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Le Morte Darthur

Part 3 out of 11

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How Sir Archade appealed Sir Palomides of treason, and
how Sir Palomides slew him.

WHEN Palomides was unarmed he asked lodging for
himself and the damosel. Anon the haut prince commanded
them to lodging. And he was not so soon in his
lodging but there came a knight that hight Archade, he
was brother unto Goneries that Palomides slew afore in
the damosel's quarrel. And this knight, Archade, called
Sir Palomides traitor, and appealed him for the death of
his brother. By the leave of the haut prince, said Palomides,
I shall answer thee. When Sir Galahalt understood
their quarrel he bade them go to dinner: And as
soon as ye have dined look that either knight be ready in
the field. So when they had dined they were armed both,
and took their horses, and the queen, and the prince, and
Sir Launcelot, were set to behold them; and so they let
run their horses, and there Sir Palomides bare Archade
on his spear over his horse's tail. And then Palomides
alighted and drew his sword, but Sir Archade might not
arise; and there Sir Palomides raced off his helm, and
smote off his head. Then the haut prince and Queen
Guenever went unto supper. Then King Bagdemagus
sent away his son Meliagaunce because Sir Launcelot
should not meet with him, for he hated Sir Launcelot,
and that knew he not.


Of the third day, and how Sir Palomides jousted with Sir
Lamorak, and other things.

NOW beginneth the third day of jousting; and at that
day King Bagdemagus made him ready; and there came
against him King Marsil, that had in gift an island of Sir
Galahalt the haut prince; and this island had the name
Pomitain. Then it befell that King Bagdemagus and
King Marsil of Pomitain met together with spears, and
King Marsil had such a buffet that he fell over his horse's
croup. Then came there in a knight of King Marsil to
revenge his lord, and King Bagdemagus smote him down,
horse and man, to the earth. So there came an earl that
hight Arrouse, and Sir Breuse, and an hundred knights
with them of Pomitain, and the King of Northgalis was
with them; and all these were against them of Surluse.
And then there began great battle, and many knights
were cast under horses' feet. And ever King Bagdemagus
did best, for he first began, and ever he held on. Gaheris,
Gawaine's brother, smote ever at the face of King Bagdemagus;
and at the last King Bagdemagus hurtled down
Gaheris, horse and man.

Then by adventure Sir Palomides, the good knight,
met with Sir Blamore de Ganis, Sir Bleoberis' brother.
And either smote other with great spears, that both their
horses and knights fell to the earth. But Sir Blamore
had such a fall that he had almost broken his neck, for
the blood brast out at nose, mouth, and his ears, but at
the last he recovered well by good surgeons. Then there
came in the Duke Chaleins of Clarance; and in his
governance there came a knight that hight Elis la Noire;
and there encountered with him King Bagdemagus, and
he smote Elis that he made him to avoid his saddle. So
the Duke Chaleins of Clarance did there great deeds of
arms, and of so late as he came in the third day there was
no man did so well except King Bagdemagus and Sir
Palomides, that the prize was given that day to King
Bagdemagus. And then they blew unto lodging, and
unarmed them, and went to the feast. Right so came
Dinadan, and mocked and japed with King Bagdemagus
that all knights laughed at him, for he was a fine japer,
and well loving all good knights.

So anon as they had dined there came a varlet bearing
four spears on his back; and he came to Palomides, and
said thus: Here is a knight by hath sent you the choice
of four spears, and requireth you for your lady's sake to
take that one half of these spears, and joust with him in
the field. Tell him, said Palomides, I will not fail him.
When Sir Galahalt wist of this, he bade Palomides make
him ready. So the Queen Guenever, the haut prince, and
Sir Launcelot, they were set upon scaffolds to give the
judgment of these two knights. Then Sir Palomides and
the strange knight ran so eagerly together that their
spears brake to their hands. Anon withal either of
them took a great spear in his hand and all to-shivered
them in pieces. And then either took a greater spear,
and then the knight smote down Sir Palomides, horse and
man, to the earth. And as he would have passed over
him the strange knight's horse stumbled and fell down
upon Palomides. Then they drew their swords and lashed
together wonderly sore a great while.

Then the haut prince and Sir Launcelot said they saw
never two knights fight better than they did; but ever
the strange knight doubled his strokes, and put Palomides
aback; therewithal the haut prince cried: Ho: and then
they went to lodging. And when they were unarmed
they knew it was the noble knight Sir Lamorak. When
Sir Launcelot knew that it was Sir Lamorak he made
much of him, for above all earthly men he loved him best
except Sir Tristram. Then Queen Guenever commended
him, and so did all other good knights make much of him,
except Sir Gawaine's brethren. Then Queen Guenever
said unto Sir Launcelot: Sir, I require you that an ye
joust any more, that ye joust with none of the blood
of my lord Arthur. So he promised he would not as at
that time.


Of the fourth day, and of many great feats of arms.

HERE beginneth the fourth day. Then came into the
field the King with the Hundred Knights, and all they of
Northgalis, and the Duke Chaleins of Clarance, and King
Marsil of Pomitain, and there came Safere, Palomides'
brother, and there he told him tidings of his mother.
And his name was called the Earl, and so he appealed
him afore King Arthur: For he made war upon our
father and mother, and there I slew him in plain battle.
So they went into the field, and the damosel with them;
and there came to encounter again them Sir Bleoberis de
Ganis, and Sir Ector de Maris. Sir Palomides encountered
with Sir Bleoberis, and either smote other down. And in
the same wise did Sir Safere and Sir Ector, and the two
couples did battle on foot. Then came in Sir Lamorak,
and he encountered with the King with the Hundred
Knights, and smote him quite over his horse's tail. And
in the same wise he served the King of Northgalis, and
also he smote down King Marsil. And so or ever he
stint he smote down with his spear and with his sword
thirty knights. When Duke Chaleins saw Lamorak do
so great prowess he would not meddle with him for
shame; and then he charged all his knights in pain of
death that none of you touch him; for it were shame to
all good knights an that knight were shamed.

Then the two kings gathered them together, and all
they set upon Sir Lamorak; and he failed them not, but
rushed here and there, smiting on the right hand and on
the left, and raced off many helms, so that the haut
prince and Queen Guenever said they saw never knight
do such deeds of arms on horseback. Alas, said Launcelot
to King Bagdemagus, I will arm me and help Sir
Lamorak. And I will ride with you, said King Bagdemagus.
And when they two were horsed they came to
Sir Lamorak that stood among thirty knights; and well
was him that might reach him a buffet, and ever he smote
again mightily. Then came there into the press Sir
Launcelot, and he threw down Sir Mador de la Porte.
And with the truncheon of that spear he threw down
many knights. And King Bagdemagus smote on the left
hand and on the right hand marvellously well. And then
the three kings fled aback. Therewithal then Sir Galahalt
let blow to lodging, and all the heralds gave Sir Lamorak
the prize. And all this while fought Palomides, Sir
Bleoberis, Sir Safere, Sir Ector on foot; never were there
four knights evener matched. And then they were departed,
and had unto their lodging, and unarmed them,
and so they went to the great feast.

But when Sir Lamorak was come into the court Queen
Guenever took him in her arms and said: Sir, well have
ye done this day. Then came the haut prince, and he
made of him great joy, and so did Dinadan, for he wept
for joy; but the joy that Sir Launcelot made of Sir
Lamorak there might no man tell. Then they went unto
rest, and on the morn the haut prince let blow unto the


Of the Fifth day, and how Sir Lamorak behaved him.

HERE beginneth the fifth day. So it befell that Sir Palomides
came in the morntide, and proffered to joust thereas
King Arthur was in a castle there besides Surluse; and
there encountered with him a worshipful duke, and there
Sir Palomides smote him over his horse's croup. And
this duke was uncle unto King Arthur. Then Sir Elise's
son rode unto Palomides, and Palomides served Elise in
the same wise. When Sir Uwaine saw this he was wroth.
Then he took his horse and encountered with Sir Palomides,
and Palomides smote him so hard that he went to
the earth, horse and man. And for to make a short tale,
he smote down three brethren of Sir Gawaine, that is for
to say Mordred, Gaheris, and Agravaine. O Jesu, said
Arthur, this is a great despite of a Saracen that he shall
smite down my blood. And therewithal King Arthur
was wood wroth, and thought to have made him ready to

That espied Sir Lamorak, that Arthur and his blood
were discomfit; and anon he was ready, and asked Palomides
if he would any more joust. Why should I not?
said Palomides. Then they hurtled together, and brake
their spears, and all to-shivered them, that all the castle
rang of their dints. Then either gat a greater spear in
his hand, and they came so fiercely together; but Sir
Palomides' spear all to-brast and Sir Lamorak's did hold.
Therewithal Sir Palomides lost his stirrups and lay
upright on his horse's back. And then Sir Palomides
returned again and took his damosel, and Sir Safere returned
his way.

So, when he was departed, King Arthur came to Sir
Lamorak and thanked him of his goodness, and prayed
him to tell him his name. Sir, said Lamorak, wit thou
well, I owe you my service, but as at this time I will not
abide here, for I see of mine enemies many about me.
Alas, said Arthur, now wot I well it is Sir Lamorak de
Galis. O Lamorak, abide with me, and by my crown
I shall never fail thee: and not so hardy in Gawaine's
head, nor none of his brethren, to do thee any wrong.
Sir, said Sir Lamorak, wrong have they done me, and to
you both. That is truth, said the king, for they slew
their own mother and my sister, the which me sore
grieveth: it had been much fairer and better that ye
had wedded her, for ye are a king's son as well as they.
O Jesu, said the noble knight Sir Lamorak unto Arthur,
her death shall I never forget. I promise you, and make
mine avow unto God, I shall revenge her death as soon as
I see time convenable. And if it were not at the reverence
of your highness I should now have been revenged
upon Sir Gawaine and his brethren. Truly, said Arthur,
I will make you at accord. Sir, said Lamorak, as at this
time I may not abide with you, for I must to the jousts,
where is Sir Launcelot, and the haut prince Sir Galahalt.

Then there was a damosel that was daughter to King
Bandes. And there was a Saracen knight that hight
Corsabrin, and he loved the damosel, and in no wise he
would suffer her to be married; for ever this Corsabrin
noised her, and named her that she was out of her mind;
and thus he let her that she might not be married.


How Sir Palomides fought with Corsabrin for a lady, and
how Palomides slew Corsabrin.

SO by fortune this damosel heard tell that Palomides did
much for damosels' sake; so she sent to him a pensel,
and prayed him to fight with Sir Corsabrin for her love,
and he should have her and her lands of her father's
that should fall to her. Then the damosel sent unto
Corsabrin, and bade him go unto Sir Palomides that was
a paynim as well as he, and she gave him warning that
she had sent him her pensel, and if he might overcome
Palomides she would wed him. When Corsabrin wist
of her deeds then was he wood wroth and angry, and
rode unto Surluse where the haut prince was, and there he
found Sir Palomides ready, the which had the pensel.
So there they waged battle either with other afore
Galahalt. Well, said the haut prince, this day must
noble knights joust, and at-after dinner we shall see how
ye can speed.

