will ride a pace ye
shall find them fighting, and the lady was beleft with the two squires
in the pavilions. God thank thee, said King Pellinore.

Then he rode a wallop till he had a sight of the two pavilions, and the
two knights fighting. Anon he rode unto the pavilions, and saw the lady
that was his quest, and said, Fair lady, ye must go with me unto the
court of King Arthur. Sir knight, said the two squires that were with
her, yonder are two knights that fight for this lady, go thither and
depart them, and be agreed with them, and then may ye have her at your
pleasure. Ye say well, said King Pellinore. And anon he rode betwixt
them, and departed them, and asked them the causes why that they fought?
Sir knight, said the one, I shall tell you, this lady is my kinswoman
nigh, mine aunt's daughter, and when I heard her complain that she was
with him maugre her head, I waged battle to fight with him. Sir knight,
said the other, whose name was Hontzlake of Wentland, and this lady I
gat by my prowess of arms this day at Arthur's court. That is untruly
said, said King Pellinore, for ye came in suddenly there as we were at
the high feast, and took away this lady or any man might make him ready;
and therefore it was my quest to bring her again and you both, or else
the one of us to abide in the field; therefore the lady shall go with
me, or I will die for it, for I have promised it King Arthur. And
therefore fight ye no more, for none of you shall have no part of her
at this time; and if ye list to fight for her, fight with me, and I will
defend her. Well, said the knights, make you ready, and we shall assail
you with all our power. And as King Pellinore would have put his horse
from them, Sir Hontzlake rove his horse through with a sword, and said:
Now art thou on foot as well as we are. When King Pellinore espied that
his horse was slain, lightly he leapt from his horse and pulled out his
sword, and put his shield afore him, and said, Knight, keep well thy
head, for thou shalt have a buffet for the slaying of my horse. So King
Pellinore gave him such a stroke upon the helm that he clave the head
down to the chin, that he fell to the earth dead.



CHAPTER XIII. How King Pellinore gat the lady and brought her to Camelot
to the court of King Arthur.

AND then he turned him to the other knight, that was sore wounded. But
when he saw the other's buffet, he would not fight, but kneeled down and
said, Take my cousin the lady with you at your request, and I require
you, as ye be a true knight, put her to no shame nor villainy. What,
said King Pellinore, will ye not fight for her? No, sir, said the
knight, I will not fight with such a knight of prowess as ye be. Well,
said Pellinore, ye say well; I promise you she shall have no villainy
by me, as I am true knight; but now me lacketh an horse, said Pellinore,
but I will have Hontzlake's horse. Ye shall not need, said the knight,
for I shall give you such an horse as shall please you, so that you will
lodge with me, for it is near night. I will well, said King Pellinore,
abide with you all night. And there he had with him right good cheer,
and fared of the best with passing good wine, and had merry rest that
night. And on the morn he heard a mass and dined; and then was brought
him a fair bay courser, and King Pellinore's saddle set upon him. Now,
what shall I call you? said the knight, inasmuch as ye have my cousin
at your desire of your quest. Sir, I shall tell you, my name is King
Pellinore of the Isles and knight of the Table Round. Now I am glad,
said the knight, that such a noble man shall have the rule of my cousin.
Now, what is your name? said Pellinore, I pray you tell me. Sir, my name
is Sir Meliot of Logurs, and this lady my cousin hight Nimue, and the
knight that was in the other pavilion is my sworn brother, a passing
good knight, and his name is Brian of the Isles, and he is full loath to
do wrong, and full loath to fight with any man, but if he be sore sought
on, so that for shame he may not leave it. It is marvel, said Pellinore,
that he will not have ado with me. Sir, he will not have ado with no man
but if it be at his request. Bring him to the court, said Pellinore, one
of these days. Sir, we will come together. And ye shall be welcome, said
Pellinore, to the court of King Arthur, and greatly allowed for your
coming. And so he departed with the lady, and brought her to Camelot.

So as they rode in a valley it was full of stones, and there the lady's
horse stumbled and threw her down, that her arm was sore bruised and
near she swooned for pain. Alas! sir, said the lady, mine arm is out
of lithe, wherethrough I must needs rest me. Ye shall well, said King
Pellinore. And so he alighted under a fair tree where was fair grass,
and he put his horse thereto, and so laid him under the tree and slept
till it was nigh night. And when he awoke he would have ridden. Sir,
said the lady, it is so dark that ye may as well ride backward as
forward. So they abode still and made there their lodging. Then Sir
Pellinore put off his armour; then a little afore midnight they heard
the trotting of an horse. Be ye still, said King Pellinore, for we shall
hear of some adventure.



CHAPTER XIV. How on the way he heard two knights, as he lay by night in
a valley, and of their adventures.

AND therewith he armed him. So right even afore him there met two
knights, the one came froward Camelot, and the other from the north, and
either saluted other. What tidings at Camelot? said the one. By my head,
said the other, there have I been and espied the court of King Arthur,
and there is such a fellowship they may never be broken, and well-nigh
all the world holdeth with Arthur, for there is the flower of chivalry.
Now for this cause I am riding into the north, to tell our chieftains
of the fellowship that is withholden with King Arthur. As for that, said
the other knight, I have brought a remedy with me, that is the greatest
poison that ever ye heard speak of, and to Camelot will I with it, for
we have a friend right nigh King Arthur, and well cherished, that shall
poison King Arthur; for so he hath promised our chieftains, and received
great gifts for to do it. Beware, said the other knight, of Merlin, for
he knoweth all things by the devil's craft. Therefore will I not let it,
said the knight. And so they departed asunder. Anon after Pellinore made
him ready, and his lady, [and] rode toward Camelot; and as they came by
the well there as the wounded knight was and the lady, there he found
the knight, and the lady eaten with lions or wild beasts, all save the
head, wherefore he made great sorrow, and wept passing sore, and said,
Alas! her life might I have saved; but I was so fierce in my quest,
therefore I would not abide. Wherefore make ye such dole? said the lady.
I wot not, said Pellinore, but my heart mourneth sore of the death of
her, for she was a passing fair lady and a young. Now, will ye do by
mine advice? said the lady, take this knight and let him be buried in
an hermitage, and then take the lady's head and bear it with you unto
Arthur. So King Pellinore took this dead knight on his shoulders, and
brought him to the hermitage, and charged the hermit with the corpse,
that service should be done for the soul; and take his harness for your
pain. It shall be done, said the hermit, as I will answer unto God.



CHAPTER XV. How when he was come to Camelot he was sworn upon a book to
tell the truth of his quest.

AND therewith they departed, and came there as the head of the lady lay
with a fair yellow hair that grieved King Pellinore passingly sore when
he looked on it, for much he cast his heart on the visage. And so by
noon they came to Camelot; and the king and the queen were passing fain
of his coming to the court. And there he was made to swear upon the Four
Evangelists, to tell the truth of his quest from the one to the other.
Ah! Sir Pellinore, said Queen Guenever, ye were greatly to blame that
ye saved not this lady's life. Madam, said Pellinore, ye were greatly
to blame an ye would not save your own life an ye might, but, save your
pleasure, I was so furious in my quest that I would not abide, and that
repenteth me, and shall the days of my life. Truly, said Merlin, ye
ought sore to repent it, for that lady was your own daughter begotten
on the lady of the Rule, and that knight that was dead was her love, and
should have wedded her, and he was a right good knight of a young man,
and would have proved a good man, and to this court was he coming, and
his name was Sir Miles of the Launds, and a knight came behind him and
slew him with a spear, and his name is Loraine le Savage, a false knight
and a coward; and she for great sorrow and dole slew herself with his
sword, and her name was Eleine. And because ye would not abide and help
her, ye shall see your best friend fail you when ye be in the greatest
distress that ever ye were or shall be. And that penance God hath
ordained you for that deed, that he that ye shall most trust to of any
man alive, he shall leave you there ye shall be slain. Me forthinketh,
said King Pellinore, that this shall me betide, but God may fordo well
destiny.

Thus, when the quest was done of the white hart, the which followed Sir
Gawaine; and the quest of the brachet, followed of Sir Tor, Pellinore's
son; and the quest of the lady that the knight took away, the which
King Pellinore at that time followed; then the king stablished all his
knights, and them that were of lands not rich he gave them lands, and
charged them never to do outrageousity nor murder, and always to flee
treason; also, by no means to be cruel, but to give mercy unto him that
asketh mercy, upon pain of forfeiture of their worship and lordship
of King Arthur for evermore; and always to do ladies, damosels, and
gentlewomen succour, upon pain of death. Also, that no man take no
battles in a wrongful quarrel for no law, nor for no world's goods. Unto
this were all the knights sworn of the Table Round, both old and young.
And every year were they sworn at the high feast of Pentecost.

Explicit the Wedding of King Arthur. Sequitur quartus liber.



BOOK IV.



CHAPTER I. How Merlin was assotted and doted on one of the ladies of the
lake, and how he was shut in a rock under a stone and there died.

SO after these quests of Sir Gawaine, Sir Tor, and King Pellinore, it
fell so that Merlin fell in a dotage on the damosel that King Pellinore
brought to court, and she was one of the damosels of the lake, that
hight Nimue. But Merlin would let her have no rest, but always he would
be with her. And ever she made Merlin good cheer till she had learned
of him all manner thing that she desired; and he was assotted upon her,
that he might not be from her. So on a time he told King Arthur that
he should not dure long, but for all his crafts he should be put in the
earth quick. And so he told the king many things that should befall, but
always he warned the king to keep well his sword and the scabbard, for
he told him how the sword and the scabbard should be stolen by a woman
from him that he most trusted. Also he told King Arthur that he should
miss him,--Yet had ye liefer than all your lands to have me again. Ah,
said the king, since ye know of your adventure, purvey for it, and put
away by your crafts that misadventure. Nay, said Merlin, it will not be;
so he departed from the king. And within a while the Damosel of the Lake
departed, and Merlin went with her evermore wheresomever she went. And
ofttimes Merlin would have had her privily away by his subtle crafts;
then she made him to swear that he should never do none enchantment upon
her if he would have his will. And so he sware; so she and Merlin went
over the sea unto the land of Benwick, whereas King Ban was king that
had great war against King Claudas, and there Merlin spake with King
Ban's wife, a fair lady and a good, and her name was Elaine, and there
he saw young Launcelot. There the queen made great sorrow for the mortal
war that King Claudas made on her lord and on her lands. Take none
heaviness, said Merlin, for this same child within this twenty year
shall revenge you on King Claudas, that all Christendom shall speak of
it; and this same child shall be the most man of worship of the world,
and his first name is Galahad, that know I well, said Merlin, and since
ye have confirmed him Launcelot. That is truth, said the queen, his
first name was Galahad. O Merlin, said the queen, shall I live to see my
son such a man of prowess? Yea, lady, on my peril ye shall see it, and
live many winters after.

And so, soon after, the lady and Merlin departed, and by the way Merlin
showed her many wonders, and came into Cornwall. And always Merlin lay
about the lady to have her maidenhood, and she was ever passing weary
of him, and fain would have been delivered of him, for she was afeard
of him because he was a devil's son, and she could not beskift him by
no mean. And so on a time it happed that Merlin showed to her in a rock
whereas was a great wonder, and wrought by enchantment, that went under
a great stone. So by her subtle working she made Merlin to go under that
stone to let her wit of the marvels there; but she wrought so there for
him that he came never out for all the craft he could do. And so she
departed and left Merlin.



CHAPTER II. How five kings came into this land to war against King
Arthur, and what counsel Arthur had against them.

AND as King Arthur rode to Camelot, and held there a great feast with
mirth and joy, so soon after he returned unto Cardoile, and there
came unto Arthur new tidings that the king of Denmark, and the king of
Ireland that was his brother, and the king of the Vale, and the king
of Soleise, and the king of the Isle of Longtains, all these five kings
with a great host were entered into the land of King Arthur, and burnt
and slew clean afore them, both cities and castles, that it was pity
to hear. Alas, said Arthur, yet had I never rest one month since I was
crowned king of this land. Now shall I never rest till I meet with those
kings in a fair field, that I make mine avow; for my true liege people
shall not be destroyed in my default, go with me who will, and abide who
that will. Then the king let write unto King Pellinore, and prayed him
in all haste to make him ready with such people as he might lightliest
rear and hie him after in all haste. All the barons were privily wroth
that the king would depart so suddenly; but the king by no mean would
abide, but made writing unto them that were not there, and bade them
hie after him, such as were not at that time in the court. Then the king
came to Queen Guenever, and said, Lady, make you ready, for ye shall go
with me, for I may not long miss you; ye shall cause me to be the more
hardy, what adventure so befall me; I will not wit my lady to be in no
jeopardy. Sir, said she, I am at your commandment, and shall be ready
what time so ye be ready. So on the morn the king and the queen departed
with such fellowship as they had, and came into the north, into a forest
beside Humber, and there lodged them. When the word and tiding came unto
the five kings above said, that Arthur was beside Humber in a forest,
there was a knight, brother unto one of the five kings, that gave them
this counsel: Ye know well that Sir Arthur hath the flower of chivalry
of the world with him, as it is proved by the great battle he did with
the eleven kings; and therefore hie unto him night and day till that we
be nigh him, for the longer he tarrieth the bigger he is, and we ever
the weaker; and he is so courageous of himself that he is come to the
field with little people, and therefore let us set upon him or day and
we shall slay down; of his knights there shall none escape.



CHAPTER III. How King Arthur had ado with them and overthrew them, and
slew the five kings and made the remnant to flee.

UNTO this counsel these five kings assented, and so they passed forth
with their host through North Wales, and came upon Arthur by night, and
set upon his host as the king and his knights were in their pavilions.
King Arthur was unarmed, and had laid him to rest with his Queen
Guenever. Sir, said Sir Kay, it is not good we be unarmed. We shall have
no need, said Sir Gawaine and Sir Griflet, that lay in a little pavilion
by the king. With that they heard a great noise, and many cried,
Treason, treason! Alas, said King Arthur, we be betrayed! Unto arms,
fellows, then he cried. So they were armed anon at all points. Then came
there a wounded knight unto the king, and said, Sir, save yourself and
my lady the queen, for our host is destroyed, and much people of ours
slain. So anon the king and the queen and the three knights took their
horses, and rode toward Humber to pass over it, and the water was so
rough that they were afraid to pass over. Now may ye choose, said King
Arthur, whether ye will abide and take the adventure on this side, for
an ye be taken they will slay you. It were me liefer, said the queen, to
die in the water than to fall in your enemies' hands and there be slain.


And as they stood so talking, Sir Kay saw the five kings coming on
horseback by themselves alone, with their spears in their hands even
toward them. Lo, said Sir Kay, yonder be the five kings; let us go to
them and match them. That were folly, said Sir Gawaine, for we are but
three and they be five. That is truth, said Sir Griflet. No force,
said Sir Kay, I will undertake for two of them, and then may ye three
undertake for the other three. And therewithal, Sir Kay let his horse
run as fast as he might, and struck one of them through the shield and
the body a fathom, that the king fell to the earth stark dead. That saw
Sir Gawaine, and ran unto another king so hard that he smote him through
the body. And therewithal King Arthur ran to another, and smote him
through the body with a spear, that he fell to the earth dead Then Sir
Griflet ran unto the fourth king, and gave him such a fall that his neck
brake. Anon Sir Kay ran unto the fifth king, and smote him so hard on
the helm that the stroke clave the helm and the head to the earth. That
was well stricken, said King Arthur, and worshipfully hast thou holden
thy promise, therefore I shall honour thee while that I live. And
therewithal they set the queen in a barge into Humber; but always Queen
Guenever praised Sir Kay for his deeds, and said, What lady that ye
love, and she love you not again she were greatly to blame; and among
ladies, said the queen, I shall bear your noble fame, for ye spake
a great word, and fulfilled it worshipfully. And therewith the queen
departed.

Then the king and the three knights rode into the forest, for there they
supposed to hear of them that were escaped; and there he found the most
part of his people, and told them all how the five kings were dead. And
therefore let us hold us together till it be day, and when their host
have espied that their chieftains be slain, they will make such dole
that they shall no more help themselves. And right so as the king said,
so it was; for when they found the five kings dead, they made such dole
that they fell from their horses. Therewithal came King Arthur but with
a few people, and slew on the left hand and on the right hand, that
well-nigh there escaped no man, but all were slain to the number thirty
thousand. And when the battle was all ended, the king kneeled down and
thanked God meekly. And then he sent for the queen, and soon she was
come, and she made great joy of the overcoming of that battle.



CHAPTER IV. How the battle was finished or he came, and how King Arthur
founded an abbey where the battle was.

THEREWITHAL came one to King Arthur, and told him that King Pellinore
was within three mile with a great host; and he said, Go unto him, and
let him understand how we have sped. So within a while King Pellinore
came with a great host, and saluted the people and the king, and there
was great joy made on every side. Then the king let search how much
people of his party there was slain; and there were found but little
past two hundred men slain and eight knights of the Table Round in their
pavilions. Then the king let rear and devise in the same place whereat
the battle was done a fair abbey, and endowed it with great livelihood,
and let it call the Abbey of La Beale Adventure. But when some of them
came into their countries, whereof the five kings were kings, and
told them how they were slain, there was made great dole. And all King
Arthur's enemies, as the King of North Wales, and the kings of the
North, [when they] wist of the battle, they were passing heavy. And so
the king returned unto Camelot in haste.

And when he was come to Camelot he called King Pellinore unto him, and
said, Ye understand well that we have lost eight knights of the best of
the Table Round, and by your advice we will choose eight again of the
best we may find in this court. Sir, said Pellinore, I shall counsel you
after my conceit the best: there are in your court full noble knights
both of old and young; and therefore by mine advice ye shall choose half
of the old and half of the young. Which be the old? said King Arthur.
Sir, said King Pellinore, meseemeth that King Uriens that hath wedded
your sister Morgan le Fay, and the King of the Lake, and Sir Hervise
de Revel, a noble knight, and Sir Galagars, the fourth. This is well
devised, said King Arthur, and right so shall it be. Now, which are the
four young knights? said Arthur. Sir, said Pellinore, the first is Sir
Gawaine, your nephew, that is as good a knight of his time as any is in
this land; and the second as meseemeth best is Sir Griflet le Fise de
Dieu, that is a good knight and full desirous in arms, and who may see
him live he shall prove a good knight; and the third as meseemeth is
well to be one of the knights of the Round Table, Sir Kay the Seneschal,
for many times he hath done full worshipfully, and now at your last
battle he did full honourably for to undertake to slay two kings. By my
head, said Arthur, he is best worth to be a knight of the Round Table of
any that ye have rehearsed, an he had done no more prowess in his life
days.



CHAPTER V. How Sir Tor was made knight of the Round Table, and how
Bagdemagus was displeased.

NOW, said King Pellinore, I shall put to you two knights, and ye shall
choose which is most worthy, that is Sir Bagdemagus, and Sir Tor, my
son. But because Sir Tor is my son I may not praise him, but else, an he
were not my son, I durst say that of his age there is not in this land
a better knight than he is, nor of better conditions and loath to do
any wrong, and loath to take any wrong. By my head, said Arthur, he is
a passing good knight as any ye spake of this day, that wot I well, said
the king; for I have seen him proved, but he saith little and he doth
much more, for I know none in all this court an he were as well born on
his mother's side as he is on your side, that is like him of prowess
and of might: and therefore I will have him at this time, and leave Sir
Bagdemagus till another time. So when they were so chosen by the assent
of all the barons, so were there found in their sieges every knights'
names that here are rehearsed, and so were they set in their sieges;
whereof Sir Bagdemagus was wonderly wroth, that Sir Tor was advanced
afore him, and therefore suddenly he departed from the court, and took
his squire with him, and rode long in a forest till they came to a
cross, and there alighted and said his prayers devoutly. The meanwhile
his squire found written upon the cross, that Bagdemagus should never
return unto the court again, till he had won a knight's body of the
Round Table, body for body. So, sir, said the squire, here I find
writing of you, therefore I rede you return again to the court. That
shall I never, said Bagdemagus, till men speak of me great worship,
and that I be worthy to be a knight of the Round Table. And so he rode
forth, and there by the way he found a branch of an holy herb that was
the sign of the Sangreal, and no knight found such tokens but he were a
good liver.

So, as Sir Bagdemagus rode to see many adventures, it happed him to come
to the rock whereas the Lady of the Lake had put Merlin under the stone,
and there he heard him make great dole; whereof Sir Bagdemagus would
have holpen him, and went unto the great stone, and it was so heavy that
an hundred men might not lift it up. When Merlin wist he was there, he
bade leave his labour, for all was in vain, for he might never be holpen
but by her that put him there. And so Bagdemagus departed and did many
adventures, and proved after a full good knight, and came again to the
court and was made knight of the Round Table. So on the morn there fell
new tidings and other adventures.



CHAPTER VI. How King Arthur, King Uriens, and Sir Accolon of Gaul,
chased an hart, and of their marvellous adventures.

THEN it befell that Arthur and many of his knights rode a-hunting into a
great forest, and it happed King Arthur, King Uriens, and Sir Accolon
of Gaul, followed a great hart, for they three were well horsed, and so
they chased so fast that within a while they three were then ten mile
from their fellowship. And at the last they chased so sore that they
slew their horses underneath them. Then were they all three on foot, and
ever they saw the hart afore them passing weary and enbushed. What will
we do? said King Arthur, we are hard bestead. Let us go on foot, said
King Uriens, till we may meet with some lodging. Then were they ware
of the hart that lay on a great water bank, and a brachet biting on
his throat, and more other hounds came after. Then King Arthur blew the
prise and dight the hart.

Then the king looked about the world, and saw afore him in a great water
a little ship, all apparelled with silk down to the water, and the ship
came right unto them and landed on the sands. Then Arthur went to the
bank and looked in, and saw none earthly creature therein. Sirs, said
the king, come thence, and let us see what is in this ship. So they went
in all three, and found it richly behanged with cloth of silk. By then
it was dark night, and there suddenly were about them an hundred torches
set upon all the sides of the ship boards, and it gave great light; and
therewithal there came out twelve fair damosels and saluted King Arthur
on their knees, and called him by his name, and said he was right
welcome, and such cheer as they had he should have of the best. The king
thanked them fair. Therewithal they led the king and his two fellows
into a fair chamber, and there was a cloth laid, richly beseen of all
that longed unto a table, and there were they served of all wines and
meats that they could think; of that the king had great marvel, for he
fared never better in his life as for one supper. And so when they had
supped at their leisure, King Arthur was led into a chamber, a richer
beseen chamber saw he never none, and so was King Uriens served, and
led into such another chamber, and Sir Accolon was led into the third
chamber passing richly and well beseen; and so they were laid in their
beds easily. And anon they fell asleep, and slept marvellously sore
all the night. And on the morrow King Uriens was in Camelot abed in his
wife's arms, Morgan le Fay. And when he awoke he had great marvel,
how he came there, for on the even afore he was two days' journey from
Camelot. And when King Arthur awoke he found himself in a dark prison,
hearing about him many complaints of woful knights.



CHAPTER VII. How Arthur took upon him to fight to be delivered out of
prison, and also for to deliver twenty knights that were in prison.

WHAT are ye that so complain? said King Arthur. We be here twenty
knights, prisoners, said they, and some of us have lain here seven year,
and some more and some less. For what cause? said Arthur. We shall tell
you, said the knights; this lord of this castle, his name is Sir Damas,
and he is the falsest knight that liveth, and full of treason, and a
very coward as any liveth, and he hath a younger brother, a good knight
of prowess, his name is Sir Ontzlake; and this traitor Damas, the elder
brother will give him no part of his livelihood, but as Sir Ontzlake
keepeth thorough prowess of his hands, and so he keepeth from him a full
fair manor and a rich, and therein Sir Ontzlake dwelleth worshipfully,
and is well beloved of all people. And this Sir Damas, our master is as
evil beloved, for he is without mercy, and he is a coward, and great war
hath been betwixt them both, but Ontzlake hath ever the better, and ever
he proffereth Sir Damas to fight for the livelihood, body for body, but
he will not do; other-else to find a knight to fight for him. Unto that
Sir Damas had granted to find a knight, but he is so evil beloved and
hated, that there is never a knight will fight for him. And when Damas
saw this, that there was never a knight would fight for him, he hath
daily lain await with many knights with him, and taken all the knights
in this country to see and espy their adventures, he hath taken them by
force and brought them to his prison. And so he took us separately as we
rode on our adventures, and many good knights have died in this prison
for hunger, to the number of eighteen knights; and if any of us all that
here is, or hath been, would have foughten with his brother Ontzlake, he
would have delivered us, but for because this Damas is so false and so
full of treason we would never fight for him to die for it. And we be so
lean for hunger that unnethe we may stand on our feet. God deliver you,
for his mercy, said Arthur.

Anon, therewithal there came a damosel unto Arthur, and asked him, What
cheer? I cannot say, said he. Sir, said she, an ye will fight for my
lord, ye shall be delivered out of prison, and else ye escape never the
life. Now, said Arthur, that is hard, yet had I liefer to fight with a
knight than to die in prison; with this, said Arthur, I may be delivered
and all these prisoners, I will do the battle. Yes, said the damosel.
I am ready, said Arthur, an I had horse and armour. Ye shall lack none,
said the damosel. Meseemeth, damosel, I should have seen you in the
court of Arthur. Nay said the damosel, I came never there, I am the
lord's daughter of this castle. Yet was she false, for she was one of
the damosels of Morgan le Fay.

Anon she went unto Sir Damas, and told him how he would do battle for
him, and so he sent for Arthur. And when he came he was well coloured,
and well made of his limbs, that all knights that saw him said it were
pity that such a knight should die in prison. So Sir Damas and he were
agreed that he should fight for him upon this covenant, that all other
knights should be delivered; and unto that was Sir Damas sworn unto
Arthur, and also to do the battle to the uttermost. And with that all
the twenty knights were brought out of the dark prison into the hall,
and delivered, and so they all abode to see the battle.



CHAPTER VIII. How Accolon found himself by a well, and he took upon him
to do battle against Arthur.

NOW turn we unto Accolon of Gaul, that when he awoke he found himself by
a deep well-side, within half a foot, in great peril of death. And there
came out of that fountain a pipe of silver, and out of that pipe ran
water all on high in a stone of marble. When Sir Accolon saw this, he
blessed him and said, Jesus save my lord King Arthur, and King Uriens,
for these damosels in this ship have betrayed us, they were devils and
no women; and if I may escape this misadventure, I shall destroy all
where I may find these false damosels that use enchantments. Right with
that there came a dwarf with a great mouth and a flat nose, and saluted
Sir Accolon, and said how he came from Queen Morgan le Fay, and she
greeteth you well, and biddeth you be of strong heart, for ye shall
fight to morrow with a knight at the hour of prime, and therefore she
hath sent you here Excalibur, Arthur's sword, and the scabbard, and
she biddeth you as ye love her, that ye do the battle to the uttermost,
without any mercy, like as ye had promised her when ye spake together in
privity; and what damosel that bringeth her the knight's head, which
ye shall fight withal, she will make her a queen. Now I understand you
well, said Accolon, I shall hold that I have promised her now I have
the sword: when saw ye my lady Queen Morgan le Fay? Right late, said the
dwarf. Then Accolon took him in his arms and said, Recommend me unto my
lady queen, and tell her all shall be done that I have promised her, and
else I will die for it. Now I suppose, said Accolon, she hath made all
these crafts and enchantments for this battle. Ye may well believe
it, said the dwarf. Right so there came a knight and a lady with six
squires, and saluted Accolon, and prayed him for to arise, and come and
rest him at his manor. And so Accolon mounted upon a void horse, and
went with the knight unto a fair manor by a priory, and there he had
passing good cheer.

Then Sir Damas sent unto his brother Sir Ontzlake, and bade make him
ready by to-morn at the hour of prime, and to be in the field to fight
with a good knight, for he had found a good knight that was ready to
do battle at all points. When this word came unto Sir Ontzlake he was
passing heavy, for he was wounded a little to-fore through both his
thighs with a spear, and made great dole; but as he was wounded, he
would have taken the battle on hand. So it happed at that time, by the
means of Morgan le Fay, Accolon was with Sir Ontzlake lodged; and when
he heard of that battle, and how Ontzlake was wounded, he said that he
would fight for him. Because Morgan le Fay had sent him Excalibur and
the sheath for to fight with the knight on the morn: this was the cause
Sir Accolon took the battle on hand. Then Sir Ontzlake was passing glad,
and thanked Sir Accolon with all his heart that he would do so much for
him. And therewithal Sir Ontzlake sent word unto his brother Sir Damas,
that he had a knight that for him should be ready in the field by the
hour of prime.

So on the morn Sir Arthur was armed and well horsed, and asked Sir
Damas, When shall we to the field? Sir, said Sir Damas, ye shall hear
mass. And so Arthur heard a mass, and when mass was done there came a
squire on a great horse, and asked Sir Damas if his knight were ready,
for our knight is ready in the field. Then Sir Arthur mounted upon
horseback, and there were all the knights and commons of that country;
and so by all advices there were chosen twelve good men of the country
for to wait upon the two knights. And right as Arthur was on horseback
there came a damosel from Morgan le Fay, and brought unto Sir Arthur
a sword like unto Excalibur, and the scabbard, and said unto Arthur,
Morgan le Fay sendeth here your sword for great love. And he thanked
her, and weened it had been so, but she was false, for the sword and the
scabbard was counterfeit, and brittle, and false.



CHAPTER IX. Of the battle between King Arthur and Accolon.

AND then they dressed them on both parties of the field, and let their
horses run so fast that either smote other in the midst of the shield
with their spear-heads, that both horse and man went to the earth; and
then they started up both, and pulled out their swords. The meanwhile
that they were thus at the battle, came the Damosel of the Lake into the
field, that put Merlin under the stone; and she came thither for love
of King Arthur, for she knew how Morgan le Fay had so ordained that King
Arthur should have been slain that day, and therefore she came to save
his life. And so they went eagerly to the battle, and gave many great
strokes, but always Arthur's sword bit not like Accolon's sword; but for
the most part, every stroke that Accolon gave he wounded sore Arthur,
that it was marvel he stood, and always his blood fell from him fast.

When Arthur beheld the ground so sore be-bled he was dismayed, and then
he deemed treason that his sword was changed; for his sword bit not
steel as it was wont to do, therefore he dreaded him sore to be dead,
for ever him seemed that the sword in Accolon's hand was Excalibur,
for at every stroke that Accolon struck he drew blood on Arthur. Now,
knight, said Accolon unto Arthur, keep thee well from me; but Arthur
answered not again, and gave him such a buffet on the helm that it made
him to stoop, nigh falling down to the earth. Then Sir Accolon withdrew
him a little, and came on with Excalibur on high, and smote Sir Arthur
such a buffet that he fell nigh to the earth. Then were they wroth both,
and gave each other many sore strokes, but always Sir Arthur lost so
much blood that it was marvel he stood on his feet, but he was so full
of knighthood that knightly he endured the pain. And Sir Accolon lost
not a deal of blood, therefore he waxed passing light, and Sir Arthur
was passing feeble, and weened verily to have died; but for all that he
made countenance as though he might endure, and held Accolon as short
as he might. But Accolon was so bold because of Excalibur that he waxed
passing hardy. But all men that beheld him said they saw never knight
fight so well as Arthur did considering the blood that he bled. So was
all the people sorry for him, but the two brethren would not accord.
Then always they fought together as fierce knights, and Sir Arthur
withdrew him a little for to rest him, and Sir Accolon called him
to battle and said, It is no time for me to suffer thee to rest. And
therewith he came fiercely upon Arthur, and Sir Arthur was wroth for
the blood that he had lost, and smote Accolon on high upon the helm,
so mightily, that he made him nigh to fall to the earth; and therewith
Arthur's sword brast at the cross, and fell in the grass among the
blood, and the pommel and the sure handles he held in his hands. When
Sir Arthur saw that, he was in great fear to die, but always he held up
his shield and lost no ground, nor bated no cheer.



CHAPTER X. How King Arthur's sword that he fought with brake, and how he
recovered of Accolon his own sword Excalibur, and overcame his enemy.

THEN Sir Accolon began with words of treason, and said, Knight, thou art
overcome, and mayst not endure, and also thou art weaponless, and thou
hast lost much of thy blood, and I am full loath to slay thee, therefore
yield thee to me as recreant. Nay, said Sir Arthur, I may not so, for I
have promised to do the battle to the uttermost by the faith of my body,
while me lasteth the life, and therefore I had liefer to die with
honour than to live with shame; and if it were possible for me to die
an hundred times, I had liefer to die so oft than yield me to thee;
for though I lack weapon, I shall lack no worship, and if thou slay me
weaponless that shall be thy shame. Well, said Accolon, as for the shame
I will not spare, now keep thee from me, for thou art but a dead man.
And therewith Accolon gave him such a stroke that he fell nigh to the
earth, and would have had Arthur to have cried him mercy. But Sir Arthur
pressed unto Accolon with his shield, and gave him with the pommel in
his hand such a buffet that he went three strides aback.

When the Damosel of the Lake beheld Arthur, how full of prowess his
body was, and the false treason that was wrought for him to have had
him slain, she had great pity that so good a knight and such a man
of worship should so be destroyed. And at the next stroke Sir Accolon
struck him such a stroke that by the damosel's enchantment the sword
Excalibur fell out of Accolon's hand to the earth. And therewithal Sir
Arthur lightly leapt to it, and gat it in his hand, and forthwithal he
knew that it was his sword Excalibur, and said, Thou hast been from me
all too long, and much damage hast thou done me; and therewith he espied
the scabbard hanging by his side, and suddenly he sterte to him and
pulled the scabbard from him, and threw it from him as far as he might
throw it. O knight, said Arthur, this day hast thou done me great
damage with this sword; now are ye come unto your death, for I shall not
warrant you but ye shall as well be rewarded with this sword, or ever
we depart, as thou hast rewarded me; for much pain have ye made me to
endure, and much blood have I lost. And therewith Sir Arthur rushed on
him with all his might and pulled him to the earth, and then rushed off
his helm, and gave him such a buffet on the head that the blood came out
at his ears, his nose, and his mouth. Now will I slay thee, said Arthur.
Slay me ye may well, said Accolon, an it please you, for ye are the best
knight that ever I found, and I see well that God is with you. But for I
promised to do this battle, said Accolon, to the uttermost, and never
to be recreant while I lived, therefore shall I never yield me with my
mouth, but God do with my body what he will. Then Sir Arthur remembered
him, and thought he should have seen this knight. Now tell me, said
Arthur, or I will slay thee, of what country art thou, and of what
court? Sir Knight, said Sir Accolon, I am of the court of King Arthur,
and my name is Accolon of Gaul. Then was Arthur more dismayed than he
was beforehand; for then he remembered him of his sister Morgan le Fay,
and of the enchantment of the ship. O sir knight, said he, I pray you
tell me who gave you this sword, and by whom ye had it.



CHAPTER XI. How Accolon confessed the treason of Morgan le Fay, King
Arthur's sister, and how she would have done slay him.

THEN Sir Accolon bethought him, and said, Woe worth this sword, for by
it have I got my death. It may well be, said the king. Now, sir, said
Accolon, I will tell you; this sword hath been in my keeping the most
part of this twelvemonth; and Morgan le Fay, King Uriens' wife, sent it
me yesterday by a dwarf, to this intent, that I should slay King Arthur,
her brother. For ye shall understand King Arthur is the man in the world
that she most hateth, because he is most of worship and of prowess of
any of her blood; also she loveth me out of measure as paramour, and I
her again; and if she might bring about to slay Arthur by her crafts,
she would slay her husband King Uriens lightly, and then had she me
devised to be king in this land, and so to reign, and she to be my
queen; but that is now done, said Accolon, for I am sure of my death.
Well, said Sir Arthur, I feel by you ye would have been king in this
land. It had been great damage to have destroyed your lord, said Arthur.
It is truth, said Accolon, but now I have told you truth, wherefore I
pray you tell me of whence ye are, and of what court? O Accolon, said
King Arthur, now I let thee wit that I am King Arthur, to whom thou hast
done great damage. When Accolon heard that he cried aloud, Fair, sweet
lord, have mercy on me, for I knew not you. O Sir Accolon, said King
Arthur, mercy shalt thou have, because I feel by thy words at this time
thou knewest not my person; but I understand well by thy words that thou
hast agreed to the death of my person, and therefore thou art a traitor;
but I wite thee the less, for my sister Morgan le Fay by her false
crafts made thee to agree and consent to her false lusts, but I shall be
sore avenged upon her an I live, that all Christendom shall speak of it;
God knoweth I have honoured her and worshipped her more than all my kin,
and more have I trusted her than mine own wife and all my kin after.

Then Sir Arthur called the keepers of the field, and said, Sirs, come
hither, for here are we two knights that have fought unto a great damage
unto us both, and like each one of us to have slain other, if it had
happed so; and had any of us known other, here had been no battle, nor
stroke stricken. Then all aloud cried Accolon unto all the knights and
men that were then there gathered together, and said to them in this
manner, O lords, this noble knight that I have fought withal, the
which me sore repenteth, is the most man of prowess, of manhood, and of
worship in the world, for it is himself King Arthur, our alther liege
lord, and with mishap and with misadventure have I done this battle with
the king and lord that I am holden withal.



CHAPTER XII. How Arthur accorded the two brethren, and delivered the
twenty knights, and how Sir Accolon died.

THEN all the people fell down on their knees and cried King Arthur
mercy. Mercy shall ye have, said Arthur: here may ye see what adventures
befall ofttime of errant knights, how that I have fought with a knight
of mine own unto my great damage and his both. But, sirs, because I am
sore hurt, and he both, and I had great need of a little rest, ye shall
understand the opinion betwixt you two brethren: As to thee, Sir Damas,
for whom I have been champion and won the field of this knight, yet will
I judge because ye, Sir Damas, are called an orgulous knight, and full
of villainy, and not worth of prowess your deeds, therefore I will that
ye give unto your brother all the whole manor with the appurtenance,
under this form, that Sir Ontzlake hold the manor of you, and yearly to
give you a palfrey to ride upon, for that will become you better to
ride on than upon a courser. Also I charge thee, Sir Damas, upon pain
of death, that thou never distress no knights errant that ride on their
adventure. And also that thou restore these twenty knights that thou
hast long kept prisoners, of all their harness, that they be content
for; and if any of them come to my court and complain of thee, by my
head thou shalt die therefore. Also, Sir Ontzlake, as to you, because ye
are named a good knight, and full of prowess, and true and gentle in
all your deeds, this shall be your charge I will give you, that in all
goodly haste ye come unto me and my court, and ye shall be a knight
of mine, and if your deeds be thereafter I shall so prefer you, by the
grace of God, that ye shall in short time be in ease for to live as
worshipfully as your brother Sir Damas. God thank your largeness of your
goodness and of your bounty, I shall be from henceforward at all times
at your commandment; for, sir, said Sir Ontzlake, as God would, as I was
hurt but late with an adventurous knight through both my thighs, that
grieved me sore, and else had I done this battle with you. God would,
said Arthur, it had been so, for then had not I been hurt as I am. I
shall tell you the cause why: for I had not been hurt as I am, had it
not been mine own sword, that was stolen from me by treason; and this
battle was ordained aforehand to have slain me, and so it was brought to
the purpose by false treason, and by false enchantment. Alas, said Sir
Ontzlake, that is great pity that ever so noble a man as ye are of your
deeds and prowess, that any man or woman might find in their hearts to
work any treason against you. I shall reward them, said Arthur, in short
time, by the grace of God. Now, tell me, said Arthur, how far am I from
Camelot? Sir, ye are two days' journey therefrom. I would fain be at
some place of worship, said Sir Arthur, that I might rest me. Sir, said
Sir Ontzlake, hereby is a rich abbey of your elders' foundation, of
nuns, but three miles hence. So the king took his leave of all the
people, and mounted upon horseback, and Sir Accolon with him. And when
they were come to the abbey, he let fetch leeches and search his wounds
and Accolon's both; but Sir Accolon died within four days, for he had
bled so much blood that he might not live, but King Arthur was well
recovered. So when Accolon was dead he let send him on an horse-bier
with six knights unto Camelot, and said: Bear him to my sister Morgan
le Fay, and say that I send her him to a present, and tell her I have my
sword Excalibur and the scabbard; so they departed with the body.



CHAPTER XIII. How Morgan would have slain Sir Uriens her husband, and
how Sir Uwaine her son saved him.

THE meanwhile Morgan le Fay had weened King Arthur had been dead. So on
a day she espied King Uriens lay in his bed sleeping. Then she called
unto her a maiden of her counsel, and said, Go fetch me my lord's sword,
for I saw never better time to slay him than now. O madam, said the
damosel, an ye slay my lord ye can never escape. Care not you, said
Morgan le Fay, for now I see my time in the which it is best to do it,
and therefore hie thee fast and fetch me the sword. Then the damosel
departed, and found Sir Uwaine sleeping upon a bed in another chamber,
so she went unto Sir Uwaine, and awaked him, and bade him, Arise, and
wait on my lady your mother, for she will slay the king your father
sleeping in his bed, for I go to fetch his sword. Well, said Sir Uwaine,
go on your way, and let me deal. Anon the damosel brought Morgan the
sword with quaking hands, and she lightly took the sword, and pulled it
out, and went boldly unto the bed's side, and awaited how and where she
might slay him best. And as she lifted up the sword to smite, Sir Uwaine
leapt unto his mother, and caught her by the hand, and said, Ah, fiend,
what wilt thou do? An thou wert not my mother, with this sword I should
smite off thy head. Ah, said Sir Uwaine, men saith that Merlin was
begotten of a devil, but I may say an earthly devil bare me. O fair son,
Uwaine, have mercy upon me, I was tempted with a devil, wherefore I cry
thee mercy; I will never more do so; and save my worship and discover
me not. On this covenant, said Sir Uwaine, I will forgive it you, so
ye will never be about to do such deeds. Nay, son, said she, and that I
make you assurance.



CHAPTER XIV. How Queen Morgan le Fay made great sorrow for the death of
Accolon, and how she stole away the scabbard from Arthur.

THEN came tidings unto Morgan le Fay that Accolon was dead, and his body
brought unto the church, and how King Arthur had his sword again. But
when Queen Morgan wist that Accolon was dead, she was so sorrowful
that near her heart to-brast. But because she would not it were known,
outward she kept her countenance, and made no semblant of sorrow. But
well she wist an she abode till her brother Arthur came thither, there
should no gold go for her life.

Then she went unto Queen Guenever, and asked her leave to ride into the
country. Ye may abide, said Queen Guenever, till your brother the king
come home. I may not, said Morgan le Fay, for I have such hasty tidings,
that I may not tarry. Well, said Guenever, ye may depart when ye will.
So early on the morn, or it was day, she took her horse and rode all
that day and most part of the night, and on the morn by noon she came to
the same abbey of nuns whereas lay King Arthur; and she knowing he was
there, she asked where he was. And they answered how he had laid him
in his bed to sleep, for he had had but little rest these three nights.
Well, said she, I charge you that none of you awake him till I do, and
then she alighted off her horse, and thought for to steal away Excalibur
his sword, and so she went straight unto his chamber, and no man durst
disobey her commandment, and there she found Arthur asleep in his bed,
and Excalibur in his right hand naked. When she saw that she was passing
heavy that she might not come by the sword without she had awaked him,
and then she wist well she had been dead. Then she took the scabbard and
went her way on horseback. When the king awoke and missed his scabbard,
he was wroth, and he asked who had been there, and they said his sister,
Queen Morgan had been there, and had put the scabbard under her mantle
and was gone. Alas, said Arthur, falsely ye have watched me. Sir, said
they all, we durst not disobey your sister's commandment. Ah, said the
king, let fetch the best horse may be found, and bid Sir Ontzlake arm
him in all haste, and take another good horse and ride with me. So anon
the king and Ontzlake were well armed, and rode after this lady, and so
they came by a cross and found a cowherd, and they asked the poor man if
there came any lady riding that way. Sir, said this poor man, right late
came a lady riding with a forty horses, and to yonder forest she rode.
Then they spurred their horses, and followed fast, and within a while
Arthur had a sight of Morgan le Fay; then he chased as fast as he might.
When she espied him following her, she rode a greater pace through the
forest till she came to a plain, and when she saw she might not escape,
she rode unto a lake thereby, and said, Whatsoever come of me, my
brother shall not have this scabbard. And then she let throw the
scabbard in the deepest of the water so it sank, for it was heavy of
gold and precious stones.

Then she rode into a valley where many great stones were, and when
she saw she must be overtaken, she shaped herself, horse and man, by
enchantment unto a great marble stone. Anon withal came Sir Arthur and
Sir Ontzlake whereas the king might know his sister and her men, and one
knight from another. Ah, said the king, here may ye see the vengeance of
God, and now am I sorry that this misadventure is befallen. And then he
looked for the scabbard, but it would not be found, so he returned to
the abbey where he came from. So when Arthur was gone she turned all
into the likeliness as she and they were before, and said, Sirs, now may
we go where we will.



CHAPTER XV. How Morgan le Fay saved a knight that should have been
drowned, and how King Arthur returned home again.

THEN said Morgan, Saw ye Arthur, my brother? Yea, said her knights,
right well, and that ye should have found an we might have stirred from
one stead, for by his armyvestal countenance he would have caused us to
have fled. I believe you, said Morgan. Anon after as she rode she met
a knight leading another knight on his horse before him, bound hand and
foot, blindfold, to have drowned him in a fountain. When she saw this
knight so bound, she asked him, What will ye do with that knight? Lady,
said he, I will drown him. For what cause? she asked. For I found him
with my wife, and she shall have the same death anon. That were pity,
said Morgan le Fay. Now, what say ye, knight, is it truth that he saith
of you? she said to the knight that should be drowned. Nay truly, madam,
he saith not right on me. Of whence be ye, said Morgan le Fay, and of
what country? I am of the court of King Arthur, and my name is Manassen,
cousin unto Accolon of Gaul. Ye say well, said she, and for the love of
him ye shall be delivered, and ye shall have your adversary in the same
case ye be in. So Manassen was loosed and the other knight bound. And
anon Manassen unarmed him, and armed himself in his harness, and so
mounted on horseback, and the knight afore him, and so threw him into
the fountain and drowned him. And then he rode unto Morgan again, and
asked if she would anything unto King Arthur. Tell him that I rescued
thee, not for the love of him but for the love of Accolon, and tell him
I fear him not while I can make me and them that be with me in likeness
of stones; and let him wit I can do much more when I see my time. And
so she departed into the country of Gore, and there was she richly
received, and made her castles and towns passing strong, for always she
dreaded much King Arthur.

When the king had well rested him at the abbey, he rode unto Camelot,
and found his queen and his barons right glad of his coming. And when
they heard of his strange adventures as is afore rehearsed, then all had
marvel of the falsehood of Morgan le Fay; many knights wished her burnt.
Then came Manassen to court and told the king of his adventure. Well,
said the king, she is a kind sister; I shall so be avenged on her an I
live, that all Christendom shall speak of it. So on the morn there came
a damosel from Morgan to the king, and she brought with her the richest
mantle that ever was seen in that court, for it was set as full of
precious stones as one might stand by another, and there were the
richest stones that ever the king saw. And the damosel said, Your sister
sendeth you this mantle, and desireth that ye should take this gift of
her; and in what thing she hath offended you, she will amend it at your
own pleasure. When the king beheld this mantle it pleased him much, but
he said but little.



CHAPTER XVI. How the Damosel of the Lake saved King Arthur from mantle
that should have burnt him.

WITH that came the Damosel of the Lake unto the king, and said, Sir,
I must speak with you in privity. Say on, said the king, what ye will.
Sir, said the damosel, put not on you this mantle till ye have seen
more, and in no wise let it not come on you, nor on no knight of yours,
till ye command the bringer thereof to put it upon her. Well, said King
Arthur, it shall be done as ye counsel me. And then he said unto the
damosel that came from his sister, Damosel, this mantle that ye have
brought me, I will see it upon you. Sir, she said, It will not beseem me
to wear a king's garment. By my head, said Arthur, ye shall wear it or
it come on my back, or any man's that here is. And so the king made it
to be put upon her, and forth withal she fell down dead, and never more
spake word after and burnt to coals. Then was the king wonderly wroth,
more than he was to-forehand, and said unto King Uriens, My sister,
your wife, is alway about to betray me, and well I wot either ye, or my
nephew, your son, is of counsel with her to have me destroyed; but as
for you, said the king to King Uriens, I deem not greatly that ye be
of her counsel, for Accolon confessed to me by his own mouth, that she
would have destroyed you as well as me, therefore I hold you excused;
but as for your son, Sir Uwaine, I hold him suspect, therefore I charge
you put him out of my court. So Sir Uwaine was discharged. And when Sir
Gawaine wist that, he made him ready to go with him; and said, Whoso
banisheth my cousin-germain shall banish me. So they two departed, and
rode into a great forest, and so they came to an abbey of monks, and
there were well lodged. But when the king wist that Sir Gawaine was
departed from the court, there was made great sorrow among all the
estates. Now, said Gaheris, Gawaine's brother, we have lost two good
knights for the love of one. So on the morn they heard their masses in
the abbey, and so they rode forth till that they came to a great forest.
Then was Sir Gawaine ware in a valley by a turret [of] twelve fair
damosels, and two knights armed on great horses, and the damosels went
to and fro by a tree. And then was Sir Gawaine ware how there hung a
white shield on that tree, and ever as the damosels came by it they spit
upon it, and some threw mire upon the shield.



CHAPTER XVII. How Sir Gawaine and Sir Uwaine met with twelve fair
damosels, and how they complained on Sir Marhaus.

THEN Sir Gawaine and Sir Uwaine went and saluted them, and asked why
they did that despite to the shield. Sir, said the damosels, we shall
tell you. There is a knight in this country that owneth this white
shield, and he is a passing good man of his hands, but he hateth all
ladies and gentlewomen, and therefore we do all this despite to the
shield. I shall say you, said Sir Gawaine, it beseemeth evil a good
knight to despise all ladies and gentlewomen, and peradventure though he
hate you he hath some certain cause, and peradventure he loveth in some
other places ladies and gentlewomen, and to be loved again, an he be
such a man of prowess as ye speak of. Now, what is his name? Sir, said
they, his name is Marhaus, the king's son of Ireland. I know him well,
said Sir Uwaine, he is a passing good knight as any is alive, for I saw
him once proved at a jousts where many knights were gathered, and that
time there might no man withstand him. Ah! said Sir Gawaine, damosels,
methinketh ye are to blame, for it is to suppose, he that hung that
shield there, he will not be long therefrom, and then may those knights
match him on horseback, and that is more your worship than thus; for I
will abide no longer to see a knight's shield dishonoured. And therewith
Sir Uwaine and Gawaine departed a little from them, and then were they
ware where Sir Marhaus came riding on a great horse straight toward
them. And when the twelve damosels saw Sir Marhaus they fled into the
turret as they were wild, so that some of them fell by the way. Then the
one of the knights of the tower dressed his shield, and said on high,
Sir Marhaus, defend thee. And so they ran together that the knight brake
his spear on Marhaus, and Marhaus smote him so hard that he brake his
neck and the horse's back. That saw the other knight of the turret, and
dressed him toward Marhaus, and they met so eagerly together that the
knight of the turret was soon smitten down, horse and man, stark dead.



CHAPTER XVIII. How Sir Marhaus jousted with Sir Gawaine and Sir Uwaine,
and overthrew them both.

AND then Sir Marhaus rode unto his shield, and saw how it was defouled,
and said, Of this despite I am a part avenged, but for her love that
gave me this white shield I shall wear thee, and hang mine where thou
wast; and so he hanged it about his neck. Then he rode straight unto
Sir Gawaine and to Sir Uwaine, and asked them what they did there? They
answered him that they came from King Arthur's court to see adventures.
Well, said Sir Marhaus, here am I ready, an adventurous knight that will
fulfil any adventure that ye will desire; and so departed from them, to
fetch his range. Let him go, said Sir Uwaine unto Sir Gawaine, for he is
a passing good knight as any is living; I would not by my will that
any of us were matched with him. Nay, said Sir Gawaine, not so, it were
shame to us were he not assayed, were he never so good a knight. Well,
said Sir Uwaine, I will assay him afore you, for I am more weaker than
ye, and if he smite me down then may ye revenge me. So these two knights
came together with great raundon, that Sir Uwaine smote Sir Marhaus that
his spear brast in pieces on the shield, and Sir Marhaus smote him so
sore that horse and man he bare to the earth, and hurt Sir Uwaine on the
left side.

Then Sir Marhaus turned his horse and rode toward Gawaine with his
spear, and when Sir Gawaine saw that he dressed his shield, and they
aventred their spears, and they came together with all the might of
their horses, that either knight smote other so hard in midst of their
shields, but Sir Gawaine's spear brake, but Sir Marhaus' spear held;
and therewith Sir Gawaine and his horse rushed down to the earth. And
lightly Sir Gawaine rose on his feet, and pulled out his sword, and
dressed him toward Sir Marhaus on foot, and Sir Marhaus saw that, and
pulled out his sword and began to come to Sir Gawaine on horseback. Sir
knight, said Sir Gawaine, alight on foot, or else I will slay thy horse.
Gramercy, said Sir Marhaus, of your gentleness ye teach me courtesy, for
it is not for one knight to be on foot, and the other on horseback. And
therewith Sir Marhaus set his spear against a tree and alighted and tied
his horse to a tree, and dressed his shield, and either came unto other
eagerly, and smote together with their swords that their shields flew
in cantels, and they bruised their helms and their hauberks, and wounded
either other. But Sir Gawaine from it passed nine of the clock waxed
ever stronger and stronger, for then it came to the hour of noon, and
thrice his might was increased. All this espied Sir Marhaus and had
great wonder how his might increased, and so they wounded other passing
sore. And then when it was past noon, and when it drew toward evensong,
Sir Gawaine's strength feebled, and waxed passing faint that unnethes he
might dure any longer, and Sir Marhaus was then bigger and bigger. Sir
knight, said Sir Marhaus, I have well felt that ye are a passing good
knight and a marvellous man of might as ever I felt any, while it
lasteth, and our quarrels are not great, and therefore it were pity to
do you hurt, for I feel ye are passing feeble. Ah, said Sir Gawaine,
gentle knight, ye say the word that I should say. And therewith they
took off their helms, and either kissed other, and there they swore
together either to love other as brethren. And Sir Marhaus prayed Sir
Gawaine to lodge with him that night. And so they took their horses, and
rode toward Sir Marhaus' house. And as they rode by the way, Sir knight,
said Sir Gawaine, I have marvel that so valiant a man as ye be love
no ladies nor damosels. Sir, said Sir Marhaus, they name me wrongfully
those that give me that name, but well I wot it be the damosels of the
turret that so name me, and other such as they be. Now shall I tell you
for what cause I hate them: for they be sorceresses and enchanters many
of them, and be a knight never so good of his body and full of prowess
as man may be, they will make him a stark coward to have the better of
him, and this is the principal cause that I hate them; and to all good
ladies and gentlewomen I owe my service as a knight ought to do.

As the book rehearseth in French, there were many knights that
overmatched Sir Gawaine, for all the thrice might that he had: Sir
Launcelot de Lake, Sir Tristram, Sir Bors de Ganis, Sir Percivale,
Sir Pelleas, and Sir Marhaus, these six knights had the better of Sir
Gawaine. Then within a little while they came to Sir Marhaus' place,
which was in a little priory, and there they alighted, and ladies and
damosels unarmed them, and hastily looked to their hurts, for they were
all three hurt. And so they had all three good lodging with Sir Marhaus,
and good cheer; for when he wist that they were King Arthur's sister's
sons he made them all the cheer that lay in his power, and so they
sojourned there a sennight, and were well eased of their wounds, and at
the last departed. Now, said Sir Marhaus, we will not depart so lightly,
for I will bring you through the forest; and rode day by day well a
seven days or they found any adventure. At the last they came into a
great forest, that was named the country and forest of Arroy, and the
country of strange adventures. In this country, said Sir Marhaus, came
never knight since it was christened but he found strange adventures;
and so they rode, and came into a deep valley full of stones, and
thereby they saw a fair stream of water; above thereby was the head of
the stream a fair fountain, and three damosels sitting thereby. And
then they rode to them, and either saluted other, and the eldest had a
garland of gold about her head, and she was three score winter of age or
more, and her hair was white under the garland. The second damosel was
of thirty winter of age, with a circlet of gold about her head. The
third damosel was but fifteen year of age, and a garland of flowers
about her head. When these knights had so beheld them, they asked them
the cause why they sat at that fountain? We be here, said the damosels,
for this cause: if we may see any errant knights, to teach them unto
strange adventures; and ye be three knights that seek adventures, and we
be three damosels, and therefore each one of you must choose one of us;
and when ye have done so we will lead you unto three highways, and there
each of you shall choose a way and his damosel with him. And this day
twelvemonth ye must meet here again, and God send you your lives, and
thereto ye must plight your troth. This is well said, said Sir Marhaus.



CHAPTER XIX. How Sir Marhaus, Sir Gawaine, and Sir Uwaine met three damosels, and
each of them took one.[*1]

[*1] Misnumbered xx. by Caxton.


NOW shall everych of us choose a damosel. I shall tell you, said Sir
Uwaine, I am the youngest and most weakest of you both, therefore I will
have the eldest damosel, for she hath seen much, and can best help me
when I have need, for I have most need of help of you both. Now, said
Sir Marhaus, I will have the damosel of thirty winter age, for she
falleth best to me. Well, said Sir Gawaine, I thank you, for ye have
left me the youngest and the fairest, and she is most liefest to me.
Then every damosel took her knight by the reins of his bridle, and
brought him to the three ways, and there was their oath made to meet
at the fountain that day twelvemonth an they were living, and so they
kissed and departed, and each knight set his lady behind him. And Sir
Uwaine took the way that lay west, and Sir Marhaus took the way that lay
south, and Sir Gawaine took the way that lay north. Now will we begin
at Sir Gawaine, that held that way till that he came unto a fair manor,
where dwelled an old knight and a good householder, and there Sir
Gawaine asked the knight if he knew any adventures in that country. I
shall show you some to-morn, said the old knight, and that marvellous.
So, on the morn they rode into the forest of adventures to a laund, and
thereby they found a cross, and as they stood and hoved there came by
them the fairest knight and the seemliest man that ever they saw,
making the greatest dole that ever man made. And then he was ware of Sir
Gawaine, and saluted him, and prayed God to send him much worship. As
to that, said Sir Gawaine, gramercy; also I pray to God that he send
you honour and worship. Ah, said the knight, I may lay that aside, for
sorrow and shame cometh to me after worship.



CHAPTER XX. How a knight and a dwarf strove for a lady.

AND therewith he passed unto the one side of the laund; and on the other
side saw Sir Gawaine ten knights that hoved still and made them ready
with their shields and spears against that one knight that came by Sir
Gawaine.

Then this one knight aventred a great spear, and one of the ten knights
encountered with him, but this woful knight smote him so hard that he
fell over his horse's tail. So this same dolorous knight served them
all, that at the leastway he smote down horse and man, and all he did
with one spear; and so when they were all ten on foot, they went to that
one knight, and he stood stone still, and suffered them to pull him
down off his horse, and bound him hand and foot, and tied him under the
horse's belly, and so led him with them. O Jesu! said Sir Gawaine, this
is a doleful sight, to see the yonder knight so to be entreated, and
it seemeth by the knight that he suffereth them to bind him so, for he
maketh no resistance. No, said his host, that is truth, for an he would
they all were too weak so to do him. Sir, said the damosel unto Sir
Gawaine, meseemeth it were your worship to help that dolorous knight,
for methinketh he is one of the best knights that ever I saw. I would
do for him, said Sir Gawaine, but it seemeth he will have no help. Then,
said the damosel, methinketh ye have no lust to help him.

Thus as they talked they saw a knight on the other side of the laund
all armed save the head. And on the other side there came a dwarf on
horseback all armed save the head, with a great mouth and a short nose;
and when the dwarf came nigh he said, Where is the lady should meet
us here? and therewithal she came forth out of the wood. And then they
began to strive for the lady; for the knight said he would have her,
and the dwarf said he would have her. Will we do well? said the dwarf;
yonder is a knight at the cross, let us put it both upon him, and as he
deemeth so shall it be. I will well, said the knight, and so they went
all three unto Sir Gawaine and told him wherefore they strove. Well,
sirs, said he, will ye put the matter in my hand? Yea, they said both.
Now damosel, said Sir Gawaine, ye shall stand betwixt them both, and
whether ye list better to go to, he shall have you. And when she was set
between them both, she left the knight and went to the dwarf, and the
dwarf took her and went his way singing, and the knight went his way
with great mourning.


Then came there two knights all armed, and cried on high, Sir Gawaine!
knight of King Arthur's, make thee ready in all haste and joust with me.
So they ran together, that either fell down, and then on foot they drew
their swords, and did full actually. The meanwhile the other knight went
to the damosel, and asked her why she abode with that knight, and if ye
would abide with me, I will be your faithful knight. And with you will I
be, said the damosel, for with Sir Gawaine I may not find in mine heart
to be with him; for now here was one knight discomfited ten knights, and
at the last he was cowardly led away; and therefore let us two go whilst
they fight. And Sir Gawaine fought with that other knight long, but at
the last they accorded both. And then the knight prayed Sir Gawaine to
lodge with him that night. So as Sir Gawaine went with this knight he
asked him, What knight is he in this country that smote down the ten
knights? For when he had done so manfully he suffered them to bind him
hand and foot, and so led him away. Ah, said the knight, that is the
best knight I trow in the world, and the most man of prowess, and he
hath been served so as he was even more than ten times, and his name
hight Sir Pelleas, and he loveth a great lady in this country and her
name is Ettard. And so when he loved her there was cried in this country
a great jousts three days, and all the knights of this country were
there and gentlewomen, and who that proved him the best knight should
have a passing good sword and a circlet of gold, and the circlet the
knight should give it to the fairest lady that was at the jousts. And
this knight Sir Pelleas was the best knight that was there, and there
were five hundred knights, but there was never man that ever Sir Pelleas
met withal but he struck him down, or else from his horse; and every day
of three days he struck down twenty knights, therefore they gave him the
prize, and forthwithal he went thereas the Lady Ettard was, and gave her
the circlet, and said openly she was the fairest lady that there was,
and that would he prove upon any knight that would say nay.



CHAPTER XXI. How King Pelleas suffered himself to be taken prisoner
because he would have a sight of his lady, and how Sir Gawaine promised
him to get to him the love of his lady.

AND so he chose her for his sovereign lady, and never to love other but
her, but she was so proud that she had scorn of him, and said that she
would never love him though he would die for her. Wherefore all ladies
and gentlewomen had scorn of her that she was so proud, for there were
fairer than she, and there was none that was there but an Sir Pelleas
would have proffered them love, they would have loved him for his noble
prowess. And so this knight promised the Lady Ettard to follow her into
this country, and never to leave her till she loved him. And thus he is
here the most part nigh her, and lodged by a priory, and every week
she sendeth knights to fight with him. And when he hath put them to the
worse, then will he suffer them wilfully to take him prisoner, because
he would have a sight of this lady. And always she doth him great
despite, for sometime she maketh her knights to tie him to his horse's
tail, and some to bind him under the horse's belly; thus in the most
shamefullest ways that she can think he is brought to her. And all she
doth it for to cause him to leave this country, and to leave his loving;
but all this cannot make him to leave, for an he would have fought on
foot he might have had the better of the ten knights as well on foot as
on horseback. Alas, said Sir Gawaine, it is great pity of him; and after
this night I will seek him to-morrow, in this forest, to do him all the
help I can. So on the morn Sir Gawaine took his leave of his host Sir
Carados, and rode into the forest; and at the last he met with Sir
Pelleas, making great moan out of measure, so each of them saluted
other, and asked him why he made such sorrow. And as it is above
rehearsed, Sir Pelleas told Sir Gawaine: But always I suffer her knights
to fare so with me as ye saw yesterday, in trust at the last to win her
love, for she knoweth well all her knights should not lightly win me,
an me list to fight with them to the uttermost. Wherefore an I loved her
not so sore, I had liefer die an hundred times, an I might die so oft,
rather than I would suffer that despite; but I trust she will have pity
upon me at the last, for love causeth many a good knight to suffer to
have his entent, but alas I am unfortunate. And therewith he made so
great dole and sorrow that unnethe he might hold him on horseback.

Now, said Sir Gawaine, leave your mourning and I shall promise you by
the faith of my body to do all that lieth in my power to get you the
love of your lady, and thereto I will plight you my troth. Ah, said Sir
Pelleas, of what court are ye? tell me, I pray you, my good friend.
And then Sir Gawaine said, I am of the court of King Arthur, and his
sister's son, and King Lot of Orkney was my father, and my name is Sir
Gawaine. And then he said, My name is Sir Pelleas, born in the Isles,
and of many isles I am lord, and never have I loved lady nor damosel
till now in an unhappy time; and, sir knight, since ye are so nigh
cousin unto King Arthur, and a king's son, therefore betray me not but
help me, for I may never come by her but by some good knight, for she
is in a strong castle here, fast by within this four mile, and over all
this country she is lady of. And so I may never come to her presence,
but as I suffer her knights to take me, and but if I did so that I might
have a sight of her, I had been dead long or this time; and yet fair
word had I never of her, but when I am brought to-fore her she rebuketh
me in the foulest manner. And then they take my horse and harness and
put me out of the gates, and she will not suffer me to eat nor drink;
and always I offer me to be her prisoner, but that she will not suffer
me, for I would desire no more, what pains so ever I had, so that I
might have a sight of her daily. Well, said Sir Gawaine, all this shall
I amend an ye will do as I shall devise: I will have your horse and
your armour, and so will I ride unto her castle and tell her that I have
slain you, and so shall I come within her to cause her to cherish me,
and then shall I do my true part that ye shall not fail to have the love
of her.



CHAPTER XXII. How Sir Gawaine came to the Lady Ettard, and how Sir
Pelleas found them sleeping.

AND therewith Sir Gawaine plight his troth unto Sir Pelleas to be true
and faithful unto him; so each one plight their troth to other, and so
they changed horses and harness, and Sir Gawaine departed, and came to
the castle whereas stood the pavilions of this lady without the gate.
And as soon as Ettard had espied Sir Gawaine she fled in toward the
castle. Sir Gawaine spake on high, and bade her abide, for he was not
Sir Pelleas; I am another knight that have slain Sir Pelleas. Do off
your helm, said the Lady Ettard, that I may see your visage. And so when
she saw that it was not Sir Pelleas, she bade him alight and led him
unto her castle, and asked him faithfully whether he had slain Sir
Pelleas. And he said her yea, and told her his name was Sir Gawaine of
the court of King Arthur, and his sister's son. Truly, said she, that is
great pity, for he was a passing good knight of his body, but of all
men alive I hated him most, for I could never be quit of him; and for
ye have slain him I shall be your woman, and to do anything that might
please you. So she made Sir Gawaine good cheer. Then Sir Gawaine said
that he loved a lady and by no means she would love him. She is to
blame, said Ettard, an she will not love you, for ye that be so well
born a man, and such a man of prowess, there is no lady in the world too
good for you. Will ye, said Sir Gawaine, promise me to do all that ye
may, by the faith of your body, to get me the love of my lady? Yea, sir,
said she, and that I promise you by the faith of my body. Now, said Sir
Gawaine, it is yourself that I love so well, therefore I pray you hold
your promise. I may not choose, said the Lady Ettard, but if I should be
forsworn; and so she granted him to fulfil all his desire.

So it was then in the month of May that she and Sir Gawaine went out of
the castle and supped in a pavilion, and there was made a bed, and there
Sir Gawaine and the Lady Ettard went to bed together, and in another
pavilion she laid her damosels, and in the third pavilion she laid part
of her knights, for then she had no dread of Sir Pelleas. And there Sir
Gawaine lay with her in that pavilion two days and two nights. And on
the third day, in the morning early, Sir Pelleas armed him, for he had
never slept since Sir Gawaine departed from him; for Sir Gawaine had
promised him by the faith of his body, to come to him unto his pavilion
by that priory within the space of a day and a night.

Then Sir Pelleas mounted upon horseback, and came to the pavilions that
stood without the castle, and found in the first pavilion three knights
in three beds, and three squires lying at their feet. Then went he to
the second pavilion and found four gentlewomen lying in four beds. And
then he yede to the third pavilion and found Sir Gawaine lying in bed
with his Lady Ettard, and either clipping other in arms, and when he saw
that his heart well-nigh brast for sorrow, and said: Alas! that ever a
knight should be found so false; and then he took his horse and might
not abide no longer for pure sorrow. And when he had ridden nigh half a
mile he turned again and thought to slay them both; and when he saw them
both so lie sleeping fast, unnethe he might hold him on horseback for
sorrow, and said thus to himself, Though this knight be never so false,
I will never slay him sleeping, for I will never destroy the high order
of knighthood; and therewith he departed again. And or he had ridden
half a mile he returned again, and thought then to slay them both,
making the greatest sorrow that ever man made. And when he came to the
pavilions, he tied his horse unto a tree, and pulled out his sword naked
in his hand, and went to them thereas they lay, and yet he thought it
were shame to slay them sleeping, and laid the naked sword overthwart
both their throats, and so took his horse and rode his way.

And when Sir Pelleas came to his pavilions he told his knights and his
squires how he had sped, and said thus to them, For your true and good
service ye have done me I shall give you all my goods, for I will go
unto my bed and never arise until I am dead. And when that I am dead I
charge you that ye take the heart out of my body and bear it her betwixt
two silver dishes, and tell her how I saw her lie with the false knight
Sir Gawaine. Right so Sir Pelleas unarmed himself, and went unto his bed
making marvellous dole and sorrow.

When Sir Gawaine and Ettard awoke of their sleep, and found the naked
sword overthwart their throats, then she knew well it was Sir Pelleas'
sword. Alas! said she to Sir Gawaine, ye have betrayed me and Sir
Pelleas both, for ye told me ye had slain him, and now I know well it is
not so, he is alive. And if Sir Pelleas had been as uncourteous to you
as ye have been to him ye had been a dead knight; but ye have deceived
me and betrayed me falsely, that all ladies and damosels may beware by
you and me. And therewith Sir Gawaine made him ready, and went into the
forest. So it happed then that the Damosel of the Lake, Nimue, met with
a knight of Sir Pelleas, that went on his foot in the forest making
great dole, and she asked him the cause. And so the woful knight told
her how his master and lord was betrayed through a knight and lady, and
how he will never arise out of his bed till he be dead. Bring me to him,
said she anon, and I will warrant his life he shall not die for love,
and she that hath caused him so to love, she shall be in as evil plight
as he is or it be long to, for it is no joy of such a proud lady that
will have no mercy of such a valiant knight. Anon that knight brought
her unto him, and when she saw him lie in his bed, she thought she saw
never so likely a knight; and therewith she threw an enchantment upon
him, and he fell asleep. And therewhile she rode unto the Lady Ettard,
and charged no man to awake him till she came again. So within two hours
she brought the Lady Ettard thither, and both ladies found him asleep:
Lo, said the Damosel of the Lake, ye ought to be ashamed for to murder
such a knight. And therewith she threw such an enchantment upon her that
she loved him sore, that well-nigh she was out of her mind. O Lord Jesu,
said the Lady Ettard, how is it befallen unto me that I love now him
that I have most hated of any man alive? That is the righteous judgment
of God, said the damosel. And then anon Sir Pelleas awaked and looked
upon Ettard; and when he saw her he knew her, and then he hated her more
than any woman alive, and said: Away, traitress, come never in my sight.
And when she heard him say so, she wept and made great sorrow out of
measure.



CHAPTER XXIII. How Sir Pelleas loved no more Ettard by means of the
Damosel of the Lake, whom he loved ever after.

