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Le Morte Darthur

Part 4 out of 11

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them. That is not of the best counsel, said one of
Galihodin's men, but send ye to them and wit what they
will say; and so it was done. There came a squire unto
Sir Tristram, and asked them whether they would joust
or else to lose their lady. Not so, said Sir Tristram,
tell your lord I bid him come as many as we be, and
win her and take her. Sir, said Palomides, an it please
you let me have this deed, and I shall undertake them
all four. I will that ye have it, said Sir Tristram, at
your pleasure. Now go and tell your lord Galihodin,
that this same knight will encounter with him and his


How Sir Palomides jousted with Sir Galihodin, and after
with Sir Gawaine, and smote them down.

THEN this squire departed and told Galihodin; and then
he dressed his shield, and put forth a spear, and Sir
Palomides another; and there Sir Palomides smote
Galihodin so hard that he smote both horse and man to
the earth. And there he had an horrible fall. And then
came there another knight, and in the same wise he
served him; and so he served the third and the fourth,
that he smote them over their horses' croups, and always
Sir Palomides' spear was whole. Then came six knights
more of Galihodin's men, and would have been avenged
upon Sir Palomides. Let be, said Sir Galihodin, not so
hardy, none of you all meddle with this knight, for he
is a man of great bount and honour, and if he would ye
were not able to meddle with him. And right so they
held them still. And ever Sir Palomides was ready to
joust; and when he saw they would no more he rode
unto Sir Tristram. Right well have ye done, said Sir
Tristram, and worshipfully have ye done as a good
knight should. This Galihodin was nigh cousin unto
Galahalt, the haut prince; and this Galihodin was a king
within the country of Surluse.

So as Sir Tristram, Sir Palomides, and La Beale Isoud
rode together they saw afore them four knights, and every
man had his spear in his hand: the first was Sir Gawaine,
the second Sir Uwaine, the third Sir Sagramore le Desirous,
and the fourth was Dodinas le Savage. When Sir Palomides
beheld them, that the four knights were ready to
joust, he prayed Sir Tristram to give him leave to have
ado with them all so long as he might hold him on horseback.
And if that I be smitten down I pray you revenge
me. Well, said Sir Tristram, I will as ye will, and ye are
not so fain to have worship but I would as fain increase
your worship. And therewithal Sir Gawaine put forth
his spear, and Sir Palomides another; and so they came
so eagerly together that Sir Palomides smote Sir Gawaine
to the earth, horse and all; and in the same wise he served
Uwaine, Sir Dodinas, and Sagramore. All these four
knights Sir Palomides smote down with divers spears
And then Sir Tristram departed toward Lonazep.

And when they were departed then came thither
Galihodin with his ten knights unto Sir Gawaine, and
there he told him all how he had sped. I marvel, said
Sir Gawaine, what knights they be, that are so arrayed
in green. And that knight upon the white horse smote
me down, said Galihodin, and my three fellows. And so
he did to me, said Gawaine; and well I wot, said Sir
Gawaine, that either he upon the white horse is Sir Tristram
or else Sir Palomides, and that gay beseen lady is Queen
Isoud. Thus they talked of one thing and of other.

And in the meanwhile Sir Tristram passed on till that
he came to the well where his two pavilions were set; and
there they alighted, and there they saw many pavilions
and great array. Then Sir Tristram left there Sir Palomides
and Sir Gareth with La Beale Isoud, and Sir
Tristram and Sir Dinadan rode to Lonazep to hearken
tidings; and Sir Tristram rode upon Sir Palomides' white
horse. And when he came into the castle Sir Dinadan
heard a great horn blow, and to the horn drew many
knights. Then Sir Tristram asked a knight: What
meaneth the blast of that horn? Sir, said that knight,
it is all those that shall hold against King Arthur at this
tournament. The first is the King of Ireland, and the
King of Surluse, the King of Listinoise, the King of
Northumberland, and the King of the best part of Wales,
with many other countries. And these draw them to a
council, to understand what governance they shall be of;
but the King of Ireland, whose name was Marhalt, and
father to the good knight Sir Marhaus that Sir Tristram
slew, had all the speech that Sir Tristram might hear it.
He said: Lords and fellows, let us look to ourself, for
wit ye well King Arthur is sure of many good knights,
or else he would not with so few knights have ado
with us; therefore by my counsel let every king have a
standard and a cognisance by himself, that every knight
draw to their natural lord, and then may every king and
captain help his knights if they have need. When Sir
Tristram had heard all their counsel he rode unto King
Arthur for to hear of his counsel.


How Sir Tristram and his fellowship came into the tournament
of Lonazep; and of divers jousts and matters.

BUT Sir Tristram was not so soon come into the place,
but Sir Gawaine and Sir Galihodin went to King Arthur,
and told him: That same green knight in the green
harness with the white horse smote us two down, and six
of our fellows this same day. Well, said Arthur. And
then he called Sir Tristram and asked him what was his
name. Sir, said Sir Tristram, ye shall hold me excused as
at this time, for ye shall not wit my name. And there
Sir Tristram returned and rode his way. I have marvel,
said Arthur, that yonder knight will not tell me his name,
but go thou, Griflet le Fise de Dieu, and pray him to
speak with me betwixt us. Then Sir Griflet rode after
him and overtook him, and said him that King Arthur
prayed him for to speak with him secretly apart. Upon
this covenant, said Sir Tristram, I will speak with him;
that I will turn again so that ye will ensure me not to
desire to hear my name. I shall undertake, said Sir
Griflet, that he will not greatly desire it of you. So they
rode together until they came to King Arthur. Fair sir,
said King Arthur, what is the cause ye will not tell me
your name? Sir, said Sir Tristram, without a cause I will
not hide my name. Upon what party will ye hold? said
King Arthur. Truly, my lord, said Sir Tristram, I wot
not yet on what party I will be on, until I come to the
field, and there as my heart giveth me, there will I hold;
but to-morrow ye shall see and prove on what party I
shall come. And therewithal he returned and went to
his pavilions.

And upon the morn they armed them all in green, and
came into the field; and there young knights began to
joust, and did many worshipful deeds. Then spake
Gareth unto Sir Tristram, and prayed him to give him
leave to break his spear, for him thought shame to bear
his spear whole again. When Sir Tristram heard him say
so he laughed, and said: I pray you do your best. Then
Sir Gareth gat a spear and proffered to joust. That saw
a knight that was nephew unto the King of the Hundred
Knights; his name was Selises, and a good man of arms.
So this knight Selises then dressed him unto Sir Gareth,
and they two met together so hard that either smote other
down, his horse and all, to the earth, so they were both
bruised and hurt; and there they lay till the King with the
Hundred Knights halp Selises up, and Sir Tristram and
Sir Palomides halp up Gareth again. And so they rode
with Sir Gareth unto their pavilions, and then they pulled
off his helm.

And when La Beale Isoud saw Sir Gareth bruised in
the face she asked him what ailed him. Madam, said Sir
Gareth, I had a great buffet, and as I suppose I gave
another, but none of my fellows, God thank them, would
not rescue me. Forsooth, said Palomides, it longed not
to none of us as this day to joust, for there have not this
day jousted no proved knights, and needly ye would joust.
And when the other party saw ye proffered yourself to
joust they sent one to you, a passing good knight of his
age, for I know him well, his name is Selises; and
worshipfully ye met with him, and neither of you are
dishonoured, and therefore refresh yourself that ye may be
ready and whole to joust to-morrow. As for that, said
Gareth, I shall not fail you an I may bestride mine horse.


How Sir Tristram and his fellowship jousted, and of the
noble feats that they did in that tourneying.

NOW upon what party, said Tristram, is it best we be
withal as to-morn? Sir, said Palomides, ye shall have
mine advice to be against King Arthur as to-morn, for on
his party will be Sir Launcelot and many good knights of
his blood with him. And the more men of worship that
they be, the more worship we shall win. That is full
knightly spoken, said Sir Tristram; and right so as ye
counsel me, so will we do. In the name of God, said they
all. So that night they were lodged with the best. And
on the morn when it was day they were arrayed all in
green trappings, shields and spears, and La Beale Isoud in
the same colour, and her three damosels. And right so
these four knights came into the field endlong and through.
And so they led La Beale Isoud thither as she should stand
and behold all the jousts in a bay window; but always she
was wimpled that no man might see her visage. And then
these three knights rode straight unto the party of the
King of Scots.

When King Arthur had seen them do all this he asked
Sir Launcelot what were these knights and that queen.
Sir, said Launcelot, I cannot say you in certain, but if Sir
Tristram be in this country, or Sir Palomides, wit ye well
it be they m certain, and La Beale Isoud. Then Arthur
called to him Sir Kay and said: Go lightly and wit how
many knights there be here lacking of the Table Round,
for by the sieges thou mayst know. So went Sir Kay
and saw by the writings in the sieges that there lacked ten
knights. And these be their names that be not here. Sir
Tristram, Sir Palomides, Sir Percivale, Sir Gaheris, Sir
Epinogris, Sir Mordred, Sir Dinadan, Sir La Cote Male
Taile, and Sir Pelleas the noble knight. Well, said Arthur,
some of these I dare undertake are here this day against us.