Then they blew to jousts; and in came Dinadan,
and met with Sir Gerin, a good knight, and he threw
him down over his horse's croup; and Sir Dinadan overthrew
four knights more; and there he did great deeds
of arms, for he was a good knight, but he was a scoffer
and a japer, and the merriest knight among fellowship
that was that time living. And he had such a custom
that he loved every good knight, and every good knight
loved him again. So then when the haut prince saw
Dinadan do so well, he sent unto Sir Launcelot and bade
him strike down Sir Dinadan: And when that ye have
done so bring him afore me and the noble Queen
Guenever. Then Sir Launcelot did as he was required.
Then Sir Lamorak and he smote down many knights,
and raced off helms, and drove all the knights afore
them. And so Sir Launcelot smote down Sir Dinadan,
and made his men to unarm him, and so brought him to
the queen and the haut prince, and they laughed at
Dinadan so sore that they might not stand. Well, said
Sir Dinadan, yet have I no shame, for the old shrew, Sir
Launcelot, smote me down. So they went to dinner, [and]
all the court had good sport at Dinadan.

Then when the dinner was done they blew to the
field to behold Sir Palomides and Corsabrin. Sir Palomides
pight his pensel in midst of the field; and then they
hurtled together with their spears as it were thunder, and
either smote other to the earth. And then they pulled
out their swords, and dressed their shields, and lashed
together mightily as mighty knights, that well-nigh there
was no piece of harness would hold them, for this Corsabrin
was a passing felonious knight. Corsabrin, said
Palomides, wilt thou release me yonder damosel and the
pensel? Then was Corsabrin wroth out of measure, and
gave Palomides such a buffet that he kneeled on his knee.
Then Palomides arose lightly, and smote him upon the
helm that he fell down right to the earth. And therewith
he raced off his helm and said: Corsabrin, yield thee
or else thou shalt die of my hands. Fie on thee, said
Corsabrin, do thy worst. Then he smote off his head.
And therewithal came a stink of his body when the soul
departed, that there might nobody abide the savour. So
was the corpse had away and buried in a wood, because
he was a paynim. Then they blew unto lodging, and
Palomides was unarmed.

Then he went unto Queen Guenever, to the haut
prince, and to Sir Launcelot. Sir, said the haut prince,
here have ye seen this day a great miracle by Corsabrin,
what savour there was when the soul departed from the
body. Therefore, sir, we will require you to take the
baptism upon you, and I promise you all knights will set
the more by you, and say more worship by you. Sir,
said Palomides, I will that ye all know that into this land
I came to be christened, and in my heart I am christened
and christened will I be. But I have made such an avow
that I may not be christened till I have done seven true
battles for Jesu's sake, and then will I be christened; and
I trust God will take mine intent, for I mean truly
Then Sir Palomides prayed Queen Guenever and the
haut prince to sup with him. And so they did, both Sir
Launcelot and Sir Lamorak, and many other good knights.
So on the morn they heard their mass, and blew the field,
and then knights made them ready.


Of the sixth day, and what then was done.

HERE beginneth the sixth day. Then came therein Sir
Gaheris, and there encountered with him Sir Ossaise of
Surluse, and Sir Gaheris smote him over his horse's croup.
And then either party encountered with other, and there
were many spears broken, and many knights cast under
feet. So there came in Sir Dornard and Sir Aglovale,
that were brethren unto Sir Lamorak, and they met with
other two knights, and either smote other so hard that
all four knights and horses fell to the earth. When Sir
Lamorak saw his two brethren down he was wroth out of
measure, and then he gat a great spear in his hand, and
therewithal he smote down four good knights, and then
his spear brake. Then he pulled out his sword, and
smote about him on the right hand and on the left hand,
and raced off helms and pulled down knights, that all
men marvelled of such deeds of arms as he did, for he
fared so that many knights fled. Then he horsed his
brethren again, and said: Brethren, ye ought to be
ashamed to fall so off your horses! what is a knight
but when he is on horseback? I set not by a knight
when he is on foot, for all battles on foot are but pillers'
battles. For there should no knight fight on foot but
if it were for treason, or else he were driven thereto by
force; therefore, brethren, sit fast on your horses, or else
fight never more afore me.

With that came in the Duke Chaleins of Clarance,
and there encountered with him the Earl Ulbawes of
Surluse, and either of them smote other down. Then
the knights of both parties horsed their lords again, for
Sir Ector and Bleoberis were on foot, waiting on the
Duke Chaleins. And the King with the Hundred Knights
was with the Earl of Ulbawes. With that came Gaheris
and lashed to the King with the Hundred Knights, and
he to him again. Then came the Duke Chaleins and
departed them.

Then they blew to lodging, and the knights unarmed
them and drew them to their dinner; and at the midst
of their dinner in came Dinadan and began to rail. Then
he beheld the haut prince, that seemed wroth with some
fault that he saw; for he had a custom he loved no fish,
and because he was served with fish, the which he hated,
therefore he was not merry. When Sir Dinadan had
espied the haut prince, he espied where was a fish with a
great head, and that he gat betwixt two dishes, and
served the haut prince with that fish. And then he said
thus: Sir Galahalt, well may I liken you to a wolf, for
he will never eat fish, but flesh; then the haut prince
laughed at his words. Well, well, said Dinadan to
Launcelot, what devil do ye in this country, for here may
no mean knights win no worship for thee. Sir Dinadan,
said Launcelot, I ensure thee I shall no more meet with
thee nor with thy great spear, for I may not sit in my
saddle when that spear hitteth me. And if I be happy I
shall beware of that boistous body that thou bearest.
Well, said Launcelot, make good watch ever: God
forbid that ever we meet but if it be at a dish of meat.
Then laughed the queen and the haut prince, that they
might not sit at their table; thus they made great joy
till on the morn, and then they heard mass, and blew to
field. And Queen Guenever and all the estates were set,
and judges armed clean with their shields to keep the


Of the seventh battle, and how Sir Launcelot, being disguised
like a maid, smote down Sir Dinadan.

NOW beginneth the seventh battle. There came in the
Duke Cambines, and there encountered with him Sir
Aristance, that was counted a good knight, and they met
so hard that either bare other down, horse and man. Then
came there the Earl of Lambaile and helped the duke again
to horse. Then came there Sir Ossaise of Surluse, and he
smote the Earl Lambaile down from his horse. Then
began they to do great deeds of arms, and many spears
were broken, and many knights were cast to the earth.
Then the King of Northgalis and the Earl Ulbawes
smote together that all the judges thought it was like
mortal death. This meanwhile Queen Guenever, and the
haut prince, and Sir Launcelot, made there Sir Dinadan
make him ready to joust. I would, said Dinadan, ride
into the field, but then one of you twain will meet with me.
Per dieu, said the haut prince, ye may see how we sit here
as judges with our shields, and always mayest thou behold
whether we sit here or not.

So Sir Dinadan departed and took his horse, and met
with many knights, and did passing well. And as he was
departed, Sir Launcelot disguised himself, and put upon
his armour a maiden's garment freshly attired. Then Sir
Launcelot made Sir Galihodin to lead him through the
range, and all men had wonder what damosel it was. And
so as Sir Dinadan came into the range, Sir Launcelot, that
was in the damosel's array, gat Galihodin's spear, and ran
unto Sir Dinadan. And always Sir Dinadan looked up
thereas Sir Launcelot was, and then he saw one sit in the
stead of Sir Launcelot, armed. But when Dinadan saw a
manner of a damosel he dread perils that it was Sir Launcelot
disguised, but Sir Launcelot came on him so fast that
he smote him over his horse's croup; and then with great
scorns they gat Sir Dinadan into the forest there beside,
and there they dispoiled him unto his shirt, and put upon
him a woman's garment, and so brought him into the
field: and so they blew unto lodging. And every knight
went and unarmed them. Then was Sir Dinadan brought
in among them all. And when Queen Guenever saw Sir
Dinadan brought so among them all, then she laughed
that she fell down, and so did all that there were. Well,
said Dinadan to Launcelot, thou art so false that I can
never beware of thee. Then by all the assent they gave
Sir Launcelot the prize, the next was Sir Lamorak de Galis,
the third was Sir Palomides, the fourth was King Bagdemagus;
so these four knights had the prize, and there was
great joy, and great nobley in all the court.

And on the morn Queen Guenever and Sir Launcelot
departed unto King Arthur, but in no wise Sir Lamorak
would not go with them. I shall undertake, said Sir
Launcelot, that an ye will go with us King Arthur shall
charge Sir Gawaine and his brethren never to do you hurt.
As for that, said Sir Lamorak, I will not trust Sir Gawaine
nor none of his brethren; and wit ye well, Sir Launcelot,
an it were not for my lord King Arthur's sake, I should
match Sir Gawaine and his brethren well enough. But to
say that I should trust them, that shall I never, and
therefore I pray you recommend me unto my lord Arthur, and
unto all my lords of the Round Table. And in what place
that ever I come I shall do you service to my power: and
sir, it is but late that I revenged that, when my lord
Arthur's kin were put to the worse by Sir Palomides.
Then Sir Lamorak departed from Sir Launcelot, and either
wept at their departing.


How by treason Sir Tristram was brought to a tournament
for to have been slain, and how he was put in prison.

NOW turn we from this matter, and speak we of Sir Tristram,
of whom this book is principally of, and leave we
the king and the queen, Sir Launcelot, and Sir Lamorak, and
here beginneth the treason of King Mark, that he ordained
against Sir Tristram. There was cried by the coasts of
Cornwall a great tournament and jousts, and all was done
by Sir Galahalt the haut prince and King Bagdemagus, to
the intent to slay Launcelot, or else utterly destroy him
and shame him, because Sir Launcelot had always the
higher degree, therefore this prince and this king made
this jousts against Sir Launcelot. And thus their counsel
was discovered unto King Mark, whereof he was full

Then King Mark bethought him that he would have
Sir Tristram unto that tournament disguised that no man
should know him, to that intent that the haut prince
should ween that Sir Tristram were Sir Launcelot. So
at these jousts came in Sir Tristram. And at that time Sir
Launcelot was not there, but when they saw a knight
disguised do such deeds of arms, they weened it had been Sir
Launcelot. And in especial King Mark said it was Sir
Launcelot plainly. Then they set upon him, both King
Bagdemagus, and the haut prince, and their knights, that
it was wonder that ever Sir Tristram might endure that
pain. Notwithstanding for all the pain that he had, Sir
Tristram won the degree at that tournament, and there
he hurt many knights and bruised them, and they hurt
him and bruised him wonderly sore. So when the jousts
were all done they knew well that it was Sir Tristram de
Liones; and all that were on King Mark's party were glad
that Sir Tristram was hurt, and the remnant were sorry of
his hurt; for Sir Tristram was not so behated as was Sir
Launcelot within the realm of England.