SIR KNIGHT PELLEAS, said the Damosel of the Lake, take your horse and
come forth with me out of this country, and ye shall love a lady that
shall love you. I will well, said Sir Pelleas, for this Lady Ettard hath
done me great despite and shame, and there he told her the beginning and
ending, and how he had purposed never to have arisen till that he had
been dead. And now such grace God hath sent me, that I hate her as
much as ever I loved her, thanked be our Lord Jesus! Thank me, said the
Damosel of the Lake. Anon Sir Pelleas armed him, and took his horse, and
commanded his men to bring after his pavilions and his stuff where the
Damosel of the Lake would assign. So the Lady Ettard died for sorrow,
and the Damosel of the Lake rejoiced Sir Pelleas, and loved together
during their life days.



CHAPTER XXIV. How Sir Marhaus rode with the damosel, and how he came to
the Duke of the South Marches.

NOW turn we unto Sir Marhaus, that rode with the damosel of thirty
winter of age, southward. And so they came into a deep forest, and by
fortune they were nighted, and rode long in a deep way, and at the last
they came unto a courtelage, and there they asked harbour. But the man
of the courtelage would not lodge them for no treatise that they could
treat, but thus much the good man said, An ye will take the adventure of
your lodging, I shall bring you where ye shall be lodged. What adventure
is that that I shall have for my lodging? said Sir Marhaus. Ye shall
wit when ye come there, said the good man. Sir, what adventure so it
be, bring me thither I pray thee, said Sir Marhaus; for I am weary, my
damosel, and my horse. So the good man went and opened the gate, and
within an hour he brought him unto a fair castle, and then the poor man
called the porter, and anon he was let into the castle, and so he told
the lord how he brought him a knight errant and a damosel that would
be lodged with him. Let him in, said the lord, it may happen he shall
repent that they took their lodging here.

So Sir Marhaus was let in with torchlight, and there was a goodly sight
of young men that welcomed him. And then his horse was led into the
stable, and he and the damosel were brought into the hall, and there
stood a mighty duke and many goodly men about him. Then this lord asked
him what he hight, and from whence he came, and with whom he dwelt. Sir,
he said, I am a knight of King Arthur's and knight of the Table Round,
and my name is Sir Marhaus, and born I am in Ireland. And then said the
duke to him, That me sore repenteth: the cause is this, for I love not
thy lord nor none of thy fellows of the Table Round; and therefore ease
thyself this night as well as thou mayest, for as to-morn I and my six
sons shall match with you. Is there no remedy but that I must have ado
with you and your six sons at once? said Sir Marhaus. No, said the duke,
for this cause I made mine avow, for Sir Gawaine slew my seven sons in a
recounter, therefore I made mine avow, there should never knight of King
Arthur's court lodge with me, or come thereas I might have ado with him,
but that I would have a revenging of my sons' death. What is your name?
said Sir Marhaus; I require you tell me, an it please you. Wit thou well
I am the Duke of South Marches. Ah, said Sir Marhaus, I have heard say
that ye have been long time a great foe unto my lord Arthur and to his
knights. That shall ye feel to-morn, said the duke. Shall I have ado
with you? said Sir Marhaus. Yea, said the duke, thereof shalt thou not
choose, and therefore take you to your chamber, and ye shall have all
that to you longeth. So Sir Marhaus departed and was led to a chamber,
and his damosel was led unto her chamber. And on the morn the duke sent
unto Sir Marhaus and bade make him ready. And so Sir Marhaus arose and
armed him, and then there was a mass sung afore him, and brake his fast,
and so mounted on horseback in the court of the castle where they should
do the battle. So there was the duke all ready on horseback, clean
armed, and his six sons by him, and everych had a spear in his hand,
and so they encountered, whereas the duke and his two sons brake their
spears upon him, but Sir Marhaus held up his spear and touched none of
them.



CHAPTER XXV. How Sir Marhaus fought with the duke and his four sons and
made them to yield them.

THEN came the four sons by couple, and two of them brake their spears,
and so did the other two. And all this while Sir Marhaus touched them
not. Then Sir Marhaus ran to the duke, and smote him with his spear that
horse and man fell to the earth, and so he served his sons; and then Sir
Marhaus alighted down and bade the duke yield him or else he would slay
him. And then some of his sons recovered, and would have set upon Sir
Marhaus; then Sir Marhaus said to the duke, Cease thy sons, or else I
will do the uttermost to you all. Then the duke saw he might not escape
the death, he cried to his sons, and charged them to yield them to Sir
Marhaus; and they kneeled all down and put the pommels of their swords
to the knight, and so he received them. And then they helped up their
father, and so by their cominal assent promised to Sir Marhaus never to
be foes unto King Arthur, and thereupon at Whitsuntide after to come, he
and his sons, and put them in the king's grace.

Then Sir Marhaus departed, and within two days his damosel brought him
whereas was a great tournament that the Lady de Vawse had cried. And
who that did best should have a rich circlet of gold worth a thousand
besants. And there Sir Marhaus did so nobly that he was renowned, and
had sometime down forty knights, and so the circlet of gold was rewarded
him. Then he departed from them with great worship; and so within seven
nights his damosel brought him to an earl's place, his name was the Earl
Fergus, that after was Sir Tristram's knight; and this earl was but a
young man, and late come into his lands, and there was a giant fast
by him that hight Taulurd, and he had another brother in Cornwall that
hight Taulas, that Sir Tristram slew when he was out of his mind. So
this earl made his complaint unto Sir Marhaus, that there was a giant by
him that destroyed all his lands, and how he durst nowhere ride nor go
for him. Sir, said the knight, whether useth he to fight on horseback or
on foot? Nay, said the earl, there may no horse bear him. Well, said Sir
Marhaus, then will I fight with him on foot; so on the morn Sir Marhaus
prayed the earl that one of his men might bring him whereas the giant
was; and so he was, for he saw him sit under a tree of holly, and many
clubs of iron and gisarms about him. So this knight dressed him to the
giant, putting his shield afore him, and the giant took an iron club in
his hand, and at the first stroke he clave Sir Marhaus' shield in
two pieces. And there he was in great peril, for the giant was a wily
fighter, but at last Sir Marhaus smote off his right arm above the
elbow.

Then the giant fled and the knight after him, and so he drove him into
a water, but the giant was so high that he might not wade after him. And
then Sir Marhaus made the Earl Fergus' man to fetch him stones, and with
those stones the knight gave the giant many sore knocks, till at the
last he made him fall down into the water, and so was he there dead.
Then Sir Marhaus went unto the giant's castle, and there he delivered
twenty-four ladies and twelve knights out of the giant's prison, and
there he had great riches without number, so that the days of his life
he was never poor man. Then he returned to the Earl Fergus, the which
thanked him greatly, and would have given him half his lands, but he
would none take. So Sir Marhaus dwelled with the earl nigh half a year,
for he was sore bruised with the giant, and at the last he took his
leave. And as he rode by the way, he met with Sir Gawaine and Sir
Uwaine, and so by adventure he met with four knights of Arthur's court,
the first was Sir Sagramore le Desirous, Sir Osanna, Sir Dodinas le
Savage, and Sir Felot of Listinoise; and there Sir Marhaus with one
spear smote down these four knights, and hurt them sore. So he departed
to meet at his day aforeset.



CHAPTER XXVI. How Sir Uwaine rode with the damosel of sixty year of age,
and how he gat the prize at tourneying.

NOW turn we unto Sir Uwaine, that rode westward with his damosel of
three score winter of age, and she brought him thereas was a tournament
nigh the march of Wales. And at that tournament Sir Uwaine smote down
thirty knights, therefore was given him the prize, and that was a
gerfalcon, and a white steed trapped with cloth of gold. So then Sir
Uwaine did many strange adventures by the means of the old damosel, and
so she brought him to a lady that was called the Lady of the Rock, the
which was much courteous. So there were in the country two knights that
were brethren, and they were called two perilous knights, the one knight
hight Sir Edward of the Red Castle, and the other Sir Hue of the Red
Castle; and these two brethren had disherited the Lady of the Rock of a
barony of lands by their extortion. And as this knight was lodged with
this lady she made her complaint to him of these two knights.

Madam, said Sir Uwaine, they are to blame, for they do against the high
order of knighthood, and the oath that they made; and if it like you I
will speak with them, because I am a knight of King Arthur's, and I will
entreat them with fairness; and if they will not, I shall do battle
with them, and in the defence of your right. Gramercy said the lady, and
thereas I may not acquit you, God shall. So on the morn the two knights
were sent for, that they should come thither to speak with the Lady of
the Rock, and wit ye well they failed not, for they came with an hundred
horse. But when this lady saw them in this manner so big, she would
not suffer Sir Uwaine to go out to them upon no surety nor for no fair
language, but she made him speak with them over a tower, but finally
these two brethren would not be entreated, and answered that they would
keep that they had. Well, said Sir Uwaine, then will I fight with one of
you, and prove that ye do this lady wrong. That will we not, said they,
for an we do battle, we two will fight with one knight at once, and
therefore if ye will fight so, we will be ready at what hour ye will
assign. And if ye win us in battle the lady shall have her lands again.
Ye say well, said Sir Uwaine, therefore make you ready so that ye be
here to-morn in the defence of the lady's right.



CHAPTER XXVII. How Sir Uwaine fought with two knights and overcame them.

SO was there sikerness made on both parties that no treason should be
wrought on neither party; so then the knights departed and made them
ready, and that night Sir Uwaine had great cheer. And on the morn he
arose early and heard mass, and brake his fast, and so he rode unto the
plain without the gates, where hoved the two brethren abiding him. So
they rode together passing sore, that Sir Edward and Sir Hue brake their
spears upon Sir Uwaine. And Sir Uwaine smote Sir Edward that he fell
over his horse and yet his spear brast not. And then he spurred his
horse and came upon Sir Hue and overthrew him, but they soon recovered
and dressed their shields and drew their swords and bade Sir Uwaine
alight and do his battle to the uttermost. Then Sir Uwaine devoided his
horse suddenly, and put his shield afore him and drew his sword, and
so they dressed together, and either gave other such strokes, and there
these two brethren wounded Sir Uwaine passing grievously that the Lady
of the Rock weened he should have died. And thus they fought together
five hours as men raged out of reason. And at the last Sir Uwaine smote
Sir Edward upon the helm such a stroke that his sword carved unto his
canel bone, and then Sir Hue abated his courage, but Sir Uwaine pressed
fast to have slain him. That saw Sir Hue: he kneeled down and yielded
him to Sir Uwaine. And he of his gentleness received his sword, and took
him by the hand, and went into the castle together. Then the Lady of the
Rock was passing glad, and the other brother made great sorrow for his
brother's death. Then the lady was restored of all her lands, and Sir
Hue was commanded to be at the court of King Arthur at the next feast
of Pentecost. So Sir Uwaine dwelt with the lady nigh half a year, for
it was long or he might be whole of his great hurts. And so when it drew
nigh the term-day that Sir Gawaine, Sir Marhaus, and Sir Uwaine should
meet at the cross-way, then every knight drew him thither to hold his
promise that they had made; and Sir Marhaus and Sir Uwaine brought their
damosels with them, but Sir Gawaine had lost his damosel, as it is afore
rehearsed.



CHAPTER XXVIII. How at the year's end all three knights with their three
damosels met at the fountain.

RIGHT so at the twelvemonths' end they met all three knights at the
fountain and their damosels, but the damosel that Sir Gawaine had could
say but little worship of him so they departed from the damosels and
rode through a great forest, and there they met with a messenger that
came from King Arthur, that had sought them well-nigh a twelvemonth
throughout all England, Wales, and Scotland, and charged if ever he
might find Sir Gawaine and Sir Uwaine to bring them to the court again.
And then were they all glad, and so prayed they Sir Marhaus to ride
with them to the king's court. And so within twelve days they came to
Camelot, and the king was passing glad of their coming, and so was all
the court. Then the king made them to swear upon a book to tell him all
their adventures that had befallen them that twelvemonth, and so they
did. And there was Sir Marhaus well known, for there were knights that
he had matched aforetime, and he was named one of the best knights
living.

Against the feast of Pentecost came the Damosel of the Lake and brought
with her Sir Pelleas; and at that high feast there was great jousting
of knights, and of all knights that were at that jousts, Sir Pelleas had
the prize, and Sir Marhaus was named the next; but Sir Pelleas was so
strong there might but few knights sit him a buffet with a spear. And
at that next feast Sir Pelleas and Sir Marhaus were made knights of the
Table Round, for there were two sieges void, for two knights were slain
that twelvemonth, and great joy had King Arthur of Sir Pelleas and of
Sir Marhaus. But Pelleas loved never after Sir Gawaine, but as he spared
him for the love of King Arthur; but ofttimes at jousts and tournaments
Sir Pelleas quit Sir Gawaine, for so it rehearseth in the book of
French. So Sir Tristram many days after fought with Sir Marhaus in an
island, and there they did a great battle, but at the last Sir Tristram
slew him, so Sir Tristram was wounded that unnethe he might recover, and
lay at a nunnery half a year. And Sir Pelleas was a worshipful knight,
and was one of the four that achieved the Sangreal, and the Damosel of
the Lake made by her means that never he had ado with Sir Launcelot de
Lake, for where Sir Launcelot was at any jousts or any tournament, she
would not suffer him be there that day, but if it were on the side of
Sir Launcelot.

Explicit liber quartus. Incipit liber quintus.



BOOK V.



CHAPTER I. How twelve aged ambassadors of Rome came to King Arthur to
demand truage for Britain.

WHEN King Arthur had after long war rested, and held a royal feast and
Table Round with his allies of kings, princes, and noble knights all
of the Round Table, there came into his hall, he sitting in his throne
royal, twelve ancient men, bearing each of them a branch of olive, in
token that they came as ambassadors and messengers from the Emperor
Lucius, which was called at that time, Dictator or Procuror of the
Public Weal of Rome. Which said messengers, after their entering and
coming into the presence of King Arthur, did to him their obeisance
in making to him reverence, and said to him in this wise: The high
and mighty Emperor Lucius sendeth to the King of Britain greeting,
commanding thee to acknowledge him for thy lord, and to send him the
truage due of this realm unto the Empire, which thy father and other
to-fore thy precessors have paid as is of record, and thou as rebel not
knowing him as thy sovereign, withholdest and retainest contrary to
the statutes and decrees made by the noble and worthy Julius Cesar,
conqueror of this realm, and first Emperor of Rome. And if thou refuse
his demand and commandment know thou for certain that he shall make
strong war against thee, thy realms and lands, and shall chastise thee
and thy subjects, that it shall be ensample perpetual unto all kings and
princes, for to deny their truage unto that noble empire which domineth
upon the universal world. Then when they had showed the effect of their
message, the king commanded them to withdraw them, and said he should
take advice of council and give to them an answer. Then some of the
young knights, hearing this their message, would have run on them to
have slain them, saying that it was a rebuke to all the knights there
being present to suffer them to say so to the king. And anon the king
commanded that none of them, upon pain of death, to missay them nor do
them any harm, and commanded a knight to bring them to their lodging,
and see that they have all that is necessary and requisite for them,
with the best cheer, and that no dainty be spared, for the Romans be
great lords, and though their message please me not nor my court, yet I
must remember mine honour.

After this the king let call all his lords and knights of the Round
Table to counsel upon this matter, and desired them to say their advice.
Then Sir Cador of Cornwall spake first and said, Sir, this message
liketh me well, for we have many days rested us and have been idle, and
now I hope ye shall make sharp war on the Romans, where I doubt not we
shall get honour. I believe well, said Arthur, that this matter pleaseth
thee well, but these answers may not be answered, for the demand
grieveth me sore, for truly I will never pay truage to Rome, wherefore
I pray you to counsel me. I have understood that Belinus and Brenius,
kings of Britain, have had the empire in their hands many days, and also
Constantine the son of Heleine, which is an open evidence that we owe no
tribute to Rome but of right we that be descended of them have right to
claim the title of the empire.



CHAPTER II. How the kings and lords promised to King Arthur aid and help
against the Romans.

THEN answered King Anguish of Scotland, Sir, ye ought of right to
be above all other kings, for unto you is none like nor pareil in
Christendom, of knighthood nor of dignity, and I counsel you never to
obey the Romans, for when they reigned on us they distressed our elders,
and put this land to great extortions and tallies, wherefore I make here
mine avow to avenge me on them; and for to strengthen your quarrel
I shall furnish twenty thousand good men of war, and wage them on my
costs, which shall await on you with myself when it shall please you.
And the king of Little Britain granted him to the same thirty thousand;
wherefore King Arthur thanked them. And then every man agreed to make
war, and to aid after their power; that is to wit, the lord of West
Wales promised to bring thirty thousand men, and Sir Uwaine, Sir Ider
his son, with their cousins, promised to bring thirty thousand. Then
Sir Launcelot with all other promised in likewise every man a great
multitude.

And when King Arthur understood their courages and good wills he thanked
them heartily, and after let call the ambassadors to hear their answer.
And in presence of all his lords and knights he said to them in this
wise: I will that ye return unto your lord and Procuror of the Common
Weal for the Romans, and say ye to him, Of his demand and commandment I
set nothing, and that I know of no truage nor tribute that I owe to him,
nor to none earthly prince, Christian nor heathen; but I pretend to have
and occupy the sovereignty of the empire, wherein I am entitled by the
right of my predecessors, sometime kings of this land; and say to him
that I am delibered and fully concluded, to go with mine army with
strength and power unto Rome, by the grace of God, to take possession
in the empire and subdue them that be rebel. Wherefore I command him and
all them of Rome, that incontinent they make to me their homage, and
to acknowledge me for their Emperor and Governor, upon pain that shall
ensue. And then he commanded his treasurer to give to them great and
large gifts, and to pay all their dispenses, and assigned Sir Cador to
convey them out of the land. And so they took their leave and departed,
and took their shipping at Sandwich, and passed forth by Flanders,
Almaine, the mountains, and all Italy, until they came unto Lucius. And
after the reverence made, they made relation of their answer, like as ye
to-fore have heard.

When the Emperor Lucius had well understood their credence, he was sore
moved as he had been all araged, and said, I had supposed that Arthur
would have obeyed to my commandment, and have served you himself, as him
well beseemed or any other king to do. O Sir, said one of the senators,
let be such vain words, for we let you wit that I and my fellows were
full sore afeard to behold his countenance; I fear me ye have made a rod
for yourself, for he intendeth to be lord of this empire, which sore is
to be doubted if he come, for he is all another man than ye ween, and
holdeth the most noble court of the world, all other kings nor princes
may not compare unto his noble maintenance. On New Year's Day we saw
him in his estate, which was the royalest that ever we saw, for he was
served at his table with nine kings, and the noblest fellowship of
other princes, lords, and knights that be in the world, and every knight
approved and like a lord, and holdeth Table Round: and in his person the
most manly man that liveth, and is like to conquer all the world, for
unto his courage it is too little: wherefore I advise you to keep well
your marches and straits in the mountains; for certainly he is a lord
to be doubted. Well, said Lucius, before Easter I suppose to pass the
mountains, and so forth into France, and there bereave him his lands
with Genoese and other mighty warriors of Tuscany and Lombardy. And I
shall send for them all that be subjects and allied to the empire of
Rome to come to mine aid. And forthwith sent old wise knights unto
these countries following: first to Ambage and Arrage, to Alexandria, to
India, to Armenia, whereas the river of Euphrates runneth into Asia, to
Africa, and Europe the Large, to Ertayne and Elamye, to Araby, Egypt,
and to Damascus, to Damietta and Cayer, to Cappadocia, to Tarsus,
Turkey, Pontus and Pamphylia, to Syria and Galatia. And all these were
subject to Rome and many more, as Greece, Cyprus, Macedonia, Calabria,
Cateland, Portugal, with many thousands of Spaniards. Thus all these
kings, dukes, and admirals, assembled about Rome, with sixteen kings at
once, with great multitude of people. When the emperor understood their
coming he made ready his Romans and all the people between him and
Flanders.

Also he had gotten with him fifty giants which had been engendered of
fiends; and they were ordained to guard his person, and to break the
front of the battle of King Arthur. And thus departed from Rome,
and came down the mountains for to destroy the lands that Arthur had
conquered, and came unto Cologne, and besieged a castle thereby, and won
it soon, and stuffed it with two hundred Saracens or Infidels, and after
destroyed many fair countries which Arthur had won of King Claudas. And
thus Lucius came with all his host, which were disperplyd sixty mile
in breadth, and commanded them to meet with him in Burgoyne, for he
purposed to destroy the realm of Little Britain.



CHAPTER III. How King Arthur held a parliament at York, and how he
ordained the realm should be governed in his absence.

NOW leave we of Lucius the Emperor and speak we of King Arthur, that
commanded all them of his retinue to be ready at the utas of Hilary for
to hold a parliament at York. And at that parliament was concluded to
arrest all the navy of the land, and to be ready within fifteen days at
Sandwich, and there he showed to his army how he purposed to conquer
the empire which he ought to have of right. And there he ordained two
governors of this realm, that is to say, Sir Baudwin of Britain, for to
counsel to the best, and Sir Constantine, son to Sir Cador of Cornwall,
which after the death of Arthur was king of this realm. And in the
presence of all his lords he resigned the rule of the realm and Guenever
his queen to them, wherefore Sir Launcelot was wroth, for he left Sir
Tristram with King Mark for the love of Beale Isould. Then the Queen
Guenever made great sorrow for the departing of her lord and other, and
swooned in such wise that the ladies bare her into her chamber. Thus the
king with his great army departed, leaving the queen and realm in the
governance of Sir Baudwin and Constantine. And when he was on his horse
he said with an high voice, If I die in this journey I will that Sir
Constantine be mine heir and king crowned of this realm as next of my
blood. And after departed and entered into the sea at Sandwich with all
his army, with a great multitude of ships, galleys, cogs, and dromounds,
sailing on the sea.



CHAPTER IV. How King Arthur being shipped and lying in his cabin had a
marvellous dream and of the exposition thereof.

AND as the king lay in his cabin in the ship, he fell in a slumbering
and dreamed a marvellous dream: him seemed that a dreadful dragon did
drown much of his people, and he came flying out of the west, and his
head was enamelled with azure, and his shoulders shone as gold, his
belly like mails of a marvellous hue, his tail full of tatters, his feet
full of fine sable, and his claws like fine gold; and an hideous flame
of fire flew out of his mouth, like as the land and water had flamed all
of fire. After, him seemed there came out of the orient, a grimly boar
all black in a cloud, and his paws as big as a post; he was rugged
looking roughly, he was the foulest beast that ever man saw, he roared
and romed so hideously that it were marvel to hear. Then the dreadful
dragon advanced him and came in the wind like a falcon giving great
strokes on the boar, and the boar hit him again with his grizzly tusks
that his breast was all bloody, and that the hot blood made all the sea
red of his blood. Then the dragon flew away all on an height, and came
down with such a swough, and smote the boar on the ridge, which was ten
foot large from the head to the tail, and smote the boar all to powder
both flesh and bones, that it flittered all abroad on the sea.

And therewith the king awoke anon, and was sore abashed of this dream,
and sent anon for a wise philosopher, commanding to tell him the
signification of his dream. Sir, said the philosopher, the dragon that
thou dreamedst of betokeneth thine own person that sailest here, and
the colours of his wings be thy realms that thou hast won, and his
tail which is all to-tattered signifieth the noble knights of the
Round Table; and the boar that the dragon slew coming from the clouds
betokeneth some tyrant that tormenteth the people, or else thou art like
to fight with some giant thyself, being horrible and abominable, whose
peer ye saw never in your days, wherefore of this dreadful dream doubt
thee nothing, but as a conqueror come forth thyself.

Then after this soon they had sight of land, and sailed till they
arrived at Barflete in Flanders, and when they were there he found many
of his great lords ready, as they had been commanded to wait upon him.



CHAPTER V. How a man of the country told to him of a marvellous giant,
and how he fought and conquered him.

THEN came to him an husbandman of the country, and told him how there
was in the country of Constantine beside Brittany, a great giant which
had slain, murdered and devoured much people of the country, and had
been sustained seven year with the children of the commons of that land,
insomuch that all the children be all slain and destroyed; and now late
he hath taken the Duchess of Brittany as she rode with her meiny, and
hath led her to his lodging which is in a mountain, for to ravish and
lie by her to her life's end, and many people followed her, more than
five hundred, but all they might not rescue her, but they left her
shrieking and crying lamentably, wherefore I suppose that he hath slain
her in fulfilling his foul lust of lechery. She was wife unto thy cousin
Sir Howell, whom we call full nigh of thy blood. Now, as thou art a
rightful king, have pity on this lady, and revenge us all as thou art a
noble conqueror. Alas, said King Arthur, this is a great mischief, I
had liefer than the best realm that I have that I had been a furlong
way to-fore him for to have rescued that lady. Now, fellow, said King
Arthur, canst thou bring me thereas this giant haunteth? Yea, Sir, said
the good man, look yonder whereas thou seest those two great fires,
there shalt thou find him, and more treasure than I suppose is in all
France. When the king had understood this piteous case, he returned into
his tent.

Then he called to him Sir Kay and Sir Bedivere, and commanded them
secretly to make ready horse and harness for himself and them twain; for
after evensong he would ride on pilgrimage with them two only unto Saint
Michael's mount. And then anon he made him ready, and armed him at all
points, and took his horse and his shield. And so they three departed
thence and rode forth as fast as ever they might till that they came
to the foreland of that mount. And there they alighted, and the king
commanded them to tarry there, for he would himself go up into that
mount. And so he ascended up into that hill till he came to a great
fire, and there he found a careful widow wringing her hands and making
great sorrow, sitting by a grave new made. And then King Arthur saluted
her, and demanded of her wherefore she made such lamentation, to whom
she answered and said, Sir knight, speak soft, for yonder is a devil, if
he hear thee speak he will come and destroy thee; I hold thee unhappy;
what dost thou here in this mountain? for if ye were such fifty as ye
be, ye were not able to make resistance against this devil: here lieth
a duchess dead, the which was the fairest of all the world, wife to Sir
Howell, Duke of Brittany, he hath murdered her in forcing her, and hath
slit her unto the navel.

Dame, said the king, I come from the noble conqueror King Arthur, for to
treat with that tyrant for his liege people. Fie on such treaties, said
she, he setteth not by the king nor by no man else; but an if thou have
brought Arthur's wife, dame Guenever, he shall be gladder than thou
hadst given to him half France. Beware, approach him not too nigh,
for he hath vanquished fifteen kings, and hath made him a coat full of
precious stones embroidered with their beards, which they sent him to
have his love for salvation of their people at this last Christmas. And
if thou wilt, speak with him at yonder great fire at supper. Well, said
Arthur, I will accomplish my message for all your fearful words; and
went forth by the crest of that hill, and saw where he sat at supper
gnawing on a limb of a man, baking his broad limbs by the fire, and
breechless, and three fair damosels turning three broaches whereon were
broached twelve young children late born, like young birds.

When King Arthur beheld that piteous sight he had great compassion on
them, so that his heart bled for sorrow, and hailed him, saying in this
wise: He that all the world wieldeth give thee short life and shameful
death; and the devil have thy soul; why hast thou murdered these young
innocent children, and murdered this duchess? Therefore, arise and dress
thee, thou glutton, for this day shalt thou die of my hand. Then the
glutton anon started up, and took a great club in his hand, and smote at
the king that his coronal fell to the earth. And the king hit him again
that he carved his belly and cut off his genitours, that his guts and
his entrails fell down to the ground. Then the giant threw away his
club, and caught the king in his arms that he crushed his ribs. Then the
three maidens kneeled down and called to Christ for help and comfort
of Arthur. And then Arthur weltered and wrung, that he was other while
under and another time above. And so weltering and wallowing they
rolled down the hill till they came to the sea mark, and ever as they so
weltered Arthur smote him with his dagger.

And it fortuned they came to the place whereas the two knights were and
kept Arthur's horse; then when they saw the king fast in the giant's
arms they came and loosed him. And then the king commanded Sir Kay to
smite off the giant's head, and to set it upon a truncheon of a spear,
and bear it to Sir Howell, and tell him that his enemy was slain; and
after let this head be bound to a barbican that all the people may see
and behold it; and go ye two up to the mountain, and fetch me my shield,
my sword, and the club of iron; and as for the treasure, take ye it, for
ye shall find there goods out of number; so I have the kirtle and the
club I desire no more. This was the fiercest giant that ever I met with,
save one in the mount of Araby, which I overcame, but this was greater
and fiercer. Then the knights fetched the club and the kirtle, and some
of the treasure they took to themselves, and returned again to the host.
And anon this was known through all the country, wherefore the people
came and thanked the king. And he said again, Give the thanks to God,
and depart the goods among you.

And after that King Arthur said and commanded his cousin Howell, that he
should ordain for a church to be builded on the same hill in the worship
of Saint Michael. And on the morn the king removed with his great
battle, and came into Champayne and in a valley, and there they pight
their tents; and the king being set at his dinner, there came in two
messengers, of whom that one was Marshal of France, and said to the
king that the emperor was entered into France, and had destroyed a great
part, and was in Burgoyne, and had destroyed and made great slaughter
of people, and burnt towns and boroughs; wherefore, if thou come not
hastily, they must yield up their bodies and goods.



CHAPTER VI. How King Arthur sent Sir Gawaine and other to Lucius, and
how they were assailed and escaped with worship.

THEN the king did do call Sir Gawaine, Sir Bors, Sir Lionel, and Sir
Bedivere, and commanded them to go straight to Sir Lucius, and say ye to
him that hastily he remove out of my land; and if he will not, bid him
make him ready to battle and not distress the poor people. Then anon
these noble knights dressed them to horseback, and when they came to the
green wood, they saw many pavilions set in a meadow, of silk of divers
colours, beside a river, and the emperor's pavilion was in the middle
with an eagle displayed above. To the which tent our knights rode
toward, and ordained Sir Gawaine and Sir Bors to do the message, and
left in a bushment Sir Lionel and Sir Bedivere. And then Sir Gawaine and
Sir Bors did their message, and commanded Lucius, in Arthur's name to
avoid his land, or shortly to address him to battle. To whom Lucius
answered and said, Ye shall return to your lord, and say ye to him that
I shall subdue him and all his lands. Then Sir Gawaine was wroth and
said, I had liefer than all France fight against thee; and so had I,
said Sir Bors, liefer than all Brittany or Burgoyne.


Then a knight named Sir Gainus, nigh cousin to the emperor, said, Lo,
how these Britons be full of pride and boast, and they brag as though
they bare up all the world. Then Sir Gawaine was sore grieved with these
words, and pulled out his sword and smote off his head. And therewith
turned their horses and rode over waters and through woods till they
came to their bushment, whereas Sir Lionel and Sir Bedivere were
hoving. The Romans followed fast after, on horseback and on foot, over
a champaign unto a wood; then Sir Bors turned his horse and saw a knight
come fast on, whom he smote through the body with a spear that he fell
dead down to the earth; then came Caliburn one of the strongest of
Pavie, and smote down many of Arthur's knights. And when Sir Bors saw
him do so much harm, he addressed toward him, and smote him through the
breast, that he fell down dead to the earth. Then Sir Feldenak thought
to revenge the death of Gainus upon Sir Gawaine, but Sir Gawaine was
ware thereof, and smote him on the head, which stroke stinted not till
it came to his breast. And then he returned and came to his fellows in
the bushment. And there was a recounter, for the bushment brake on the
Romans, and slew and hew down the Romans, and forced the Romans to flee
and return, whom the noble knights chased unto their tents.

Then the Romans gathered more people, and also footmen came on, and
there was a new battle, and so much people that Sir Bors and Sir Berel
were taken. But when Sir Gawaine saw that, he took with him Sir Idrus
the good knight, and said he would never see King Arthur but if he
rescued them, and pulled out Galatine his good sword, and followed them
that led those two knights away; and he smote him that led Sir Bors, and
took Sir Bors from him and delivered him to his fellows. And Sir Idrus
in likewise rescued Sir Berel. Then began the battle to be great, that
our knights were in great jeopardy, wherefore Sir Gawaine sent to King
Arthur for succour, and that he hie him, for I am sore wounded, and that
our prisoners may pay goods out of number. And the messenger came to
the king and told him his message. And anon the king did do assemble his
army, but anon, or he departed the prisoners were come, and Sir Gawaine
and his fellows gat the field and put the Romans to flight, and after
returned and came with their fellowship in such wise that no man of
worship was lost of them, save that Sir Gawaine was sore hurt. Then
the king did do ransack his wounds and comforted him. And thus was the
beginning of the first journey of the Britons and Romans, and there were
slain of the Romans more than ten thousand, and great joy and mirth was
made that night in the host of King Arthur. And on the morn he sent all
the prisoners into Paris under the guard of Sir Launcelot, with many
knights, and of Sir Cador.



CHAPTER VII. How Lucius sent certain spies in a bushment for to have
taken his knights being prisoners, and how they were letted.

NOW turn we to the Emperor of Rome, which espied that these prisoners
should be sent to Paris, and anon he sent to lie in a bushment certain
knights and princes with sixty thousand men, for to rescue his knights
and lords that were prisoners. And so on the morn as Launcelot and Sir
Cador, chieftains and governors of all them that conveyed the prisoners,
as they should pass through a wood, Sir Launcelot sent certain knights
to espy if any were in the woods to let them. And when the said knights
came into the wood, anon they espied and saw the great embushment, and
returned and told Sir Launcelot that there lay in await for them three
score thousand Romans. And then Sir Launcelot with such knights as he
had, and men of war to the number of ten thousand, put them in array,
and met with them and fought with them manly, and slew and detrenched
many of the Romans, and slew many knights and admirals of the party
of the Romans and Saracens; there was slain the king of Lyly and three
great lords, Aladuke, Herawd, and Heringdale. But Sir Launcelot fought
so nobly that no man might endure a stroke of his hand, but where he
came he showed his prowess and might, for he slew down right on every
side; and the Romans and Saracens fled from him as the sheep from the
wolf or from the lion, and put them, all that abode alive, to flight.

And so long they fought that tidings came to King Arthur, and anon he
graithed him and came to the battle, and saw his knights how they had
vanquished the battle, he embraced them knight by knight in his arms,
and said, Ye be worthy to wield all your honour and worship; there was
never king save myself that had so noble knights. Sir, said Cador,
there was none of us failed other, but of the prowess and manhood of Sir
Launcelot were more than wonder to tell, and also of his cousins which
did that day many noble feats of war. And also Sir Cador told who of his
knights were slain, as Sir Berel, and other Sir Moris and Sir Maurel,
two good knights. Then the king wept, and dried his eyes with a
kerchief, and said, Your courage had near-hand destroyed you, for though
ye had returned again, ye had lost no worship; for I call it folly,
knights to abide when they be overmatched. Nay, said Launcelot and the
other, for once shamed may never be recovered.



CHAPTER VIII. How a senator told to Lucius of their discomfiture, and
also of the great battle between Arthur and Lucius.

NOW leave we King Arthur and his noble knights which had won the field,
and had brought their prisoners to Paris, and speak we of a senator
which escaped from the battle, and came to Lucius the emperor, and said
to him, Sir emperor, I advise thee for to withdraw thee; what dost thou
here? thou shalt win nothing in these marches but great strokes out
of all measure, for this day one of Arthur's knights was worth in the
battle an hundred of ours. Fie on thee, said Lucius, thou speakest
cowardly; for thy words grieve me more than all the loss that I had this
day. And anon he sent forth a king, which hight Sir Leomie, with a great
army, and bade him hie him fast to-fore, and he would follow hastily
after. King Arthur was warned privily, and sent his people to Sessoine,
and took up the towns and castles from the Romans. Then the king
commanded Sir Cador to take the rearward, and to take with him certain
knights of the Round Table, and Sir Launcelot, Sir Bors, Sir Kay, Sir
Marrok, with Sir Marhaus, shall await on our person. Thus the King
Arthur disperpled his host in divers parties, to the end that his
enemies should not escape.

When the emperor was entered into the vale of Sessoine, he might see
where King Arthur was embattled and his banner displayed; and he was
beset round about with his enemies, that needs he must fight or yield
him, for he might not flee, but said openly unto the Romans, Sirs, I
admonish you that this day ye fight and acquit you as men, and remember
how Rome domineth and is chief and head over all the earth and universal
world, and suffer not these Britons this day to abide against us; and
therewith he did command his trumpets to blow the bloody sounds, in such
wise that the ground trembled and dindled.

Then the battles approached and shoved and shouted on both sides, and
great strokes were smitten on both sides, many men overthrown, hurt, and
slain; and great valiances, prowesses and appertices of war were that
day showed, which were over long to recount the noble feats of every
man, for they should contain an whole volume. But in especial, King
Arthur rode in the battle exhorting his knights to do well, and himself
did as nobly with his hands as was possible a man to do; he drew out
Excalibur his sword, and awaited ever whereas the Romans were thickest
and most grieved his people, and anon he addressed him on that part,
and hew and slew down right, and rescued his people; and he slew a great
giant named Galapas, which was a man of an huge quantity and height, he
shorted him and smote off both his legs by the knees, saying, Now art
thou better of a size to deal with than thou were, and after smote off
his head. There Sir Gawaine fought nobly and slew three admirals in that
battle. And so did all the knights of the Round Table. Thus the battle
between King Arthur and Lucius the Emperor endured long. Lucius had on
his side many Saracens which were slain. And thus the battle was great,
and oftsides that one party was at a fordeal and anon at an afterdeal,
which endured so long till at the last King Arthur espied where Lucius
the Emperor fought, and did wonder with his own hands. And anon he rode
to him. And either smote other fiercely, and at last Lucius smote Arthur
thwart the visage, and gave him a large wound. And when King Arthur felt
himself hurt, anon he smote him again with Excalibur that it cleft his
head, from the summit of his head, and stinted not till it came to his
breast. And then the emperor fell down dead and there ended his life.

And when it was known that the emperor was slain, anon all the Romans
with all their host put them to flight, and King Arthur with all his
knights followed the chase, and slew down right all them that they might
attain. And thus was the victory given to King Arthur, and the triumph;
and there were slain on the part of Lucius more than an hundred
thousand. And after King Arthur did do ransack the dead bodies, and did
do bury them that were slain of his retinue, every man according to the
estate and degree that he was of. And them that were hurt he let the
surgeons do search their hurts and wounds, and commanded to spare no
salves nor medicines till they were whole.

Then the king rode straight to the place where the Emperor Lucius lay
dead, and with him he found slain the Soudan of Syria, the King of Egypt
and of Ethiopia, which were two noble kings, with seventeen other kings
of divers regions, and also sixty senators of Rome, all noble men, whom
the king did do balm and gum with many good gums aromatic, and after did
do cere them in sixty fold of cered cloth of sendal, and laid them in
chests of lead, because they should not chafe nor savour, and upon all
these bodies their shields with their arms and banners were set, to the
end they should be known of what country they were. And after he found
three senators which were alive, to whom he said, For to save your lives
I will that ye take these dead bodies, and carry them with you unto
great Rome, and present them to the Potestate on my behalf, shewing him
my letters, and tell them that I in my person shall hastily be at Rome.
And I suppose the Romans shall beware how they shall demand any tribute
of me. And I command you to say when ye shall come to Rome, to the
Potestate and all the Council and Senate, that I send to them these
dead bodies for the tribute that they have demanded. And if they be not
content with these, I shall pay more at my coming, for other tribute
owe I none, nor none other will I pay. And methinketh this sufficeth for
Britain, Ireland and all Almaine with Germany. And furthermore, I charge
you to say to them, that I command them upon pain of their heads never
to demand tribute nor tax of me nor of my lands. Then with this charge
and commandment, the three senators aforesaid departed with all the said
dead bodies, laying the body of Lucius in a car covered with the arms of
the Empire all alone; and after alway two bodies of kings in a chariot,
and then the bodies of the senators after them, and so went toward
Rome, and showed their legation and message to the Potestate and Senate,
recounting the battle done in France, and how the field was lost and
much people and innumerable slain. Wherefore they advised them in no
wise to move no more war against that noble conqueror Arthur, for his
might and prowess is most to be doubted, seen the noble kings and great
multitude of knights of the Round Table, to whom none earthly prince may
compare.



CHAPTER IX How Arthur, after he had achieved the battle against the
Romans, entered into Almaine, and so into Italy.

NOW turn we unto King Arthur and his noble knights, which, after the
great battle achieved against the Romans, entered into Lorraine, Brabant
and Flanders, and sithen returned into Haut Almaine, and so over the
mountains into Lombardy, and after, into Tuscany wherein was a city
which in no wise would yield themself nor obey, wherefore King Arthur
besieged it, and lay long about it, and gave many assaults to the city;
and they within defended them valiantly. Then, on a time, the king
called Sir Florence, a knight, and said to him they lacked victual, And
not far from hence be great forests and woods, wherein be many of mine
enemies with much bestial: I will that thou make thee ready and go
thither in foraying, and take with thee Sir Gawaine my nephew, Sir
Wisshard, Sir Clegis, Sir Cleremond, and the Captain of Cardiff with
other, and bring with you all the beasts that ye there can get.

And anon these knights made them ready, and rode over holts and hills,
through forests and woods, till they came into a fair meadow full of
fair flowers and grass; and there they rested them and their horses
all that night. And in the springing of the day in the next morn, Sir
Gawaine took his horse and stole away from his fellowship, to seek
some adventures. And anon he was ware of a man armed, walking his horse
easily by a wood's side, and his shield laced to his shoulder, sitting
on a strong courser, without any man saving a page bearing a mighty
spear. The knight bare in his shield three griffins of gold, in sable
carbuncle, the chief of silver. When Sir Gawaine espied this gay knight,
he feutred his spear, and rode straight to him, and demanded of him from
whence that he was. That other answered and said he was of Tuscany, and
demanded of Sir Gawaine, What, profferest thou, proud knight, thee so
boldly? here gettest thou no prey, thou mayest prove what thou wilt,
for thou shalt be my prisoner or thou depart. Then said Gawaine, thou
avauntest thee greatly and speakest proud words, I counsel thee for all
thy boast that thou make thee ready, and take thy gear to thee, to-fore
greater grame fall to thee.



CHAPTER X. Of a battle done by Sir Gawaine against a Saracen, which
after was yielden and became Christian.

THEN they took their spears and ran each at other with all the might
they had, and smote each other through their shields into their
shoulders, wherefore anon they pulled out their swords, and smote great
strokes that the fire sprang out of their helms. Then Sir Gawaine was
all abashed, and with Galatine his good sword he smote through shield
and thick hauberk made of thick mails, and all to-rushed and break the
precious stones, and made him a large wound, that men might see both
liver and lung. Then groaned that knight, and addressed him to Sir
Gawaine, and with an awk stroke gave him a great wound and cut a vein,
which grieved Gawaine sore, and he bled sore. Then the knight said
to Sir Gawaine, bind thy wound or thy blee[ding] change, for thou
be-bleedest all thy horse and thy fair arms, for all the barbers of
Brittany shall not con staunch thy blood, for whosomever is hurt with
this blade he shall never be staunched of bleeding. Then answered
Gawaine, it grieveth me but little, thy great words shall not fear
me nor lessen my courage, but thou shalt suffer teen and sorrow or we
depart, but tell me in haste who may staunch my bleeding. That may I do,
said the knight, if I will, and so will I if thou wilt succour and aid
me, that I may be christened and believe on God, and thereof I require
thee of thy manhood, and it shall be great merit for thy soul. I grant,
said Gawaine, so God help me, to accomplish all thy desire, but first
tell me what thou soughtest here thus alone, and of what land and
liegiance thou art of. Sir, he said, my name is Priamus, and a great
prince is my father, and he hath been rebel unto Rome and overridden
many of their lands. My father is lineally descended of Alexander and
of Hector by right line. And Duke Joshua and Maccabaeus were of our
lineage. I am right inheritor of Alexandria and Africa, and all the out
isles, yet will I believe on thy Lord that thou believest on; and for
thy labour I shall give thee treasure enough. I was so elate and hauteyn
in my heart that I thought no man my peer, nor to me semblable. I was
sent into this war with seven score knights, and now I have encountered
with thee, which hast given to me of fighting my fill, wherefore sir
knight, I pray thee to tell me what thou art. I am no knight, said
Gawaine, I have been brought up in the guardrobe with the noble King
Arthur many years, for to take heed to his armour and his other array,
and to point his paltocks that long to himself. At Yule last he made me
yeoman, and gave to me horse and harness, and an hundred pound in money;
and if fortune be my friend, I doubt not but to be well advanced and
holpen by my liege lord. Ah, said Priamus, if his knaves be so keen and
fierce, his knights be passing good: now for the King's love of Heaven,
whether thou be a knave or a knight, tell thou me thy name. By God,
said Sir Gawaine, now I will say thee sooth, my name is Sir Gawaine, and
known I am in his court and in his chamber, and one of the knights of
the Round Table, he dubbed me a duke with his own hand. Therefore grudge
not if this grace is to me fortuned, it is the goodness of God that
lent to me my strength. Now am I better pleased, said Priamus, than thou
hadst given to me all the Provence and Paris the rich. I had liefer to
have been torn with wild horses, than any varlet had won such loos, or
any page or priker should have had prize on me. But now sir knight
I warn thee that hereby is a Duke of Lorraine with his army, and the
noblest men of Dolphiny, and lords of Lombardy, with the garrison of
Godard, and Saracens of Southland, y-numbered sixty thousand of good men
of arms; wherefore but if we hie us hence, it will harm us both, for we
be sore hurt, never like to recover; but take heed to my page, that
he no horn blow, for if he do, there be hoving here fast by an hundred
knights awaiting on my person, and if they take thee, there shall no
ransom of gold nor silver acquit thee.

Then Sir Gawaine rode over a water for to save him, and the knight
followed him, and so rode forth till they came to his fellows which were
in the meadow, where they had been all the night. Anon as Sir Wisshard
was ware of Sir Gawaine and saw that he was hurt, he ran to him
sorrowfully weeping, and demanded of him who had so hurt him; and
Gawaine told how he had foughten with that man, and each of them had
hurt other, and how he had salves to heal them; but I can tell you other
tidings, that soon we shall have ado with many enemies.

Then Sir Priamus and Sir Gawaine alighted, and let their horses graze in
the meadow, and unarmed them, and then the blood ran freshly from their
wounds. And Priamus took from his page a vial full of the four waters
that came out of Paradise, and with certain balm anointed their wounds,
and washed them with that water, and within an hour after they were
both as whole as ever they were. And then with a trumpet were they all
assembled to council, and there Priamus told unto them what lords and
knights had sworn to rescue him, and that without fail they should be
assailed with many thousands, wherefore he counselled them to withdraw
them. Then Sir Gawaine said, it were great shame to them to avoid
without any strokes; Wherefore I advise to take our arms and to make
us ready to meet with these Saracens and misbelieving men, and with the
help of God we shall overthrow them and have a fair day on them. And Sir
Florence shall abide still in this field to keep the stale as a noble
knight, and we shall not forsake yonder fellows. Now, said Priamus,
cease your words, for I warn you ye shall find in yonder woods many
perilous knights; they will put forth beasts to call you on, they be out
of number, and ye are not past seven hundred, which be over few to fight
with so many. Nevertheless, said Sir Gawaine, we shall once encounter
them, and see what they can do, and the best shall have the victory.



CHAPTER XI. How the Saracens came out of a wood for to rescue their
beasts, and of a great battle.

THEN Sir Florence called to him Sir Floridas, with an hundred knights,
and drove forth the herd of beasts. Then followed him seven hundred men
of arms; and Sir Ferant of Spain on a fair steed came springing out of
the woods, and came to Sir Florence and asked him why he fled. Then
Sir Florence took his spear and rode against him, and smote him in the
forehead and brake his neck bone. Then all the other were moved, and
thought to avenge the death of Sir Ferant, and smote in among them, and
there was great fight, and many slain and laid down to ground, and
Sir Florence with his hundred knights alway kept the stale, and fought
manly.

Then when Priamus the good knight perceived the great fight, he went to
Sir Gawaine, and bade him that he should go and succour his fellowship,
which were sore bestead with their enemies. Sir, grieve you not, said
Sir Gawaine, for their gree shall be theirs. I shall not once move my
horse to them ward, but if I see more than there be; for they be strong
enough to match them.

And with that he saw an earl called Sir Ethelwold and the duke of
Dutchmen, came leaping out of a wood with many thousands, and Priamus'
knights, and came straight unto the battle. Then Sir Gawaine comforted
his knights, and bade them not to be abashed, for all shall be ours.
Then they began to wallop and met with their enemies, there were men
slain and overthrown on every side. Then thrust in among them the
knights of the Table Round, and smote down to the earth all them that
withstood them, in so much that they made them to recoil and flee. By
God, said Sir Gawaine, this gladdeth my heart, for now be they less in
number by twenty thousand. Then entered into the battle Jubance a giant,
and fought and slew down right, and distressed many of our knights,
among whom was slain Sir Gherard, a knight of Wales. Then our knights
took heart to them, and slew many Saracens. And then came in Sir Priamus
with his pennon, and rode with the knights of the Round Table, and
fought so manfully that many of their enemies lost their lives. And
there Sir Priamus slew the Marquis of Moises land, and Sir Gawaine with
his fellows so quit them that they had the field, but in that stour was
Sir Chestelaine, a child and ward of Sir Gawaine slain, wherefore was
much sorrow made, and his death was soon avenged. Thus was the battle
ended, and many lords of Lombardy and Saracens left dead in the field.

Then Sir Florence and Sir Gawaine harboured surely their people, and
took great plenty of bestial, of gold and silver, and great treasure and
riches, and returned unto King Arthur, which lay still at the siege. And
when they came to the king they presented their prisoners and recounted
their adventures, and how they had vanquished their enemies.



CHAPTER XII. How Sir Gawaine returned to King Arthur with his prisoners,
and how the King won a city, and how he was crowned Emperor.

NOW thanked be God, said the noble King Arthur. But what manner man is
he that standeth by himself, him seemeth no prisoner. Sir, said Gawaine,
this is a good man of arms, he hath matched me, but he is yielden unto
God, and to me, for to become Christian; had not he have been we should
never have returned, wherefore I pray you that he may be baptised, for
there liveth not a nobler man nor better knight of his hands. Then the
king let him anon be christened, and did do call him his first name
Priamus, and made him a duke and knight of the Table Round. And then
anon the king let do cry assault to the city, and there was rearing of
ladders, breaking of walls, and the ditch filled, that men with little
pain might enter into the city. Then came out a duchess, and Clarisin
the countess, with many ladies and damosels, and kneeling before King
Arthur, required him for the love of God to receive the city, and not
to take it by assault, for then should many guiltless be slain. Then
the king avaled his visor with a meek and noble countenance, and said,
Madam, there shall none of my subjects misdo you nor your maidens, nor
to none that to you belong, but the duke shall abide my judgment. Then
anon the king commanded to leave the assault, and anon the duke's oldest
son brought out the keys, and kneeling delivered them to the king, and
besought him of grace; and the king seized the town by assent of his
lords, and took the duke and sent him to Dover, there for to abide
prisoner term of his life, and assigned certain rents for the dower of
the duchess and for her children.

Then he made lords to rule those lands, and laws as a lord ought to do
in his own country; and after he took his journey toward Rome, and sent
Sir Floris and Sir Floridas to-fore, with five hundred men of arms, and
they came to the city of Urbino and laid there a bushment, thereas them
seemed most best for them, and rode to-fore the town, where anon issued
out much people and skirmished with the fore-riders. Then brake out the
bushment and won the bridge, and after the town, and set upon the walls
the king's banner. Then came the king upon an hill, and saw the city
and his banner on the walls, by which he knew that the city was won. And
anon he sent and commanded that none of his liege men should defoul nor
lie by no lady, wife nor maid; and when he came into the city, he passed
to the castle, and comforted them that were in sorrow, and ordained
there a captain, a knight of his own country.

And when they of Milan heard that thilk city was won, they sent to King
Arthur great sums of money, and besought him as their lord to have pity
on them, promising to be his subjects for ever, and yield to him homage
and fealty for the lands of Pleasance and Pavia, Petersaint, and the
Port of Tremble, and to give him yearly a million of gold all his
lifetime. Then he rideth into Tuscany, and winneth towns and castles,
and wasted all in his way that to him will not obey, and so to Spolute
and Viterbe, and from thence he rode into the Vale of Vicecount among
the vines. And from thence he sent to the senators, to wit whether they
would know him for their lord. But soon after on a Saturday came unto
King Arthur all the senators that were left alive, and the noblest
cardinals that then dwelt in Rome, and prayed him of peace, and
proferred him full large, and besought him as governor to give licence
for six weeks for to assemble all the Romans, and then to crown him
emperor with chrism as it belongeth to so high estate. I assent, said
the king, like as ye have devised, and at Christmas there to be crowned,
and to hold my Round Table with my knights as me liketh. And then the
senators made ready for his enthronization. And at the day appointed, as
the romance telleth, he came into Rome, and was crowned emperor by the
pope's hand, with all the royalty that could be made, and sojourned
there a time, and established all his lands from Rome into France, and
gave lands and realms unto his servants and knights, to everych after
his desert, in such wise that none complained, rich nor poor. And he
gave to Sir Priamus the duchy of Lorraine; and he thanked him, and said
he would serve him the days of his life; and after made dukes and earls,
and made every man rich.

Then after this all his knights and lords assembled them afore him, and
said: Blessed be God, your war is finished and your conquest achieved,
in so much that we know none so great nor mighty that dare make war
against you: wherefore we beseech you to return homeward, and give us
licence to go home to our wives, from whom we have been long, and to
rest us, for your journey is finished with honour and worship. Then
said the king, Ye say truth, and for to tempt God it is no wisdom, and
therefore make you ready and return we into England. Then there was
trussing of harness and baggage and great carriage. And after licence
given, he returned and commanded that no man in pain of death should not
rob nor take victual, nor other thing by the way but that he should pay
therefore. And thus he came over the sea and landed at Sandwich, against
whom Queen Guenever his wife came and met him, and he was nobly received
of all his commons in every city and burgh, and great gifts presented to
him at his home-coming to welcome him with.

Thus endeth the fifth book of the conquest that King Arthur had against
Lucius the Emperor of Rome, and here followeth the sixth book, which is
of Sir Launcelot du Lake.



BOOK VI.



CHAPTER I. How Sir Launcelot and Sir Lionel departed from the court, and
how Sir Lionel left him sleeping and was taken.

SOON after that King Arthur was come from Rome into England, then all
the knights of the Table Round resorted unto the king, and made many
jousts and tournaments, and some there were that were but knights, which
increased so in arms and worship that they passed all their fellows
in prowess and noble deeds, and that was well proved on many; but in
especial it was proved on Sir Launcelot du Lake, for in all tournaments
and jousts and deeds of arms, both for life and death, he passed all
other knights, and at no time he was never overcome but if it were by
treason or enchantment; so Sir Launcelot increased so marvellously in
worship, and in honour, therefore is he the first knight that the French
book maketh mention of after King Arthur came from Rome. Wherefore Queen
Guenever had him in great favour above all other knights, and in certain
he loved the queen again above all other ladies and damosels of his
life, and for her he did many deeds of arms, and saved her from the fire
through his noble chivalry.

Thus Sir Launcelot rested him long with play and game. And then he
thought himself to prove himself in strange adventures, then he bade
his nephew, Sir Lionel, for to make him ready; for we two will seek
adventures. So they mounted on their horses, armed at all rights, and
rode into a deep forest and so into a deep plain. And then the weather
was hot about noon, and Sir Launcelot had great lust to sleep. Then
Sir Lionel espied a great apple-tree that stood by an hedge, and said,
Brother, yonder is a fair shadow, there may we rest us [and] our horses.
It is well said, fair brother, said Sir Launcelot, for this eight year I
was not so sleepy as I am now; and so they there alighted and tied their
horses unto sundry trees, and so Sir Launcelot laid him down under an
appletree, and his helm he laid under his head. And Sir Lionel waked
while he slept. So Sir Launcelot was asleep passing fast.

And in the meanwhile there came three knights riding, as fast fleeing as
ever they might ride. And there followed them three but one knight. And
when Sir Lionel saw him, him thought he saw never so great a knight,
nor so well faring a man, neither so well apparelled unto all rights.
So within a while this strong knight had overtaken one of these knights,
and there he smote him to the cold earth that he lay still. And then he
rode unto the second knight, and smote him so that man and horse fell
down. And then straight to the third knight he rode, and smote him
behind his horse's arse a spear length. And then he alighted down and
reined his horse on the bridle, and bound all the three knights fast
with the reins of their own bridles. When Sir Lionel saw him do thus, he
thought to assay him, and made him ready, and stilly and privily he took
his horse, and thought not for to awake Sir Launcelot. And when he was
mounted upon his horse, he overtook this strong knight, and bade him
turn, and the other smote Sir Lionel so hard that horse and man he bare
to the earth, and so he alighted down and bound him fast, and threw him
overthwart his own horse, and so he served them all four, and rode with
them away to his own castle. And when he came there he gart unarm them,
and beat them with thorns all naked, and after put them in a deep prison
where were many more knights, that made great dolour.



CHAPTER II. How Sir Ector followed for to seek Sir Launcelot, and how he
was taken by Sir Turquine.

WHEN Sir Ector de Maris wist that Sir Launcelot was passed out of the
court to seek adventures, he was wroth with himself, and made him ready
to seek Sir Launcelot, and as he had ridden long in a great forest he
met with a man was like a forester. Fair fellow, said Sir Ector, knowest
thou in this country any adventures that be here nigh hand? Sir, said
the forester, this country know I well, and hereby, within this mile,
is a strong manor, and well dyked, and by that manor, on the left hand,
there is a fair ford for horses to drink of, and over that ford there
groweth a fair tree, and thereon hang many fair shields that wielded
sometime good knights, and at the hole of the tree hangeth a basin of
copper and latten, and strike upon that basin with the butt of thy spear
thrice, and soon after thou shalt hear new tidings, and else hast thou
the fairest grace that many a year had ever knight that passed through
this forest. Gramercy, said Sir Ector, and departed and came to the
tree, and saw many fair shields. And among them he saw his brother's
shield, Sir Lionel, and many more that he knew that were his fellows of
the Round Table, the which grieved his heart, and promised to revenge
his brother.

Then anon Sir Ector beat on the basin as he were wood, and then he gave
his horse drink at the ford, and there came a knight behind him and bade
him come out of the water and make him ready; and Sir Ector anon turned
him shortly, and in feuter cast his spear, and smote the other knight a
great buffet that his horse turned twice about. This was well done, said
the strong knight, and knightly thou hast stricken me; and therewith he
rushed his horse on Sir Ector, and cleight him under his right arm, and
bare him clean out of the saddle, and rode with him away into his own
hall, and threw him down in midst of the floor. The name of this knight
was Sir Turquine. Then he said unto Sir Ector, For thou hast done this
day more unto me than any knight did these twelve years, now will I
grant thee thy life, so thou wilt be sworn to be my prisoner all thy
life days. Nay, said Sir Ector, that will I never promise thee, but that
I will do mine advantage. That me repenteth, said Sir Turquine. And then
he gart to unarm him, and beat him with thorns all naked, and sithen put
him down in a deep dungeon, where he knew many of his fellows. But when
Sir Ector saw Sir Lionel, then made he great sorrow. Alas, brother, said
Sir Ector, where is my brother Sir Launcelot? Fair brother, I left
him asleep when that I from him yode, under an apple-tree, and what
is become of him I cannot tell you. Alas, said the knights, but Sir
Launcelot help us we may never be delivered, for we know now no knight
that is able to match our master Turquine.



CHAPTER III How four queens found Launcelot sleeping, and how by
enchantment he was taken and led into a castle.

NOW leave we these knights prisoners, and speak we of Sir Launcelot du
Lake that lieth under the apple-tree sleeping. Even about the noon there
came by him four queens of great estate; and, for the heat should not
annoy them, there rode four knights about them, and bare a cloth of
green silk on four spears, betwixt them and the sun, and the queens rode
on four white mules. Thus as they rode they heard by them a great horse
grimly neigh, then were they ware of a sleeping knight, that lay all
armed under an apple-tree; anon as these queens looked on his face,
they knew it was Sir Launcelot. Then they began for to strive for that
knight, everych one said they would have him to her love. We shall not
strive, said Morgan le Fay, that was King Arthur's sister, I shall put
an enchantment upon him that he shall not awake in six hours, and then I
will lead him away unto my castle, and when he is surely within my hold,
I shall take the enchantment from him, and then let him choose which of
us he will have unto paramour.

So this enchantment was cast upon Sir Launcelot, and then they laid him
upon his shield, and bare him so on horseback betwixt two knights,
and brought him unto the castle Chariot, and there they laid him in a
chamber cold, and at night they sent unto him a fair damosel with his
supper ready dight. By that the enchantment was past, and when she came
she saluted him, and asked him what cheer. I cannot say, fair damosel,
said Sir Launcelot, for I wot not how I came into this castle but it be
by an enchantment. Sir, said she, ye must make good cheer, and if ye
be such a knight as it is said ye be, I shall tell you more to-morn by
prime of the day. Gramercy, fair damosel, said Sir Launcelot, of your
good will I require you. And so she departed. And there he lay all that
night without comfort of anybody. And on the morn early came these four
queens, passingly well beseen, all they bidding him good morn, and he
them again.

Sir knight, the four queens said, thou must understand thou art our
prisoner, and we here know thee well that thou art Sir Launcelot du
Lake, King Ban's son, and because we understand your worthiness, that
thou art the noblest knight living, and as we know well there can no
lady have thy love but one, and that is Queen Guenever, and now thou
shalt lose her for ever, and she thee, and therefore thee behoveth now
to choose one of us four. I am the Queen Morgan le Fay, queen of the
land of Gore, and here is the queen of Northgalis, and the queen of
Eastland, and the queen of the Out Isles; now choose one of us which
thou wilt have to thy paramour, for thou mayest not choose or else
in this prison to die. This is an hard case, said Sir Launcelot, that
either I must die or else choose one of you, yet had I liefer to die in
this prison with worship, than to have one of you to my paramour maugre
my head. And therefore ye be answered, I will none of you, for ye be
false enchantresses, and as for my lady, Dame Guenever, were I at my
liberty as I was, I would prove it on you or on yours, that she is the
truest lady unto her lord living. Well, said the queens, is this your
answer, that ye will refuse us. Yea, on my life, said Sir Launcelot,
refused ye be of me. So they departed and left him there alone that made
great sorrow.



CHAPTER IV. How Sir Launcelot was delivered by the mean of a damosel.

RIGHT so at the noon came the damosel unto him with his dinner, and
asked him what cheer. Truly, fair damosel, said Sir Launcelot, in my
life days never so ill. Sir, she said, that me repenteth, but an ye will
be ruled by me, I shall help you out of this distress, and ye shall have
no shame nor villainy, so that ye hold me a promise. Fair damosel, I
will grant you, and sore I am of these queen-sorceresses afeard, for
they have destroyed many a good knight. Sir, said she, that is sooth,
and for the renown and bounty that they hear of you they would have your
love, and Sir, they say, your name is Sir Launcelot du Lake, the flower
of knights, and they be passing wroth with you that ye have refused
them. But Sir, an ye would promise me to help my father on Tuesday
next coming, that hath made a tournament betwixt him and the King of
Northgalis--for the last Tuesday past my father lost the field through
three knights of Arthur's court--an ye will be there on Tuesday next
coming, and help my father, to-morn or prime, by the grace of God, I
shall deliver you clean. Fair maiden, said Sir Launcelot, tell me what
is your father's name, and then shall I give you an answer. Sir knight,
she said, my father is King Bagdemagus, that was foul rebuked at the
last tournament. I know your father well, said Sir Launcelot, for a
noble king and a good knight, and by the faith of my body, ye shall have
my body ready to do your father and you service at that day. Sir, she
said, gramercy, and to-morn await ye be ready betimes and I shall be she
that shall deliver you and take you your armour and your horse, shield
and spear, and hereby within this ten mile, is an abbey of white monks,
there I pray you that ye me abide, and thither shall I bring my father
unto you. All this shall be done, said Sir Launcelot as I am true
knight.

And so she departed, and came on the morn early, and found him ready;
then she brought him out of twelve locks, and brought him unto his
armour, and when he was clean armed, she brought him until his own
horse, and lightly he saddled him and took a great spear in his hand
and so rode forth, and said, Fair damosel, I shall not fail you, by the
grace of God. And so he rode into a great forest all that day, and never
could find no highway and so the night fell on him, and then was he
ware in a slade, of a pavilion of red sendal. By my faith, said Sir
Launcelot, in that pavilion will I lodge all this night, and so there he
alighted down, and tied his horse to the pavilion, and there he unarmed
him, and there he found a bed, and laid him therein and fell asleep
sadly.



CHAPTER V. How a knight found Sir Launcelot lying in his leman's bed,
and how Sir Launcelot fought with the knight.

THEN within an hour there came the knight to whom the pavilion ought,
and he weened that his leman had lain in that bed, and so he laid him
down beside Sir Launcelot, and took him in his arms and began to kiss
him. And when Sir Launcelot felt a rough beard kissing him, he started
out of the bed lightly, and the other knight after him, and either of
them gat their swords in their hands, and out at the pavilion door went
the knight of the pavilion, and Sir Launcelot followed him, and there by
a little slake Sir Launcelot wounded him sore, nigh unto the death. And
then he yielded him unto Sir Launcelot, and so he granted him, so that
he would tell him why he came into the bed. Sir, said the knight, the
pavilion is mine own, and there this night I had assigned my lady to
have slept with me, and now I am likely to die of this wound. That me
repenteth, said Launcelot, of your hurt, but I was adread of treason,
for I was late beguiled, and therefore come on your way into your
pavilion and take your rest, and as I suppose I shall staunch your
blood. And so they went both into the pavilion, and anon Sir Launcelot
staunched his blood.

Therewithal came the knight's lady, that was a passing fair lady, and
when she espied that her lord Belleus was sore wounded, she cried out on
Sir Launcelot, and made great dole out of measure. Peace, my lady and
my love, said Belleus, for this knight is a good man, and a knight
adventurous, and there he told her all the cause how he was wounded; And
when that I yielded me unto him, he left me goodly and hath staunched my
blood. Sir, said the lady, I require thee tell me what knight ye be, and
what is your name? Fair lady, he said, my name is Sir Launcelot du Lake.
So me thought ever by your speech, said the lady, for I have seen you
oft or this, and I know you better than ye ween. But now an ye would
promise me of your courtesy, for the harms that ye have done to me and
my Lord Belleus, that when he cometh unto Arthur's court for to cause
him to be made knight of the Round Table, for he is a passing good man
of arms, and a mighty lord of lands of many out isles.

Fair lady, said Sir Launcelot, let him come unto the court the next high
feast, and look that ye come with him, and I shall do my power, an ye
prove you doughty of your hands, that ye shall have your desire. So
thus within a while, as they thus talked, the night passed, and the day
shone, and then Sir Launcelot armed him, and took his horse, and they
taught him to the Abbey, and thither he rode within the space of two
hours.



CHAPTER VI. How Sir Launcelot was received of King Bagdemagus' daughter,
and how he made his complaint to her father.

AND soon as Sir Launcelot came within the abbey yard, the daughter of
King Bagdemagus heard a great horse go on the pavement. And she then
arose and yede unto a window, and there she saw Sir Launcelot, and anon
she made men fast to take his horse from him and let lead him into a
stable, and himself was led into a fair chamber, and unarmed him, and
the lady sent him a long gown, and anon she came herself. And then she
made Launcelot passing good cheer, and she said he was the knight in the
world was most welcome to her. Then in all haste she sent for her father
Bagdemagus that was within twelve mile of that Abbey, and afore even he
came, with a fair fellowship of knights with him. And when the king was
alighted off his horse he yode straight unto Sir Launcelot's chamber and
there he found his daughter, and then the king embraced Sir Launcelot in
his arms, and either made other good cheer.

Anon Sir Launcelot made his complaint unto the king how he was betrayed,
and how his brother Sir Lionel was departed from him he wist not where,
and how his daughter had delivered him out of prison; Therefore while I
live I shall do her service and all her kindred. Then am I sure of
your help, said the king, on Tuesday next coming. Yea, sir, said Sir
Launcelot, I shall not fail you, for so I have promised my lady your
daughter. But, sir, what knights be they of my lord Arthur's that were
with the King of Northgalis? And the king said it was Sir Mador de
la Porte, and Sir Mordred and Sir Gahalantine that all for-fared my
knights, for against them three I nor my knights might bear no strength.
Sir, said Sir Launcelot, as I hear say that the tournament shall be
here within this three mile of this abbey, ye shall send unto me three
knights of yours, such as ye trust, and look that the three knights have
all white shields, and I also, and no painture on the shields, and we
four will come out of a little wood in midst of both parties, and we
shall fall in the front of our enemies and grieve them that we may; and
thus shall I not be known what knight I am.

So they took their rest that night, and this was on the Sunday, and so
the king departed, and sent unto Sir Launcelot three knights with the
four white shields. And on the Tuesday they lodged them in a little
leaved wood beside there the tournament should be. And there were
scaffolds and holes that lords and ladies might behold and to give the
prize. Then came into the field the King of Northgalis with eight score
helms. And then the three knights of Arthur's stood by themselves. Then
came into the field King Bagdemagus with four score of helms. And then
they feutred their spears, and came together with a great dash, and
there were slain of knights at the first recounter twelve of King
Bagdemagus' party, and six of the King of Northgalis' party, and King
Bagdemagus' party was far set aback.



CHAPTER VII. How Sir Launcelot behaved him in a tournament, and how he
met with Sir Turquine leading Sir Gaheris.

WITH that came Sir Launcelot du Lake, and he thrust in with his spear in
the thickest of the press, and there he smote down with one spear five
knights, and of four of them he brake their backs. And in that throng he
smote down the King of Northgalis, and brake his thigh in that fall. All
this doing of Sir Launcelot saw the three knights of Arthur's. Yonder is
a shrewd guest, said Sir Mador de la Porte, therefore have here once at
him. So they encountered, and Sir Launcelot bare him down horse and man,
so that his shoulder went out of lith. Now befalleth it to me to joust,
said Mordred, for Sir Mador hath a sore fall. Sir Launcelot was ware
of him, and gat a great spear in his hand, and met him, and Sir Mordred
brake a spear upon him, and Sir Launcelot gave him such a buffet that
the arson of his saddle brake, and so he flew over his horse's tail,
that his helm butted into the earth a foot and more, that nigh his neck
was broken, and there he lay long in a swoon.

Then came in Sir Gahalantine with a great spear and Launcelot against
him, with all their strength that they might drive, that both their
spears to-brast even to their hands, and then they flang out with their
swords and gave many a grim stroke. Then was Sir Launcelot wroth out
of measure, and then he smote Sir Gahalantine on the helm that his nose
brast out on blood, and ears and mouth both, and therewith his head hung
low. And therewith his horse ran away with him, and he fell down to the
earth. Anon therewithal Sir Launcelot gat a great spear in his hand,
and or ever that great spear brake, he bare down to the earth sixteen
knights, some horse and man, and some the man and not the horse, and
there was none but that he hit surely, he bare none arms that day. And
then he gat another great spear, and smote down twelve knights, and the
most part of them never throve after. And then the knights of the King
of Northgalis would joust no more. And there the gree was given to King
Bagdemagus.