Then came therein two brethren, cousins unto Sir
Gawaine, the one hight Sir Edward, that other hight Sir
Sadok, the which were two good knights; and they asked
of King Arthur that they might have the first jousts, for
they were of Orkney. I am pleased, said King Arthur.
Then Sir Edward encountered with the King of Scots, in
whose party was Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides; and Sir
Edward smote the King of Scots quite from his horse, and
Sir Sadok smote down the King of North Wales, and gave
him a wonder great fall, that there was a great cry on King
Arthur's party, and that made Sir Palomides passing wroth.
And so Sir Palomides dressed his shield and his spear, and
with all his might he met with Sir Edward of Orkney,
that he smote him so hard that his horse might not stand
on his feet, and so they hurtled to the earth; and then
with the same spear Sir Palomides smote down Sir Sadok
over his horse's croup. O Jesu, said Arthur, what knight
is that arrayed all in green? he jousteth mightily. Wit
you well, said Sir Gawaine, he is a good knight, and yet
shall ye see him joust better or he depart. And yet shall
ye see, said Sir Gawaine, another bigger knight, in the
same colour, than he is; for that same knight, said Sir
Gawaine, that smote down right now my four cousins, he
smote me down within these two days, and seven fellows

This meanwhile as they stood thus talking there came
into the place Sir Tristram upon a black horse, and or
ever he stint he smote down with one spear four good
knights of Orkney that were of the kin of Sir Gawaine;
and Sir Gareth and Sir Dinadan everych of them smote
down a good knight. Jesu, said Arthur, yonder knight
upon the black horse doth mightily and marvellously well.
Abide you, said Sir Gawaine; that knight with the black
horse began not yet. Then Sir Tristram made to horse
again the two kings that Edward and Sadok had unhorsed
at the beginning. And then Sir Tristram drew his sword
and rode into the thickest of the press against them of
Orkney; and there he smote down knights, and rashed off
helms, and pulled away their shields, and hurtled down
many knights: he fared so that Sir Arthur and all knights
had great marvel when they saw one knight do so great
deeds of arms. And Sir Palomides failed not upon the
other side, but did so marvellously well that all men had
wonder. For there King Arthur likened Sir Tristram that
was on the black horse like to a wood lion, and likened
Sir Palomides upon the white horse unto a wood leopard,
and Sir Gareth and Sir Dinadan unto eager wolves. But
the custom was such among them that none of the kings
would help other, but all the fellowship of every standard
to help other as they might; but ever Sir Tristram did so
much deeds of arms that they of Orkney waxed weary of
him, and so withdrew them unto Lonazep


How Sir Tristram was unhorsed and smitten down by Sir
Launcelot, and after that Sir Tristram smote down
King Arthur.

THEN was the cry of heralds and all manner of common
people: The Green Knight hath done marvellously, and
beaten all them of Orkney. And there the heralds
numbered that Sir Tristram that sat upon the black horse
had smitten down with spears and swords thirty knights;
and Sir Palomides had smitten down twenty knights, and
the most part of these fifty knights were of the house of
King Arthur, and proved knights. So God me help, said
Arthur unto Sir Launcelot, this is a great shame to us
to see four knights beat so many knights of mine; and
therefore make you ready, for we will have ado with them.
Sir, said Launcelot, wit ye well that there are two passing
good knights, and great worship were it not to us now to
have ado with them, for they have this day sore travailed.
As for that, said Arthur, I will be avenged; and therefore
take with you Sir Bleoberis and Sir Ector, and I will be
the fourth, said Arthur. Sir, said Launcelot, ye shall find
me ready, and my brother Sir Ector, and my cousin Sir
Bleoberis. And so when they were ready and on horseback:
Now choose, said Sir Arthur unto Sir Launcelot,
with whom that ye will encounter withal. Sir, said
Launcelot, I will meet with the green knight upon the
black horse, that was Sir Tristram; and my cousin Sir
Bleoberis shall match the green knight upon the white
horse, that was Sir Palomides; and my brother Sir Ector
shall match with the green knight upon the white horse,
that was Sir Gareth. Then must I, said Sir Arthur, have
ado with the green knight upon the grisled horse, and that
was Sir Dinadan. Now every man take heed to his fellow,
said Sir Launcelot. And so they trotted on together, and
there encountered Sir Launcelot against Sir Tristram. So
Sir Launcelot smote Sir Tristram so sore upon the shield
that he bare horse and man to the earth; but Sir Launcelot
weened that it had been Sir Palomides, and so he passed
forth. And then Sir Bleoberis encountered with Sir
Palomides, and he smote him so hard upon the shield that
Sir Palomides and his white horse rustled to the earth.
Then Sir Ector de Maris smote Sir Gareth so hard that
down he fell off his horse. And the noble King Arthur
encountered with Sir Dinadan, and he smote him quite
from his saddle. And then the noise turned awhile how
the green knights were slain down.

When the King of Northgalis saw that Sir Tristram
had a fall, then he remembered him how great deeds of
arms Sir Tristram had done. Then he made ready many
knights, for the custom and cry was such, that what
knight were smitten down, and might not be horsed
again by his fellows, outher by his own strength, that as
that day he should be prisoner unto the party that had
smitten him down. So came in the King of Northgalis,
and he rode straight unto Sir Tristram; and when he
came nigh him he alighted down suddenly and betook
Sir Tristram his horse, and said thus: Noble knight, I
know thee not of what country that thou art, but for the
noble deeds that thou hast done this day take there my
horse, and let me do as well I may; for, as Jesu me
help, thou art better worthy to have mine horse than I
myself. Gramercy, said Sir Tristram, and if I may I
shall quite you: look that ye go not far from us, and as
I suppose, I shall win you another horse. And therewith
Sir Tristram mounted upon his horse, and there he met
with King Arthur, and he gave him such a buffet upon
the helm with his sword that King Arthur had no power
to keep his saddle. And then Sir Tristram gave the
King of Northgalis King Arthur's horse: then was there
great press about King Arthur for to horse him again;
but Sir Palomides would not suffer King Arthur to be
horsed again, but ever Sir Palomides smote on the right
hand and on the left hand mightily as a noble knight.
And this meanwhile Sir Tristram rode through the
thickest of the press, and smote down knights on the
right hand and on the left hand, and raced off helms, and
so passed forth unto his pavilions, and left Sir Palomides
on foot; and Sir Tristram changed his horse and disguised
himself all in red, horse and harness.


How Sir Tristram changed his harness and it was all red,
and how he demeaned him, and how Sir Palomides
slew Launcelot's horse.

AND when the queen La Beale Isoud saw that Sir
Tristram was unhorsed, and she wist not where he was,
then she wept greatly. But Sir Tristram, when he was
ready, came dashing lightly into the field, and then La
Beale Isoud espied him. And so he did great deeds of
arms; with one spear, that was great, Sir Tristram smote
down five knights or ever he stint. Then Sir Launcelot
espied him readily, that it was Sir Tristram, and then he
repented him that he had smitten him down; and so
Sir Launcelot went out of the press to repose him and
lightly he came again. And now when Sir Tristram
came into the press, through his great force he put Sir
Palomides upon his horse, and Sir Gareth, and Sir
Dinadan, and then they began to do marvellously; but
Sir Palomides nor none of his two fellows knew not who
had holpen them on horseback again. But ever Sir
Tristram was nigh them and succoured them, and they
[knew] not him, because he was changed into red armour:
and all this while Sir Launcelot was away.

So when La Beale Isoud knew Sir Tristram again
upon his horse-back she was passing glad, and then she
laughed and made good cheer. And as it happened, Sir
Palomides looked up toward her where she lay in the
window, and he espied how she laughed; and therewith
he took such a rejoicing that he smote down, what with
his spear and with his sword, all that ever he met;
for through the sight of her he was so enamoured in
her love that he seemed at that time, that an both Sir
Tristram and Sir Launcelot had been both against him
they should have won no worship of him; and in his
heart, as the book saith, Sir Palomides wished that with
his worship he might have ado with Sir Tristram before
all men, because of La Beale Isoud. Then Sir Palomides
began to double his strength, and he did so marvellously
that all men had wonder of him, and ever he cast up
his eye unto La Beale Isoud. And when he saw her
make such cheer he fared like a lion, that there might
no man withstand him; and then Sir Tristram beheld
him, how that Sir Palomides bestirred him; and then he
said unto Sir Dinadan: So God me help, Sir Palomides
is a passing good knight and a well enduring, but such
deeds saw I him never do, nor never heard I tell that
ever he did so much in one day. It is his day, said
Dinadan; and he would say no more unto Sir Tristram;
but to himself he said: An if ye knew for whose love
he doth all those deeds of arms, soon would Sir Tristram
abate his courage. Alas, said Sir Tristram, that Sir
Palomides is not christened. So said King Arthur, and
so said all those that beheld him. Then all people gave
him the prize, as for the best knight that day, that he
passed Sir Launcelot outher Sir Tristram. Well, said
Dinadan to himself, all this worship that Sir Palomides
hath here this day he may thank the Queen Isoud, for
had she been away this day Sir Palomides had not gotten
the prize this day.

Right so came into the field Sir Launcelot du Lake,
and saw and heard the noise and cry and the great
worship that Sir Palomides had. He dressed him against
Sir Palomides, with a great mighty spear and a long, and
thought to smite him down. And when Sir Palomides
saw Sir Launcelot come upon him so fast, he ran upon
Sir Launcelot as fast with his sword as he might; and
as Sir Launcelot should have stricken him he smote his
spear aside, and smote it a-two with his sword. And
Sir Palomides rushed unto Sir Launcelot, and thought
to have put him to a shame; and with his sword he
smote his horse's neck that Sir Launcelot rode upon, and
then Sir Launcelot fell to the earth. Then was the cry
huge and great: See how Sir Palomides the Saracen hath
smitten down Sir Launcelot's horse. Right then were
there many knights wroth with Sir Palomides because he
had done that deed; therefore many knights held there
against that it was unknightly done in a tournament to
kill an horse wilfully, but that it had been done in plain
battle, life for life.