Then came King Mark unto Sir Tristram and said:
Fair nephew, I am sorry of your hurts. Gramercy my
lord, said Sir Tristram. Then King Mark made Sir
Tristram to be put in an horse bier in great sign of love,
and said: Fair cousin, I shall be your leech myself. And
so he rode forth with Sir Tristram, and brought him to
a castle by daylight. And then King Mark made Sir
Tristram to eat. And then after he gave him a drink, the
which as soon as he had drunk he fell asleep. And when
it was night he made him to be carried to another castle,
and there he put him in a strong prison, and there he
ordained a man and a woman to give him his meat and
drink. So there he was a great while.

Then was Sir Tristram missed, and no creature wist
where he was become. When La Beale Isoud heard how
he was missed, privily she went unto Sir Sadok, and prayed
him to espy where was Sir Tristram. Then when Sadok
wist how Sir Tristram was missed, and anon espied that
he was put in prison by King Mark and the traitors of
Magouns, then Sadok and two of his cousins laid them in
an ambushment, fast by the Castle of Tintagil, in arms.
And as by fortune, there came riding King Mark and four
of his nephews, and a certain of the traitors of Magouns.
When Sir Sadok espied them he brake out of the bushment,
and set there upon them. And when King Mark
espied Sir Sadok he fled as fast as he might, and there Sir
Sadok slew all the four nephews unto King Mark. But
these traitors of Magouns slew one of Sadok's cousins with
a great wound in the neck, but Sadok smote the other to
the death. Then Sir Sadok rode upon his way unto a
castle that was called Liones, and there he espied of the
treason and felony of King Mark. So they of that castle
rode with Sir Sadok till that they came to a castle that
hight Arbray, and there in the town they found Sir Dinas
the Seneschal, that was a good knight. But when Sir
Sadok had told Sir Dinas of all the treason of King Mark
he defied such a king, and said he would give up his lands
that he held of him. And when he said these words all
manner knights said as Sir Dinas said. Then by his advice
and of Sir Sadok's, he let stuff all the towns and castles
within the country of Liones, and assembled all the people
that they might make.


How King Mark let do counterfeit letters from the Pope, and
how Sir Percivale delivered Sir Tristram out of prison.

NOW turn we unto King Mark, that when he was escaped
from Sir Sadok he rode unto the Castle of Tintagil, and
there he made great cry and noise, and cried unto harness
all that might bear arms. Then they sought and found
where were dead four cousins of King Mark's, and the
traitor of Magouns. Then the king let inter them in a
chapel. Then the king let cry in all the country that held
of him, to go unto arms, for he understood to the war he
must needs. When King Mark heard and understood
how Sir Sadok and Sir Dinas were arisen in the country of
Liones he remembered of wiles and treason. Lo thus he
did: he let make and counterfeit letters from the Pope,
and did make a strange clerk to bear them unto King
Mark; the which letters specified that King Mark should
make him ready, upon pain of cursing, with his host to
come to the Pope, to help to go to Jerusalem, for to make
war upon the Saracens.

When this clerk was come by the mean of the king,
anon withal King Mark sent these letters unto Sir Tristram
and bade him say thus: that an he would go war upon
the miscreants, he should be had out of prison, and to
have all his power. When Sir Tristram understood this
letter, then he said thus to the clerk: Ah, King Mark,
ever hast thou been a traitor, and ever will be; but, Clerk,
said Sir Tristram, say thou thus unto King Mark: Since
the Apostle Pope hath sent for him, bid him go thither
himself; for tell him, traitor king as he is, I will not go
at his commandment, get I out of prison as I may, for
I see I am well rewarded for my true service. Then the
clerk returned unto King Mark, and told him of the
answer of Sir Tristram. Well, said King Mark, yet shall
he be beguiled. So he went into his chamber, and counterfeit
letters; and the letters specified that the Pope desired
Sir Tristram to come himself, to make war upon the
miscreants. When the clerk was come again to Sir
Tristram and took him these letters, then Sir Tristram
beheld these letters, and anon espied they were of King
Mark's counterfeiting. Ah, said Sir Tristram, false hast
thou been ever, King Mark, and so wilt thou end. Then
the clerk departed from Sir Tristram and came to King
Mark again.

By then there were come four wounded knights within
the Castle of Tintagil, and one of them his neck was nigh
broken in twain. Another had his arm stricken away, the
third was borne through with a spear, the fourth had his
teeth stricken in twain. And when they came afore King
Mark they cried and said: King, why fleest thou not, for
all this country is arisen clearly against thee? Then was
King Mark wroth out of measure.

And in the meanwhile there came into the country Sir
Percivale de Galis to seek Sir Tristram. And when he
heard that Sir Tristram was in prison, Sir Percivale made
clearly the deliverance of Sir Tristram by his knightly
means. And when he was so delivered he made great joy
of Sir Percivale, and so each one of other. Sir Tristram
said unto Sir Percivale: An ye will abide in these marches
I will ride with you. Nay, said Percivale, in this country
I may not tarry, for I must needs into Wales. So Sir
Percivale departed from Sir Tristram, and rode straight
unto King Mark, and told him how he had delivered Sir
Tristram; and also he told the king that he had done
himself great shame for to put Sir Tristram in prison, for
he is now the knight of most renown in this world living.
And wit thou well the noblest knights of the world love
Sir Tristram, and if he will make war upon you ye may
not abide it. That is truth, said King Mark, but I may
not love Sir Tristram because he loveth my queen and my
wife, La Beale Isoud. Ah, fie for shame, said Sir Percivale,
say ye never so more. Are ye not uncle unto Sir
Tristram, and he your nephew? Ye should never think
that so noble a knight as Sir Tristram is, that he would do
himself so great a villainy to hold his uncle's wife;
howbeit, said Sir Percivale, he may love your queen sinless,
because she is called one of the fairest ladies of the

Then Sir Percivale departed from King Mark. So
when he was departed King Mark bethought him of more
treason: notwithstanding King Mark granted Sir Percivale
never by no manner of means to hurt Sir Tristram. So
anon King Mark sent unto Sir Dinas the Seneschal that he
should put down all the people that he had raised, for he
sent him an oath that he would go himself unto the Pope
of Rome to war upon the miscreants; and this is a fairer
war than thus to arise the people against your king.
When Sir Dinas understood that King Mark would go
upon the miscreants, then Sir Dinas in all the haste put
down all the people; and when the people were departed
every man to his home, then King Mark espied where
was Sir Tristram with La Beale Isoud; and there by
treason King Mark let take him and put him in prison,
contrary to his promise that he made unto Sir Percivale.

When Queen Isoud understood that Sir Tristram was
in prison she made as great sorrow as ever made lady or
gentlewoman. Then Sir Tristram sent a letter unto La
Beale Isoud, and prayed her to be his good lady; and if it
pleased her to make a vessel ready for her and him, he
would go with her unto the realm of Logris, that is this
land. When La Beale Isoud understood Sir Tristram's
letters and his intent, she sent him another, and bade him
be of good comfort, for she would do make the vessel
ready, and all thing to purpose.

Then La Beale Isoud sent unto Sir Dinas, and to
Sadok, and prayed them in anywise to take King Mark,
and put him in prison, unto the time that she and Sir
Tristram were departed unto the realm of Logris. When
Sir Dinas the Seneschal understood the treason of King
Mark he promised her again, and sent her word that King
Mark should be put in prison. And as they devised it so
it was done. And then Sir Tristram was delivered out of
prison; and anon in all the haste Queen Isoud and Sir
Tristram went and took their counsel with that they would
have with them when they departed.


How Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud came unto England,
and how Sir Launcelot brought them to Joyous Gard.

THEN La Beale Isoud and Sir Tristram took their vessel,
and came by water into this land. And so they were not
in this land four days but there came a cry of a jousts
and tournament that King Arthur let make. When Sir
Tristram heard tell of that tournament he disguised himself,
and La Beale Isoud, and rode unto that tournament.
And when he came there he saw many knights joust and
tourney; and so Sir Tristram dressed him to the range,
and to make short conclusion, he overthrew fourteen
knights of the Round Table. When Sir Launcelot saw
these knights thus overthrown, Sir Launcelot dressed him
to Sir Tristram. That saw La Beale Isoud how Sir
Launcelot was come into the field. Then La Beale Isoud
sent unto Sir Launcelot a ring, and bade him wit that it
was Sir Tristram de Liones. When Sir Launcelot under
stood that there was Sir Tristram he was full glad, and
would not joust. Then Sir Launcelot espied whither Sir
Tristram yede, and after him he rode; and then either
made of other great joy. And so Sir Launcelot brought
Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud unto Joyous Gard, that
was his own castle, that he had won with his own hands.
And there Sir Launcelot put them in to wield for their
own. And wit ye well that castle was garnished and
furnished for a king and a queen royal there to have
sojourned. And Sir Launcelot charged all his people to
honour them and love them as they would do himself.

So Sir Launcelot departed unto King Arthur; and
then he told Queen Guenever how he that jousted so well
at the last tournament was Sir Tristram. And there he
told her how he had with him La Beale Isoud maugre
King Mark, and so Queen Guenever told all this unto
King Arthur. When King Arthur wist that Sir Tristram
was escaped and come from King Mark, and had brought
La Beale Isoud with him, then was he passing glad. So
because of Sir Tristram King Arthur let make a cry,
that on May Day should be a jousts before the castle of
Lonazep; and that castle was fast by Joyous Gard. And
thus Arthur devised, that all the knights of this land, and
of Cornwall, and of North Wales, should joust against
all these countries, Ireland, Scotland, and the remnant
of Wales, and the country of Gore, and Surluse, and of
Listinoise, and they of Northumberland, and all they that
held lands of Arthur on this half the sea. When this cry
was made many knights were glad and many were unglad.
Sir, said Launcelot unto Arthur, by this cry that ye have
made ye will put us that be about you in great jeopardy,
for there be many knights that have great envy to us;
therefore when we shall meet at the day of jousts there
will be hard shift among us. As for that, said Arthur,
I care not; there shall we prove who shall be best of
his hands. So when Sir Launcelot understood wherefore
King Arthur made this jousting, then he made such
purveyance that La Beale Isoud should behold the jousts
in a secret place that was honest for her estate.