So either party departed unto his own place, and Sir Launcelot rode
forth with King Bagdemagus unto his castle, and there he had passing
good cheer both with the king and with his daughter, and they proffered
him great gifts. And on the morn he took his leave, and told the king
that he would go and seek his brother Sir Lionel, that went from him
when that he slept, so he took his horse, and betaught them all to God.
And there he said unto the king's daughter, If ye have need any time of
my service I pray you let me have knowledge, and I shall not fail you
as I am true knight. And so Sir Launcelot departed, and by adventure he
came into the same forest there he was taken sleeping. And in the midst
of a highway he met a damosel riding on a white palfrey, and there
either saluted other. Fair damosel, said Sir Launcelot, know ye in
this country any adventures? Sir knight, said that damosel, here are
adventures near hand, an thou durst prove them. Why should I not prove
adventures? said Sir Launcelot for that cause come I hither. Well, said
she, thou seemest well to be a good knight, and if thou dare meet with
a good knight, I shall bring thee where is the best knight, and the
mightiest that ever thou found, so thou wilt tell me what is thy name,
and what knight thou art. Damosel, as for to tell thee my name I take no
great force; truly my name is Sir Launcelot du Lake. Sir, thou beseemest
well, here be adventures by that fall for thee, for hereby dwelleth a
knight that will not be overmatched for no man I know but ye overmatch
him, and his name is Sir Turquine. And, as I understand, he hath in his
prison, of Arthur's court, good knights three score and four, that he
hath won with his own hands. But when ye have done that journey ye shall
promise me as ye are a true knight for to go with me, and to help me and
other damosels that are distressed daily with a false knight. All your
intent, damosel, and desire I will fulfil, so ye will bring me unto this
knight. Now, fair knight, come on your way; and so she brought him unto
the ford and the tree where hung the basin.

So Sir Launcelot let his horse drink, and then he beat on the basin with
the butt of his spear so hard with all his might till the bottom fell
out, and long he did so, but he saw nothing. Then he rode endlong the
gates of that manor nigh half-an-hour. And then was he ware of a great
knight that drove an horse afore him, and overthwart the horse there
lay an armed knight bound. And ever as they came near and near, Sir
Launcelot thought he should know him. Then Sir Launcelot was ware that
it was Sir Gaheris, Gawaine's brother, a knight of the Table Round.
Now, fair damosel, said Sir Launcelot, I see yonder cometh a knight fast
bounden that is a fellow of mine, and brother he is unto Sir Gawaine.
And at the first beginning I promise you, by the leave of God, to rescue
that knight; but if his master sit better in the saddle I shall deliver
all the prisoners that he hath out of danger, for I am sure he hath two
brethren of mine prisoners with him. By that time that either had seen
other, they gripped their spears unto them. Now, fair knight, said
Sir Launcelot, put that wounded knight off the horse, and let him rest
awhile, and let us two prove our strengths; for as it is informed me,
thou doest and hast done great despite and shame unto knights of the
Round Table, and therefore now defend thee. An thou be of the Table
Round, said Turquine, I defy thee and all thy fellowship. That is
overmuch said, said Sir Launcelot.



CHAPTER VIII. How Sir Launcelot and Sir Turquine fought together.

AND then they put their spears in the rests, and came together with
their horses as fast as they might run, and either smote other in midst
of their shields, that both their horses' backs brast under them, and
the knights were both stonied. And as soon as they might avoid their
horses, they took their shields afore them, and drew out their swords,
and came together eagerly, and either gave other many strong strokes,
for there might neither shields nor harness hold their strokes. And so
within a while they had both grimly wounds, and bled passing grievously.
Thus they fared two hours or more trasing and rasing either other, where
they might hit any bare place.

Then at the last they were breathless both, and stood leaning on their
swords. Now fellow, said Sir Turquine, hold thy hand a while, and tell
me what I shall ask thee. Say on. Then Turquine said, Thou art the
biggest man that ever I met withal, and the best breathed, and like one
knight that I hate above all other knights; so be it that thou be not he
I will lightly accord with thee, and for thy love I will deliver all the
prisoners that I have, that is three score and four, so thou wilt tell
me thy name. And thou and I we will be fellows together, and never to
fail thee while that I live. It is well said, said Sir Launcelot, but
sithen it is so that I may have thy friendship, what knight is he that
thou so hatest above all other? Faithfully, said Sir Turquine, his name
is Sir Launcelot du Lake, for he slew my brother, Sir Carados, at the
dolorous tower, that was one of the best knights alive; and therefore
him I except of all knights, for may I once meet with him, the one of
us shall make an end of other, I make mine avow. And for Sir Launcelot's
sake I have slain an hundred good knights, and as many I have maimed all
utterly that they might never after help themselves, and many have
died in prison, and yet have I three score and four, and all shall be
delivered so thou wilt tell me thy name, so be it that thou be not Sir
Launcelot.

Now, see I well, said Sir Launcelot, that such a man I might be, I might
have peace, and such a man I might be, that there should be war mortal
betwixt us. And now, sir knight, at thy request I will that thou wit and
know that I am Launcelot du Lake, King Ban's son of Benwick, and very
knight of the Table Round. And now I defy thee, and do thy best. Ah,
said Turquine, Launcelot, thou art unto me most welcome that ever was
knight, for we shall never depart till the one of us be dead. Then
they hurtled together as two wild bulls rushing and lashing with their
shields and swords, that sometime they fell both over their noses. Thus
they fought still two hours and more, and never would have rest, and Sir
Turquine gave Sir Launcelot many wounds that all the ground thereas they
fought was all bespeckled with blood.



CHAPTER IX. How Sir Turquine was slain, and how Sir Launcelot bade Sir
Gaheris deliver all the prisoners.

THEN at the last Sir Turquine waxed faint, and gave somewhat aback, and
bare his shield low for weariness. That espied Sir Launcelot, and leapt
upon him fiercely and gat him by the beaver of his helmet, and plucked
him down on his knees, and anon he raced off his helm, and smote his
neck in sunder. And when Sir Launcelot had done this, he yode unto the
damosel and said, Damosel, I am ready to go with you where ye will have
me, but I have no horse. Fair sir, said she, take this wounded knight's
horse and send him into this manor, and command him to deliver all the
prisoners. So Sir Launcelot went unto Gaheris, and prayed him not to
be aggrieved for to lend him his horse. Nay, fair lord, said Gaheris,
I will that ye take my horse at your own commandment, for ye have both
saved me and my horse, and this day I say ye are the best knight in the
world, for ye have slain this day in my sight the mightiest man and the
best knight except you that ever I saw, and, fair sir, said Gaheris, I
pray you tell me your name. Sir, my name is Sir Launcelot du Lake, that
ought to help you of right for King Arthur's sake, and in especial for
my lord Sir Gawaine's sake, your own dear brother; and when that ye come
within yonder manor, I am sure ye shall find there many knights of the
Round Table, for I have seen many of their shields that I know on yonder
tree. There is Kay's shield, and Sir Brandel's shield, and Sir Marhaus'
shield, and Sir Galind's shield, and Sir Brian de Listnois' shield, and
Sir Aliduke's shield, with many more that I am not now advised of,
and also my two brethren's shields, Sir Ector de Maris and Sir Lionel;
wherefore I pray you greet them all from me, and say that I bid them
take such stuff there as they find, and that in any wise my brethren go
unto the court and abide me there till that I come, for by the feast of
Pentecost I cast me to be there, for as at this time I must ride with
this damosel for to save my promise.

And so he departed from Gaheris, and Gaheris yede in to the manor, and
there he found a yeoman porter keeping there many keys. Anon withal Sir
Gaheris threw the porter unto the ground and took the keys from him,
and hastily he opened the prison door, and there he let out all the
prisoners, and every man loosed other of their bonds. And when they saw
Sir Gaheris, all they thanked him, for they weened that he was wounded.
Not so, said Gaheris, it was Launcelot that slew him worshipfully with
his own hands. I saw it with mine own eyes. And he greeteth you all
well, and prayeth you to haste you to the court; and as unto Sir Lionel
and Ector de Maris he prayeth you to abide him at the court. That shall
we not do, says his brethren, we will find him an we may live. So shall
I, said Sir Kay, find him or I come at the court, as I am true knight.

Then all those knights sought the house thereas the armour was, and then
they armed them, and every knight found his own horse, and all that ever
longed unto him. And when this was done, there came a forester with four
horses laden with fat venison. Anon, Sir Kay said, Here is good meat for
us for one meal, for we had not many a day no good repast. And so that
venison was roasted, baken, and sodden, and so after supper some abode
there all night, but Sir Lionel and Ector de Maris and Sir Kay rode
after Sir Launcelot to find him if they might.



CHAPTER X. How Sir Launcelot rode with a damosel and slew a knight that
distressed all ladies and also a villain that kept a bridge.

NOW turn we unto Sir Launcelot, that rode with the damosel in a fair
highway. Sir, said the damosel, here by this way haunteth a knight that
distressed all ladies and gentlewomen, and at the least he robbeth them
or lieth by them. What, said Sir Launcelot, is he a thief and a knight
and a ravisher of women? he doth shame unto the order of knighthood, and
contrary unto his oath; it is pity that he liveth. But, fair damosel, ye
shall ride on afore, yourself, and I will keep myself in covert, and if
that he trouble you or distress you I shall be your rescue and learn him
to be ruled as a knight.

So the maid rode on by the way a soft ambling pace, and within a while
came out that knight on horseback out of the wood, and his page with
him, and there he put the damosel from her horse, and then she cried.
With that came Launcelot as fast as he might till he came to that
knight, saying, O thou false knight and traitor unto knighthood, who did
learn thee to distress ladies and gentlewomen? When the knight saw Sir
Launcelot thus rebuking him he answered not, but drew his sword and rode
unto Sir Launcelot, and Sir Launcelot threw his spear from him, and drew
out his sword, and struck him such a buffet on the helmet that he clave
his head and neck unto the throat. Now hast thou thy payment that long
thou hast deserved! That is truth, said the damosel, for like as Sir
Turquine watched to destroy knights, so did this knight attend to
destroy and distress ladies, damosels, and gentlewomen, and his name was
Sir Peris de Forest Savage. Now, damosel, said Sir Launcelot, will ye
any more service of me? Nay, sir, she said, at this time, but almighty
Jesu preserve you wheresomever ye ride or go, for the curteist knight
thou art, and meekest unto all ladies and gentlewomen, that now liveth.
But one thing, sir knight, methinketh ye lack, ye that are a knight
wifeless, that he will not love some maiden or gentlewoman, for I could
never hear say that ever ye loved any of no manner degree, and that is
great pity; but it is noised that ye love Queen Guenever, and that she
hath ordained by enchantment that ye shall never love none other but
her, nor none other damosel nor lady shall rejoice you; wherefore many
in this land, of high estate and low, make great sorrow.

Fair damosel, said Sir Launcelot, I may not warn people to speak of me
what it pleaseth them; but for to be a wedded man, I think it not; for
then I must couch with her, and leave arms and tournaments, battles, and
adventures; and as for to say for to take my pleasaunce with paramours,
that will I refuse in principal for dread of God; for knights that be
adventurous or lecherous shall not be happy nor fortunate unto the wars,
for other they shall be overcome with a simpler knight than they be
themselves, other else they shall by unhap and their cursedness slay
better men than they be themselves. And so who that useth paramours
shall be unhappy, and all thing is unhappy that is about them.

And so Sir Launcelot and she departed. And then he rode in a deep forest
two days and more, and had strait lodging. So on the third day he rode
over a long bridge, and there stert upon him suddenly a passing foul
churl, and he smote his horse on the nose that he turned about, and
asked him why he rode over that bridge without his licence. Why should I
not ride this way? said Sir Launcelot, I may not ride beside. Thou shalt
not choose, said the churl, and lashed at him with a great club shod
with iron. Then Sir Launcelot drew his sword and put the stroke aback,
and clave his head unto the paps. At the end of the bridge was a fair
village, and all the people, men and women, cried on Sir Launcelot, and
said, A worse deed didst thou never for thyself, for thou hast slain the
chief porter of our castle. Sir Launcelot let them say what they would,
and straight he went into the castle; and when he came into the castle
he alighted, and tied his horse to a ring on the wall and there he saw a
fair green court, and thither he dressed him, for there him thought was
a fair place to fight in. So he looked about, and saw much people in
doors and windows that said, Fair knight, thou art unhappy.



CHAPTER XI. How Sir Launcelot slew two giants, and made a castle free.

ANON withal came there upon him two great giants, well armed all save
the heads, with two horrible clubs in their hands. Sir Launcelot put his
shield afore him and put the stroke away of the one giant, and with his
sword he clave his head asunder. When his fellow saw that, he ran away
as he were wood, for fear of the horrible strokes, and Launcelot after
him with all his might, and smote him on the shoulder, and clave him to
the navel. Then Sir Launcelot went into the hall, and there came afore
him three score ladies and damosels, and all kneeled unto him, and
thanked God and him of their deliverance; For sir, said they, the most
party of us have been here this seven year their prisoners, and we
have worked all manner of silk works for our meat, and we are all great
gentlewomen born; and blessed be the time, knight, that ever thou be
born, for thou hast done the most worship that ever did knight in this
world, that will we bear record, and we all pray you to tell us your
name, that we may tell our friends who delivered us out of prison. Fair
damosel, he said, my name is Sir Launcelot du Lake. Ah, sir, said they
all, well mayest thou be he, for else save yourself, as we deemed, there
might never knight have the better of these two giants; for many fair
knights have assayed it, and here have ended, and many times have we
wished after you, and these two giants dread never knight but you.
Now may ye say, said Sir Launcelot, unto your friends how and who hath
delivered you, and greet them all from me, and if that I come in any
of your marches, show me such cheer as ye have cause, and what treasure
that there in this castle is I give it you for a reward for your
grievance, and the lord that is owner of this castle I would he
received it as is right. Fair sir, said they, the name of this castle is
Tintagil, and a duke ought it sometime that had wedded fair Igraine, and
after wedded her Uther Pendragon, and gat on her Arthur. Well, said Sir
Launcelot, I understand to whom this castle longeth; and so he departed
from them, and betaught them unto God.

And then he mounted upon his horse, and rode into many strange and wild
countries, and through many waters and valleys, and evil was he lodged.
And at the last by fortune him happened, against a night, to come to a
fair courtelage, and therein he found an old gentlewoman that lodged him
with good will, and there he had good cheer for him and his horse. And
when time was, his host brought him into a fair garret, over the gate,
to his bed. There Sir Launcelot unarmed him, and set his harness by him,
and went to bed, and anon he fell asleep. So, soon after, there came
one on horseback, and knocked at the gate in great haste, and when Sir
Launcelot heard this, he arose up and looked out at the window, and saw
by the moonlight three knights came riding after that one man, and all
three lashed on him at once with swords, and that one knight turned on
them knightly again, and defended him. Truly, said Sir Launcelot, yonder
one knight shall I help, for it were shame for me to see three knights
on one, and if he be slain I am partner of his death; and therewith he
took his harness, and went out at a window by a sheet down to the four
knights, and then Sir Launcelot said on high, Turn you knights unto me,
and leave your fighting with that knight. And then they all three left
Sir Kay, and turned unto Sir Launcelot, and there began great battle,
for they alighted all three, and struck many great strokes at Sir
Launcelot, and assailed him on every side. Then Sir Kay dressed him for
to have holpen Sir Launcelot. Nay, sir, said he, I will none of your
help; therefore as ye will have my help, let me alone with them. Sir
Kay, for the pleasure of the knight, suffered him for to do his will,
and so stood aside. And then anon within six strokes, Sir Launcelot had
stricken them to the earth.

And then they all three cried: Sir knight, we yield us unto you as a man
of might makeless. As to that, said Sir Launcelot, I will not take
your yielding unto me. But so that ye will yield you unto Sir Kay the
Seneschal, on that covenant I will save your lives, and else not. Fair
knight, said they, that were we loath to do; for as for Sir Kay, we
chased him hither, and had overcome him had not ye been, therefore to
yield us unto him it were no reason. Well, as to that, said Launcelot,
advise you well, for ye may choose whether ye will die or live, for an
ye be yolden it shall be unto Sir Kay. Fair knight, then they said, in
saving of our lives we will do as thou commandest us. Then shall ye,
said Sir Launcelot, on Whitsunday next coming, go unto the court of King
Arthur, and there shall ye yield you unto Queen Guenever, and put you
all three in her grace and mercy, and say that Sir Kay sent you thither
to be her prisoners. Sir, they said, it shall be done by the faith of
our bodies, an we be living, and there they swore every knight upon his
sword. And so Sir Launcelot suffered them so to depart. And then Sir
Launcelot knocked at the gate with the pommel of his sword, and with
that came his host, and in they entered Sir Kay and he. Sir, said his
host, I weened ye had been in your bed. So I was, said Sir Launcelot,
but I rose and leapt out at my window for to help an old fellow of mine.
And so when they came nigh the light, Sir Kay knew well that it was
Sir Launcelot, and therewith he kneeled down and thanked him of all his
kindness that he had holpen him twice from the death. Sir, he said, I
have nothing done but that me ought for to do, and ye are welcome, and
here shall ye repose you and take your rest.

So when Sir Kay was unarmed, he asked after meat; so there was meat
fetched him, and he ate strongly. And when he had supped they went
to their beds and were lodged together in one bed. On the morn Sir
Launcelot arose early, and left Sir Kay sleeping, and Sir Launcelot took
Sir Kay's armour and his shield, and armed him, and so he went to the
stable, and took his horse, and took his leave of his host, and so he
departed. Then soon after arose Sir Kay and missed Sir Launcelot. And
then he espied that he had his armour and his horse. Now by my faith I
know well that he will grieve some of the court of King Arthur; for on
him knights will be bold, and deem that it is I, and that will beguile
them. And because of his armour and shield I am sure I shall ride in
peace. And then soon after departed Sir Kay and thanked his host.



CHAPTER XII. How Sir Launcelot rode disguised in Sir Kay's harness, and
how he smote down a knight.

NOW turn we unto Sir Launcelot that had ridden long in a great forest,
and at the last he came into a low country, full of fair rivers and
meadows. And afore him he saw a long bridge, and three pavilions stood
thereon, of silk and sendal of divers hue. And without the pavilions
hung three white shields on truncheons of spears, and great long spears
stood upright by the pavilions, and at every pavilion's door stood three
fresh squires, and so Sir Launcelot passed by them and spake no word.
When he was passed the three knights said them that it was the proud
Kay; He weeneth no knight so good as he, and the contrary is ofttime
proved. By my faith, said one of the knights, his name was Sir Gaunter,
I will ride after him and assay him for all his pride, and ye may behold
how that I speed. So this knight, Sir Gaunter, armed him, and hung his
shield upon his shoulder, and mounted upon a great horse, and gat his
spear in his hand, and walloped after Sir Launcelot. And when he came
nigh him, he cried, Abide, thou proud knight Sir Kay, for thou shalt not
pass quit. So Sir Launcelot turned him, and either feutred their spears,
and came together with all their mights, and Sir Gaunter's spear brake,
but Sir Launcelot smote him down horse and man. And when Sir Gaunter was
at the earth his brethren said each one to other, Yonder knight is not
Sir Kay, for he is bigger than he. I dare lay my head, said Sir Gilmere,
yonder knight hath slain Sir Kay and hath taken his horse and his
harness. Whether it be so or no, said Sir Raynold, the third brother,
let us now go mount upon our horses and rescue our brother Sir Gaunter,
upon pain of death. We all shall have work enough to match that knight,
for ever meseemeth by his person it is Sir Launcelot, or Sir Tristram,
or Sir Pelleas, the good knight.

Then anon they took their horses and overtook Sir Launcelot, and Sir
Gilmere put forth his spear, and ran to Sir Launcelot, and Sir Launcelot
smote him down that he lay in a swoon. Sir knight, said Sir Raynold,
thou art a strong man, and as I suppose thou hast slain my two brethren,
for the which raseth my heart sore against thee, and if I might with
my worship I would not have ado with you, but needs I must take part
as they do, and therefore, knight, he said, keep thyself. And so they
hurtled together with all their mights, and all to-shivered both their
spears. And then they drew their swords and lashed together eagerly.
Anon therewith arose Sir Gaunter, and came unto his brother Sir Gilmere,
and bade him, Arise, and help we our brother Sir Raynold, that yonder
marvellously matched yonder good knight. Therewithal, they leapt on
their horses and hurtled unto Sir Launcelot.

And when he saw them come he smote a sore stroke unto Sir Raynold, that
he fell off his horse to the ground, and then he struck to the other two
brethren, and at two strokes he struck them down to the earth. With
that Sir Raynold began to start up with his head all bloody, and came
straight unto Sir Launcelot. Now let be, said Sir Launcelot, I was not
far from thee when thou wert made knight, Sir Raynold, and also I know
thou art a good knight, and loath I were to slay thee. Gramercy, said
Sir Raynold, as for your goodness; and I dare say as for me and my
brethren, we will not be loath to yield us unto you, with that we knew
your name, for well we know ye are not Sir Kay. As for that be it as it
be may, for ye shall yield you unto dame Guenever, and look that ye be
with her on Whitsunday, and yield you unto her as prisoners, and say
that Sir Kay sent you unto her. Then they swore it should be done, and
so passed forth Sir Launcelot, and each one of the brethren holp other
as well as they might.



CHAPTER XIII. How Sir Launcelot jousted against four knights of the
Round Table and overthrew them.

SO Sir Launcelot rode into a deep forest, and thereby in a slade, he saw
four knights hoving under an oak, and they were of Arthur's court, one
was Sir Sagramour le Desirous, and Ector de Maris, and Sir Gawaine, and
Sir Uwaine. Anon as these four knights had espied Sir Launcelot, they
weened by his arms it had been Sir Kay. Now by my faith, said Sir
Sagramour, I will prove Sir Kay's might, and gat his spear in his hand,
and came toward Sir Launcelot. Therewith Sir Launcelot was ware and knew
him well, and feutred his spear against him, and smote Sir Sagramour so
sore that horse and man fell both to the earth. Lo, my fellows, said he,
yonder ye may see what a buffet he hath; that knight is much bigger than
ever was Sir Kay. Now shall ye see what I may do to him. So Sir Ector
gat his spear in his hand and walloped toward Sir Launcelot, and Sir
Launcelot smote him through the shield and shoulder, that man and horse
went to the earth, and ever his spear held.

By my faith, said Sir Uwaine, yonder is a strong knight, and I am sure
he hath slain Sir Kay; and I see by his great strength it will be hard
to match him. And therewithal, Sir Uwaine gat his spear in his hand and
rode toward Sir Launcelot, and Sir Launcelot knew him well, and so he
met him on the plain, and gave him such a buffet that he was astonied,
that long he wist not where he was. Now see I well, said Sir Gawaine,
I must encounter with that knight. Then he dressed his shield and gat a
good spear in his hand, and Sir Launcelot knew him well; and then they
let run their horses with all their mights, and either knight smote
other in midst of the shield. But Sir Gawaine's spear to-brast, and Sir
Launcelot charged so sore upon him that his horse reversed up-so-down.
And much sorrow had Sir Gawaine to avoid his horse, and so Sir Launcelot
passed on a pace and smiled, and said, God give him joy that this spear
made, for there came never a better in my hand.

Then the four knights went each one to other and comforted each other.
What say ye by this guest? said Sir Gawaine, that one spear hath felled
us all four. We commend him unto the devil, they said all, for he is a
man of great might. Ye may well say it, said Sir Gawaine, that he is a
man of might, for I dare lay my head it is Sir Launcelot, I know it by
his riding. Let him go, said Sir Gawaine, for when we come to the court
then shall we wit; and then had they much sorrow to get their horses
again.



CHAPTER XIV. How Sir Launcelot followed a brachet into a castle, where
he found a dead knight, and how he after was required of a damosel to
heal her brother.

NOW leave we there and speak of Sir Launcelot that rode a great while in
a deep forest, where he saw a black brachet, seeking in manner as it
had been in the feute of an hurt deer. And therewith he rode after the
brachet, and he saw lie on the ground a large feute of blood. And then
Sir Launcelot rode after. And ever the brachet looked behind her, and
so she went through a great marsh, and ever Sir Launcelot followed. And
then was he ware of an old manor, and thither ran the brachet, and so
over the bridge. So Sir Launcelot rode over that bridge that was old and
feeble; and when he came in midst of a great hall, there he saw lie a
dead knight that was a seemly man, and that brachet licked his wounds.
And therewithal came out a lady weeping and wringing her hands; and then
she said, O knight, too much sorrow hast thou brought me. Why say ye so?
said Sir Launcelot, I did never this knight no harm, for hither by
feute of blood this brachet brought me; and therefore, fair lady, be
not displeased with me, for I am full sore aggrieved of your grievance.
Truly, sir, she said, I trow it be not ye that hath slain my husband,
for he that did that deed is sore wounded, and he is never likely to
recover, that shall I ensure him. What was your husband's name? said Sir
Launcelot. Sir, said she, his name was called Sir Gilbert the Bastard,
one of the best knights of the world, and he that hath slain him I know
not his name. Now God send you better comfort, said Sir Launcelot; and
so he departed and went into the forest again, and there he met with a
damosel, the which knew him well, and she said aloud, Well be ye found,
my lord; and now I require thee, on thy knighthood, help my brother that
is sore wounded, and never stinteth bleeding; for this day he fought
with Sir Gilbert the Bastard and slew him in plain battle, and there was
my brother sore wounded, and there is a lady a sorceress that dwelleth
in a castle here beside, and this day she told me my brother's wounds
should never be whole till I could find a knight that would go into the
Chapel Perilous, and there he should find a sword and a bloody cloth
that the wounded knight was lapped in, and a piece of that cloth and
sword should heal my brother's wounds, so that his wounds were searched
with the sword and the cloth. This is a marvellous thing, said Sir
Launcelot, but what is your brother's name? Sir, she said, his name was
Sir Meliot de Logres. That me repenteth, said Sir Launcelot, for he is
a fellow of the Table Round, and to his help I will do my power. Then,
sir, said she, follow even this highway, and it will bring you unto the
Chapel Perilous; and here I shall abide till God send you here again,
and, but you speed, I know no knight living that may achieve that
adventure.



CHAPTER XV. How Sir Launcelot came into the Chapel Perilous and gat
there of a dead corpse a piece of the cloth and a sword.

RIGHT so Sir Launcelot departed, and when he came unto the Chapel
Perilous he alighted down, and tied his horse unto a little gate. And as
soon as he was within the churchyard he saw on the front of the chapel
many fair rich shields turned up-so-down, and many of the shields Sir
Launcelot had seen knights bear beforehand. With that he saw by him
there stand a thirty great knights, more by a yard than any man that
ever he had seen, and all those grinned and gnashed at Sir Launcelot.
And when he saw their countenance he dreaded him sore, and so put
his shield afore him, and took his sword ready in his hand ready unto
battle, and they were all armed in black harness ready with their
shields and their swords drawn. And when Sir Launcelot would have gone
throughout them, they scattered on every side of him, and gave him the
way, and therewith he waxed all bold, and entered into the chapel, and
then he saw no light but a dim lamp burning, and then was he ware of a
corpse hilled with a cloth of silk. Then Sir Launcelot stooped down, and
cut a piece away of that cloth, and then it fared under him as the earth
had quaked a little; therewithal he feared. And then he saw a fair sword
lie by the dead knight, and that he gat in his hand and hied him out of
the chapel.

Anon as ever he was in the chapel yard all the knights spake to him with
a grimly voice, and said, Knight, Sir Launcelot, lay that sword from
thee or else thou shalt die. Whether that I live or die, said Sir
Launcelot, with no great word get ye it again, therefore fight for it an
ye list. Then right so he passed throughout them, and beyond the chapel
yard there met him a fair damosel, and said, Sir Launcelot, leave that
sword behind thee, or thou wilt die for it. I leave it not, said Sir
Launcelot, for no treaties. No, said she, an thou didst leave that
sword, Queen Guenever should thou never see. Then were I a fool an I
would leave this sword, said Launcelot. Now, gentle knight, said the
damosel, I require thee to kiss me but once. Nay, said Sir Launcelot,
that God me forbid. Well, sir, said she, an thou hadst kissed me thy
life days had been done, but now, alas, she said, I have lost all my
labour, for I ordained this chapel for thy sake, and for Sir Gawaine.
And once I had Sir Gawaine within me, and at that time he fought with
that knight that lieth there dead in yonder chapel, Sir Gilbert the
Bastard; and at that time he smote the left hand off of Sir Gilbert the
Bastard. And, Sir Launcelot, now I tell thee, I have loved thee this
seven year, but there may no woman have thy love but Queen Guenever. But
sithen I may not rejoice thee to have thy body alive, I had kept no more
joy in this world but to have thy body dead. Then would I have balmed it
and served it, and so have kept it my life days, and daily I should
have clipped thee, and kissed thee, in despite of Queen Guenever. Ye say
well, said Sir Launcelot, Jesu preserve me from your subtle crafts. And
therewithal he took his horse and so departed from her. And as the book
saith, when Sir Launcelot was departed she took such sorrow that she
died within a fourteen night, and her name was Hellawes the sorceress,
Lady of the Castle Nigramous.

Anon Sir Launcelot met with the damosel, Sir Meliot's sister. And when
she saw him she clapped her hands, and wept for joy. And then they rode
unto a castle thereby where lay Sir Meliot. And anon as Sir Launcelot
saw him he knew him, but he was passing pale, as the earth, for
bleeding. When Sir Meliot saw Sir Launcelot he kneeled upon his knees
and cried on high: O lord Sir Launcelot, help me! Anon Sir Launcelot
leapt unto him and touched his wounds with Sir Gilbert's sword. And then
he wiped his wounds with a part of the bloody cloth that Sir Gilbert was
wrapped in, and anon an wholer man in his life was he never. And then
there was great joy between them, and they made Sir Launcelot all the
cheer that they might, and so on the morn Sir Launcelot took his leave,
and bade Sir Meliot hie him to the court of my lord Arthur, for it
draweth nigh to the Feast of Pentecost, and there by the grace of God ye
shall find me. And therewith they departed.



CHAPTER XVI. How Sir Launcelot at the request of a lady recovered a
falcon, by which he was deceived.

AND so Sir Launcelot rode through many strange countries, over marshes
and valleys, till by fortune he came to a fair castle, and as he passed
beyond the castle him thought he heard two bells ring. And then was he
ware of a falcon came flying over his head toward an high elm, and long
lunes about her feet, and as she flew unto the elm to take her perch the
lunes over-cast about a bough. And when she would have taken her flight
she hung by the legs fast; and Sir Launcelot saw how she hung, and
beheld the fair falcon perigot, and he was sorry for her.

The meanwhile came a lady out of the castle and cried on high: O
Launcelot, Launcelot, as thou art flower of all knights, help me to get
my hawk, for an my hawk be lost my lord will destroy me; for I kept the
hawk and she slipped from me, and if my lord my husband wit it he is
so hasty that he will slay me. What is your lord's name? said Sir
Launcelot. Sir, she said, his name is Sir Phelot, a knight that longeth
unto the King of Northgalis. Well, fair lady, since that ye know my
name, and require me of knighthood to help you, I will do what I may to
get your hawk, and yet God knoweth I am an ill climber, and the tree
is passing high, and few boughs to help me withal. And therewith Sir
Launcelot alighted, and tied his horse to the same tree, and prayed
the lady to unarm him. And so when he was unarmed, he put off all his
clothes unto his shirt and breech, and with might and force he clomb up
to the falcon, and tied the lines to a great rotten boyshe, and threw
the hawk down and it withal.

Anon the lady gat the hawk in her hand; and therewithal came out Sir
Phelot out of the groves suddenly, that was her husband, all armed and
with his naked sword in his hand, and said: O knight Launcelot, now have
I found thee as I would, and stood at the bole of the tree to slay him.
Ah, lady, said Sir Launcelot, why have ye betrayed me? She hath done,
said Sir Phelot, but as I commanded her, and therefore there nis none
other boot but thine hour is come that thou must die. That were shame
unto thee, said Sir Launcelot, thou an armed knight to slay a naked
man by treason. Thou gettest none other grace, said Sir Phelot, and
therefore help thyself an thou canst. Truly, said Sir Launcelot, that
shall be thy shame, but since thou wilt do none other, take mine harness
with thee, and hang my sword upon a bough that I may get it, and then do
thy best to slay me an thou canst. Nay, nay, said Sir Phelot, for I know
thee better than thou weenest, therefore thou gettest no weapon, an I
may keep you therefrom. Alas, said Sir Launcelot, that ever a knight
should die weaponless. And therewith he waited above him and under
him, and over his head he saw a rownsepyk, a big bough leafless, and
therewith he brake it off by the body. And then he came lower and
awaited how his own horse stood, and suddenly he leapt on the further
side of the horse, fro-ward the knight. And then Sir Phelot lashed at
him eagerly, weening to have slain him. But Sir Launcelot put away the
stroke with the rownsepyk, and therewith he smote him on the one side
of the head, that he fell down in a swoon to the ground. So then Sir
Launcelot took his sword out of his hand, and struck his neck from the
body. Then cried the lady, Alas! why hast thou slain my husband? I am
not causer, said Sir Launcelot, for with falsehood ye would have had
slain me with treason, and now it is fallen on you both. And then she
swooned as though she would die. And therewithal Sir Launcelot gat all
his armour as well as he might, and put it upon him for dread of more
resort, for he dreaded that the knight's castle was so nigh. And so, as
soon as he might, he took his horse and departed, and thanked God that
he had escaped that adventure.



CHAPTER XVII. How Sir Launcelot overtook a knight which chased his wife
to have slain her, and how he said to him.

SO Sir Launcelot rode many wild ways, throughout marches and many wild
ways. And as he rode in a valley he saw a knight chasing a lady, with
a naked sword, to have slain her. And by fortune as this knight should
have slain this lady, she cried on Sir Launcelot and prayed him to
rescue her. When Sir Launcelot saw that mischief, he took his horse and
rode between them, saying, Knight, fie for shame, why wilt thou slay
this lady? thou dost shame unto thee and all knights. What hast thou to
do betwixt me and my wife? said the knight. I will slay her maugre thy
head. That shall ye not, said Sir Launcelot, for rather we two will have
ado together. Sir Launcelot, said the knight, thou dost not thy part,
for this lady hath betrayed me. It is not so, said the lady, truly he
saith wrong on me. And for because I love and cherish my cousin germain,
he is jealous betwixt him and me; and as I shall answer to God there was
never sin betwixt us. But, sir, said the lady, as thou art called the
worshipfullest knight of the world, I require thee of true knighthood,
keep me and save me. For whatsomever ye say he will slay me, for he is
without mercy. Have ye no doubt, said Launcelot, it shall not lie in his
power. Sir, said the knight, in your sight I will be ruled as ye will
have me. And so Sir Launcelot rode on the one side and she on the other:
he had not ridden but a while, but the knight bade Sir Launcelot turn
him and look behind him, and said, Sir, yonder come men of arms after
us riding. And so Sir Launcelot turned him and thought no treason,
and therewith was the knight and the lady on one side, and suddenly he
swapped off his lady's head.

And when Sir Launcelot had espied him what he had done, he said, and
called him, Traitor, thou hast shamed me for ever. And suddenly Sir
Launcelot alighted off his horse, and pulled out his sword to slay him,
and therewithal he fell flat to the earth, and gripped Sir Launcelot
by the thighs, and cried mercy. Fie on thee, said Sir Launcelot, thou
shameful knight, thou mayest have no mercy, and therefore arise and
fight with me. Nay, said the knight, I will never arise till ye grant
me mercy. Now will I proffer thee fair, said Launcelot, I will unarm
me unto my shirt, and I will have nothing upon me but my shirt, and my
sword and my hand. And if thou canst slay me, quit be thou for ever.
Nay, sir, said Pedivere, that will I never. Well, said Sir Launcelot,
take this lady and the head, and bear it upon thee, and here shalt thou
swear upon my sword, to bear it always upon thy back, and never to rest
till thou come to Queen Guenever. Sir, said he, that will I do, by the
faith of my body. Now, said Launcelot, tell me what is your name? Sir,
my name is Pedivere. In a shameful hour wert thou born, said Launcelot.

So Pedivere departed with the dead lady and the head, and found the
queen with King Arthur at Winchester, and there he told all the truth.
Sir knight, said the queen, this is an horrible deed and a shameful, and
a great rebuke unto Sir Launcelot; but notwithstanding his worship
is not known in many divers countries; but this shall I give you in
penance, make ye as good shift as ye can, ye shall bear this lady with
you on horseback unto the Pope of Rome, and of him receive your penance
for your foul deeds; and ye shall never rest one night whereas ye do
another; an ye go to any bed the dead body shall lie with you. This oath
there he made, and so departed. And as it telleth in the French book,
when he came to Rome, the Pope bade him go again unto Queen Guenever,
and in Rome was his lady buried by the Pope's commandment. And after
this Sir Pedivere fell to great goodness, and was an holy man and an
hermit.



CHAPTER XVIII. How Sir Launcelot came to King Arthur's Court, and how
there were recounted all his noble feats and acts.

NOW turn we unto Sir Launcelot du Lake, that came home two days afore
the Feast of Pentecost; and the king and all the court were passing
fain of his coming. And when Sir Gawaine, Sir Uwaine, Sir Sagramore, Sir
Ector de Maris, saw Sir Launcelot in Kay's armour, then they wist
well it was he that smote them down all with one spear. Then there
was laughing and smiling among them. And ever now and now came all the
knights home that Sir Turquine had prisoners, and they all honoured and
worshipped Sir Launcelot.

When Sir Gaheris heard them speak, he said, I saw all the battle from
the beginning to the ending, and there he told King Arthur all how it
was, and how Sir Turquine was the strongest knight that ever he saw
except Sir Launcelot: there were many knights bare him record, nigh
three score. Then Sir Kay told the king how Sir Launcelot had rescued
him when he should have been slain, and how he made the knights yield
them to me, and not to him. And there they were all three, and bare
record. And by Jesu, said Sir Kay, because Sir Launcelot took my harness
and left me his I rode in good peace, and no man would have ado with me.

Anon therewithal there came the three knights that fought with Sir
Launcelot at the long bridge. And there they yielded them unto Sir Kay,
and Sir Kay forsook them and said he fought never with them. But I shall
ease your heart, said Sir Kay, yonder is Sir Launcelot that overcame
you. When they wist that they were glad. And then Sir Meliot de Logres
came home, and told the king how Sir Launcelot had saved him from the
death. And all his deeds were known, how four queens, sorceresses, had
him in prison, and how he was delivered by King Bagdemagus' daughter.
Also there were told all the great deeds of arms that Sir Launcelot did
betwixt the two kings, that is for to say the King of Northgalis and
King Bagdemagus. All the truth Sir Gahalantine did tell, and Sir Mador
de la Porte and Sir Mordred, for they were at that same tournament.
Then came in the lady that knew Sir Launcelot when that he wounded Sir
Belleus at the pavilion. And there, at request of Sir Launcelot, Sir
Belleus was made knight of the Round Table. And so at that time Sir
Launcelot had the greatest name of any knight of the world, and most he
was honoured of high and low.

Explicit the noble tale of Sir Launcelot du Lake, which is the vi.
book. Here followeth the tale of Sir Gareth of Orkney that was called
Beaumains by Sir Kay, and is the seventh book.



BOOK VII.



CHAPTER I. How Beaumains came to King Arthur's Court and demanded three
petitions of King Arthur.

WHEN Arthur held his Round Table most plenour, it fortuned that he
commanded that the high feast of Pentecost should be holden at a city
and a castle, the which in those days was called Kynke Kenadonne, upon
the sands that marched nigh Wales. So ever the king had a custom that at
the feast of Pentecost in especial, afore other feasts in the year,
he would not go that day to meat until he had heard or seen of a great
marvel. And for that custom all manner of strange adventures came before
Arthur as at that feast before all other feasts. And so Sir Gawaine, a
little to-fore noon of the day of Pentecost, espied at a window three
men upon horseback, and a dwarf on foot, and so the three men alighted,
and the dwarf kept their horses, and one of the three men was higher
than the other twain by a foot and an half. Then Sir Gawaine went unto
the king and said, Sir, go to your meat, for here at the hand come
strange adventures. So Arthur went unto his meat with many other kings.
And there were all the knights of the Round Table, [save] only those
that were prisoners or slain at a recounter. Then at the high feast
evermore they should be fulfilled the whole number of an hundred and
fifty, for then was the Round Table fully complished.

Right so came into the hall two men well beseen and richly, and upon
their shoulders there leaned the goodliest young man and the fairest
that ever they all saw, and he was large and long, and broad in the
shoulders, and well visaged, and the fairest and the largest handed that
ever man saw, but he fared as though he might not go nor bear himself
but if he leaned upon their shoulders. Anon as Arthur saw him there was
made peace and room, and right so they yede with him unto the high dais,
without saying of any words. Then this much young man pulled him aback,
and easily stretched up straight, saying, King Arthur, God you bless and
all your fair fellowship, and in especial the fellowship of the Table
Round. And for this cause I am come hither, to pray you and require you
to give me three gifts, and they shall not be unreasonably asked, but
that ye may worshipfully and honourably grant them me, and to you no
great hurt nor loss. And the first don and gift I will ask now, and the
other two gifts I will ask this day twelvemonth, wheresomever ye hold
your high feast. Now ask, said Arthur, and ye shall have your asking.

Now, sir, this is my petition for this feast, that ye will give me meat
and drink sufficiently for this twelvemonth, and at that day I will ask
mine other two gifts.

My fair son, said Arthur, ask better, I counsel thee, for this is but
a simple asking; for my heart giveth me to thee greatly, that thou art
come of men of worship, and greatly my conceit faileth me but thou shalt
prove a man of right great worship. Sir, he said, thereof be as it be
may, I have asked that I will ask. Well, said the king, ye shall have
meat and drink enough; I never defended that none, neither my friend nor
my foe. But what is thy name I would wit? I cannot tell you, said he.
That is marvel, said the king, that thou knowest not thy name, and thou
art the goodliest young man that ever I saw. Then the king betook him
to Sir Kay the steward, and charged him that he should give him of all
manner of meats and drinks of the best, and also that he had all manner
of finding as though he were a lord's son. That shall little need, said
Sir Kay, to do such cost upon him; for I dare undertake he is a villain
born, and never will make man, for an he had come of gentlemen he would
have asked of you horse and armour, but such as he is, so he asketh. And
sithen he hath no name, I shall give him a name that shall be Beaumains,
that is Fair-hands, and into the kitchen I shall bring him, and there
he shall have fat brose every day, that he shall be as fat by the
twelvemonths' end as a pork hog. Right so the two men departed and
beleft him to Sir Kay, that scorned him and mocked him.



CHAPTER II. How Sir Launcelot and Sir Gawaine were wroth because Sir Kay
mocked Beaumains, and of a damosel which desired a knight to fight for a
lady.

THEREAT was Sir Gawaine wroth, and in especial Sir Launcelot bade Sir
Kay leave his mocking, for I dare lay my head he shall prove a man of
great worship. Let be said Sir Kay, it may not be by no reason, for as
he is, so he hath asked. Beware, said Sir Launcelot, so ye gave the good
knight Brewnor, Sir Dinadan's brother, a name, and ye called him La Cote
Male Taile, and that turned you to anger afterward. As for that, said
Sir Kay, this shall never prove none such. For Sir Brewnor desired ever
worship, and this desireth bread and drink and broth; upon pain of my
life he was fostered up in some abbey, and, howsomever it was, they
failed meat and drink, and so hither he is come for his sustenance.

And so Sir Kay bade get him a place, and sit down to meat; so Beaumains
went to the hall door, and set him down among boys and lads, and there
he ate sadly. And then Sir Launcelot after meat bade him come to his
chamber, and there he should have meat and drink enough. And so did Sir
Gawaine: but he refused them all; he would do none other but as Sir
Kay commanded him, for no proffer. But as touching Sir Gawaine, he had
reason to proffer him lodging, meat, and drink, for that proffer came
of his blood, for he was nearer kin to him than he wist. But that as Sir
Launcelot did was of his great gentleness and courtesy.

So thus he was put into the kitchen, and lay nightly as the boys of
the kitchen did. And so he endured all that twelvemonth, and never
displeased man nor child, but always he was meek and mild. But ever when
that he saw any jousting of knights, that would he see an he might. And
ever Sir Launcelot would give him gold to spend, and clothes, and so did
Sir Gawaine, and where there were any masteries done, thereat would he
be, and there might none cast bar nor stone to him by two yards. Then
would Sir Kay say, How liketh you my boy of the kitchen? So it passed
on till the feast of Whitsuntide. And at that time the king held it at
Carlion in the most royallest wise that might be, like as he did yearly.
But the king would no meat eat upon the Whitsunday, until he heard some
adventures. Then came there a squire to the king and said, Sir, ye may
go to your meat, for here cometh a damosel with some strange adventures.
Then was the king glad and sat him down.

Right so there came a damosel into the hall and saluted the king, and
prayed him of succour. For whom? said the king, what is the adventure?

Sir, she said, I have a lady of great worship and renown, and she is
besieged with a tyrant, so that she may not out of her castle; and
because here are called the noblest knights of the world, I come to you
to pray you of succour. What hight your lady, and where dwelleth she,
and who is she, and what is his name that hath besieged her? Sir king,
she said, as for my lady's name that shall not ye know for me as at
this time, but I let you wit she is a lady of great worship and of
great lands; and as for the tyrant that besiegeth her and destroyeth her
lands, he is called the Red Knight of the Red Launds. I know him not,
said the king. Sir, said Sir Gawaine, I know him well, for he is one of
the perilloust knights of the world; men say that he hath seven men's
strength, and from him I escaped once full hard with my life. Fair
damosel, said the king, there be knights here would do their power for
to rescue your lady, but because you will not tell her name, nor where
she dwelleth, therefore none of my knights that here be now shall go
with you by my will. Then must I speak further, said the damosel.



CHAPTER III. How Beaumains desired the battle, and how it was granted to
him, and how he desired to be made knight of Sir Launcelot.

WITH these words came before the king Beaumains, while the damosel
was there, and thus he said, Sir king, God thank you, I have been this
twelvemonth in your kitchen, and have had my full sustenance, and now I
will ask my two gifts that be behind. Ask, upon my peril, said the king.
Sir, this shall be my two gifts, first that ye will grant me to have
this adventure of the damosel, for it belongeth unto me. Thou shalt have
it, said the king, I grant it thee. Then, sir, this is the other gift,
that ye shall bid Launcelot du Lake to make me knight, for of him I will
be made knight and else of none. And when I am passed I pray you let him
ride after me, and make me knight when I require him. All this shall be
done, said the king. Fie on thee, said the damosel, shall I have none
but one that is your kitchen page? Then was she wroth and took her horse
and departed. And with that there came one to Beaumains and told him his
horse and armour was come for him; and there was the dwarf come with all
thing that him needed, in the richest manner; thereat all the court had
much marvel from whence came all that gear. So when he was armed there
was none but few so goodly a man as he was; and right so as he came into
the hall and took his leave of King Arthur, and Sir Gawaine, and Sir
Launcelot, and prayed that he would hie after him, and so departed and
rode after the damosel.



CHAPTER IV. How Beaumains departed, and how he gat of Sir Kay a spear
and a shield, and how he jousted with Sir Launcelot.

BUT there went many after to behold how well he was horsed and trapped
in cloth of gold, but he had neither shield nor spear. Then Sir Kay said
all open in the hall, I will ride after my boy in the kitchen, to wit
whether he will know me for his better. Said Sir Launcelot and Sir
Gawaine, Yet abide at home. So Sir Kay made him ready and took his horse
and his spear, and rode after him. And right as Beaumains overtook the
damosel, right so came Sir Kay and said, Beaumains, what, sir, know ye
not me? Then he turned his horse, and knew it was Sir Kay, that had done
him all the despite as ye have heard afore. Yea, said Beaumains, I know
you for an ungentle knight of the court, and therefore beware of me.
Therewith Sir Kay put his spear in the rest, and ran straight upon him;
and Beaumains came as fast upon him with his sword in his hand, and so
he put away his spear with his sword, and with a foin thrust him through
the side, that Sir Kay fell down as he had been dead; and he alighted
down and took Sir Kay's shield and his spear, and stert upon his own
horse and rode his way.

All that saw Sir Launcelot, and so did the damosel. And then he bade his
dwarf stert upon Sir Kay's horse, and so he did. By that Sir Launcelot
was come, then he proffered Sir Launcelot to joust; and either made them
ready, and they came together so fiercely that either bare down other
to the earth, and sore were they bruised. Then Sir Launcelot arose and
helped him from his horse. And then Beaumains threw his shield from him,
and proffered to fight with Sir Launcelot on foot; and so they rushed
together like boars, tracing, rasing, and foining to the mountenance
of an hour; and Sir Launcelot felt him so big that he marvelled of his
strength, for he fought more liker a giant than a knight, and that his
fighting was durable and passing perilous. For Sir Launcelot had so much
ado with him that he dreaded himself to be shamed, and said, Beaumains,
fight not so sore, your quarrel and mine is not so great but we may
leave off. Truly that is truth, said Beaumains, but it doth me good to
feel your might, and yet, my lord, I showed not the utterance.



CHAPTER V. How Beaumains told to Sir Launcelot his name, and how he was
dubbed knight of Sir Launcelot, and after overtook the damosel.

IN God's name, said Sir Launcelot, for I promise you, by the faith of my
body, I had as much to do as I might to save myself from you unshamed,
and therefore have ye no doubt of none earthly knight. Hope ye so that
I may any while stand a proved knight? said Beaumains. Yea, said
Launcelot, do as ye have done, and I shall be your warrant. Then, I pray
you, said Beaumains, give me the order of knighthood. Then must ye tell
me your name, said Launcelot, and of what kin ye be born. Sir, so
that ye will not discover me I shall, said Beaumains. Nay, said Sir
Launcelot, and that I promise you by the faith of my body, until it be
openly known. Then, sir, he said, my name is Gareth, and brother unto
Sir Gawaine of father and mother. Ah, sir, said Sir Launcelot, I am more
gladder of you than I was; for ever me thought ye should be of great
blood, and that ye came not to the court neither for meat nor for drink.
And then Sir Launcelot gave him the order of knighthood, and then Sir
Gareth prayed him for to depart and let him go.

So Sir Launcelot departed from him and came to Sir Kay, and made him to
be borne home upon his shield, and so he was healed hard with the
life; and all men scorned Sir Kay, and in especial Sir Gawaine and Sir
Launcelot said it was not his part to rebuke no young man, for full
little knew he of what birth he is come, and for what cause he came to
this court; and so we leave Sir Kay and turn we unto Beaumains.

When he had overtaken the damosel, anon she said, What dost thou here?
thou stinkest all of the kitchen, thy clothes be bawdy of the grease and
tallow that thou gainest in King Arthur's kitchen; weenest thou, said
she, that I allow thee, for yonder knight that thou killest. Nay truly,
for thou slewest him unhappily and cowardly; therefore turn again, bawdy
kitchen page, I know thee well, for Sir Kay named thee Beaumains.
What art thou but a lusk and a turner of broaches and a ladle-washer?
Damosel, said Beaumains, say to me what ye will, I will not go from you
whatsomever ye say, for I have undertaken to King Arthur for to achieve
your adventure, and so shall I finish it to the end, either I shall die
therefore. Fie on thee, kitchen knave, wilt thou finish mine adventure?
thou shalt anon be met withal, that thou wouldest not for all the broth
that ever thou suppest once look him in the face. I shall assay, said
Beaumains.

So thus as they rode in the wood, there came a man flying all that ever
he might. Whither wilt thou? said Beaumains. O lord, he said, help me,
for here by in a slade are six thieves that have taken my lord and bound
him, so I am afeard lest they will slay him. Bring me thither, said
Beaumains. And so they rode together until they came thereas was the
knight bounden; and then he rode unto them, and struck one unto the
death, and then another, and at the third stroke he slew the third
thief, and then the other three fled. And he rode after them, and he
overtook them; and then those three thieves turned again and assailed
Beaumains hard, but at the last he slew them, and returned and unbound
the knight. And the knight thanked him, and prayed him to ride with him
to his castle there a little beside, and he should worshipfully reward
him for his good deeds. Sir, said Beaumains, I will no reward have: I
was this day made knight of noble Sir Launcelot, and therefore I will no
reward have, but God reward me. And also I must follow this damosel.

And when he came nigh her she bade him ride from her, For thou smellest
all of the kitchen: weenest thou that I have joy of thee, for all this
deed that thou hast done is but mishapped thee: but thou shalt see a
sight shall make thee turn again, and that lightly. Then the same knight
which was rescued of the thieves rode after that damosel, and prayed
her to lodge with him all that night. And because it was near night the
damosel rode with him to his castle, and there they had great cheer, and
at supper the knight sat Sir Beaumains afore the damosel. Fie, fie, said
she, Sir knight, ye are uncourteous to set a kitchen page afore me; him
beseemeth better to stick a swine than to sit afore a damosel of high
parage. Then the knight was ashamed at her words, and took him up, and
set him at a sideboard, and set himself afore him, and so all that night
they had good cheer and merry rest.



CHAPTER VI. How Beaumains fought and slew two knights at a passage.

AND on the morn the damosel and he took their leave and thanked the
knight, and so departed, and rode on their way until they came to a
great forest. And there was a great river and but one passage, and there
were ready two knights on the farther side to let them the passage. What
sayest thou, said the damosel, wilt thou match yonder knights or turn
again? Nay, said Sir Beaumains, I will not turn again an they were six
more. And therewithal he rushed into the water, and in midst of the
water either brake their spears upon other to their hands, and then
they drew their swords, and smote eagerly at other. And at the last
Sir Beaumains smote the other upon the helm that his head stonied, and
therewithal he fell down in the water, and there was he drowned. And
then he spurred his horse upon the land, where the other knight fell
upon him, and brake his spear, and so they drew their swords and fought
long together. At the last Sir Beaumains clave his helm and his head
down to the shoulders; and so he rode unto the damosel and bade her ride
forth on her way.

Alas, she said, that ever a kitchen page should have that fortune to
destroy such two doughty knights: thou weenest thou hast done doughtily,
that is not so; for the first knight his horse stumbled, and there he
was drowned in the water, and never it was by thy force, nor by
thy might. And the last knight by mishap thou camest behind him and
mishappily thou slew him.

Damosel, said Beaumains, ye may say what ye will, but with whomsomever I
have ado withal, I trust to God to serve him or he depart. And therefore
I reck not what ye say, so that I may win your lady. Fie, fie, foul
kitchen knave, thou shalt see knights that shall abate thy boast. Fair
damosel, give me goodly language, and then my care is past, for what
knights somever they be, I care not, nor I doubt them not. Also, said
she, I say it for thine avail, yet mayest thou turn again with thy
worship; for an thou follow me, thou art but slain, for I see all that
ever thou dost is but by misadventure, and not by prowess of thy hands.
Well, damosel, ye may say what ye will, but wheresomever ye go I will
follow you. So this Beaumains rode with that lady till evensong time,
and ever she chid him, and would not rest. And they came to a black
laund; and there was a black hawthorn, and thereon hung a black banner,
and on the other side there hung a black shield, and by it stood a black
spear great and long, and a great black horse covered with silk, and a
black stone fast by.



CHAPTER VII. How Beaumains fought with the Knight of the Black Launds,
and fought with him till he fell down and died.

THERE sat a knight all armed in black harness, and his name was the
Knight of the Black Laund. Then the damosel, when she saw that knight,
she bade him flee down that valley, for his horse was not saddled.
Gramercy, said Beaumains, for always ye would have me a coward. With
that the Black Knight, when she came nigh him, spake and said, Damosel,
have ye brought this knight of King Arthur to be your champion? Nay,
fair knight, said she, this is but a kitchen knave that was fed in
King Arthur's kitchen for alms. Why cometh he, said the knight, in
such array? it is shame that he beareth you company. Sir, I cannot be
delivered of him, said she, for with me he rideth maugre mine head: God
would that ye should put him from me, other to slay him an ye may, for
he is an unhappy knave, and unhappily he hath done this day: through
mishap I saw him slay two knights at the passage of the water; and
other deeds he did before right marvellous and through unhappiness. That
marvelleth me, said the Black Knight, that any man that is of worship
will have ado with him. They know him not, said the damosel, and for
because he rideth with me, they ween that he be some man of worship
born. That may be, said the Black Knight; howbeit as ye say that he be
no man of worship, he is a full likely person, and full like to be a
strong man: but thus much shall I grant you, said the Black Knight; I
shall put him down upon one foot, and his horse and his harness he shall
leave with me, for it were shame to me to do him any more harm.

When Sir Beaumains heard him say thus, he said, Sir knight, thou art
full large of my horse and my harness; I let thee wit it cost thee
nought, and whether it liketh thee or not, this laund will I pass maugre
thine head. And horse nor harness gettest thou none of mine, but if
thou win them with thy hands; and therefore let see what thou canst do.
Sayest thou that? said the Black Knight, now yield thy lady from thee,
for it beseemeth never a kitchen page to ride with such a lady. Thou
liest, said Beaumains, I am a gentleman born, and of more high lineage
than thou, and that will I prove on thy body.

Then in great wrath they departed with their horses, and came together
as it had been the thunder, and the Black Knight's spear brake, and
Beaumains thrust him through both his sides, and therewith his spear
brake, and the truncheon left still in his side. But nevertheless the
Black Knight drew his sword, and smote many eager strokes, and of great
might, and hurt Beaumains full sore. But at the last the Black Knight,
within an hour and an half, he fell down off his horse in swoon, and
there he died. And when Beaumains saw him so well horsed and armed, then
he alighted down and armed him in his armour, and so took his horse and
rode after the damosel.

When she saw him come nigh, she said, Away, kitchen knave, out of the
wind, for the smell of thy bawdy clothes grieveth me. Alas, she said,
that ever such a knave should by mishap slay so good a knight as thou
hast done, but all this is thine unhappiness. But here by is one shall
pay thee all thy payment, and therefore yet I counsel thee, flee. It may
happen me, said Beaumains, to be beaten or slain, but I warn you, fair
damosel, I will not flee away, a nor leave your company, for all that
ye can say; for ever ye say that they will kill me or beat me, but
howsomever it happeneth I escape, and they lie on the ground. And
therefore it were as good for you to hold you still thus all day
rebuking me, for away will I not till I see the uttermost of this
journey, or else I will be slain, other truly beaten; therefore ride on
your way, for follow you I will whatsomever happen.



CHAPTER VIII. How the brother of the knight that was slain met with
Beaumains, and fought with Beaumains till he was yielden.

THUS as they rode together, they saw a knight come driving by them all
in green, both his horse and his harness; and when he came nigh the
damosel, he asked her, Is that my brother the Black Knight that ye have
brought with you? Nay, nay, she said, this unhappy kitchen knave hath
slain your brother through unhappiness. Alas, said the Green Knight,
that is great pity, that so noble a knight as he was should so unhappily
be slain, and namely of a knave's hand, as ye say that he is. Ah!
traitor, said the Green Knight, thou shalt die for slaying of my
brother; he was a full noble knight, and his name was Sir Perard. I defy
thee, said Beaumains, for I let thee wit I slew him knightly and not
shamefully.

Therewithal the Green Knight rode unto an horn that was green, and it
hung upon a thorn, and there he blew three deadly motes, and there came
two damosels and armed him lightly. And then he took a great horse, and
a green shield and a green spear. And then they ran together with all
their mights, and brake their spears unto their hands. And then they
drew their swords, and gave many sad strokes, and either of them wounded
other full ill. And at the last, at an overthwart, Beaumains with his
horse struck the Green Knight's horse upon the side, that he fell to the
earth. And then the Green Knight avoided his horse lightly, and dressed
him upon foot. That saw Beaumains, and therewithal he alighted, and they
rushed together like two mighty kemps a long while, and sore they bled
both. With that came the damosel, and said, My lord the Green Knight,
why for shame stand ye so long fighting with the kitchen knave? Alas, it
is shame that ever ye were made knight, to see such a lad to match such
a knight, as the weed overgrew the corn. Therewith the Green Knight was
ashamed, and therewithal he gave a great stroke of might, and clave his
shield through. When Beaumains saw his shield cloven asunder he was a
little ashamed of that stroke and of her language; and then he gave him
such a buffet upon the helm that he fell on his knees. And so suddenly
Beaumains pulled him upon the ground grovelling. And then the Green
Knight cried him mercy, and yielded him unto Sir Beaumains, and prayed
him to slay him not. All is in vain, said Beaumains, for thou shalt
die but if this damosel that came with me pray me to save thy life.
And therewithal he unlaced his helm like as he would slay him. Fie upon
thee, false kitchen page, I will never pray thee to save his life, for I
will never be so much in thy danger. Then shall he die, said Beaumains.
Not so hardy, thou bawdy knave, said the damosel, that thou slay him.
Alas, said the Green Knight, suffer me not to die for a fair word may
save me. Fair knight, said the Green Knight, save my life, and I will
forgive thee the death of my brother, and for ever to become thy man,
and thirty knights that hold of me for ever shall do you service. In the
devil's name, said the damosel, that such a bawdy kitchen knave should
have thee and thirty knights' service.

Sir knight, said Beaumains, all this availeth thee not, but if my
damosel speak with me for thy life. And therewithal he made a semblant
to slay him. Let be, said the damosel, thou bawdy knave; slay him not,
for an thou do thou shalt repent it. Damosel, said Beaumains, your
charge is to me a pleasure, and at your commandment his life shall be
saved, and else not. Then he said, Sir knight with the green arms, I
release thee quit at this damosel's request, for I will not make her
wroth, I will fulfil all that she chargeth me. And then the Green Knight
kneeled down, and did him homage with his sword. Then said the damosel,
Me repenteth, Green Knight, of your damage, and of your brother's death,
the Black Knight, for of your help I had great mister, for I dread me
sore to pass this forest. Nay, dread you not, said the Green Knight, for
ye shall lodge with me this night, and to-morn I shall help you through
this forest. So they took their horses and rode to his manor, which was
fast there beside.



CHAPTER IX. How the damosel again rebuked Beaumains, and would not
suffer him to sit at her table, but called him kitchen boy.

AND ever she rebuked Beaumains, and would not suffer him to sit at her
table, but as the Green Knight took him and sat him at a side table.
Marvel methinketh, said the Green Knight to the damosel, why ye rebuke
this noble knight as ye do, for I warn you, damosel, he is a full noble
knight, and I know no knight is able to match him; therefore ye do
great wrong to rebuke him, for he shall do you right good service, for
whatsomever he maketh himself, ye shall prove at the end that he is come
of a noble blood and of king's lineage. Fie, fie, said the damosel,
it is shame for you to say of him such worship. Truly, said the Green
Knight, it were shame for me to say of him any disworship, for he hath
proved himself a better knight than I am, yet have I met with many
knights in my days, and never or this time have I found no knight his
match. And so that night they yede unto rest, and all that night the
Green Knight commanded thirty knights privily to watch Beaumains, for to
keep him from all treason.

And so on the morn they all arose, and heard their mass and brake their
fast; and then they took their horses and rode on their way, and the
Green Knight conveyed them through the forest; and there the Green
Knight said, My lord Beaumains, I and these thirty knights shall be
always at your summons, both early and late, at your calling and whither
that ever ye will send us. It is well said, said Beaumains; when that I
call upon you ye must yield you unto King Arthur, and all your knights.
If that ye so command us, we shall be ready at all times, said the Green
Knight. Fie, fie upon thee, in the devil's name, said the damosel,
that any good knights should be obedient unto a kitchen knave. So
then departed the Green Knight and the damosel. And then she said unto
Beaumains, Why followest thou me, thou kitchen boy? Cast away thy shield
and thy spear, and flee away; yet I counsel thee betimes or thou
shalt say right soon, alas; for wert thou as wight as ever was Wade or
Launcelot, Tristram, or the good knight Sir Lamorak, thou shalt not pass
a pass here that is called the Pass Perilous. Damosel, said Beaumains,
who is afeard let him flee, for it were shame to turn again sithen I
have ridden so long with you. Well, said the damosel, ye shall soon,
whether ye will or not.



CHAPTER X. How the third brother, called the Red Knight, jousted and
fought against Beaumains, and how Beaumains overcame him.

SO within a while they saw a tower as white as any snow, well matchecold
all about, and double dyked. And over the tower gate there hung a fifty
shields of divers colours, and under that tower there was a fair meadow.
And therein were many knights and squires to behold, scaffolds and
pavilions; for there upon the morn should be a great tournament: and the
lord of the tower was in his castle and looked out at a window, and saw
a damosel, a dwarf, and a knight armed at all points. So God me help,
said the lord, with that knight will I joust, for I see that he is a
knight-errant. And so he armed him and horsed him hastily. And when he
was on horseback with his shield and his spear, it was all red, both
his horse and his harness, and all that to him longeth. And when that
he came nigh him he weened it had been his brother the Black Knight;
and then he cried aloud, Brother, what do ye in these marches? Nay, nay,
said the damosel, it is not he; this is but a kitchen knave that was
brought up for alms in King Arthur's court. Nevertheless, said the Red
Knight, I will speak with him or he depart. Ah, said the damosel, this
knave hath killed thy brother, and Sir Kay named him Beaumains, and this
horse and this harness was thy brother's, the Black Knight. Also I
saw thy brother the Green Knight overcome of his hands. Now may ye be
revenged upon him, for I may never be quit of him.

With this either knights departed in sunder, and they came together with
all their might, and either of their horses fell to the earth, and they
avoided their horses, and put their shields afore them and drew their
swords, and either gave other sad strokes, now here, now there, rasing,
tracing, foining, and hurling like two boars, the space of two hours.
And then she cried on high to the Red Knight, Alas, thou noble Red
Knight, think what worship hath followed thee, let never a kitchen knave
endure thee so long as he doth. Then the Red Knight waxed wroth and
doubled his strokes, and hurt Beaumains wonderly sore, that the blood
ran down to the ground, that it was wonder to see that strong battle.
Yet at the last Sir Beaumains struck him to the earth, and as he would
have slain the Red Knight, he cried mercy, saying, Noble knight, slay me
not, and I shall yield me to thee with fifty knights with me that be at
my commandment. And I forgive thee all the despite that thou hast done
to me, and the death of my brother the Black Knight. All this availeth
not, said Beaumains, but if my damosel pray me to save thy life.
And therewith he made semblant to strike off his head. Let be, thou
Beaumains, slay him not, for he is a noble knight, and not so hardy,
upon thine head, but thou save him.

Then Beaumains bade the Red Knight, Stand up, and thank the damosel now
of thy life. Then the Red Knight prayed him to see his castle, and to
be there all night. So the damosel then granted him, and there they
had merry cheer. But always the damosel spake many foul words unto
Beaumains, whereof the Red Knight had great marvel; and all that night
the Red Knight made three score knights to watch Beaumains, that he
should have no shame nor villainy. And upon the morn they heard mass
and dined, and the Red Knight came before Beaumains with his three score
knights, and there he proffered him his homage and fealty at all times,
he and his knights to do him service. I thank you, said Beaumains, but
this ye shall grant me: when I call upon you, to come afore my lord
King Arthur, and yield you unto him to be his knights. Sir, said the
Red Knight, I will be ready, and my fellowship, at your summons. So Sir
Beaumains departed and the damosel, and ever she rode chiding him in the
foulest manner.



CHAPTER XI. How Sir Beaumains suffered great rebukes of the damosel, and
he suffered it patiently.

DAMOSEL, said Beaumains, ye are uncourteous so to rebuke me as ye do,
for meseemeth I have done you good service, and ever ye threaten me I
shall be beaten with knights that we meet, but ever for all your boast
they lie in the dust or in the mire, and therefore I pray you rebuke me
no more; and when ye see me beaten or yielden as recreant, then may ye
bid me go from you shamefully; but first I let you wit I will not depart
from you, for I were worse than a fool an I would depart from you all
the while that I win worship. Well, said she, right soon there shall
meet a knight shall pay thee all thy wages, for he is the most man of
worship of the world, except King Arthur. I will well, said Beaumains,
the more he is of worship, the more shall be my worship to have ado with
him.

Then anon they were ware where was afore them a city rich and fair. And
betwixt them and the city a mile and an half there was a fair meadow
that seemed new mown, and therein were many pavilions fair to behold.
Lo, said the damosel, yonder is a lord that owneth yonder city, and his
custom is, when the weather is fair, to lie in this meadow to joust and
tourney. And ever there be about him five hundred knights and gentlemen
of arms, and there be all manner of games that any gentleman can devise.
That goodly lord, said Beaumains, would I fain see. Thou shalt see him
time enough, said the damosel, and so as she rode near she espied the
pavilion where he was. Lo, said she, seest thou yonder pavilion that is
all of the colour of Inde, and all manner of thing that there is about,
men and women, and horses trapped, shields and spears were all of the
colour of Inde, and his name is Sir Persant of Inde, the most lordliest
knight that ever thou lookedst on. It may well be, said Beaumains, but
be he never so stout a knight, in this field I shall abide till that
I see him under his shield. Ah, fool, said she, thou wert better flee
betimes. Why, said Beaumains, an he be such a knight as ye make him, he
will not set upon me with all his men, or with his five hundred knights.
For an there come no more but one at once, I shall him not fail whilst
my life lasteth. Fie, fie, said the damosel, that ever such a stinking
knave should blow such a boast. Damosel, he said, ye are to blame so to
rebuke me, for I had liefer do five battles than so to be rebuked, let
him come and then let him do his worst.

Sir, she said, I marvel what thou art and of what kin thou art come;
boldly thou speakest, and boldly thou hast done, that have I seen;
therefore I pray thee save thyself an thou mayest, for thy horse and
thou have had great travail, and I dread we dwell over long from the
siege, for it is but hence seven mile, and all perilous passages we
are passed save all only this passage; and here I dread me sore lest ye
shall catch some hurt, therefore I would ye were hence, that ye were
not bruised nor hurt with this strong knight. But I let you wit that Sir
Persant of Inde is nothing of might nor strength unto the knight that
laid the siege about my lady. As for that, said Sir Beaumains, be it
as it be may. For sithen I am come so nigh this knight I will prove his
might or I depart from him, and else I shall be shamed an I now withdraw
me from him. And therefore, damosel, have ye no doubt by the grace of
God I shall so deal with this knight that within two hours after noon
I shall deliver him. And then shall we come to the siege by daylight. O
Jesu, marvel have I, said the damosel, what manner a man ye be, for it
may never be otherwise but that ye be come of a noble blood, for so foul
nor shamefully did never woman rule a knight as I have done you, and
ever courteously ye have suffered me, and that came never but of a
gentle blood.

Damosel, said Beaumains, a knight may little do that may not suffer a
damosel, for whatsomever ye said unto me I took none heed to your words,
for the more ye said the more ye angered me, and my wrath I wreaked
upon them that I had ado withal. And therefore all the missaying that ye
missaid me furthered me in my battle, and caused me to think to show and
prove myself at the end what I was; for peradventure though I had meat
in King Arthur's kitchen, yet I might have had meat enough in other
places, but all that I did it for to prove and assay my friends, and
that shall be known another day; and whether that I be a gentleman
born or none, I let you wit, fair damosel, I have done you gentleman's
service, and peradventure better service yet will I do or I depart from
you. Alas, she said, fair Beaumains, forgive me all that I have missaid
or done against thee. With all my heart, said he, I forgive it you, for
ye did nothing but as ye should do, for all your evil words pleased me;
and damosel, said Beaumains, since it liketh you to say thus fair unto
me, wit ye well it gladdeth my heart greatly, and now meseemeth there is
no knight living but I am able enough for him.



CHAPTER XII. How Beaumains fought with Sir Persant of Inde, and made him
to be yielden.

WITH this Sir Persant of Inde had espied them as they hoved in the
field, and knightly he sent to them whether he came in war or in peace.
Say to thy lord, said Beaumains, I take no force, but whether as him
list himself. So the messenger went again unto Sir Persant and told him
all his answer. Well then will I have ado with him to the utterance, and
so he purveyed him and rode against him. And Beaumains saw him and made
him ready, and there they met with all that ever their horses might run,
and brast their spears either in three pieces, and their horses rushed
so together that both their horses fell dead to the earth; and lightly
they avoided their horses and put their shields afore them, and drew
their swords, and gave many great strokes that sometime they hurtled
together that they fell grovelling on the ground. Thus they fought two
hours and more, that their shields and their hauberks were all forhewen,
and in many steads they were wounded. So at the last Sir Beaumains smote
him through the cost of the body, and then he retrayed him here and
there, and knightly maintained his battle long time. And at the last,
though him loath were, Beaumains smote Sir Persant above upon the
helm, that he fell grovelling to the earth; and then he leapt upon him
overthwart and unlaced his helm to have slain him.