How Sir Launcelot said to Sir Palomides, and how the
prize of that day was given unto Sir Palomides.

WHEN Sir Ector de Maris saw Sir Launcelot his brother
have such a despite, and so set on foot, then he gat a
spear eagerly, and ran against Sir Palomides, and he smote
him so hard that he bare him quite from his horse. That
saw Sir Tristram, that was in red harness, and he smote
down Sir Ector de Maris quite from his horse. Then
Sir Launcelot dressed his shield upon his shoulder, and
with his sword naked in his hand, and so came straight
upon Sir Palomides fiercely and said: Wit thou well
thou hast done me this day the greatest despite that ever
any worshipful knight did to me in tournament or in
jousts, and therefore I will be avenged upon thee, therefore
take keep to yourself. Ah, mercy, noble knight,
said Palomides, and forgive me mine unkindly deeds,
for I have no power nor might to withstand you, and I
have done so much this day that well I wot I did never
so much, nor never shall in my life-days; and therefore,
most noble knight, I require thee spare me as at this
day, and I promise you I shall ever be your knight while
I live: an ye put me from my worship now, ye put me
from the greatest worship that ever I had or ever shall
have in my life-days. Well, said Sir Launcelot, I see,
for to say thee sooth, ye have done marvellously well
this day; and I understand a part for whose love ye do
it, and well I wot that love is a great mistress. And if
my lady were here as she nis not, wit you well, said Sir
Launcelot, ye should not bear away the worship. But
beware your love be not discovered, for an Sir Tristram
may know it ye will repent it; and sithen my quarrel
is not here, ye shall have this day the worship as for me;
considering the great travail and pain that ye have had
this day, it were no worship for me to put you from it.
And therewithal Sir Launcelot suffered Sir Palomides to

Then Sir Launcelot by great force and might gat
his own horse maugre twenty knights. So when Sir
Launcelot was horsed he did many marvels, and so did
Sir Tristram, and Sir Palomides in like wise. Then Sir
Launcelot smote down with a spear Sir Dinadan, and the
King of Scotland, and the King of Wales, and the King
of Northumberland, and the King of Listinoise. So then
Sir Launcelot and his fellows smote down well a forty
knights. Then came the King of Ireland and the King
of the Straight Marches to rescue Sir Tristram and Sir
Palomides. There began a great medley, and many
knights were smitten down on both parties; and always Sir
Launcelot spared Sir Tristram, and he spared him. And
Sir Palomides would not meddle with Sir Launcelot, and
so there was hurtling here and there. And then King
Arthur sent out many knights of the Table Round; and
Sir Palomides was ever in the foremost front, and Sir
Tristram did so strongly well that the king and all other
had marvel. And then the king let blow to lodging;
and because Sir Palomides began first, and never he went
nor rode out of the field to repose, but ever he was
doing marvellously well either on foot or on horseback,
and longest during, King Arthur and all the kings gave
Sir Palomides the honour and the gree as for that day.

Then Sir Tristram commanded Sir Dinadan to fetch
the queen La Beale Isoud, and bring her to his two
pavilions that stood by the well. And so Dinadan did as
he was commanded. But when Sir Palomides understood
and wist that Sir Tristram was in the red armour, and on
a red horse, wit ye well that he was glad, and so was Sir
Gareth and Sir Dinadan, for they all weened that Sir
Tristram had been taken prisoner. And then every
knight drew to his inn. And then King Arthur and every
knight spake of those knights; but above all men they
gave Sir Palomides the prize, and all knights that knew
Sir Palomides had wonder of his deeds. Sir, said Sir
Launcelot unto Arthur, as for Sir Palomides an he be the
green knight I dare say as for this day he is best worthy
to have the degree, for he reposed him never, nor never
changed his weeds, and he began first and longest held on.
And yet, well I wot, said Sir Launcelot, that there was a
better knight than he, and that shall be proved or we
depart, upon pain of my life. Thus they talked on either
party; and so Sir Dinadan railed with Sir Tristram and
said: What the devil is upon thee this day? for Sir
Palomides' strength feebled never this day, but ever he
doubled his strength.


How Sir Dinadan provoked Sir Tristram to do well.

AND thou, Sir Tristram, farest all this day as though thou
hadst been asleep, and therefore I call thee coward. Well,
Dinadan, said Sir Tristram, I was never called coward or
now of no earthly knight in my life; and wit thou well,
sir, I call myself never the more coward though Sir
Launcelot gave me a fall, for I outcept him of all knights.
And doubt ye not Sir Dinadan, an Sir Launcelot have a
quarrel good, he is too over good for any knight that now
is living; and yet of his sufferance, largess, bounty, and
courtesy, I call him knight peerless: and so Sir Tristram
was in manner wroth with Sir Dinadan. But all this
language Sir Dinadan said because he would anger Sir
Tristram, for to cause him to awake his spirits and to be
wroth; for well knew Sir Dinadan that an Sir Tristram
were thoroughly wroth Sir Palomides should not get the
prize upon the morn. And for this intent Sir Dinadan
said all this railing and language against Sir Tristram.
Truly, said Sir Palomides, as for Sir Launcelot, of his
noble knighthood, courtesy, and prowess, and gentleness,
I know not his peer; for this day, said Sir Palomides, I
did full uncourteously unto Sir Launcelot, and full unknightly,
and full knightly and courteously he did to me
again; for an he had been as ungentle to me as I was to
him, this day I had won no worship. And therefore, said
Palomides, I shall be Sir Launcelot's knight while my life
lasteth. This talking was in the houses of kings. But all
kings, lords, and knights, said, of clear knighthood, and
of pure strength, of bounty, of courtesy, Sir Launcelot
and Sir Tristram bare the prize above all knights that ever
were in Arthur's days. And there were never knights in
Arthur's days did half so many deeds as they did; as the
book saith, no ten knights did not half the deeds that they
did, and there was never knight in their days that required
Sir Launcelot or Sir Tristram of any quest, so it were not
to their shame, but they performed their desire.


How King Arthur and Sir Lancelot came to see La Beale
Isoud, and how Palomides smote down King Arthur.

SO on the morn Sir Launcelot departed, and Sir Tristram
was ready, and La Beale Isoud with Sir Palomides and Sir
Gareth. And so they rode all in green full freshly beseen
unto the forest. And Sir Tristram left Sir Dinadan
sleeping in his bed. And so as they rode it happed the
king and Launcelot stood in a window, and saw Sir
Tristram ride and Isoud. Sir, said Launcelot, yonder
rideth the fairest lady of the world except your queen,
Dame Guenever. Who is that? said Sir Arthur. Sir,
said he, it is Queen Isoud that, out-taken my lady your
queen, she is makeless. Take your horse, said Arthur,
and array you at all rights as I will do, and I promise you,
said the king, I will see her. Then anon they were armed
and horsed, and either took a spear and rode unto the
forest. Sir, said Launcelot, it is not good that ye go too
nigh them, for wit ye well there are two as good knights
as now are living, and therefore, sir, I pray you be not
too hasty. For peradventure there will be some knights
be displeased an we come suddenly upon them. As for
that, said Arthur, I will see her, for I take no force whom
I grieve. Sir, said Launcelot, ye put yourself in great
jeopardy. As for that, said the king, we will take the
adventure. Right so anon the king rode even to her,
and saluted her, and said: God you save. Sir, said she,
ye are welcome. Then the king beheld her, and liked her
wonderly well.

With that came Sir Palomides unto Arthur, and said:
Uncourteous knight, what seekest thou here? thou art
uncourteous to come upon a lady thus suddenly, therefore
withdraw thee. Sir Arthur took none heed of Sir Palomides'
words, but ever he looked still upon Queen Isoud
Then was Sir Palomides wroth, and therewith he took a
spear, and came hurtling upon King Arthur, and smote
him down with a spear. When Sir Launcelot saw that
despite of Sir Palomides, he said to himself: I am loath
to have ado with yonder knight, and not for his own sake
but for Sir Tristram. And one thing I am sure of, if I
smite down Sir Palomides I must have ado with Sir Tristram,
and that were overmuch for me to match them both,
for they are two noble knights; notwithstanding, whether
I live or I die, needs must I revenge my lord, and so will
I, whatsomever befall of me. And therewith Sir Launcelot
cried to Sir Palomides: Keep thee from me. And then
Sir Launcelot and Sir Palomides rushed together with two
spears strongly, but Sir Launcelot smote Sir Palomides so
hard that he went quite out of his saddle, and had a great
fall. When Sir Tristram saw Sir Palomides have that
fall, he said to Sir Launcelot: Sir knight, keep thee, for
I must joust with thee. As for to joust with me, said
Sir Launcelot, I will not fail you, for no dread I have of
you; but I am loath to have ado with you an I might
choose, for I will that ye wit that I must revenge my
special lord that was unhorsed unwarly and unknightly.
And therefore, though I revenged that fall, take ye no
displeasure therein, for he is to me such a friend that I
may not see him shamed.