Now turn we unto Sir Tristram and to La Beale Isoud,
how they made great joy daily together with all manner
of mirths that they could devise; and every day Sir
Tristram would go ride a-hunting, for Sir Tristram was
that time called the best chaser of the world, and the
noblest blower of an horn of all manner of measures; for
as books report, of Sir Tristram came all the good terms
of venery and hunting, and all the sizes and measures of
blowing of an horn; and of him we had first all the terms
of hawking, and which were beasts of chase and beasts of
venery, and which were vermins, and all the blasts that
long to all manner of games. First to the uncoupling, to
the seeking, to the rechate, to the flight, to the death, and
to strake, and many other blasts and terms, that all manner
of gentlemen have cause to the world's end to praise Sir
Tristram, and to pray for his soul.


How by the counsel of La Beale Isoud Sir Tristram rode
armed, and how he met with Sir Palomides.

SO on a day La Beale Isoud said unto Sir Tristram: I
marvel me much, said she, that ye remember not yourself,
how ye be here in a strange country, and here be many
perilous knights; and well ye wot that King Mark is full
of treason; and that ye will ride thus to chase and to hunt
unarmed ye might be destroyed. My fair lady and my
love, I cry you mercy, I will no more do so. So then Sir
Tristram rode daily a-hunting armed, and his men bearing
his shield and his spear. So on a day a little afore the
month of May, Sir Tristram chased an hart passing
eagerly, and so the hart passed by a fair well. And then
Sir Tristram alighted and put off his helm to drink of that
bubbly water. Right so he heard and saw the Questing
Beast come to the well. When Sir Tristram saw that
beast he put on his helm, for he deemed he should hear of
Sir Palomides, for that beast was his quest. Right so Sir
Tristram saw where came a knight armed, upon a noble
courser, and he saluted him, and they spake of many
things; and this knight's name was Breuse Saunce Pit.
And right so withal there came unto them the noble
knight Sir Palomides, and either saluted other, and spake
fair to other.

Fair knights, said Sir Palomides, I can tell you tidings.
What is that? said those knights. Sirs, wit ye well that
King Mark is put in prison by his own knights, and all
was for love of Sir Tristram; for King Mark had put Sir
Tristram twice in prison, and once Sir Percivale delivered
the noble knight Sir Tristram out of prison. And at the
last time Queen La Beale Isoud delivered him, and went
clearly away with him into this realm; and all this while
King Mark, the false traitor, is in prison. Is this truth?
said Palomides; then shall we hastily hear of Sir Tristram.
And as for to say that I love La Beale Isoud paramours,
I dare make good that I do, and that she hath my service
above all other ladies, and shall have the term of my life.

And right so as they stood talking they saw afore them
where came a knight all armed, on a great horse, and one
of his men bare his shield, and the other his spear. And
anon as that knight espied them he gat his shield and his
spear and dressed him to joust. Fair fellows, said Sir
Tristram, yonder is a knight will joust with us, let see
which of us shall encounter with him, for I see well he is
of the court of King Arthur. It shall not be long or he
be met withal, said Sir Palomides, for I found never no
knight in my quest of this glasting beast, but an he would
joust I never refused him. As well may I, said Breuse
Saunce Pit, follow that beast as ye. Then shall ye do
battle with me, said Palomides.

So Sir Palomides dressed him unto that other knight,
Sir Bleoberis, that was a full noble knight, nigh kin unto
Sir Launcelot. And so they met so hard that Sir Palomides
fell to the earth, horse and all. Then Sir Bleoberis
cried aloud and said thus: Make thee ready thou false
traitor knight, Breuse Saunce Pit, for wit thou certainly
I will have ado with thee to the utterance for the noble
knights and ladies that thou hast falsely betrayed. When
this false knight and traitor, Breuse Saunce Pit, heard
him say so, he took his horse by the bridle and fled his
way as fast as ever his horse might run, for sore he was of
him afeard. When Sir Bleoberis saw him flee he followed
fast after, through thick and through thin. And by
fortune as Sir Breuse fled, he saw even afore him three
knights of the Table Round, of the which the one hight
Sir Ector de Maris, the other hight Sir Percivale de Galis,
the third hight Sir Harry le Fise Lake, a good knight and
an hardy. And as for Sir Percivale, he was called that
time of his time one of the best knights of the world,
and the best assured. When Breuse saw these knights he
rode straight unto them, and cried unto them and prayed
them of rescues. What need have ye? said Sir Ector.
Ah, fair knights, said Sir Breuse, here followeth me the
most traitor knight, and most coward, and most of villainy;
his name is Breuse Saunce Pit, and if he may get me he
will slay me without mercy and pity. Abide with us, said
Sir Percivale, and we shall warrant you.

Then were they ware of Sir Bleoberis that came riding
all that he might. Then Sir Ector put himself forth to
joust afore them all. When Sir Bleoberis saw that they
were four knights and he but himself, he stood in a doubt
whether he would turn or hold his way. Then he said to
himself: I am a knight of the Table Round, and rather
than I should shame mine oath and my blood I will hold
my way whatsoever fall thereof. And then Sir Ector
dressed his spear, and smote either other passing sore, but
Sir Ector fell to the earth. That saw Sir Percivale, and
he dressed his horse toward him all that he might drive,
but Sir Percivale had such a stroke that horse and man fell
to the earth. When Sir Harry saw that they were both to
the earth then he said to himself: Never was Breuse of
such prowess. So Sir Harry dressed his horse, and they
met together so strongly that both the horses and knights
fell to the earth, but Sir Bleoberis' horse began to recover
again. That saw Breuse and he came hurtling, and smote
him over and over, and would have slain him as he lay on
the ground. Then Sir Harry le Fise Lake arose lightly,
and took the bridle of Sir Breuse's horse, and said:
Fie for shame! strike never a knight when he is at the
earth, for this knight may be called no shameful knight of
his deeds, for yet as men may see thereas he lieth on the
ground he hath done worshipfully, and put to the worse
passing good knights. Therefore will I not let, said Sir
Breuse. Thou shalt not choose, said Sir Harry, as at this
time. Then when Sir Breuse saw that he might not choose
nor have his will he spake fair. Then Sir Harry let him
go. And then anon he made his horse to run over Sir
Bleoberis, and rashed him to the earth like if he would
have slain him. When Sir Harry saw him do so villainously
he cried: Traitor knight, leave off for shame. And
as Sir Harry would have taken his horse to fight with Sir
Breuse, then Sir Breuse ran upon him as he was half upon
his horse, and smote him down, horse and man, to the
earth, and had near slain Sir Harry, the good knight.
That saw Sir Percivale, and then he cried: Traitor knight
what dost thou? And when Sir Percivale was upon his
horse Sir Breuse took his horse and fled all that ever he
might, and Sir Percivale and Sir Harry followed after him
fast, but ever the longer they chased the farther were they

Then they turned again and came to Sir Ector de Maris
and to Sir Bleoberis. Ah, fair knights, said Bleoberis, why
have ye succoured that false knight and traitor? Why
said Sir Harry, what knight is he? for well I wot it is a
false knight, said Sir Harry, and a coward and a felonious
knight. Sir, said Bleoberis, he is the most coward knight,
and a devourer of ladies and a destroyer of good knights
and especially of Arthur's. What is your name? said Sir
Ector. My name is Sir Bleoberis de Ganis. Alas, fair
cousin, said Ector, forgive it me, for I am Sir Ector de
Maris. Then Sir Percivale and Sir Harry made great joy
that they met with Bleoberis, but all they were heavy that
Sir Breuse was escaped them, whereof they made great dole.


Of Sir Palomides, and how he met with Sir Bleoberis
and with Sir Ector, and of Sir Pervivale.

RIGHT so as they stood thus there came Sir Palomides, and
when he saw the shield of Bleoberis lie on the earth, then
said Palomides: He that oweth that shield let him dress
him to me, for he smote me down here fast by at a fountain,
and therefore I will fight for him on foot. I am ready,
said Bleoberis, here to answer thee, for wit thou well, sir
knight, it was I, and my name is Bleoberis de Ganis.
Well art thou met, said Palomides, and wit thou well my
name is Palomides the Saracen; and either of them hated
other to the death. Sir Palomides, said Ector, wit thou
well there is neither thou nor none knight that beareth the
life that slayeth any of our blood but he shall die for it;
therefore an thou list to fight go seek Sir Launcelot or Sir
Tristram, and there shall ye find your match. With them
have I met, said Palomides, but I had never no worship of
them. Was there never no manner of knight, said Sir
Ector, but they that ever matched with you? Yes, said
Palomides, there was the third, a good knight as any of
them, and of his age he was the best that ever I found;
for an he might have lived till he had been an hardier man
there liveth no knight now such, and his name was Sir
Lamorak de Galis. And as he had jousted at a tournament
there he overthrew me and thirty knights more, and
there he won the degree. And at his departing there met
him Sir Gawaine and his brethren, and with great pain they
slew him feloniously, unto all good knights' great damage.
Anon as Sir Percivale heard that his brother was dead, Sir
Lamorak, he fell over his horse's mane swooning, and there
he made the greatest dole that ever made knight. And
when Sir Percivale arose he said: Alas, my good and noble
brother Sir Lamorak, now shall we never meet, and I trow
in all the wide world a man may not find such a knight as
he was of his age; and it is too much to suffer the death
of our father King Pellinore, and now the death of our
good brother Sir Lamorak.

Then in the meanwhile there came a varlet from the
court of King Arthur, and told them of the great tournament
that should be at Lonazep, and how these lands,
Cornwall and Northgalis, should be against all them that
would come.


How Sir Tristram met with Sir Dinadan, and of their
devices, and what he said to Sir Gawaine's brethren.

NOW turn we unto Sir Tristram, that as he rode a-hunting
he met with Sir Dinadan, that was come into that
country to seek Sir Tristram. Then Sir Dinadan told Sir
Tristram his name, but Sir Tristram would not tell him
his name, wherefore Sir Dinadan was wroth. For such a
foolish knight as ye are, said Sir Dinadan, I saw but late
this day lying by a well, and he fared as he slept; and
there he lay like a fool grinning, and would not speak,
and his shield lay by him, and his horse stood by him; and
well I wot he was a lover. Ah, fair sir, said Sir Tristram
are ye not a lover? Mary, fie on that craft! said Sir
Dinadan. That is evil said, said Sir Tristram, for a knight
may never be of prowess but if he be a lover. It is well
said, said Sir Dinadan; now tell me your name, sith ye be
a lover, or else I shall do battle with you. As for that,
said Sir Tristram, it is no reason to fight with me but I
tell you my name; and as for that my name shall ye not
wit as at this time. Fie for shame, said Dinadan, art thou
a knight and durst not tell thy name to me? therefore I
will fight with thee. As for that, said Sir Tristram, I will
be advised, for I will not do battle but if me list. And if
I do battle, said Sir Tristram, ye are not able to withstand
me. Fie on thee, coward, said Sir Dinadan.