Then Sir Persant yielded him and asked him mercy. With that came the
damosel and prayed to save his life. I will well, for it were pity
this noble knight should die. Gramercy, said Persant, gentle knight and
damosel. For certainly now I wot well it was ye that slew my brother the
Black Knight at the black thorn; he was a full noble knight, his name
was Sir Percard. Also I am sure that ye are he that won mine other
brother the Green Knight, his name was Sir Pertolepe. Also ye won my
brother the Red Knight, Sir Perimones. And now since ye have won these,
this shall I do for to please you: ye shall have homage and fealty of
me, and an hundred knights to be always at your commandment, to go
and ride where ye will command us. And so they went unto Sir Persant's
pavilion and drank the wine, and ate spices, and afterward Sir Persant
made him to rest upon a bed until supper time, and after supper to bed
again. When Beaumains was abed, Sir Persant had a lady, a fair daughter
of eighteen year of age, and there he called her unto him, and charged
her and commanded her upon his blessing to go unto the knight's bed, and
lie down by his side, and make him no strange cheer, but good cheer,
and take him in thine arms and kiss him, and look that this be done, I
charge you, as ye will have my love and my good will. So Sir Persant's
daughter did as her father bade her, and so she went unto Sir Beaumains'
bed, and privily she dispoiled her, and laid her down by him, and then
he awoke and saw her, and asked her what she was. Sir, she said, I am
Sir Persant's daughter, that by the commandment of my father am come
hither. Be ye a maid or a wife? said he. Sir, she said, I am a clean
maiden. God defend, said he, that I should defoil you to do Sir Persant
such a shame; therefore, fair damosel, arise out of this bed or else I
will. Sir, she said, I came not to you by mine own will, but as I was
commanded. Alas, said Sir Beaumains, I were a shameful knight an I would
do your father any disworship; and so he kissed her, and so she departed
and came unto Sir Persant her father, and told him all how she had sped.
Truly, said Sir Persant, whatsomever he be, he is come of a noble blood.
And so we leave them there till on the morn.



CHAPTER XIII. Of the goodly communication between Sir Persant and
Beaumains, and how he told him that his name was Sir Gareth.

AND so on the morn the damosel and Sir Beaumains heard mass and brake
their fast, and so took their leave. Fair damosel, said Persant,
whitherward are ye way-leading this knight? Sir, she said, this knight
is going to the siege that besiegeth my sister in the Castle Dangerous.
Ah, ah, said Persant, that is the Knight of the Red Laund, the which
is the most perilous knight that I know now living, and a man that is
without mercy, and men say that he hath seven men's strength. God save
you, said he to Beaumains, from that knight, for he doth great wrong to
that lady, and that is great pity, for she is one of the fairest ladies
of the world, and meseemeth that your damosel is her sister: is not your
name Linet? said he. Yea, sir, said she, and my lady my sister's name is
Dame Lionesse. Now shall I tell you, said Sir Persant, this Red Knight
of the Red Laund hath lain long at the siege, well-nigh this two years,
and many times he might have had her an he had would, but he prolongeth
the time to this intent, for to have Sir Launcelot du Lake to do battle
with him, or Sir Tristram, or Sir Lamorak de Galis, or Sir Gawaine, and
this is his tarrying so long at the siege.

Now my lord Sir Persant of Inde, said the damosel Linet, I require you
that ye will make this gentleman knight or ever he fight with the Red
Knight. I will with all my heart, said Sir Persant, an it please him
to take the order of knighthood of so simple a man as I am. Sir, said
Beaumains, I thank you for your good will, for I am better sped, for
certainly the noble knight Sir Launcelot made me knight. Ah, said Sir
Persant, of a more renowned knight might ye not be made knight; for of
all knights he may be called chief of knighthood; and so all the world
saith, that betwixt three knights is departed clearly knighthood, that
is Launcelot du Lake, Sir Tristram de Liones, and Sir Lamorak de Galis:
these bear now the renown. There be many other knights, as Sir Palamides
the Saracen and Sir Safere his brother; also Sir Bleoberis and Sir
Blamore de Ganis his brother; also Sir Bors de Ganis and Sir Ector de
Maris and Sir Percivale de Galis; these and many more be noble knights,
but there be none that pass the three above said; therefore God speed
you well, said Sir Persant, for an ye may match the Red Knight ye shall
be called the fourth of the world.

Sir, said Beaumains, I would fain be of good fame and of knighthood. And
I let you wit I came of good men, for I dare say my father was a noble
man, and so that ye will keep it in close, and this damosel, I will tell
you of what kin I am. We will not discover you, said they both, till ye
command us, by the faith we owe unto God. Truly then, said he, my name
is Gareth of Orkney, and King Lot was my father, and my mother is
King Arthur's sister, her name is Dame Morgawse, and Sir Gawaine is my
brother, and Sir Agravaine and Sir Gaheris, and I am the youngest of
them all. And yet wot not King Arthur nor Sir Gawaine what I am.



CHAPTER XIV. How the lady that was besieged had word from her sister
how she had brought a knight to fight for her, and what battles he had
achieved.

SO the book saith that the lady that was besieged had word of her
sister's coming by the dwarf, and a knight with her, and how he had
passed all the perilous passages. What manner a man is he? said the
lady. He is a noble knight, truly, madam, said the dwarf, and but a
young man, but he is as likely a man as ever ye saw any. What is he?
said the damosel, and of what kin is he come, and of whom was he made
knight? Madam, said the dwarf, he is the king's son of Orkney, but
his name I will not tell you as at this time; but wit ye well, of Sir
Launcelot was he made knight, for of none other would he be made knight,
and Sir Kay named him Beaumains. How escaped he, said the lady, from the
brethren of Persant? Madam, he said, as a noble knight should. First, he
slew two brethren at a passage of a water. Ah! said she, they were good
knights, but they were murderers, the one hight Gherard le Breuse, and
the other knight hight Sir Arnold le Breuse. Then, madam, he recountered
with the Black Knight, and slew him in plain battle, and so he took his
horse and his armour and fought with the Green Knight and won him in
plain battle, and in like wise he served the Red Knight, and after in
the same wise he served the Blue Knight and won him in plain battle.
Then, said the lady, he hath overcome Sir Persant of Inde, one of the
noblest knights of the world, and the dwarf said, He hath won all the
four brethren and slain the Black Knight, and yet he did more to-fore:
he overthrew Sir Kay and left him nigh dead upon the ground; also he
did a great battle with Sir Launcelot, and there they departed on even
hands: and then Sir Launcelot made him knight.

Dwarf, said the lady, I am glad of these tidings, therefore go thou in
an hermitage of mine hereby, and there shalt thou bear with thee of my
wine in two flagons of silver, they are of two gallons, and also two
cast of bread with fat venison baked, and dainty fowls; and a cup of
gold here I deliver thee, that is rich and precious; and bear all this
to mine hermitage, and put it in the hermit's hands. And sithen go
thou unto my sister and greet her well, and commend me unto that gentle
knight, and pray him to eat and to drink and make him strong, and say
ye him I thank him of his courtesy and goodness, that he would take upon
him such labour for me that never did him bounty nor courtesy. Also pray
him that he be of good heart and courage, for he shall meet with a full
noble knight, but he is neither of bounty, courtesy, nor gentleness; for
he attendeth unto nothing but to murder, and that is the cause I cannot
praise him nor love him.

So this dwarf departed, and came to Sir Persant, where he found the
damosel Linet and Sir Beaumains, and there he told them all as ye have
heard; and then they took their leave, but Sir Persant took an ambling
hackney and conveyed them on their ways, and then beleft them to God;
and so within a little while they came to that hermitage, and there they
drank the wine, and ate the venison and the fowls baken. And so when
they had repasted them well, the dwarf returned again with his vessel
unto the castle again; and there met with him the Red Knight of the Red
Launds, and asked him from whence that he came, and where he had been.
Sir, said the dwarf, I have been with my lady's sister of this castle,
and she hath been at King Arthur's court, and brought a knight with her.
Then I account her travail but lost; for though she had brought with her
Sir Launcelot, Sir Tristram, Sir Lamorak, or Sir Gawaine, I would think
myself good enough for them all.

It may well be, said the dwarf, but this knight hath passed all the
perilous passages, and slain the Black Knight and other two more, and
won the Green Knight, the Red Knight, and the Blue Knight. Then is he
one of these four that I have afore rehearsed. He is none of those, said
the dwarf, but he is a king's son. What is his name? said the Red Knight
of the Red Launds. That will I not tell you, said the dwarf, but Sir Kay
upon scorn named him Beaumains. I care not, said the knight, what knight
so ever he be, for I shall soon deliver him. And if I ever match him he
shall have a shameful death as many other have had. That were pity, said
the dwarf, and it is marvel that ye make such shameful war upon noble
knights.



CHAPTER XV. How the damosel and Beaumains came to the siege; and came to
a sycamore tree, and there Beaumains blew a horn, and then the Knight of
the Red Launds came to fight with him.

NOW leave we the knight and the dwarf, and speak we of Beaumains, that
all night lay in the hermitage; and upon the morn he and the damosel
Linet heard their mass and brake their fast. And then they took their
horses and rode throughout a fair forest; and then they came to a plain,
and saw where were many pavilions and tents, and a fair castle, and
there was much smoke and great noise; and when they came near the siege
Sir Beaumains espied upon great trees, as he rode, how there hung full
goodly armed knights by the neck, and their shields about their necks
with their swords, and gilt spurs upon their heels, and so there hung
nigh a forty knights shamefully with full rich arms.

Then Sir Beaumains abated his countenance and said, What meaneth this?
Fair sir, said the damosel, abate not your cheer for all this sight, for
ye must courage yourself, or else ye be all shent, for all these knights
came hither to this siege to rescue my sister Dame Lionesse, and when
the Red Knight of the Red Launds had overcome them, he put them to this
shameful death without mercy and pity. And in the same wise he will
serve you but if you quit you the better.

Now Jesu defend me, said Beaumains, from such a villainous death and
shenship of arms. For rather than I should so be faren withal, I would
rather be slain manly in plain battle. So were ye better, said the
damosel; for trust not, in him is no courtesy, but all goeth to the
death or shameful murder, and that is pity, for he is a full likely man,
well made of body, and a full noble knight of prowess, and a lord of
great lands and possessions. Truly, said Beaumains, he may well be a
good knight, but he useth shameful customs, and it is marvel that he
endureth so long that none of the noble knights of my lord Arthur's have
not dealt with him.

And then they rode to the dykes, and saw them double dyked with full
warlike walls; and there were lodged many great lords nigh the walls;
and there was great noise of minstrelsy; and the sea beat upon the one
side of the walls, where were many ships and mariners' noise with "hale
and how." And also there was fast by a sycamore tree, and there hung an
horn, the greatest that ever they saw, of an elephant's bone; and this
Knight of the Red Launds had hanged it up there, that if there came any
errant-knight, he must blow that horn, and then will he make him ready
and come to him to do battle. But, sir, I pray you, said the damosel
Linet, blow ye not the horn till it be high noon, for now it is about
prime, and now increaseth his might, that as men say he hath seven men's
strength. Ah, fie for shame, fair damosel, say ye never so more to me;
for, an he were as good a knight as ever was, I shall never fail him
in his most might, for either I will win worship worshipfully, or die
knightly in the field. And therewith he spurred his horse straight to
the sycamore tree, and blew so the horn eagerly that all the siege and
the castle rang thereof. And then there leapt out knights out of their
tents and pavilions, and they within the castle looked over the walls
and out at windows.

Then the Red Knight of the Red Launds armed him hastily, and two barons
set on his spurs upon his heels, and all was blood red, his armour,
spear and shield. And an earl buckled his helm upon his head, and then
they brought him a red spear and a red steed, and so he rode into a
little vale under the castle, that all that were in the castle and at
the siege might behold the battle.



CHAPTER XVI. How the two knights met together, and of their talking, and
how they began their battle.

SIR, said the damosel Linet unto Sir Beaumains, look ye be glad and
light, for yonder is your deadly enemy, and at yonder window is my
lady, my sister, Dame Lionesse. Where? said Beaumains. Yonder, said the
damosel, and pointed with her finger. That is truth, said Beaumains. She
beseemeth afar the fairest lady that ever I looked upon; and truly, he
said, I ask no better quarrel than now for to do battle, for truly she
shall be my lady, and for her I will fight. And ever he looked up to the
window with glad countenance, and the Lady Lionesse made curtsey to him
down to the earth, with holding up both their hands.

With that the Red Knight of the Red Launds called to Sir Beaumains,
Leave, sir knight, thy looking, and behold me, I counsel thee; for
I warn thee well she is my lady, and for her I have done many strong
battles. If thou have so done, said Beaumains, meseemeth it was but
waste labour, for she loveth none of thy fellowship, and thou to love
that loveth not thee is but great folly. For an I understood that she
were not glad of my coming, I would be advised or I did battle for her.
But I understand by the besieging of this castle she may forbear thy
fellowship. And therefore wit thou well, thou Red Knight of the Red
Launds, I love her, and will rescue her, or else to die. Sayst thou
that? said the Red Knight, meseemeth thou ought of reason to be ware by
yonder knights that thou sawest hang upon yonder trees. Fie for shame,
said Beaumains, that ever thou shouldest say or do so evil, for in that
thou shamest thyself and knighthood, and thou mayst be sure there will
no lady love thee that knoweth thy wicked customs. And now thou weenest
that the sight of these hanged knights should fear me. Nay truly, not
so; that shameful sight causeth me to have courage and hardiness against
thee, more than I would have had against thee an thou wert a well-ruled
knight. Make thee ready, said the Red Knight of the Red Launds, and talk
no longer with me.

Then Sir Beaumains bade the damosel go from him; and then they put their
spears in their rests, and came together with all their might that they
had both, and either smote other in midst of their shields that the
paitrelles, surcingles, and cruppers brast, and fell to the earth both,
and the reins of their bridles in their hands; and so they lay a great
while sore astonied, that all that were in the castle and in the siege
weened their necks had been broken; and then many a stranger and other
said the strange knight was a big man, and a noble jouster, for or now
we saw never no knight match the Red Knight of the Red Launds: thus
they said, both within the castle and without. Then lightly they avoided
their horses and put their shields afore them, and drew their swords and
ran together like two fierce lions, and either gave other such buffets
upon their helms that they reeled backward both two strides; and then
they recovered both, and hewed great pieces off their harness and their
shields that a great part fell into the fields.



CHAPTER XVII. How after long fighting Beaumains overcame the knight and
would have slain him, but at the request of the lords he saved his life,
and made him to yield him to the lady.

AND then thus they fought till it was past noon, and never would stint,
till at the last they lacked wind both; and then they stood wagging and
scattering, panting, blowing and bleeding, that all that beheld them for
the most part wept for pity. So when they had rested them a while they
yede to battle again, tracing, racing, foining as two boars. And at some
time they took their run as it had been two rams, and hurtled together
that sometime they fell grovelling to the earth: and at some time they
were so amazed that either took other's sword instead of his own.

Thus they endured till evensong time, that there was none that beheld
them might know whether was like to win the battle; and their armour
was so forhewn that men might see their naked sides; and in other places
they were naked, but ever the naked places they did defend. And the
Red Knight was a wily knight of war, and his wily fighting taught Sir
Beaumains to be wise; but he abought it full sore or he did espy his
fighting.

And thus by assent of them both they granted either other to rest; and
so they set them down upon two mole-hills there beside the fighting
place, and either of them unlaced his helm, and took the cold wind;
for either of their pages was fast by them, to come when they called to
unlace their harness and to set them on again at their commandment. And
then when Sir Beaumains' helm was off, he looked up to the window,
and there he saw the fair lady Dame Lionesse, and she made him such
countenance that his heart waxed light and jolly; and therewith he
bade the Red Knight of the Red Launds make him ready, and let us do the
battle to the utterance. I will well, said the knight, and then they
laced up their helms, and their pages avoided, and they stepped together
and fought freshly; but the Red Knight of the Red Launds awaited him,
and at an overthwart smote him within the hand, that his sword fell out
of his hand; and yet he gave him another buffet upon the helm that he
fell grovelling to the earth, and the Red Knight fell over him, for to
hold him down.

Then cried the maiden Linet on high: O Sir Beaumains, where is thy
courage become? Alas, my lady my sister beholdeth thee, and she sobbeth
and weepeth, that maketh mine heart heavy. When Sir Beaumains heard her
say so, he abraid up with a great might and gat him upon his feet, and
lightly he leapt to his sword and gripped it in his hand, and doubled
his pace unto the Red Knight, and there they fought a new battle
together. But Sir Beaumains then doubled his strokes, and smote so thick
that he smote the sword out of his hand, and then he smote him upon the
helm that he fell to the earth, and Sir Beaumains fell upon him, and
unlaced his helm to have slain him; and then he yielded him and asked
mercy, and said with a loud voice: O noble knight, I yield me to thy
mercy.

Then Sir Beaumains bethought him upon the knights that he had made to be
hanged shamefully, and then he said: I may not with my worship save
thy life, for the shameful deaths that thou hast caused many full good
knights to die. Sir, said the Red Knight of the Red Launds, hold your
hand and ye shall know the causes why I put them to so shameful a death.
Say on, said Sir Beaumains. Sir, I loved once a lady, a fair damosel,
and she had her brother slain; and she said it was Sir Launcelot
du Lake, or else Sir Gawaine; and she prayed me as that I loved her
heartily, that I would make her a promise by the faith of my knighthood,
for to labour daily in arms unto I met with one of them; and all that
I might overcome I should put them unto a villainous death; and this is
the cause that I have put all these knights to death, and so I ensured
her to do all the villainy unto King Arthur's knights, and that I should
take vengeance upon all these knights. And, sir, now I will thee tell
that every day my strength increaseth till noon, and all this time have
I seven men's strength.



CHAPTER XVIII. How the knight yielded him, and how Beaumains made him to
go unto King Arthur's court, and to cry Sir Launcelot mercy.

THEN came there many earls, and barons, and noble knights, and prayed
that knight to save his life, and take him to your prisoner. And all
they fell upon their knees, and prayed him of mercy, and that he would
save his life; and, Sir, they all said, it were fairer of him to take
homage and fealty, and let him hold his lands of you than for to slay
him; by his death ye shall have none advantage, and his misdeeds that
be done may not be undone; and therefore he shall make amends to all
parties, and we all will become your men and do you homage and fealty.
Fair lords, said Beaumains, wit you well I am full loath to slay this
knight, nevertheless he hath done passing ill and shamefully; but
insomuch all that he did was at a lady's request I blame him the less;
and so for your sake I will release him that he shall have his life upon
this covenant, that he go within the castle, and yield him there to the
lady, and if she will forgive and quit him, I will well; with this he
make her amends of all the trespass he hath done against her and her
lands. And also, when that is done, that ye go unto the court of King
Arthur, and there that ye ask Sir Launcelot mercy, and Sir Gawaine, for
the evil will ye have had against them. Sir, said the Red Knight of the
Red Launds, all this will I do as ye command, and siker assurance and
borrows ye shall have. And so then when the assurance was made, he made
his homage and fealty, and all those earls and barons with him.

And then the maiden Linet came to Sir Beaumains, and unarmed him and
searched his wounds, and stinted his blood, and in likewise she did to
the Red Knight of the Red Launds. And there they sojourned ten days in
their tents; and the Red Knight made his lords and servants to do all
the pleasure that they might unto Sir Beaumains. And so within a while
the Red Knight of the Red Launds yede unto the castle, and put him in
her grace. And so she received him upon sufficient surety, so all her
hurts were well restored of all that she could complain. And then he
departed unto the court of King Arthur, and there openly the Red Knight
of the Red Launds put him in the mercy of Sir Launcelot and Sir Gawaine,
and there he told openly how he was overcome and by whom, and also he
told all the battles from the beginning unto the ending. Jesu mercy,
said King Arthur and Sir Gawaine, we marvel much of what blood he is
come, for he is a noble knight. Have ye no marvel, said Sir Launcelot,
for ye shall right well wit that he is come of a full noble blood; and
as for his might and hardiness, there be but few now living that is so
mighty as he is, and so noble of prowess. It seemeth by you, said King
Arthur, that ye know his name, and from whence he is come, and of what
blood he is. I suppose I do so, said Launcelot, or else I would not have
given him the order of knighthood; but he gave me such charge at that
time that I should never discover him until he required me, or else it
be known openly by some other.



CHAPTER XIX How Beaumains came to the lady, and when he came to the
castle the gates were closed against him, and of the words that the lady
said to him.

NOW turn we unto Sir Beaumains that desired of Linet that he might see
her sister, his lady. Sir, she said, I would fain ye saw her. Then Sir
Beaumains all armed him, and took his horse and his spear, and rode
straight unto the castle. And when he came to the gate he found there
many men armed, and pulled up the drawbridge and drew the port close.

Then marvelled he why they would not suffer him to enter. And then he
looked up to the window; and there he saw the fair Lionesse that said on
high: Go thy way, Sir Beaumains, for as yet thou shalt not have wholly
my love, unto the time that thou be called one of the number of the
worthy knights. And therefore go labour in worship this twelvemonth,
and then thou shalt hear new tidings. Alas, fair lady, said Beaumains,
I have not deserved that ye should show me this strangeness, and I had
weened that I should have right good cheer with you, and unto my power
I have deserved thank, and well I am sure I have bought your love with
part of the best blood within my body. Fair courteous knight, said Dame
Lionesse, be not displeased nor over-hasty; for wit you well your great
travail nor good love shall not be lost, for I consider your great
travail and labour, your bounty and your goodness as me ought to do. And
therefore go on your way, and look that ye be of good comfort, for all
shall be for your worship and for the best, and perdy a twelvemonth will
soon be done, and trust me, fair knight, I shall be true to you, and
never to betray you, but to my death I shall love you and none other.
And therewithal she turned her from the window, and Sir Beaumains rode
awayward from the castle, making great dole, and so he rode here and
there and wist not where he rode, till it was dark night. And then it
happened him to come to a poor man's house, and there he was harboured
all that night.

But Sir Beaumains had no rest, but wallowed and writhed for the love
of the lady of the castle. And so upon the morrow he took his horse and
rode until underne, and then he came to a broad water, and thereby was
a great lodge, and there he alighted to sleep and laid his head upon the
shield, and betook his horse to the dwarf, and commanded him to watch
all night.

Now turn we to the lady of the same castle, that thought much upon
Beaumains, and then she called unto her Sir Gringamore her brother, and
prayed him in all manner, as he loved her heartily, that he would ride
after Sir Beaumains: And ever have ye wait upon him till ye may find
him sleeping, for I am sure in his heaviness he will alight down in some
place, and lie him down to sleep; and therefore have ye your wait upon
him, and in the priviest manner ye can, take his dwarf, and go ye your
way with him as fast as ever ye may or Sir Beaumains awake. For my
sister Linet telleth me that he can tell of what kindred he is come, and
what is his right name. And the meanwhile I and my sister will ride unto
your castle to await when ye bring with you the dwarf. And then when
ye have brought him unto your castle, I will have him in examination
myself. Unto the time that I know what is his right name, and of what
kindred he is come, shall I never be merry at my heart. Sister, said Sir
Gringamore, all this shall be done after your intent.

And so he rode all the other day and the night till that he found Sir
Beaumains lying by a water, and his head upon his shield, for to sleep.
And then when he saw Sir Beaumains fast asleep, he came stilly stalking
behind the dwarf, and plucked him fast under his arm, and so he rode
away with him as fast as ever he might unto his own castle. And this Sir
Gringamore's arms were all black, and that to him longeth. But ever as
he rode with the dwarf toward his castle, he cried unto his lord and
prayed him of help. And therewith awoke Sir Beaumains, and up he leapt
lightly, and saw where Sir Gringamore rode his way with the dwarf, and
so Sir Gringamore rode out of his sight.



CHAPTER XX. How Sir Beaumains rode after to rescue his dwarf, and came
into the castle where he was.

THEN Sir Beaumains put on his helm anon, and buckled his shield, and
took his horse, and rode after him all that ever he might ride through
marshes, and fields, and great dales, that many times his horse and he
plunged over the head in deep mires, for he knew not the way, but took
the gainest way in that woodness, that many times he was like to perish.
And at the last him happened to come to a fair green way, and there
he met with a poor man of the country, whom he saluted and asked him
whether he met not with a knight upon a black horse and all black
harness, a little dwarf sitting behind him with heavy cheer. Sir, said
the poor man, here by me came Sir Gringamore the knight, with such a
dwarf mourning as ye say; and therefore I rede you not follow him, for
he is one of the periloust knights of the world, and his castle is
here nigh hand but two mile; therefore we advise you ride not after Sir
Gringamore, but if ye owe him good will.

So leave we Sir Beaumains riding toward the castle, and speak we of Sir
Gringamore and the dwarf. Anon as the dwarf was come to the castle, Dame
Lionesse and Dame Linet her sister, asked the dwarf where was his master
born, and of what lineage he was come. And but if thou tell me, said
Dame Lionesse, thou shalt never escape this castle, but ever here to be
prisoner. As for that, said the dwarf, I fear not greatly to tell his
name and of what kin he is come. Wit you well he is a king's son, and
his mother is sister to King Arthur, and he is brother to the good
knight Sir Gawaine, and his name is Sir Gareth of Orkney. And now I have
told you his right name, I pray you, fair lady, let me go to my lord
again, for he will never out of this country until that he have me
again. And if he be angry he will do much harm or that he be stint,
and work you wrack in this country. As for that threatening, said Sir
Gringamore, be it as it be may, we will go to dinner. And so they washed
and went to meat, and made them merry and well at ease, and because
the Lady Lionesse of the castle was there, they made great joy. Truly,
madam, said Linet unto her sister, well may he be a king's son, for he
hath many good tatches on him, for he is courteous and mild, and the
most suffering man that ever I met withal. For I dare say there was
never gentlewoman reviled man in so foul a manner as I have rebuked him;
and at all times he gave me goodly and meek answers again.

And as they sat thus talking, there came Sir Gareth in at the gate with
an angry countenance, and his sword drawn in his hand, and cried aloud
that all the castle might hear it, saying: Thou traitor, Sir Gringamore,
deliver me my dwarf again, or by the faith that I owe to the order of
knighthood, I shall do thee all the harm that I can. Then Sir Gringamore
looked out at a window and said, Sir Gareth of Orkney, leave thy
boasting words, for thou gettest not thy dwarf again. Thou coward
knight, said Sir Gareth, bring him with thee, and come and do battle
with me, and win him and take him. So will I do, said Sir Gringamore,
an me list, but for all thy great words thou gettest him not. Ah! fair
brother, said Dame Lionesse, I would he had his dwarf again, for I would
he were not wroth, for now he hath told me all my desire I keep no more
of the dwarf. And also, brother, he hath done much for me, and delivered
me from the Red Knight of the Red Launds, and therefore, brother, I owe
him my service afore all knights living. And wit ye well that I love him
before all other, and full fain I would speak with him. But in nowise I
would that he wist what I were, but that I were another strange lady.

Well, said Sir Gringamore, sithen I know now your will, I will obey now
unto him. And right therewithal he went down unto Sir Gareth, and said:
Sir, I cry you mercy, and all that I have misdone I will amend it at
your will. And therefore I pray you that ye would alight, and take such
cheer as I can make you in this castle. Shall I have my dwarf? said Sir
Gareth. Yea, sir, and all the pleasaunce that I can make you, for as
soon as your dwarf told me what ye were and of what blood ye are come,
and what noble deeds ye have done in these marches, then I repented of
my deeds. And then Sir Gareth alighted, and there came his dwarf and
took his horse. O my fellow, said Sir Gareth, I have had many adventures
for thy sake. And so Sir Gringamore took him by the hand and led him
into the hall where his own wife was.



CHAPTER XXI. How Sir Gareth, otherwise called Beaumains, came to the
presence of his lady, and how they took acquaintance, and of their love.

AND then came forth Dame Lionesse arrayed like a princess, and there
she made him passing good cheer, and he her again; and they had goodly
language and lovely countenance together. And Sir Gareth thought many
times, Jesu, would that the lady of the Castle Perilous were so fair
as she was. There were all manner of games and plays, of dancing and
singing. And ever the more Sir Gareth beheld that lady, the more he
loved her; and so he burned in love that he was past himself in his
reason; and forth toward night they yede unto supper, and Sir Gareth
might not eat, for his love was so hot that he wist not where he was.

All these looks espied Sir Gringamore, and then at-after supper he
called his sister Dame Lionesse into a chamber, and said: Fair sister,
I have well espied your countenance betwixt you and this knight, and I
will, sister, that ye wit he is a full noble knight, and if ye can make
him to abide here I will do him all the pleasure that I can, for an ye
were better than ye are, ye were well bywaryd upon him. Fair brother,
said Dame Lionesse, I understand well that the knight is good, and
come he is of a noble house. Notwithstanding, I will assay him better,
howbeit I am most beholden to him of any earthly man; for he hath had
great labour for my love, and passed many a dangerous passage.

Right so Sir Gringamore went unto Sir Gareth, and said, Sir, make
ye good cheer, for ye shall have none other cause, for this lady, my
sister, is yours at all times, her worship saved, for wit ye well she
loveth you as well as ye do her, and better if better may be. An I wist
that, said Sir Gareth, there lived not a gladder man than I would be.
Upon my worship, said Sir Gringamore, trust unto my promise; and as long
as it liketh you ye shall sojourn with me, and this lady shall be with
us daily and nightly to make you all the cheer that she can. I will
well, said Sir Gareth, for I have promised to be nigh this country this
twelvemonth. And well I am sure King Arthur and other noble knights will
find me where that I am within this twelvemonth. For I shall be sought
and found, if that I be alive. And then the noble knight Sir Gareth went
unto the Dame Lionesse, which he then much loved, and kissed her many
times, and either made great joy of other. And there she promised him
her love certainly, to love him and none other the days of her life.
Then this lady, Dame Lionesse, by the assent of her brother, told Sir
Gareth all the truth what she was, and how she was the same lady that he
did battle for, and how she was lady of the Castle Perilous, and there
she told him how she caused her brother to take away his dwarf, [*2]for
this cause, to know the certainty what was your name, and of what kin ye
were come.


[*2] Printed by Caxton as part of chap. xxii.



CHAPTER XXII. How at night came an armed knight, and fought with Sir
Gareth, and he, sore hurt in the thigh, smote off the knight's head.

AND then she let fetch to-fore him Linet, the damosel that had ridden
with him many wildsome ways. Then was Sir Gareth more gladder than he
was to-fore. And then they troth-plight each other to love, and never
to fail whiles their life lasteth. And so they burnt both in love,
that they were accorded to abate their lusts secretly. And there Dame
Lionesse counselled Sir Gareth to sleep in none other place but in
the hall. And there she promised him to come to his bed a little afore
midnight.


This counsel was not so privily kept but it was understood; for they
were but young both, and tender of age, and had not used none such
crafts to-fore. Wherefore the damosel Linet was a little displeased, and
she thought her sister Dame Lionesse was a little over-hasty, that she
might not abide the time of her marriage; and for saving their worship,
she thought to abate their hot lusts. And so she let ordain by her
subtle crafts that they had not their intents neither with other, as in
their delights, until they were married. And so it passed on. At-after
supper was made clean avoidance, that every lord and lady should go unto
his rest. But Sir Gareth said plainly he would go no farther than the
hall, for in such places, he said, was convenient for an errant-knight
to take his rest in; and so there were ordained great couches, and
thereon feather beds, and there laid him down to sleep; and within a
while came Dame Lionesse, wrapped in a mantle furred with ermine, and
laid her down beside Sir Gareth. And therewithal he began to kiss her.
And then he looked afore him, and there he apperceived and saw come an
armed knight, with many lights about him; and this knight had a long
gisarm in his hand, and made grim countenance to smite him. When Sir
Gareth saw him come in that wise, he leapt out of his bed, and gat in
his hand his sword, and leapt straight toward that knight. And when the
knight saw Sir Gareth come so fiercely upon him, he smote him with a
foin through the thick of the thigh that the wound was a shaftmon broad
and had cut a-two many veins and sinews. And therewithal Sir Gareth
smote him upon the helm such a buffet that he fell grovelling; and then
he leapt over him and unlaced his helm, and smote off his head from the
body. And then he bled so fast that he might not stand, but so he laid
him down upon his bed, and there he swooned and lay as he had been dead.

Then Dame Lionesse cried aloud, that her brother Sir Gringamore heard,
and came down. And when he saw Sir Gareth so shamefully wounded he was
sore displeased, and said: I am shamed that this noble knight is thus
honoured. Sir, said Sir Gringamore, how may this be, that ye be here,
and this noble knight wounded? Brother, she said, I can not tell you,
for it was not done by me, nor by mine assent. For he is my lord and I
am his, and he must be mine husband; therefore, my brother, I will that
ye wit I shame me not to be with him, nor to do him all the pleasure
that I can. Sister, said Sir Gringamore, and I will that ye wit it, and
Sir Gareth both, that it was never done by me, nor by my assent that
this unhappy deed was done. And there they staunched his bleeding
as well as they might, and great sorrow made Sir Gringamore and Dame
Lionesse.

And forthwithal came Dame Linet, and took up the head in the sight of
them all, and anointed it with an ointment thereas it was smitten off;
and in the same wise she did to the other part thereas the head stuck,
and then she set it together, and it stuck as fast as ever it did.
And the knight arose lightly up, and the damosel Linet put him in her
chamber. All this saw Sir Gringamore and Dame Lionesse, and so did Sir
Gareth; and well he espied that it was the damosel Linet, that rode with
him through the perilous passages. Ah well, damosel, said Sir Gareth,
I weened ye would not have done as ye have done. My lord Gareth, said
Linet, all that I have done I will avow, and all that I have done shall
be for your honour and worship, and to us all. And so within a while Sir
Gareth was nigh whole, and waxed light and jocund, and sang, danced, and
gamed; and he and Dame Lionesse were so hot in burning love that they
made their covenant at the tenth night after, that she should come to
his bed. And because he was wounded afore, he laid his armour and his
sword nigh his bed's side.



CHAPTER XXIII. How the said knight came again the next night and was
beheaded again, and how at the feast of Pentecost all the knights that
Sir Gareth had overcome came and yielded them to King Arthur.

RIGHT as she promised she came; and she was not so soon in his bed but
she espied an armed knight coming toward the bed: therewithal she warned
Sir Gareth, and lightly through the good help of Dame Lionesse he was
armed; and they hurtled together with great ire and malice all about
the hall; and there was great light as it had been the number of twenty
torches both before and behind, so that Sir Gareth strained him, so that
his old wound brast again a-bleeding; but he was hot and courageous and
took no keep, but with his great force he struck down that knight, and
voided his helm, and struck off his head. Then he hewed the head in an
hundred pieces. And when he had done so he took up all those pieces, and
threw them out at a window into the ditches of the castle; and by this
done he was so faint that unnethes he might stand for bleeding. And by
when he was almost unarmed he fell in a deadly swoon on the floor; and
then Dame Lionesse cried so that Sir Gringamore heard; and when he came
and found Sir Gareth in that plight he made great sorrow; and there he
awaked Sir Gareth, and gave him a drink that relieved him wonderly well;
but the sorrow that Dame Lionesse made there may no tongue tell, for she
so fared with herself as she would have died.

Right so came this damosel Linet before them all, and she had fetched
all the gobbets of the head that Sir Gareth had thrown out at a window,
and there she anointed them as she had done to-fore, and set them
together again. Well, damosel Linet, said Sir Gareth, I have not
deserved all this despite that ye do unto me. Sir knight, she said, I
have nothing done but I will avow, and all that I have done shall be to
your worship, and to us all. And then was Sir Gareth staunched of his
bleeding. But the leeches said that there was no man that bare the life
should heal him throughout of his wound but if they healed him that
caused that stroke by enchantment.

So leave we Sir Gareth there with Sir Gringamore and his sisters, and
turn we unto King Arthur, that at the next feast of Pentecost held his
feast; and there came the Green Knight with fifty knights, and yielded
them all unto King Arthur. And so there came the Red Knight his brother,
and yielded him to King Arthur, and three score knights with him. Also
there came the Blue Knight, brother to them, with an hundred knights,
and yielded them unto King Arthur; and the Green Knight's name was
Pertolepe, and the Red Knight's name was Perimones, and the Blue
Knight's name was Sir Persant of Inde. These three brethren told King
Arthur how they were overcome by a knight that a damosel had with her,
and called him Beaumains. Jesu, said the king, I marvel what knight he
is, and of what lineage he is come. He was with me a twelvemonth, and
poorly and shamefully he was fostered, and Sir Kay in scorn named
him Beaumains. So right as the king stood so talking with these three
brethren, there came Sir Launcelot du Lake, and told the king that there
was come a goodly lord with six hundred knights with him.

Then the king went out of Carlion, for there was the feast, and there
came to him this lord, and saluted the king in a goodly manner. What
will ye, said King Arthur, and what is your errand? Sir, he said, my
name is the Red Knight of the Red Launds, but my name is Sir Ironside;
and sir, wit ye well, here I am sent to you of a knight that is called
Beaumains, for he won me in plain battle hand for hand, and so did never
no knight but he, that ever had the better of me this thirty winter; the
which commanded to yield me to you at your will. Ye are welcome, said
the king, for ye have been long a great foe to me and my court, and now
I trust to God I shall so entreat you that ye shall be my friend. Sir,
both I and these five hundred knights shall always be at your summons to
do you service as may lie in our powers. Jesu mercy, said King Arthur, I
am much beholden unto that knight that hath put so his body in devoir to
worship me and my court. And as to thee, Ironside, that art called the
Red Knight of the Red Launds, thou art called a perilous knight; and if
thou wilt hold of me I shall worship thee and make thee knight of the
Table Round; but then thou must be no more a murderer. Sir, as to that,
I have promised unto Sir Beaumains never more to use such customs, for
all the shameful customs that I used I did at the request of a lady
that I loved; and therefore I must go unto Sir Launcelot, and unto Sir
Gawaine, and ask them forgiveness of the evil will I had unto them; for
all that I put to death was all only for the love of Sir Launcelot and
of Sir Gawaine. They be here now, said the king, afore thee, now may ye
say to them what ye will. And then he kneeled down unto Sir Launcelot,
and to Sir Gawaine, and prayed them of forgiveness of his enmity that
ever he had against them.



CHAPTER XXIV. How King Arthur pardoned them, and demanded of them where
Sir Gareth was.

THEN goodly they said all at once, God forgive you, and we do, and pray
you that ye will tell us where we may find Sir Beaumains. Fair lords,
said Sir Ironside, I cannot tell you, for it is full hard to find him;
for such young knights as he is one, when they be in their adventures be
never abiding in no place. But to say the worship that the Red Knight
of the Red Launds, and Sir Persant and his brother said of Beaumains, it
was marvel to hear. Well, my fair lords, said King Arthur, wit you well
I shall do you honour for the love of Sir Beaumains, and as soon as ever
I meet with him I shall make you all upon one day knights of the Table
Round. And as to thee, Sir Persant of Inde, thou hast been ever called a
full noble knight, and so have ever been thy three brethren called.
But I marvel, said the king, that I hear not of the Black Knight your
brother, he was a full noble knight. Sir, said Pertolepe, the Green
Knight, Sir Beaumains slew him in a recounter with his spear, his name
was Sir Percard. That was great pity, said the king, and so said many
knights. For these four brethren were full well known in the court of
King Arthur for noble knights, for long time they had holden war against
the knights of the Round Table. Then said Pertolepe, the Green Knight,
to the king: At a passage of the water of Mortaise there encountered
Sir Beaumains with two brethren that ever for the most part kept that
passage, and they were two deadly knights, and there he slew the eldest
brother in the water, and smote him upon the head such a buffet that he
fell down in the water, and there he was drowned, and his name was Sir
Gherard le Breusse; and after he slew the other brother upon the land,
his name was Sir Arnold le Breusse.



CHAPTER XXV[*3]


[*3] In Caxton's edition this chapter is misnumbered XXVI., setting the
numeration wrong to the end of the book.


How the Queen of Orkney came to this feast of Pentecost, and Sir Gawaine
and his brethren came to ask her blessing.

So then the king and they went to meat, and were served in the best
manner. And as they sat at the meat, there came in the Queen of Orkney,
with ladies and knights a great number. And then Sir Gawaine, Sir
Agravaine, and Gaheris arose, and went to her and saluted her upon their
knees, and asked her blessing; for in fifteen year they had not seen
her. Then she spake on high to her brother King Arthur: Where have ye
done my young son Sir Gareth? He was here amongst you a twelvemonth,
and ye made a kitchen knave of him, the which is shame to you all. Alas,
where have ye done my dear son that was my joy and bliss? O dear mother,
said Sir Gawaine, I knew him not. Nor I, said the king, that now me
repenteth, but thanked be God he is proved a worshipful knight as any is
now living of his years, and I shall never be glad till I may find him.

Ah, brother, said the Queen unto King Arthur, and unto Sir Gawaine, and
to all her sons, ye did yourself great shame when ye amongst you kept my
son in the kitchen and fed him like a poor hog. Fair sister, said King
Arthur, ye shall right well wit I knew him not, nor no more did Sir
Gawaine, nor his brethren; but sithen it is so, said the king, that
he is thus gone from us all, we must shape a remedy to find him. Also,
sister, meseemeth ye might have done me to wit of his coming, and then
an I had not done well to him ye might have blamed me. For when he came
to this court he came leaning upon two men's shoulders, as though he
might not have gone. And then he asked me three gifts; and one he
asked the same day, that was that I would give him meat enough that
twelvemonth; and the other two gifts he asked that day a twelvemonth,
and that was that he might have the adventure of the damosel Linet, and
the third was that Sir Launcelot should make him knight when he desired
him. And so I granted him all his desire, and many in this court
marvelled that he desired his sustenance for a twelvemonth. And thereby,
we deemed, many of us, that he was not come of a noble house.

Sir, said the Queen of Orkney unto King Arthur her brother, wit ye well
that I sent him unto you right well armed and horsed, and worshipfully
beseen of his body, and gold and silver plenty to spend. It may be, said
the King, but thereof saw we none, save that same day as he departed
from us, knights told me that there came a dwarf hither suddenly, and
brought him armour and a good horse full well and richly beseen; and
thereat we all had marvel from whence that riches came, that we deemed
all that he was come of men of worship. Brother, said the queen, all
that ye say I believe, for ever sithen he was grown he was marvellously
witted, and ever he was faithful and true of his promise. But I marvel,
said she, that Sir Kay did mock him and scorn him, and gave him that
name Beaumains; yet, Sir Kay, said the queen, named him more righteously
than he weened; for I dare say an he be alive, he is as fair an handed
man and well disposed as any is living. Sir, said Arthur, let this
language be still, and by the grace of God he shall be found an he be
within this seven realms, and let all this pass and be merry, for he is
proved to be a man of worship, and that is my joy.



CHAPTER XXVI. How King Arthur sent for the Lady Lionesse, and how she
let cry a tourney at her castle, whereas came many knights.

THEN said Sir Gawaine and his brethren unto Arthur, Sir, an ye will give
us leave, we will go and seek our brother. Nay, said Sir Launcelot, that
shall ye not need; and so said Sir Baudwin of Britain: for as by our
advice the king shall send unto Dame Lionesse a messenger, and pray her
that she will come to the court in all the haste that she may, and doubt
ye not she will come; and then she may give you best counsel where ye
shall find him. This is well said of you, said the king. So then goodly
letters were made, and the messenger sent forth, that night and day
he went till he came unto the Castle Perilous. And then the lady Dame
Lionesse was sent for, thereas she was with Sir Gringamore her brother
and Sir Gareth. And when she understood this message, she bade him ride
on his way unto King Arthur, and she would come after in all goodly
haste. Then when she came to Sir Gringamore and to Sir Gareth, she told
them all how King Arthur had sent for her. That is because of me, said
Sir Gareth. Now advise me, said Dame Lionesse, what shall I say, and
in what manner I shall rule me. My lady and my love, said Sir Gareth, I
pray you in no wise be ye aknowen where I am; but well I wot my mother
is there and all my brethren, and they will take upon them to seek me, I
wot well that they do. But this, madam, I would ye said and advised the
king when he questioned with you of me. Then may ye say, this is your
advice that, an it like his good grace, ye will do make a cry against
the feast of the Assumption of our Lady, that what knight there proveth
him best he shall wield you and all your land. And if so be that he be
a wedded man, that his wife shall have the degree, and a coronal of
gold beset with stones of virtue to the value of a thousand pound, and a
white gerfalcon.

So Dame Lionesse departed and came to King Arthur, where she was nobly
received, and there she was sore questioned of the king and of the Queen
of Orkney. And she answered, where Sir Gareth was she could not tell.
But thus much she said unto Arthur: Sir, I will let cry a tournament
that shall be done before my castle at the Assumption of our Lady, and
the cry shall be this: that you, my lord Arthur, shall be there, and
your knights, and I will purvey that my knights shall be against yours;
and then I am sure ye shall hear of Sir Gareth. This is well advised,
said King Arthur; and so she departed. And the king and she made great
provision to that tournament.

When Dame Lionesse was come to the Isle of Avilion, that was the same
isle thereas her brother Sir Gringamore dwelt, then she told them all
how she had done, and what promise she had made to King Arthur. Alas,
said Sir Gareth, I have been so wounded with unhappiness sithen I came
into this castle that I shall not be able to do at that tournament like
a knight; for I was never thoroughly whole since I was hurt. Be ye of
good cheer, said the damosel Linet, for I undertake within these fifteen
days to make ye whole, and as lusty as ever ye were. And then she laid
an ointment and a salve to him as it pleased to her, that he was never
so fresh nor so lusty. Then said the damosel Linet: Send you unto Sir
Persant of Inde, and assummon him and his knights to be here with you
as they have promised. Also, that ye send unto Sir Ironside, that is the
Red Knight of the Red Launds, and charge him that he be ready with you
with his whole sum of knights, and then shall ye be able to match with
King Arthur and his knights. So this was done, and all knights were sent
for unto the Castle Perilous; and then the Red Knight answered and said
unto Dame Lionesse, and to Sir Gareth, Madam, and my lord Sir Gareth, ye
shall understand that I have been at the court of King Arthur, and Sir
Persant of Inde and his brethren, and there we have done our homage as
ye commanded us. Also Sir Ironside said, I have taken upon me with
Sir Persant of Inde and his brethren to hold part against my lord Sir
Launcelot and the knights of that court. And this have I done for the
love of my lady Dame Lionesse, and you my lord Sir Gareth. Ye have well
done, said Sir Gareth; but wit you well ye shall be full sore matched
with the most noble knights of the world; therefore we must purvey us
of good knights, where we may get them. That is well said, said Sir
Persant, and worshipfully.

And so the cry was made in England, Wales, and Scotland, Ireland,
Cornwall, and in all the Out Isles, and in Brittany and in many
countries; that at the feast of our Lady the Assumption next coming, men
should come to the Castle Perilous beside the Isle of Avilion; and there
all the knights that there came should have the choice whether them list
to be on the one party with the knights of the castle, or on the
other party with King Arthur. And two months was to the day that the
tournament should be. And so there came many good knights that were at
their large, and held them for the most part against King Arthur and his
knights of the Round Table and came in the side of them of the
castle. For Sir Epinogrus was the first, and he was the king's son
of Northumberland, and Sir Palamides the Saracen was another, and
Sir Safere his brother, and Sir Segwarides his brother, but they were
christened, and Sir Malegrine another, and Sir Brian de les Isles, a
noble knight, and Sir Grummore Grummursum, a good knight of Scotland,
and Sir Carados of the dolorous tower, a noble knight, and Sir Turquine
his brother, and Sir Arnold and Sir Gauter, two brethren, good knights
of Cornwall. There came Sir Tristram de Liones, and with him Sir Dinas,
the Seneschal, and Sir Sadok; but this Sir Tristram was not at that time
knight of the Table Round, but he was one of the best knights of the
world. And so all these noble knights accompanied them with the lady of
the castle, and with the Red Knight of the Red Launds; but as for Sir
Gareth, he would not take upon him more but as other mean knights.



CHAPTER XXVII. How King Arthur went to the tournament with his knights,
and how the lady received him worshipfully, and how the knights
encountered.

AND then there came with King Arthur Sir Gawaine, Agravaine, Gaheris,
his brethren. And then his nephews Sir Uwaine le Blanchemains, and Sir
Aglovale, Sir Tor, Sir Percivale de Galis, and Sir Lamorak de Galis.
Then came Sir Launcelot du Lake with his brethren, nephews, and cousins,
as Sir Lionel, Sir Ector de Maris, Sir Bors de Ganis, and Sir Galihodin,
Sir Galihud, and many more of Sir Launcelot's blood, and Sir Dinadan,
Sir La Cote Male Taile, his brother, a good knight, and Sir Sagramore,
a good knight; and all the most part of the Round Table. Also there came
with King Arthur these knights, the King of Ireland, King Agwisance, and
the King of Scotland, King Carados and King Uriens of the land of Gore,
and King Bagdemagus and his son Sir Meliaganus, and Sir Galahault the
noble prince. All these kings, princes, and earls, barons, and other
noble knights, as Sir Brandiles, Sir Uwaine les Avoutres, and Sir Kay,
Sir Bedivere, Sir Meliot de Logres, Sir Petipase of Winchelsea, Sir
Godelake: all these came with King Arthur, and more that cannot be
rehearsed.

Now leave we of these kings and knights, and let us speak of the great
array that was made within the castle and about the castle for both
parties. The Lady Dame Lionesse ordained great array upon her part for
her noble knights, for all manner of lodging and victual that came by
land and by water, that there lacked nothing for her party, nor for
the other, but there was plenty to be had for gold and silver for King
Arthur and his knights. And then there came the harbingers from King
Arthur for to harbour him, and his kings, dukes, earls, barons, and
knights. And then Sir Gareth prayed Dame Lionesse and the Red Knight
of the Red Launds, and Sir Persant and his brother, and Sir Gringamore,
that in no wise there should none of them tell not his name, and make
no more of him than of the least knight that there was, For, he said,
I will not be known of neither more nor less, neither at the beginning
neither at the ending. Then Dame Lionesse said unto Sir Gareth: Sir, I
will lend you a ring, but I would pray you as you love me heartily let
me have it again when the tournament is done, for that ring increaseth
my beauty much more than it is of himself. And the virtue of my ring is
that, that is green it will turn to red, and that is red it will turn in
likeness to green, and that is blue it will turn to likeness of white,
and that is white it will turn in likeness to blue, and so it will do
of all manner of colours. Also who that beareth my ring shall lose no
blood, and for great love I will give you this ring. Gramercy, said Sir
Gareth, mine own lady, for this ring is passing meet for me, for it will
turn all manner of likeness that I am in, and that shall cause me that
I shall not be known. Then Sir Gringamore gave Sir Gareth a bay courser
that was a passing good horse; also he gave him good armour and sure,
and a noble sword that sometime Sir Gringamore's father won upon
an heathen tyrant. And so thus every knight made him ready to that
tournament. And King Arthur was come two days to-fore the Assumption
of our Lady. And there was all manner of royalty of all minstrelsy that
might be found. Also there came Queen Guenever and the Queen of Orkney,
Sir Gareth's mother.

And upon the Assumption Day, when mass and matins were done, there were
heralds with trumpets commanded to blow to the field. And so there came
out Sir Epinogrus, the king's son of Northumberland, from the castle,
and there encountered with him Sir Sagramore le Desirous, and either of
them brake their spears to their hands. And then came in Sir Palamides
out of the castle, and there encountered with him Gawaine, and either
of them smote other so hard that both the good knights and their horses
fell to the earth. And then knights of either party rescued their
knights. And then came in Sir Safere and Sir Segwarides, brethren to Sir
Palamides; and there encountered Sir Agravaine with Sir Safere and
Sir Gaheris encountered with Sir Segwarides. So Sir Safere smote down
Agravaine, Sir Gawaine's brother; and Sir Segwarides, Sir Safere's
brother. And Sir Malegrine, a knight of the castle, encountered with Sir
Uwaine le Blanchemains, and there Sir Uwaine gave Sir Malegrine a fall,
that he had almost broke his neck.



CHAPTER XXVIII. How the knights bare them in the battle.

THEN Sir Brian de les Isles and Grummore Grummursum, knights of the
castle, encountered with Sir Aglovale, and Sir Tor smote down Sir
Grummore Grummursum to the earth. Then came in Sir Carados of the
dolorous tower, and Sir Turquine, knights of the castle; and there
encountered with them Sir Percivale de Galis and Sir Lamorak de Galis,
that were two brethren. And there encountered Sir Percivale with Sir
Carados, and either brake their spears unto their hands, and then Sir
Turquine with Sir Lamorak, and either of them smote down other's horse
and all to the earth, and either parties rescued other, and horsed them
again. And Sir Arnold and Sir Gauter, knights of the castle, encountered
with Sir Brandiles and Sir Kay, and these four knights encountered
mightily, and brake their spears to their hands. Then came in Sir
Tristram, Sir Sadok, and Sir Dinas, knights of the castle, and there
encountered Sir Tristram with Sir Bedivere, and there Sir Bedivere was
smitten to the earth both horse and man. And Sir Sadok encountered with
Sir Petipase, and there Sir Sadok was overthrown. And there Uwaine les
Avoutres smote down Sir Dinas, the Seneschal. Then came in Sir Persant
of Inde, a knight of the castle, and there encountered with him Sir
Launcelot du Lake, and there he smote Sir Persant, horse and man, to the
earth. Then came Sir Pertolepe from the castle, and there encountered
with him Sir Lionel, and there Sir Pertolepe, the Green Knight, smote
down Sir Lionel, brother to Sir Launcelot. All this was marked by noble
heralds, who bare him best, and their names.

And then came into the field Sir Perimones, the Red Knight, Sir
Persant's brother, that was a knight of the castle, and he encountered
with Sir Ector de Maris, and either smote other so hard that both their
horses and they fell to the earth. And then came in the Red Knight of
the Red Launds, and Sir Gareth, from the castle, and there encountered
with them Sir Bors de Ganis and Sir Bleoberis, and there the Red Knight
and Sir Bors [either] smote other so hard that their spears brast, and
their horses fell grovelling to the earth. Then Sir Bleoberis brake
his spear upon Sir Gareth, but of that stroke Sir Bleoberis fell to the
earth. When Sir Galihodin saw that he bade Sir Gareth keep him, and Sir
Gareth smote him to the earth. Then Sir Galihud gat a spear to avenge
his brother, and in the same wise Sir Gareth served him, and Sir Dinadan
and his brother, La Cote Male Taile, and Sir Sagramore le Desirous, and
Sir Dodinas le Savage. All these he bare down with one spear.

When King Agwisance of Ireland saw Sir Gareth fare so, he marvelled what
he might be that one time seemed green, and another time, at his again
coming, he seemed blue. And thus at every course that he rode to and fro
he changed his colour, so that there might neither king nor knight
have ready cognisance of him. Then Sir Agwisance, the King of Ireland,
encountered with Sir Gareth, and there Sir Gareth smote him from his
horse, saddle and all. And then came King Carados of Scotland, and Sir
Gareth smote him down horse and man. And in the same wise he served King
Uriens of the land of Gore. And then came in Sir Bagdemagus, and Sir
Gareth smote him down, horse and man, to the earth. And Bagdemagus' son,
Meliganus, brake a spear upon Sir Gareth mightily and knightly. And then
Sir Galahault, the noble prince, cried on high: Knight with the many
colours, well hast thou jousted; now make thee ready that I may joust
with thee. Sir Gareth heard him, and he gat a great spear, and so they
encountered together, and there the prince brake his spear; but Sir
Gareth smote him upon the left side of the helm that he reeled here and
there, and he had fallen down had not his men recovered him.

So God me help, said King Arthur, that same knight with the many colours
is a good knight. Wherefore the king called unto him Sir Launcelot, and
prayed him to encounter with that knight. Sir, said Launcelot, I may
well find in my heart for to forbear him as at this time, for he hath
had travail enough this day; and when a good knight doth so well upon
some day, it is no good knight's part to let him of his worship,
and namely, when he seeth a knight hath done so great labour; for
peradventure, said Sir Launcelot, his quarrel is here this day, and
peradventure he is best beloved with this lady of all that be here;
for I see well he paineth him and enforceth him to do great deeds, and
therefore, said Sir Launcelot, as for me, this day he shall have the
honour; though it lay in my power to put him from it I would not.



CHAPTER XXIX. Yet of the said tournament.

THEN when this was done there was drawing of swords, and then there
began a sore tournament. And there did Sir Lamorak marvellous deeds of
arms; and betwixt Sir Lamorak and Sir Ironside, that was the Red Knight
of the Red Launds, there was strong battle; and betwixt Sir Palamides
and Bleoberis there was a strong battle; and Sir Gawaine and Sir
Tristram met, and there Sir Gawaine had the worse, for he pulled Sir
Gawaine from his horse, and there he was long upon foot, and defouled.
Then came in Sir Launcelot, and he smote Sir Turquine, and he him; and
then came Sir Carados his brother, and both at once they assailed him,
and he as the most noblest knight of the world worshipfully fought with
them both, that all men wondered of the noblesse of Sir Launcelot. And
then came in Sir Gareth, and knew that it was Sir Launcelot that fought
with the two perilous knights. And then Sir Gareth came with his good
horse and hurtled them in-sunder, and no stroke would he smite to Sir
Launcelot. That espied Sir Launcelot, and deemed it should be the good
knight Sir Gareth: and then Sir Gareth rode here and there, and smote
on the right hand and on the left hand, and all the folk might well espy
where that he rode. And by fortune he met with his brother Sir Gawaine,
and there he put Sir Gawaine to the worse, for he put off his helm, and
so he served five or six knights of the Round Table, that all men said
he put him in the most pain, and best he did his devoir. For when Sir
Tristram beheld him how he first jousted and after fought so well with
a sword, then he rode unto Sir Ironside and to Sir Persant of Inde, and
asked them, by their faith, What manner a knight is yonder knight that
seemeth in so many divers colours? Truly, meseemeth, said Tristram, that
he putteth himself in great pain, for he never ceaseth. Wot ye not what
he is? said Sir Ironside. No, said Sir Tristram. Then shall ye know that
this is he that loveth the lady of the castle, and she him again; and
this is he that won me when I besieged the lady of this castle, and this
is he that won Sir Persant of Inde, and his three brethren. What is his
name, said Sir Tristram, and of what blood is he come? He was called in
the court of King Arthur, Beaumains, but his right name is Sir Gareth of
Orkney, brother to Sir Gawaine. By my head, said Sir Tristram, he is a
good knight, and a big man of arms, and if he be young he shall prove
a full noble knight. He is but a child, they all said, and of Sir
Launcelot he was made knight. Therefore he is mickle the better, said
Tristram. And then Sir Tristram, Sir Ironside, Sir Persant, and his
brother, rode together for to help Sir Gareth; and then there were given
many strong strokes.

And then Sir Gareth rode out on the one side to amend his helm; and then
said his dwarf: Take me your ring, that ye lose it not while that ye
drink. And so when he had drunk he gat on his helm, and eagerly took his
horse and rode into the field, and left his ring with his dwarf; and the
dwarf was glad the ring was from him, for then he wist well he should be
known. And then when Sir Gareth was in the field all folks saw him well
and plainly that he was in yellow colours; and there he rased off helms
and pulled down knights, that King Arthur had marvel what knight he was,
for the king saw by his hair that it was the same knight.



CHAPTER XXX. How Sir Gareth was espied by the heralds, and how he
escaped out of the field.

BUT before he was in so many colours, and now he is but in one colour;
that is yellow. Now go, said King Arthur unto divers heralds, and ride
about him, and espy what manner knight he is, for I have spered of many
knights this day that be upon his party, and all say they know him not.
And so an herald rode nigh Gareth as he could; and there he saw written
about his helm in gold, This helm is Sir Gareth of Orkney. Then the
herald cried as he were wood, and many heralds with him:--This is Sir
Gareth of Orkney in the yellow arms; wherby[*4] all kings and knights
of Arthur's beheld him and awaited; and then they pressed all to behold
him, and ever the heralds cried: This is Sir Gareth of Orkney, King
Lot's son. And when Sir Gareth espied that he was discovered, then he
doubled his strokes, and smote down Sir Sagramore, and his brother
Sir Gawaine. O brother, said Sir Gawaine, I weened ye would not have
stricken me.


[*4] So W. de Worde; Caxton "that by."



So when he heard him say so he thrang here and there, and so with great
pain he gat out of the press, and there he met with his dwarf. O boy,
said Sir Gareth, thou hast beguiled me foul this day that thou kept my
ring; give it me anon again, that I may hide my body withal; and so he
took it him. And then they all wist not where he was become; and Sir
Gawaine had in manner espied where Sir Gareth rode, and then he rode
after with all his might. That espied Sir Gareth, and rode lightly into
the forest, that Sir Gawaine wist not where he was become. And when
Sir Gareth wist that Sir Gawaine was passed, he asked the dwarf of best
counsel. Sir, said the dwarf, meseemeth it were best, now that ye are
escaped from spying, that ye send my lady Dame Lionesse her ring. It is
well advised, said Sir Gareth; now have it here and bear it to her, and
say that I recommend me unto her good grace, and say her I will come
when I may, and I pray her to be true and faithful to me as I will be to
her. Sir, said the dwarf, it shall be done as ye command: and so he rode
his way, and did his errand unto the lady. Then she said, Where is my
knight, Sir Gareth? Madam, said the dwarf, he bade me say that he would
not be long from you. And so lightly the dwarf came again unto Sir
Gareth, that would full fain have had a lodging, for he had need to be
reposed. And then fell there a thunder and a rain, as heaven and earth
should go together. And Sir Gareth was not a little weary, for of all
that day he had but little rest, neither his horse nor he. So this Sir
Gareth rode so long in that forest until the night came. And ever it
lightened and thundered, as it had been wood. At the last by fortune he
came to a castle, and there he heard the waits upon the walls.



CHAPTER XXXI. How Sir Gareth came to a castle where he was well lodged,
and he jousted with a knight and slew him.

THEN Sir Gareth rode unto the barbican of the castle, and prayed the
porter fair to let him into the castle. The porter answered ungoodly
again, and said, Thou gettest no lodging here. Fair sir, say not so, for
I am a knight of King Arthur's, and pray the lord or the lady of this
castle to give me harbour for the love of King Arthur. Then the porter
went unto the duchess, and told her how there was a knight of King
Arthur's would have harbour. Let him in, said the duchess, for I will
see that knight, and for King Arthur's sake he shall not be harbourless.
Then she yode up into a tower over the gate, with great torchlight.

When Sir Gareth saw that torch-light he cried on high: Whether thou
be lord or lady, giant or champion, I take no force so that I may have
harbour this night; and if it so be that I must needs fight, spare me
not to-morn when I have rested me, for both I and mine horse be weary.
Sir knight, said the lady, thou speakest knightly and boldly; but wit
thou well the lord of this castle loveth not King Arthur, nor none of
his court, for my lord hath ever been against him; and therefore thou
were better not to come within this castle; for an thou come in this
night, thou must come in under such form, that wheresomever thou meet
my lord, by stigh or by street, thou must yield thee to him as prisoner.
Madam, said Sir Gareth, what is your lord, and what is his name? Sir,
my lord's name is the Duke de la Rowse. Well madam, said Sir Gareth, I
shall promise you in what place I meet your lord I shall yield me unto
him and to his good grace; with that I understand he will do me no harm:
and if I understand that he will, I will release myself an I can with my
spear and my sword. Ye say well, said the duchess; and then she let the
drawbridge down, and so he rode into the hall, and there he alighted,
and his horse was led into a stable; and in the hall he unarmed him
and said, Madam, I will not out of this hall this night; and when it
is daylight, let see who will have ado with me, he shall find me ready.
Then was he set unto supper, and had many good dishes. Then Sir Gareth
list well to eat, and knightly he ate his meat, and eagerly; there was
many a fair lady by him, and some said they never saw a goodlier man nor
so well of eating. Then they made him passing good cheer, and shortly
when he had supped his bed was made there; so he rested him all night.

And on the morn he heard mass, and brake his fast and took his leave at
the duchess, and at them all; and thanked her goodly of her lodging,
and of his good cheer; and then she asked him his name. Madam, he said,
truly my name is Gareth of Orkney, and some men call me Beaumains. Then
knew she well it was the same knight that fought for Dame Lionesse. So
Sir Gareth departed and rode up into a mountain, and there met him a
knight, his name was Sir Bendelaine, and said to Sir Gareth: Thou shalt
not pass this way, for either thou shalt joust with me, or else be my
prisoner. Then will I joust, said Sir Gareth. And so they let their
horses run, and there Sir Gareth smote him throughout the body; and Sir
Bendelaine rode forth to his castle there beside, and there died. So Sir
Gareth would have rested him, and he came riding to Bendelaine's castle.
Then his knights and servants espied that it was he that had slain their
lord. Then they armed twenty good men, and came out and assailed Sir
Gareth; and so he had no spear, but his sword, and put his shield afore
him; and there they brake their spears upon him, and they assailed him
passingly sore. But ever Sir Gareth defended him as a knight.



CHAPTER XXXII. How Sir Gareth fought with a knight that held within his
castle thirty ladies, and how he slew him.

SO when they saw that they might not overcome him, they rode from him,
and took their counsel to slay his horse; and so they came in upon Sir
Gareth, and with spears they slew his horse, and then they assailed him
hard. But when he was on foot, there was none that he fought but he gave
him such a buffet that he did never recover. So he slew them by one and
one till they were but four, and there they fled; and Sir Gareth took a
good horse that was one of theirs, and rode his way.

Then he rode a great pace till that he came to a castle, and there he
heard much mourning of ladies and gentlewomen. So there came by him
a page. What noise is this, said Sir Gareth, that I hear within this
castle? Sir knight, said the page, here be within this castle thirty
ladies, and all they be widows; for here is a knight that waiteth daily
upon this castle, and his name is the Brown Knight without Pity, and
he is the periloust knight that now liveth; and therefore sir, said the
page, I rede you flee. Nay, said Sir Gareth, I will not flee though thou
be afeard of him. And then the page saw where came the Brown Knight: Lo,
said the page, yonder he cometh. Let me deal with him, said Sir Gareth.
And when either of other had a sight they let their horses run, and the
Brown Knight brake his spear, and Sir Gareth smote him throughout the
body, that he overthrew him to the ground stark dead. So Sir Gareth rode
into the castle, and prayed the ladies that he might repose him. Alas,
said the ladies, ye may not be lodged here. Make him good cheer, said
the page, for this knight hath slain your enemy. Then they all made him
good cheer as lay in their power. But wit ye well they made him good
cheer, for they might none otherwise do, for they were but poor.

And so on the morn he went to mass, and there he saw the thirty ladies
kneel, and lay grovelling upon divers tombs, making great dole and
sorrow. Then Sir Gareth wist well that in the tombs lay their lords.
Fair ladies, said Sir Gareth, ye must at the next feast of Pentecost
be at the court of King Arthur, and say that I, Sir Gareth, sent you
thither. We shall do this, said the ladies. So he departed, and by
fortune he came to a mountain, and there he found a goodly knight that
bade him, Abide sir knight, and joust with me. What are ye? said Sir
Gareth. My name is, said he, the Duke de la Rowse. Ah sir, ye are the
same knight that I lodged once in your castle; and there I made promise
unto your lady that I should yield me unto you. Ah, said the duke,
art thou that proud knight that profferest to fight with my knights;
therefore make thee ready, for I will have ado with you. So they let
their horses run, and there Sir Gareth smote the duke down from his
horse. But the duke lightly avoided his horse, and dressed his shield
and drew his sword, and bade Sir Gareth alight and fight with him. So
he did alight, and they did great battle together more than an hour, and
either hurt other full sore. At the last Sir Gareth gat the duke to the
earth, and would have slain him, and then he yield him to him. Then must
ye go, said Sir Gareth, unto Sir Arthur my lord at the next feast, and
say that I, Sir Gareth of Orkney, sent you unto him. It shall be done,
said the duke, and I will do to you homage and fealty with an hundred
knights with me; and all the days of my life to do you service where ye
will command me.



CHAPTER XXXIII. How Sir Gareth and Sir Gawaine fought each against
other, and how they knew each other by the damosel Linet.

SO the duke departed, and Sir Gareth stood there alone; and there he
saw an armed knight coming toward him. Then Sir Gareth took the duke's
shield, and mounted upon horseback, and so without biding they ran
together as it had been the thunder. And there that knight hurt Sir
Gareth under the side with his spear. And then they alighted and drew
their swords, and gave great strokes that the blood trailed to the
ground. And so they fought two hours.

At the last there came the damosel Linet, that some men called the
damosel Savage, and she came riding upon an ambling mule; and there she
cried all on high, Sir Gawaine, Sir Gawaine, leave thy fighting with
thy brother Sir Gareth. And when he heard her say so he threw away his
shield and his sword, and ran to Sir Gareth, and took him in his arms,
and sithen kneeled down and asked him mercy. What are ye, said Sir
Gareth, that right now were so strong and so mighty, and now so suddenly
yield you to me? O Gareth, I am your brother Sir Gawaine, that for your
sake have had great sorrow and labour. Then Sir Gareth unlaced his helm,
and kneeled down to him, and asked him mercy. Then they rose both, and
embraced either other in their arms, and wept a great while or they
might speak, and either of them gave other the prize of the battle. And
there were many kind words between them. Alas, my fair brother, said Sir
Gawaine, perdy I owe of right to worship you an ye were not my brother,
for ye have worshipped King Arthur and all his court, for ye have sent
him[*5] more worshipful knights this twelvemonth than six the best of
the Round Table have done, except Sir Launcelot.


[*5] So W. de Worde; Caxton "me."



Then came the damosel Savage that was the Lady Linet, that rode with Sir
Gareth so long, and there she did staunch Sir Gareth's wounds and Sir
Gawaine's. Now what will ye do? said the damosel Savage; meseemeth that
it were well done that Arthur had witting of you both, for your horses
are so bruised that they may not bear. Now, fair damosel, said Sir
Gawaine, I pray you ride unto my lord mine uncle, King Arthur, and tell
him what adventure is to me betid here, and I suppose he will not tarry
long. Then she took her mule, and lightly she came to King Arthur that
was but two mile thence. And when she had told him tidings the king bade
get him a palfrey. And when he was upon his back he bade the lords and
ladies come after, who that would; and there was saddling and bridling
of queens' horses and princes' horses, and well was him that soonest
might be ready.

So when the king came thereas they were, he saw Sir Gawaine and Sir
Gareth sit upon a little hill-side, and then the king avoided his horse.
And when he came nigh Sir Gareth he would have spoken but he might not;
and therewith he sank down in a swoon for gladness. And so they stert
unto their uncle, and required him of his good grace to be of good
comfort. Wit ye well the king made great joy, and many a piteous
complaint he made to Sir Gareth, and ever he wept as he had been a
child. With that came his mother, the Queen of Orkney, Dame Morgawse,
and when she saw Sir Gareth readily in the visage she might not weep,
but suddenly fell down in a swoon, and lay there a great while like as
she had been dead. And then Sir Gareth recomforted his mother in such
wise that she recovered and made good cheer. Then the king commanded
that all manner of knights that were under his obeissance should make
their lodging right there for the love of his nephews. And so it was
done, and all manner of purveyance purveyed, that there lacked nothing
that might be gotten of tame nor wild for gold or silver. And then by
the means of the damosel Savage Sir Gawaine and Sir Gareth were healed
of their wounds; and there they sojourned eight days.