Anon Sir Tristram understood by his person and by
his knightly words that it was Sir Launcelot du Lake, and
verily Sir Tristram deemed that it was King Arthur, he
that Sir Palomides had smitten down. And then Sir
Tristram put his spear from him, and put Sir Palomides
again on horseback, and Sir Launcelot put King Arthur
on horseback and so departed. So God me help, said Sir
Tristram unto Palomides, ye did not worshipfully when
ye smote down that knight so suddenly as ye did. And
wit ye well ye did yourself great shame, for the knights
came hither of their gentleness to see a fair lady; and
that is every good knight's part, to behold a fair lady;
and ye had not ado to play such masteries afore my lady.
Wit thou well it will turn to anger, for he that ye smote
down was King Arthur, and that other was the good
knight Sir Launcelot. But I shall not forget the words
of Sir Launcelot when that he called him a man of great
worship, thereby I wist that it was King Arthur. And as
for Sir Launcelot, an there had been five hundred knights
in the meadow, he would not have refused them, and yet
he said he would refuse me. By that again I wist that it
was Sir Launcelot, for ever he forbeareth me in every
place, and showeth me great kindness; and of all knights,
I out-take none, say what men will say, he beareth the
flower of all chivalry, say it him whosomever will. An
he be well angered, and that him list to do his utterance
without any favour, I know him not alive but Sir
Launcelot is over hard for him, be it on horseback or on
foot. I may never believe, said Palomides, that King
Arthur will ride so privily as a poor errant knight. Ah,
said Sir Tristram, ye know not my lord Arthur, for all
knights may learn to be a knight of him. And therefore
ye may be sorry, said Sir Tristram, of your unkindly
deeds to so noble a king. And a thing that is done may
not be undone, said Palomides. Then Sir Tristram sent
Queen Isoud unto her lodging in the priory, there to
behold all the tournament.


How the second day Palomides forsook Sir Tristram, and
went to the contrary part against him.

THEN there was a cry unto all knights, that when they
heard an horn blow they should make jousts as they did the
first day. And like as the brethren Sir Edward and Sir
Sadok began the jousts the first day, Sir Uwaine the
king's son Urien and Sir Lucanere de Buttelere began
the jousts the second day. And at the first encounter

Sir Uwaine smote down the King's son of Scots; and
Sir Lucanere ran against the King of Wales, and they
brake their spears all to pieces; and they were so fierce
both, that they hurtled together that both fell to the
earth. Then they of Orkney horsed again Sir Lucanere.
And then came in Sir Tristram de Liones; and then
Sir Tristram smote down Sir Uwaine and Sir Lucanere;
and Sir Palomides smote down other two knights and
Sir Gareth smote down other two knights. Then
said Sir Arthur unto Sir Launcelot: See yonder three
knights do passingly well, and namely the first that
jousted. Sir, said Launcelot, that knight began not yet
but ye shall see him this day do marvellously. And then
came into the place the duke's son of Orkney, and then
they began to do many deeds of arms.

When Sir Tristram saw them so begin, he said to
Palomides: How feel ye yourself? may ye do this day
as ye did yesterday? Nay, said Palomides, I feel myself
so weary, and so sore bruised of the deeds of yesterday,
that I may not endure as I did yesterday. That me
repenteth, said Sir Tristram, for I shall lack you this
day. Sir Palomides said: Trust not to me, for I may
not do as I did. All these words said Palomides for to
beguile Sir Tristram. Sir, said Sir Tristram unto Sir
Gareth, then must I trust upon you; wherefore I pray
you be not far from me to rescue me. An need be,
said Sir Gareth, I shall not fail you in all that I may do.
Then Sir Palomides rode by himself; and then in despite
of Sir Tristram he put himself in the thickest press among
them of Orkney, and there he did so marvellously deeds
of arms that all men had wonder of him, for there might
none stand him a stroke.

When Sir Tristram saw Sir Palomides do such deeds,
he marvelled and said to himself: He is weary of my
company. So Sir Tristram beheld him a great while
and did but little else, for the noise and cry was so huge
and great that Sir Tristram marvelled from whence came
the strength that Sir Palomides had there in the field
Sir, said Sir Gareth unto Sir Tristram, remember ye not
of the words that Sir Dinadan said to you yesterday,
when he called you a coward; forsooth, sir, he said it
for none ill, for ye are the man in the world that he
most loveth, and all that he said was for your worship.
And therefore, said Sir Gareth to Sir Tristram, let me
know this day what ye be; and wonder ye not so upon
Sir Palomides, for he enforceth himself to win all the
worship and honour from you. I may well believe it,
said Sir Tristram. And sithen I understand his evil
will and his envy, ye shall see, if that I enforce myself,
that the noise shall be left that now is upon him.

Then Sir Tristram rode into the thickest of the
press, and then he did so marvellously well, and did so
great deeds of arms, that all men said that Sir Tristram
did double so much deeds of arms as Sir Palomides had
done aforehand. And then the noise went plain from
Sir Palomides, and all the people cried upon Sir Tristram.
O Jesu, said the people, see how Sir Tristram smiteth
down with his spear so many knights. And see, said
they all, how many knights he smiteth down with his
sword, and of how many knights he rashed off their
helms and their shields; and so he beat them all of
Orkney afore him. How now, said Sir Launcelot unto
King Arthur, I told you that this day there would a
knight play his pageant. Yonder rideth a knight ye
may see he doth knightly, for he hath strength and wind.
So God me help, said Arthur to Launcelot, ye say sooth,
for I saw never a better knight, for he passeth far Sir
Palomides. Sir, wit ye well, said Launcelot, it must
be so of right, for it is himself, that noble knight Sir
Tristram. I may right well believe it, said Arthur.

But when Sir Palomides heard the noise and the
cry was turned from him, he rode out on a part and
beheld Sir Tristram. And when Sir Palomides saw Sir
Tristram do so marvellously well he wept passingly
sore for despite, for he wist well he should no worship
win that day; for well knew Sir Palomides, when Sir
Tristram would put forth his strength and his manhood,
be should get but little worship that day,


How Sir Tristram departed of the field, and awaked Sir
Dinadan, and changed his array into black.

THEN came King Arthur, and the King of Northgalis,
and Sir Launcelot du Lake; and Sir Bleoberis, Sir Bors
de Ganis, Sir Ector de Maris, these three knights came
into the field with Sir Launcelot. And then Sir
Launcelot with the three knights of his kin did so great
deeds of arms that all the noise began upon Sir Launcelot.
And so they beat the King of Wales and the King of
Scots far aback, and made them to avoid the field; but
Sir Tristram and Sir Gareth abode still in the field and
endured all that ever there came, that all men had wonder
that any knight might endure so many strokes. But
ever Sir Launcelot, and his three kinsmen by the commandment
of Sir Launcelot, forbare Sir Tristram. Then
said Sir Arthur: Is that Sir Palomides that endureth
so well? Nay, said Sir Launcelot, wit ye well it is
the good knight Sir Tristram, for yonder ye may see
Sir Palomides beholdeth and hoveth, and doth little
or nought. And sir, ye shall understand that Sir
Tristram weeneth this day to beat us all out of the
field. And as for me, said Sir Launcelot, I shall not
beat him, beat him whoso will. Sir, said Launcelot
unto Arthur, ye may see how Sir Palomides hoveth
yonder, as though he were in a dream; wit ye well
he is full heavy that Tristram doth such deeds of arms
Then is he but a fool, said Arthur, for never was Sir
Palomides, nor never shall be, of such prowess as Sir
Tristram. And if he have any envy at Sir Tristram,
and cometh in with him upon his side he is a false

As the king and Sir Launcelot thus spake, Sir
Tristram rode privily out of the press, that none espied
him but La Beale Isoud and Sir Palomides, for they two
would not let off their eyes upon Sir Tristram. And
when Sir Tristram came to his pavilions he found Sir
Dinadan in his bed asleep. Awake, said Tristram, ye
ought to be ashamed so to sleep when knights have
ado in the field. Then Sir Dinadan arose lightly and
said: What will ye that I shall do? Make you
ready, said Sir Tristram, to ride with me into the field.
So when Sir Dinadan was armed he looked upon Sir
Tristram's helm and on his shield, and when he saw
so many strokes upon his helm and upon his shield he
said: In good time was I thus asleep, for had I been
with you I must needs for shame there have followed
you; more for shame than any prowess that is in me;
that I see well now by those strokes that I should have
been truly beaten as I was yesterday. Leave your japes,
said Sir Tristram, and come off, that [we] were in the
field again. What, said Sir Dinadan, is your heart up?
yesterday ye fared as though ye had dreamed. So then
Sir Tristram was arrayed in black harness. O Jesu,
said Dinadan, what aileth you this day? meseemeth
ye be wilder than ye were yesterday. Then smiled
Sir Tristram and said to Dinadan: Await well upon
me; if ye see me overmatched look that ye be ever
behind me, and I shall make you ready way by God's
grace. So Sir Tristram and Sir Dinadan took their
horses. All this espied Sir Palomides, both their going
and their coming, and so did La Beale Isoud, for she
knew Sir Tristram above all other.


How Sir Palomides changed his shield and his armour for to
hurt Sir Tristram, and how Sir Launcelot did to Sir

THEN when Sir Palomides saw that Sir Tristram was
disguised, then he thought to do him a shame. So Sir
Palomides rode to a knight that was sore wounded, that
sat under a fair well from the field. Sir knight, said
Sir Palomides, I pray you to lend me your armour and
your shield, for mine is over-well known in this field,
and that hath done me great damage; and ye shall
have mine armour and my shield that is as sure as yours.
I will well, said the knight, that ye have mine armour
and my shield, if they may do you any avail. So Sir
Palomides armed him hastily in that knight's armour
and his shield that shone as any crystal or silver, and
so he came riding into the field. And then there was
neither Sir Tristram nor none of King Arthur's party
that knew Sir Palomides. And right so as Sir Palomides
was come into the field Sir Tristram smote down three
knights, even in the sight of Sir Palomides. And then
Sir Palomides rode against Sir Tristram, and either met
other with great spears, that they brast to their hands.
And then they dashed together with swords eagerly.
Then Sir Tristram had marvel what knight he was that
did battle so knightly with him. Then was Sir Tristram
wroth, for he felt him passing strong, so that he deemed
he might not have ado with the remnant of the knights,
because of the strength of Sir Palomides. So they lashed
together and gave many sad strokes together, and many
knights marvelled what knight he might be that so
encountered with the black knight, Sir Tristram. Full
well knew La Beale Isoud that there was Sir Palomides
that fought with Sir Tristram, for she espied all in her
window where that she stood, as Sir Palomides changed
his harness with the wounded knight. And then she
began to weep so heartily for the despite of Sir Palomides
that there she swooned.