And thus as they hoved still, they saw a knight come
riding against them. Lo, said Sir Tristram, see where
cometh a knight riding, will joust with you. Anon, as
Sir Dinadan beheld him he said: That is the same doted
knight that I saw lie by the well, neither sleeping nor
waking. Well, said Sir Tristram, I know that knight well
with the covered shield of azure, he is the king's son
of Northumberland, his name is Epinegris; and he is as
great a lover as I know, and he loveth the king's daughter
of Wales, a full fair lady. And now I suppose, said Sir
Tristram, an ye require him he will joust with you, and
then shall ye prove whether a lover be a better knight, or
ye that will not love no lady. Well, said Dinadan, now
shalt thou see what I shall do. Therewithal Sir Dinadan
spake on high and said: Sir knight, make thee ready to
joust with me, for it is the custom of errant knights one
to joust with other. Sir, said Epinegris, is that the rule of
you errant knights for to make a knight to joust, will he
or nill? As for that, said Dinadan, make thee ready, for
here is for me. And therewithal they spurred their horses
and met together so hard that Epinegris smote down Sir
Dinadan. Then Sir Tristram rode to Sir Dinadan and
said: How now, meseemeth the lover hath well sped.
Fie on thee, coward, said Sir Dinadan, and if thou be a
good knight revenge me. Nay, said Sir Tristram, I will
not joust as at this time, but take your horse and let us
go hence. God defend me, said Sir Dinadan, from thy
fellowship, for I never sped well since I met with thee:
and so they departed. Well, said Sir Tristram, peradventure
I could tell you tidings of Sir Tristram. God defend
me, said Dinadan, from thy fellowship, for Sir Tristram
were mickle the worse an he were in thy company; and
then they departed. Sir, said Sir Tristram, yet it may
happen I shall meet with you in other places.

So rode Sir Tristram unto Joyous Gard, and there he
heard in that town great noise and cry. What is this
noise? said Sir Tristram. Sir, said they, here is a knight
of this castle that hath been long among us, and right now
he is slain with two knights, and for none other cause but
that our knight said that Sir Launcelot were a better
knight than Sir Gawaine. That was a simple cause, said
Sir Tristram, for to slay a good knight for to say well
by his master. That is little remedy to us, said the
men of the town. For an Sir Launcelot had been here
soon we should have been revenged upon the false

When Sir Tristram heard them say so he sent for his
shield and for his spear, and lightly within a while he had
overtaken them, and bade them turn and amend that they
had misdone. What amends wouldst thou have? said the
one knight. And therewith they took their course, and
either met other so hard that Sir Tristram smote down
that knight over his horse's tail. Then the other knight
dressed him to Sir Tristram, and in the same wise he
served the other knight. And then they gat off their
horses as well as they might, and dressed their shields and
swords to do their battle to the utterance. Knights, said
Sir Tristram, ye shall tell me of whence ye are, and what
be your names, for such men ye might be ye should hard
escape my hands; and ye might be such men of such a
country that for all your evil deeds ye should pass quit.
Wit thou well, sir knight, said they, we fear not to tell
thee our names, for my name is Sir Agravaine, and my
name is Gaheris, brethren unto the good knight Sir Gawaine,
and we be nephews unto King Arthur. Well, said Sir
Tristram, for King Arthur's sake I shall let you pass as
at this time. But it is shame, said Sir Tristram, that Sir
Gawaine and ye be come of so great a blood that ye four
brethren are so named as ye be, for ye be called the greatest
destroyers and murderers of good knights that be now in
this realm; for it is but as I heard say that Sir Gawaine
and ye slew among you a better knight than ever ye were,
that was the noble knight Sir Lamorak de Galis. An it
had pleased God, said Sir Tristram, I would I had been by
Sir Lamorak at his death. Then shouldst thou have gone
the same way, said Sir Gaheris. Fair knight, said Sir
Tristram, there must have been many more knights than
ye are. And therewithal Sir Tristram departed from them
toward Joyous Gard. And when he was departed they
took their horses, and the one said to the other: We will
overtake him and be revenged upon him in the despite
of Sir Lamorak.


How Sir Tristram smote down Sir Agravaine and Sir
Gaheris, and how Sir Dinadan was sent for by La Beale Isoud.

SO when they had overtaken Sir Tristram, Sir Agravaine
bade him: Turn, traitor knight. That is evil said, said
Sir Tristram; and therewith he pulled out his sword, and
smote Sir Agravaine such a buffet upon the helm that he
tumbled down off his horse in a swoon, and he had a
grievous wound. And then he turned to Gaheris, and Sir
Tristram smote his sword and his helm together with such
a might that Gaheris fell out of his saddle: and so Sir
Tristram rode unto Joyous Gard, and there he alighted
and unarmed him. So Sir Tristram told La Beale Isoud
of all his adventure, as ye have heard to-fore. And when
she heard him tell of Sir Dinadan: Sir, said she, is not that
he that made the song by King Mark? That same is he,
said Sir Tristram, for he is the best bourder and japer, and
a noble knight of his hands, and the best fellow that I
know, and all good knights love his fellowship. Alas, sir,
said she, why brought ye not him with you? Have ye
no care, said Sir Tristram, for he rideth to seek me in this
country; and therefore he will not away till he have met
with me. And there Sir Tristram told La Beale Isoud
how Sir Dinadan held against all lovers. Right so there
came in a varlet and told Sir Tristram how there was come
an errant knight into the town, with such colours upon
his shield. That is Sir Dinadan, said Sir Tristram; wit
ye what ye shall do, said Sir Tristram: send ye for him,
my Lady Isoud, and I will not be seen, and ye shall hear
the merriest knight that ever ye spake withal, and the
maddest talker; and I pray you heartily that ye make him
good cheer.

Then anon La Beale Isoud sent into the town, and
prayed Sir Dinadan that he would come into the castle and
repose him there with a lady. With a good will, said Sir
Dinadan; and so he mounted upon his horse and rode
into the castle; and there he alighted, and was unarmed,
and brought into the castle. Anon La Beale Isoud came
unto him, and either saluted other; then she asked him
of whence that he was. Madam, said Dinadan, I am of
the court of King Arthur, and knight of the Table Round,
and my name is Sir Dinadan. What do ye in this country?
said La Beale Isoud. Madam, said he, I seek Sir Tristram
the good knight, for it was told me that he was in this
country. It may well be, said La Beale Isoud, but I am
not ware of him. Madam, said Dinadan, I marvel of
Sir Tristram and mo other lovers, what aileth them to
be so mad and so sotted upon women. Why, said La
Beale Isoud, are ye a knight and be no lover? it is shame
to you: wherefore ye may not be called a good knight
[but] if ye make a quarrel for a lady. God defend me, said
Dinadan, for the joy of love is too short, and the sorrow
thereof, and what cometh thereof, dureth over long. Ah,
said La Beale Isoud, say ye not so, for here fast by was
the good knight Sir Bleoberis, that fought with three
knights at once for a damosel's sake, and he won her afore
the King of Northumberland. It was so, said Sir Dinadan,
for I know him well for a good knight and a noble, and
come of noble blood; for all be noble knights of whom
he is come of, that is Sir Launcelot du Lake.

Now I pray you, said La Beale Isoud, tell me will you
fight for my love with three knights that do me great
wrong? and insomuch as ye be a knight of King Arthur's
I require you to do battle for me. Then Sir Dinadan
said: I shall say you ye be as fair a lady as ever I saw
any, and much fairer than is my lady Queen Guenever,
but wit ye well at one word, I will not fight for you with
three knights, Jesu defend me. Then Isoud laughed, and
had good game at him. So he had all the cheer that she
might make him, and there he lay all that night. And
on the morn early Sir Tristram armed him, and La Beale
Isoud gave him a good helm; and then he promised her
that he would meet with Sir Dinadan, and they two would
ride together into Lonazep, where the tournament should
be: And there shall I make ready for you where ye shall
see the tournament. Then departed Sir Tristram with
two squires that bare his shield and his spears that were
great and long.


How Sir Dinadan met with Sir Tristram, and with jousting
with Sir Palomides, Sir Dinadan knew him.

THEN after that Sir Dinadan departed, and rode his
way a great pace until he had overtaken Sir Tristram.
And when Sir Dinadan had overtaken him he knew him
anon, and he hated the fellowship of him above all other
knights. Ah, said Sir Dinadan, art thou that coward
knight that I met with yesterday? keep thee, for thou
shalt joust with me maugre thy head. Well, said Sir
Tristram, and I am loath to joust. And so they let their
horses run, and Sir Tristram missed of him a-purpose,
and Sir Dinadan brake a spear upon Sir Tristram, and
therewith Sir Dinadan dressed him to draw out his sword.
Not so, said Sir Tristram, why are ye so wroth? I will
not fight. Fie on thee, coward, said Dinadan, thou
shamest all knights. As for that, said Sir Tristram, I
care not, for I will wait upon you and be under your
protection; for because ye are so good a knight ye may
save me. The devil deliver me of thee, said Sir Dinadan,
for thou art as goodly a man of arms and of thy person
as ever I saw, and the most coward that ever I saw.
What wilt thou do with those great spears that thou
carriest with thee? I shall give them, said Sir Tristram,
to some good knight when I come to the tournament;
and if I see you do best, I shall give them to you.

So thus as they rode talking they saw where came an
errant knight afore them, that dressed him to joust. Lo,
said Sir Tristram, yonder is one will joust; now dress
thee to him. Ah, shame betide thee, said Sir Dinadan.
Nay, not so, said Tristram, for that knight beseemeth a
shrew. Then shall I, said Sir Dinadan. And so they
dressed their shields and their spears, and they met
together so hard that the other knight smote down Sir
Dinadan from his horse. Lo, said Sir Tristram, it had
been better ye had left. Fie on thee, coward, said Sir
Dinadan. Then Sir Dinadan started up and gat his
sword in his hand, and proffered to do battle on foot.
Whether in love or in wrath? said the other knight.
Let us do battle in love, said Sir Dinadan. What is your
name, said that knight, I pray you tell me. Wit ye well
my name is Sir Dinadan. Ah, Dinadan, said that knight,
and my name is Gareth, the youngest brother unto Sir
Gawaine. Then either made of other great cheer, for
this Gareth was the best knight of all the brethren, and
he proved a good knight. Then they took their horses,
and there they spake of Sir Tristram, how such a coward
he was; and every word Sir Tristram heard and laughed
them to scorn.