Then said King Arthur unto the damosel Savage: I marvel that your
sister, Dame Lionesse, cometh not here to me, and in especial that she
cometh not to visit her knight, my nephew Sir Gareth, that hath had so
much travail for her love. My lord, said the damosel Linet, ye must of
your good grace hold her excused, for she knoweth not that my lord,
Sir Gareth, is here. Go then for her, said King Arthur, that we may
be appointed what is best to be done, according to the pleasure of my
nephew. Sir, said the damosel, that shall be done, and so she rode unto
her sister. And as lightly as she might she made her ready; and she came
on the morn with her brother Sir Gringamore, and with her forty knights.
And so when she was come she had all the cheer that might be done, both
of the king, and of many other kings and queens.



CHAPTER XXXIV. How Sir Gareth acknowledged that they loved each other to
King Arthur, and of the appointment of their wedding.

AND among all these ladies she was named the fairest, and peerless. Then
when Sir Gawaine saw her there was many a goodly look and goodly words,
that all men of worship had joy to behold them. Then came King Arthur
and many other kings, and Dame Guenever, and the Queen of Orkney. And
there the king asked his nephew, Sir Gareth, whether he would have that
lady as paramour, or to have her to his wife. My lord, wit you well that
I love her above all ladies living. Now, fair lady, said King Arthur,
what say ye? Most noble King, said Dame Lionesse, wit you well that my
lord, Sir Gareth, is to me more liefer to have and wield as my husband,
than any king or prince that is christened; and if I may not have him
I promise you I will never have none. For, my lord Arthur, said Dame
Lionesse, wit ye well he is my first love, and he shall be the last;
and if ye will suffer him to have his will and free choice I dare say
he will have me. That is truth, said Sir Gareth; an I have not you and
wield not you as my wife, there shall never lady nor gentlewoman rejoice
me. What, nephew, said the king, is the wind in that door? for wit ye
well I would not for the stint of my crown to be causer to withdraw
your hearts; and wit ye well ye cannot love so well but I shall rather
increase it than distress it. And also ye shall have my love and my
lordship in the uttermost wise that may lie in my power. And in the same
wise said Sir Gareth's mother.

Then there was made a provision for the day of marriage; and by the
king's advice it was provided that it should be at Michaelmas following,
at Kink Kenadon by the seaside, for there is a plentiful country. And
so it was cried in all the places through the realm. And then Sir Gareth
sent his summons to all these knights and ladies that he had won in
battle to-fore, that they should be at his day of marriage at Kink
Kenadon by the sands. And then Dame Lionesse, and the damosel Linet with
Sir Gringamore, rode to their castle; and a goodly and a rich ring she
gave to Sir Gareth, and he gave her another. And King Arthur gave her a
rich pair of beads[*6] of gold; and so she departed; and King Arthur and
his fellowship rode toward Kink Kenadon, and Sir Gareth brought his lady
on the way, and so came to the king again and rode with him. Lord! the
great cheer that Sir Launcelot made of Sir Gareth and he of him, for
there was never no knight that Sir Gareth loved so well as he did Sir
Launcelot; and ever for the most part he would be in Sir Launcelot's
company; for after Sir Gareth had espied Sir Gawaine's conditions, he
withdrew himself from his brother, Sir Gawaine's, fellowship, for he was
vengeable, and where he hated he would be avenged with murder, and that
hated Sir Gareth.


[*6] So W. de Worde; Caxton "bee."



CHAPTER XXXV. Of the Great Royalty, and what officers were made at the
feast of the wedding, and of the jousts at the feast.

SO it drew fast to Michaelmas; and thither came Dame Lionesse, the lady
of the Castle Perilous, and her sister, Dame Linet, with Sir Gringamore,
her brother, with them for he had the conduct of these ladies. And there
they were lodged at the device of King Arthur. And upon Michaelmas Day
the Bishop of Canterbury made the wedding betwixt Sir Gareth and the
Lady Lionesse with great solemnity. And King Arthur made Gaheris to
wed the Damosel Savage, that was Dame Linet; and King Arthur made Sir
Agravaine to wed Dame Lionesse's niece, a fair lady, her name was Dame
Laurel.

And so when this solemnization was done, then came in the Green Knight,
Sir Pertolepe, with thirty knights, and there he did homage and fealty
to Sir Gareth, and these knights to hold of him for evermore. Also Sir
Pertolepe said: I pray you that at this feast I may be your chamberlain.
With a good will, said Sir Gareth sith it liketh you to take so simple
an office. Then came in the Red Knight, with three score knights with
him, and did to Sir Gareth homage and fealty, and all those knights to
hold of him for evermore. And then this Sir Perimones prayed Sir Gareth
to grant him to be his chief butler at that high feast. I will well,
said Sir Gareth, that ye have this office, and it were better. Then came
in Sir Persant of Inde, with an hundred knights with him, and there he
did homage and fealty, and all his knights should do him service, and
hold their lands of him for ever; and there he prayed Sir Gareth to make
him his sewer-chief at the feast. I will well, said Sir Gareth, that
ye have it and it were better. Then came the Duke de la Rowse with an
hundred knights with him, and there he did homage and fealty to Sir
Gareth, and so to hold their lands of him for ever. And he required Sir
Gareth that he might serve him of the wine that day of that feast. I
will well, said Sir Gareth, and it were better. Then came in the Red
Knight of the Red Launds, that was Sir Ironside, and he brought with him
three hundred knights, and there he did homage and fealty, and all
these knights to hold their lands of him for ever. And then he asked Sir
Gareth to be his carver. I will well, said Sir Gareth, an it please you.

Then came into the court thirty ladies, and all they seemed widows, and
those thirty ladies brought with them many fair gentlewomen. And all
they kneeled down at once unto King Arthur and unto Sir Gareth, and
there all those ladies told the king how Sir Gareth delivered them
from the dolorous tower, and slew the Brown Knight without Pity: And
therefore we, and our heirs for evermore, will do homage unto Sir Gareth
of Orkney. So then the kings and queens, princes and earls, barons and
many bold knights, went unto meat; and well may ye wit there were all
manner of meat plenteously, all manner revels and games, with all manner
of minstrelsy that was used in those days. Also there was great jousts
three days. But the king would not suffer Sir Gareth to joust, because
of his new bride; for, as the French book saith, that Dame Lionesse
desired of the king that none that were wedded should joust at that
feast.

So the first day there jousted Sir Lamorak de Galis, for he overthrew
thirty knights, and did passing marvellously deeds of arms; and then
King Arthur made Sir Persant and his two brethren Knights of the Round
Table to their lives' end, and gave them great lands. Also the second
day there jousted Tristram best, and he overthrew forty knights, and
did there marvellous deeds of arms. And there King Arthur made Ironside,
that was the Red Knight of the Red Launds, a Knight of the Table Round
to his life's end, and gave him great lands. The third day there jousted
Sir Launcelot du Lake, and he overthrew fifty knights, and did many
marvellous deeds of arms, that all men wondered on him. And there King
Arthur made the Duke de la Rowse a Knight of the Round Table to his
life's end, and gave him great lands to spend. But when these jousts
were done, Sir Lamorak and Sir Tristram departed suddenly, and would
not be known, for the which King Arthur and all the court were sore
displeased. And so they held the court forty days with great solemnity.
And this Sir Gareth was a noble knight, and a well-ruled, and
fair-languaged.


Thus endeth this tale of Sir Gareth of Orkney that wedded Dame Lionesse
of the Castle Perilous. And also Sir Gaheris wedded her sister, Dame
Linet, that was called the Damosel Sabage. And Sir Agrabaine wedded Dame
Laurel, a fair lady and great, and mighty lands with great riches gave
with them King Arthur, that royally they might live till their lives'
end.

Here followeth the viii. book, the which is the first book of Sir
Tristram de Liones, and who was his father and his mother, and how he
was born and fostered, and how he was made knight.



BOOK VIII



CHAPTER I. How Sir Tristram de Liones was born, and how his mother died
at his birth, wherefore she named him Tristram.

IT was a king that hight Meliodas, and he was lord and king of the
country of Liones, and this Meliodas was a likely knight as any was that
time living. And by fortune he wedded King Mark's sister of Cornwall,
and she was called Elizabeth, that was called both good and fair. And at
that time King Arthur reigned, and he was whole king of England, Wales,
and Scotland, and of many other realms: howbeit there were many kings
that were lords of many countries, but all they held their lands of King
Arthur; for in Wales were two kings, and in the north were many kings;
and in Cornwall and in the west were two kings; also in Ireland were two
or three kings, and all were under the obeissance of King Arthur. So was
the King of France, and the King of Brittany, and all the lordships unto
Rome.

So when this King Meliodas had been with his wife, within a while she
waxed great with child, and she was a full meek lady, and well she loved
her lord, and he her again, so there was great joy betwixt them. Then
there was a lady in that country that had loved King Meliodas long, and
by no mean she never could get his love; therefore she let ordain upon
a day, as King Meliodas rode a-hunting, for he was a great chaser, and
there by an enchantment she made him chase an hart by himself alone till
that he came to an old castle, and there anon he was taken prisoner by
the lady that him loved. When Elizabeth, King Meliodas' wife, missed her
lord, and she was nigh out of her wit, and also as great with child as
she was, she took a gentlewoman with her, and ran into the forest to
seek her lord. And when she was far in the forest she might no farther,
for she began to travail fast of her child. And she had many grimly
throes; her gentlewoman helped her all that she might, and so by miracle
of Our Lady of Heaven she was delivered with great pains. But she had
taken such cold for the default of help that deep draughts of death took
her, that needs she must die and depart out of this world; there was
none other bote.

And when this Queen Elizabeth saw that there was none other bote, then
she made great dole, and said unto her gentlewoman: When ye see my lord,
King Meliodas, recommend me unto him, and tell him what pains I endure
here for his love, and how I must die here for his sake for default of
good help; and let him wit that I am full sorry to depart out of this
world from him, therefore pray him to be friend to my soul. Now let me
see my little child, for whom I have had all this sorrow. And when she
saw him she said thus: Ah, my little son, thou hast murdered thy mother,
and therefore I suppose, thou that art a murderer so young, thou art
full likely to be a manly man in thine age. And because I shall die of
the birth of thee, I charge thee, gentlewoman, that thou pray my lord,
King Meliodas, that when he is christened let call him Tristram, that
is as much to say as a sorrowful birth. And therewith this queen gave
up the ghost and died. Then the gentlewoman laid her under an umbre of a
great tree, and then she lapped the child as well as she might for cold.
Right so there came the barons, following after the queen, and when
they saw that she was dead, and understood none other but the king was
destroyed, [*7]then certain of them would have slain the child, because
they would have been lords of the country of Liones.


[*7] Printed by Caxton as part of chap. ii.



CHAPTER II. How the stepmother of Sir Tristram had ordained poison for
to have poisoned Sir Tristram.

BUT then through the fair speech of the gentlewoman, and by the means
that she made, the most part of the barons would not assent thereto. And
then they let carry home the dead queen, and much dole was made for her.

Then this meanwhile Merlin delivered King Meliodas out of prison on the
morn after his queen was dead. And so when the king was come home the
most part of the barons made great joy. But the sorrow that the king
made for his queen that might no tongue tell. So then the king let
inter her richly, and after he let christen his child as his wife
had commanded afore her death. And then he let call him Tristram, the
sorrowful born child. Then the King Meliodas endured seven years without
a wife, and all this time Tristram was nourished well. Then it befell
that King Meliodas wedded King Howell's daughter of Brittany, and anon
she had children of King Meliodas: then was she heavy and wroth that her
children should not rejoice the country of Liones, wherefore this queen
ordained for to poison young Tristram. So she let poison be put in a
piece of silver in the chamber whereas Tristram and her children were
together, unto that intent that when Tristram were thirsty he should
drink that drink. And so it fell upon a day, the queen's son, as he was
in that chamber, espied the piece with poison, and he weened it had been
good drink, and because the child was thirsty he took the piece with
poison and drank freely; and therewithal suddenly the child brast and
was dead.

When the queen of Meliodas wist of the death of her son, wit ye well
that she was heavy. But yet the king understood nothing of her treason.
Notwithstanding the queen would not leave this, but eft she let ordain
more poison, and put it in a piece. And by fortune King Meliodas, her
husband, found the piece with wine where was the poison, and he that was
much thirsty took the piece for to drink thereout. And as he would have
drunken thereof the queen espied him, and then she ran unto him, and
pulled the piece from him suddenly. The king marvelled why she did so,
and remembered him how her son was suddenly slain with poison. And then
he took her by the hand, and said: Thou false traitress, thou shalt
tell me what manner of drink this is, or else I shall slay thee. And
therewith he pulled out his sword, and sware a great oath that he should
slay her but if she told him truth. Ah! mercy, my lord, said she, and
I shall tell you all. And then she told him why she would have slain
Tristram, because her children should rejoice his land. Well, said King
Meliodas, and therefore shall ye have the law. And so she was condemned
by the assent of the barons to be burnt; and then was there made a great
fire, and right as she was at the fire to take her execution, young
Tristram kneeled afore King Meliodas, and besought him to give him a
boon. I will well, said the king again. Then said young Tristram, Give
me the life of thy queen, my stepmother. That is unrightfully asked,
said King Meliodas, for thou ought of right to hate her, for she would
have slain thee with that poison an she might have had her will; and for
thy sake most is my cause that she should die.

Sir, said Tristram, as for that, I beseech you of your mercy that you
will forgive it her, and as for my part, God forgive it her, and I do;
and so much it liked your highness to grant me my boon, for God's love
I require you hold your promise. Sithen it is so, said the king, I will
that ye have her life. Then, said the king, I give her to you, and go ye
to the fire and take her, and do with her what ye will. So Sir Tristram
went to the fire, and by the commandment of the king delivered her from
the death. But after that King Meliodas would never have ado with her,
as at bed and board. But by the good means of young Tristram he made the
king and her accorded. But then the king would not suffer young Tristram
to abide no longer in his court.



CHAPTER III. How Sir Tristram was sent into France, and had one to
govern him named Gouvernail, and how he learned to harp, hawk, and hunt.

AND then he let ordain a gentleman that was well learned and taught,
his name was Gouvernail; and then he sent young Tristram with Gouvernail
into France to learn the language, and nurture, and deeds of arms. And
there was Tristram more than seven years. And then when he well could
speak the language, and had learned all that he might learn in that
country, then he came home to his father, King Meliodas, again. And so
Tristram learned to be an harper passing all other, that there was none
such called in no country, and so on harping and on instruments of music
he applied him in his youth for to learn.

And after, as he grew in might and strength, he laboured ever in hunting
and in hawking, so that never gentleman more, that ever we heard read
of. And as the book saith, he began good measures of blowing of beasts
of venery, and beasts of chase, and all manner of vermin, and all these
terms we have yet of hawking and hunting. And therefore the book of
venery, of hawking, and hunting, is called the book of Sir Tristram.
Wherefore, as meseemeth, all gentlemen that bear old arms ought of right
to honour Sir Tristram for the goodly terms that gentlemen have and
use, and shall to the day of doom, that thereby in a manner all men
of worship may dissever a gentleman from a yeoman, and from a yeoman a
villain. For he that gentle is will draw him unto gentle tatches, and to
follow the customs of noble gentlemen.

Thus Sir Tristram endured in Cornwall until he was big and strong, of
the age of eighteen years. And then the King Meliodas had great joy
of Sir Tristram, and so had the queen, his wife. For ever after in her
life, because Sir Tristram saved her from the fire, she did never hate
him more after, but loved him ever after, and gave Tristram many great
gifts; for every estate loved him, where that he went.



CHAPTER IV. How Sir Marhaus came out of Ireland for to ask truage of
Cornwall, or else he would fight therefore.

THEN it befell that King Anguish of Ireland sent unto King Mark of
Cornwall for his truage, that Cornwall had paid many winters. And all
that time King Mark was behind of the truage for seven years. And King
Mark and his barons gave unto the messenger of Ireland these words and
answer, that they would none pay; and bade the messenger go unto his
King Anguish, and tell him we will pay him no truage, but tell your
lord, an he will always have truage of us of Cornwall, bid him send a
trusty knight of his land, that will fight for his right, and we shall
find another for to defend our right. With this answer the messengers
departed into Ireland. And when King Anguish understood the answer of
the messengers he was wonderly wroth. And then he called unto him Sir
Marhaus, the good knight, that was nobly proved, and a Knight of the
Table Round. And this Marhaus was brother unto the queen of Ireland.
Then the king said thus: Fair brother, Sir Marhaus, I pray you go into
Cornwall for my sake, and do battle for our truage that of right we
ought to have; and whatsomever ye spend ye shall have sufficiently, more
than ye shall need. Sir, said Marhaus, wit ye well that I shall not
be loath to do battle in the right of you and your land with the best
knight of the Table Round; for I know them, for the most part, what be
their deeds; and for to advance my deeds and to increase my worship I
will right gladly go unto this journey for our right.

So in all haste there was made purveyance for Sir Marhaus, and he had
all things that to him needed; and so he departed out of Ireland, and
arrived up in Cornwall even fast by the Castle of Tintagil. And when
King Mark understood that he was there arrived to fight for Ireland,
then made King Mark great sorrow when he understood that the good and
noble knight Sir Marhaus was come. For they knew no knight that durst
have ado with him. For at that time Sir Marhaus was called one of the
famousest and renowned knights of the world. And thus Sir Marhaus abode
in the sea, and every day he sent unto King Mark for to pay the truage
that was behind of seven year, other else to find a knight to fight with
him for the truage. This manner of message Sir Marhaus sent daily unto
King Mark.

Then they of Cornwall let make cries in every place, that what knight
would fight for to save the truage of Cornwall, he should be rewarded
so that he should fare the better, term of his life. Then some of the
barons said to King Mark, and counselled him to send to the court of
King Arthur for to seek Sir Launcelot du Lake, that was that time named
for the marvelloust knight of all the world. Then there were some other
barons that counselled the king not to do so, and said that it was
labour in vain, because Sir Marhaus was a knight of the Round Table,
therefore any of them will be loath to have ado with other, but if it
were any knight at his own request would fight disguised and unknown.
So the king and all his barons assented that it was no bote to seek any
knight of the Round Table. This mean while came the language and the
noise unto King Meliodas, how that Sir Marhaus abode battle fast by
Tintagil, and how King Mark could find no manner knight to fight for
him. When young Tristram heard of this he was wroth, and sore ashamed
that there durst no knight in Cornwall have ado with Sir Marhaus of
Ireland.



CHAPTER V. How Tristram enterprized the battle to fight for the truage
of Cornwall, and how he was made knight.

THEREWITHAL Tristram went unto his father, King Meliodas, and asked him
counsel what was best to do for to recover Cornwall from truage. For,
as meseemeth, said Sir Tristram, it were shame that Sir Marhaus, the
queen's brother of Ireland, should go away unless that he were foughten
withal. As for that, said King Meliodas, wit you well, son Tristram,
that Sir Marhaus is called one of the best knights of the world, and
Knight of the Table Round; and therefore I know no knight in this
country that is able to match with him. Alas, said Sir Tristram, that I
am not made knight; and if Sir Marhaus should thus depart into Ireland,
God let me never have worship: an I were made knight I should match him.
And sir, said Tristram, I pray you give me leave to ride to King Mark;
and, so ye be not displeased, of King Mark will I be made knight. I will
well, said King Meliodas, that ye be ruled as your courage will rule
you. Then Sir Tristram thanked his father much. And then he made him
ready to ride into Cornwall.

In the meanwhile there came a messenger with letters of love from King
Faramon of France's daughter unto Sir Tristram, that were full piteous
letters, and in them were written many complaints of love; but Sir
Tristram had no joy of her letters nor regard unto her. Also she sent
him a little brachet that was passing fair. But when the king's daughter
understood that Sir Tristram would not love her, as the book saith, she
died for sorrow. And then the same squire that brought the letter and
the brachet came again unto Sir Tristram, as after ye shall hear in the
tale.

So this young Sir Tristram rode unto his eme, King Mark of Cornwall. And
when he came there he heard say that there would no knight fight with
Sir Marhaus. Then yede Sir Tristram unto his eme and said: Sir, if ye
will give me the order of knighthood, I will do battle with Sir Marhaus.
What are ye, said the king, and from whence be ye come? Sir, said
Tristram, I come from King Meliodas that wedded your sister, and a
gentleman wit ye well I am. King Mark beheld Sir Tristram and saw that
he was but a young man of age, but he was passingly well made and big.
Fair sir, said the king, what is your name, and where were ye born? Sir,
said he again, my name is Tristram, and in the country of Liones was I
born. Ye say well, said the king; and if ye will do this battle I shall
make you knight. Therefore I come to you, said Sir Tristram, and for
none other cause. But then King Mark made him knight. And therewithal,
anon as he had made him knight, he sent a messenger unto Sir Marhaus
with letters that said that he had found a young knight ready for to
take the battle to the uttermost. It may well be, said Sir Marhaus; but
tell King Mark I will not fight with no knight but he be of blood royal,
that is to say, other king's son, other queen's son, born of a prince or
princess.

When King Mark understood that, he sent for Sir Tristram de Liones and
told him what was the answer of Sir Marhaus. Then said Sir Tristram:
Sithen that he saith so, let him wit that I am come of father side and
mother side of as noble blood as he is: for, sir, now shall ye know that
I am King Meliodas' son, born of your own sister, Dame Elizabeth, that
died in the forest in the birth of me. O Jesu, said King Mark, ye are
welcome fair nephew to me. Then in all the haste the king let horse Sir
Tristram, and armed him in the best manner that might be had or gotten
for gold or silver. And then King Mark sent unto Sir Marhaus, and did
him to wit that a better born man than he was himself should fight with
him, and his name is Sir Tristram de Liones, gotten of King Meliodas,
and born of King Mark's sister. Then was Sir Marhaus glad and blithe
that he should fight with such a gentleman. And so by the assent of King
Mark and of Sir Marhaus they let ordain that they should fight within
an island nigh Sir Marhaus' ships; and so was Sir Tristram put into a
vessel both his horse and he, and all that to him longed both for his
body and for his horse. Sir Tristram lacked nothing. And when King Mark
and his barons of Cornwall beheld how young Sir Tristram departed with
such a carriage to fight for the right of Cornwall, there was neither
man nor woman of worship but they wept to see and understand so young a
knight to jeopardy himself for their right.



CHAPTER VI. How Sir Tristram arrived into the Island for to furnish the
battle with Sir Marhaus.

SO to shorten this tale, when Sir Tristram was arrived within the island
he looked to the farther side, and there he saw at an anchor six ships
nigh to the land; and under the shadow of the ships upon the land,
there hoved the noble knight, Sir Marhaus of Ireland. Then Sir Tristram
commanded his servant Gouvernail to bring his horse to the land, and
dress his harness at all manner of rights. And then when he had so
done he mounted upon his horse; and when he was in his saddle well
apparelled, and his shield dressed upon his shoulder, Tristram asked
Gouvernail, Where is this knight that I shall have ado withal? Sir, said
Gouvernail, see ye him not? I weened ye had seen him; yonder he hoveth
under the umbre of his ships on horseback, with his spear in his hand
and his shield upon his shoulder. That is truth, said the noble knight,
Sir Tristram, now I see him well enough.

Then he commanded his servant Gouvernail to go to his vessel again: And
commend me unto mine eme King Mark, and pray him, if that I be slain in
this battle, for to inter my body as him seemed best; and as for me, let
him wit that I will never yield me for cowardice; and if I be slain and
flee not, then they have lost no truage for me; and if so be that I
flee or yield me as recreant, bid mine eme never bury me in Christian
burials. And upon thy life, said Sir Tristram to Gouvernail, come thou
not nigh this island till that thou see me overcome or slain, or else
that I win yonder knight. So either departed from other sore weeping.



CHAPTER VII. How Sir Tristram fought against Sir Marhaus and achieved
his battle, and how Sir Marhaus fled to his ship.

AND then Sir Marhaus avised Sir Tristram, and said thus: Young knight,
Sir Tristram, what dost thou here? me sore repenteth of thy courage,
for wit thou well I have been assayed, and the best knights of this
land have been assayed of my hand; and also I have matched with the best
knights of the world, and therefore by my counsel return again unto thy
vessel. And fair knight, and well-proved knight, said Sir Tristram, thou
shalt well wit I may not forsake thee in this quarrel, for I am for thy
sake made knight. And thou shalt well wit that I am a king's son born,
and gotten upon a queen; and such promise I have made at my uncle's
request and mine own seeking, that I shall fight with thee unto the
uttermost, and deliver Cornwall from the old truage. And also wit thou
well, Sir Marhaus, that this is the greatest cause that thou couragest
me to have ado with thee, for thou art called one of the most renowned
knights of the world, and because of that noise and fame that thou hast
thou givest me courage to have ado with thee, for never yet was I proved
with good knight; and sithen I took the order of knighthood this day, I
am well pleased that I may have ado with so good a knight as thou art.
And now wit thou well, Sir Marhaus, that I cast me to get worship on
thy body; and if that I be not proved, I trust to God that I shall
be worshipfully proved upon thy body, and to deliver the country of
Cornwall for ever from all manner of truage from Ireland for ever.

When Sir Marhaus had heard him say what he would, he said then thus
again: Fair knight, sithen it is so that thou castest to win worship of
me, I let thee wit worship may thou none lose by me if thou mayest stand
me three strokes; for I let thee wit for my noble deeds, proved and
seen, King Arthur made me Knight of the Table Round.

Then they began to feutre their spears, and they met so fiercely
together that they smote either other down, both horse and all. But Sir
Marhaus smote Sir Tristram a great wound in the side with his spear, and
then they avoided their horses, and pulled out their swords, and threw
their shields afore them. And then they lashed together as men that were
wild and courageous. And when they had stricken so together long, then
they left their strokes, and foined at their breaths and visors; and
when they saw that that might not prevail them, then they hurtled
together like rams to bear either other down. Thus they fought still
more than half a day, and either were wounded passing sore, that the
blood ran down freshly from them upon the ground. By then Sir Tristram
waxed more fresher than Sir Marhaus, and better winded and bigger; and
with a mighty stroke he smote Sir Marhaus upon the helm such a buffet
that it went through his helm, and through the coif of steel, and
through the brain-pan, and the sword stuck so fast in the helm and in
his brain-pan that Sir Tristram pulled thrice at his sword or ever he
might pull it out from his head; and there Marhaus fell down on his
knees, the edge of Tristram's sword left in his brain-pan. And suddenly
Sir Marhaus rose grovelling, and threw his sword and his shield from
him, and so ran to his ships and fled his way, and Sir Tristram had ever
his shield and his sword.

And when Sir Tristram saw Sir Marhaus withdraw him, he said: Ah! Sir
Knight of the Round Table, why withdrawest thou thee? thou dost thyself
and thy kin great shame, for I am but a young knight, or now I was never
proved, and rather than I should withdraw me from thee, I had rather be
hewn in an hundred pieces. Sir Marhaus answered no word but yede his way
sore groaning. Well, Sir Knight, said Sir Tristram, I promise thee thy
sword and thy shield shall be mine; and thy shield shall I wear in all
places where I ride on mine adventures, and in the sight of King Arthur
and all the Round Table.



CHAPTER VIII. How Sir Marhaus after that he was arrived in Ireland died
of the stroke that Sir Tristram had given him, and how Tristram was
hurt.

ANON Sir Marhaus and his fellowship departed into Ireland. And as soon
as he came to the king, his brother, he let search his wounds. And when
his head was searched a piece of Sir Tristram's sword was found therein,
and might never be had out of his head for no surgeons, and so he died
of Sir Tristram's sword; and that piece of the sword the queen, his
sister, kept it for ever with her, for she thought to be revenged an she
might.

Now turn we again unto Sir Tristram, that was sore wounded, and full
sore bled that he might not within a little while, when he had taken
cold, unnethe stir him of his limbs. And then he set him down softly
upon a little hill, and bled fast. Then anon came Gouvernail, his
man, with his vessel; and the king and his barons came with procession
against him. And when he was come unto the land, King Mark took him in
his arms, and the king and Sir Dinas, the seneschal, led Sir Tristram
into the castle of Tintagil. And then was he searched in the best
manner, and laid in his bed. And when King Mark saw his wounds he wept
heartily, and so did all his lords. So God me help, said King Mark,
I would not for all my lands that my nephew died. So Sir Tristram lay
there a month and more, and ever he was like to die of that stroke that
Sir Marhaus smote him first with the spear. For, as the French book
saith, the spear's head was envenomed, that Sir Tristram might not be
whole. Then was King Mark and all his barons passing heavy, for they
deemed none other but that Sir Tristram should not recover. Then the
king let send after all manner of leeches and surgeons, both unto men
and women, and there was none that would behote him the life. Then came
there a lady that was a right wise lady, and she said plainly unto King
Mark, and to Sir Tristram, and to all his barons, that he should never
be whole but if Sir Tristram went in the same country that the venom
came from, and in that country should he be holpen or else never. Thus
said the lady unto the king.

When King Mark understood that, he let purvey for Sir Tristram a
fair vessel, well victualled, and therein was put Sir Tristram, and
Gouvernail with him, and Sir Tristram took his harp with him, and so
he was put into the sea to sail into Ireland; and so by good fortune
he arrived up in Ireland, even fast by a castle where the king and the
queen was; and at his arrival he sat and harped in his bed a merry lay,
such one heard they never none in Ireland before that time.

And when it was told the king and the queen of such a knight that was
such an harper, anon the king sent for him, and let search his wounds,
and then asked him his name. Then he answered, I am of the country of
Liones, and my name is Tramtrist, that thus was wounded in a battle as
I fought for a lady's right. So God me help, said King Anguish, ye shall
have all the help in this land that ye may have here; but I let you wit,
in Cornwall I had a great loss as ever had king, for there I lost the
best knight of the world; his name was Marhaus, a full noble knight, and
Knight of the Table Round; and there he told Sir Tristram wherefore Sir
Marhaus was slain. Sir Tristram made semblant as he had been sorry, and
better knew he how it was than the king.



CHAPTER IX. How Sir Tristram was put to the keeping of La Beale Isoud
first for to be healed of his wound.

THEN the king for great favour made Tramtrist to be put in his
daughter's ward and keeping, because she was a noble surgeon. And when
she had searched him she found in the bottom of his wound that therein
was poison, and so she healed him within a while; and therefore
Tramtrist cast great love to La Beale Isoud, for she was at that time
the fairest maid and lady of the world. And there Tramtrist learned her
to harp, and she began to have a great fantasy unto him. And at that
time Sir Palamides, the Saracen, was in that country, and well cherished
with the king and the queen. And every day Sir Palamides drew unto La
Beale Isoud and proffered her many gifts, for he loved her passingly
well. All that espied Tramtrist, and full well knew he Sir Palamides
for a noble knight and a mighty man. And wit you well Sir Tramtrist had
great despite at Sir Palamides, for La Beale Isoud told Tramtrist that
Palamides was in will to be christened for her sake. Thus was there
great envy betwixt Tramtrist and Sir Palamides.

Then it befell that King Anguish let cry a great jousts and a great
tournament for a lady that was called the Lady of the Launds, and she
was nigh cousin unto the king. And what man won her, three days after
he should wed her and have all her lands. This cry was made in England,
Wales, Scotland, and also in France and in Brittany. It befell upon
a day La Beale Isoud came unto Sir Tramtrist, and told him of this
tournament. He answered and said: Fair lady, I am but a feeble knight,
and but late I had been dead had not your good ladyship been. Now, fair
lady, what would ye I should do in this matter? well ye wot, my lady,
that I may not joust. Ah, Tramtrist, said La Beale Isoud, why will
ye not have ado at that tournament? well I wot Sir Palamides shall be
there, and to do what he may; and therefore Tramtrist, I pray you for to
be there, for else Sir Palamides is like to win the degree. Madam, said
Tramtrist, as for that, it may be so, for he is a proved knight, and I
am but a young knight and late made; and the first battle that I did it
mishapped me to be sore wounded as ye see. But an I wist ye would be
my better lady, at that tournament I will be, so that ye will keep
my counsel and let no creature have knowledge that I shall joust but
yourself, and such as ye will to keep your counsel, my poor person shall
I jeopard there for your sake, that, peradventure, Sir Palamides shall
know when that I come. Thereto, said La Beale Isoud, do your best, and
as I can, said La Beale Isoud, I shall purvey horse and armour for you
at my device. As ye will so be it, said Sir Tramtrist, I will be at your
commandment.

So at the day of jousts there came Sir Palamides with a black shield,
and he overthrew many knights, that all the people had marvel of him.
For he put to the worse Sir Gawaine, Gaheris, Agravaine, Bagdemagus,
Kay, Dodinas le Savage, Sagramore le Desirous, Gumret le Petit, and
Griflet le Fise de Dieu. All these the first day Sir Palamides struck
down to the earth. And then all manner of knights were adread of Sir
Palamides, and many called him the Knight with the Black Shield. So that
day Sir Palamides had great worship.

Then came King Anguish unto Tramtrist, and asked him why he would
not joust. Sir, he said, I was but late hurt, and as yet I dare not
adventure me. Then came there the same squire that was sent from the
king's daughter of France unto Sir Tristram. And when he had espied Sir
Tristram he fell flat to his feet. All that espied La Beale Isoud, what
courtesy the squire made unto Sir Tristram. And therewithal suddenly
Sir Tristram ran unto his squire, whose name was Hebes le Renoumes, and
prayed him heartily in no wise to tell his name. Sir, said Hebes, I will
not discover your name but if ye command me.



CHAPTER X. How Sir Tristram won the degree at a tournament in Ireland,
and there made Palamides to bear no more harness in a year.

THEN Sir Tristram asked him what he did in those countries. Sir, he
said, I came hither with Sir Gawaine for to be made knight, and if it
please you, of your hands that I may be made knight. Await upon me as
to-morn secretly, and in the field I shall make you a knight.

Then had La Beale Isoud great suspicion unto Tramtrist, that he was some
man of worship proved, and therewith she comforted herself, and cast
more love unto him than she had done to-fore. And so on the morn Sir
Palamides made him ready to come into the field as he did the first day.
And there he smote down the King with the Hundred Knights, and the King
of Scots. Then had La Beale Isoud ordained and well arrayed Sir Tristram
in white horse and harness. And right so she let put him out at a privy
postern, and so he came into the field as it had been a bright angel.
And anon Sir Palamides espied him, and therewith he feutred a spear unto
Sir Tramtrist, and he again unto him. And there Sir Tristram smote
down Sir Palamides unto the earth. And then there was a great noise of
people: some said Sir Palamides had a fall, some said the Knight with
the Black Shield had a fall. And wit you well La Beale Isoud was passing
glad. And then Sir Gawaine and his fellows nine had marvel what knight
it might be that had smitten down Sir Palamides. Then would there none
joust with Tramtrist, but all that there were forsook him, most and
least. Then Sir Tristram made Hebes a knight, and caused him to put
himself forth, and did right well that day. So after Sir Hebes held him
with Sir Tristram.

And when Sir Palamides had received this fall, wit ye well that he was
sore ashamed, and as privily as he might he withdrew him out of the
field. All that espied Sir Tristram, and lightly he rode after Sir
Palamides and overtook him, and bade him turn, for better he would
assay him or ever he departed. Then Sir Palamides turned him, and either
lashed at other with their swords. But at the first stroke Sir Tristram
smote down Palamides, and gave him such a stroke upon the head that
he fell to the earth. So then Tristram bade yield him, and do his
commandment, or else he would slay him. When Sir Palamides beheld his
countenance, he dread his buffets so, that he granted all his askings.
Well said, said Sir Tristram, this shall be your charge. First, upon
pain of your life that ye forsake my lady La Beale Isoud, and in no
manner wise that ye draw not to her. Also this twelvemonth and a day
that ye bear none armour nor none harness of war. Now promise me this,
or here shalt thou die. Alas, said Palamides, for ever am I ashamed.
Then he sware as Sir Tristram had commanded him. Then for despite and
anger Sir Palamides cut off his harness, and threw them away.

And so Sir Tristram turned again to the castle where was La Beale Isoud;
and by the way he met with a damosel that asked after Sir Launcelot,
that won the Dolorous Guard worshipfully; and this damosel asked Sir
Tristram what he was. For it was told her that it was he that smote down
Sir Palamides, by whom the ten knights of King Arthur's were smitten
down. Then the damosel prayed Sir Tristram to tell her what he was, and
whether that he were Sir Launcelot du Lake, for she deemed that there
was no knight in the world might do such deeds of arms but if it were
Launcelot. Fair damosel, said Sir Tristram, wit ye well that I am not
Sir Launcelot, for I was never of such prowess, but in God is all that
he may make me as good a knight as the good knight Sir Launcelot. Now,
gentle knight, said she, put up thy visor; and when she beheld his
visage she thought she saw never a better man's visage, nor a better
faring knight. And then when the damosel knew certainly that he was not
Sir Launcelot, then she took her leave, and departed from him. And then
Sir Tristram rode privily unto the postern, where kept him La Beale
Isoud, and there she made him good cheer, and thanked God of his good
speed. So anon, within a while the king and the queen understood that it
was Tramtrist that smote down Sir Palamides; then was he much made of,
more than he was before.



CHAPTER XI. How the queen espied that Sir Tristram had slain her brother
Sir Marhaus by his sword, and in what jeopardy he was.

THUS was Sir Tramtrist long there well cherished with the king and the
queen, and namely with La Beale Isoud. So upon a day the queen and La
Beale Isoud made a bain for Sir Tramtrist. And when he was in his bain
the queen and Isoud, her daughter, roamed up and down in the chamber;
and therewhiles Gouvernail and Hebes attended upon Tramtrist, and the
queen beheld his sword thereas it lay upon his bed. And then by unhap
the queen drew out his sword and beheld it a long while, and both they
thought it a passing fair sword; but within a foot and an half of the
point there was a great piece thereof out-broken of the edge. And when
the queen espied that gap in the sword, she remembered her of a piece of
a sword that was found in the brain-pan of Sir Marhaus, the good knight
that was her brother. Alas then, said she unto her daughter, La Beale
Isoud, this is the same traitor knight that slew my brother, thine eme.
When Isoud heard her say so she was passing sore abashed, for passing
well she loved Tramtrist, and full well she knew the cruelness of her
mother the queen.

Anon therewithal the queen went unto her own chamber, and sought her
coffer, and there she took out the piece or the sword that was pulled
out of Sir Marhaus' head after that he was dead. And then she ran with
that piece of iron to the sword that lay upon the bed. And when she put
that piece of steel and iron unto the sword, it was as meet as it might
be when it was new broken. And then the queen gripped that sword in her
hand fiercely, and with all her might she ran straight upon Tramtrist
where he sat in his bain, and there she had rived him through had not
Sir Hebes gotten her in his arms, and pulled the sword from her, and
else she had thrust him through.

Then when she was let of her evil will she ran to the King Anguish, her
husband, and said on her knees: O my lord, here have ye in your house
that traitor knight that slew my brother and your servant, that noble
knight, Sir Marhaus. Who is that, said King Anguish, and where is he?
Sir, she said, it is Sir Tramtrist, the same knight that my daughter
healed. Alas, said the king, therefore am I right heavy, for he is a
full noble knight as ever I saw in field. But I charge you, said the
king to the queen, that ye have not ado with that knight, but let me
deal with him.

Then the king went into the chamber unto Sir Tramtrist, and then was he
gone unto his chamber, and the king found him all ready armed to
mount upon his horse. When the king saw him all ready armed to go unto
horseback, the king said: Nay, Tramtrist, it will not avail to compare
thee against me; but thus much I shall do for my worship and for thy
love; in so much as thou art within my court it were no worship for me
to slay thee: therefore upon this condition I will give thee leave for
to depart from this court in safety, so thou wilt tell me who was thy
father, and what is thy name, and if thou slew Sir Marhaus, my brother.



CHAPTER XII. How Sir Tristram departed from the king and La Beale Isoud
out of Ireland for to come into Cornwall.

SIR, said Tristram, now I shall tell you all the truth: my father's name
is Sir Meliodas, King of Liones, and my mother hight Elizabeth, that
was sister unto King Mark of Cornwall; and my mother died of me in the
forest, and because thereof she commanded, or she died, that when I were
christened they should christen me Tristram; and because I would not be
known in this country I turned my name and let me call Tramtrist; and
for the truage of Cornwall I fought for my eme's sake, and for the
right of Cornwall that ye had posseded many years. And wit ye well, said
Tristram unto the king, I did the battle for the love of mine uncle,
King Mark, and for the love of the country of Cornwall, and for to
increase mine honour; for that same day that I fought with Sir Marhaus I
was made knight, and never or then did I battle with no knight, and from
me he went alive, and left his shield and his sword behind.

So God me help, said the king, I may not say but ye did as a knight
should, and it was your part to do for your quarrel, and to increase
your worship as a knight should; howbeit I may not maintain you in this
country with my worship, unless that I should displease my barons,
and my wife and her kin. Sir, said Tristram, I thank you of your good
lordship that I have had with you here, and the great goodness my lady,
your daughter, hath shewed me, and therefore, said Sir Tristram, it may
so happen that ye shall win more by my life than by my death, for in the
parts of England it may happen I may do you service at some season, that
ye shall be glad that ever ye shewed me your good lordship. With more I
promise you as I am true knight, that in all places I shall be my lady
your daughter's servant and knight in right and in wrong, and I shall
never fail her, to do as much as a knight may do. Also I beseech your
good grace that I may take my leave at my lady, your daughter, and at
all the barons and knights. I will well, said the king.

Then Sir Tristram went unto La Beale Isoud and took his leave of her.
And then he told her all, what he was, and how he had changed his name
because he would not be known, and how a lady told him that he should
never be whole till he came into this country where the poison was made,
wherethrough I was near my death had not your ladyship been. O gentle
knight, said La Beale Isoud, full woe am I of thy departing, for I
saw never man that I owed so good will to. And therewithal she wept
heartily. Madam, said Sir Tristram, ye shall understand that my name is
Sir Tristram de Liones, gotten of King Meliodas, and born of his queen.
And I promise you faithfully that I shall be all the days of my
life your knight. Gramercy, said La Beale Isoud, and I promise you
there-against that I shall not be married this seven years but by your
assent; and to whom that ye will I shall be married to him will I have,
and he will have me if ye will consent.

And then Sir Tristram gave her a ring, and she gave him another; and
therewith he departed from her, leaving her making great dole and
lamentation; and he straight went unto the court among all the barons,
and there he took his leave at most and least, and openly he said among
them all: Fair lords, now it is so that I must depart: if there be any
man here that I have offended unto, or that any man be with me grieved,
let complain him here afore me or that ever I depart, and I shall amend
it unto my power. And if there be any that will proffer me wrong, or say
of me wrong or shame behind my back, say it now or never, and here is my
body to make it good, body against body. And all they stood still, there
was not one that would say one word; yet were there some knights that
were of the queen's blood, and of Sir Marhaus' blood, but they would not
meddle with him.



CHAPTER XIII. How Sir Tristram and King Mark hurted each other for the
love of a knight's wife.

SO Sir Tristram departed, and took the sea, and with good wind he
arrived up at Tintagil in Cornwall; and when King Mark was whole in his
prosperity there came tidings that Sir Tristram was arrived, and whole
of his wounds: thereof was King Mark passing glad, and so were all the
barons; and when he saw his time he rode unto his father, King Meliodas,
and there he had all the cheer that the king and the queen could make
him. And then largely King Meliodas and his queen departed of their
lands and goods to Sir Tristram.

Then by the license of King Meliodas, his father, he returned again unto
the court of King Mark, and there he lived in great joy long time, until
at the last there befell a jealousy and an unkindness betwixt King Mark
and Sir Tristram, for they loved both one lady. And she was an earl's
wife that hight Sir Segwarides. And this lady loved Sir Tristram
passingly well. And he loved her again, for she was a passing fair lady,
and that espied Sir Tristram well. Then King Mark understood that and
was jealous, for King Mark loved her passingly well.

So it fell upon a day this lady sent a dwarf unto Sir Tristram, and
bade him, as he loved her, that he would be with her the night next
following. Also she charged you that ye come not to her but if ye
be well armed, for her lover was called a good knight. Sir Tristram
answered to the dwarf: Recommend me unto my lady, and tell her I will
not fail but I will be with her the term that she hath set me. And with
this answer the dwarf departed. And King Mark espied that the dwarf was
with Sir Tristram upon message from Segwarides' wife; then King Mark
sent for the dwarf, and when he was come he made the dwarf by force
to tell him all, why and wherefore that he came on message from Sir
Tristram. Now, said King Mark, go where thou wilt, and upon pain of
death that thou say no word that thou spakest with me; so the dwarf
departed from the king.

And that same night that the steven was set betwixt Segwarides' wife
and Sir Tristram, King Mark armed him, and made him ready, and took two
knights of his counsel with him; and so he rode afore for to abide by
the way for to wait upon Sir Tristram. And as Sir Tristram came riding
upon his way with his spear in his hand, King Mark came hurtling upon
him with his two knights suddenly. And all three smote him with their
spears, and King Mark hurt Sir Tristram on the breast right sore. And
then Sir Tristram feutred his spear, and smote his uncle, King Mark, so
sore, that he rashed him to the earth, and bruised him that he lay still
in a swoon, and long it was or ever he might wield himself. And then he
ran to the one knight, and eft to the other, and smote them to the cold
earth, that they lay still. And therewithal Sir Tristram rode forth sore
wounded to the lady, and found her abiding him at a postern.



CHAPTER XIV. How Sir Tristram lay with the lady, and how her husband
fought with Sir Tristram.

AND there she welcomed him fair, and either halsed other in arms, and so
she let put up his horse in the best wise, and then she unarmed him. And
so they supped lightly, and went to bed with great joy and pleasaunce;
and so in his raging he took no keep of his green wound that King Mark
had given him. And so Sir Tristram be-bled both the over sheet and the
nether, and pillows, and head sheet. And within a while there came one
afore, that warned her that her lord was near-hand within a bow-draught.
So she made Sir Tristram to arise, and so he armed him, and took his
horse, and so departed. By then was come Segwarides, her lord, and when
he found her bed troubled and broken, and went near and beheld it by
candle light, then he saw that there had lain a wounded knight.
Ah, false traitress, then he said, why hast thou betrayed me? And
therewithal he swang out a sword, and said: But if thou tell me who hath
been here, here thou shalt die. Ah, my lord, mercy, said the lady, and
held up her hands, saying: Slay me not, and I shall tell you all who
hath been here. Tell anon, said Segwarides, to me all the truth. Anon
for dread she said: Here was Sir Tristram with me, and by the way as
he came to me ward, he was sore wounded. Ah, false traitress, said
Segwarides, where is he become? Sir, she said, he is armed, and departed
on horseback, not yet hence half a mile. Ye say well, said Segwarides.

Then he armed him lightly, and gat his horse, and rode after Sir
Tristram that rode straightway unto Tintagil. And within a while he
overtook Sir Tristram, and then he bade him, Turn, false traitor knight.
And Sir Tristram anon turned him against him. And therewithal Segwarides
smote Sir Tristram with a spear that it all to-brast; and then he swang
out his sword and smote fast at Sir Tristram. Sir knight, said Sir
Tristram, I counsel you that ye smite no more, howbeit for the wrongs
that I have done you I will forbear you as long as I may. Nay, said
Segwarides, that shall not be, for either thou shalt die or I.

Then Sir Tristram drew out his sword, and hurtled his horse unto him
fiercely, and through the waist of the body he smote Sir Segwarides that
he fell to the earth in a swoon. And so Sir Tristram departed and left
him there. And so he rode unto Tintagil and took his lodging secretly,
for he would not be known that he was hurt. Also Sir Segwarides'
men rode after their master, whom they found lying in the field sore
wounded, and brought him home on his shield, and there he lay long or
that he were whole, but at the last he recovered. Also King Mark would
not be aknown of that Sir Tristram and he had met that night. And as for
Sir Tristram, he knew not that King Mark had met with him. And so the
king askance came to Sir Tristram, to comfort him as he lay sick in his
bed. But as long as King Mark lived he loved never Sir Tristram after
that; though there was fair speech, love was there none. And thus it
passed many weeks and days, and all was forgiven and forgotten; for Sir
Segwarides durst not have ado with Sir Tristram, because of his noble
prowess, and also because he was nephew unto King Mark; therefore he
let it overslip: for he that hath a privy hurt is loath to have a shame
outward.



CHAPTER XV. How Sir Bleoberis demanded the fairest lady in King Mark's
court, whom he took away, and how he was fought with.

THEN it befell upon a day that the good knight Bleoberis de Ganis,
brother to Blamore de Ganis, and nigh cousin unto the good knight Sir
Launcelot du Lake, this Bleoberis came unto the court of King Mark, and
there he asked of King Mark a boon, to give him what gift that he would
ask in his court. When the king heard him ask so, he marvelled of his
asking, but because he was a knight of the Round Table, and of a
great renown, King Mark granted him his whole asking. Then, said Sir
Bleoberis, I will have the fairest lady in your court that me list to
choose. I may not say nay, said King Mark; now choose at your adventure.
And so Sir Bleoberis did choose Sir Segwarides' wife, and took her by
the hand, and so went his way with her; and so he took his horse and
gart set her behind his squire, and rode upon his way.

When Sir Segwarides heard tell that his lady was gone with a knight of
King Arthur's court, then he armed him and rode after that knight for
to rescue his lady. So when Bleoberis was gone with this lady, King Mark
and all the court was wroth that she was away. Then were there certain
ladies that knew that there were great love between Sir Tristram and
her, and also that lady loved Sir Tristram above all other knights. Then
there was one lady that rebuked Sir Tristram in the horriblest wise, and
called him coward knight, that he would for shame of his knighthood see
a lady so shamefully be taken away from his uncle's court. But she meant
that either of them had loved other with entire heart. But Sir Tristram
answered her thus: Fair lady, it is not my part to have ado in such
matters while her lord and husband is present here; and if it had been
that her lord had not been here in this court, then for the worship of
this court peradventure I would have been her champion, and if so be
Sir Segwarides speed not well, it may happen that I will speak with that
good knight or ever he pass from this country.

Then within a while came one of Sir Segwarides' squires, and told in the
court that Sir Segwarides was beaten sore and wounded to the point of
death; as he would have rescued his lady Sir Bleoberis overthrew him
and sore hath wounded him. Then was King Mark heavy thereof, and all the
court. When Sir Tristram heard of this he was ashamed and sore grieved;
and then was he soon armed and on horseback, and Gouvernail, his
servant, bare his shield and spear. And so as Sir Tristram rode fast he
met with Sir Andred his cousin, that by the commandment of King Mark
was sent to bring forth, an ever it lay in his power, two knights of
Arthur's court, that rode by the country to seek their adventures. When
Sir Tristram saw Sir Andred he asked him what tidings. So God me
help, said Sir Andred, there was never worse with me, for here by
the commandment of King Mark I was sent to fetch two knights of King
Arthur's court, and that one beat me and wounded me, and set nought by
my message. Fair cousin, said Sir Tristram, ride on your way, and if I
may meet them it may happen I shall revenge you. So Sir Andred rode into
Cornwall, and Sir Tristram rode after the two knights, the which one
hight Sagramore le Desirous, and the other hight Dodinas le Savage.



CHAPTER XVI. How Sir Tristram fought with two knights of the Round
Table.

THEN within a while Sir Tristram saw them afore him, two likely knights.
Sir, said Gouvernail unto his master, Sir, I would counsel you not to
have ado with them, for they be two proved knights of Arthur's court. As
for that, said Sir Tristram, have ye no doubt but I will have ado with
them to increase my worship, for it is many day sithen I did any deeds
of arms. Do as ye list, said Gouvernail. And therewithal anon Sir
Tristram asked them from whence they came, and whither they would, and
what they did in those marches. Sir Sagramore looked upon Sir Tristram,
and had scorn of his words, and asked him again, Fair knight, be ye
a knight of Cornwall? Whereby ask ye it? said Sir Tristram. For it is
seldom seen, said Sir Sagramore, that ye Cornish knights be valiant men
of arms; for within these two hours there met us one of your Cornish
knights, and great words he spake, and anon with little might he was
laid to the earth. And, as I trow, said Sir Sagramore, ye shall have
the same handsel that he had. Fair lords, said Sir Tristram, it may so
happen that I may better withstand than he did, and whether ye will or
nill I will have ado with you, because he was my cousin that ye beat.
And therefore here do your best, and wit ye well but if ye quit you
the better here upon this ground, one knight of Cornwall shall beat you
both.

When Sir Dodinas le Savage heard him say so he gat a spear in his hand,
and said, Sir knight, keep well thyself: And then they departed and came
together as it had been thunder. And Sir Dodinas' spear brast in-sunder,
but Sir Tristram smote him with a more might, that he smote him clean
over the horse-croup, that nigh he had broken his neck. When Sir
Sagramore saw his fellow have such a fall he marvelled what knight he
might be. And he dressed his spear with all his might, and Sir Tristram
against him, and they came together as the thunder, and there Sir
Tristram smote Sir Sagramore a strong buffet, that he bare his horse and
him to the earth, and in the falling he brake his thigh.

When this was done Sir Tristram asked them: Fair knights, will ye any
more? Be there no bigger knights in the court of King Arthur? it is to
you shame to say of us knights of Cornwall dishonour, for it may happen
a Cornish knight may match you. That is truth, said Sir Sagramore, that
have we well proved; but I require thee, said Sir Sagramore, tell us
your right name, by the faith and troth that ye owe to the high order
of knighthood. Ye charge me with a great thing, said Sir Tristram, and
sithen ye list to wit it, ye shall know and understand that my name is
Sir Tristram de Liones, King Meliodas' son, and nephew unto King Mark.
Then were they two knights fain that they had met with Tristram, and so
they prayed him to abide in their fellowship. Nay, said Sir Tristram,
for I must have ado with one of your fellows, his name is Sir Bleoberis
de Ganis. God speed you well, said Sir Sagramore and Dodinas. Sir
Tristram departed and rode onward on his way. And then was he ware
before him in a valley where rode Sir Bleoberis, with Sir Segwarides'
lady, that rode behind his squire upon a palfrey.



CHAPTER XVII. How Sir Tristram fought with Sir Bleoberis for a lady, and
how the lady was put to choice to whom she would go.

THEN Sir Tristram rode more than a pace until that he had overtaken him.
Then spake Sir Tristram: Abide, he said, Knight of Arthur's court,
bring again that lady, or deliver her to me. I will do neither, said
Bleoberis, for I dread no Cornish knight so sore that me list to deliver
her. Why, said Sir Tristram, may not a Cornish knight do as well as
another knight? this same day two knights of your court within this
three mile met with me, and or ever we departed they found a Cornish
knight good enough for them both. What were their names? said Bleoberis.
They told me, said Sir Tristram, that the one of them hight Sir
Sagramore le Desirous, and the other hight Dodinas le Savage. Ah, said
Sir Bleoberis, have ye met with them? so God me help, they were two good
knights and men of great worship, and if ye have beat them both ye must
needs be a good knight; but if it so be ye have beat them both, yet
shall ye not fear me, but ye shall beat me or ever ye have this lady.
Then defend you, said Sir Tristram. So they departed and came together
like thunder, and either bare other down, horse and all, to the earth.

Then they avoided their horses, and lashed together eagerly with swords,
and mightily, now tracing and traversing on the right hand and on the
left hand more than two hours. And sometime they rushed together with
such a might that they lay both grovelling on the ground. Then Sir
Bleoberis de Ganis stert aback, and said thus: Now, gentle good knight,
a while hold your hands, and let us speak together. Say what ye will,
said Tristram, and I will answer you. Sir, said Bleoberis, I would wit
of whence ye be, and of whom ye be come, and what is your name? So God
me help, said Sir Tristram, I fear not to tell you my name. Wit ye well
I am King Meliodas' son, and my mother is King Mark's sister, and my
name is Sir Tristram de Liones, and King Mark is mine uncle. Truly, said
Bleoberis, I am right glad of you, for ye are he that slew Marhaus the
knight, hand for hand in an island, for the truage of Cornwall; also ye
overcame Sir Palamides the good knight, at a tournament in an island,
where ye beat Sir Gawaine and his nine fellows. So God me help, said Sir
Tristram, wit ye well that I am the same knight; now I have told you
my name, tell me yours with good will. Wit ye well that my name is Sir
Bleoberis de Ganis, and my brother hight Sir Blamore de Ganis, that
is called a good knight, and we be sister's children unto my lord Sir
Launcelot du Lake, that we call one of the best knights of the world.
That is truth, said Sir Tristram, Sir Launcelot is called peerless of
courtesy and of knighthood; and for his sake, said Sir Tristram, I will
not with my good will fight no more with you, for the great love I have
to Sir Launcelot du Lake. In good faith, said Bleoberis, as for me I
will be loath to fight with you; but sithen ye follow me here to have
this lady, I shall proffer you kindness, courtesy, and gentleness right
here upon this ground. This lady shall be betwixt us both, and to whom
that she will go, let him have her in peace. I will well, said Tristram,
for, as I deem, she will leave you and come to me. Ye shall prove it
anon, said Bleoberis.



CHAPTER XVIII. How the lady forsook Sir Tristram and abode with Sir
Bleoberis, and how she desired to go to her husband.

So when she was set betwixt them both she said these words unto Sir
Tristram: Wit ye well, Sir Tristram de Liones, that but late thou wast
the man in the world that I most loved and trusted, and I weened thou
hadst loved me again above all ladies; but when thou sawest this knight
lead me away thou madest no cheer to rescue me, but suffered my lord
Segwarides ride after me; but until that time I weened thou haddest
loved me, and therefore now I will leave thee, and never love thee more.
And therewithal she went unto Sir Bleoberis.

When Sir Tristram saw her do so he was wonderly wroth with that lady,
and ashamed to come to the court. Sir Tristram, said Sir Bleoberis, ye
are in the default, for I hear by this lady's words she before this
day trusted you above all earthly knights, and, as she saith, ye have
deceived her, therefore wit ye well, there may no man hold that will
away; and rather than ye should be heartily displeased with me I would
ye had her, an she would abide with you. Nay, said the lady, so God me
help I will never go with him; for he that I loved most I weened he had
loved me. And therefore, Sir Tristram, she said, ride as thou came, for
though thou haddest overcome this knight, as ye was likely, with thee
never would I have gone. And I shall pray this knight so fair of his
knighthood, that or ever he pass this country, that he will lead me
to the abbey where my lord Sir Segwarides lieth. So God me help, said
Bleoberis, I let you wit, good knight Sir Tristram, because King Mark
gave me the choice of a gift in this court, and so this lady liked
me best--notwithstanding, she is wedded and hath a lord, and I have
fulfilled my quest, she shall be sent unto her husband again, and in
especial most for your sake, Sir Tristram; and if she would go with you
I would ye had her. I thank you, said Sir Tristram, but for her love I
shall beware what manner a lady I shall love or trust; for had her lord,
Sir Segwarides, been away from the court, I should have been the first
that should have followed you; but sithen that ye have refused me, as
I am true knight I shall her know passingly well that I shall love or
trust. And so they took their leave one from the other and departed.

And so Sir Tristram rode unto Tintagil, and Sir Bleoberis rode unto the
abbey where Sir Segwarides lay sore wounded, and there he delivered his
lady, and departed as a noble knight; and when Sir Segwarides saw his
lady, he was greatly comforted; and then she told him that Sir Tristram
had done great battle with Sir Bleoberis, and caused him to bring her
again. These words pleased Sir Segwarides right well, that Sir Tristram
would do so much; and so that lady told all the battle unto King Mark
betwixt Sir Tristram and Sir Bleoberis.



CHAPTER XIX. How King Mark sent Sir Tristram for La Beale Isoud toward
Ireland, and how by fortune he arrived into England.

THEN when this was done King Mark cast always in his heart how he
might destroy Sir Tristram. And then he imagined in himself to send
Sir Tristram into Ireland for La Beale Isoud. For Sir Tristram had so
praised her beauty and her goodness that King Mark said that he would
wed her, whereupon he prayed Sir Tristram to take his way into Ireland
for him on message. And all this was done to the intent to slay Sir
Tristram. Notwithstanding, Sir Tristram would not refuse the message for
no danger nor peril that might fall, for the pleasure of his uncle,
but to go he made him ready in the most goodliest wise that might be
devised. For Sir Tristram took with him the most goodliest knights that
he might find in the court; and they were arrayed, after the guise that
was then used, in the goodliest manner. So Sir Tristram departed and
took the sea with all his fellowship. And anon, as he was in the broad
sea a tempest took him and his fellowship, and drove them back into the
coast of England; and there they arrived fast by Camelot, and full fain
they were to take the land.

And when they were landed Sir Tristram set up his pavilion upon the land
of Camelot, and there he let hang his shield upon the pavilion. And that
same day came two knights of King Arthur's, that one was Sir Ector de
Maris, and Sir Morganor. And they touched the shield, and bade him
come out of the pavilion for to joust, an he would joust. Ye shall be
answered, said Sir Tristram, an ye will tarry a little while. So he
made him ready, and first he smote down Sir Ector de Maris, and after he
smote down Sir Morganor, all with one spear, and sore bruised them. And
when they lay upon the earth they asked Sir Tristram what he was, and of
what country he was knight. Fair lords, said Sir Tristram, wit ye well
that I am of Cornwall. Alas, said Sir Ector, now am I ashamed that ever
any Cornish knight should overcome me. And then for despite Sir Ector
put off his armour from him, and went on foot, and would not ride.



CHAPTER XX. How King Anguish of Ireland was summoned to come to King
Arthur's court for treason.

THEN it fell that Sir Bleoberis and Sir Blamore de Ganis, that were
brethren, they had summoned the King Anguish of Ireland for to come to
Arthur's court upon pain of forfeiture of King Arthur's good grace. And
if the King of Ireland came not in, at the day assigned and set, the
king should lose his lands. So it happened that at the day assigned,
King Arthur neither Sir Launcelot might not be there for to give the
judgment, for King Arthur was with Sir Launcelot at the Castle Joyous
Garde. And so King Arthur assigned King Carados and the King of Scots
to be there that day as judges. So when the kings were at Camelot King
Anguish of Ireland was come to know his accusers. Then was there Sir
Blamore de Ganis, and appealed the King of Ireland of treason, that he
had slain a cousin of his in his court in Ireland by treason. The king
was sore abashed of his accusation, for-why he was come at the summons
of King Arthur, and or he came at Camelot he wist not wherefore he
was sent after. And when the king heard Sir Blamore say his will,
he understood well there was none other remedy but for to answer him
knightly; for the custom was such in those days, that an any man were
appealed of any treason or murder he should fight body for body, or else
to find another knight for him. And all manner of murders in those days
were called treason.


So when King Anguish understood his accusing he was passing heavy, for
he knew Sir Blamore de Ganis that he was a noble knight, and of noble
knights come. Then the King of Ireland was simply purveyed of his
answer; therefore the judges gave him respite by the third day to give
his answer. So the king departed unto his lodging. The meanwhile there
came a lady by Sir Tristram's pavilion making great dole. What aileth
you, said Sir Tristram, that ye make such dole? Ah, fair knight, said
the lady, I am ashamed unless that some good knight help me; for a great
lady of worship sent by me a fair child and a rich, unto Sir Launcelot
du Lake, and hereby there met with me a knight, and threw me down from
my palfrey, and took away the child from me. Well, my lady, said Sir
Tristram, and for my lord Sir Launcelot's sake I shall get you that
child again, or else I shall be beaten for it. And so Sir Tristram took
his horse, and asked the lady which way the knight rode; and then she
told him. And he rode after him, and within a while he overtook that
knight. And then Sir Tristram bade him turn and give again the child.



CHAPTER XXI. How Sir Tristram rescued a child from a knight, and how
Gouvernail told him of King Anguish.

THE knight turned his horse and made him ready to fight. And then Sir
Tristram smote him with a sword such a buffet that he tumbled to the
earth. And then he yielded him unto Sir Tristram. Then come thy way,
said Sir Tristram, and bring the child to the lady again. So he took
his horse meekly and rode with Sir Tristram; and then by the way Sir
Tristram asked him his name. Then he said, My name is Breuse Saunce
Pite. So when he had delivered that child to the lady, he said: Sir, as
in this the child is well remedied. Then Sir Tristram let him go again
that sore repented him after, for he was a great foe unto many good
knights of King Arthur's court.

Then when Sir Tristram was in his pavilion Gouvernail, his man, came and
told him how that King Anguish of Ireland was come thither, and he was
put in great distress; and there Gouvernail told Sir Tristram how King
Anguish was summoned and appealed of murder. So God me help, said Sir
Tristram, these be the best tidings that ever came to me this seven
years, for now shall the King of Ireland have need of my help; for I
daresay there is no knight in this country that is not of Arthur's court
dare do battle with Sir Blamore de Ganis; and for to win the love of the
King of Ireland I will take the battle upon me; and therefore Gouvernail
bring me, I charge thee, to the king.

Then Gouvernail went unto King Anguish of Ireland, and saluted him fair.
The king welcomed him and asked him what he would. Sir, said Gouvernail,
here is a knight near hand that desireth to speak with you: he bade me
say he would do you service. What knight is he? said the king. Sir,
said he, it is Sir Tristram de Liones, that for your good grace that
ye showed him in your lands will reward you in this country. Come on,
fellow, said the king, with me anon and show me unto Sir Tristram. So
the king took a little hackney and but few fellowship with him, until he
came unto Sir Tristram's pavilion. And when Sir Tristram saw the king he
ran unto him and would have holden his stirrup. But the king leapt from
his horse lightly, and either halsed other in their arms. My gracious
lord, said Sir Tristram, gramercy of your great goodnesses showed unto
me in your marches and lands: and at that time I promised you to do you
service an ever it lay in my power. And, gentle knight, said the king
unto Sir Tristram, now have I great need of you, never had I so great
need of no knight's help. How so, my good lord? said Sir Tristram.
I shall tell you, said the king: I am summoned and appealed from my
country for the death of a knight that was kin unto the good knight
Sir Launcelot; wherefore Sir Blamore de Ganis, brother to Sir Bleoberis
hath appealed me to fight with him, outher to find a knight in my stead.
And well I wot, said the king, these that are come of King Ban's blood,
as Sir Launcelot and these other, are passing good knights, and hard
men for to win in battle as any that I know now living. Sir, said Sir
Tristram, for the good lordship ye showed me in Ireland, and for my lady
your daughter's sake, La Beale Isoud, I will take the battle for you
upon this condition that ye shall grant me two things: that one is
that ye shall swear to me that ye are in the right, that ye were never
consenting to the knight's death; Sir, then said Sir Tristram, when
that I have done this battle, if God give me grace that I speed, that ye
shall give me a reward, what thing reasonable that I will ask of you. So
God me help, said the king, ye shall have whatsomever ye will ask. It is
well said, said Sir Tristram.



CHAPTER XXII. How Sir Tristram fought for Sir Anguish and overcame his
adversary, and how his adversary would never yield him.

NOW make your answer that your champion is ready, for I shall die in
your quarrel rather than to be recreant. I have no doubt of you, said
the king, that, an ye should have ado with Sir Launcelot du Lake-- Sir,
said Sir Tristram, as for Sir Launcelot, he is called the noblest knight
of the world, and wit ye well that the knights of his blood are noble
men, and dread shame; and as for Bleoberis, brother unto Sir Blamore, I
have done battle with him, therefore upon my head it is no shame to
call him a good knight. It is noised, said the king, that Blamore is the
hardier knight. Sir, as for that let him be, he shall never be refused,
an as he were the best knight that now beareth shield or spear.


So King Anguish departed unto King Carados and the kings that were that
time as judges, and told them that he had found his champion ready. Then
by the commandment of the kings Sir Blamore de Ganis and Sir Tristram
were sent for to hear the charge. And when they were come before the
judges there were many kings and knights beheld Sir Tristram, and
much speech they had of him because that he slew Sir Marhaus, the good
knight, and because he for-jousted Sir Palamides the good knight. So
when they had taken their charge they withdrew them to make them ready
to do battle.

Then said Sir Bleoberis unto his brother, Sir Blamore: Fair dear
brother, remember of what kin we be come of, and what a man is Sir
Launcelot du Lake, neither farther nor nearer but brother's children,
and there was never none of our kin that ever was shamed in battle; and
rather suffer death, brother, than to be shamed. Brother, said Blamore,
have ye no doubt of me, for I shall never shame none of my blood;
howbeit I am sure that yonder knight is called a passing good knight as
of his time one of the world, yet shall I never yield me, nor say the
loath word: well may he happen to smite me down with his great might of
chivalry, but rather shall he slay me than I shall yield me as recreant.
God speed you well, said Sir Bleoberis, for ye shall find him the
mightiest knight that ever ye had ado withal, for I know him, for I have
had ado with him. God me speed, said Sir Blamore de Ganis; and therewith
he took his horse at the one end of the lists, and Sir Tristram at
the other end of the lists, and so they feutred their spears and came
together as it had been thunder; and there Sir Tristram through great
might smote down Sir Blamore and his horse to the earth. Then anon Sir
Blamore avoided his horse and pulled out his sword and threw his shield
afore him, and bade Sir Tristram alight: For though an horse hath failed
me, I trust to God the earth will not fail me. And then Sir Tristram
alighted, and dressed him unto battle; and there they lashed together
strongly as racing and tracing, foining and dashing, many sad strokes,
that the kings and knights had great wonder that they might stand; for
ever they fought like wood men, so that there was never knights seen
fight more fiercely than they did; for Sir Blamore was so hasty that he
would have no rest, that all men wondered that they had breath to stand
on their feet; and all the place was bloody that they fought in. And
at the last, Sir Tristram smote Sir Blamore such a buffet upon the helm
that he there fell down upon his side, and Sir Tristram stood and beheld
him.



CHAPTER XXIII. How Sir Blamore desired Tristram to slay him, and how Sir
Tristram spared him, and how they took appointment.

THEN when Sir Blamore might speak, he said thus: Sir Tristram de Liones,
I require thee, as thou art a noble knight, and the best knight that
ever I found, that thou wilt slay me out, for I would not live to be
made lord of all the earth, for I have liefer die with worship than live
with shame; and needs, Sir Tristram, thou must slay me, or else thou
shalt never win the field, for I will never say the loath word. And
therefore if thou dare slay me, slay me, I require thee. When Sir
Tristram heard him say so knightly, he wist not what to do with him; he
remembering him of both parties, of what blood he was come, and for Sir
Launcelot's sake he would be loath to slay him; and in the other party
in no wise he might not choose, but that he must make him to say the
loath word, or else to slay him.

Then Sir Tristram stert aback, and went to the kings that were judges,
and there he kneeled down to-fore them, and besought them for their
worships, and for King Arthur's and Sir Launcelot's sake, that they
would take this matter in their hands. For, my fair lords, said Sir
Tristram, it were shame and pity that this noble knight that yonder
lieth should be slain; for ye hear well, shamed will he not be, and I
pray to God that he never be slain nor shamed for me. And as for
the king for whom I fight for, I shall require him, as I am his true
champion and true knight in this field, that he will have mercy upon
this good knight. So God me help, said King Anguish, I will for your
sake; Sir Tristram, be ruled as ye will have me, for I know you for my
true knight; and therefore I will heartily pray the kings that be here
as judges to take it in their hands. And the kings that were judges
called Sir Bleoberis to them, and asked him his advice. My lords, said
Bleoberis, though my brother be beaten, and hath the worse through might
of arms, I dare say, though Sir Tristram hath beaten his body he hath
not beaten his heart, and I thank God he is not shamed this day; and
rather than he should be shamed I require you, said Bleoberis, let Sir
Tristram slay him out. It shall not be so, said the kings, for his part
adversary, both the king and the champion, have pity of Sir Blamore's
knighthood. My lords, said Bleoberis, I will right well as ye will.