Then came in Sir Launcelot with the knights of
Orkney. And when the other party had espied Sir Launcelot,
they cried: Return, return, here cometh Sir Launcelot
du Lake. So there came knights and said: Sir Launcelot, ye
must needs fight with yonder knight in the black harness,
that was Sir Tristram, for he hath almost overcome that
good knight that fighteth with him with the silver shield,
that was Sir Palomides. Then Sir Launcelot rode betwixt
Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides, and Sir Launcelot said to
Palomides: Sir knight, let me have the battle, for ye have
need to be reposed. Sir Palomides knew Sir Launcelot
well, and so did Sir Tristram, but because Sir Launcelot
was far hardier knight than himself therefore he was glad,
and suffered Sir Launcelot to fight with Sir Tristram.
For well wist he that Sir Launcelot knew not Sir Tristram,
and there he hoped that Sir Launcelot should beat or shame
Sir Tristram, whereof Sir Palomides was full fain. And
so Sir Launcelot gave Sir Tristram many sad strokes, but
Sir Launcelot knew not Sir Tristram, but Sir Tristram
knew well Sir Launcelot. And thus they fought long
together, that La Beale Isoud was well-nigh out of her
mind for sorrow.

Then Sir Dinadan told Sir Gareth how that knight in
the black harness was Sir Tristram: And this is Launcelot
that fighteth with him, that must needs have the better of
him, for Sir Tristram hath had too much travail this day.
Then let us smite him down, said Sir Gareth. So it is
better that we do, said Sir Dinadan, than Sir Tristram be
shamed, for yonder hoveth the strong knight with the
silver shield to fall upon Sir Tristram if need be. Then
forthwithal Gareth rushed upon Sir Launcelot, and gave
him a great stroke upon his helm so hard that he was
astonied. And then came Sir Dinadan with a spear, and
he smote Sir Launcelot such a buffet that horse and all
fell to the earth. O Jesu, said Sir Tristram to Sir Gareth
and Sir Dinadan, fie for shame, why did ye smite down so
good a knight as he is, and namely when I had ado with
him? now ye do yourself great shame, and him no disworship;
for I held him reasonable hot, though ye had not
holpen me.

Then came Sir Palomides that was disguised, and smote
down Sir Dinadan from his horse. Then Sir Launcelot,
because Sir Dinadan had smitten him aforehand, then
Sir Launcelot assailed Sir Dinadan passing sore, and Sir
Dinadan defended him mightily. But well understood Sir
Tristram that Sir Dinadan might not endure Sir Launcelot,
wherefore Sir Tristram was sorry. Then came Sir Palomides
fresh upon Sir Tristram. And when Sir Tristram
saw him come, he thought to deliver him at once, because
that he would help Sir Dinadan, because he stood in great
peril with Sir Launcelot. Then Sir Tristram hurtled unto
Sir Palomides and gave him a great buffet, and then Sir
Tristram gat Sir Palomides and pulled him down underneath
him. And so fell Sir Tristram with him; and Sir
Tristram leapt up lightly and left Sir Palomides, and went
betwixt Sir Launcelot and Dinadan, and then they began
to do battle together.

Right so Sir Dinadan gat Sir Tristram's horse, and
said on high that Sir Launcelot might hear it: My lord
Sir Tristram, take your horse. And when Sir Launcelot
heard him name Sir Tristram: O Jesu, said Launcelot,
what have I done? I am dishonoured. Ah, my lord Sir
Tristram, said Launcelot, why were ye disguised? ye have
put yourself in great peril this day; but I pray you noble
knight to pardon me, for an I had known you we had not
done this battle. Sir, said Sir Tristram, this is not the
first kindness ye showed me. So they were both horsed

Then all the people on the one side gave Sir Launcelot
the honour and the degree, and on the other side all the
people gave to the noble knight Sir Tristram the honour
and the degree; but Launcelot said nay thereto: For I am
not worthy to have this honour, for I will report me unto
all knights that Sir Tristram hath been longer in the field
than I, and he hath smitten down many more knights this
day than I have done. And therefore I will give Sir
Tristram my voice and my name, and so I pray all my lords
and fellows so to do. Then there was the whole voice
of dukes and earls, barons and knights, that Sir Tristram
this day is proved the best knight.


How Sir Tristram departed with La Beale Isoud, and how
Palomides followed and excused him.

THEN they blew unto lodging, and Queen Isoud was led
unto her pavilions. But wit you well she was wroth out
of measure with Sir Palomides, for she saw all his treason
from the beginning to the ending. And all this while
neither Sir Tristram, neither Sir Gareth nor Dinadan, knew
not of the treason of Sir Palomides; but afterward ye
shall hear that there befell the greatest debate betwixt Sir
Tristram and Sir Palomides that might be.

So when the tournament was done, Sir Tristram,
Gareth, and Dinadan, rode with La Beale Isoud to these
pavilions. And ever Sir Palomides rode with them in
their company disguised as he was. But when Sir Tristram
had espied him that he was the same knight with the
shield of silver that held him so hot that day: Sir knight,
said Sir Tristram, wit ye well here is none that hath need
of your fellowship, and therefore I pray you depart from
us. Sir Palomides answered again as though he had not
known Sir Tristram: Wit you well, sir knight, from this
fellowship will I never depart, for one of the best knights
of the world commanded me to be in this company, and
till he discharge me of my service I will not be discharged.
By that Sir Tristram knew that it was Sir Palomides. Ah,
Sir Palomides, said the noble knight Sir Tristram, are ye
such a knight? Ye have been named wrong, for ye have
long been called a gentle knight, and as this day ye have
showed me great ungentleness, for ye had almost brought
me unto my death. But, as for you, I suppose I should
have done well enough, but Sir Launcelot with you was
overmuch; for I know no knight living but Sir Launcelot
is over good for him, an he will do his uttermost. Alas,
said Sir Palomides, are ye my lord Sir Tristram? Yea,
sir, and that ye know well enough. By my knighthood,
said Palomides, until now I knew you not; I weened that
ye had been the King of Ireland, for well I wot ye bare his
arms. His arms I bare, said Sir Tristram, and that will I
stand by, for I won them once in a field of a full noble
knight, his name was Sir Marhaus; and with great pain
I won that knight, for there was none other recover, but
Sir Marhaus died through false leeches; and yet was he
never yolden to me. Sir, said Palomides, I weened ye
had been turned upon Sir Launcelot's party, and that
caused me to turn. Ye say well, said Sir Tristram, and
so I take you, and I forgive you.

So then they rode into their pavilions; and when they
were alighted they unarmed them and washed their faces
and hands, and so yode unto meat, and were set at their
table. But when Isoud saw Sir Palomides she changed
then her colours, and for wrath she might not speak.
Anon Sir Tristram espied her countenance and said:
Madam, for what cause make ye us such cheer? we have
been sore travailed this day. Mine own lord, said La
Beale Isoud, for God's sake be ye not displeased with me,
for I may none otherwise do; for I saw this day how ye
were betrayed and nigh brought to your death. Truly,
sir, I saw every deal, how and in what wise, and therefore,
sir, how should I suffer in your presence such a felon and
traitor as Sir Palomides; for I saw him with mine eyes,
how he beheld you when ye went out of the field. For
ever he hoved still upon his horse till he saw you come in
againward. And then forthwithal I saw him ride to the
hurt knight, and changed harness with him, and then
straight I saw him how he rode into the field. And anon
as he had found you he encountered with you, and thus
wilfully Sir Palomides did battle with you; and as for him,
sir, I was not greatly afraid, but I dread sore Launcelot,
that knew you not. Madam, said Palomides, ye may say
whatso ye will, I may not contrary you, but by my knighthood
I knew not Sir Tristram. Sir Palomides, said Sir
Tristram, I will take your excuse, but well I wot ye spared
me but little, but all is pardoned on my part. Then La
Beale Isoud held down her head and said no more at that


How King Arthur and Sir Launcelot came unto their pavilions
as they sat at supper, and of Sir Palomides.

AND therewithal two knights armed came unto the pavilion,
and there they alighted both, and came in armed at all
pieces. Fair knights, said Sir Tristram, ye are to blame to
come thus armed at all pieces upon me while we are at
our meat; if ye would anything when we were in the field
there might ye have eased your hearts. Not so, said the
one of those knights, we come not for that intent, but wit
ye well Sir Tristram, we be come hither as your friends.
And I am come here, said the one, for to see you, and this
knight is come for to see La Beale Isoud. Then said Sir
Tristram: I require you do off your helms that I may see
you. That will we do at your desire, said the knights.
And when their helms were off, Sir Tristram thought that
he should know them.