Then were they ware where came a knight afore them
well horsed and well armed, and he made him ready to
joust. Fair knights, said Sir Tristram, look betwixt you
who shall joust with yonder knight, for I warn you I will
not have ado with him. Then shall I, said Sir Gareth.
And so they encountered together, and there that knight
smote down Sir Gareth over his horse's croup. How
now, said Sir Tristram unto Sir Dinadan, dress thee now
and revenge the good knight Gareth. That shall I not,
said Sir Dinadan, for he hath stricken down a much
bigger knight than I am. Ah, said Sir Tristram, now
Sir Dinadan, I see and feel well your heart faileth you,
therefore now shall ye see what I shall do. And then Sir
Tristram hurtled unto that knight, and smote him quite
from his horse. And when Sir Dinadan saw that, he
marvelled greatly; and then he deemed that it was Sir

Then this knight that was on foot pulled out his
sword to do battle. What is your name? said Sir
Tristram. Wit ye well, said that knight, my name is
Sir Palomides. What knight hate ye most? said Sir
Tristram. Sir knight, said he, I hate Sir Tristram to the
death, for an I may meet with him the one of us shall die.
Ye say well, said Sir Tristram, and wit ye well that I am
Sir Tristram de Liones, and now do your worst. When
Sir Palomides heard him say so he was astonied. And
then he said thus: I pray you, Sir Tristram, forgive me
all mine evil will, and if I live I shall do you service
above all other knights that be living; and whereas I
have owed you evil will me sore repenteth. I wot not
what aileth me, for meseemeth that ye are a good knight,
and none other knight that named himself a good knight
should not hate you; therefore I require you, Sir Tristram,
take no displeasure at mine unkind words. Sir
Palomides, said Sir Tristram, ye say well, and well I wot
ye are a good knight, for I have seen ye proved; and
many great enterprises have ye taken upon you, and well
achieved them; therefore, said Sir Tristram, an ye have
any evil will to me, now may ye right it, for I am ready
at your hand. Not so, my lord Sir Tristram, I will do
you knightly service in all thing as ye will command.
And right so I will take you, said Sir Tristram. And so
they rode forth on their ways talking of many things.
O my lord Sir Tristram, said Dinadan, foul have ye
mocked me, for God knoweth I came into this country for
your sake, and by the advice of my lord Sir Launcelot;
and yet would not Sir Launcelot tell me the certainty
of you, where I should find you. Truly, said Sir Tristram,
Sir Launcelot wist well where I was, for I abode within
his own castle.


How they approached the Castle Lonazep, and of other
devices of the death of Sir Lamorak.

THUS they rode until they were ware of the Castle
Lonazep. And then were they ware of four hundred
tents and pavilions, and marvellous great ordinance. So
God me help, said Sir Tristram, yonder I see the greatest
ordinance that ever I saw. Sir, said Palomides, meseemeth
that there was as great an ordinance at the Castle of
Maidens upon the rock, where ye won the prize, for I
saw myself where ye forjousted thirty knights. Sir, said
Dinadan, and in Surluse, at that tournament that Galahalt
of the Long Isles made, the which there dured seven days,
was as great a gathering as is here, for there were many
nations. Who was the best? said Sir Tristram. Sir, it
was Sir Launcelot du Lake and the noble knight, Sir
Lamorak de Galis, and Sir Launcelot won the degree. I
doubt not, said Sir Tristram, but he won the degree, so
he had not been overmatched with many knights; and of
the death of Sir Lamorak, said Sir Tristram, it was over
great pity, for I dare say he was the cleanest mighted man
and the best winded of his age that was alive; for I knew
him that he was the biggest knight that ever I met withal,
but if it were Sir Launcelot. Alas, said Sir Tristram, full
woe is me for his death. And if they were not the cousins
of my lord Arthur that slew him, they should die for it,
and all those that were consenting to his death. And for
such things, said Sir Tristram, I fear to draw unto the
court of my lord Arthur; I will that ye wit it, said Sir
Tristram unto Gareth.

Sir, I blame you not, said Gareth, for well I understand
the vengeance of my brethren Sir Gawaine, Agravaine,
Gaheris, and Mordred. But as for me, said Sir
Gareth, I meddle not of their matters, therefore there is
none of them that loveth me. And for I understand they
be murderers of good knights I left their company; and
God would I had been by, said Gareth, when the noble
knight, Sir Lamorak, was slain. Now as Jesu be my help,
said Sir Tristram, it is well said of you, for I had liefer
than all the gold betwixt this and Rome I had been there.
Y-wis,[1] said Palomides, and so would I had been there,
and yet had I never the degree at no jousts nor tournament
thereas he was, but he put me to the worse, or on
foot or on horseback; and that day that he was slain he
did the most deeds of arms that ever I saw knight do in
all my life days. And when him was given the degree by
my lord Arthur, Sir Gawaine and his three brethren, Agravaine,
Gaheris, and Sir Mordred, set upon Sir Lamorak in
a privy place, and there they slew his horse. And so they
fought with him on foot more than three hours, both
before him and behind him; and Sir Mordred gave him
his death wound behind him at his back, and all to-hew
him: for one of his squires told me that saw it. Fie
upon treason, said Sir Tristram, for it killeth my heart to
hear this tale. So it doth mine, said Gareth; brethren as
they be mine I shall never love them, nor draw in their
fellowship for that deed.

Now speak we of other deeds, said Palomides, and let
him be, for his life ye may not get again. That is the
more pity, said Dinadan, for Sir Gawaine and his brethren,
except you Sir Gareth, hate all the good knights of the
Round Table for the most part; for well I wot an they
might privily, they hate my lord Sir Launcelot and all his
kin, and great privy despite they have at him; and that
is my lord Sir Launcelot well ware of, and that causeth
him to have the good knights of his kin about him.

[1] ``Y-wis'' (certainly); Caxton, ``ye wis''; W. de Worde, ``truly.''


How they came to Humber bank, and how they found a ship
there, wherein lay the body of King Hermance.

SIR, said Palomides, let us leave of this matter, and let us
see how we shall do at this tournament. By mine advice,
said Palomides, let us four hold together against all that
will come. Not by my counsel, said Sir Tristram, for I
see by their pavilions there will be four hundred knights,
and doubt ye not, said Sir Tristram, but there will be
many good knights; and be a man never so valiant nor
so big, yet he may be overmatched. And so have I seen
knights done many times; and when they weened best to
have won worship they lost it, for manhood is not worth
but if it be medled with wisdom. And as for me, said
Sir Tristram, it may happen I shall keep mine own head
as well as another.

So thus they rode until that they came to Humber
bank, where they heard a cry and a doleful noise. Then
were they ware in the wind where came a rich vessel
hilled over with red silk, and the vessel landed fast by
them. Therewith Sir Tristram alighted and his knights.
And so Sir Tristram went afore and entered into that
vessel. And when he came within he saw a fair bed
richly covered, and thereupon lay a dead seemly knight,
all armed save the head, was all be-bled with deadly
wounds upon him, the which seemed to be a passing good
knight. How may this be, said Sir Tristram, that this
knight is thus slain? Then Sir Tristram was ware of a
letter in the dead knight's hand. Master mariners, said
Sir Tristram, what meaneth that letter? Sir, said they,
in that letter ye shall hear and know how he was slain,
and for what cause, and what was his name. But sir,
said the mariners, wit ye well that no man shall take that
letter and read it but if he be a good knight, and that
he will faithfully promise to revenge his death, else shall
there be no knight see that letter open. Wit ye well,
said Sir Tristram, that some of us may revenge his death
as well as other, and if it be so as ye mariners say his
death shall be revenged. And therewith Sir Tristram
took the letter out of the knight's hand, and it said thus:
Hermance, king and lord of the Red City, I send unto
all knights errant, recommending unto you noble knights
of Arthur's court. I beseech them all among them to
find one knight that will fight for my sake with two
brethren that I brought up of nought, and feloniously
and traitorly they have slain me; wherefore I beseech
one good knight to revenge my death. And he that
revengeth my death I will that he have my Red City and
all my castles.

Sir, said the mariners, wit ye well this king and knight
that here lieth was a full worshipful man and of full
great prowess, and full well he loved all manner knights
errants. So God me help, said Sir Tristram, here is a
piteous case, and full fain would I take this enterprise
upon me; but I have made such a promise that needs I
must be at this great tournament, or else I am shamed.
For well I wot for my sake in especial my lord Arthur let
make this jousts and tournament in this country; and
well I wot that many worshipful people will be there at
that tournament for to see me; therefore I fear me to
take this enterprise upon me that I shall not come again
by time to this jousts. Sir, said Palomides, I pray you
give me this enterprise, and ye shall see me achieve it
worshipfully, other else I shall die in this quarrel. Well,
said Sir Tristram, and this enterprise I give you, with
this, that ye be with me at this tournament that shall be
as this day seven night. Sir, said Palomides, I promise
you that I shall be with you by that day if I be unslain
or unmaimed.


How Sir Tristram with his fellowship came and were with
an host which after fought with Sir Tristram; and
other matters.

THEN departed Sir Tristram, Gareth, and Sir Dinadan,
and left Sir Palomides in the vessel; and so Sir Tristram
beheld the mariners how they sailed overlong Humber.
And when Sir Palomides was out of their sight they took
their horses and beheld about them. And then were they
ware of a knight that came riding against them unarmed,
and nothing about him but a sword. And when this
knight came nigh them he saluted them, and they him
again. Fair knights, said that knight, I pray you insomuch
as ye be knights errant, that ye will come and see
my castle, and take such as ye find there; I pray you
heartily. And so they rode with him until his castle, and
there they were brought into the hall, that was well
apparelled; and so they were there unarmed, and set at a
board; and when this knight saw Sir Tristram, anon he
knew him. And then this knight waxed pale and wroth
at Sir Tristram. When Sir Tristram saw his host make
such cheer he marvelled and said: Sir, mine host, what
cheer make you? Wit thou well, said he, I fare the
worse for thee, for I know thee, Sir Tristram de Liones,
thou slewest my brother; and therefore I give thee
summons I will slay thee an ever I may get thee at
large. Sir knight, said Sir Tristram, I am never advised
that ever I slew any brother of yours; and if ye say that
I did I will make amends unto my power. I will none
amends, said the knight, but keep thee from me.

So when he had dined Sir Tristram asked his arms,
and departed. And so they rode on their ways, and
within a while Sir Dinadan saw where came a knight well
armed and well horsed, without shield. Sir Tristram,
said Sir Dinadan, take keep to yourself, for I dare undertake
yonder cometh your host that will have ado with
you. Let him come, said Sir Tristram, I shall abide
him as well as I may. Anon the knight, when he came
nigh Sir Tristram, he cried and bade him abide and keep
him. So they hurtled together, but Sir Tristram smote
the other knight so sore that he bare him over his horse's
croup. That knight arose lightly and took his horse
again, and so rode fiercely to Sir Tristram, and smote him
twice hard upon the helm. Sir knight, said Sir Tristram,
I pray you leave off and smite me no more, for I would
be loath to deal with you an I might choose, for I have
your meat and your drink within my body. For all that
he would not leave; and then Sir Tristram gave him
such a buffet upon the helm that he fell up-so-down from
his horse, that the blood brast out at the ventails of his
helm, and so he lay still likely to be dead. Then Sir
Tristram said: Me repenteth of this buffet that I smote
so sore, for as I suppose he is dead. And so they left
him and rode on their ways.