Then the kings called the King of Ireland, and found him goodly
and treatable. And then, by all their advices, Sir Tristram and Sir
Bleoberis took up Sir Blamore, and the two brethren were accorded with
King Anguish, and kissed and made friends for ever. And then Sir Blamore
and Sir Tristram kissed together, and there they made their oaths that
they would never none of them two brethren fight with Sir Tristram,
and Sir Tristram made the same oath. And for that gentle battle all the
blood of Sir Launcelot loved Sir Tristram for ever.

Then King Anguish and Sir Tristram took their leave, and sailed into
Ireland with great noblesse and joy. So when they were in Ireland the
king let make it known throughout all the land how and in what manner
Sir Tristram had done for him. Then the queen and all that there were
made the most of him that they might. But the joy that La Beale Isoud
made of Sir Tristram there might no tongue tell, for of all men earthly
she loved him most.



CHAPTER XXIV. How Sir Tristram demanded La Beale Isoud for King Mark,
and how Sir Tristram and Isoud drank the love drink.

THEN upon a day King Anguish asked Sir Tristram why he asked not his
boon, for whatsomever he had promised him he should have it without
fail. Sir, said Sir Tristram, now is it time; this is all that I will
desire, that ye will give me La Beale Isoud, your daughter, not for
myself, but for mine uncle, King Mark, that shall have her to wife, for
so have I promised him. Alas, said the king, I had liefer than all the
land that I have ye would wed her yourself. Sir, an I did then I were
shamed for ever in this world, and false of my promise. Therefore, said
Sir I Tristram, I pray you hold your promise that ye promised me; for
this is my desire, that ye will give me La Beale Isoud to go with me
into Cornwall for to be wedded to King Mark, mine uncle. As for that,
said King Anguish, ye shall have her with you to do with her what it
please you; that is for to say if that ye list to wed her yourself, that
is me liefest, and if ye will give her unto King Mark, your uncle, that
is in your choice. So, to make short conclusion, La Beale Isoud was made
ready to go with Sir Tristram, and Dame Bragwaine went with her for her
chief gentlewoman, with many other.

Then the queen, Isoud's mother, gave to her and Dame Bragwaine, her
daughter's gentlewoman, and unto Gouvernail, a drink, and charged them
that what day King Mark should wed, that same day they should give him
that drink, so that King Mark should drink to La Beale Isoud, and then,
said the queen, I undertake either shall love other the days of their
life. So this drink was given unto Dame Bragwaine, and unto Gouvernail.
And then anon Sir Tristram took the sea, and La Beale Isoud; and when
they were in their cabin, it happed so that they were thirsty, and they
saw a little flasket of gold stand by them, and it seemed by the colour
and the taste that it was noble wine. Then Sir Tristram took the flasket
in his hand, and said, Madam Isoud, here is the best drink that ever
ye drank, that Dame Bragwaine, your maiden, and Gouvernail, my servant,
have kept for themselves. Then they laughed and made good cheer, and
either drank to other freely, and they thought never drink that ever
they drank to other was so sweet nor so good. But by that their drink
was in their bodies, they loved either other so well that never their
love departed for weal neither for woe. And thus it happed the love
first betwixt Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud, the which love never
departed the days of their life.

So then they sailed till by fortune they came nigh a castle that hight
Pluere, and thereby arrived for to repose them, weening to them to have
had good harbourage. But anon as Sir Tristram was within the castle they
were taken prisoners; for the custom of the castle was such; who that
rode by that castle and brought any lady, he must needs fight with the
lord, that hight Breunor. And if it were so that Breunor won the field,
then should the knight stranger and his lady be put to death, what that
ever they were; and if it were so that the strange knight won the field
of Sir Breunor, then should he die and his lady both. This custom was
used many winters, for it was called the Castle Pluere, that is to say
the Weeping Castle.



CHAPTER XXV. How Sir Tristram and Isoud were in prison, and how he
fought for her beauty, and smote of another lady's head.

THUS as Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud were in prison, it happed a
knight and a lady came unto them where they were, to cheer them. I have
marvel, said Tristram unto the knight and the lady, what is the cause
the lord of this castle holdeth us in prison: it was never the custom of
no place of worship that ever I came in, when a knight and a lady asked
harbour, and they to receive them, and after to destroy them that be
his guests. Sir, said the knight, this is the old custom of this castle,
that when a knight cometh here he must needs fight with our lord, and
he that is weaker must lose his head. And when that is done, if his lady
that he bringeth be fouler than our lord's wife, she must lose her head:
and if she be fairer proved than is our lady, then shall the lady of
this castle lose her head. So God me help, said Sir Tristram, this is a
foul custom and a shameful. But one advantage have I, said Sir Tristram,
I have a lady is fair enough, fairer saw I never in all my life-days,
and I doubt not for lack of beauty she shall not lose her head; and
rather than I should lose my head I will fight for it on a fair field.
Wherefore, sir knight, I pray you tell your lord that I will be ready as
to-morn with my lady, and myself to do battle, if it be so I may have
my horse and mine armour. Sir, said that knight, I undertake that your
desire shall be sped right well. And then he said: Take your rest, and
look that ye be up betimes and make you ready and your lady, for ye
shall want no thing that you behoveth. And therewith he departed, and on
the morn betimes that same knight came to Sir Tristram, and fetched him
out and his lady, and brought him horse and armour that was his own, and
bade him make him ready to the field, for all the estates and commons of
that lordship were there ready to behold that battle and judgment.

Then came Sir Breunor, the lord of that castle, with his lady in his
hand, muffled, and asked Sir Tristram where was his lady: For an thy
lady be fairer than mine, with thy sword smite off my lady's head; and
if my lady be fairer than thine, with my sword I must strike off her
head. And if I may win thee, yet shall thy lady be mine, and thou shalt
lose thy head. Sir, said Tristram, this is a foul custom and horrible;
and rather than my lady should lose her head, yet had I liefer lose
my head. Nay, nay, said Sir Breunor, the ladies shall be first showed
together, and the one shall have her judgment. Nay, I will not so, said
Sir Tristram, for here is none that will give righteous judgment. But
I doubt not, said Sir Tristram, my lady is fairer than thine, and that
will I prove and make good with my hand. And whosomever he be that will
say the contrary I will prove it on his head. And therewith Sir Tristram
showed La Beale Isoud, and turned her thrice about with his naked sword
in his hand. And when Sir Breunor saw that, he did the same wise turn
his lady. But when Sir Breunor beheld La Beale Isoud, him thought he saw
never a fairer lady, and then he dread his lady's head should be off.
And so all the people that were there present gave judgment that La
Beale Isoud was the fairer lady and the better made. How now, said Sir
Tristram, meseemeth it were pity that my lady should lose her head, but
because thou and she of long time have used this wicked custom, and
by you both have many good knights and ladies been destroyed, for that
cause it were no loss to destroy you both. So God me help, said Sir
Breunor, for to say the sooth, thy lady is fairer than mine, and that me
sore repenteth. And so I hear the people privily say, for of all women I
saw none so fair; and therefore, an thou wilt slay my lady, I doubt not
but I shall slay thee and have thy lady. Thou shalt win her, said Sir
Tristram, as dear as ever knight won lady. And because of thine own
judgment, as thou wouldst have done to my lady if that she had been
fouler, and because of the evil custom, give me thy lady, said Sir
Tristram. And therewithal Sir Tristram strode unto him and took his
lady from him, and with an awk stroke he smote off her head clean. Well,
knight, said Sir Breunor, now hast thou done me a despite; [*8]now take
thine horse: sithen I am ladyless I will win thy lady an I may.


[*8] Printed by Caxton as part of chap. xxvi.



CHAPTER XXVI. How Sir Tristram fought with Sir Breunor, and at the last
smote off his head.

THEN they took their horses and came together as it had been the
thunder; and Sir Tristram smote Sir Breunor clean from his horse, and
lightly he rose up; and as Sir Tristram came again by him he thrust
his horse throughout both the shoulders, that his horse hurled here and
there and fell dead to the ground. And ever Sir Breunor ran after to
have slain Sir Tristram, but Sir Tristram was light and nimble, and
voided his horse lightly. And or ever Sir Tristram might dress his
shield and his sword the other gave him three or four sad strokes. Then
they rushed together like two boars, tracing and traversing mightily and
wisely as two noble knights. For this Sir Breunor was a proved knight,
and had been or then the death of many good knights, that it was pity
that he had so long endured.

Thus they fought, hurling here and there nigh two hours, and either were
wounded sore. Then at the last Sir Breunor rashed upon Sir Tristram and
took him in his arms, for he trusted much in his strength. Then was Sir
Tristram called the strongest and the highest knight of the world; for
he was called bigger than Sir Launcelot, but Sir Launcelot was better
breathed. So anon Sir Tristram thrust Sir Breunor down grovelling, and
then he unlaced his helm and struck off his head. And then all they that
longed to the castle came to him, and did him homage and fealty, praying
him that he would abide there still a little while to fordo that foul
custom. Sir Tristram granted thereto. The meanwhile one of the knights
of the castle rode unto Sir Galahad, the haut prince, the which was Sir
Breunor's son, which was a noble knight, and told him what misadventure
his father had and his mother.



CHAPTER XXVII. How Sir Galahad fought with Sir Tristram, and how Sir
Tristram yielded him and promised to fellowship with Launcelot.

THEN came Sir Galahad, and the King with the Hundred Knights with him;
and this Sir Galahad proffered to fight with Sir Tristram hand for hand.
And so they made them ready to go unto battle on horseback with great
courage. Then Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram met together so hard that
either bare other down, horse and all, to the earth. And then they
avoided their horses as noble knights, and dressed their shields, and
drew their swords with ire and rancour, and they lashed together many
sad strokes, and one while striking, another while foining, tracing and
traversing as noble knights; thus they fought long, near half a day, and
either were sore wounded. At the last Sir Tristram waxed light and big,
and doubled his strokes, and drove Sir Galahad aback on the one side and
on the other, so that he was like to have been slain.

With that came the King with the Hundred Knights, and all that
fellowship went fiercely upon Sir Tristram. When Sir Tristram saw them
coming upon him, then he wist well he might not endure. Then as a wise
knight of war, he said to Sir Galahad, the haut prince: Sir, ye show to
me no knighthood, for to suffer all your men to have ado with me all at
once; and as meseemeth ye be a noble knight of your hands it is great
shame to you. So God me help, said Sir Galahad, there is none other way
but thou must yield thee to me, other else to die, said Sir Galahad to
Sir Tristram. I will rather yield me to you than die for that is more
for the might of your men than of your hands. And therewithal Sir
Tristram took his own sword by the point, and put the pommel in the hand
of Sir Galahad.

Therewithal came the King with the Hundred Knights, and hard began to
assail Sir Tristram. Let be, said Sir Galahad, be ye not so hardy to
touch him, for I have given this knight his life. That is your shame,
said the King with the Hundred Knights; hath he not slain your father
and your mother? As for that, said Sir Galahad, I may not wite him
greatly, for my father had him in prison, and enforced him to do battle
with him; and my father had such a custom that was a shameful custom,
that what knight came there to ask harbour his lady must needs die but
if she were fairer than my mother; and if my father overcame that knight
he must needs die. This was a shameful custom and usage, a knight for
his harbour-asking to have such harbourage. And for this custom I would
never draw about him. So God me help, said the King, this was a shameful
custom. Truly, said Sir Galahad, so seemed me; and meseemed it had been
great pity that this knight should have been slain, for I dare say he is
the noblest man that beareth life, but if it were Sir Launcelot du Lake.
Now, fair knight, said Sir Galahad, I require thee tell me thy name, and
of whence thou art, and whither thou wilt. Sir, he said, my name is Sir
Tristram de Liones, and from King Mark of Cornwall I was sent on message
unto King Anguish of Ireland, for to fetch his daughter to be his wife,
and here she is ready to go with me into Cornwall, and her name is La
Beale Isoud. And, Sir Tristram, said Sir Galahad, the haut prince, well
be ye found in these marches, and so ye will promise me to go unto Sir
Launcelot du Lake, and accompany with him, ye shall go where ye will,
and your fair lady with you; and I shall promise you never in all my
days shall such customs be used in this castle as have been used. Sir,
said Sir Tristram, now I let you wit, so God me help, I weened ye had
been Sir Launcelot du Lake when I saw you first, and therefore I dread
you the more; and sir, I promise you, said Sir Tristram, as soon as I
may I will see Sir Launcelot and in fellowship me with him; for of all
the knights of the world I most desire his fellowship.



CHAPTER XXVIII. How Sir Launcelot met with Sir Carados bearing away Sir
Gawaine, and of the rescue of Sir Gawaine.

AND then Sir Tristram took his leave when he saw his time, and took
the sea. And in the meanwhile word came unto Sir Launcelot and to Sir
Tristram that Sir Carados, the mighty king, that was made like a giant,
fought with Sir Gawaine, and gave him such strokes that he swooned in
his saddle, and after that he took him by the collar and pulled him out
of his saddle, and fast bound him to the saddle-bow, and so rode his way
with him toward his castle. And as he rode, by fortune Sir Launcelot met
with Sir Carados, and anon he knew Sir Gawaine that lay bound after him.
Ah, said Sir Launcelot unto Sir Gawaine, how stands it with you? Never
so hard, said Sir Gawaine, unless that ye help me, for so God me help,
without ye rescue me I know no knight that may, but outher you or Sir
Tristram. Wherefore Sir Launcelot was heavy of Sir Gawaine's words. And
then Sir Launcelot bade Sir Carados: Lay down that knight and fight with
me. Thou art but a fool, said Sir Carados, for I will serve you in the
same wise. As for that, said Sir Launcelot, spare me not, for I warn
thee I will not spare thee. And then he bound Sir Gawaine hand and foot,
and so threw him to the ground. And then he gat his spear of his squire,
and departed from Sir Launcelot to fetch his course. And so either met
with other, and brake their spears to their hands; and then they pulled
out swords, and hurtled together on horseback more than an hour. And
at the last Sir Launcelot smote Sir Carados such a buffet upon the helm
that it pierced his brain-pan. So then Sir Launcelot took Sir Carados by
the collar and pulled him under his horse's feet, and then he alighted
and pulled off his helm and struck off his head. And then Sir Launcelot
unbound Sir Gawaine. So this same tale was told to Sir Galahad and
to Sir Tristram:--here may ye hear the nobleness that followeth Sir
Launcelot. Alas, said Sir Tristram, an I had not this message in hand
with this fair lady, truly I would never stint or I had found Sir
Launcelot. Then Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud went to the sea and came
into Cornwall, and there all the barons met them.



CHAPTER XXIX. Of the wedding of King Mark to La Beale Isoud, and of
Bragwaine her maid, and of Palamides.

AND anon they were richly wedded with great noblesse. But ever, as the
French book saith, Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud loved ever together.
Then was there great jousts and great tourneying, and many lords and
ladies were at that feast, and Sir Tristram was most praised of all
other. Thus dured the feast long, and after the feast was done, within
a little while after, by the assent of two ladies that were with Queen
Isoud, they ordained for hate and envy for to destroy Dame Bragwaine,
that was maiden and lady unto La Beale Isoud; and she was sent into the
forest for to fetch herbs, and there she was met, and bound feet and
hand to a tree, and so she was bounden three days. And by fortune, Sir
Palamides found Dame Bragwaine, and there he delivered her from the
death, and brought her to a nunnery there beside, for to be recovered.
When Isoud the queen missed her maiden, wit ye well she was right heavy
as ever was any queen, for of all earthly women she loved her best: the
cause was for she came with her out of her country. And so upon a day
Queen Isoud walked into the forest to put away her thoughts, and there
she went herself unto a well and made great moan. And suddenly there
came Palamides to her, and had heard all her complaint, and said: Madam
Isoud, an ye will grant me my boon, I shall bring to you Dame Bragwaine
safe and sound. And the queen was so glad of his proffer that suddenly
unadvised she granted all his asking. Well, Madam, said Palamides, I
trust to your promise, and if ye will abide here half an hour I shall
bring her to you. I shall abide you, said La Beale Isoud. And Sir
Palamides rode forth his way to that nunnery, and lightly he came again
with Dame Bragwaine; but by her good will she would not have come
again, because for love of the queen she stood in adventure of her life.
Notwithstanding, half against her will, she went with Sir Palamides unto
the queen. And when the queen saw her she was passing glad. Now, Madam,
said Palamides, remember upon your promise, for I have fulfilled my
promise. Sir Palamides, said the queen, I wot not what is your desire,
but I will that ye wit, howbeit I promised you largely, I thought none
evil, nor I warn you none evil will I do. Madam, said Sir Palamides,
as at this time, ye shall not know my desire, but before my lord your
husband there shall ye know that I will have my desire that ye have
promised me. And therewith the queen departed, and rode home to the
king, and Sir Palamides rode after her. And when Sir Palamides came
before the king, he said: Sir King, I require you as ye be a righteous
king, that ye will judge me the right. Tell me your cause, said the
king, and ye shall have right.



CHAPTER XXX. How Palamides demanded Queen Isoud, and how Lambegus rode
after to rescue her, and of the escape of Isoud.

SIR, said Palamides, I promised your Queen Isoud to bring again Dame
Bragwaine that she had lost, upon this covenant, that she should grant
me a boon that I would ask, and without grudging, outher advisement, she
granted me. What say ye, my lady? said the king. It is as he saith, so
God me help, said the queen; to say thee sooth I promised him his asking
for love and joy that I had to see her. Well, Madam, said the king, and
if ye were hasty to grant him what boon he would ask, I will well that
ye perform your promise. Then, said Palamides, I will that ye wit that
I will have your queen to lead her and govern her whereas me list.
Therewith the king stood still, and bethought him of Sir Tristram, and
deemed that he would rescue her. And then hastily the king answered:
Take her with the adventures that shall fall of it, for as I suppose
thou wilt not enjoy her no while. As for that, said Palamides, I
dare right well abide the adventure. And so, to make short tale, Sir
Palamides took her by the hand and said: Madam, grudge not to go with
me, for I desire nothing but your own promise. As for that, said the
queen, I fear not greatly to go with thee, howbeit thou hast me at
advantage upon my promise, for I doubt not I shall be worshipfully
rescued from thee. As for that, said Sir Palamides, be it as it be may.
So Queen Isoud was set behind Palamides, and rode his way.

Anon the king sent after Sir Tristram, but in no wise he could be found,
for he was in the forest a-hunting; for that was always his custom, but
if he used arms, to chase and to hunt in the forests. Alas, said the
king, now I am shamed for ever, that by mine own assent my lady and
my queen shall be devoured. Then came forth a knight, his name was
Lambegus, and he was a knight of Sir Tristram. My lord, said this
knight, sith ye have trust in my lord, Sir Tristram, wit ye well for
his sake I will ride after your queen and rescue her, or else I shall
be beaten. Gramercy, said the king, as I live, Sir Lambegus, I shall
deserve it. And then Sir Lambegus armed him, and rode after as fast as
he might. And then within a while he overtook Sir Palamides. And then
Sir Palamides left the queen. What art thou, said Palamides, art thou
Tristram? Nay, he said, I am his servant, and my name is Sir Lambegus.
That me repenteth, said Palamides. I had liefer thou hadst been Sir
Tristram. I believe you well, said Lambegus, but when thou meetest
with Sir Tristram thou shalt have thy hands full. And then they hurtled
together and all to-brast their spears, and then they pulled out their
swords, and hewed on helms and hauberks. At the last Sir Palamides gave
Sir Lambegus such a wound that he fell down like a dead knight to the
earth.

Then he looked after La Beale Isoud, and then she was gone he nist
where. Wit ye well Sir Palamides was never so heavy. So the queen ran
into the forest, and there she found a well, and therein she had thought
to have drowned herself. And as good fortune would, there came a knight
to her that had a castle thereby, his name was Sir Adtherp. And when he
found the queen in that mischief he rescued her, and brought her to his
castle. And when he wist what she was he armed him, and took his horse,
and said he would be avenged upon Palamides; and so he rode on till he
met with him, and there Sir Palamides wounded him sore, and by force he
made him to tell him the cause why he did battle with him, and how he
had led the queen unto his castle. Now bring me there, said Palamides,
or thou shalt die of my hands. Sir, said Sir Adtherp, I am so wounded
I may not follow, but ride you this way and it shall bring you into my
castle, and there within is the queen. Then Sir Palamides rode still
till he came to the castle. And at a window La Beale Isoud saw Sir
Palamides; then she made the gates to be shut strongly. And when he
saw he might not come within the castle, he put off his bridle and his
saddle, and put his horse to pasture, and set himself down at the gate
like a man that was out of his wit that recked not of himself.



CHAPTER XXXI. How Sir Tristram rode after Palamides, and how he found
him and fought with him, and by the means of Isoud the battle ceased.

NOW turn we unto Sir Tristram, that when he was come home and wist La
Beale Isoud was gone with Sir Palamides, wit ye well he was wroth out of
measure. Alas, said Sir Tristram, I am this day shamed. Then he cried to
Gouvernail his man: Haste thee that I were armed and on horseback,
for well I wot Lambegus hath no might nor strength to withstand Sir
Palamides: alas that I have not been in his stead! So anon as he was
armed and horsed Sir Tristram and Gouvernail rode after into the forest,
and within a while he found his knight Lambegus almost wounded to the
death; and Sir Tristram bare him to a forester, and charged him to keep
him well. And then he rode forth, and there he found Sir Adtherp sore
wounded, and he told him how the queen would have drowned herself had
he not been, and how for her sake and love he had taken upon him to do
battle with Sir Palamides. Where is my lady? said Sir Tristram. Sir,
said the knight, she is sure enough within my castle, an she can hold
her within it. Gramercy, said Sir Tristram, of thy great goodness. And
so he rode till he came nigh to that castle; and then Sir Tristram saw
where Sir Palamides sat at the gate sleeping, and his horse pastured
fast afore him. Now go thou, Gouvernail, said Sir Tristram, and bid him
awake, and make him ready. So Gouvernail rode unto him and said: Sir
Palamides, arise, and take to thee thine harness. But he was in such a
study he heard not what Gouvernail said. So Gouvernail came again and
told Sir Tristram he slept, or else he was mad. Go thou again, said Sir
Tristram, and bid him arise, and tell him that I am here, his mortal
foe. So Gouvernail rode again and put upon him the butt of his spear,
and said: Sir Palamides, make thee ready, for wit ye well Sir Tristram
hoveth yonder, and sendeth thee word he is thy mortal foe. And
therewithal Sir Palamides arose stilly, without words, and gat his
horse, and saddled him and bridled him, and lightly he leapt upon, and
gat his spear in his hand, and either feutred their spears and hurtled
fast together; and there Tristram smote down Sir Palamides over his
horse's tail. Then lightly Sir Palamides put his shield afore him and
drew his sword. And there began strong battle on both parts, for both
they fought for the love of one lady, and ever she lay on the walls and
beheld them how they fought out of measure, and either were wounded
passing sore, but Palamides was much sorer wounded. Thus they fought
tracing and traversing more than two hours, that well-nigh for dole and
sorrow La Beale Isoud swooned. Alas, she said, that one I loved and yet
do, and the other I love not, yet it were great pity that I should see
Sir Palamides slain; for well I know by that time the end be done Sir
Palamides is but a dead knight: because he is not christened I would be
loath that he should die a Saracen. And therewithal she came down and
besought Sir Tristram to fight no more. Ah, madam, said he, what mean
you, will ye have me shamed? Well ye know I will be ruled by you. I will
not your dishonour, said La Beale Isoud, but I would that ye would for
my sake spare this unhappy Saracen Palamides. Madam, said Sir Tristram,
I will leave fighting at this time for your sake. Then she said to Sir
Palamides: This shall be your charge, that thou shalt go out of this
country while I am therein. I will obey your commandment, said Sir
Palamides, the which is sore against my will. Then take thy way, said La
Beale Isoud, unto the court of King Arthur, and there recommend me unto
Queen Guenever, and tell her that I send her word that there be within
this land but four lovers, that is, Sir Launcelot du Lake and Queen
Guenever, and Sir Tristram de Liones and Queen Isoud.



CHAPTER XXXII. How Sir Tristram brought Queen Isoud home, and of the
debate of King Mark and Sir Tristram.

AND so Sir Palamides departed with great heaviness. And Sir Tristram
took the queen and brought her again to King Mark, and then was there
made great joy of her home-coming. Who was cherished but Sir Tristram!
Then Sir Tristram let fetch Sir Lambegus, his knight, from the
forester's house, and it was long or he was whole, but at the last he
was well recovered. Thus they lived with joy and play a long while. But
ever Sir Andred, that was nigh cousin to Sir Tristram, lay in a watch
to wait betwixt Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud, for to take them and
slander them. So upon a day Sir Tristram talked with La Beale Isoud in
a window, and that espied Sir Andred, and told it to the King. Then King
Mark took a sword in his hand and came to Sir Tristram, and called him
false traitor, and would have stricken him. But Sir Tristram was nigh
him, and ran under his sword, and took it out of his hand. And then
the King cried: Where are my knights and my men? I charge you slay this
traitor. But at that time there was not one would move for his words.
When Sir Tristram saw that there was not one would be against him, he
shook the sword to the king, and made countenance as though he would
have stricken him. And then King Mark fled, and Sir Tristram followed
him, and smote upon him five or six strokes flatling on the neck, that
he made him to fall upon the nose. And then Sir Tristram yede his way
and armed him, and took his horse and his man, and so he rode into that
forest.

And there upon a day Sir Tristram met with two brethren that were
knights with King Mark, and there he struck off the head of the one, and
wounded the other to the death; and he made him to bear his brother's
head in his helm unto the king, and thirty more there he wounded. And
when that knight came before the king to say his message, he there died
afore the king and the queen. Then King Mark called his council unto
him, and asked advice of his barons what was best to do with Sir
Tristram. Sir, said the barons, in especial Sir Dinas, the Seneschal,
Sir, we will give you counsel for to send for Sir Tristram, for we
will that ye wit many men will hold with Sir Tristram an he were hard
bestead. And sir, said Sir Dinas, ye shall understand that Sir Tristram
is called peerless and makeless of any Christian knight, and of his
might and hardiness we knew none so good a knight, but if it be Sir
Launcelot du Lake. And if he depart from your court and go to King
Arthur's court, wit ye well he will get him such friends there that he
will not set by your malice. And therefore, sir, I counsel you to take
him to your grace. I will well, said the king, that he be sent for, that
we may be friends. Then the barons sent for Sir Tristram under a safe
conduct. And so when Sir Tristram came to the king he was welcome, and
no rehearsal was made, and there was game and play. And then the king
and the queen went a-hunting, and Sir Tristram.



CHAPTER XXXIII. How Sir Lamorak jousted with thirty knights, and Sir
Tristram at the request of King Mark smote his horse down.

THE king and the queen made their pavilions and their tents in that
forest beside a river, and there was daily hunting and jousting, for
there were ever thirty knights ready to joust unto all them that came
in at that time. And there by fortune came Sir Lamorak de Galis and Sir
Driant; and there Sir Driant jousted right well, but at the last he had
a fall. Then Sir Lamorak proffered to joust. And when he began he fared
so with the thirty knights that there was not one of them but that he
gave him a fall, and some of them were sore hurt. I marvel, said King
Mark, what knight he is that doth such deeds of arms. Sir, said Sir
Tristram, I know him well for a noble knight as few now be living, and
his name is Sir Lamorak de Galis. It were great shame, said the king,
that he should go thus away, unless that some of you meet with him
better. Sir, said Sir Tristram, meseemeth it were no worship for a noble
man to have ado with him: and for because at this time he hath done over
much for any mean knight living, therefore, as meseemeth, it were great
shame and villainy to tempt him any more at this time, insomuch as he
and his horse are weary both; for the deeds of arms that he hath done
this day, an they be well considered, it were enough for Sir Launcelot
du Lake. As for that, said King Mark, I require you, as ye love me and
my lady the queen, La Beale Isoud, take your arms and joust with Sir
Lamorak de Galis. Sir, said Sir Tristram, ye bid me do a thing that is
against knighthood, and well I can deem that I shall give him a fall,
for it is no mastery, for my horse and I be fresh both, and so is
not his horse and he; and wit ye well that he will take it for great
unkindness, for ever one good knight is loath to take another at
disadvantage; but because I will not displease you, as ye require me so
will I do, and obey your commandment.

And so Sir Tristram armed him and took his horse, and put him forth, and
there Sir Lamorak met him mightily, and what with the might of his own
spear, and of Sir Tristram's spear, Sir Lamorak's horse fell to the
earth, and he sitting in the saddle. Then anon as lightly as he might he
avoided the saddle and his horse, and put his shield afore him and drew
his sword. And then he bade Sir Tristram: Alight, thou knight, an thou
durst. Nay, said Sir Tristram, I will no more have ado with thee, for I
have done to thee over much unto my dishonour and to thy worship. As for
that, said Sir Lamorak, I can thee no thank; since thou hast for-jousted
me on horseback I require thee and I beseech thee, an thou be Sir
Tristram, fight with me on foot. I will not so, said Sir Tristram; and
wit ye well my name is Sir Tristram de Liones, and well I know ye be Sir
Lamorak de Galis, and this that I have done to you was against my will,
but I was required thereto; but to say that I will do at your request as
at this time, I will have no more ado with you, for me shameth of that
I have done. As for the shame, said Sir Lamorak, on thy part or on mine,
bear thou it an thou wilt, for though a mare's son hath failed me, now a
queen's son shall not fail thee; and therefore, an thou be such a
knight as men call thee, I require thee, alight, and fight with me. Sir
Lamorak, said Sir Tristram, I understand your heart is great, and cause
why ye have, to say thee sooth; for it would grieve me an any knight
should keep him fresh and then to strike down a weary knight, for that
knight nor horse was never formed that alway might stand or endure.
And therefore, said Sir Tristram, I will not have ado with you, for me
forthinketh of that I have done. As for that, said Sir Lamorak, I shall
quit you, an ever I see my time.



CHAPTER XXXIV. How Sir Lamorak sent an horn to King Mark in despite of
Sir Tristram, and how Sir Tristram was driven into a chapel.

So he departed from him with Sir Driant, and by the way they met with
a knight that was sent from Morgan le Fay unto King Arthur; and this
knight had a fair horn harnessed with gold, and the horn had such a
virtue that there might no lady nor gentlewoman drink of that horn but
if she were true to her husband, and if she were false she should
spill all the drink, and if she were true to her lord she might drink
peaceable. And because of the Queen Guenever, and in the despite of Sir
Launcelot, this horn was sent unto King Arthur; and by force Sir Lamorak
made that knight to tell all the cause why he bare that horn. Now shalt
thou bear this horn, said Lamorak, unto King Mark, or else choose thou
to die for it; for I tell thee plainly, in despite and reproof of Sir
Tristram thou shalt bear that horn unto King Mark, his uncle, and say
thou to him that I sent it him for to assay his lady, and if she be true
to him he shall prove her. So the knight went his way unto King Mark,
and brought him that rich horn, and said that Sir Lamorak sent it him,
and thereto he told him the virtue of that horn. Then the king made
Queen Isoud to drink thereof, and an hundred ladies, and there were but
four ladies of all those that drank clean. Alas, said King Mark, this is
a great despite, and sware a great oath that she should be burnt and the
other ladies.

Then the barons gathered them together, and said plainly they would not
have those ladies burnt for an horn made by sorcery, that came from as
false a sorceress and witch as then was living. For that horn did never
good, but caused strife and debate, and always in her days she had been
an enemy to all true lovers. So there were many knights made their avow,
an ever they met with Morgan le Fay, that they would show her short
courtesy. Also Sir Tristram was passing wroth that Sir Lamorak sent that
horn unto King Mark, for well he knew that it was done in the despite of
him. And therefore he thought to quite Sir Lamorak.

Then Sir Tristram used daily and nightly to go to Queen Isoud when he
might, and ever Sir Andred his cousin watched him night and day for to
take him with La Beale Isoud. And so upon a night Sir Andred espied the
hour and the time when Sir Tristram went to his lady. Then Sir Andred
gat unto him twelve knights, and at midnight he set upon Sir Tristram
secretly and suddenly and there Sir Tristram was taken naked abed with
La Beale Isoud, and then was he bound hand and foot, and so was he kept
until day. And then by the assent of King Mark, and of Sir Andred, and
of some of the barons, Sir Tristram was led unto a chapel that stood
upon the sea rocks, there for to take his judgment: and so he was led
bounden with forty knights. And when Sir Tristram saw that there was
none other boot but needs that he must die, then said he: Fair lords,
remember what I have done for the country of Cornwall, and in what
jeopardy I have been in for the weal of you all; for when I fought for
the truage of Cornwall with Sir Marhaus, the good knight, I was promised
for to be better rewarded, when ye all refused to take the battle;
therefore, as ye be good gentle knights, see me not thus shamefully to
die, for it is shame to all knighthood thus to see me die; for I dare
say, said Sir Tristram, that I never met with no knight but I was as
good as he, or better. Fie upon thee, said Sir Andred, false traitor
that thou art, with thine avaunting; for all thy boast thou shalt die
this day. O Andred, Andred, said Sir Tristram, thou shouldst be my
kinsman, and now thou art to me full unfriendly, but an there were no
more but thou and I, thou wouldst not put me to death. No! said Sir
Andred, and therewith he drew his sword, and would have slain him.

When Sir Tristram saw him make such countenance he looked upon both his
hands that were fast bounden unto two knights, and suddenly he pulled
them both to him, and unwrast his hands, and then he leapt unto his
cousin, Sir Andred, and wrested his sword out of his hands; then he
smote Sir Andred that he fell to the earth, and so Sir Tristram fought
till that he had killed ten knights. So then Sir Tristram gat the chapel
and kept it mightily. Then the cry was great, and the people drew fast
unto Sir Andred, mo than an hundred. When Sir Tristram saw the people
draw unto him, he remembered he was naked, and sperd fast the chapel
door, and brake the bars of a window, and so he leapt out and fell upon
the crags in the sea. And so at that time Sir Andred nor none of his
fellows might get to him, at that time.



CHAPTER XXXV. How Sir Tristram was holpen by his men, and of Queen Isoud
which was put in a lazar-cote, and how Tristram was hurt.

SO when they were departed, Gouvernail, and Sir Lambegus, and Sir
Sentraille de Lushon, that were Sir Tristram's men, sought their master.
When they heard he was escaped then they were passing glad; and on the
rocks they found him, and with towels they pulled him up. And then Sir
Tristram asked them where was La Beale Isoud, for he weened she had
been had away of Andred's people. Sir, said Gouvernail, she is put in a
lazar-cote. Alas, said Sir Tristram, this is a full ungoodly place for
such a fair lady, and if I may she shall not be long there. And so he
took his men and went thereas was La Beale Isoud, and fetched her away,
and brought her into a forest to a fair manor, and Sir Tristram there
abode with her. So the good knight bade his men go from him: For at this
time I may not help you. So they departed all save Gouvernail. And so
upon a day Sir Tristram yede into the forest for to disport him, and
then it happened that there he fell sleep; and there came a man that Sir
Tristram aforehand had slain his brother, and when this man had found
him he shot him through the shoulder with an arrow, and Sir Tristram
leapt up and killed that man. And in the meantime it was told King Mark
how Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud were in that same manor, and as soon
as ever he might thither he came with many knights to slay Sir Tristram.
And when he came there he found him gone; and there he took La Beale
Isoud home with him, and kept her strait that by no means never she
might wit nor send unto Tristram, nor he unto her. And then when Sir
Tristram came toward the old manor he found the track of many horses,
and thereby he wist his lady was gone. And then Sir Tristram took great
sorrow, and endured with great pain long time, for the arrow that he was
hurt withal was envenomed.

Then by the mean of La Beale Isoud she told a lady that was cousin unto
Dame Bragwaine, and she came to Sir Tristram, and told him that he might
not be whole by no means. For thy lady, La Beale Isoud, may not help
thee, therefore she biddeth you haste into Brittany to King Howel, and
there ye shall find his daughter, Isoud la Blanche Mains, and she shall
help thee. Then Sir Tristram and Gouvernail gat them shipping, and so
sailed into Brittany. And when King Howel wist that it was Sir Tristram
he was full glad of him. Sir, he said, I am come into this country to
have help of your daughter, for it is told me that there is none other
may heal me but she; and so within a while she healed him.



CHAPTER XXXVI. How Sir Tristram served in war King Howel of Brittany,
and slew his adversary in the field.

THERE was an earl that hight Grip, and this earl made great war upon the
king, and put the king to the worse, and besieged him. And on a time
Sir Kehydius, that was son to King Howel, as he issued out he was sore
wounded, nigh to the death. Then Gouvernail went to the king and said:
Sir, I counsel you to desire my lord, Sir Tristram, as in your need to
help you. I will do by your counsel, said the king. And so he yede unto
Sir Tristram, and prayed him in his wars to help him: For my son, Sir
Kehydius, may not go into the field. Sir, said Sir Tristram, I will go
to the field and do what I may. Then Sir Tristram issued out of the
town with such fellowship as he might make, and did such deeds that all
Brittany spake of him. And then, at the last, by great might and force,
he slew the Earl Grip with his own hands, and more than an hundred
knights he slew that day. And then Sir Tristram was received
worshipfully with procession. Then King Howel embraced him in his
arms, and said: Sir Tristram, all my kingdom I will resign to thee.
God defend, said Sir Tristram, for I am beholden unto you for your
daughter's sake to do for you.

Then by the great means of King Howel and Kehydius his son, by great
proffers, there grew great love betwixt Isoud and Sir Tristram, for that
lady was both good and fair, and a woman of noble blood and fame.
And for because Sir Tristram had such cheer and riches, and all other
pleasaunce that he had, almost he had forsaken La Beale Isoud. And so
upon a time Sir Tristram agreed to wed Isoud la Blanche Mains. And at
the last they were wedded, and solemnly held their marriage. And so when
they were abed both Sir Tristram remembered him of his old lady La
Beale Isoud. And then he took such a thought suddenly that he was all
dismayed, and other cheer made he none but with clipping and kissing; as
for other fleshly lusts Sir Tristram never thought nor had ado with her:
such mention maketh the French book; also it maketh mention that the
lady weened there had been no pleasure but kissing and clipping. And in
the meantime there was a knight in Brittany, his name was Suppinabiles,
and he came over the sea into England, and then he came into the court
of King Arthur, and there he met with Sir Launcelot du Lake, and told
him of the marriage of Sir Tristram. Then said Sir Launcelot: Fie upon
him, untrue knight to his lady, that so noble a knight as Sir Tristram
is should be found to his first lady false, La Beale Isoud, Queen of
Cornwall; but say ye him this, said Sir Launcelot, that of all knights
in the world I loved him most, and had most joy of him, and all was for
his noble deeds; and let him wit the love between him and me is done
for ever, and that I give him warning from this day forth as his mortal
enemy.



CHAPTER XXXVII. How Sir Suppinabiles told Sir Tristram how he was
defamed in the court of King Arthur, and of Sir Lamorak.

THEN departed Sir Suppinabiles unto Brittany again, and there he found
Sir Tristram, and told him that he had been in King Arthur's court. Then
said Sir Tristram: Heard ye anything of me? So God me help, said Sir
Suppinabiles, there I heard Sir Launcelot speak of you great shame, and
that ye be a false knight to your lady and he bade me do you to wit that
he will be your mortal enemy in every place where he may meet you. That
me repenteth, said Tristram, for of all knights I loved to be in his
fellowship. So Sir Tristram made great moan and was ashamed that
noble knights should defame him for the sake of his lady. And in this
meanwhile La Beale Isoud made a letter unto Queen Guenever, complaining
her of the untruth of Sir Tristram, and how he had wedded the king's
daughter of Brittany. Queen Guenever sent her another letter, and bade
her be of good cheer, for she should have joy after sorrow, for Sir
Tristram was so noble a knight called, that by crafts of sorcery ladies
would make such noble men to wed them. But in the end, Queen Guenever
said, it shall be thus, that he shall hate her, and love you better than
ever he did to-fore.

So leave we Sir Tristram in Brittany, and speak we of Sir Lamorak de
Galis, that as he sailed his ship fell on a rock and perished all, save
Sir Lamorak and his squire; and there he swam mightily, and fishers of
the Isle of Servage took him up, and his squire was drowned, and the
shipmen had great labour to save Sir Lamorak's life, for all the comfort
that they could do.

And the lord of that isle, hight Sir Nabon le Noire, a great mighty
giant. And this Sir Nabon hated all the knights of King Arthur's, and in
no wise he would do them favour. And these fishers told Sir Lamorak all
the guise of Sir Nabon; how there came never knight of King Arthur's
but he destroyed him. And at the last battle that he did was slain Sir
Nanowne le Petite, the which he put to a shameful death in despite of
King Arthur, for he was drawn limb-meal. That forthinketh me, said Sir
Lamorak, for that knight's death, for he was my cousin; and if I were at
mine ease as well as ever I was, I would revenge his death. Peace, said
the fishers, and make here no words, for or ever ye depart from hence
Sir Nabon must know that ye have been here, or else we should die for
your sake. So that I be whole, said Lamorak, of my disease that I have
taken in the sea, I will that ye tell him that I am a knight of King
Arthur's, for I was never afeard to reneye my lord.



CHAPTER XXXVIII. How Sir Tristram and his wife arrived in Wales, and how
he met there with Sir Lamorak.

NOW turn we unto Sir Tristram, that upon a day he took a little barget,
and his wife Isoud la Blanche Mains, with Sir Kehydius her brother, to
play them in the coasts. And when they were from the land, there was
a wind drove them in to the coast of Wales upon this Isle of Servage,
whereas was Sir Lamorak, and there the barget all to-rove; and there
Dame Isoud was hurt; and as well as they might they gat into the forest,
and there by a well he saw Segwarides and a damosel. And then either
saluted other. Sir, said Segwarides, I know you for Sir Tristram de
Liones, the man in the world that I have most cause to hate, because
ye departed the love between me and my wife; but as for that, said
Sir Segwarides, I will never hate a noble knight for a light lady; and
therefore, I pray you, be my friend, and I will be yours unto my power;
for wit ye well ye are hard bestead in this valley, and we shall have
enough to do either of us to succour other. And then Sir Segwarides
brought Sir Tristram to a lady thereby that was born in Cornwall, and
she told him all the perils of that valley, and how there came never
knight there but he were taken prisoner or slain. Wit you well, fair
lady, said Sir Tristram, that I slew Sir Marhaus and delivered Cornwall
from the truage of Ireland, and I am he that delivered the King of
Ireland from Sir Blamore de Ganis, and I am he that beat Sir Palamides;
and wit ye well I am Sir Tristram de Liones, that by the grace of God
shall deliver this woful Isle of Servage. So Sir Tristram was well
eased.

Then one told him there was a knight of King Arthur's that was wrecked
on the rocks. What is his name? said Sir Tristram. We wot not, said the
fishers, but he keepeth it no counsel but that he is a knight of King
Arthur's, and by the mighty lord of this isle he setteth nought. I pray
you, said Sir Tristram, an ye may, bring him hither that I may see him,
and if he be any of the knights of Arthur's I shall know him. Then the
lady prayed the fishers to bring him to her place. So on the morrow they
brought him thither in a fisher's raiment; and as soon as Sir Tristram
saw him he smiled upon him and knew him well, but he knew not Sir
Tristram. Fair sir, said Sir Tristram, meseemeth by your cheer ye
have been diseased but late, and also methinketh I should know you
heretofore. I will well, said Sir Lamorak, that ye have seen me and met
with me. Fair sir, said Sir Tristram, tell me your name. Upon a covenant
I will tell you, said Sir Lamorak, that is, that ye will tell me
whether ye be lord of this island or no, that is called Nabon le Noire.
Forsooth, said Sir Tristram, I am not he, nor I hold not of him; I am
his foe as well as ye be, and so shall I be found or I depart out of
this isle. Well, said Sir Lamorak, since ye have said so largely unto
me, my name is Sir Lamorak de Galis, son unto King Pellinore. Forsooth,
I trow well, said Sir Tristram, for an ye said other I know the
contrary. What are ye, said Sir Lamorak, that knoweth me? I am Sir
Tristram de Liones. Ah, sir, remember ye not of the fall ye did give me
once, and after ye refused me to fight on foot. That was not for fear I
had of you, said Sir Tristram, but me shamed at that time to have more
ado with you, for meseemed ye had enough; but, Sir Lamorak, for my
kindness many ladies ye put to a reproof when ye sent the horn from
Morgan le Fay to King Mark, whereas ye did this in despite of me. Well,
said he, an it were to do again, so would I do, for I had liefer strife
and debate fell in King Mark's court rather than Arthur's court, for
the honour of both courts be not alike. As to that, said Sir Tristram, I
know well; but that that was done it was for despite of me, but all your
malice, I thank God, hurt not greatly. Therefore, said Sir Tristram, ye
shall leave all your malice, and so will I, and let us assay how we may
win worship between you and me upon this giant Sir Nabon le Noire that
is lord of this island, to destroy him. Sir, said Sir Lamorak, now I
understand your knighthood, it may not be false that all men say, for of
your bounty, noblesse, and worship, of all knights ye are peerless, and
for your courtesy and gentleness I showed you ungentleness, and that now
me repenteth.



CHAPTER XXXIX. How Sir Tristram fought with Sir Nabon, and overcame him,
and made Sir Segwarides lord of the isle.

IN the meantime there came word that Sir Nabon had made a cry that all
the people of that isle should be at his castle the fifth day after. And
the same day the son of Nabon should be made knight, and all the knights
of that valley and thereabout should be there to joust, and all those of
the realm of Logris should be there to joust with them of North Wales:
and thither came five hundred knights, and they of the country brought
thither Sir Lamorak, and Sir Tristram, and Sir Kehydius, and Sir
Segwarides, for they durst none otherwise do; and then Sir Nabon lent
Sir Lamorak horse and armour at Sir Lamorak's desire, and Sir Lamorak
jousted and did such deeds of arms that Nabon and all the people said
there was never knight that ever they saw do such deeds of arms; for, as
the French book saith, he for-jousted all that were there, for the most
part of five hundred knights, that none abode him in his saddle.

Then Sir Nabon proffered to play with him his play: For I saw never no
knight do so much upon a day. I will well, said Sir Lamorak, play as I
may, but I am weary and sore bruised. And there either gat a spear, but
Nabon would not encounter with Sir Lamorak, but smote his horse in the
forehead, and so slew him; and then Sir Lamorak yede on foot, and turned
his shield and drew his sword, and there began strong battle on foot.
But Sir Lamorak was so sore bruised and short breathed, that he traced
and traversed somewhat aback. Fair fellow, said Sir Nabon, hold thy hand
and I shall show thee more courtesy than ever I showed knight, because
I have seen this day thy noble knighthood, and therefore stand thou by,
and I will wit whether any of thy fellows will have ado with me. Then
when Sir Tristram heard that, he stepped forth and said: Nabon, lend me
horse and sure armour, and I will have ado with thee. Well, fellow, said
Sir Nabon, go thou to yonder pavilion, and arm thee of the best thou
findest there, and I shall play a marvellous play with thee. Then said
Sir Tristram: Look ye play well, or else peradventure I shall learn
you a new play. That is well said, fellow, said Sir Nabon. So when Sir
Tristram was armed as him liked best, and well shielded and sworded, he
dressed to him on foot; for well he knew that Sir Nabon would not abide
a stroke with a spear, therefore he would slay all knights' horses. Now,
fair fellow, Sir Nabon, let us play. So then they fought long on foot,
tracing and traversing, smiting and foining long without any rest. At
the last Sir Nabon prayed him to tell him his name. Sir Nabon, I tell
thee my name is Sir Tristram de Liones, a knight of Cornwall under King
Mark. Thou art welcome, said Sir Nabon, for of all knights I have most
desired to fight with thee or with Sir Launcelot.

So then they went eagerly together, and Sir Tristram slew Sir Nabon, and
so forthwith he leapt to his son, and struck off his head; and then
all the country said they would hold of Sir Tristram. Nay, said Sir
Tristram, I will not so; here is a worshipful knight, Sir Lamorak de
Galis, that for me he shall be lord of this country, for he hath done
here great deeds of arms. Nay, said Sir Lamorak, I will not be lord of
this country, for I have not deserved it as well as ye, therefore give
ye it where ye will, for I will none have. Well, said Sir Tristram,
since ye nor I will not have it, let us give it to him that hath not so
well deserved it. Do as ye list, said Segwarides, for the gift is
yours, for I will none have an I had deserved it. So was it given
to Segwarides, whereof he thanked them; and so was he lord, and
worshipfully he did govern it. And then Sir Segwarides delivered all
prisoners, and set good governance in that valley; and so he returned
into Cornwall, and told King Mark and La Beale Isoud how Sir Tristram
had advanced him to the Isle of Servage, and there he proclaimed in all
Cornwall of all the adventures of these two knights, so was it openly
known. But full woe was La Beale Isoud when she heard tell that Sir
Tristram was wedded to Isoud la Blanche Mains.



CHAPTER XL

How Sir Lamorak departed from Sir Tristram, and how he met with Sir
Frol, and after with Sir Launcelot.

SO turn we unto Sir Lamorak, that rode toward Arthur's court, and Sir
Tristram's wife and Kehydius took a vessel and sailed into Brittany,
unto King Howel, where he was welcome. And when he heard of these
adventures they marvelled of his noble deeds. Now turn we unto Sir
Lamorak, that when he was departed from Sir Tristram he rode out of the
forest, till he came to an hermitage. When the hermit saw him, he asked
him from whence he came. Sir, said Sir Lamorak, I come from this valley.
Sir, said the hermit: thereof I marvel. For this twenty winter I
saw never no knight pass this country but he was either slain or
villainously wounded, or pass as a poor prisoner. Those ill customs,
said Sir Lamorak, are fordone, for Sir Tristram slew your lord, Sir
Nabon, and his son. Then was the hermit glad, and all his brethren,
for he said there was never such a tyrant among Christian men. And
therefore, said the hermit, this valley and franchise we will hold of
Sir Tristram.

So on the morrow Sir Lamorak departed; and as he rode he saw four
knights fight against one, and that one knight defended him well, but
at the last the four knights had him down. And then Sir Lamorak went
betwixt them, and asked them why they would slay that one knight, and
said it was shame, four against one. Thou shalt well wit, said the four
knights, that he is false. That is your tale, said Sir Lamorak, and
when I hear him also speak, I will say as ye say. Then said Lamorak: Ah,
knight, can ye not excuse you, but that ye are a false knight. Sir, said
he, yet can I excuse me both with my word and with my hands, that I will
make good upon one of the best of them, my body to his body. Then spake
they all at once: We will not jeopardy our bodies as for thee. But wit
thou well, they said, an King Arthur were here himself, it should not
lie in his power to save his life. That is too much said, said Sir
Lamorak, but many speak behind a man more than they will say to his
face; and because of your words ye shall understand that I am one of the
simplest of King Arthur's court; in the worship of my lord now do your
best, and in despite of you I shall rescue him. And then they lashed all
at once to Sir Lamorak, but anon at two strokes Sir Lamorak had slain
two of them, and then the other two fled. So then Sir Lamorak turned
again to that knight, and asked him his name. Sir, he said, my name is
Sir Frol of the Out Isles. Then he rode with Sir Lamorak and bare him
company.

And as they rode by the way they saw a seemly knight riding against
them, and all in white. Ah, said Frol, yonder knight jousted late with
me and smote me down, therefore I will joust with him. Ye shall not do
so, said Sir Lamorak, by my counsel, an ye will tell me your quarrel,
whether ye jousted at his request, or he at yours. Nay, said Sir Frol,
I jousted with him at my request. Sir, said Lamorak, then will I counsel
you deal no more with him, for meseemeth by his countenance he should be
a noble knight, and no japer; for methinketh he should be of the Table
Round. Therefore I will not spare, said Sir Frol. And then he cried and
said: Sir knight, make thee ready to joust. That needeth not, said
the White Knight, for I have no lust to joust with thee; but yet they
feutred their spears, and the White Knight overthrew Sir Frol, and then
he rode his way a soft pace. Then Sir Lamorak rode after him, and prayed
him to tell him his name: For meseemeth ye should be of the fellowship
of the Round Table. Upon a covenant, said he, I will tell you my name,
so that ye will not discover my name, and also that ye will tell me
yours. Then, said he, my name is Sir Lamorak de Galis. And my name
is Sir Launcelot du Lake. Then they put up their swords, and kissed
heartily together, and either made great joy of other. Sir, said Sir
Lamorak, an it please you I will do you service. God defend, said
Launcelot, that any of so noble a blood as ye be should do me service.
Then he said: More, I am in a quest that I must do myself alone. Now God
speed you, said Sir Lamorak, and so they departed. Then Sir Lamorak came
to Sir Frol and horsed him again. What knight is that? said Sir Frol.
Sir, he said, it is not for you to know, nor it is no point of my
charge. Ye are the more uncourteous, said Sir Frol, and therefore I will
depart from you. Ye may do as ye list, said Sir Lamorak, and yet by
my company ye have saved the fairest flower of your garland; so they
departed.



CHAPTER XLI. How Sir Lamorak slew Sir Frol, and of the courteous
fighting with Sir Belliance his brother.

THEN within two or three days Sir Lamorak found a knight at a well
sleeping, and his lady sat with him and waked. Right so came Sir Gawaine
and took the knight's lady, and set her up behind his squire. So Sir
Lamorak rode after Sir Gawaine, and said: Sir Gawaine, turn again. And
then said Sir Gawaine: What will ye do with me? for I am nephew unto
King Arthur. Sir, said he, for that cause I will spare you, else that
lady should abide with me, or else ye should joust with me. Then Sir
Gawaine turned him and ran to him that ought the lady, with his spear,
but the knight with pure might smote down Sir Gawaine, and took his lady
with him. All this Sir Lamorak saw, and said to himself: But I revenge
my fellow he will say of me dishonour in King Arthur's court. Then Sir
Lamorak returned and proffered that knight to joust. Sir, said he, I am
ready. And there they came together with all their might, and there Sir
Lamorak smote the knight through both sides that he fell to the earth
dead.

Then that lady rode to that knight's brother that hight Belliance le
Orgulus, that dwelt fast thereby, and then she told him how his brother
was slain. Alas, said he, I will be revenged. And so he horsed him, and
armed him, and within a while he overtook Sir Lamorak, and bade him:
Turn and leave that lady, for thou and I must play a new play; for thou
hast slain my brother Sir Frol, that was a better knight than ever wert
thou. It might well be, said Sir Lamorak, but this day in the field I
was found the better. So they rode together, and unhorsed other, and
turned their shields, and drew their swords, and fought mightily as
noble knights proved, by the space of two hours. So then Sir Belliance
prayed him to tell him his name. Sir, said he, my name is Sir Lamorak de
Galis. Ah, said Sir Belliance, thou art the man in the world that I most
hate, for I slew my sons for thy sake, where I saved thy life, and now
thou hast slain my brother Sir Frol. Alas, how should I be accorded with
thee; therefore defend thee, for thou shalt die, there is none other
remedy. Alas, said Sir Lamorak, full well me ought to know you, for
ye are the man that most have done for me. And therewithal Sir Lamorak
kneeled down, and besought him of grace. Arise, said Sir Belliance, or
else thereas thou kneelest I shall slay thee. That shall not need, said
Sir Lamorak, for I will yield me unto you, not for fear of you, nor for
your strength, but your goodness maketh me full loath to have ado with
you; wherefore I require you for God's sake, and for the honour of
knighthood, forgive me all that I have offended unto you. Alas, said
Belliance, leave thy kneeling, or else I shall slay thee without mercy.


Then they yede again unto battle, and either wounded other, that all
the ground was bloody thereas they fought. And at the last Belliance
withdrew him aback and set him down softly upon a little hill, for he
was so faint for bleeding that he might not stand. Then Sir Lamorak
threw his shield upon his back, and asked him what cheer. Well, said Sir
Belliance. Ah, Sir, yet shall I show you favour in your mal-ease. Ah,
Knight Sir Belliance, said Sir Lamorak, thou art a fool, for an I had
had thee at such advantage as thou hast done me, I should slay thee; but
thy gentleness is so good and so large, that I must needs forgive thee
mine evil will. And then Sir Lamorak kneeled down, and unlaced first his
umberere, and then his own, and then either kissed other with weeping
tears. Then Sir Lamorak led Sir Belliance to an abbey fast by, and there
Sir Lamorak would not depart from Belliance till he was whole. And then
they sware together that none of them should never fight against other.
So Sir Lamorak departed and went to the court of King Arthur.

Here leave we of Sir Lamorak and of Sir Tristram. And here beginneth the
history of La Cote Male Taile.



BOOK IX.



CHAPTER I. How a young man came into the court of King Arthur, and how
Sir Kay called him in scorn La Cote Male Taile.

AT the court of King Arthur there came a young man and bigly made, and
he was richly beseen: and he desired to be made knight of the king, but
his over-garment sat over-thwartly, howbeit it was rich cloth of gold.
What is your name? said King Arthur. Sir, said he, my name is Breunor
le Noire, and within short space ye shall know that I am of good kin.
It may well be, said Sir Kay, the Seneschal, but in mockage ye shall be
called La Cote Male Taile, that is as much to say, the evil-shapen coat
It is a great thing that thou askest, said the king; and for what cause
wearest thou that rich coat? tell me, for I can well think for some
cause it is. Sir, he answered, I had a father, a noble knight, and as he
rode a-hunting, upon a day it happed him to lay him down to sleep; and
there came a knight that had been long his enemy, and when he saw he was
fast asleep he all to-hew him; and this same coat had my father on the
same time; and that maketh this coat to sit so evil upon me, for the
strokes be on it as I found it, and never shall be amended for me. Thus
to have my father's death in remembrance I wear this coat till I be
revenged; and because ye are called the most noblest king of the world I
come to you that ye should make me knight. Sir, said Sir Lamorak and Sir
Gaheris, it were well done to make him knight; for him beseemeth well
of person and of countenance, that he shall prove a good man, and a good
knight, and a mighty; for, Sir, an ye be remembered, even such one was
Sir Launcelot du Lake when he came first into this court, and full few
of us knew from whence he came; and now is he proved the man of most
worship in the world; and all your court and all your Round Table is by
Sir Launcelot worshipped and amended more than by any knight now living.
That is truth, said the king, and to-morrow at your request I shall make
him knight.

So on the morrow there was an hart found, and thither rode King Arthur
with a company of his knights to slay the hart. And this young man
that Sir Kay named La Cote Male Taile was there left behind with Queen
Guenever; and by sudden adventure there was an horrible lion kept in a
strong tower of stone, and it happened that he at that time brake loose,
and came hurling afore the queen and her knights. And when the queen saw
the lion she cried and fled, and prayed her knights to rescue her. And
there was none of them all but twelve that abode, and all the other
fled. Then said La Cote Male Taile: Now I see well that all coward
knights be not dead; and therewithal he drew his sword and dressed him
afore the lion. And that lion gaped wide and came upon him ramping to
have slain him. And he then smote him in the midst of the head such a
mighty stroke that it clave his head in sunder, and dashed to the earth.
Then was it told the queen how the young man that Sir Kay named by scorn
La Cote Male Taile had slain the lion. With that the king came home.
And when the queen told him of that adventure, he was well pleased, and
said: Upon pain of mine head he shall prove a noble man and a faithful
knight, and true of his promise: then the king forthwithal made him
knight. Now Sir, said this young knight, I require you and all the
knights of your court, that ye call me by none other name but La Cote
Male Taile: in so much as Sir Kay hath so named me so will I be called.
I assent me well thereto, said the king.



CHAPTER II. How a damosel came into the court and desired a knight to
take on him an enquest, which La Cote Male Taile emprised.

THEN that same day there came a damosel into the court, and she brought
with her a great black shield, with a white hand in the midst holding a
sword. Other picture was there none in that shield. When King Arthur saw
her he asked her from whence she came and what she would. Sir, she said,
I have ridden long and many a day with this shield many ways, and for
this cause I am come to your court: there was a good knight that ought
this shield, and this knight had undertaken a great deed of arms to
enchieve it; and so it misfortuned him another strong knight met with
him by sudden adventure, and there they fought long, and either wounded
other passing sore; and they were so weary that they left that battle
even hand. So this knight that ought this shield saw none other way but
he must die; and then he commanded me to bear this shield to the court
of King Arthur, he requiring and praying some good knight to take this
shield, and that he would fulfil the quest that he was in. Now what say
ye to this quest? said King Arthur; is there any of you here that will
take upon him to wield this shield? Then was there not one that would
speak one word. Then Sir Kay took the shield in his hands. Sir knight,
said the damosel, what is your name? Wit ye well, said he, my name
is Sir Kay, the Seneschal, that wide-where is known. Sir, said that
damosel, lay down that shield, for wit ye well it falleth not for you,
for he must be a better knight than ye that shall wield this shield.
Damosel, said Sir Kay, wit ye well I took this shield in my hands by
your leave for to behold it, not to that intent; but go wheresomever
thou wilt, for I will not go with you.


Then the damosel stood still a great while and beheld many of those
knights. Then spake the knight, La Cote Male Taile: Fair damosel, I
will take the shield and that adventure upon me, so I wist I should know
whitherward my journey might be; for because I was this day made knight
I would take this adventure upon me. What is your name, fair young man?
said the damosel. My name is, said he, La Cote Male Taile. Well mayest
thou be called so, said the damosel, the knight with the evil-shapen
coat; but an thou be so hardy to take upon thee to bear that shield and
to follow me, wit thou well thy skin shall be as well hewn as thy coat.
As for that, said La Cote Male Taile, when I am so hewn I will ask you
no salve to heal me withal. And forthwithal there came into the court
two squires and brought him great horses, and his armour, and his
spears, and anon he was armed and took his leave. I would not by my
will, said the king, that ye took upon you that hard adventure. Sir,
said he, this adventure is mine, and the first that ever I took upon
me, and that will I follow whatsomever come of me. Then that damosel
departed, and La Cote Male Taile fast followed after. And within a while
he overtook the damosel, and anon she missaid him in the foulest manner.



CHAPTER III. How La Cote Male Taile overthrew Sir Dagonet the king's
fool, and of the rebuke that he had of the damosel.

THEN Sir Kay ordained Sir Dagonet, King Arthur's fool, to follow after
La Cote Male Taile; and there Sir Kay ordained that Sir Dagonet was
horsed and armed, and bade him follow La Cote Male Taile and proffer him
to joust, and so he did; and when he saw La Cote Male Taile, he cried
and bade him make him ready to joust. So Sir La Cote Male Taile smote
Sir Dagonet over his horse's croup. Then the damosel mocked La Cote Male
Taile, and said: Fie for shame! now art thou shamed in Arthur's court,
when they send a fool to have ado with thee, and specially at thy first
jousts; thus she rode long, and chid. And within a while there came
Sir Bleoberis, the good knight, and there he jousted with La Cote Male
Taile, and there Sir Bleoberis smote him so sore, that horse and all
fell to the earth. Then La Cote Male Taile arose up lightly, and dressed
his shield, and drew his sword, and would have done battle to the
utterance, for he was wood wroth. Not so, said Sir Bleoberis de Ganis,
as at this time I will not fight upon foot. Then the damosel Maledisant
rebuked him in the foulest manner, and bade him: Turn again, coward. Ah,
damosel, he said, I pray you of mercy to missay me no more, my grief is
enough though ye give me no more; I call myself never the worse knight
when a mare's son faileth me, and also I count me never the worse knight
for a fall of Sir Bleoberis.

So thus he rode with her two days; and by fortune there came Sir
Palomides and encountered with him, and he in the same wise served him
as did Bleoberis to-forehand. What dost thou here in my fellowship? said
the damosel Maledisant, thou canst not sit no knight, nor withstand him
one buffet, but if it were Sir Dagonet. Ah, fair damosel, I am not the
worse to take a fall of Sir Palomides, and yet great disworship have I
none, for neither Bleoberis nor yet Palomides would not fight with me on
foot. As for that, said the damosel, wit thou well they have disdain and
scorn to light off their horses to fight with such a lewd knight as thou
art. So in the meanwhile there came Sir Mordred, Sir Gawaine's brother,
and so he fell in the fellowship with the damosel Maledisant. And then
they came afore the Castle Orgulous, and there was such a custom that
there might no knight come by that castle but either he must joust or be
prisoner, or at the least to lose his horse and his harness. And there
came out two knights against them, and Sir Mordred jousted with the
foremost, and that knight of the castle smote Sir Mordred down off his
horse. And then La Cote Male Taile jousted with that other, and either
of them smote other down, horse and all, to the earth. And when they
avoided their horses, then either of them took other's horses. And then
La Cote Male Taile rode unto that knight that smote down Sir Mordred,
and jousted with him. And there Sir La Cote Male Taile hurt and wounded
him passing sore, and put him from his horse as he had been dead. So he
turned unto him that met him afore, and he took the flight towards
the castle, and Sir La Cote Male Taile rode after him into the Castle
Orgulous, and there La Cote Male Taile slew him.



CHAPTER IV. How La Cote Male Taile fought against an hundred knights,
and how he escaped by the mean of a lady.

AND anon there came an hundred knights about him and assailed him; and
when he saw his horse should be slain he alighted and voided his horse,
and put the bridle under his feet, and so put him out of the gate. And
when he had so done he hurled in among them, and dressed his back unto a
lady's chamber-wall, thinking himself that he had liefer die there with
worship than to abide the rebukes of the damosel Maledisant. And in the
meantime as he stood and fought, that lady whose was the chamber went
out slily at her postern, and without the gates she found La Cote Male
Taile's horse, and lightly she gat him by the bridle, and tied him
to the postern. And then she went unto her chamber slily again for to
behold how that one knight fought against an hundred knights. And when
she had beheld him long she went to a window behind his back, and said:
Thou knight, thou fightest wonderly well, but for all that at the last
thou must needs die, but, an thou canst through thy mighty prowess, win
unto yonder postern, for there have I fastened thy horse to abide thee:
but wit thou well thou must think on thy worship, and think not to
die, for thou mayst not win unto that postern without thou do nobly and
mightily. When La Cote Male Taile heard her say so he gripped his
sword in his hands, and put his shield fair afore him, and through the
thickest press he thrulled through them. And when he came to the postern
he found there ready four knights, and at two the first strokes he slew
two of the knights, and the other fled; and so he won his horse and rode
from them. And all as it was it was rehearsed in King Arthur's court,
how he slew twelve knights within the Castle Orgulous; and so he rode on
his way.

And in the meanwhile the damosel said to Sir Mordred: I ween my foolish
knight be either slain or taken prisoner: then were they ware where he
came riding. And when he was come unto them he told all how he had sped
and escaped in despite of them all: And some of the best of them will
tell no tales. Thou liest falsely, said the damosel, that dare I make
good, but as a fool and a dastard to all knighthood they have let thee
pass. That may ye prove, said La Cote Male Taile. With that she sent a
courier of hers, that rode alway with her, for to know the truth of this
deed; and so he rode thither lightly, and asked how and in what manner
that La Cote Male Taile was escaped out of the castle. Then all the
knights cursed him, and said that he was a fiend and no man: For he hath
slain here twelve of our best knights, and we weened unto this day that
it had been too much for Sir Launcelot du Lake or for Sir Tristram de
Liones. And in despite of us all he is departed from us and maugre our
heads.

With this answer the courier departed and came to Maledisant his lady,
and told her all how Sir La Cote Male Taile had sped at the Castle
Orgulous. Then she smote down her head, and said little. By my head,
said Sir Mordred to the damosel, ye are greatly to blame so to rebuke
him, for I warn you plainly he is a good knight, and I doubt not but
he shall prove a noble knight; but as yet he may not yet sit sure on
horseback, for he that shall be a good horseman it must come of usage
and exercise. But when he cometh to the strokes of his sword he is then
noble and mighty, and that saw Sir Bleoberis and Sir Palomides, for wit
ye well they are wily men of arms, and anon they know when they see a
young knight by his riding, how they are sure to give him a fall from
his horse or a great buffet. But for the most part they will not light
on foot with young knights, for they are wight and strongly armed. For
in likewise Sir Launcelot du Lake, when he was first made knight, he was
often put to the worse upon horseback, but ever upon foot he recovered
his renown, and slew and defoiled many knights of the Round Table. And
therefore the rebukes that Sir Launcelot did unto many knights causeth
them that be men of prowess to beware; for often I have seen the old
proved knights rebuked and slain by them that were but young beginners.
Thus they rode sure talking by the way together.



CHAPTER V. How Sir Launcelot came to the court and heard of La Cote Male
Taile, and how he followed after him, and how La Cote Male Taile was
prisoner.

HERE leave we off a while of this tale, and speak we of Sir Launcelot du
Lake,[*9] that when he was come to the court of King Arthur, then heard
he tell of the young knight La Cote Male Taile, how he slew the lion,
and how he took upon him the adventure of the black shield, the which
was named at that time the hardiest adventure of the world. So God me
save, said Sir Launcelot unto many of his fellows, it was shame to all
the noble knights to suffer such a young knight to take such adventure
upon him for his destruction; for I will that ye wit, said Sir
Launcelot, that that damosel Maledisant hath borne that shield many a
day for to seek the most proved knights, and that was she that Breuse
Saunce Pite took that shield from her, and after Tristram de Liones
rescued that shield from him and gave it to the damosel again, a little
afore that time that Sir Tristram fought with my nephew Sir Blamore de
Ganis, for a quarrel that was betwixt the King of Ireland and him. Then
many knights were sorry that Sir La Cote Male Taile was gone forth to
that adventure. Truly, said Sir Launcelot, I cast me to ride after him.
And within seven days Sir Launcelot overtook La Cote Male Taile, and
then he saluted him and the damosel Maledisant. And when Sir Mordred saw
Sir Launcelot, then he left their fellowship; and so Sir Launcelot rode
with them all a day, and ever that damosel rebuked La Cote Male Taile;
and then Sir Launcelot answered for him, then she left off, and rebuked
Sir Launcelot.


[*9] Printed by Caxton as part of chap. iv.


So this meantime Sir Tristram sent by a damosel a letter unto Sir
Launcelot, excusing him of the wedding of Isoud la Blanche Mains; and
said in the letter, as he was a true knight he had never ado fleshly
with Isoud la Blanche Mains; and passing courteously and gentily Sir
Tristram wrote unto Sir Launcelot, ever beseeching him to be his good
friend and unto La Beale Isoud of Cornwall, and that Sir Launcelot would
excuse him if that ever he saw her. And within short time by the grace
of God, said Sir Tristram, that he would speak with La Beale Isoud, and
with him right hastily. Then Sir Launcelot departed from the damosel and
from Sir La Cote Male Taile, for to oversee that letter, and to write
another letter unto Sir Tristram de Liones.

And in the meanwhile La Cote Male Taile rode with the damosel until they
came to a castle that hight Pendragon; and there were six knights stood
afore him, and one of them proffered to joust with La Cote Male Taile.
And there La Cote Male Taile smote him over his horse's croup. And then
the five knights set upon him all at once with their spears, and
there they smote La Cote Male Taile down, horse and man. And then they
alighted suddenly, and set their hands upon him all at once, and took
him prisoner, and so led him unto the castle and kept him as prisoner.

And on the morn Sir Launcelot arose, and delivered the damosel with
letters unto Sir Tristram, and then he took his way after La Cote Male
Taile; and by the way upon a bridge there was a knight proffered Sir
Launcelot to joust, and Sir Launcelot smote him down, and then they
fought upon foot a noble battle together, and a mighty; and at the last
Sir Launcelot smote him down grovelling upon his hands and his knees.
And then that knight yielded him, and Sir Launcelot received him fair.
Sir, said the knight, I require thee tell me your name, for much my
heart giveth unto you. Nay, said Sir Launcelot, as at this time I will
not tell you my name, unless then that ye tell me your name. Certainly,
said the knight, my name is Sir Nerovens, that was made knight of my
lord Sir Launcelot du Lake. Ah, Nerovens de Lile, said Sir Launcelot, I
am right glad that ye are proved a good knight, for now wit ye well my
name is Sir Launcelot du Lake. Alas, said Sir Nerovens de Lile, what
have I done! And therewithal flatling he fell to his feet, and would
have kissed them, but Sir Launcelot would not let him; and then either
made great joy of other. And then Sir Nerovens told Sir Launcelot that
he should not go by the Castle of Pendragon: For there is a lord, a
mighty knight, and many knights with him, and this night I heard say
that they took a knight prisoner yesterday that rode with a damosel, and
they say he is a Knight of the Round Table.