Then said Sir Dinadan privily unto Sir Tristram: Sir,
that is Sir Launcelot du Lake that spake unto you first,
and the other is my lord King Arthur. Then, said Sir
Tristram unto La Beale Isoud, Madam arise, for here is my
lord, King Arthur. Then the king and the queen kissed,
and Sir Launcelot and Sir Tristram braced either other in
arms, and then there was joy without measure; and at the
request of La Beale Isoud, King Arthur and Launcelot
were unarmed, and then there was merry talking. Madam,
said Sir Arthur, it is many a day sithen that I have desired
to see you, for ye have been praised so far; and now I dare
say ye are the fairest that ever I saw, and Sir Tristram is
as fair and as good a knight as any that I know; therefore
me beseemeth ye are well beset together. Sir, God thank
you, said the noble knight, Sir Tristram, and Isoud; of
your great goodness and largess ye are peerless. Thus
they talked of many things and of all the whole jousts. But
for what cause, said King Arthur, were ye, Sir Tristram,
against us? Ye are a knight of the Table Round; of right
ye should have been with us. Sir, said Sir Tristram, here
is Dinadan, and Sir Gareth your own nephew, caused me to
be against you. My lord Arthur, said Gareth, I may well
bear the blame, but it were Sir Tristram's own deeds.
That may I repent, said Dinadan, for this unhappy Sir
Tristram brought us to this tournament, and many great
buffets he caused us to have. Then the king and Launcelot
laughed that they might not sit.

What knight was that, said Arthur, that held you so
short, this with the shield of silver? Sir, said Sir
Tristram, here he sitteth at this board. What, said Arthur,
was it Sir Palomides? Wit ye well it was he, said La
Beale Isoud. So God me help, said Arthur, that was
unknightly done of you of so good a knight, for I have
heard many people call you a courteous knight. Sir, said
Palomides, I knew not Sir Tristram, for he was so disguised.
So God me help, said Launcelot, it may well be, for I knew
not Sir Tristram; but I marvel why ye turned on our
party. That was done for the same cause, said Launcelot.
As for that, said Sir Tristram, I have pardoned him, and
I would be right loath to leave his fellowship, for I love
right well his company: so they left off and talked of
other things.

And in the evening King Arthur and Sir Launcelot
departed unto their lodging; but wit ye well Sir Palomides
had envy heartily, for all that night he had never rest in
his bed, but wailed and wept out of measure. So on the
morn Sir Tristram, Gareth, and Dinadan arose early, and
then they went unto Sir Palomides' chamber, and there
they found him fast asleep, for he had all night watched,
and it was seen upon his cheeks that he had wept full sore.
Say nothing, said Sir Tristram, for I am sure he hath taken
anger and sorrow for the rebuke that I gave to him, and
La Beale Isoud.


How Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides did the next day, and
how King Arthur was unhorsed.

THEN Sir Tristram let call Sir Palomides, and bade him
make him ready, for it was time to go to the field. When
they were ready they were armed, and clothed all in red,
both Isoud and all they; and so they led her passing
freshly through the field, into the priory where was her
lodging. And then they heard three blasts blow, and every
king and knight dressed him unto the field. And the first
that was ready to joust was Sir Palomides and Sir Kainus
le Strange, a knight of the Table Round. And so they
two encountered together, but Sir Palomides smote Sir
Kainus so hard that he smote him quite over his horse's
croup. And forthwithal Sir Palomides smote down another
knight, and brake then his spear, and pulled out his sword
and did wonderly well. And then the noise began greatly
upon Sir Palomides. Lo, said King Arthur, yonder
Palomides beginneth to play his pageant. So God me
help, said Arthur, he is a passing good knight. And
right as they stood talking thus, in came Sir Tristram as
thunder, and he encountered with Sir Kay the Seneschal,
and there he smote him down quite from his horse; and
with that same spear Sir Tristram smote down three knights
more, and then he pulled out his sword and did marvellously.
Then the noise and cry changed from Sir Palomides and
turned to Sir Tristram, and all the people cried: O
Tristram, O Tristram. And then was Sir Palomides clean

How now, said Launcelot unto Arthur, yonder rideth
a knight that playeth his pageants. So God me help, said
Arthur to Launcelot, ye shall see this day that yonder two
knights shall here do this day wonders. Sir, said Launcelot,
the one knight waiteth upon the other, and enforceth
himself through envy to pass the noble knight Sir Tristram,
and he knoweth not of the privy envy the which Sir
Palomides hath to him; for all that the noble Sir Tristram
doth is through clean knighthood. And then Sir Gareth
and Dinadan did wonderly great deeds of arms, as two
noble knights, so that King Arthur spake of them great
honour and worship; and the kings and knights of Sir
Tristram's side did passingly well, and held them truly
together. Then Sir Arthur and Sir Launcelot took their
horses and dressed them, and gat into the thickest of the
press. And there Sir Tristram unknowing smote down
King Arthur, and then Sir Launcelot would have rescued
him, but there were so many upon Sir Launcelot that they
pulled him down from his horse. And then the King of
Ireland and the King of Scots with their knights did their
pain to take King Arthur and Sir Launcelot prisoner.
When Sir Launcelot heard them say so, he fared as it had
been an hungry lion, for he fared so that no knight durst
nigh him.

Then came Sir Ector de Maris, and he bare a spear
against Sir Palomides, and brast it upon him all to shivers.
And then Sir Ector came again and gave Sir Palomides
such a dash with a sword that he stooped down upon his
saddle bow. And forthwithal Sir Ector pulled down Sir
Palomides under his feet; and then Sir Ector de Maris
gat Sir Launcelot du Lake an horse, and brought it to him,
and bade him mount upon him; but Sir Palomides leapt
afore and gat the horse by the bridle, and leapt into the
saddle. So God me help, said Launcelot, ye are better
worthy to have that horse than I. Then Sir Ector brought
Sir Launcelot another horse. Gramercy, said Launcelot
unto his brother. And so when he was horsed again, with
one spear he smote down four knights. And then Sir
Launcelot brought to King Arthur one of the best of the
four horses. Then Sir Launcelot with King Arthur and
a few of his knights of Sir Launcelot's kin did marvellous
deeds; for that time, as the book recordeth, Sir Launcelot
smote down and pulled down thirty knights. Notwithstanding
the other party held them so fast together that
King Arthur and his knights were overmatched. And
when Sir Tristram saw that, what labour King Arthur
and his knights, and in especial the noble deeds that Sir
Launcelot did with his own hands, he marvelled greatly.


How Sir Tristram turned to King Arthur's side, and how
Palomides would not.

THEN Sir Tristram called unto him Sir Palomides, Sir
Gareth, and Sir Dinadan, and said thus to them: My fair
fellows, wit ye well that I will turn unto King Arthur's
party, for I saw never so few men do so well, and it will
be shame unto us knights that be of the Round Table
to see our lord King Arthur, and that noble knight Sir
Launcelot, to be dishonoured. It will be well done, said
Sir Gareth and Sir Dinadan. Do your best, said Palomides,
for I will not change my party that I came in withal.
That is for my sake, said Sir Tristram; God speed you in
your journey. And so departed Sir Palomides from them.
Then Sir Tristram, Gareth, and Dinadan, turned with Sir
Launcelot. And then Sir Launcelot smote down the King
of Ireland quite from his horse; and so Sir Launcelot
smote down the King of Scots, and the King of Wales;
and then Sir Arthur ran unto Sir Palomides and smote him
quite from his horse; and then Sir Tristram bare down
all that he met. Sir Gareth and Sir Dinadan did there as
noble knights; then all the parties began to flee. Alas, said
Palomides, that ever I should see this day, for now have
I lost all the worship that I won; and then Sir Palomides
went his way wailing, and so withdrew him till he came
to a well, and there he put his horse from him, and did off
his armour, and wailed and wept like as he had been a wood
man. Then many knights gave the prize to Sir Tristram,
and there were many that gave the prize unto Sir Launcelot.
Fair lords, said Sir Tristram, I thank you of the
honour ye would give me, but I pray you heartily that ye
would give your voice to Sir Launcelot, for by my faith
said Sir Tristram, I will give Sir Launcelot my voice. But
Sir Launcelot would not have it, and so the prize was
given betwixt them both.

Then every man rode to his lodging, and Sir Bleoberis
and Sir Ector rode with Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud
unto their pavilions. Then as Sir Palomides was at the
well wailing and weeping, there came by him flying the
kings of Wales and of Scotland, and they saw Sir Palomides
in that arage. Alas, said they, that so noble a man as ye
be should be in this array. And then those kings gat
Sir Palomides' horse again, and made him to arm him
and mount upon his horse, and so he rode with them,
making great dole. So when Sir Palomides came nigh the
pavilions thereas Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud was in,
then Sir Palomides prayed the two kings to abide him
there the while that he spake with Sir Tristram. And
when he came to the port of the pavilions, Sir Palomides
said on high: Where art thou, Sir Tristram de Liones?
Sir, said Dinadan, that is Palomides. What, Sir Palomides,
will ye not come in here among us? Fie on thee
traitor, said Palomides, for wit you well an it were
daylight as it is night I should slay thee, mine own hands.
And if ever I may get thee, said Palomides, thou shalt
die for this day's deed. Sir Palomides, said Sir Tristram,
ye wite me with wrong, for had ye done as I did ye had
won worship. But sithen ye give me so large warning
I shall be well ware of you. Fie on thee, traitor, said
Palomides, and therewith departed.

Then on the morn Sir Tristram, Bleoberis, and Sir
Ector de Maris, Sir Gareth, Sir Dinadan, what by water
and what by land, they brought La Beale Isoud unto
Joyous Gard, and there reposed them a seven night, and
made all the mirths and disports that they could devise.
And King Arthur and his knights drew unto Camelot,
and Sir Palomides rode with the two kings; and ever
he made the greatest dole that any man could think, for
he was not all only so dolorous for the departing from La
Beale Isoud, but he was a part as sorrowful to depart
from the fellowship of Sir Tristram; for Sir Tristram was
so kind and so gentle that when Sir Palomides remembered
him thereof he might never be merry.


How Sir Bleoberis and Sir Ector reported to Queen Guenever
of the beauty of La Beale Isoud.