So they had not ridden but a while, but they saw
riding against them two full likely knights, well armed
and well horsed, and goodly servants about them. The
one was Berrant le Apres, and he was called the King
with the Hundred Knights; and the other was Sir
Segwarides, which were renowned two noble knights. So
as they came either by other the king looked upon Sir
Dinadan, that at that time he had Sir Tristram's helm
upon his shoulder, the which helm the king had seen
to-fore with the Queen of Northgalis, and that queen the
king loved as paramour; and that helm the Queen of
Northgalis had given to La Beale Isoud, and the queen
La Beale Isoud gave it to Sir Tristram. Sir knight, said
Berrant, where had ye that helm? What would ye? said
Sir Dinadan. For I will have ado with thee, said the
king, for the love of her that owed that helm, and
therefore keep you. So they departed and came together with
all their mights of their horses, and there the King with
the Hundred Knights smote Sir Dinadan, horse and all,
to the earth; and then he commanded his servant: Go
and take thou his helm off, and keep it. So the varlet
went to unbuckle his helm. What helm, what wilt thou
do? said Sir Tristram, leave that helm. To what intent,
said the king, will ye, sir knight, meddle with that helm?
Wit you well, said Sir Tristram, that helm shall not depart
from me or it be dearer bought. Then make you ready,
said Sir Berrant unto Sir Tristram. So they hurtled
together, and there Sir Tristram smote him down over his
horse's tail; and then the king arose lightly, and gat his
horse lightly again. And then he struck fiercely at Sir
Tristram many great strokes. And then Sir Tristram
gave Sir Berrant such a buffet upon the helm that he fell
down over his horse sore stonied. Lo, said Dinadan, that
helm is unhappy to us twain, for I had a fall for it, and
now, sir king, have ye another fall.

Then Segwarides asked: Who shall joust with me?
I pray thee, said Sir Gareth unto Dinadan, let me have
this jousts. Sir, said Dinadan, I pray you take it as for me.
That is no reason, said Tristram, for this jousts should
be yours. At a word, said Dinadan, I will not thereof.
Then Gareth dressed him to Sir Segwarides, and there Sir
Segwarides smote Gareth and his horse to the earth.
Now, said Sir Tristram to Dinadan, joust with yonder
knight. I will not thereof, said Dinadan. Then will I,
said Sir Tristram. And then Sir Tristram ran to him,
and gave him a fall; and so they left them on foot, and
Sir Tristram rode unto Joyous Gard, and there Sir Gareth
would not of his courtesy have gone into this castle, but
Sir Tristram would not suffer him to depart. And so
they alighted and unarmed them, and had great cheer.
But when Dinadan came afore La Beale Isoud he cursed
the time that ever he bare Sir Tristram's helm, and there
he told her how Sir Tristram had mocked him. Then
was there laughing and japing at Sir Dinadan, that they
wist not what to do with him.


How Palomides went for to fight with two brethren for the
death of King Hermance.

NOW will we leave them merry within Joyous Gard, and
speak we of Sir Palomides. Then Sir Palomides sailed
evenlong Humber to the coasts of the sea, where was a
fair castle. And at that time it was early in the morning,
afore day. Then the mariners went unto Sir Palomides
that slept fast. Sir knight, said the mariners, ye must
arise, for here is a castle there ye must go into. I assent
me, said Sir Palomides; and therewithal he arrived. And
then he blew his horn that the mariners had given him.
And when they within the castle heard that horn they put
forth many knights; and there they stood upon the walls,
and said with one voice: Welcome be ye to this castle.
And then it waxed clear day, and Sir Palomides entered
into the castle. And within a while he was served with
many divers meats. Then Sir Palomides heard about him
much weeping and great dole. What may this mean?
said Sir Palomides; I love not to hear such a sorrow, and
fain I would know what it meaneth. Then there came
afore him one whose name was Sir Ebel, that said thus:
Wit ye well, sir knight, this dole and sorrow is here made
every day, and for this cause: we had a king that hight
Hermance, and he was King of the Red City, and this
king that was lord was a noble knight, large and liberal of
his expense; and in the world he loved nothing so much
as he did errant knights of King Arthur's court, and all
jousting, hunting, and all manner of knightly games; for
so kind a king and knight had never the rule of poor
people as he was; and because of his goodness and gentle
ness we bemoan him, and ever shall. And all kings and
estates may beware by our lord, for he was destroyed in
his own default; for had he cherished them of his blood
he had yet lived with great riches and rest: but all estates
may beware by our king. But alas, said Ebel, that we
shall give all other warning by his death.

Tell me, said Palomides, and in what manner was
your lord slain, and by whom. Sir, said Sir Ebel, our
king brought up of children two men that now are
perilous knights; and these two knights our king had so
in charity, that he loved no man nor trusted no man of
his blood, nor none other that was about him. And by
these two knights our king was governed, and so they
ruled him peaceably and his lands, and never would they
suffer none of his blood to have no rule with our king.
And also he was so free and so gentle, and they so false
and deceivable, that they ruled him peaceably; and that
espied the lords of our king's blood, and departed from
him unto their own livelihood. Then when these two
traitors understood that they had driven all the lords of
his blood from him, they were not pleased with that rule,
but then they thought to have more, as ever it is an old
saw: Give a churl rule and thereby he will not be
sufficed; for whatsomever he be that is ruled by a villain
born, and the lord of the soil to be a gentleman born, the
same villain shall destroy all the gentlemen about him:
therefore all estates and lords, beware whom ye take about
you. And if ye be a knight of King Arthur's court remember
this tale, for this is the end and conclusion. My
lord and king rode unto the forest hereby by the advice
of these traitors, and there he chased at the red deer,
armed at all pieces full like a good knight; and so for
labour he waxed dry, and then he alighted, and drank at
a well. And when he was alighted, by the assent of these
two traitors, that one that hight Helius he suddenly smote
our king through the body with a spear, and so they
left him there. And when they were departed, then by
fortune I came to the well, and found my lord and king
wounded to the death. And when I heard his complaint,
I let bring him to the water side, and in that same ship I
put him alive; and when my lord King Hermance was in
that vessel, he required me for the true faith I owed unto
him for to write a letter in this manner.


The copy of the letter written for to revenge the king's death,
and how Sir Palomides fought for to have the battle.

RECOMMENDING unto King Arthur and to all his knights
errant, beseeching them all that insomuch as I, King
Hermance, King of the Red City, thus am slain by felony
and treason, through two knights of mine own, and of
mine own bringing up and of mine own making, that
some worshipful knight will revenge my death, insomuch
I have been ever to my power well willing unto Arthur's
court. And who that will adventure his life with these
two traitors for my sake in one battle, I, King Hermance,
King of the Red City, freely give him all my lands and
rents that ever I wielded in my life. This letter, said
Ebel, I wrote by my lord's commandment, and then he
received his Creator; and when he was dead, he commanded
me or ever he were cold to put that letter fast
in his hand. And then he commanded me to put forth
that same vessel down Humber, and I should give these
mariners in commandment never to stint until that they
came unto Logris, where all the noble knights shall
assemble at this time. And there shall some good knight
have pity on me to revenge my death, for there was
never king nor lord falslier nor traitorlier slain than I
am here to my death. Thus was the complaint of our
King Hermance. Now, said Sir Ebel, ye know all how
our lord was betrayed, we require you for God's sake
have pity upon his death, and worshipfully revenge his
death, and then may ye wield all these lands. For we all
wit well that an ye may slay these two traitors, the Red
City and all those that be therein will take you for their

Truly, said Sir Palomides, it grieveth my heart for to
hear you tell this doleful tale; and to say the truth I saw
the same letter that ye speak of, and one of the best
knights on the earth read that letter to me, and by his
commandment I came hither to revenge your king's death;
and therefore have done, and let me wit where I shall find
those traitors, for I shall never be at ease in my heart till
I be in hands with them. Sir, said Sir Ebel, then take
your ship again, and that ship must bring you unto the
Delectable Isle, fast by the Red City, and we in this castle
shall pray for you, and abide your again-coming. For
this same castle, an ye speed well, must needs be yours;
for our King Hermance let make this castle for the love
of the two traitors, and so we kept it with strong hand,
and therefore full sore are we threated. Wot ye what ye
shall do, said Sir Palomides; whatsomever come of me,
look ye keep well this castle. For an it misfortune me
so to be slain in this quest I am sure there will come one
of the best knights of the world for to revenge my death,
and that is Sir Tristram de Liones, or else Sir Launcelot
du Lake.

Then Sir Palomides departed from that castle. And
as he came nigh the city, there came out of a ship a
goodly knight armed against him, with his shield on his
shoulder, and his hand upon his sword. And anon as he
came nigh Sir Palomides he said: Sir knight, what seek
ye here? leave this quest for it is mine, and mine it was
or ever it was yours, and therefore I will have it. Sir
knight, said Palomides, it may well be that this quest was
yours or it was mine, but when the letter was taken out
of the dead king's hand, at that time by likelihood there
was no knight had undertaken to revenge the death of
the king. And so at that time I promised to revenge his
death, and so I shall or else I am ashamed. Ye say well,
said the knight, but wit ye well then will I fight with you,
and who be the better knight of us both, let him take the
battle upon hand. I assent me, said Sir Palomides. And
then they dressed their shields, and pulled out their
swords, and lashed together many sad strokes as men of
might; and this fighting was more than an hour, but at
the last Sir Palomides waxed big and better winded, so
that then he smote that knight such a stroke that he made
him to kneel upon his knees. Then that knight spake on
high and said: Gentle knight, hold thy hand. Sir Palomides
was goodly and withdrew his hand. Then this
knight said: Wit ye well, knight, that thou art better
worthy to have this battle than I, and require thee of
knighthood tell me thy name. Sir, my name is Palomides,
a knight of King Arthur's, and of the Table
Round, that hither I came to revenge the death of this
dead king.


Of the preparation of Sir Palomides and the two brethren
that should fight with him.