CHAPTER VI. How Sir Launcelot fought with six knights, and after with
Sir Brian, and how he delivered the prisoners.

AH, said Sir Launcelot, that knight is my fellow, and him shall I rescue
or else I shall lose my life therefore. And therewithal he rode fast
till he came before the Castle of Pendragon; and anon therewithal there
came six knights, and all made them ready to set upon Sir Launcelot at
once; then Sir Launcelot feutred his spear, and smote the foremost that
he brake his back in-sunder, and three of them hit and three failed. And
then Sir Launcelot passed through them, and lightly he turned in again,
and smote another knight through the breast and throughout the back more
than an ell, and therewithal his spear brake. So then all the remnant of
the four knights drew their swords and lashed at Sir Launcelot. And at
every stroke Sir Launcelot bestowed so his strokes that at four strokes
sundry they avoided their saddles, passing sore wounded; and forthwithal
he rode hurling into that castle.

And anon the lord of the castle, that was that time cleped Sir Brian de
les Isles, the which was a noble man and a great enemy unto King Arthur,
within a while he was armed and upon horseback. And then they feutred
their spears and hurled together so strongly that both their horses
rashed to the earth. And then they avoided their saddles, and dressed
their shields, and drew their swords, and flang together as wood men,
and there were many strokes given in a while. At the last Sir Launcelot
gave to Sir Brian such a buffet that he kneeled upon his knees, and then
Sir Launcelot rashed upon him, and with great force he pulled off his
helm; and when Sir Brian saw that he should be slain he yielded him, and
put him in his mercy and in his grace. Then Sir Launcelot made him to
deliver all his prisoners that he had within his castle, and therein Sir
Launcelot found of Arthur's knights thirty, and forty ladies, and so he
delivered them; and then he rode his way. And anon as La Cote Male
Taile was delivered he gat his horse, and his harness, and his damosel
Maledisant.

The meanwhile Sir Nerovens, that Sir Launcelot had foughten withal afore
at the bridge, he sent a damosel after Sir Launcelot to wit how he sped
at the Castle of Pendragon. And then they within the castle marvelled
what knight he was, when Sir Brian and his knights delivered all those
prisoners. Have ye no marvel, said the damosel, for the best knight in
this world was here, and did this journey, and wit ye well, she said,
it was Sir Launcelot. Then was Sir Brian full glad, and so was his
lady, and all his knights, that such a man should win them. And when the
damosel and La Cote Male Taile understood that it was Sir Launcelot du
Lake that had ridden with them in fellowship, and that she remembered
her how she had rebuked him and called him coward, then was she passing
heavy.

CHAPTER VII. How Sir Launcelot met with the damosel named Male disant,
and named her the Damosel Bienpensant.

SO then they took their horses and rode forth a pace after Sir
Launcelot. And within two mile they overtook him, and saluted him, and
thanked him, and the damosel cried Sir Launcelot mercy of her evil deed
and saying: For now I know the flower of all knighthood is departed even
between Sir Tristram and you. For God knoweth, said the damosel, that I
have sought you my lord, Sir Launcelot, and Sir Tristram long, and now
I thank God I have met with you; and once at Camelot I met with Sir
Tristram, and there he rescued this black shield with the white hand
holding a naked sword that Sir Breuse Saunce Pite had taken from me.
Now, fair damosel, said Sir Launcelot, who told you my name? Sir, said
she, there came a damosel from a knight that ye fought withal at the
bridge, and she told me your name was Sir Launcelot du Lake. Blame have
she then, said Sir Launcelot, but her lord, Sir Nerovens, hath told her.
But, damosel, said Sir Launcelot, upon this covenant I will ride with
you, so that ye will not rebuke this knight Sir La Cote Male Taile no
more; for he is a good knight, and I doubt not he shall prove a noble
knight, and for his sake and pity that he should not be destroyed I
followed him to succour him in this great need. Ah, Jesu thank you, said
the damosel, for now I will say unto you and to him both, I rebuked him
never for no hate that I hated him, but for great love that I had to
him. For ever I supposed that he had been too young and too tender to
take upon him these adventures. And therefore by my will I would have
driven him away for jealousy that I had of his life, for it may be
no young knight's deed that shall enchieve this adventure to the end.
Pardieu, said Sir Launcelot, it is well said, and where ye are called
the Damosel Maledisant I will call you the Damosel Bienpensant.

And so they rode forth a great while unto they came to the border of the
country of Surluse, and there they found a fair village with a strong
bridge like a fortress. And when Sir Launcelot and they were at the
bridge there stert forth afore them of gentlemen and yeomen many, that
said: Fair lords, ye may not pass this bridge and this fortress because
of that black shield that I see one of you bear, and therefore there
shall not pass but one of you at once; therefore choose you which of
you shall enter within this bridge first. Then Sir Launcelot proffered
himself first to enter within this bridge. Sir, said La Cote Male Taile,
I beseech you let me enter within this fortress, and if I may speed well
I will send for you, and if it happened that I be slain, there it goeth.
And if so be that I am a prisoner taken, then may ye rescue me. I am
loath, said Sir Launcelot, to let you pass this passage. Sir, said La
Cote Male Taile, I pray you let me put my body in this adventure. Now go
your way, said Sir Launcelot, and Jesu be your speed.

So he entered, and anon there met with him two brethren, the one hight
Sir Plaine de Force, and the other hight Sir Plaine de Amours. And anon
they met with Sir La Cote Male Taile; and first La Cote Male Taile smote
down Plaine de Force, and after he smote down Plaine de Amours; and then
they dressed them to their shields and swords, and bade La Cote Male
Taile alight, and so he did; and there was dashing and foining with
swords, and so they began to assail full hard La Cote Male Taile, and
many great wounds they gave him upon his head, and upon his breast,
and upon his shoulders. And as he might ever among he gave sad strokes
again. And then the two brethren traced and traversed for to be of
both hands of Sir La Cote Male Taile, but he by fine force and knightly
prowess gat them afore him. And then when he felt himself so wounded,
then he doubled his strokes, and gave them so many wounds that he felled
them to the earth, and would have slain them had they not yielded them.
And right so Sir La Cote Male Taile took the best horse that there
was of them three, and so rode forth his way to the other fortress
and bridge; and there he met with the third brother whose name was Sir
Plenorius, a full noble knight, and there they jousted together, and
either smote other down, horse and man, to the earth. And then they
avoided their horses, and dressed their shields, and drew their swords,
and gave many sad strokes, and one while the one knight was afore on the
bridge, and another while the other. And thus they fought two hours and
more, and never rested. And ever Sir Launcelot and the damosel beheld
them. Alas, said the damosel, my knight fighteth passing sore and over
long. Now may ye see, said Sir Launcelot, that he is a noble knight,
for to consider his first battle, and his grievous wounds; and even
forthwithal so wounded as he is, it is marvel that he may endure this
long battle with that good knight.



CHAPTER VIII. How La Cote Male Taile was taken prisoner, and after
rescued by Sir Launcelot, and how Sir Launcelot overcame four brethren.

THIS meanwhile Sir La Cote Male Taile sank right down upon the earth,
what for-wounded and what for-bled he might not stand. Then the other
knight had pity of him, and said: Fair young knight, dismay you not,
for had ye been fresh when ye met with me, as I was, I wot well that I
should not have endured so long as ye have done; and therefore for your
noble deeds of arms I shall show to you kindness and gentleness in all
that I may. And forthwithal this noble knight, Sir Plenorius, took him
up in his arms, and led him into his tower. And then he commanded him
the wine, and made to search him and to stop his bleeding wounds. Sir,
said La Cote Male Taile, withdraw you from me, and hie you to yonder
bridge again, for there will meet with you another manner knight than
ever was I. Why, said Plenorius, is there another manner knight behind
of your fellowship? Yea, said La Cote Male Taile, there is a much better
knight than I am. What is his name? said Plenorius. Ye shall not know
for me, said La Cote Male Taile. Well, said the knight, he shall be
encountered withal whatsomever he be.

Then Sir Plenorius heard a knight call that said: Sir Plenorius, where
art thou? either thou must deliver me the prisoner that thou hast led
unto thy tower, or else come and do battle with me. Then Plenorius
gat his horse, and came with a spear in his hand walloping toward Sir
Launcelot; and then they began to feutre their spears, and came together
as thunder, and smote either other so mightily that their horses fell
down under them. And then they avoided their horses, and pulled out
their swords, and like two bulls they lashed together with great strokes
and foins; but ever Sir Launcelot recovered ground upon him, and Sir
Plenorius traced to have gone about him. But Sir Launcelot would not
suffer that, but bare him backer and backer, till he came nigh his tower
gate. And then said Sir Launcelot: I know thee well for a good knight,
but wit thou well thy life and death is in my hand, and therefore yield
thee to me, and thy prisoner. The other answered no word, but struck
mightily upon Sir Launcelot's helm, that the fire sprang out of his
eyes. Then Sir Launcelot doubled his strokes so thick, and smote at him
so mightily, that he made him kneel upon his knees. And therewith Sir
Launcelot leapt upon him, and pulled him grovelling down. Then Sir
Plenorius yielded him, and his tower, and all his prisoners at his will.

Then Sir Launcelot received him and took his troth; and then he rode to
the other bridge, and there Sir Launcelot jousted with other three of
his brethren, the one hight Pillounes, and the other hight Pellogris,
and the third Sir Pellandris. And first upon horseback Sir Launcelot
smote them down, and afterward he beat them on foot, and made them to
yield them unto him; and then he returned unto Sir Plenorius, and there
he found in his prison King Carados of Scotland, and many other knights,
and all they were delivered. And then Sir La Cote Male Taile came to
Sir Launcelot, and then Sir Launcelot would have given him all these
fortresses and these bridges. Nay, said La Cote Male Taile, I will not
have Sir Plenorius' livelihood; with that he will grant you, my lord Sir
Launcelot, to come unto King Arthur's court, and to be his knight,
and all his brethren, I will pray you, my lord, to let him have his
livelihood. I will well, said Sir Launcelot, with this that he will come
to the court of King Arthur and become his man, and his brethren five.
And as for you, Sir Plenorius, I will undertake, said Sir Launcelot, at
the next feast, so there be a place voided, that ye shall be Knight of
the Round Table. Sir, said Plenorius, at the next feast of Pentecost I
will be at Arthur's court, and at that time I will be guided and ruled
as King Arthur and ye will have me. Then Sir Launcelot and Sir La Cote
Male Taile reposed them there, unto the time that Sir La Cote Male Taile
was whole of his wounds, and there they had merry cheer, and good rest,
and many good games, and there were many fair ladies.



CHAPTER IX. How Sir Launcelot made La Cote Male Taile lord of the Castle
of Pendragon, and after was made knight of the Round Table.

AND in the meanwhile came Sir Kay, the Seneschal, and Sir Brandiles,
and anon they fellowshipped with them. And then within ten days, then
departed those knights of Arthur's court from these fortresses. And as
Sir Launcelot came by the Castle of Pendragon there he put Sir Brian de
les Isles from his lands, for cause he would never be withhold with King
Arthur; and all that Castle of Pendragon and all the lands thereof he
gave to Sir La Cote Male Taile. And then Sir Launcelot sent for Nerovens
that he made once knight, and he made him to have all the rule of that
castle and of that country, under La Cote Male Taile; and so they rode
to Arthur's court all wholly together. And at Pentecost next following
there was Sir Plenorius and Sir La Cote Male Taile, called otherwise by
right Sir Breunor le Noire, both made Knights of the Table Round; and
great lands King Arthur gave them, and there Breunor le Noire wedded
that damosel Maledisant. And after she was called Beauvivante, but ever
after for the more part he was called La Cote Male Taile; and he proved
a passing noble knight, and mighty; and many worshipful deeds he did
after in his life; and Sir Plenorius proved a noble knight and full of
prowess, and all the days of their life for the most part they awaited
upon Sir Launcelot; and Sir Plenorius' brethren were ever knights of
King Arthur. And also, as the French book maketh mention, Sir La Cote
Male Taile avenged his father's death.



CHAPTER X. How La Beale Isoud sent letters to Sir Tristram by her maid
Bragwaine, and of divers adventures of Sir Tristram.

NOW leave we here Sir La Cote Male Taile, and turn we unto Sir Tristram
de Liones that was in Brittany. When La Beale Isoud understood that he
was wedded she sent to him by her maiden Bragwaine as piteous letters
as could be thought and made, and her conclusion was that, an it pleased
Sir Tristram, that he would come to her court, and bring with him Isoud
la Blanche Mains, and they should be kept as well as she herself. Then
Sir Tristram called unto him Sir Kehydius, and asked him whether he
would go with him into Cornwall secretly. He answered him that he was
ready at all times. And then he let ordain privily a little vessel,
and therein they went, Sir Tristram, Kehydius, Dame Bragwaine, and
Gouvernail, Sir Tristram's squire. So when they were in the sea a
contrarious wind blew them on the coasts of North Wales, nigh the Castle
Perilous. Then said Sir Tristram: Here shall ye abide me these ten days,
and Gouvernail, my squire, with you. And if so be I come not again by
that day take the next way into Cornwall; for in this forest are many
strange adventures, as I have heard say, and some of them I cast me to
prove or I depart. And when I may I shall hie me after you.

Then Sir Tristram and Kehydius took their horses and departed from their
fellowship. And so they rode within that forest a mile and more; and at
the last Sir Tristram saw afore him a likely knight, armed, sitting by
a well, and a strong mighty horse passing nigh him tied to an oak, and
a man hoving and riding by him leading an horse laden with spears. And
this knight that sat at the well seemed by his countenance to be passing
heavy. Then Sir Tristram rode near him and said: Fair knight, why sit ye
so drooping? ye seem to be a knight-errant by your arms and harness, and
therefore dress you to joust with one of us, or with both. Therewithal
that knight made no words, but took his shield and buckled it about his
neck, and lightly he took his horse and leapt upon him. And then he
took a great spear of his squire, and departed his way a furlong. Sir
Kehydius asked leave of Sir Tristram to joust first. Do your best, said
Sir Tristram. So they met together, and there Sir Kehydius had a fall,
and was sore wounded on high above the paps. Then Sir Tristram said:
Knight, that is well jousted, now make you ready unto me. I am ready,
said the knight. And then that knight took a greater spear in his hand,
and encountered with Sir Tristram, and there by great force that knight
smote down Sir Tristram from his horse and had a great fall. Then Sir
Tristram was sore ashamed, and lightly he avoided his horse, and put
his shield afore his shoulder, and drew his sword. And then Sir Tristram
required that knight of his knighthood to alight upon foot and fight
with him. I will well, said the knight; and so he alighted upon foot,
and avoided his horse, and cast his shield upon his shoulder, and drew
his sword, and there they fought a long battle together full nigh two
hours. Then Sir Tristram said: Fair knight, hold thine hand, and tell me
of whence thou art, and what is thy name. As for that, said the knight,
I will be avised; but an thou wilt tell me thy name peradventure I will
tell thee mine.



CHAPTER XI. How Sir Tristram met with Sir Lamorak de Galis, and how they
fought, and after accorded never to fight together.

NOW fair knight, he said, my name is Sir Tristram de Liones. Sir, said
the other knight, and my name is Sir Lamorak de Galis. Ah, Sir Lamorak,
said Sir Tristram, well be we met, and bethink thee now of the despite
thou didst me of the sending of the horn unto King Mark's court, to the
intent to have slain or dishonoured my lady the queen, La Beale Isoud;
and therefore wit thou well, said Sir Tristram, the one of us shall die
or we depart. Sir, said Sir Lamorak, remember that we were together in
the Isle of Servage, and at that time ye promised me great friendship.
Then Sir Tristram would make no longer delays, but lashed at Sir
Lamorak; and thus they fought long till either were weary of other. Then
Sir Tristram said to Sir Lamorak: In all my life met I never with such
a knight that was so big and well breathed as ye be, therefore, said Sir
Tristram, it were pity that any of us both should here be mischieved.
Sir said Sir Lamorak, for your renown and name I will that ye have the
worship of this battle, and therefore I will yield me unto you. And
therewith he took the point of his sword to yield him. Nay, said Sir
Tristram, ye shall not do so, for well I know your proffers, and more
of your gentleness than for any fear or dread ye have of me. And
therewithal Sir Tristram proffered him his sword and said: Sir Lamorak,
as an overcome knight I yield me unto you as to a man of the most noble
prowess that ever I met withal. Nay, said Sir Lamorak, I will do you
gentleness; I require you let us be sworn together that never none of us
shall after this day have ado with other. And therewithal Sir Tristram
and Sir Lamorak sware that never none of them should fight against
other, nor for weal nor for woe.



CHAPTER XII. How Sir Palomides followed the Questing Beast, and smote
down Sir Tristram and Sir Lamorak with one spear.

AND this meanwhile there came Sir Palomides, the good knight, following
the Questing Beast that had in shape a head like a serpent's head, and a
body like a leopard, buttocks like a lion, and footed like an hart; and
in his body there was such a noise as it had been the noise of thirty
couple of hounds questing, and such a noise that beast made wheresomever
he went; and this beast ever more Sir Palomides followed, for it was
called his quest. And right so as he followed this beast it came by Sir
Tristram, and soon after came Palomides. And to brief this matter he
smote down Sir Tristram and Sir Lamorak both with one spear; and so he
departed after the beast Galtisant, that was called the Questing Beast;
wherefore these two knights were passing wroth that Sir Palomides would
not fight on foot with them. Here men may understand that be of worship,
that he was never formed that all times might stand, but sometime he was
put to the worse by mal-fortune; and at sometime the worse knight put
the better knight to a rebuke.

Then Sir Tristram and Sir Lamorak gat Sir Kehydius upon a shield betwixt
them both, and led him to a forester's lodge, and there they gave him
in charge to keep him well, and with him they abode three days. Then the
two knights took their horses and at the cross they departed. And then
said Sir Tristram to Sir Lamorak: I require you if ye hap to meet with
Sir Palomides, say him that he shall find me at the same well where I
met him, and there I, Sir Tristram, shall prove whether he be better
knight than I. And so either departed from other a sundry way, and Sir
Tristram rode nigh thereas was Sir Kehydius; and Sir Lamorak rode until
he came to a chapel, and there he put his horse unto pasture. And anon
there came Sir Meliagaunce, that was King Bagdemagus' son, and he there
put his horse to pasture, and was not ware of Sir Lamorak; and then this
knight Sir Meliagaunce made his moan of the love that he had to Queen
Guenever, and there he made a woful complaint. All this heard Sir
Lamorak, and on the morn Sir Lamorak took his horse and rode unto the
forest, and there he met with two knights hoving under the wood-shaw.
Fair knights, said Sir Lamorak, what do ye hoving here and watching? and
if ye be knights-errant that will joust, lo I am ready. Nay, sir knight,
they said, not so, we abide not here to joust with you, but we lie here
in await of a knight that slew our brother. What knight was that, said
Sir Lamorak, that you would fain meet withal? Sir, they said, it is Sir
Launcelot that slew our brother, and if ever we may meet with him
he shall not escape, but we shall slay him. Ye take upon you a great
charge, said Sir Lamorak, for Sir Launcelot is a noble proved knight. As
for that we doubt not, for there nis none of us but we are good enough
for him. I will not believe that, said Sir Lamorak, for I heard never
yet of no knight the days of my life but Sir Launcelot was too big for
him.



CHAPTER XIII. How Sir Lamorak met with Sir Meliagaunce, and fought
together for the beauty of Dame Guenever.

RIGHT so as they stood talking thus Sir Lamorak was ware how Sir
Launcelot came riding straight toward them; then Sir Lamorak saluted
him, and he him again. And then Sir Lamorak asked Sir Launcelot if there
were anything that he might do for him in these marches. Nay, said
Sir Launcelot, not at this time I thank you. Then either departed from
other, and Sir Lamorak rode again thereas he left the two knights, and
then he found them hid in the leaved wood. Fie on you, said Sir Lamorak,
false cowards, pity and shame it is that any of you should take the high
order of knighthood. So Sir Lamorak departed from them, and within a
while he met with Sir Meliagaunce. And then Sir Lamorak asked him why he
loved Queen Guenever as he did: For I was not far from you when ye made
your complaint by the chapel. Did ye so? said Sir Meliagaunce, then will
I abide by it: I love Queen Guenever, what will ye with it? I will prove
and make good that she is the fairest lady and most of beauty in the
world. As to that, said Sir Lamorak, I say nay thereto, for Queen
Morgawse of Orkney, mother to Sir Gawaine, and his mother is the
fairest queen and lady that beareth the life. That is not so, said Sir
Meliagaunce, and that will I prove with my hands upon thy body. Will ye
so? said Sir Lamorak, and in a better quarrel keep I not to fight.
Then they departed either from other in great wrath. And then they came
riding together as it had been thunder, and either smote other so sore
that their horses fell backward to the earth. And then they avoided
their horses, and dressed their shields, and drew their swords. And then
they hurtled together as wild boars, and thus they fought a great while.
For Meliagaunce was a good man and of great might, but Sir Lamorak was
hard big for him, and put him always aback, but either had wounded other
sore.

And as they stood thus fighting, by fortune came Sir Launcelot and Sir
Bleoberis riding. And then Sir Launcelot rode betwixt them, and asked
them for what cause they fought so together: And ye are both knights of
King Arthur!



CHAPTER XIV. How Sir Meliagaunce told for what cause they fought, and
how Sir Lamorak jousted with King Arthur.

SIR, said Meliagaunce, I shall tell you for what cause we do this
battle. I praised my lady, Queen Guenever, and said she was the fairest
lady of the world, and Sir Lamorak said nay thereto, for he said Queen
Morgawse of Orkney was fairer than she and more of beauty. Ah, Sir
Lamorak, why sayest thou so? it is not thy part to dispraise thy
princess that thou art under her obeissance, and we all. And therewith
he alighted on foot, and said: For this quarrel, make thee ready, for I
will prove upon thee that Queen Guenever is the fairest lady and most of
bounty in the world. Sir, said Sir Lamorak, I am loath to have ado with
you in this quarrel, for every man thinketh his own lady fairest; and
though I praise the lady that I love most ye should not be wroth; for
though my lady Queen Guenever, be fairest in your eye, wit ye well Queen
Morgawse of Orkney is fairest in mine eye, and so every knight thinketh
his own lady fairest; and wit ye well, sir, ye are the man in the world
except Sir Tristram that I am most loathest to have ado withal, but, an
ye will needs fight with me I shall endure you as long as I may. Then
spake Sir Bleoberis and said: My lord Sir Launcelot, I wist you never
so misadvised as ye are now, for Sir Lamorak sayeth you but reason and
knightly; for I warn you I have a lady, and methinketh that she is the
fairest lady of the world. Were this a great reason that ye should be
wroth with me for such language? And well ye wot, that Sir Lamorak is as
noble a knight as I know, and he hath ought you and us ever good will,
and therefore I pray you be good friends. Then Sir Launcelot said
unto Sir Lamorak. I pray you forgive me mine evil will, and if I was
misadvised I will amend it. Sir, said Sir Lamorak, the amends is
soon made betwixt you and me. And so Sir Launcelot and Sir Bleoberis
departed, and Sir Meliagaunce and Sir Lamorak took their horses, and
either departed from other.

And within a while came King Arthur, and met with Sir Lamorak, and
jousted with him; and there he smote down Sir Lamorak, and wounded him
sore with a spear, and so he rode from him; wherefore Sir Lamorak was
wroth that he would not fight with him on foot, howbeit that Sir Lamorak
knew not King Arthur.



CHAPTER XV. How Sir Kay met with Sir Tristram, and after of the shame
spoken of the knights of Cornwall, and how they jousted.

NOW leave we of this tale, and speak we of Sir Tristram, that as he rode
he met with Sir Kay, the Seneschal; and there Sir Kay asked Sir Tristram
of what country he was. He answered that he was of the country of
Cornwall. It may well be, said Sir Kay, for yet heard I never that
ever good knight came out of Cornwall. That is evil spoken, said Sir
Tristram, but an it please you to tell me your name I require you. Sir,
wit ye well, said Sir Kay, that my name is Sir Kay, the Seneschal. Is
that your name? said Sir Tristram, now wit ye well that ye are named the
shamefullest knight of your tongue that now is living; howbeit ye
are called a good knight, but ye are called unfortunate, and passing
overthwart of your tongue. And thus they rode together till they came
to a bridge. And there was a knight would not let them pass till one
of them jousted with him; and so that knight jousted with Sir Kay,
and there that knight gave Sir Kay a fall: his name was Sir Tor, Sir
Lamorak's half-brother. And then they two rode to their lodging, and
there they found Sir Brandiles, and Sir Tor came thither anon after. And
as they sat at supper these four knights, three of them spake all shame
by Cornish knights. Sir Tristram heard all that they said and he said
but little, but he thought the more, but at that time he discovered not
his name.

Upon the morn Sir Tristram took his horse and abode them upon their way.
And there Sir Brandiles proffered to joust with Sir Tristram, and Sir
Tristram smote him down, horse and all, to the earth. Then Sir Tor le
Fise de Vayshoure encountered with Sir Tristram and there Sir Tristram
smote him down, and then he rode his way, and Sir Kay followed him, but
he would not of his fellowship. Then Sir Brandiles came to Sir Kay and
said: I would wit fain what is that knight's name. Come on with me,
said Sir Kay, and we shall pray him to tell us his name. So they rode
together till they came nigh him, and then they were ware where he sat
by a well, and had put off his helm to drink at the well. And when he
saw them come he laced on his helm lightly, and took his horse, and
proffered them to joust. Nay, said Sir Brandiles, we jousted late enough
with you, we come not in that intent. But for this we come to require
you of knighthood to tell us your name. My fair knights, sithen that
is your desire, and to please you, ye shall wit that my name is Sir
Tristram de Liones, nephew unto King Mark of Cornwall. In good time,
said Sir Brandiles, and well be ye found, and wit ye well that we be
right glad that we have found you, and we be of a fellowship that would
be right glad of your company. For ye are the knight in the world
that the noble fellowship of the Round Table most desireth to have the
company of. God thank them said Sir Tristram, of their great goodness,
but as yet I feel well that I am unable to be of their fellowship, for I
was never yet of such deeds of worthiness to be in the company of such
a fellowship. Ah, said Sir Kay, an ye be Sir Tristram de Liones, ye are
the man called now most of prowess except Sir Launcelot du Lake; for he
beareth not the life, Christian nor heathen, that can find such another
knight, to speak of his prowess, and of his hands, and his truth withal.
For yet could there never creature say of him dishonour and make it
good. Thus they talked a great while, and then they departed either from
other such ways as them seemed best.



CHAPTER XVI. How King Arthur was brought into the Forest Perilous, and
how Sir Tristram saved his life.

NOW shall ye hear what was the cause that King Arthur came into the
Forest Perilous, that was in North Wales, by the means of a lady. Her
name was Annowre, and this lady came to King Arthur at Cardiff; and she
by fair promise and fair behests made King Arthur to ride with her into
that Forest Perilous; and she was a great sorceress; and many days she
had loved King Arthur, and because she would have him to lie by her she
came into that country. So when the king was gone with her many of
his knights followed after King Arthur when they missed him, as Sir
Launcelot, Brandiles, and many other; and when she had brought him to
her tower she desired him to lie by her; and then the king remembered
him of his lady, and would not lie by her for no craft that she could
do. Then every day she would make him ride into that forest with his own
knights, to the intent to have had King Arthur slain. For when this Lady
Annowre saw that she might not have him at her will, then she laboured
by false means to have destroyed King Arthur, and slain.

Then the Lady of the Lake that was alway friendly to King Arthur,
she understood by her subtle crafts that King Arthur was like to be
destroyed. And therefore this Lady of the Lake, that hight Nimue, came
into that forest to seek after Sir Launcelot du Lake or Sir Tristram for
to help King Arthur; foras that same day this Lady of the Lake knew
well that King Arthur should be slain, unless that he had help of one of
these two knights. And thus she rode up and down till she met with Sir
Tristram, and anon as she saw him she knew him. O my lord Sir Tristram,
she said, well be ye met, and blessed be the time that I have met with
you; for this same day, and within these two hours, shall be done the
foulest deed that ever was done in this land. O fair damosel, said Sir
Tristram, may I amend it. Come on with me, she said, and that in all
the haste ye may, for ye shall see the most worshipfullest knight of the
world hard bestead. Then said Sir Tristram: I am ready to help such a
noble man. He is neither better nor worse, said the Lady of the Lake,
but the noble King Arthur himself. God defend, said Sir Tristram, that
ever he should be in such distress. Then they rode together a great
pace, until they came to a little turret or castle; and underneath that
castle they saw a knight standing upon foot fighting with two knights;
and so Sir Tristram beheld them, and at the last the two knights smote
down the one knight, and that one of them unlaced his helm to have slain
him. And the Lady Annowre gat King Arthur's sword in her hand to have
stricken off his head. And therewithal came Sir Tristram with all his
might, crying: Traitress, traitress, leave that. And anon there Sir
Tristram smote the one of the knights through the body that he fell
dead; and then he rashed to the other and smote his back asunder; and
in the meanwhile the Lady of the Lake cried to King Arthur: Let not
that false lady escape. Then King Arthur overtook her, and with the same
sword he smote off her head, and the Lady of the Lake took up her head
and hung it up by the hair of her saddle-bow. And then Sir Tristram
horsed King Arthur and rode forth with him, but he charged the Lady of
the Lake not to discover his name as at that time.


When the king was horsed he thanked heartily Sir Tristram, and desired
to wit his name; but he would not tell him, but that he was a poor
knight adventurous; and so he bare King Arthur fellowship till he met
with some of his knights. And within a while he met with Sir Ector de
Maris, and he knew not King Arthur nor Sir Tristram, and he desired to
joust with one of them. Then Sir Tristram rode unto Sir Ector, and smote
him from his horse. And when he had done so he came again to the king
and said: My lord, yonder is one of your knights, he may bare you
fellowship, and another day that deed that I have done for you I trust
to God ye shall understand that I would do you service. Alas, said King
Arthur, let me wit what ye are? Not at this time, said Sir Tristram. So
he departed and left King Arthur and Sir Ector together.



CHAPTER XVII. How Sir Tristram came to La Beale Isoud, and how Kehydius
began to love Beale Isoud, and of a letter that Tristram found.

AND then at a day set Sir Tristram and Sir Lamorak met at the well; and
then they took Kehydius at the forester's house, and so they rode with
him to the ship where they left Dame Bragwaine and Gouvernail, and
so they sailed into Cornwall all wholly together. And by assent and
information of Dame Bragwaine when they were landed they rode unto Sir
Dinas, the Seneschal, a trusty friend of Sir Tristram's. And so Dame
Bragwaine and Sir Dinas rode to the court of King Mark, and told the
queen, La Beale Isoud, that Sir Tristram was nigh her in that country.
Then for very pure joy La Beale Isoud swooned; and when she might speak
she said: Gentle knight Seneschal, help that I might speak with him,
outher my heart will brast. Then Sir Dinas and Dame Bragwaine brought
Sir Tristram and Kehydius privily unto the court, unto a chamber whereas
La Beale Isoud had assigned it; and to tell the joys that were betwixt
La Beale Isoud and Sir Tristram, there is no tongue can tell it, nor
heart think it, nor pen write it. And as the French book maketh mention,
at the first time that ever Sir Kehydius saw La Beale Isoud he was so
enamoured upon her that for very pure love he might never withdraw it.
And at the last, as ye shall hear or the book be ended, Sir Kehydius
died for the love of La Beale Isoud. And then privily he wrote unto her
letters and ballads of the most goodliest that were used in those days.
And when La Beale Isoud understood his letters she had pity of his
complaint, and unavised she wrote another letter to comfort him withal.

And Sir Tristram was all this while in a turret at the commandment of La
Beale Isoud, and when she might she came unto Sir Tristram. So on a day
King Mark played at the chess under a chamber window; and at that time
Sir Tristram and Sir Kehydius were within the chamber over King Mark,
and as it mishapped Sir Tristram found the letter that Kehydius sent
unto La Beale Isoud, also he had found the letter that she wrote unto
Kehydius, and at that same time La Beale Isoud was in the same chamber.
Then Sir Tristram came unto La Beale Isoud and said: Madam, here is a
letter that was sent unto you, and here is the letter that ye sent unto
him that sent you that letter. Alas, Madam, the good love that I have
loved you; and many lands and riches have I forsaken for your love, and
now ye are a traitress to me, the which doth me great pain. But as for
thee, Sir Kehydius, I brought thee out of Brittany into this country,
and thy father, King Howel, I won his lands, howbeit I wedded thy sister
Isoud la Blanche Mains for the goodness she did unto me. And yet, as
I am true knight, she is a clean maiden for me; but wit thou well,
Sir Kehydius, for this falsehood and treason thou hast done me, I will
revenge it upon thee. And therewithal Sir Tristram drew out his sword
and said: Sir Kehydius, keep thee, and then La Beale Isoud swooned to
the earth. And when Sir Kehydius saw Sir Tristram come upon him he saw
none other boot, but leapt out at a bay-window even over the head where
sat King Mark playing at the chess. And when the king saw one come
hurling over his head he said: Fellow, what art thou, and what is the
cause thou leapest out at that window? My lord the king, said Kehydius,
it fortuned me that I was asleep in the window above your head, and as
I slept I slumbered, and so I fell down. And thus Sir Kehydius excused
him.



CHAP TER XVIII. How Sir Tristram departed from Tintagil, and how he
sorrowed and was so long in a forest till he was out of his mind.

THEN Sir Tristram dread sore lest he were discovered unto the king that
he was there; wherefore he drew him to the strength of the Tower, and
armed him in such armour as he had for to fight with them that would
withstand him. And so when Sir Tristram saw there was no resistance
against him he sent Gouvernail for his horse and his spear, and knightly
he rode forth out of the castle openly, that was called the Castle of
Tintagil. And even at gate he met with Gingalin, Sir Gawaine's son. And
anon Sir Gingalin put his spear in his rest, and ran upon Sir Tristram
and brake his spear; and Sir Tristram at that time had but a sword, and
gave him such a buffet upon the helm that he fell down from his saddle,
and his sword slid adown, and carved asunder his horse's neck. And so
Sir Tristram rode his way into the forest, and all this doing saw King
Mark. And then he sent a squire unto the hurt knight, and commanded him
to come to him, and so he did. And when King Mark wist that it was
Sir Gingalin he welcomed him and gave him an horse, and asked him what
knight it was that had encountered with him. Sir, said Gingalin, I wot
not what knight he was, but well I wot that he sigheth and maketh great
dole.

Then Sir Tristram within a while met with a knight of his own, that
hight Sir Fergus. And when he had met with him he made great sorrow,
insomuch that he fell down off his horse in a swoon, and in such sorrow
he was in three days and three nights. Then at the last Sir Tristram
sent unto the court by Sir Fergus, for to spere what tidings. And so as
he rode by the way he met with a damosel that came from Sir Palomides,
to know and seek how Sir Tristram did. Then Sir Fergus told her how he
was almost out of his mind. Alas, said the damosel, where shall I find
him? In such a place, said Sir Fergus. Then Sir Fergus found Queen Isoud
sick in her bed, making the greatest dole that ever any earthly woman
made. And when the damosel found Sir Tristram she made great dole
because she might not amend him, for the more she made of him the more
was his pain. And at the last Sir Tristram took his horse and rode away
from her. And then was it three days or that she could find him, and
then she brought him meat and drink, but he would none; and then another
time Sir Tristram escaped away from the damosel, and it happed him to
ride by the same castle where Sir Palomides and Sir Tristram did battle
when La Beale Isoud departed them. And there by fortune the damosel
met with Sir Tristram again, making the greatest dole that ever earthly
creature made; and she yede to the lady of that castle and told her of
the misadventure of Sir Tristram. Alas, said the lady of that castle,
where is my lord, Sir Tristram? Right here by your castle, said the
damosel. In good time, said the lady, is he so nigh me; he shall have
meat and drink of the best; and an harp I have of his whereupon he
taught me, for of goodly harping he beareth the prize in the world.
So this lady and damosel brought him meat and drink, but he ate little
thereof. Then upon a night he put his horse from him, and then he
unlaced his armour, and then Sir Tristram would go into the wilderness,
and brast down the trees and boughs; and otherwhile when he found the
harp that the lady sent him, then would he harp, and play thereupon and
weep together. And sometime when Sir Tristram was in the wood that the
lady wist not where he was, then would she sit her down and play upon
that harp: then would Sir Tristram come to that harp, and hearken
thereto, and sometime he would harp himself. Thus he there endured a
quarter of a year. Then at the last he ran his way, and she wist not
where he was become. And then was he naked and waxed lean and poor of
flesh; and so he fell in the fellowship of herdmen and shepherds, and
daily they would give him some of their meat and drink. And when he did
any shrewd deed they would beat him with rods, and so they clipped him
with shears and made him like a fool.



CHAPTER XIX. How Sir Tristram soused Dagonet in a well, and how
Palomides sent a damosel to seek Tristram, and how Palomides met with
King Mark.

AND upon a day Dagonet, King Arthur's fool, came into Cornwall with two
squires with him; and as they rode through that forest they came by a
fair well where Sir Tristram was wont to be; and the weather was hot,
and they alighted to drink of that well, and in the meanwhile their
horses brake loose. Right so Sir Tristram came unto them, and first
he soused Sir Dagonet in that well, and after his squires, and thereat
laughed the shepherds; and forthwithal he ran after their horses and
brought them again one by one, and right so, wet as they were, he made
them leap up and ride their ways. Thus Sir Tristram endured there an
half year naked, and would never come in town nor village. The meanwhile
the damosel that Sir Palomides sent to seek Sir Tristram, she yede unto
Sir Palomides and told him all the mischief that Sir Tristram endured.
Alas, said Sir Palomides, it is great pity that ever so noble a knight
should be so mischieved for the love of a lady; but nevertheless, I will
go and seek him, and comfort him an I may. Then a little before that
time La Beale Isoud had commanded Sir Kehydius out of the country
of Cornwall. So Sir Kehydius departed with a dolorous heart, and by
adventure he met with Sir Palomides, and they enfellowshipped together;
and either complained to other of their hot love that they loved La
Beale Isoud. Now let us, said Sir Palomides, seek Sir Tristram, that
loved her as well as we, and let us prove whether we may recover him. So
they rode into that forest, and three days and three nights they would
never take their lodging, but ever sought Sir Tristram.

And upon a time, by adventure, they met with King Mark that was ridden
from his men all alone. When they saw him Sir Palomides knew him, but
Sir Kehydius knew him not. Ah, false king, said Sir Palomides, it is
pity thou hast thy life, for thou art a destroyer of all worshipful
knights, and by thy mischief and thy vengeance thou hast destroyed that
most noble knight, Sir Tristram de Liones. And therefore defend thee,
said Sir Palomides, for thou shalt die this day. That were shame, said
King Mark, for ye two are armed and I am unarmed. As for that, said Sir
Palomides, I shall find a remedy therefore; here is a knight with me,
and thou shalt have his harness. Nay, said King Mark, I will not have
ado with you, for cause have ye none to me; for all the misease that Sir
Tristram hath was for a letter that he found; for as to me I did to
him no displeasure, and God knoweth I am full sorry for his disease and
malady. So when the king had thus excused him they were friends, and
King Mark would have had them unto Tintagil; but Sir Palomides would
not, but turned unto the realm of Logris, and Sir Kehydius said that he
would go into Brittany.

Now turn we unto Sir Dagonet again, that when he and his squires were
upon horseback he deemed that the shepherds had sent that fool to array
them so, because that they laughed at them, and so they rode unto the
keepers of beasts and all to-beat them. Sir Tristram saw them beat that
were wont to give him meat and drink, then he ran thither and gat Sir
Dagonet by the head, and gave him such a fall to the earth that he
bruised him sore so that he lay still. And then he wrast his sword out
of his hand, and therewith he ran to one of his squires and smote off
his head, and the other fled. And so Sir Tristram took his way with that
sword in his hand, running as he had been wild wood. Then Sir Dagonet
rode to King Mark and told him how he had sped in that forest. And
therefore, said Sir Dagonet, beware, King Mark, that thou come not about
that well in the forest, for there is a fool naked, and that fool and I
fool met together, and he had almost slain me. Ah, said King Mark, that
is Sir Matto le Breune, that fell out of his wit because he lost his
lady; for when Sir Gaheris smote down Sir Matto and won his lady of him,
never since was he in his mind, and that was pity, for he was a good
knight.



CHAPTER XX. How it was noised how Sir Tristram was dead, and how La
Beale Isoud would have slain herself.

THEN Sir Andred, that was cousin unto Sir Tristram, made a lady that was
his paramour to say and to noise it that she was with Sir Tristram or
ever he died. And this tale she brought unto King Mark's court, that she
buried him by a well, and that or he died he besought King Mark to make
his cousin, Sir Andred, king of the country of Liones, of the which Sir
Tristram was lord of. All this did Sir Andred because he would have had
Sir Tristram's lands. And when King Mark heard tell that Sir Tristram
was dead he wept and made great dole. But when Queen Isoud heard of
these tidings she made such sorrow that she was nigh out of her mind;
and so upon a day she thought to slay herself and never to live after
Sir Tristram's death. And so upon a day La Beale Isoud gat a sword
privily and bare it to her garden, and there she pight the sword through
a plum tree up to the hilt, so that it stuck fast, and it stood breast
high. And as she would have run upon the sword and to have slain herself
all this espied King Mark, how she kneeled down and said: Sweet Lord
Jesu, have mercy upon me, for I may not live after the death of Sir
Tristram de Liones, for he was my first love and he shall be the last.
And with these words came King Mark and took her in his arms, and then
he took up the sword, and bare her away with him into a tower; and there
he made her to be kept, and watched her surely, and after that she lay
long sick, nigh at the point of death.

This meanwhile ran Sir Tristram naked in the forest with the sword in
his hand, and so he came to an hermitage, and there he laid him down and
slept; and in the meanwhile the hermit stole away his sword, and laid
meat down by him. Thus was he kept there ten days; and at the last he
departed and came to the herdmen again. And there was a giant in that
country that hight Tauleas, and for fear of Sir Tristram more than seven
year he durst never much go at large, but for the most part he kept him
in a sure castle of his own; and so this Tauleas heard tell that Sir
Tristram was dead, by the noise of the court of King Mark. Then this
Tauleas went daily at large. And so he happed upon a day he came to the
herdmen wandering and langering, and there he set him down to rest among
them. The meanwhile there came a knight of Cornwall that led a lady with
him, and his name was Sir Dinant; and when the giant saw him he went
from the herdmen and hid him under a tree, and so the knight came to
that well, and there he alighted to repose him. And as soon as he was
from his horse this giant Tauleas came betwixt this knight and his
horse, and took the horse and leapt upon him. So forthwith he rode unto
Sir Dinant and took him by the collar, and pulled him afore him upon his
horse, and there would have stricken off his head. Then the herdmen said
unto Sir Tristram: Help yonder knight. Help ye him, said Sir Tristram.
We dare not, said the herdmen. Then Sir Tristram was ware of the sword
of the knight thereas it lay; and so thither he ran and took up the
sword and struck off Sir Tauleas' head, and so he yede his way to the
herdmen.



CHAPTER XXI. How King Mark found Sir Tristram naked, and made him to be
borne home to Tintagil, and how he was there known by a brachet.

THEN the knight took up the giant's head and bare it with him unto King
Mark, and told him what adventure betid him in the forest, and how a
naked man rescued him from the grimly giant, Tauleas. Where had ye
this adventure? said King Mark. Forsooth, said Sir Dinant, at the fair
fountain in your forest where many adventurous knights meet, and there
is the mad man. Well, said King Mark, I will see that wild man. So
within a day or two King Mark commanded his knights and his hunters that
they should be ready on the morn for to hunt, and so upon the morn he
went unto that forest. And when the king came to that well he found
there lying by that well a fair naked man, and a sword by him. Then King
Mark blew and straked, and therewith his knights came to him; and then
the king commanded his knights to: Take that naked man with fairness,
and bring him to my castle. So they did softly and fair, and cast
mantles upon Sir Tristram, and so led him unto Tintagil; and there they
bathed him, and washed him, and gave him hot suppings till they had
brought him well to his remembrance; but all this while there was no
creature that knew Sir Tristram, nor what man he was.

So it fell upon a day that the queen, La Beale Isoud, heard of such a
man, that ran naked in the forest, and how the king had brought him home
to the court. Then La Beale Isoud called unto her Dame Bragwaine and
said: Come on with me, for we will go see this man that my lord brought
from the forest the last day. So they passed forth, and spered where was
the sick man. And then a squire told the queen that he was in the garden
taking his rest, and reposing him against the sun. So when the queen
looked upon Sir Tristram she was not remembered of him. But ever she
said unto Dame Bragwaine: Meseemeth I should have seen him heretofore
in many places. But as soon as Sir Tristram saw her he knew her well
enough. And then he turned away his visage and wept.

Then the queen had always a little brachet with her that Sir Tristram
gave her the first time that ever she came into Cornwall, and never
would that brachet depart from her but if Sir Tristram was nigh thereas
was La Beale Isoud; and this brachet was sent from the king's daughter
of France unto Sir Tristram for great love. And anon as this little
brachet felt a savour of Sir Tristram, she leapt upon him and licked his
lears and his ears, and then she whined and quested, and she smelled at
his feet and at his hands, and on all parts of his body that she might
come to. Ah, my lady, said Dame Bragwaine unto La Beale Isoud, alas,
alas, said she, I see it is mine own lord, Sir Tristram. And thereupon
Isoud fell down in a swoon, and so lay a great while And when she might
speak she said: My lord Sir Tristram, blessed be God ye have your life,
and now I am sure ye shall be discovered by this little brachet, for she
will never leave you. And also I am sure as soon as my lord, King Mark,
do know you he will banish you out of the country of Cornwall, or else
he will destroy you; for God's sake, mine own lord, grant King Mark his
will, and then draw you unto the court of King Arthur, for there are ye
beloved, and ever when I may I shall send unto you; and when ye list
ye may come to me, and at all times early and late I will be at your
commandment, to live as poor a life as ever did queen or lady. O Madam,
said Sir Tristram, go from me, for mickle anger and danger have I
escaped for your love.



CHAPTER XXII. How King Mark, by the advice of his council, banished Sir
Tristram out of Cornwall the term of ten years.

THEN the queen departed, but the brachet would not from him; and
therewithal came King Mark, and the brachet set upon him, and bayed
at them all. There withal Sir Andred spake and said: Sir, this is Sir
Tristram, I see by the brachet. Nay, said the king, I cannot suppose
that. Then the king asked him upon his faith what he was, and what was
his name. So God me help, said he, my name is Sir Tristram de Liones;
now do by me what ye list. Ah, said King Mark, me repenteth of your
recovery. And then he let call his barons to judge Sir Tristram to the
death. Then many of his barons would not assent thereto, and in especial
Sir Dinas, the Seneschal, and Sir Fergus. And so by the advice of them
all Sir Tristram was banished out of the country for ten year, and
thereupon he took his oath upon a book before the king and his barons.
And so he was made to depart out of the country of Cornwall; and there
were many barons brought him unto his ship, of the which some were his
friends and some his foes. And in the meanwhile there came a knight
of King Arthur's, his name was Dinadan, and his coming was for to seek
after Sir Tristram; then they showed him where he was armed at all
points going to the ship. Now fair knight, said Sir Dinadan, or ye pass
this court that ye will joust with me I require thee. With a good will,
said Sir Tristram, an these lords will give me leave. Then the barons
granted thereto, and so they ran together, and there Sir Tristram gave
Sir Dinadan a fall. And then he prayed Sir Tristram to give him leave to
go in his fellowship. Ye shall be right welcome, said then Sir Tristram.

And so they took their horses and rode to their ships together, and when
Sir Tristram was in the sea he said: Greet well King Mark and all
mine enemies, and say them I will come again when I may; and well am
I rewarded for the fighting with Sir Marhaus, and delivered all this
country from servage; and well am I rewarded for the fetching and costs
of Queen Isoud out of Ireland, and the danger that I was in first and
last, and by the way coming home what danger I had to bring again Queen
Isoud from the Castle Pluere; and well am I rewarded when I fought with
Sir Bleoberis for Sir Segwarides' wife; and well am I rewarded when I
fought with Sir Blamore de Ganis for King Anguish, father unto La Beale
Isoud; and well am I rewarded when I smote down the good knight, Sir
Lamorak de Galis, at King Mark's request; and well am I rewarded when
I fought with the King with the Hundred Knights, and the King of
Northgalis, and both these would have put his land in servage, and by
me they were put to a rebuke; and well am I rewarded for the slaying of
Tauleas, the mighty giant, and many other deeds have I done for him, and
now have I my warison. And tell King Mark that many noble knights of the
Table Round have spared the barons of this country for my sake. Also am
I not well rewarded when I fought with the good knight Sir Palomides and
rescued Queen Isoud from him; and at that time King Mark said afore all
his barons I should have been better rewarded. And forthwithal he took
the sea.



CHAPTER XXIII. How a damosel sought help to help Sir Launcelot against
thirty knights, and how Sir Tristram fought with them.

AND at the next landing, fast by the sea, there met with Sir Tristram
and with Sir Dinadan, Sir Ector de Maris and Sir Bors de Ganis; and
there Sir Ector jousted with Sir Dinadan, and he smote him and his horse
down. And then Sir Tristram would have jousted with Sir Bors, and Sir
Bors said that he would not joust with no Cornish knights, for they are
not called men of worship; and all this was done upon a bridge. And with
this came Sir Bleoberis and Sir Driant, and Sir Bleoberis proffered
to joust with Sir Tristram, and there Sir Tristram smote down Sir
Bleoberis. Then said Sir Bors de Ganis: I wist never Cornish knight of
so great valour nor so valiant as that knight that beareth the trappings
embroidered with crowns. And then Sir Tristram and Sir Dinadan departed
from them into a forest, and there met them a damosel that came for the
love of Sir Launcelot to seek after some noble knights of King Arthur's
court for to rescue Sir Launcelot. And so Sir Launcelot was ordained,
for-by the treason of Queen Morgan le Fay to have slain Sir Launcelot,
and for that cause she ordained thirty knights to lie in await for Sir
Launcelot, and this damosel knew this treason. And for this cause the
damosel came for to seek noble knights to help Sir Launcelot. For that
night, or the day after, Sir Launcelot should come where these thirty
knights were. And so this damosel met with Sir Bors and Sir Ector and
with Sir Driant, and there she told them all four of the treason of
Morgan le Fay; and then they promised her that they would be nigh where
Sir Launcelot should meet with the thirty knights. And if so be they set
upon him we will do rescues as we can.

So the damosel departed, and by adventure the damosel met with Sir
Tristram and with Sir Dinadan, and there the damosel told them all the
treason that was ordained for Sir Launcelot. Fair damosel, said Sir
Tristram, bring me to that same place where they should meet with Sir
Launcelot. Then said Sir Dinadan: What will ye do? it is not for us to
fight with thirty knights, and wit you well I will not thereof; as to
match one knight two or three is enough an they be men, but for to match
fifteen knights that will I never undertake. Fie for shame, said Sir
Tristram, do but your part. Nay, said Sir Dinadan, I will not thereof
but if ye will lend me your shield, for ye bear a shield of Cornwall;
and for the cowardice that is named to the knights of Cornwall, by your
shields ye be ever forborne. Nay, said Sir Tristram, I will not depart
from my shield for her sake that gave it me. But one thing, said Sir
Tristram, I promise thee, Sir Dinadan, but if thou wilt promise me to
abide with me, here I shall slay thee, for I desire no more of thee but
answer one knight. And if thy heart will not serve thee, stand by and
look upon me and them. Sir, said Sir Dinadan, I promise you to look upon
and to do what I may to save myself, but I would I had not met with you.

So then anon these thirty knights came fast by these four knights, and
they were ware of them, and either of other. And so these thirty knights
let them pass, for this cause, that they would not wrath them, if case
be that they had ado with Sir Launcelot; and the four knights let them
pass to this intent, that they would see and behold what they would do
with Sir Launcelot. And so the thirty knights passed on and came by Sir
Tristram and by Sir Dinadan, and then Sir Tristram cried on high: Lo,
here is a knight against you for the love of Sir Launcelot. And there
he slew two with one spear and ten with his sword. And then came in Sir
Dinadan and he did passing well, and so of the thirty knights there went
but ten away, and they fled. All this battle saw Sir Bors de Ganis and
his three fellows, and then they saw well it was the same knight that
jousted with them at the bridge; then they took their horses and rode
unto Sir Tristram, and praised him and thanked him of his good deeds,
and they all desired Sir Tristram to go with them to their lodging; and
he said: Nay, he would not go to no lodging. Then they all four knights
prayed him to tell them his name. Fair lords, said Sir Tristram, as at
this time I will not tell you my name.



CHAPTER XXIV. How Sir Tristram and Sir Dinadan came to a lodging where
they must joust with two knights.

THEN Sir Tristram and Sir Dinadan rode forth their way till they came to
the shepherds and to the herdmen, and there they asked them if they
knew any lodging or harbour there nigh hand. Forsooth, sirs, said the
herdmen, hereby is good lodging in a castle; but there is such a
custom that there shall no knight be harboured but if he joust with two
knights, and if he be but one knight he must joust with two. And as ye
be therein soon shall ye be matched. There is shrewd harbour, said Sir
Dinadan; lodge where ye will, for I will not lodge there. Fie for shame,
said Sir Tristram, are ye not a knight of the Table Round? wherefore ye
may not with your worship refuse your lodging. Not so, said the herdmen,
for an ye be beaten and have the worse ye shall not be lodged there, and
if ye beat them ye shall be well harboured. Ah, said Sir Dinadan, they
are two sure knights. Then Sir Dinadan would not lodge there in no
manner but as Sir Tristram required him of his knighthood; and so they
rode thither. And to make short tale, Sir Tristram and Sir Dinadan smote
them down both, and so they entered into the castle and had good cheer
as they could think or devise.

And when they were unarmed, and thought to be merry and in good rest,
there came in at the gates Sir Palomides and Sir Gaheris, requiring to
have the custom of the castle. What array is this? said Sir Dinadan,
I would have my rest. That may not be, said Sir Tristram; now must we
needs defend the custom of this castle, insomuch as we have the better
of the lords of this castle, and therefore, said Sir Tristram, needs
must ye make you ready. In the devil's name, said Sir Dinadan, came
I into your company. And so they made them ready; and Sir Gaheris
encountered with Sir Tristram, and Sir Gaheris had a fall; and Sir
Palomides encountered with Sir Dinadan, and Sir Dinadan had a fall: then
was it fall for fall. So then must they fight on foot. That would not
Sir Dinadan, for he was so sore bruised of the fall that Sir Palomides
gave him. Then Sir Tristram unlaced Sir Dinadan's helm, and prayed him
to help him. I will not, said Sir Dinadan, for I am sore wounded of the
thirty knights that we had but late ago to do withal. But ye fare, said
Sir Dinadan unto Sir Tristram, as a madman and as a man that is out of
his mind that would cast himself away, and I may curse the time that
ever I saw you, for in all the world are not two such knights that be
so wood as is Sir Launcelot and ye Sir Tristram; for once I fell in the
fellowship of Sir Launcelot as I have done now with you, and he set me
a work that a quarter of a year I kept my bed. Jesu defend me, said
Sir Dinadan, from such two knights, and specially from your fellowship.
Then, said Sir Tristram, I will fight with them both. Then Sir Tristram
bade them come forth both, for I will fight with you. Then Sir Palomides
and Sir Gaheris dressed them, and smote at them both. Then Dinadan
smote at Sir Gaheris a stroke or two, and turned from him. Nay, said Sir
Palomides, it is too much shame for us two knights to fight with one.
And then he did bid Sir Gaheris stand aside with that knight that hath
no list to fight. Then they rode together and fought long, and at the
last Sir Tristram doubled his strokes, and drove Sir Palomides aback
more than three strides. And then by one assent Sir Gaheris and Sir
Dinadan went betwixt them, and departed them in-sunder. And then by
assent of Sir Tristram they would have lodged together. But Sir Dinadan
would not lodge in that castle. And then he cursed the time that ever he
came in their fellowship, and so he took his horse, and his harness, and
departed.

Then Sir Tristram prayed the lords of that castle to lend him a man to
bring him to a lodging, and so they did, and overtook Sir Dinadan, and
rode to their lodging two mile thence with a good man in a priory,
and there they were well at ease. And that same night Sir Bors and Sir
Bleoberis, and Sir Ector and Sir Driant, abode still in the same place
thereas Sir Tristram fought with the thirty knights; and there they met
with Sir Launcelot the same night, and had made promise to lodge with
Sir Colgrevance the same night.



CHAPTER XXV. How Sir Tristram jousted with Sir Kay and Sir Sagramore le
Desirous, and how Sir Gawaine turned Sir Tristram from Morgan le Fay.

BUT anon as the noble knight, Sir Launcelot, heard of the shield of
Cornwall, then wist he well that it was Sir Tristram that fought with
his enemies. And then Sir Launcelot praised Sir Tristram, and called
him the man of most worship in the world. So there was a knight in
that priory that hight Pellinore, and he desired to wit the name of Sir
Tristram, but in no wise he could not; and so Sir Tristram departed and
left Sir Dinadan in the priory, for he was so weary and so sore bruised
that he might not ride. Then this knight, Sir Pellinore, said to Sir
Dinadan: Sithen that ye will not tell me that knight's name I will ride
after him and make him to tell me his name, or he shall die therefore.
Beware, sir knight, said Sir Dinadan, for an ye follow him ye shall
repent it. So that knight, Sir Pellinore, rode after Sir Tristram and
required him of jousts. Then Sir Tristram smote him down and wounded him
through the shoulder, and so he passed on his way. And on the next day
following Sir Tristram met with pursuivants, and they told him that
there was made a great cry of tournament between King Carados of
Scotland and the King of North Wales, and either should joust against
other at the Castle of Maidens; and these pursuivants sought all the
country after the good knights, and in especial King Carados let make
seeking for Sir Launcelot du Lake, and the King of Northgalis let seek
after Sir Tristram de Liones. And at that time Sir Tristram thought
to be at that jousts; and so by adventure they met with Sir Kay, the
Seneschal, and Sir Sagramore le Desirous; and Sir Kay required Sir
Tristram to joust, and Sir Tristram in a manner refused him, because he
would not be hurt nor bruised against the great jousts that should be
before the Castle of Maidens, and therefore thought to repose him and
to rest him. And alway Sir Kay cried: Sir knight of Cornwall, joust with
me, or else yield thee to me as recreant. When Sir Tristram heard him
say so he turned to him, and then Sir Kay refused him and turned his
back. Then Sir Tristram said: As I find thee I shall take thee. Then Sir
Kay turned with evil will, and Sir Tristram smote Sir Kay down, and so
he rode forth.

Then Sir Sagramore le Desirous rode after Sir Tristram, and made him
to joust with him, and there Sir Tristram smote down Sir Sagramore le
Desirous from his horse, and rode his way; and the same day he met with
a damosel that told him that he should win great worship of a knight
adventurous that did much harm in all that country. When Sir Tristram
heard her say so, he was glad to go with her to win worship. So Sir
Tristram rode with that damosel a six mile, and then met him Sir
Gawaine, and therewithal Sir Gawaine knew the damosel, that she was a
damosel of Queen Morgan le Fay. Then Sir Gawaine understood that she
led that knight to some mischief. Fair knight, said Sir Gawaine, whither
ride you now with that damosel? Sir, said Sir Tristram, I wot not
whither I shall ride but as the damosel will lead me. Sir, said Sir
Gawaine, ye shall not ride with her, for she and her lady did never
good, but ill. And then Sir Gawaine pulled out his sword and said:
Damosel, but if thou tell me anon for what cause thou leadest this
knight with thee thou shalt die for it right anon: I know all your
lady's treason, and yours. Mercy, Sir Gawaine, she said, and if ye will
save my life I will tell you. Say on, said Sir Gawaine, and thou
shalt have thy life. Sir, she said, Queen Morgan le Fay, my lady, hath
ordained a thirty ladies to seek and espy after Sir Launcelot or Sir
Tristram, and by the trains of these ladies, who that may first meet any
of these two knights they should turn them unto Morgan le Fay's castle,
saying that they should do deeds of worship; and if any of the two
knights came there, there be thirty knights lying and watching in a
tower to wait upon Sir Launcelot or upon Sir Tristram. Fie for shame,
said Sir Gawaine, that ever such false treason should be wrought or used
in a queen, and a king's sister, and a king and queen's daughter.



CHAPTER XXVI. How Sir Tristram and Sir Gawaine rode to have foughten
with the thirty knights, but they durst not come out.

SIR, said Sir Gawaine, will ye stand with me, and we will see the malice
of these thirty knights. Sir, said Sir Tristram, go ye to them, an it
please you, and ye shall see I will not fail you, for it is not long ago
since I and a fellow met with thirty knights of that queen's fellowship;
and God speed us so that we may win worship. So then Sir Gawaine and Sir
Tristram rode toward the castle where Morgan le Fay was, and ever Sir
Gawaine deemed well that he was Sir Tristram de Liones, because he heard
that two knights had slain and beaten thirty knights. And when they came
afore the castle Sir Gawaine spake on high and said: Queen Morgan
le Fay, send out your knights that ye have laid in a watch for Sir
Launcelot and for Sir Tristram. Now, said Sir Gawaine, I know your false
treason, and through all places where that I ride men shall know of your
false treason; and now let see, said Sir Gawaine, whether ye dare come
out of your castle, ye thirty knights. Then the queen spake and all the
thirty knights at once, and said: Sir Gawaine, full well wottest thou
what thou dost and sayest; for by God we know thee passing well, but
all that thou speakest and dost, thou sayest it upon pride of that good
knight that is there with thee. For there be some of us that know full
well the hands of that knight over all well. And wit thou well, Sir
Gawaine, it is more for his sake than for thine that we will not come
out of this castle. For wit ye well, Sir Gawaine, the knight that
beareth the arms of Cornwall, we know him and what he is.

Then Sir Gawaine and Sir Tristram departed and rode on their ways a day
or two together; and there by adventure, they met with Sir Kay and Sir
Sagramore le Desirous. And then they were glad of Sir Gawaine, and he of
them, but they wist not what he was with the shield of Cornwall, but by
deeming. And thus they rode together a day or two. And then they were
ware of Sir Breuse Saunce Pite chasing a lady for to have slain her, for
he had slain her paramour afore. Hold you all still, said Sir Gawaine,
and show none of you forth, and ye shall see me reward yonder false
knight; for an he espy you he is so well horsed that he will escape
away. And then Sir Gawaine rode betwixt Sir Breuse and the lady, and
said: False knight, leave her, and have ado with me. When Sir Breuse saw
no more but Sir Gawaine he feutred his spear, and Sir Gawaine against
him; and there Sir Breuse overthrew Sir Gawaine, and then he rode over
him, and overthwart him twenty times to have destroyed him; and when Sir
Tristram saw him do so villainous a deed, he hurled out against him.
And when Sir Breuse saw him with the shield of Cornwall he knew him well
that it was Sir Tristram, and then he fled, and Sir Tristram followed
after him; and Sir Breuse Saunce Pite was so horsed that he went his way
quite, and Sir Tristram followed him long, for he would fain have been
avenged upon him. And so when he had long chased him, he saw a fair
well, and thither he rode to repose him, and tied his horse till a tree.



CHAPTER XXVII. How damosel Bragwaine found Tristram sleeping by a well,
and how she delivered letters to him from La Beale Isoud.

AND then he pulled off his helm and washed his visage and his hands, and
so he fell asleep. In the meanwhile came a damosel that had sought Sir
Tristram many ways and days within this land. And when she came to the
well she looked upon him, and had forgotten him as in remembrance of Sir
Tristram, but by his horse she knew him, that hight Passe-Brewel that
had been Sir Tristram's horse many years. For when he was mad in the
forest Sir Fergus kept him. So this lady, Dame Bragwaine, abode still
till he was awake. So when she saw him wake she saluted him, and he her
again, for either knew other of old acquaintance; then she told him how
she had sought him long and broad, and there she told him how she had
letters from Queen La Beale Isoud. Then anon Sir Tristram read them, and
wit ye well he was glad, for therein was many a piteous complaint.
Then Sir Tristram said: Lady Bragwaine, ye shall ride with me till that
tournament be done at the Castle of Maidens, and then shall bear letters
and tidings with you. And then Sir Tristram took his horse and sought
lodging, and there he met with a good ancient knight and prayed him to
lodge with him. Right so came Gouvernail unto Sir Tristram, that was
glad of that lady. So this old knight's name was Sir Pellounes, and he
told of the great tournament that should be at the Castle of Maidens.
And there Sir Launcelot and thirty-two knights of his blood had ordained
shields of Cornwall. And right so there came one unto Sir Pellounes,
and told him that Sir Persides de Bloise was come home; then that knight
held up his hands and thanked God of his coming home. And there Sir
Pellounes told Sir Tristram that in two years he had not seen his son,
Sir Persides. Sir, said Sir Tristram, I know your son well enough for a
good knight.


So on a time Sir Tristram and Sir Persides came to their lodging both
at once, and so they unarmed them, and put upon them their clothing.
And then these two knights each welcomed other. And when Sir Persides
understood that Sir Tristram was of Cornwall, he said he was once in
Cornwall: And there I jousted afore King Mark; and so it happed me at
that time to overthrow ten knights, and then came to me Sir Tristram de
Liones and overthrew me, and took my lady away from me, and that shall
I never forget, but I shall remember me an ever I see my time. Ah, said
Sir Tristram, now I understand that ye hate Sir Tristram. What deem ye,
ween ye that Sir Tristram is not able to withstand your malice? Yes,
said Sir Persides, I know well that Sir Tristram is a noble knight and
a much better knight than I, yet shall I not owe him my good will. Right
as they stood thus talking at a bay-window of that castle, they saw
many knights riding to and fro toward the tournament. And then was Sir
Tristram ware of a likely knight riding upon a great black horse, and a
black-covered shield. What knight is that, said Sir Tristram, with the
black horse and the black shield? he seemeth a good knight. I know him
well, said Sir Persides, he is one of the best knights of the world.
Then is it Sir Launcelot, said Tristram. Nay, said Sir Persides, it is
Sir Palomides, that is yet unchristened.



CHAPTER XXVIII. How Sir Tristram had a fall with Sir Palomides, and how
Launcelot overthrew two knights.

THEN they saw much people of the country salute Sir Palomides. And
within a while after there came a squire of the castle, that told Sir
Pellounes that was lord of that castle, that a knight with a black
shield had smitten down thirteen knights. Fair brother, said Sir
Tristram unto Sir Persides, let us cast upon us cloaks, and let us go
see the play. Not so, said Sir Persides, we will not go like knaves
thither, but we will ride like men and good knights to withstand our
enemies. So they armed them, and took their horses and great spears,
and thither they went thereas many knights assayed themself before the
tournament. And anon Sir Palomides saw Sir Persides, and then he sent
a squire unto him and said: Go thou to the yonder knight with the green
shield and therein a lion of gold, and say him I require him to joust
with me, and tell him that my name is Sir Palomides. When Sir Persides
understood that request of Sir Palomides, he made him ready, and there
anon they met together, but Sir Persides had a fall. Then Sir Tristram
dressed him to be revenged upon Sir Palomides, and that saw Sir
Palomides that was ready and so was not Sir Tristram, and took him at
an advantage and smote him over his horse's tail when he had no spear in
his rest. Then stert up Sir Tristram and took his horse lightly, and was
wroth out of measure, and sore ashamed of that fall. Then Sir Tristram
sent unto Sir Palomides by Gouvernail, and prayed him to joust with
him at his request. Nay, said Sir Palomides, as at this time I will not
joust with that knight, for I know him better than he weeneth. And if he
be wroth he may right it to-morn at the Castle of Maidens, where he may
see me and many other knights.

With that came Sir Dinadan, and when he saw Sir Tristram wroth he list
not to jape. Lo, said Sir Dinadan, here may a man prove, be a man never
so good yet may he have a fall, and he was never so wise but he might
be overseen, and he rideth well that never fell. So Sir Tristram was
passing wroth, and said to Sir Persides and to Sir Dinadan: I will
revenge me. Right so as they stood talking there, there came by Sir
Tristram a likely knight riding passing soberly and heavily with a black
shield. What knight is that? said Sir Tristram unto Sir Persides. I know
him well, said Sir Persides, for his name is Sir Briant of North Wales;
so he passed on among other knights of North Wales. And there came in
Sir Launcelot du Lake with a shield of the arms of Cornwall, and he sent
a squire unto Sir Briant, and required him to joust with him. Well,
said Sir Briant, sithen I am required to joust I will do what I may; and
there Sir Launcelot smote down Sir Briant from his horse a great fall.
And then Sir Tristram marvelled what knight he was that bare the shield
of Cornwall. Whatsoever he be, said Sir Dinadan, I warrant you he is of
King Ban's blood, the which be knights of the most noble prowess in the
world, for to account so many for so many. Then there came two knights
of Northgalis, that one hight Hew de la Montaine, and the other Sir
Madok de la Montaine, and they challenged Sir Launcelot foot-hot. Sir
Launcelot not refusing them but made him ready, with one spear he smote
them down both over their horses' croups; and so Sir Launcelot rode
his way. By the good lord, said Sir Tristram, he is a good knight that
beareth the shield of Cornwall, and meseemeth he rideth in the best
manner that ever I saw knight ride.

Then the King of Northgalis rode unto Sir Palomides and prayed him
heartily for his sake to joust with that knight that hath done us of
Northgalis despite. Sir, said Sir Palomides, I am full loath to have ado
with that knight, and cause why is, for as to-morn the great tournament
shall be; and therefore I will keep myself fresh by my will. Nay, said
the King of Northgalis, I pray you require him of jousts. Sir, said
Sir Palomides, I will joust at your request, and require that knight
to joust with me, and often I have seen a man have a fall at his own
request.



CHAPTER XXIX. How Sir Launcelot jousted with Palomides and overthrew
him, and after he was assailed with twelve knights.

THEN Sir Palomides sent unto Sir Launcelot a squire, and required him of
jousts. Fair fellow, said Sir Launcelot, tell me thy lord's name. Sir,
said the squire, my lord's name is Sir Palomides, the good knight. In
good hour, said Sir Launcelot, for there is no knight that I saw this
seven years that I had liefer ado withal than with him. And so either
knights made them ready with two great spears. Nay, said Sir Dinadan,
ye shall see that Sir Palomides will quit him right well. It may be
so, said Sir Tristram, but I undertake that knight with the shield of
Cornwall shall give him a fall. I believe it not, said Sir Dinadan.
Right so they spurred their horses and feutred their spears, and either
hit other, and Sir Palomides brake a spear upon Sir Launcelot, and he
sat and moved not; but Sir Launcelot smote him so lightly that he made
his horse to avoid the saddle, and the stroke brake his shield and the
hauberk, and had he not fallen he had been slain. How now, said Sir
Tristram, I wist well by the manner of their riding both that Sir
Palomides should have a fall.