SO at the seven nights' end Sir Bleoberis and Sir Ector
departed from Sir Tristram and from the queen; and
these two good knights had great gifts; and Sir Gareth
and Sir Dinadan abode with Sir Tristram. And when
Sir Bleoberis and Sir Ector were come there as the Queen
Guenever was lodged, in a castle by the seaside, and
through the grace of God the queen was recovered of
her malady, then she asked the two knights from whence
they came. They said that they came from Sir Tristram
and from La Beale Isoud. How doth Sir Tristram, said
the queen, and La Beale Isoud? Truly, said those two
knights, he doth as a noble knight should do; and as
for the Queen Isoud, she is peerless of all ladies; for to
speak of her beauty, bount, and mirth, and of her
goodness, we saw never her match as far as we have ridden
and gone. O mercy Jesu, said Queen Guenever, so
saith all the people that have seen her and spoken with
her. God would that I had part of her conditions; and it
is misfortuned me of my sickness while that tournament
endured. And as I suppose I shall never see in all my
life such an assembly of knights and ladies as ye have

Then the knights told her how Palomides won the
degree at the first day with great noblesse; and the
second day Sir Tristram won the degree; and the third
day Sir Launcelot won the degree. Well, said Queen
Guenever, who did best all these three days? So God
me help, said these knights, Sir Launcelot and Sir Tristram
had least dishonour. And wit ye well Sir Palomides
did passing well and mightily; but he turned against
the party that he came in withal, and that caused him to
lose a great part of his worship, for it seemed that Sir
Palomides is passing envious. Then shall he never win
worship, said Queen Guenever, for an it happeth an
envious man once to win worship he shall be dishonoured
twice therefore; and for this cause all men of worship
hate an envious man, and will shew him no favour, and
he that is courteous, and kind, and gentle, hath favour
in every place.


How Epinogris complained by a well, and how Sir Palomides
came and found him, and of their both sorrowing.

NOW leave we of this matter and speak we of Sir
Palomides, that rode and lodged him with the two kings,
whereof the kings were heavy. Then the King of Ireland
sent a man of his to Sir Palomides, and gave him a great
courser, and the King of Scotland gave him great gifts;
and fain they would have had Sir Palomides to have
abiden with them, but in no wise he would abide; and
so he departed, and rode as adventures would guide him,
till it was nigh noon. And then in a forest by a well
Sir Palomides saw where lay a fair wounded knight and
his horse bounden by him; and that knight made the
greatest dole that ever he heard man make, for ever he
wept, and therewith he sighed as though he would die.
Then Sir Palomides rode near him and saluted him mildly
and said: Fair knight, why wail ye so? let me lie down
and wail with you, for doubt not I am much more
heavier than ye are; for I dare say, said Palomides, that
my sorrow is an hundred fold more than yours is, and
therefore let us complain either to other. First, said
the wounded knight, I require you tell me your name,
for an thou be none of the noble knights of the Round
Table thou shalt never know my name, whatsomever
come of me. Fair knight, said Palomides, such as I am,
be it better or be it worse, wit thou well that my name is
Sir Palomides, son and heir unto King Astlabor, and Sir
Safere and Sir Segwarides are my two brethren; and wit
thou well as for myself I was never christened, but my
two brethren are truly christened. O noble knight, said
that knight, well is me that I have met with you; and
wit ye well my name is Epinogris, the king's son of
Northumberland. Now sit down, said Epinogris, and
let us either complain to other.

Then Sir Palomides began his complaint. Now shall
I tell you, said Palomides, what woe I endure. I love
the fairest queen and lady that ever bare life, and wit ye
well her name is La Beale Isoud, King Mark's wife of
Cornwall. That is great folly, said Epinogris, for to
love Queen Isoud, for one of the best knights of the
world loveth her, that is Sir Tristram de Liones. That
is truth, said Palomides, for no man knoweth that matter
better than I do, for I have been in Sir Tristram's
fellowship this month, and with La Beale Isoud together;
and alas, said Palomides, unhappy man that I am, now
have I lost the fellowship of Sir Tristram for ever, and
the love of La Beale Isoud for ever, and I am never like
to see her more, and Sir Tristram and I be either to
other mortal enemies. Well, said Epinogris, sith that
ye loved La Beale Isoud, loved she you ever again by
anything that ye could think or wit, or else did ye rejoice
her ever in any pleasure? Nay, by my knighthood, said
Palomides, I never espied that ever she loved me more
than all the world, nor never had I pleasure with her,
but the last day she gave me the greatest rebuke that
ever I had, the which shall never go from my heart.
And yet I well deserved that rebuke, for I did not
knightly, and therefore I have lost the love of her and
of Sir Tristram for ever; and I have many times enforced
myself to do many deeds for La Beale Isoud's sake, and
she was the causer of my worship-winning. Alas, said
Sir Palomides, now have I lost all the worship that ever I
won, for never shall me befall such prowess as I had in
the fellowship of Sir Tristram.


How Sir Palomides brought Sir Epinogris his lady; and
how Sir Palomides and Sir Safere were assailed.

NAY, nay, said Epinogris, your sorrow is but japes to my
sorrow; for I rejoiced my lady and won her with my
hands, and lost her again: alas that day! Thus first I
won her, said Epinogris; my lady was an earl's daughter,
and as the earl and two knights came from the tournament
of Lonazep, for her sake I set upon this earl and
on his two knights, my lady there being present; and so
by fortune there I slew the earl and one of the knights,
and the other knight fled, and so that night I had my
lady. And on the morn as she and I reposed us at this
well-side there came there to me an errant knight, his name
was Sir Helior le Preuse, an hardy knight, and this Sir
Helior challenged me to fight for my lady. And then
we went to battle first upon horse and after on foot, but
at the last Sir Helior wounded me so that he left me for
dead, and so he took my lady with him; and thus my
sorrow is more than yours, for I have rejoiced and ye
rejoiced never. That is truth, said Palomides, but sith
I can never recover myself I shall promise you if I can
meet with Sir Helior I shall get you your lady again, or
else he shall beat me.

Then Sir Palomides made Sir Epinogris to take his
horse, and so they rode to an hermitage, and there Sir
Epinogris rested him. And in the meanwhile Sir Palomides
walked privily out to rest him under the leaves, and
there beside he saw a knight come riding with a shield
that he had seen Sir Ector de Maris bear beforehand; and
there came after him a ten knights, and so these ten
knights hoved under the leaves for heat. And anon after
there came a knight with a green shield and therein a
white lion, leading a lady upon a palfrey. Then this
knight with the green shield that seemed to be master of
the ten knights, he rode fiercely after Sir Helior, for it was
he that hurt Sir Epinogris. And when he came nigh Sir
Helior he bade him defend his lady. I will defend her,
said Helior, unto my power. And so they ran together
so mightily that either of these knights smote other down,
horse and all, to the earth; and then they won up lightly
and drew their swords and their shields, and lashed
together mightily more than an hour. All this Sir Palomides
saw and beheld, but ever at the last the knight with
Sir Ector's shield was bigger, and at the last this knight
smote Sir Helior down, and then that knight unlaced his
helm to have stricken off his head. And then he cried
mercy, and prayed him to save his life, and bade him take
his lady. Then Sir Palomides dressed him up, because he
wist well that that same lady was Epinogris' lady, and he
promised him to help him.

Then Sir Palomides went straight to that lady, and
took her by the hand, and asked her whether she knew a
knight that hight Epinogris. Alas, she said, that ever he
knew me or I him, for I have for his sake lost my
worship, and also his life grieveth me most of all. Not
so, lady, said Palomides, come on with me, for here is
Epinogris in this hermitage. Ah! well is me, said the
lady, an he be alive. Whither wilt thou with that lady?
said the knight with Sir Ector's shield. I will do with
her what me list, said Palomides. Wit you well, said that
knight, thou speakest over large, though thou seemest me
to have at advantage, because thou sawest me do battle
but late. Thou weenest, sir knight, to have that lady
away from me so lightly? nay, think it never not; an
thou were as good a knight as is Sir Launcelot, or as is
Sir Tristram, or Sir Palomides, but thou shalt win her
dearer than ever did I. And so they went unto battle
upon foot, and there they gave many sad strokes, and
either wounded other passing sore, and thus they fought
still more than an hour.

Then Sir Palomides had marvel what knight he might
be that was so strong and so well breathed during, and
thus said Palomides: Knight, I require thee tell me thy
name. Wit thou well, said that knight, I dare tell thee
my name, so that thou wilt tell me thy name. I will, said
Palomides. Truly, said that knight, my name is Safere,
son of King Astlabor, and Sir Palomides and Sir Segwarides
are my brethren. Now, and wit thou well, my name is
Sir Palomides. Then Sir Safere kneeled down upon his
knees, and prayed him of mercy; and then they unlaced
their helms and either kissed other weeping. And in the
meanwhile Sir Epinogris arose out of his bed, and heard
them by the strokes, and so he armed him to help Sir
Palomides if need were.


How Sir Palomides and Sir Safere conducted Sir Epinogris
to his castle, and of other adventures.

THEN Sir Palomides took the lady by the hand and
brought her to Sir Epinogris, and there was great joy
betwixt them, for either swooned for joy. When they
were met: Fair knight and lady, said Sir Safere, it were
pity to depart you; Jesu send you joy either of other.
Gramercy, gentle knight, said Epinogris; and much more
thanks be to my lord Sir Palomides, that thus hath
through his prowess made me to get my lady. Then Sir
Epinogris required Sir Palomides and Sir Safere, his
brother, to ride with them unto his castle, for the safeguard
of his person. Sir, said Palomides, we will be ready to
conduct you because that ye are sore wounded; and so
was Epinogris and his lady horsed, and his lady behind
him upon a soft ambler. And then they rode unto his
castle, where they had great cheer and joy, as great as ever
Sir Palomides and Sir Safere had in their life-days.