WELL be ye found, said the knight to Palomides, for
of all knights that be alive, except three, I had liefest
have you. The first is Sir Launcelot du Lake, and
Sir Tristram de Liones, the third is my nigh cousin,
Sir Lamorak de Galis. And I am brother unto King
Hermance that is dead, and my name is Sir Hermind.
Ye say well, said Sir Palomides, and ye shall see how I
shall speed; and if I be there slain go ye to my lord Sir
Launcelot, or else to my lord Sir Tristram, and pray them
to revenge my death, for as for Sir Lamorak him shall ye
never see in this world. Alas, said Sir Hermind, how
may that be? He is slain, said Sir Palomides, by Sir
Gawaine and his brethren. So God me help, said Hermind,
there was not one for one that slew him. That is
truth, said Sir Palomides, for they were four dangerous
knights that slew him, as Sir Gawaine, Sir Agravaine, Sir
Gaheris, and Sir Mordred, but Sir Gareth, the fifth
brother was away, the best knight of them all. And so
Sir Palomides told Hermind all the manner, and how they
slew Sir Lamorak all only by treason.

So Sir Palomides took his ship, and arrived up at the
Delectable Isle. And in the meanwhile Sir Hermind that
was the king's brother, he arrived up at the Red City, and
there he told them how there was come a knight of King
Arthur's to avenge King Hermance's death: And his
name is Sir Palomides, the good knight, that for the
most part he followeth the beast Glatisant. Then all the
city made great joy, for mickle had they heard of Sir
Palomides, and of his noble prowess. So let they ordain
a messenger, and sent unto the two brethren, and bade
them to make them ready, for there was a knight come
that would fight with them both. So the messenger went
unto them where they were at a castle there beside; and
there he told them how there was a knight come of King
Arthur's court to fight with them both at once. He is
welcome, said they; but tell us, we pray you, if it be Sir
Launcelot or any of his blood? He is none of that blood,
said the messenger. Then we care the less, said the two
brethren, for with none of the blood of Sir Launcelot we
keep not to have ado withal. Wit ye well, said the
messenger, that his name is Sir Palomides, that yet is
unchristened, a noble knight. Well, said they, an he be
now unchristened he shall never be christened. So they
appointed to be at the city within two days.

And when Sir Palomides was come to the city they
made passing great joy of him, and then they beheld him,
and saw that he was well made, cleanly and bigly, and
unmaimed of his limbs, and neither too young nor too old.
And so all the people praised him; and though he was
not christened yet he believed in the best manner, and was
full faithful and true of his promise, and well conditioned;
and because he made his avow that he would never be
christened unto the time that he had achieved the beast
Glatisant, the which was a full wonderful beast, and a
great signification; for Merlin prophesied much of that
beast. And also Sir Palomides avowed never to take full
christendom unto the time that he had done seven battles
within the lists.

So within the third day there came to the city these
two brethren, the one hight Helius, the other hight
Helake, the which were men of great prowess; howbeit
that they were false and full of treason, and but poor men
born, yet were they noble knights of their hands. And
with them they brought forty knights, to that intent that
they should be big enough for the Red City. Thus came
the two brethren with great bobaunce and pride, for they
had put the Red City in fear and damage. Then they
were brought to the lists, and Sir Palomides came into the
place and said thus: Be ye the two brethren, Helius and
Helake, that slew your king and lord, Sir Hermance, by
felony and treason, for whom that I am come hither to
revenge his death? Wit thou well, said Sir Helius and
Sir Helake, that we are the same knights that slew King
Hermance; and wit thou well, Sir Palomides Saracen, that
we shall handle thee so or thou depart that thou shalt
wish that thou wert christened. It may well be, said Sir
Palomides, for yet I would not die or I were christened;
and yet so am I not afeard of you both, but I trust to God
that I shall die a better christian man than any of you
both; and doubt ye not, said Sir Palomides, either ye or I
shall be left dead in this place.


Of the battle between Sir Palomides and the two brethren,
and how the two brethren were slain.

THEN they departed, and the two brethren came against
Sir Palomides, and he against them, as fast as their horses
might run. And by fortune Sir Palomides smote Helake
through his shield and through the breast more than a
fathom. All this while Sir Helius held up his spear, and
for pride and orgulit he would not smite Sir Palomides
with his spear; but when he saw his brother lie on the
earth, and saw he might not help himself, then he said
unto Sir Palomides: Help thyself. And therewith he
came hurtling unto Sir Palomides with his spear, and
smote him quite from his saddle. Then Sir Helius rode
over Sir Palomides twice or thrice. And therewith Sir
Palomides was ashamed, and gat the horse of Sir Helius
by the bridle, and therewithal the horse areared, and Sir
Palomides halp after, and so they fell both to the earth;
but anon Sir Helius stert up lightly, and there he smote
Sir Palomides a great stroke upon the helm, that he
kneeled upon his own knee. Then they lashed together
many sad strokes, and traced and traversed now backward,
now sideling, hurtling together like two boars, and that
same time they fell both grovelling to the earth.

Thus they fought still without any reposing two hours,
and never breathed; and then Sir Palomides waxed faint
and weary, and Sir Helius waxed passing strong, and
doubled his strokes, and drove Sir Palomides overthwart
and endlong all the field, that they of the city when they
saw Sir Palomides in this case they wept and cried, and
made great dole, and the other party made as great joy.
Alas, said the men of the city, that this noble knight
should thus be slain for our king's sake. And as they
were thus weeping and crying, Sir Palomides that had
suffered an hundred strokes, that it was wonder that he
stood on his feet, at the last Sir Palomides beheld as he
might the common people, how they wept for him; and
then he said to himself: Ah, fie for shame, Sir Palomides,
why hangest thou thy head so low; and therewith he bare
up his shield, and looked Sir Helius in the visage, and he
smote him a great stroke upon the helm, and after that
another and another. And then he smote Sir Helius with
such a might that he fell to the earth grovelling; and
then he raced off his helm from his head, and there he
smote him such a buffet that he departed his head from
the body. And then were the people of the city the
joyfullest people that might be. So they brought him to
his lodging with great solemnity, and there all the people
became his men. And then Sir Palomides prayed them
all to take keep unto all the lordship of King Hermance:
For, fair sirs, wit ye well I may not as at this time abide
with you, for I must in all haste be with my lord King
Arthur at the Castle of Lonazep, the which I have
promised. Then was the people full heavy at his
departing, for all that city proffered Sir Palomides the
third part of their goods so that he would abide with
them; but in no wise as at that time he would not

And so Sir Palomides departed, and so he came unto
the castle thereas Sir Ebel was lieutenant. And when they
in the castle wist how Sir Palomides had sped, there was a
joyful meiny; and so Sir Palomides departed, and came
to the castle of Lonazep. And when he wist that Sir
Tristram was not there he took his way over Humber,
and came unto Joyous Gard, whereas Sir Tristram was
and La Beale Isoud. Sir Tristram had commanded that
what knight errant came within the Joyous Gard, as in
the town, that they should warn Sir Tristram. So there
came a man of the town, and told Sir Tristram how there
was a knight in the town, a passing goodly man. What
manner of man is he, said Sir Tristram, and what sign
beareth he? So the man told Sir Tristram all the tokens
of him. That is Palomides, said Dinadan. It may well
be, said Sir Tristram. Go ye to him, said Sir Tristram
unto Dinadan. So Dinadan went unto Sir Palomides,
and there either made other great joy, and so they lay
together that night. And on the morn early came Sir
Tristram and Sir Gareth, and took them in their beds, and
so they arose and brake their fast.


How Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides met Breuse Saunce
Pit, and how Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud went
unto Lonazep.

AND then Sir Tristram desired Sir Palomides to ride into
the fields and woods. So they were accorded to repose
them in the forest. And when they had played them a
great while they rode unto a fair well; and anon they
were ware of an armed knight that came riding against
them, and there either saluted other. Then this armed
knight spake to Sir Tristram, and asked what were these
knights that were lodged in Joyous Gard. I wot not
what they are, said Sir Tristram. What knights be ye?
said that knight, for meseemeth ye be no knights errant,
because ye ride unarmed. Whether we be knights or not
we list not to tell thee our name. Wilt thou not tell me
thy name? said that knight; then keep thee, for thou
shalt die of my hands. And therewith he got his spear
in his hands, and would have run Sir Tristram through.
That saw Sir Palomides, and smote his horse traverse in
midst of the side, that man and horse fell to the earth.
And therewith Sir Palomides alighted and pulled out his
sword to have slain him. Let be, said Sir Tristram, slay
him not, the knight is but a fool, it were shame to slay
him. But take away his spear, said Sir Tristram, and let
him take his horse and go where that he will.

So when this knight arose he groaned sore of the fall,
and so he took his horse, and when he was up he turned
then his horse, and required Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides
to tell him what knights they were. Now wit ye well,
said Sir Tristram, that my name is Sir Tristram de Liones,
and this knight's name is Sir Palomides. When he wist
what they were he took his horse with the spurs, because
they should not ask him his name, and so rode fast away
through thick and thin. Then came there by them a
knight with a bended shield of azure, whose name was
Epinogris, and he came toward them a great wallop.
Whither are ye riding? said Sir Tristram. My fair lords,
said Epinogris, I follow the falsest knight that beareth
the life; wherefore I require you tell me whether ye saw
him, for he beareth a shield with a case of red over it. So
God me help, said Tristram, such a knight departed from
us not a quarter of an hour agone; we pray you tell us
his name. Alas, said Epinogris, why let ye him escape
from you? and he is so great a foe unto all errant
knights: his name is Breuse Saunce Pit. Ah, fie for
shame, said Sir Palomides, alas that ever he escaped mine
hands, for he is the man in the world that I hate most.
Then every knight made great sorrow to other; and so
Epinogris departed and followed the chase after him.

Then Sir Tristram and his three fellows rode unto
Joyous Gard; and there Sir Tristram talked unto Sir
Palomides of his battle, how he sped at the Red City, and
as ye have heard afore so was it ended. Truly, said Sir
Tristram, I am glad ye have well sped, for ye have done
worshipfully. Well, said Sir Tristram, we must forward
to-morn. And then he devised how it should be; and
Sir Tristram devised to send his two pavilions to set
them fast by the well of Lonazep, and therein shall be
the queen La Beale Isoud. It is well said, said Sir
Dinadan, but when Sir Palomides heard of that his heart
was ravished out of measure: notwithstanding he said
but little. So when they came to Joyous Gard Sir
Palomides would not have gone into the castle, but as
Sir Tristram took him by the finger, and led him into
the castle. And when Sir Palomides saw La Beale Isoud
he was ravished so that he might unnethe speak. So they
went unto meat, but Palomides might not eat, and there
was all the cheer that might be had. And on the morn
they were apparelled to ride toward Lonazep.

So Sir Tristram had three squires, and La Beale Isoud
had three gentlewomen, and both the queen and they
were richly apparelled; and other people had they none
with them, but varlets to bear their shields and their
spears. And thus they rode forth. So as they rode they
saw afore them a rout of knights; it was the knight
Galihodin with twenty knights with him. Fair fellows,
said Galihodin, yonder come four knights, and a rich and
a well fair lady: I am in will to take that lady from

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