Right so Sir Launcelot rode his way, and rode to a well to drink and to
repose him, and they of Northgalis espied him whither he rode; and then
there followed him twelve knights for to have mischieved him, for this
cause that upon the morn at the tournament of the Castle of Maidens that
he should not win the victory. So they came upon Sir Launcelot suddenly,
and unnethe he might put upon him his helm and take his horse, but they
were in hands with him; and then Sir Launcelot gat his spear, and rode
through them, and there he slew a knight and brake a spear in his body.
Then he drew his sword and smote upon the right hand and upon the left
hand, so that within a few strokes he had slain other three knights, and
the remnant that abode he wounded them sore all that did abide. Thus
Sir Launcelot escaped from his enemies of North Wales, and then Sir
Launcelot rode his way till a friend, and lodged him till on the morn;
for he would not the first day have ado in the tournament because of his
great labour. And on the first day he was with King Arthur thereas he
was set on high upon a scaffold to discern who was best worthy of his
deeds. So Sir Launcelot was with King Arthur, and jousted not the first
day.



CHAPTER XXX. How Sir Tristram behaved him the first day of the
tournament, and there he had the prize.

NOW turn we unto Sir Tristram de Liones, that commanded Gouvernail,
his servant, to ordain him a black shield with none other remembrance
therein. And so Sir Persides and Sir Tristram departed from their host
Sir Pellounes, and they rode early toward the tournament, and then they
drew them to King Carados' side, of Scotland; and anon knights began the
field what of King Northgalis' part, and what of King Carados' part, and
there began great party. Then there was hurling and rashing. Right so
came in Sir Persides and Sir Tristram and so they did fare that they put
the King of Northgalis aback. Then came in Sir Bleoberis de Ganis and
Sir Gaheris with them of Northgalis, and then was Sir Persides smitten
down and almost slain, for more than forty horse men went over him. For
Sir Bleoberis did great deeds of arms, and Sir Gaheris failed him not.
When Sir Tristram beheld them, and saw them do such deeds of arms,
he marvelled what they were. Also Sir Tristram thought shame that Sir
Persides was so done to; and then he gat a great spear in his hand, and
then he rode to Sir Gaheris and smote him down from his horse. And then
was Sir Bleoberis wroth, and gat a spear and rode against Sir Tristram
in great ire; and there Sir Tristram met with him, and smote Sir
Bleoberis from his horse So then the King with the Hundred Knights was
wroth, and he horsed Sir Bleoberis and Sir Gaheris again, and there
began a great medley; and ever Sir Tristram held them passing short, and
ever Sir Bleoberis was passing busy upon Sir Tristram; and there came
Sir Dinadan against Sir Tristram, and Sir Tristram gave him such a
buffet that he swooned in his saddle. Then anon Sir Dinadan came to Sir
Tristram and said: Sir, I know thee better than thou weenest; but here I
promise thee my troth I will never come against thee more, for I promise
thee that sword of thine shall never come on mine helm.

With that came Sir Bleoberis, and Sir Tristram gave him such a buffet
that down he laid his head; and then he caught him so sore by the helm
that he pulled him under his horse's feet. And then King Arthur blew
to lodging. Then Sir Tristram departed to his pavilion, and Sir Dinadan
rode with him; and Sir Persides and King Arthur then, and the kings upon
both parties, marvelled what knight that was with the black shield. Many
said their advice, and some knew him for Sir Tristram, and held their
peace and would nought say. So that first day King Arthur, and all the
kings and lords that were judges, gave Sir Tristram the prize; howbeit
they knew him not, but named him the Knight with the Black Shield.



CHAPTER XXXI. How Sir Tristram returned against King Arthur's party
because he saw Sir Palomides on that party.

THEN upon the morn Sir Palomides returned from the King of Northgalis,
and rode to King Arthur's side, where was King Carados, and the King
of Ireland, and Sir Launcelot's kin, and Sir Gawaine's kin. So Sir
Palomides sent the damosel unto Sir Tristram that he sent to seek him
when he was out of his mind in the forest, and this damosel asked
Sir Tristram what he was and what was his name? As for that, said Sir
Tristram, tell Sir Palomides ye shall not wit as at this time unto the
time I have broken two spears upon him. But let him wit thus much,
said Sir Tristram, that I am the same knight that he smote down in
over-evening[*10] at the tournament; and tell him plainly on what party
that Sir Palomides be I will be of the contrary party. Sir, said the
damosel, ye shall understand that Sir Palomides will be on King Arthur's
side, where the most noble knights of the world be. In the name of God,
said Sir Tristram, then will I be with the King of Northgalis, because
Sir Palomides will be on King Arthur's side, and else I would not but
for his sake. So when King Arthur was come they blew unto the field;
and then there began a great party, and so King Carados jousted with the
King of the Hundred Knights, and there King Carados had a fall: then
was there hurling and rushing, and right so came in knights of King
Arthur's, and they bare aback the King of Northgalis' knights.


[*10] "the evening afore," W. de W.


Then Sir Tristram came in, and began so roughly and so bigly that there
was none might withstand him, and thus Sir Tristram dured long. And at
the last Sir Tristram fell among the fellowship of King Ban, and there
fell upon him Sir Bors de Ganis, and Sir Ector de Maris, and Sir Blamore
de Ganis, and many other knights. And then Sir Tristram smote on the
right hand and on the left hand, that all lords and ladies spake of his
noble deeds. But at the last Sir Tristram should have had the worse had
not the King with the Hundred Knights been. And then he came with his
fellowship and rescued Sir Tristram, and brought him away from those
knights that bare the shields of Cornwall. And then Sir Tristram saw
another fellowship by themself, and there were a forty knights together,
and Sir Kay, the Seneschal, was their governor. Then Sir Tristram rode
in amongst them, and there he smote down Sir Kay from his horse; and
there he fared among those knights like a greyhound among conies.

Then Sir Launcelot found a knight that was sore wounded upon the head.
Sir, said Sir Launcelot, who wounded you so sore? Sir, he said, a knight
that beareth a black shield, and I may curse the time that ever I met
with him, for he is a devil and no man. So Sir Launcelot departed from
him and thought to meet with Sir Tristram, and so he rode with his sword
drawn in his hand to seek Sir Tristram; and then he espied him how he
hurled here and there, and at every stroke Sir Tristram wellnigh smote
down a knight. O mercy Jesu! said the king, sith the times I bare arms
saw I never no knight do so marvellous deeds of arms. And if I should
set upon this knight, said Sir Launcelot to himself, I did shame to
myself, and therewithal Sir Launcelot put up his sword. And then the
King with the Hundred Knights and an hundred more of North Wales set
upon the twenty of Sir Launcelot's kin: and they twenty knights held
them ever together as wild swine, and none would fail other. And so when
Sir Tristram beheld the noblesse or these twenty knights he marvelled of
their good deeds, for he saw by their fare and by their rule that they
had liefer die than avoid the field. Now Jesu, said Sir Tristram, well
may he be valiant and full of prowess that hath such a sort of noble
knights unto his kin, and full like is he to be a noble man that is
their leader and governor. He meant it by Sir Launcelot du Lake. So when
Sir Tristram had beholden them long he thought shame to see two hundred
knights battering upon twenty knights. Then Sir Tristram rode unto the
King with the Hundred Knights and said: Sir, leave your fighting with
those twenty knights, for ye win no worship of them, ye be so many and
they so few; and wit ye well they will not out of the field I see by
their cheer and countenance; and worship get ye none an ye slay them.
Therefore leave your fighting with them, for I to increase my worship
I will ride to the twenty knights and help them with all my might and
power. Nay, said the King with the Hundred Knights, ye shall not do so;
now I see your courage and courtesy I will withdraw my knights for your
pleasure, for evermore a good knight will favour another, and like will
draw to like.



CHAPTER XXXII. How Sir Tristram found Palomides by a well, and brought
him with him to his lodging.

THEN the King with the Hundred Knights withdrew his knights. And
all this while, and long to-fore, Sir Launcelot had watched upon Sir
Tristram with a very purpose to have fellowshipped with him. And then
suddenly Sir Tristram, Sir Dinadan, and Gouvernail, his man, rode their
way into the forest, that no man perceived where they went. So then
King Arthur blew unto lodging, and gave the King of Northgalis the prize
because Sir Tristram was upon his side. Then Sir Launcelot rode here
and there, so wood as lion that fauted his fill, because he had lost Sir
Tristram, and so he returned unto King Arthur. And then in all the field
was a noise that with the wind it might be heard two mile thence, how
the lords and ladies cried: The Knight with the Black Shield hath won
the field. Alas, said King Arthur, where is that knight become? It is
shame to all those in the field so to let him escape away from you; but
with gentleness and courtesy ye might have brought him unto me to the
Castle of Maidens. Then the noble King Arthur went unto his knights
and comforted them in the best wise that he could, and said: My fair
fellows, be not dismayed, howbeit ye have lost the field this day. And
many were hurt and sore wounded, and many were whole. My fellows, said
King Arthur, look that ye be of good cheer, for to-morn I will be in
the field with you and revenge you of your enemies. So that night King
Arthur and his knights reposed themself.

The damosel that came from La Beale Isoud unto Sir Tristram, all the
while the tournament was a-doing she was with Queen Guenever, and ever
the queen asked her for what cause she came into that country. Madam,
she answered, I come for none other cause but from my lady La Beale
Isoud to wit of your welfare. For in no wise she would not tell
the queen that she came for Sir Tristram's sake. So this lady, Dame
Bragwaine, took her leave of Queen Guenever, and she rode after Sir
Tristram. And as she rode through the forest she heard a great cry;
then she commanded her squire to go into the forest to wit what was that
noise. And so he came to a well, and there he found a knight bounden
till a tree crying as he had been wood, and his horse and his harness
standing by him. And when he espied that squire, therewith he abraid
and brake himself loose, and took his sword in his hand, and ran to have
slain the squire. Then he took his horse and fled all that ever he might
unto Dame Bragwaine, and told her of his adventure. Then she rode unto
Sir Tristram's pavilion, and told Sir Tristram what adventure she had
found in the forest. Alas, said Sir Tristram, upon my head there is some
good knight at mischief.

Then Sir Tristram took his horse and his sword and rode thither, and
there he heard how the knight complained unto himself and said: I,
woful knight Sir Palomides, what misadventure befalleth me, that thus
am defoiled with falsehood and treason, through Sir Bors and Sir Ector.
Alas, he said, why live I so long! And then he gat his sword in his
hands, and made many strange signs and tokens; and so through his raging
he threw his sword into that fountain. Then Sir Palomides wailed and
wrang his hands. And at the last for pure sorrow he ran into that
fountain, over his belly, and sought after his sword. Then Sir Tristram
saw that, and ran upon Sir Palomides, and held him in his arms fast.
What art thou, said Palomides, that holdeth me so? I am a man of this
forest that would thee none harm. Alas, said Sir Palomides, I may never
win worship where Sir Tristram is; for ever where he is an I be there,
then get I no worship; and if he be away for the most part I have
the gree, unless that Sir Launcelot be there or Sir Lamorak. Then Sir
Palomides said: Once in Ireland Sir Tristram put me to the worse, and
another time in Cornwall, and in other places in this land. What would
ye do, said Sir Tristram, an ye had Sir Tristram? I would fight with
him, said Sir Palomides, and ease my heart upon him; and yet, to say
thee sooth, Sir Tristram is the gentlest knight in this world living.
What will ye do, said Sir Tristram, will ye go with me to your lodging?
Nay, said he, I will go to the King with the Hundred Knights, for he
rescued me from Sir Bors de Ganis and Sir Ector and else had I been
slain traitorly. Sir Tristram said him such kind words that Sir
Palomides went with him to his lodging. Then Gouvernail went to-fore,
and charged Dame Bragwaine to go out of the way to her lodging And bid
ye Sir Persides that he make him no quarrels. And so they rode together
till they came to Sir Tristram's pavilion, and there Sir Palomides
had all the cheer that might be had all that night. But in no wise Sir
Palomides might not know what was Sir Tristram; and so after supper they
yede to rest, and Sir Tristram for great travail slept till it was day.
And Sir Palomides might not sleep for anguish; and in the dawning of
the day he took his horse privily, and rode his way unto Sir Gaheris and
unto Sir Sagramore le Desirous, where they were in their pavilions; for
they three were fellows at the beginning of the tournament. And then
upon the morn the king blew unto the tournament upon the third day.



CHAPTER XXXIII. How Sir Tristram smote down Sir Palomides, and how he
jousted with King Arthur, and other feats.

SO the King of Northgalis and the King with the Hundred Knights, they
two encountered with King Carados and with the King of Ireland; and
there the King with the Hundred Knights smote down King Carados, and the
King of Northgalis smote down the King of Ireland. With that came in
Sir Palomides, and when he came he made great work, for by his indented
shield he was well known. So came in King Arthur, and did great deeds
of arms together, and put the King of Northgalis and the King with the
Hundred Knights to the worse. With this came in Sir Tristram with his
black shield, and anon he jousted with Sir Palomides, and there by fine
force Sir Tristram smote Sir Palomides over his horse's croup. Then King
Arthur cried: Knight with the Black Shield, make thee ready to me, and
in the same wise Sir Tristram smote King Arthur. And then by force of
King Arthur's knights the King and Sir Palomides were horsed again. Then
King Arthur with a great eager heart he gat a spear in his hand, and
there upon the one side he smote Sir Tristram over his horse. Then
foot-hot Sir Palomides came upon Sir Tristram, as he was upon foot, to
have overridden him. Then Sir Tristram was ware of him, and there he
stooped aside, and with great ire he gat him by the arm, and pulled him
down from his horse. Then Sir Palomides lightly arose, and then they
dashed together mightily with their swords; and many kings, queens, and
lords, stood and beheld them. And at the last Sir Tristram smote Sir
Palomides upon the helm three mighty strokes, and at every stroke
that he gave him he said: This for Sir Tristram's sake. With that Sir
Palomides fell to the earth grovelling.

Then came the King with the Hundred Knights, and brought Sir Tristram an
horse, and so was he horsed again. By then was Sir Palomides horsed, and
with great ire he jousted upon Sir Tristram with his spear as it was in
the rest, and gave him a great dash with his sword. Then Sir Tristram
avoided his spear, and gat him by the neck with his both hands, and
pulled him clean out of his saddle, and so he bare him afore him the
length of ten spears, and then in the presence of them all he let him
fall at his adventure. Then Sir Tristram was ware of King Arthur with a
naked sword in his hand, and with his spear Sir Tristram ran upon King
Arthur; and then King Arthur boldly abode him and with his sword he
smote a-two his spear, and therewithal Sir Tristram stonied; and so King
Arthur gave him three or four strokes or he might get out his sword,
and at the last Sir Tristram drew his sword and [either] assailed
other passing hard. With that the great press departed [them]. Then Sir
Tristram rode here and there and did his great pain, that eleven of the
good knights of the blood of King Ban, that was of Sir Launcelot's kin,
that day Sir Tristram smote down; that all the estates marvelled of his
great deeds and all cried upon the Knight with the Black Shield.



CHAPTER XXXIV. How Sir Launcelot hurt Sir Tristram, and how after Sir
Tristram smote down Sir Palomides.

THEN this cry was so large that Sir Launcelot heard it. And then he gat
a great spear in his hand and came towards the cry. Then Sir Launcelot
cried: The Knight with the Black Shield, make thee ready to joust with
me. When Sir Tristram heard him say so he gat his spear in his hand, and
either abashed down their heads, and came together as thunder; and Sir
Tristram's spear brake in pieces, and Sir Launcelot by malfortune struck
Sir Tristram on the side a deep wound nigh to the death; but yet Sir
Tristram avoided not his saddle, and so the spear brake. Therewithal
Sir Tristram that was wounded gat out his sword, and he rushed to Sir
Launcelot, and gave him three great strokes upon the helm that the fire
sprang thereout, and Sir Launcelot abashed his head lowly toward his
saddle-bow. And therewithal Sir Tristram departed from the field, for he
felt him so wounded that he weened he should have died; and Sir Dinadan
espied him and followed him into the forest. Then Sir Launcelot abode
and did many marvellous deeds.

So when Sir Tristram was departed by the forest's side he alighted, and
unlaced his harness and freshed his wound; then weened Sir Dinadan that
he should have died. Nay, nay, said Sir Tristram, Dinadan never dread
thee, for I am heart-whole, and of this wound I shall soon be whole,
by the mercy of God. By that Sir Dinadan was ware where came Palomides
riding straight upon them. And then Sir Tristram was ware that Sir
Palomides came to have destroyed him. And so Sir Dinadan gave him
warning, and said: Sir Tristram, my lord, ye are so sore wounded that ye
may not have ado with him, therefore I will ride against him and do to
him what I may, and if I be slain ye may pray for my soul; and in the
meanwhile ye may withdraw you and go into the castle, or in the forest,
that he shall not meet with you. Sir Tristram smiled and said: I thank
you, Sir Dinadan, of your good will, but ye shall wit that I am able to
handle him. And then anon hastily he armed him, and took his horse,
and a great spear in his hand, and said to Sir Dinadan: Adieu; and rode
toward Sir Palomides a soft pace. Then when Sir Palomides saw that, he
made countenance to amend his horse, but he did it for this cause, for
he abode Sir Gaheris that came after him. And when he was come he rode
toward Sir Tristram. Then Sir Tristram sent unto Sir Palomides, and
required him to joust with him; and if he smote down Sir Palomides he
would do no more to him; and if it so happened that Sir Palomides smote
down Sir Tristram, he bade him do his utterance. So they were accorded.
Then they met together, and Sir Tristram smote down Sir Palomides that
he had a grievous fall, so that he lay still as he had been dead. And
then Sir Tristram ran upon Sir Gaheris, and he would not have jousted;
but whether he would or not Sir Tristram smote him over his horse's
croup, that he lay still as though he had been dead. And then Sir
Tristram rode his way and left Sir Persides' squire within the
pavilions, and Sir Tristram and Sir Dinadan rode to an old knight's
place to lodge them. And that old knight had five sons at the
tournament, for whom he prayed God heartily for their coming home. And
so, as the French book saith, they came home all five well beaten.

And when Sir Tristram departed into the forest Sir Launcelot held alway
the stour like hard, as a man araged that took no heed to himself, and
wit ye well there was many a noble knight against him. And when King
Arthur saw Sir Launcelot do so marvellous deeds of arms he then armed
him, and took his horse and his armour, and rode into the field to help
Sir Launcelot; and so many knights came in with King Arthur. And to make
short tale in conclusion, the King of Northgalis and the King of the
Hundred Knights were put to the worse; and because Sir Launcelot abode
and was the last in the field the prize was given him. But Sir Launcelot
would neither for king, queen, nor knight, have the prize, but where the
cry was cried through the field: Sir Launcelot, Sir Launcelot hath won
the field this day, Sir Launcelot let make another cry contrary: Sir
Tristram hath won the field, for he began first, and last he hath
endured, and so hath he done the first day, the second, and the third
day.



CHAPTER XXXV. How the prize of the third day was given to Sir Launcelot,
and Sir Launcelot gave it to Sir Tristram.

THEN all the estates and degrees high and low said of Sir Launcelot
great worship, for the honour that he did unto Sir Tristram; and for
that honour doing to Sir Tristram he was at that time more praised and
renowned than an he had overthrown five hundred knights; and all the
people wholly for this gentleness, first the estates both high and low,
and after the commonalty cried at once: Sir Launcelot hath won the field
whosoever say nay. Then was Sir Launcelot wroth and ashamed, and so
therewithal he rode to King Arthur. Alas, said the king, we are all
dismayed that Sir Tristram is thus departed from us. By God, said King
Arthur, he is one of the noblest knights that ever I saw hold spear or
sword in hand, and the most courteoust knight in his fighting; for full
hard I saw him, said King Arthur, when he smote Sir Palomides upon the
helm thrice, that he abashed his helm with his strokes, and also he
said: Here is a stroke for Sir Tristram, and thus thrice he said. Then
King Arthur, Sir Launcelot, and Sir Dodinas le Savage took their horses
to seek Sir Tristram, and by the means of Sir Persides he had told King
Arthur where Sir Tristram was in his pavilion. But when they came there,
Sir Tristram and Sir Dinadan were gone.

Then King Arthur and Sir Launcelot were heavy, and returned again to the
Castle of Maidens making great dole for the hurt of Sir Tristram, and
his sudden departing. So God me help, said King Arthur, I am more heavy
that I cannot meet with him than for all the hurts that all my knights
have had at the tournament. Right so came Sir Gaheris and told King
Arthur how Sir Tristram had smitten down Sir Palomides, and it was
at Sir Palomides' own request. Alas, said King Arthur, that was great
dishonour to Sir Palomides, inasmuch as Sir Tristram was sore wounded,
and now may we all, kings, and knights, and men of worship, say that Sir
Tristram may be called a noble knight, and one of the best knights
that ever I saw the days of my life. For I will that ye all, kings
and knights, know, said King Arthur, that I never saw knight do so
marvellously as he hath done these three days; for he was the first that
began and that longest held on, save this last day. And though he was
hurt, it was a manly adventure of two noble knights, and when two noble
men encounter needs must the one have the worse, like as God will suffer
at that time. As for me, said Sir Launcelot, for all the lands that ever
my father left me I would not have hurt Sir Tristram an I had known him
at that time; that I hurt him was for I saw not his shield. For an I
had seen his black shield, I would not have meddled with him for many
causes; for late he did as much for me as ever did knight, and that is
well known that he had ado with thirty knights, and no help save
Sir Dinadan. And one thing shall I promise, said Sir Launcelot, Sir
Palomides shall repent it as in his unkindly dealing for to follow that
noble knight that I by mishap hurted thus. Sir Launcelot said all the
worship that might be said by Sir Tristram. Then King Arthur made a
great feast to all that would come. And thus we let pass King Arthur,
and a little we will turn unto Sir Palomides, that after he had a fall
of Sir Tristram, he was nigh-hand araged out of his wit for despite of
Sir Tristram. And so he followed him by adventure. And as he came by a
river, in his woodness he would have made his horse to have leapt
over; and the horse failed footing and fell in the river, wherefore
Sir Palomides was adread lest he should have been drowned; and then he
avoided his horse, and swam to the land, and let his horse go down by
adventure.



CHAPTER XXXVI. How Palomides came to the castle where Sir Tristram
was, and of the quest that Sir Launcelot and ten knights made for Sir
Tristram.

AND when he came to the land he took off his harness, and sat roaring
and crying as a man out of his mind. Right so came a damosel even by
Sir Palomides, that was sent from Sir Gawaine and his brother unto Sir
Mordred, that lay sick in the same place with that old knight where Sir
Tristram was. For, as the French book saith, Sir Persides hurt so
Sir Mordred a ten days afore; and had it hot been for the love of Sir
Gawaine and his brother, Sir Persides had slain Sir Mordred. And so this
damosel came by Sir Palomides, and she and he had language together, the
which pleased neither of them; and so the damosel rode her ways till she
came to the old knight's place, and there she told that old knight how
she met with the woodest knight by adventure that ever she met withal.
What bare he in his shield? said Sir Tristram. It was indented with
white and black, said the damosel. Ah, said Sir Tristram, that was Sir
Palomides, the good knight. For well I know him, said Sir Tristram, for
one of the best knights living in this realm. Then that old knight took
a little hackney, and rode for Sir Palomides, and brought him unto his
own manor; and full well knew Sir Tristram Sir Palomides, but he said
but little, for at that time Sir Tristram was walking upon his feet,
and well amended of his hurts; and always when Sir Palomides saw Sir
Tristram he would behold him full marvellously, and ever him seemed that
he had seen him. Then would he say unto Sir Dinadan: An ever I may meet
with Sir Tristram he shall not escape mine hands. I marvel, said Sir
Dinadan, that ye boast behind Sir Tristram, for it is but late that he
was in your hands, and ye in his hands; why would ye not hold him when
ye had him? for I saw myself twice or thrice that ye gat but little
worship of Sir Tristram. Then was Sir Palomides ashamed. So leave we
them a little while in the old castle with the old knight Sir Darras.

Now shall we speak of King Arthur, that said to Sir Launcelot: Had not
ye been we had not lost Sir Tristram, for he was here daily unto the
time ye met with him, and in an evil time, said Arthur, ye encountered
with him. My lord Arthur, said Launcelot, ye put upon me that I should
be cause of his departition; God knoweth it was against my will. But
when men be hot in deeds of arms oft they hurt their friends as well as
their foes. And my lord, said Sir Launcelot, ye shall understand that
Sir Tristram is a man that I am loath to offend, for he hath done for me
more than ever I did for him as yet. But then Sir Launcelot made bring
forth a book: and then Sir Launcelot said: Here we are ten knights that
will swear upon a book never to rest one night where we rest another
this twelvemonth until that we find Sir Tristram. And as for me, said
Sir Launcelot, I promise you upon this book that an I may meet with him,
either with fairness or foulness I shall bring him to this court, or
else I shall die therefore. And the names of these ten knights that had
undertaken this quest were these following: First was Sir Launcelot,
Sir Ector de Maris, Sir Bors de Ganis, and Bleoberis, and Sir Blamore
de Ganis, and Lucan the Butler, Sir Uwaine, Sir Galihud Lionel, and
Galiodin. So these ten noble knights departed from the court of King
Arthur, and so they rode upon their quest together until they came to
a cross where departed four ways, and there departed the fellowship in
four to seek Sir Tristram.

And as Sir Launcelot rode by adventure he met with Dame Bragwaine that
was sent into that country to seek Sir Tristram, and she fled as fast
as her palfrey might go. So Sir Launcelot met with her and asked her why
she fled. Ah, fair knight, said Dame Bragwaine, I flee for dread of my
life, for here followeth me Sir Breuse Saunce Pite to slay me. Hold
you nigh me, said Sir Launcelot. Then when Sir Launcelot saw Sir Breuse
Saunce Pite, Sir Launcelot cried unto him, and said: False knight
destroyer of ladies and damosels, now thy last days be come. When Sir
Breuse Saunce Pite saw Sir Launcelot's shield he knew it well, for at
that time he bare not the arms of Cornwall, but he bare his own shield.
And then Sir Breuse fled, and Sir Launcelot followed after him. But Sir
Breuse was so well horsed that when him list to flee he might well flee,
and also abide when him list. And then Sir Launcelot returned unto Dame
Bragwaine, and she thanked him of his great labour.



CHAPTER XXXVII. How Sir Tristram, Sir Palomides, and Sir Dinadan were
taken and put in prison.

NOW will we speak of Sir Lucan the butler, that by fortune he came
riding to the same place thereas was Sir Tristram, and in he came in
none other intent but to ask harbour. Then the porter asked what was his
name. Tell your lord that my name is Sir Lucan, the butler, a Knight of
the Round Table. So the porter went unto Sir Darras, lord of the place,
and told him who was there to ask harbour. Nay, nay, said Sir Daname,
that was nephew to Sir Darras, say him that he shall not be lodged here,
but let him wit that I, Sir Daname, will meet with him anon, and bid him
make him ready. So Sir Daname came forth on horseback, and there they
met together with spears, and Sir Lucan smote down Sir Daname over his
horse's croup, and then he fled into that place, and Sir Lucan rode
after him, and asked after him many times.

Then Sir Dinadan said to Sir Tristram: It is shame to see the lord's
cousin of this place defoiled. Abide, said Sir Tristram, and I shall
redress it. And in the meanwhile Sir Dinadan was on horseback, and he
jousted with Lucan the butler, and there Sir Lucan smote Dinadan through
the thick of the thigh, and so he rode his way; and Sir Tristram was
wroth that Sir Dinadan was hurt, and followed after, and thought to
avenge him; and within a while he overtook Sir Lucan, and bade him turn;
and so they met together so that Sir Tristram hurt Sir Lucan passing
sore and gave him a fall. With that came Sir Uwaine, a gentle knight,
and when he saw Sir Lucan so hurt he called Sir Tristram to joust with
him. Fair knight, said Sir Tristram, tell me your name I require you.
Sir knight, wit ye well my name is Sir Uwaine le Fise de Roy Ureine. Ah,
said Sir Tristram, by my will I would not have ado with you at no time.
Ye shall not so, said Sir Uwaine, but ye shall have ado with me.
And then Sir Tristram saw none other bote, but rode against him, and
overthrew Sir Uwaine and hurt him in the side, and so he departed unto
his lodging again. And when Sir Dinadan understood that Sir Tristram had
hurt Sir Lucan he would have ridden after Sir Lucan for to have slain
him, but Sir Tristram would not suffer him. Then Sir Uwaine let ordain
an horse litter, and brought Sir Lucan to the abbey of Ganis, and the
castle thereby hight the Castle of Ganis, of the which Sir Bleoberis was
lord. And at that castle Sir Launcelot promised all his fellows to meet
in the quest of Sir Tristram.


So when Sir Tristram was come to his lodging there came a damosel that
told Sir Darras that three of his sons were slain at that tournament,
and two grievously wounded that they were never like to help themself.
And all this was done by a noble knight that bare the black shield, and
that was he that bare the prize. Then came there one and told Sir Darras
that the same knight was within, him that bare the black shield. Then
Sir Darras yede unto Sir Tristram's chamber, and there he found his
shield and showed it to the damosel. Ah sir, said the damosel, that same
is he that slew your three sons. Then without any tarrying Sir Darras
put Sir Tristram, and Sir Palomides, and Sir Dinadan, within a strong
prison, and there Sir Tristram was like to have died of great sickness;
and every day Sir Palomides would reprove Sir Tristram of old hate
betwixt them. And ever Sir Tristram spake fair and said little. But when
Sir Palomides saw the falling of sickness of Sir Tristram, then was he
heavy for him, and comforted him in all the best wise he could. And as
the French book saith, there came forty knights to Sir Darras that
were of his own kin, and they would have slain Sir Tristram and his two
fellows, but Sir Darras would not suffer that, but kept them in prison,
and meat and drink they had. So Sir Tristram endured there great
pain, for sickness had undertaken him, and that is the greatest pain a
prisoner may have. For all the while a prisoner may have his health
of body he may endure under the mercy of God and in hope of good
deliverance; but when sickness toucheth a prisoner's body, then may a
prisoner say all wealth is him bereft, and then he hath cause to wail
and to weep. Right so did Sir Tristram when sickness had undertaken him,
for then he took such sorrow that he had almost slain himself.



CHAPTER XXXVIII. How King Mark was sorry for the good renown of
Sir Tristram. Some of King Arthur's knights jousted with knights of
Cornwall.

NOW will we speak, and leave Sir Tristram, Sir Palomides, and Sir
Dinadan in prison, and speak we of other knights that sought after Sir
Tristram many divers parts of this land. And some yede into Cornwall;
and by adventure Sir Gaheris, nephew unto King Arthur, came unto King
Mark, and there he was well received and sat at King Mark's own table
and ate of his own mess. Then King Mark asked Sir Gaheris what tidings
there were in the realm of Logris. Sir, said Sir Gaheris, the king
reigneth as a noble knight; and now but late there was a great jousts
and tournament as ever I saw any in the realm of Logris, and the most
noble knights were at that jousts. But there was one knight that did
marvellously three days, and he bare a black shield, and of all knights
that ever I saw he proved the best knight. Then, said King Mark, that
was Sir Launcelot, or Sir Palomides the paynim. Not so, said Sir Gheris,
for both Sir Launcelot and Sir Palomides were on the contrary party
against the Knight with the Black Shield. Then was it Sir Tristram, said
the king. Yea, said Sir Gaheris. And therewithal the king smote down his
head, and in his heart he feared sore that Sir Tristram should get him
such worship in the realm of Logris wherethrough that he himself should
not be able to withstand him. Thus Sir Gaheris had great cheer with King
Mark, and with Queen La Beale Isoud, the which was glad of Sir Gaheris'
words; for well she wist by his deeds and manners that it was Sir
Tristram. And then the king made a feast royal, and to that feast
came Sir Uwaine le Fise de Roy Ureine, and some called him Uwaine
le Blanchemains. And this Sir Uwaine challenged all the knights of
Cornwall. Then was the king wood wroth that he had no knights to answer
him. Then Sir Andred, nephew unto King Mark, leapt up and said: I will
encounter with Sir Uwaine. Then he yede and armed him and horsed him in
the best manner. And there Sir Uwaine met with Sir Andred, and smote him
down that he swooned on the earth. Then was King Mark sorry and wroth
out of measure that he had no knight to revenge his nephew, Sir Andred.

So the king called unto him Sir Dinas, the Seneschal, and prayed him for
his sake to take upon him to joust with Sir Uwaine. Sir, said Sir Dinas,
I am full loath to have ado with any knight of the Round Table. Yet,
said the king, for my love take upon thee to joust. So Sir Dinas made
him ready, and anon they encountered together with great spears, but
Sir Dinas was overthrown, horse and man, a great fall. Who was wroth
but King Mark! Alas, he said, have I no knight that will encounter with
yonder knight? Sir, said Sir Gaheris, for your sake I will joust. So Sir
Gaheris made him ready, and when he was armed he rode into the field.
And when Sir Uwaine saw Sir Gaheris' shield he rode to him and said:
Sir, ye do not your part. For, sir, the first time ye were made Knight
of the Round Table ye sware that ye should not have ado with your
fellowship wittingly. And pardie, Sir Gaheris, ye knew me well enough
by my shield, and so do I know you by your shield, and though ye would
break your oath I would not break mine; for there is not one here, nor
ye, that shall think I am afeard of you, but I durst right well have ado
with you, and yet we be sisters' sons. Then was Sir Gaheris ashamed, and
so therewithal every knight went their way, and Sir Uwaine rode into the
country.

Then King Mark armed him, and took his horse and his spear, with a
squire with him. And then he rode afore Sir Uwaine, and suddenly at a
gap he ran upon him as he that was not ware of him, and there he smote
him almost through the body, and there left him. So within a while there
came Sir Kay and found Sir Uwaine, and asked him how he was hurt. I wot
not, said Sir Uwaine, why nor wherefore, but by treason I am sure I gat
this hurt; for here came a knight suddenly upon me or that I was ware,
and suddenly hurt me. Then there was come Sir Andred to seek King Mark.
Thou traitor knight, said Sir Kay, an I wist it were thou that thus
traitorly hast hurt this noble knight thou shouldst never pass my hands.
Sir, said Sir Andred, I did never hurt him, and that I will report me to
himself. Fie on you false knight, said Sir Kay, for ye of Cornwall are
nought worth. So Sir Kay made carry Sir Uwaine to the Abbey of the Black
Cross, and there he was healed. And then Sir Gaheris took his leave of
King Mark, but or he departed he said: Sir king, ye did a foul shame
unto you and your court, when ye banished Sir Tristram out of this
country, for ye needed not to have doubted no knight an he had been
here. And so he departed.



CHAPTER XXXIX. Of the treason of King Mark, and how Sir Gaheris smote
him down and Andred his cousin.

THEN there came Sir Kay, the Seneschal, unto King Mark, and there he had
good cheer showing outward. Now, fair lords, said he, will ye prove any
adventure in the forest of Morris, in the which I know well is as hard
an adventure as I know any. Sir, said Sir Kay, I will prove it. And Sir
Gaheris said he would be avised for King Mark was ever full of treason:
and therewithal Sir Gaheris departed and rode his way. And by the same
way that Sir Kay should ride he laid him down to rest, charging his
squire to wait upon Sir Kay; And warn me when he cometh. So within a
while Sir Kay came riding that way, and then Sir Gaheris took his horse
and met him, and said: Sir Kay, ye are not wise to ride at the request
of King Mark, for he dealeth all with treason. Then said Sir Kay: I
require you let us prove this adventure. I shall not fail you, said
Sir Gaheris. And so they rode that time till a lake that was that time
called the Perilous Lake, and there they abode under the shaw of the
wood.

The meanwhile King Mark within the castle of Tintagil avoided all his
barons, and all other save such as were privy with him were avoided out
of his chamber. And then he let call his nephew Sir Andred, and bade arm
him and horse him lightly; and by that time it was midnight. And so King
Mark was armed in black, horse and all; and so at a privy postern they
two issued out with their varlets with them, and rode till they came
to that lake. Then Sir Kay espied them first, and gat his spear, and
proffered to joust. And King Mark rode against him, and smote each
other full hard, for the moon shone as the bright day. And there at that
jousts Sir Kay's horse fell down, for his horse was not so big as
the king's horse, and Sir Kay's horse bruised him full sore. Then Sir
Gaheris was wroth that Sir Kay had a fall. Then he cried: Knight, sit
thou fast in thy saddle, for I will revenge my fellow. Then King Mark
was afeard of Sir Gaheris, and so with evil will King Mark rode against
him, and Sir Gaheris gave him such a stroke that he fell down. So then
forthwithal Sir Gaheris ran unto Sir Andred and smote him from his horse
quite, that his helm smote in the earth, and nigh had broken his neck.
And therewithal Sir Gaheris alighted, and gat up Sir Kay. And then they
yode both on foot to them, and bade them yield them, and tell their
names outher they should die. Then with great pain Sir Andred spake
first, and said: It is King Mark of Cornwall, therefore be ye ware
what ye do, and I am Sir Andred, his cousin. Fie on you both, said Sir
Gaheris, for a false traitor, and false treason hast thou wrought and
he both, under the feigned cheer that ye made us! it were pity, said
Sir Gaheris, that thou shouldst live any longer. Save my life, said King
Mark, and I will make amends; and consider that I am a king anointed. It
were the more shame, said Sir Gaheris, to save thy life; thou art a king
anointed with cream, and therefore thou shouldst hold with all men of
worship; and therefore thou art worthy to die. With that he lashed at
King Mark without saying any more, and covered him with his shield and
defended him as he might. And then Sir Kay lashed at Sir Andred, and
therewithal King Mark yielded him unto Sir Gaheris. And then he kneeled
adown, and made his oath upon the cross of the sword, that never while
he lived he would be against errant-knights. And also he sware to be
good friend unto Sir Tristram if ever he came into Cornwall.

By then Sir Andred was on the earth, and Sir Kay would have slain him.
Let be, said Sir Gaheris, slay him not I pray you. It were pity, said
Sir Kay, that he should live any longer, for this is nigh cousin unto
Sir Tristram, and ever he hath been a traitor unto him, and by him he
was exiled out of Cornwall, and therefore I will slay him, said Sir Kay.
Ye shall not, said Sir Gaheris; sithen I have given the king his life,
I pray you give him his life. And therewithal Sir Kay let him go. And
so Sir Kay and Sir Gaheris rode their way unto Dinas, the Seneschal, for
because they heard say that he loved well Sir Tristram. So they reposed
them there, and soon after they rode unto the realm of Logris. And so
within a little while they met with Sir Launcelot that always had Dame
Bragwaine with him, to that intent he weened to have met the sooner
with Sir Tristram; and Sir Launcelot asked what tidings in Cornwall,
and whether they heard of Sir Tristram or not. Sir Kay and Sir Gaheris
answered and said, that they heard not of him. Then they told Sir
Launcelot word by word of their adventure. Then Sir Launcelot smiled and
said: Hard it is to take out of the flesh that is bred in the bone; and
so made them merry together.



CHAPTER XL

How after that Sir Tristram, Sir Palomides, and Sir Dinadan had been
long in prison they were delivered.

NOW leave we off this tale, and speak we of sir Dinas that had within
the castle a paramour, and she loved another knight better than him. And
so when sir Dinas went out a-hunting she slipped down by a towel, and
took with her two brachets, and so she yede to the knight that she
loved, and he her again. And when sir Dinas came home and missed his
paramour and his brachets, then was he the more wrother for his brachets
than for the lady. So then he rode after the knight that had his
paramour, and bade him turn and joust. So sir Dinas smote him down,
that with the fall he brake his leg and his arm. And then his lady and
paramour cried sir Dinas mercy, and said she would love him better than
ever she did. Nay, said sir Dinas, I shall never trust them that once
betrayed me, and therefore, as ye have begun, so end, for I will never
meddle with you. And so sir Dinas departed, and took his brachets with
him, and so rode to his castle.

Now will we turn unto sir Launcelot, that was right heavy that he could
never hear no tidings of sir Tristram, for all this while he was in
prison with sir Darras, Palomides, and Dinadan. Then Dame Bragwaine
took her leave to go into Cornwall, and sir Launcelot, sir Kay, and sir
Gaheris rode to seek sir Tristram in the country of Surluse.

Now speaketh this tale of sir Tristram and of his two fellows, for every
day sir Palomides brawled and said language against sir Tristram. I
marvel, said sir Dinadan, of thee, sir Palomides, an thou haddest sir
Tristram here thou wouldst do him no harm; for an a wolf and a sheep
were together in a prison the wolf would suffer the sheep to be in
peace. And wit thou well, said sir Dinadan, this same is sir Tristram
at a word, and now must thou do thy best with him, and let see now if
ye can skift it with your hands. Then was sir Palomides abashed and said
little. Sir Palomides, then said sir Tristram, I have heard much of your
maugre against me, but I will not meddle with you as at this time by my
will, because I dread the lord of this place that hath us in governance;
for an I dread him not more than I do thee, soon it should be skift: so
they peaced themself. Right so came in a damosel and said: Knights, be
of good cheer, for ye are sure of your lives, and that I heard say my
lord, Sir Darras. Then were they glad all three, for daily they weened
they should have died.

Then soon after this Sir Tristram fell sick that he weened to have died;
then Sir Dinadan wept, and so did Sir Palomides under them both making
great sorrow. So a damosel came in to them and found them mourning. Then
she went unto Sir Darras, and told him how that mighty knight that bare
the black shield was likely to die. That shall not be, said Sir Darras,
for God defend when knights come to me for succour that I should suffer
them to die within my prison. Therefore, said Sir Darras to the damosel,
fetch that knight and his fellows afore me. And then anon Sir Darras saw
Sir Tristram brought afore him. He said: Sir knight, me repenteth of thy
sickness for thou art called a full noble knight, and so it seemeth
by thee; and wit ye well it shall never be said that Sir Darras shall
destroy such a noble knight as thou art in prison, howbeit that thou
hast slain three of my sons whereby I was greatly aggrieved. But now
shalt thou go and thy fellows, and your harness and horses have been
fair and clean kept, and ye shall go where it liketh you, upon this
covenant, that thou, knight, wilt promise me to be good friend to my
sons two that be now alive, and also that thou tell me thy name. Sir,
said he, as for me my name is Sir Tristram de Liones, and in Cornwall
was I born, and nephew I am unto King Mark. And as for the death of your
sons I might not do withal, for an they had been the next kin that
I have I might have done none otherwise. And if I had slain them
by treason or treachery I had been worthy to have died. All this
I consider, said Sir Darras, that all that ye did was by force of
knighthood, and that was the cause I would not put you to death. But
sith ye be Sir Tristram, the good knight, I pray you heartily to be my
good friend and to my sons. Sir, said Sir Tristram, I promise you by the
faith of my body, ever while I live I will do you service, for ye
have done to us but as a natural knight ought to do. Then Sir Tristram
reposed him there till that he was amended of his sickness; and when he
was big and strong they took their leave, and every knight took their
horses, and so departed and rode together till they came to a cross way.
Now fellows, said Sir Tristram, here will we depart in sundry ways. And
because Sir Dinadan had the first adventure of him I will begin.



CHAPTER XLI. How Sir Dinadan rescued a lady from Sir Breuse Saunce Pite,
and how Sir Tristram received a shield of Morgan le Fay.

SO as Sir Dinadan rode by a well he found a lady making great dole.
What aileth you? said Sir Dinadan. Sir knight, said the lady, I am the
wofullest lady of the world, for within these five days here came a
knight called Sir Breuse Saunce Pite, and he slew mine own brother, and
ever since he hath kept me at his own will, and of all men in the world
I hate him most; and therefore I require you of knighthood to avenge me,
for he will not tarry, but be here anon. Let him come, said Sir Dinadan,
and because of honour of all women I will do my part. With this came Sir
Breuse, and when he saw a knight with his lady he was wood wroth. And
then he said: Sir knight, keep thee from me. So they hurtled together
as thunder, and either smote other passing sore, but Sir Dinadan put
him through the shoulder a grievous wound, and or ever Sir Dinadan might
turn him Sir Breuse was gone and fled. Then the lady prayed him to bring
her to a castle there beside but four mile thence; and so Sir Dinadan
brought her there, and she was welcome, for the lord of that castle was
her uncle; and so Sir Dinadan rode his way upon his adventure.

Now turn we this tale unto Sir Tristram, that by adventure he came to a
castle to ask lodging, wherein was Queen Morgan le Fay; and so when Sir
Tristram was let into that castle he had good cheer all that night. And
upon the morn when he would have departed the queen said: Wit ye well
ye shall not depart lightly, for ye are here as a prisoner. Jesu defend!
said Sir Tristram, for I was but late a prisoner. Fair knight, said
the queen, ye shall abide with me till that I wit what ye are and from
whence ye come. And ever the queen would set Sir Tristram on her own
side, and her paramour on the other side. And ever Queen Morgan would
behold Sir Tristram, and thereat the knight was jealous, and was in will
suddenly to have run upon Sir Tristram with a sword, but he left it
for shame. Then the queen said to Sir Tristram: Tell me thy name, and I
shall suffer you to depart when ye will. Upon that covenant I tell you
my name is Sir Tristram de Liones. Ah, said Morgan le Fay, an I had wist
that, thou shouldst not have departed so soon as thou shalt. But sithen
I have made a promise I will hold it, with that thou wilt promise me to
bear upon thee a shield that I shall deliver thee, unto the castle of
the Hard Rock, where King Arthur had cried a great tournament, and there
I pray you that ye will be, and to do for me as much deeds of arms as
ye may do. For at the Castle of Maidens, Sir Tristram, ye did marvellous
deeds of arms as ever I heard knight do. Madam, said Sir Tristram, let
me see the shield that I shall bear. Then the shield was brought forth,
and the field was goldish, with a king and a queen therein painted, and
a knight standing above them, [one foot] upon the king's head, and the
other upon the queen's. Madam, said Sir Tristram, this is a fair shield
and a mighty; but what signifieth this king and this queen, and the
knight standing upon both their heads? I shall tell you, said Morgan
le Fay, it signifieth King Arthur and Queen Guenever, and a knight who
holdeth them both in bondage and in servage. Who is that knight? said
Sir Tristram. That shall ye not wit as at this time, said the queen.
But as the French book saith, Queen Morgan loved Sir Launcelot best, and
ever she desired him, and he would never love her nor do nothing at her
request, and therefore she held many knights together for to have taken
him by strength. And because she deemed that Sir Launcelot loved Queen
Guenever paramour, and she him again, therefore Queen Morgan le Fay
ordained that shield to put Sir Launcelot to a rebuke, to that intent
that King Arthur might understand the love between them. Then Sir
Tristram took that shield and promised her to bear it at the tournament
at the Castle of the Hard Rock. But Sir Tristram knew not that that
shield was ordained against Sir Launcelot, but afterward he knew it.



CHAPTER XLII. How Sir Tristram took with him the shield, and also how he
slew the paramour of Morgan le Fay.

SO then Sir Tristram took his leave of the queen, and took the shield
with him. Then came the knight that held Queen Morgan le Fay, his name
was Sir Hemison, and he made him ready to follow Sir Tristram. Fair
friend, said Morgan, ride not after that knight, for ye shall not win no
worship of him. Fie on him, coward, said Sir Hemison, for I wist never
good knight come out of Cornwall but if it were Sir Tristram de Liones.
What an that be he? said she. Nay, nay, said he, he is with La Beale
Isoud, and this is but a daffish knight. Alas, my fair friend, ye shall
find him the best knight that ever ye met withal, for I know him better
than ye do. For your sake, said Sir Hemison, I shall slay him. Ah, fair
friend, said the queen, me repenteth that ye will follow that knight,
for I fear me sore of your again coming. With this this knight rode his
way wood wroth, and he rode after Sir Tristram as fast as he had been
chased with knights. When Sir Tristram heard a knight come after him so
fast he returned about, and saw a knight coming against him. And when he
came nigh to Sir Tristram he cried on high: Sir knight, keep thee from
me. Then they rushed together as it had been thunder, and Sir Hemison
brised his spear upon Sir Tristram, but his harness was so good that
he might not hurt him. And Sir Tristram smote him harder, and bare him
through the body, and he fell over his horse's croup. Then Sir Tristram
turned to have done more with his sword, but he saw so much blood go
from him that him seemed he was likely to die, and so he departed from
him and came to a fair manor to an old knight, and there Sir Tristram
lodged.



CHAPTER XLIII. How Morgan le Fay buried her paramour, and how Sir
Tristram praised Sir Launcelot and his kin.

NOW leave to speak of Sir Tristram, and speak we of the knight that was
wounded to the death. Then his varlet alighted, and took off his helm,
and then he asked his lord whether there were any life in him. There
is in me life said the knight, but it is but little; and therefore leap
thou up behind me when thou hast holpen me up, and hold me fast that
I fall not, and bring me to Queen Morgan le Fay; for deep draughts of
death draw to my heart that I may not live, for I would fain speak
with her or I died: for else my soul will be in great peril an I die.
For[thwith] with great pain his varlet brought him to the castle, and
there Sir Hemison fell down dead. When Morgan le Fay saw him dead she
made great sorrow out of reason; and then she let despoil him unto his
shirt, and so she let him put into a tomb. And about the tomb she let
write: Here lieth Sir Hemison, slain by the hands of Sir Tristram de
Liones.

Now turn we unto Sir Tristram, that asked the knight his host if he saw
late any knights adventurous. Sir, he said, the last night here lodged
with me Ector de Maris and a damosel with him, and that damosel told me
that he was one of the best knights of the world. That is not so, said
Sir Tristram, for I know four better knights of his own blood, and the
first is Sir Launcelot du Lake, call him the best knight, and Sir Bors
de Ganis, Sir Bleoberis, Sir Blamore de Ganis, and Sir Gaheris. Nay,
said his host, Sir Gawaine is a better knight than he. That is not so,
said Sir Tristram, for I have met with them both, and I felt Sir Gaheris
for the better knight, and Sir Lamorak I call him as good as any of them
except Sir Launcelot. Why name ye not Sir Tristram? said his host, for
I account him as good as any of them. I know not Sir Tristram, said
Tristram. Thus they talked and bourded as long as them list, and then
went to rest. And on the morn Sir Tristram departed, and took his leave
of his host, and rode toward the Roche Dure, and none adventure had
Sir Tristram but that; and so he rested not till he came to the castle,
where he saw five hundred tents.



CHAPTER XLIV. How Sir Tristram at a tournament bare the shield that
Morgan le Fay delivered to him.

THEN the King of Scots and the King of Ireland held against King
Arthur's knights, and there began a great medley. So came in Sir
Tristram and did marvellous deeds of arms, for there he smote down many
knights. And ever he was afore King Arthur with that shield. And when
King Arthur saw that shield he marvelled greatly in what intent it was
made; but Queen Guenever deemed as it was, wherefore she was heavy. Then
was there a damosel of Queen Morgan in a chamber by King Arthur, and
when she heard King Arthur speak of that shield, then she spake openly
unto King Arthur. Sir King, wit ye well this shield was ordained for
you, to warn you of your shame and dishonour, and that longeth to you
and your queen. And then anon that damosel picked her away privily, that
no man wist where she was become. Then was King Arthur sad and wroth,
and asked from whence came that damosel. There was not one that knew
her nor wist where she was become. Then Queen Guenever called to her Sir
Ector de Maris, and there she made her complaint to him, and said: I wot
well this shield was made by Morgan le Fay in despite of me and of Sir
Launcelot, wherefore I dread me sore lest I should be destroyed. And
ever the king beheld Sir Tristram, that did so marvellous deeds of arms
that he wondered sore what knight he might be, and well he wist it was
not Sir Launcelot. And it was told him that Sir Tristram was in Petit
Britain with Isoud la Blanche Mains, for he deemed, an he had been in
the realm of Logris, Sir Launcelot or some of his fellows that were in
the quest of Sir Tristram that they should have found him or that time.
So King Arthur had marvel what knight he might be. And ever Sir Arthur's
eye was on that shield. All that espied the queen, and that made her
sore afeard.

Then ever Sir Tristram smote down knights wonderly to behold, what upon
the right hand and upon the left hand, that unnethe no knight might
withstand him. And the King of Scots and the King of Ireland began to
withdraw them. When Arthur espied that, he thought that that knight with
the strange shield should not escape him. Then he called unto him Sir
Uwaine le Blanche Mains, and bade him arm him and make him ready. So
anon King Arthur and Sir Uwaine dressed them before Sir Tristram, and
required him to tell them where he had that shield. Sir, he said, I had
it of Queen Morgan le Fay, sister unto King Arthur.

So here endeth this history of this book, for it is the first book of
Sir Tristram de Liones and the second book of Sir Tristram followeth.



GLOSSARY


     Abashed, abased, lowered,
     Abate, depress, calm,
     Abought, paid for,
     Abraid, started,
     Accompted, counted,
     Accorded, agreed,
     Accordment, agreement,
     Acquit, repay,
     Actually, actively,
     Adoubted, afraid,
     Advision, vision,
     Afeard, afraid,
     Afterdeal, disadvantage,
     Againsay, retract,
     Aknown, known,
     Aligement, alleviation,
     Allegeance, alleviation,
     Allow, approve,
     Almeries, chests,
     Alther, gen. pl., of all,
     Amounted, mounted,
     Anealed, anointed,
     Anguishly, in pain,
     Anon, at once,
     Apair, weaken,
     Apparelled, fitted up,
     Appeach, impeach,
     Appealed, challenged, accused,
     Appertices, displays,
     Araged, enraged, ; confused,
     Araised, raised,
     Arase, obliterate,
     Areared, reared,
     Armyvestal, martial,
     Array, plight, state of affairs,
     Arrayed, situated,
     Arson, saddle-bow,
     Askance, casually,
     Assoiled, absolved,
     Assotted, infatuated,
     Assummon, summon,
     Astonied, amazed, stunned,
     At, of, by,
     At-after, after,
     Attaint, overcome,
     Aumbries, chests,
     Avail (at), at an advantage,
     Avaled, lowered,
     Avaunt, boast,
     Aventred, couched,
     Avised, be advised, take thought,
     Avision, vision,
     Avoid, quit,
     Avoided, got clear off,
     Avow, vow,
     Await of (in), in watch for,
     Awayward, away,
     Awke, sideways,

     Bachelors, probationers for knighthood
     Bain, bath,
     Barbican, gate-tower,
     Barget, little ship,
     Battle, division of an army,
     Bawdy, dirty,
     Beams, trumpets,
     Be-closed, enclosed,
     Become, pp., befallen, gone to,
     Bedashed, splashed,
     Behests, promises,
     Behight, promised,
     Beholden (beholding) to, obliged to,
     Behote, promised,
     Benome, deprived, taken away,
     Besants, gold coins,
     Beseek, beseech,
     Beseen, appointed, arrayed,
     Beskift, shove off,
     Bested, beset,
     Betaken, entrusted,
     Betaught, entrusted, recommended,
     Betid, happened,
     Betook, committed, entrusted,
     Bevered, quivered,
     Board, sb., deck,
     Bobaunce, boasting, pride,
     Boishe, bush, branch of a tree,

     Boistous, rough,
     Bole, trunk of a tree,
     Boot, remedy,
     Borrow out, redeem,
     Borrows, pledges,
     Bote, remedy,
     Bound, ready,
     Bourded, jested,
     Bourder, jester,
     Braced, embraced,
     Brachet, little hound,
     Braide, quick movement,
     Brast, burst, break,
     Breaths, breathing holes,
     Brief, shorten,
     Brim, fierce, furious,
     Brised, broke,
     Broached, pierced,
     Broaches, spits,
     Bur, hand-guard of a spear,
     Burble, bubble,
     Burbling, bubbling,
     Burgenetts, buds, blossoms,
     Bushment, ambush,
     By and by, immediately,
     Bywaryed, expended, bestowed,

     Canel bone, collar bone,
     Cankered, inveterate,
     Cantel, slice, strip,
     Careful, sorrowful, full of troubles,
     Cast (of bread), loaves baked at the same time,
     Cast, ref: v., propose,
     Cedle, schedule, note,
     Cere, wax over, embalm,; cerel,
     Certes, certainly,
     Chafe, heat, decompose,; chafed, heated,
     Chaflet, platform, scaffold,
     Champaign, open country,
     Chariot (Fr charette), cart,
     Cheer, countenance,  entertainment,
     Chierte, dearness,
     Chrism, anointing oil,
     Clatter, talk confusedly,
     Cleight, clutched,
     Cleped, called,
     Clipping, embracing,
     Cog, small boat,
     Cognisance, badge, mark of distinction,
     Coif, head-piece,
     Comfort, strengthen, help,
     Cominal, common,
     Complished, complete,
     Con, know, be able, ; con thanlt, be grateful,
     Conserve, preserve,
     Conversant, abiding in,
     Cording, agreement,
     Coronal, circlet,
     Cost, side,
     Costed, kept up with,
     Couched, lay,
     Courage, encourage,
     Courtelage, courtyard,
     Covert, sheltered,
     Covetise, covetousness,
     Covin, deceit,
     Cream, oil,
     Credence, faith,
     Croup, crupper,
     Curteist, most courteous,

     Daffish, foolish,
     Danger (in), under obligation to, in the power of,
     Dawed, v tr., revived,  intr. dawned,
     Deadly, mortal, human,
     Deal, part, portion,
     Debate, quarrel, strife,
     Debonair, courteous,
     Deceivable, deceitful,
     Defaded, faded,
     Default, fault,
     Defend, forbid,; defended,; forbidden,
     Defoiled, trodden down, fouled, deflowered,
     Degree (win the), rank, superiority,
     Delibered, determined,
     Deliverly, adroitly,
     Departed, divided,
     Departition, departure,
     Dere, harm,
     Descrive, describe,
     Despoiled, stripped,
     Detrenched, cut to pieces,
     Devised, looked carefully at,
     Devoir, duty, service,
     Did off, doffed,
     Dight, prepared,
     Dindled, trembled,
     Disadventure, misfortune,
     Discover, reveal,
     Disherited, disinherited,
     Disparpled, scattered,
     Dispenses, expenses,
     Disperplyd, scattered,
     Dispoiled, stripped,
     Distained, sullied, dishonoured,
     Disworship, shame,
     Dole, gift of alms,
     Dole, sorrow,
     Domineth, dominates, rules,
     Don, gift,
     Doted, foolish,

     Doubted, redoubtable,
     Draughts, privities, secret interviews, recesses,
     Drenched, drowned,
     Dress, make ready,
     Dressed up, raised,
     Dretched, troubled in sleep,
     Dretching, being troubled in sleep,
     Dromounds, war vessels,
     Dure, endure, last,; dured,; during,
     Duresse, bondage, hardship,
     Dwined, dwindled,

     Eased, entertained,
     Eft, after, again,
     Eftures, passages,
     Embattled, ranged for battle,
     Embushed, concealed in the woods,
     Eme, uncle,
     Empoison, poison,
     Emprised, undertook,
     Enbraid,
     Enchafe, heat,; enchafed, heated,
     Enchieve, achieve,
     Endlong, alongside of,
     Enewed, painted,
     Enforce, constrain,
     Engine, device,
     Enow, enough,
     Enquest, enterprise,
     Ensured, assured,
     Entermete, intermeddle,
     Errant, wandering,
     Estates, ranks,
     Even hand, at an equality,
     Evenlong, along,
     Everych, each, every one,

     Faiter, vagabond,
     Fare, sb., ado, commotion,
     Faren, pp., treated,
     Faute, lack,; fauted, lacked,
     Fealty, oath of fidelity,
     Fear, frighten,
     Feute, trace, track,
     Feuter, set in rest, couch,
     Feutred, set in socket,
     Fiaunce, affiance, promise,
     Flang, flung,; rushed,
     Flatling, prostrate,
     Fleet, float,
     Flemed, put to flight,
     Flittered, fluttered,
     Foiled, defeated, shamed,
     Foined, thrust,
     Foining, thrusting,
     Foins, thrusts,

     Foot-hot, hastily,
     For-bled, spent with bleeding,
     Force (no), no concern,
     Fordeal, advantage,
     Fordo, destroy,; fordid,
     Forecast, preconcerted plot,
     For-fared, worsted,
     Forfend, forbid,
     Forfoughten, weary with fighting,
     Forhewn, hewn to pieces,
     Forjousted, tired with jousting,
     Forthinketh, repents,
     Fortuned, happened,
     Forward, vanguard,
     Forwowmded, sorely wounded,
     Free, noble,
     Freshed,
     Froward, away from,

     Gad, wedge or spike of iron,
     Gainest, readiest,
     Gar, cause,
     Gart, compelled,
     Gentily, like a gentleman,
     Gerfalcon, a fine hawk,
     Germane, closely allied,
     Gest, deed, story,
     Gisarm, halberd, battle-axe,
     Glaive, sword,
     Glasting, barking,
     Glatisant, barking, yelping,
     Gobbets, lumps,
     Graithed, made ready,
     Gree, degree, superiority,
     Greed, pp., pleased, content,
     Grescs, steps,
     Grimly, ugly,
     Grovelling, on his face,
     Guerdonless, without reward,
     Guise, fashion,

     Habergeon, hauberk with leggings attached,
     Hair, a hair-shirt,
     Hale and how, a sailor's cry,
     Halp, helped,
     Halsed, embraced,
     Halsing, embracing,
     Handfast, betrothed,
     Handsel, earnest-money,
     Hangers, testicles,
     Harbingers, messengers sent to prepare lodgings,
     Harness, armour,
     Hart of greese, fat deer,
     Hauberk, coat of mail,
     Haut, high, noble,
     Hauteyn, haughty,
     Heavy, sad,
     Hete, command,
     Hide, skin,
     Hied, hurried,
     High (on), aloud,
     Higher hand, the uppermost,
     Hight, called,
     Hilled, covered, concealed,
     Holden, held,
     Holp, helped,
     Holts, woods,
     Hough-bone, back part of kneejoint,
     Houselled, to be given the Eucharist,
     Hoved, hovered, waited about,
     Hurled, dashed, staggered,; hurling,
     Hurtle, dash,

     Incontinent, forthwith,
     Ind, dark blue,
     Infellowship, join in fellowship,
     In like, alike,
     Intermit, interpose,

     Japer, jester,
     Japes, jests,
     Jesseraunt, a short cuirass,

     Keep, sb., care,
     Keep, s., care, reck,
     Kemps, champions,
     Kind, nature,
     Kindly, natural,
     Knights parters, marshals,
     Know, acknowledge,
     Knowledging, acknowledgment, confession,

     Lain, conceal,
     Langering, sauntering,
     Lapped, took in her lap,
     Large, generous,
     Largeness, liberality,
     Laton, latten, brass,
     Laund, waste plain,
     Layne, conceal,
     Lazar-cot, leper-house,
     Learn, teach,
     Lears, cheeks,
     Leaved, leafy,
     Lecher, fornicator,
     Leech, physician,
     Leman, lover,
     Let, caused to,
     Let, hinder,
     Lewdest, most ignorant,
     Licours lecherous,
     Lief, dear,
     Liefer, more gladly,
     Lieve, believe,
     Limb-meal, limb from limb,
     List, desire, pleasure,
     Lithe, joint,
     Longing unto, belonging to,
     Long on (upon), because of,
     Loos, praise,
     Lotless, without a share,
     Loveday, day for. settling disputes,
     Loving, praising,
     Lunes, leashes, strings,
     Lusk, lubber,
     Lusts, inclinations,

     Maims, wounds,
     Makeless, matchless,
     Makers, authors, poets,
     Mas,ease, discomfort,
     Mal engine, evil design,
     Mal-fortune, ill-luck, mishap,
     Marches, borders,
     Mass-penny, offering at mass for the dead,
     Matche old, machicolated, with holes for defence,
     Maugre, sb., despite,
     Measle, disease,
     Medled, mingled,
     Medley, melee, general encounter,
     Meiny, retinue,
     Mickle, much,
     Minever, ermine,
     Mischieved, hurt,
     Mischievous, painful,
     Miscorr fort, discomfort,
     Miscreature, unbeliever,
     Missay, revile,; missaid,
     Mo, more,
     More and less, rich and poor,
     Motes, notes on a horn,
     Mount~ lance, amount of, extent,
     Much, great,

     Naked, unarmed,
     Namely, especially,
     Ne, nor,
     Near-hand, nearly,; near,
     Needly, needs, on your own compulsion,
     Nesh, soft, tender,
     Nigh-hand, nearly,
     Nill, will not,
     Nilt, will not,
     Nis, ne is, is not,
     Nist, ne wist, knew not,
     Noblesse, nobleness,
     Nobley, nobility, splendour,
     Noised, reported,
     Nold, would not,
     Noseling, on his nose,
     Not for then, nevertheless,
     Notoyrly, notoriously,
     Noyous, hurtful,

     Obeissance, obedience,
     Or, before,
     Orgule, haughtiness,
     Orgulist, haughtiest,
     Orgulite, pride, arrogance,
     Orgulous, proud,
     Other, or,
     Ouches, jewels,
     Ought, owned,
     Outcept, except,
     Outher, or,
     Out-taken, except,
     Over-evening, last night,
     Overget, overtake,
     Overhylled, covered,
     Over-led, domineered over,
     Overlong, the length of,
     Overslip, pass,
     Overthwart, adj., cross,
     Overthwart, sb., mischance,
     Overthwart and endlong, by the breadth and length,

     Painture, painting,
     Paitrelles, breastplate of a horse,
     Paltocks, short coats,
     Parage, descent,
     Pareil, like,
     Passing, surpassingly,
     Paynim, pagan,
     Pensel, pennon,
     Perclos, partition,
     Perdy, par Dieu,
     Perigot, falcon,
     Perish, destroy,
     Peron, tombstone,
     Pight, pitched,
     Pike, steal away,
     Piked, stole,
     Pillers, plunderers,
     Pilling, plundering,
     Pleasaunce, pleasure,
     Plenour, complete,
     Plump, sb., cluster,
     Pointling, aiming,
     Pont, bridge,
     Port, gate,
     Posseded, possessed,
     Potestate, governor,
     Precessours, predecessors,
     Press, throng,
     Pretendeth, belongs to,
     Pricker, hard rider,
     Pricking, spurring,
     Prime, A.M.,
     Prise, capture,
     Puissance, power,
     Purfle, trimming,
     Purfled, embroidered,
     Purvey, provide,

     Quarrels, arrowheads,
     Questing, barking,
     Quick, alive,
     Quit, repaid,; acquitted, behaved,
     Raced (rased), tore,
     Rack (of bulls), herd,
     Raines, a town in Brittany famous for its cloth,
     Ramping, raging,
     Range, rank, station,
     Ransacked, searched,
     Rashed, fell headlong,
     Rashing, rushing,
     Rasing, rushing,
     Rasure,
     Raundon, impetuosity,
     Rear, raise,
     Rechate, note of recall,
     Recomforted, comforted, cheered,
     Recounter, rencontre, encounter,
     Recover, rescue,
     Rede, advise, ; sb., counsel,
     Redounded, glanced back,
     Religion, religious order,
     Reneye, deny,
     Report, refer,
     Resemblaunt; semblance,
     Retrayed, drew back,
     Rightwise, rightly,
     Rivage, shore,
     Romed, roared,
     Roted, practised,
     Rove, cleft,
     Rownsepyk, a branch,

     Sacring, consecrating,
     Sad, serious,
     Sadly, heartily, earnestly,
     Salle, room,
     Samite, silk stuff with gold or silver
     threads,
     Sangreal, Holy Grail,
     Sarps, girdles,
     Saw, proverb,
     Scathes, harms, hurts,
     icripture, writing,
     Search, probe wounds,
     Selar, canopy,
     Semblable, like,
     Semblant, semblance,
     Sendal, fine cloth,
     Sennight, week,
     Servage, slavery,

     Sewer, officer who set on dishes and tasted them,
     Shaft-mon, handbreadth,
     Shaw, thicket,
     Sheef, thrust,
     Sheer-Thursday, Thursday in Holy Week,
     Shend, harm,
     Shenship, disgrace,
     Shent, undone, blamed,
     Shour, attack,
     Shrew, rascal,
     Shrewd, knavish,
     Sib, akin to,
     Sideling, sideways,
     Siege, seat,
     Signified, likened,
     Siker, sure,
     Sikerness, assurance,
     Sith, since,
     Sithen, afterwards, since,
     Skift, changed,
     Slade, valley,
     Slake, glen,
     Soil (to go to), hunting term for taking the water,
     Sonds, messages,
     Sort, company,
     Sperd, bolted,
     Spere, ask, inquire,
     Spered, asked,
     Sperhawk, sparrowhawk,
     Sprent, sprinkled,
     Stale, station,
     Stark, thoroughly,
     Stead, place,
     Stert, started, rose quickly,
     Steven, appointment,; steven ser. appointment made,
     Steven, voice,
     Stigh, path,
     Stilly, silently,
     Stint, fixed revenue,
     Stonied, astonished,; became confused,
     Stour, battle,
     Strain, race, descent,
     Strait, narrow,
     Straked, blew a horn,
     Sue, pursue,
     Sued, pursued,
     Surcingles, saddle girths,
     Swang, swung,
     Sweven, dream,
     Swough, sound of wind,

     Talent, desire,
     Tallages, taxes,
     Tallies, taxes,
     Tamed, crushed,

     Tatches, qualities,
     Tene, sorrow,
     Term, period of time,
     Thilk, that same,
     Tho, then,
     Thrang, pushed,
     Thrulled, pushed,
     Till, to,
     To-brast, burst,
     To-fore, before,
     To-morn, to-morrow,
     Took, gave,
     To-rove, broke up,
     To-shivered, broken to pieces,
     Traced, advanced and retreated,
     Trains, devices, wiles,
     Trasing, pressing forward,
     Travers (met at), came across,
     Traverse, slantwise,
     Traversed, moved sideways,
     Tray, grief,
     Treatise, treaty,
     Tree, timber,
     Trenchant, cutting, sharp,
     Tres:, hunting term,
     Truage, tribute,
     Trussed, packed,

     Ubblie, wafer, Host,
     Umbecast, cast about,
     Umberere, the part of the helmet which shaded the eyes,
     Umbre, shade,
     Unavised, thoughtlessly,
     Uncouth, strange,
     Underne, - A.M.,
     Ungoodly, rudely,
     Unhappy, unlucky,
     Unhilled, uncovered,
     Unr the, scarcely,
     Unsicker, unstable,
     Unwimpled, uncovered,
     Unwrast, untwisted, unbound,
     Upright, flat on the back,
     Up-so-down, upside down,
     Ure, usage,
     Utas, octave of a festival,
     Utterance, uttermost,

     Varlet, servant,
     Venery, hunting,
     Ven ails, breathing holes,
     Villain, man of low birth,
     Visors, the perforated parts of helmets,
     Voided, slipped away from,

     Wagging, shaking,
     Waited, watched,
     Waits, watches,
     Wallop, gallop,
     Wanhope, despair,
     Wap, ripple,
     Ware, aware,
     Warison, reward,
     Warn, forbid, refuse,
     Weeds, garments,
     Weltered, rolled about,
     Wend, thought,
     Wer-wolf, a man turned into a wolf by magic,
     Where, whereas,
     Wide-where, over wide space,
     Wield, possess, have power over,
     Wield himself, come to himself,
     Wight, brave, strong,
     Wightly, swiftly,
     Wildsome, desolate,
     Wimpled, with the head covered,
     Win, make way,
     Wite, v., blame,
     Within-forth, on the inside,
     Without-forth, on the outside,
     Wittiest, cleverest,
     Wittily, cleverly,
     Witting, knowledge,
     Wold or nold, would or would not,
     Wonder, adj., wondrous,
     Wonder, adv., wondrously,
     Wonderly, wonderfully,
     Wood, mad,
     Woodness, madness,
     Wood shaw, thicket of the wood,
     Worship, honour,
     Worshipped, cause to be honoured,
     Worts, roots,
     Wot, know,
     Wrack, destruction,
     Wroken, wreaked,
     Wrothe, twisted,
     Yede, ran,
     Yelden, yielded,
     Yerde, stick, stem,
     Yode, went,
     Yolden, yielded,
     Y-wis, certainly,





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