So on the morn Sir Safere and Sir Palomides departed,
day until after noon. And at the last they heard a great
weeping and a great noise down in a manor. Sir, said
then Sir Safere, let us wit what noise this is. I will well,
said Sir Palomides. And so they rode forth till that they
came to a fair gate of a manor, and there sat an old man
saying his prayers and beads. Then Sir Palomides and
Sir Safere alighted and left their horses, and went within
the gates, and there they saw full many goodly men
weeping. Fair sirs, said Palomides, wherefore weep ye and
make this sorrow? Anon one of the knights of the castle
beheld Sir Palomides and knew him, and then went to his
fellows and said: Fair fellows, wit ye well all, we have in
this castle the same knight that slew our lord at Lonazep,
for I know him well; it is Sir Palomides. Then they
went unto harness, all that might bear harness, some on
horseback and some on foot, to the number of three score.
And when they were ready they came freshly upon Sir
Palomides and upon Sir Safere with a great noise, and said
thus: Keep thee, Sir Palomides, for thou art known, and
by right thou must be dead, for thou hast slain our lord;
and therefore wit ye well we will slay thee, therefore
defend thee.

Then Sir Palomides and Sir Safere, the one set his back
to the other, and gave many great strokes, and took many
great strokes; and thus they fought with a twenty knights
and forty gentlemen and yeomen nigh two hours. But
at the last though they were loath, Sir Palomides and Sir
Safere were taken and yolden, and put in a strong prison;
and within three days twelve knights passed upon them,
and they found Sir Palomides guilty, and Sir Safere not
guilty, of their lord's death. And when Sir Safere should
be delivered there was great dole betwixt Sir Palomides
and him, and many piteous complaints that Sir Safere
made at his departing, there is no maker can rehearse the
tenth part. Fair brother, said Palomides, let be thy dolour
and thy sorrow. And if I be ordained to die a shameful
death, welcome be it; but an I had wist of this death that
I am deemed unto, I should never have been yolden. So
Sir Safere departed from his brother with the greatest
dolour and sorrow that ever made knight.

And on the morn they of the castle ordained twelve
knights to ride with Sir Palomides unto the father of the
same knight that Sir Palomides slew; and so they bound
his legs under an old steed's belly. And then they rode
with Sir Palomides unto a castle by the seaside, that hight
Pelownes, and there Sir Palomides should have justice.
Thus was their ordinance; and so they rode with Sir
Palomides fast by the castle of Joyous Gard. And as
they passed by that castle there came riding out of that
castle by them one that knew Sir Palomides. And when
that knight saw Sir Palomides bounden upon a crooked
courser, the knight asked Sir Palomides for what cause he
was led so. Ah, my fair fellow and knight, said Palomides,
I ride toward my death for the slaying of a knight at a
tournament of Lonazep; and if I had not departed from
my lord Sir Tristram, as I ought not to have done, now
might I have been sure to have had my life saved; but I
pray you, sir knight, recommend me unto my lord, Sir
Tristram, and unto my lady, Queen Isoud, and say to
them if ever I trespassed to them I ask them forgiveness.
And also I beseech you recommend me unto my lord,
King Arthur, and to all the fellowship of the Round
Table, unto my power. Then that knight wept for pity
of Sir Palomides; and therewithal he rode unto Joyous
Gard as fast as his horse might run, and lightly that
knight descended down off his horse and went unto Sir
Tristram, and there he told him all as ye have heard, and
ever the knight wept as he had been mad.


How Sir Tristram made him ready to rescue Sir Palomides,
but Sir Launcelot rescued him or he came.

WHEN Sir Tristram heard how Sir Palomides went to his
death, he was heavy to hear that, and said: Howbeit that
I am wroth with Sir Palomides, yet will not I suffer him to
die so shameful a death, for he is a full noble knight. And
then anon Sir Tristram was armed and took his horse and
two squires with him, and rode a great pace toward the
castle of Pelownes where Sir Palomides was judged to death.
And these twelve knights that led Sir Palomides passed by
a well whereas Sir Launcelot was, which was alighted there,
and had tied his horse to a tree, and taken off his helm
to drink of that well; and when he saw these knights, Sir
Launcelot put on his helm and suffered them to pass by
him. And then was he ware of Sir Palomides bounden,
and led shamefully to his death. O Jesu, said Launcelot,
what misadventure is befallen him that he is thus led
toward his death? Forsooth, said Launcelot, it were shame
to me to suffer this noble knight so to die an I might help
him, therefore I will help him whatsomever come of it,
or else I shall die for Sir Palomides' sake. And then Sir
Launcelot mounted upon his horse, and gat his spear in
his hand, and rode after the twelve knights that led Sir
Palomides. Fair knights, said Sir Launcelot, whither lead
ye that knight? it beseemeth him full ill to ride bounden.
Then these twelve knights suddenly turned their horses
and said to Sir Launcelot: Sir knight, we counsel thee not
to meddle with this knight, for he hath deserved death, and
unto death he is judged. That me repenteth, said Launcelot,
that I may not borrow him with fairness, for he is over
good a knight to die such a shameful death. And therefore,
fair knights, said Sir Launcelot, keep you as well as
ye can, for I will rescue that knight or die for it.

Then they began to dress their spears, and Sir Launcelot
smote the foremost down, horse and man, and so he served
three more with one spear; and then that spear brast, and
therewithal Sir Launcelot drew his sword, and then he
smote on the right hand and on the left hand. Then
within a while he left none of those twelve knights, but he
had laid them to the earth, and the most part of them
were sore wounded. And then Sir Launcelot took the
best horse that he found, and loosed Sir Palomides and set
him upon that horse; and so they returned again unto
Joyous Gard, and then was Sir Palomides ware of Sir
Tristram how he came riding. And when Sir Launcelot
saw him he knew him well, but Sir Tristram knew him not
because Sir Launcelot had on his shoulder a golden shield.
So Sir Launcelot made him ready to joust with Sir Tristram,
that Sir Tristram should not ween that he were Sir
Launcelot. Then Sir Palomides cried aloud to Sir Tristram:
O my lord, I require you joust not with this knight, for
this good knight hath saved me from my death. When
Sir Tristram heard him say so he came a soft trotting pace
toward them. And then Sir Palomides said: My lord,
Sir Tristram, much am I beholding unto you of your great
goodness, that would proffer your noble body to rescue me
undeserved, for I have greatly offended you. Notwithstanding,
said Sir Palomides, here met we with this noble
knight that worshipfully and manly rescued me from twelve
knights, and smote them down all and wounded them sore.


How Sir Tristram and Launcelot, with Palomides, came to
joyous Gard; and of Palomides and Sir Tristram.

FAIR knight, said Sir Tristram unto Sir Launcelot, of
whence be ye? I am a knight errant, said Sir Launcelot,
that rideth to seek many adventures. What is your name?
said Sir Tristram. Sir, at this time I will not tell you.
Then Sir Launcelot said unto Sir Tristram and to Palomides:
Now either of you are met together I will depart
from you. Not so, said Sir Tristram; I pray you of
knighthood to ride with me unto my castle. Wit you
well, said Sir Launcelot, I may not ride with you, for I
have many deeds to do in other places, that at this time
I may not abide with you. Ah, mercy Jesu, said Sir
Tristram, I require you as ye be a true knight to the order
of knighthood, play you with me this night. Then Sir
Tristram had a grant of Sir Launcelot: howbeit though
he had not desired him he would have ridden with them,
outher soon have come after them; for Sir Launcelot came
for none other cause into that country but for to see Sir
Tristram. And when they were come within Joyous
Gard they alighted, and their horses were led into a stable;
and then they unarmed them. And when Sir Launcelot
was unhelmed, Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides knew him.
Then Sir Tristram took Sir Launcelot in arms, and so did
La Beale Isoud; and Palomides kneeled down upon his
knees and thanked Sir Launcelot. When Sir Launcelot
saw Sir Palomides kneel he lightly took him up and said
thus: Wit thou well, Sir Palomides, I and any knight in
this land, of worship ought of very right succour and
rescue so noble a knight as ye are proved and renowned,
throughout all this realm endlong and overthwart. And
then was there joy among them, and the oftener that
Sir Palomides saw La Beale Isoud the heavier he waxed
day by day.

Then Sir Launcelot within three or four days departed,
and with him rode Sir Ector de Maris; and Dinadan and
Sir Palomides were there left with Sir Tristram a two
months and more. But ever Sir Palomides faded and
mourned, that all men had marvel wherefore he faded so
away. So upon a day, in the dawning, Sir Palomides went
into the forest by himself alone; and there he found a
well, and then he looked into the well, and in the water he
saw his own visage, how he was disturbed and defaded,
nothing like that he was. What may this mean? said Sir
Palomides, and thus he said to himself: Ah, Palomides,
Palomides, why art thou defaded, thou that was wont to be
called one of the fairest knights of the world? I will no
more lead this life, for I love that I may never get nor
recover. And therewithal he laid him down by the well.
And then he began to make a rhyme of La Beale Isoud
and him.

And in the meanwhile Sir Tristram was that same day
ridden into the forest to chase the hart of greese; but Sir
Tristram would not ride a-hunting never more unarmed,
because of Sir Breuse Saunce Pit. And so as Sir Tristram
rode into that forest up and down, he heard one sing
marvellously loud, and that was Sir Palomides that lay by
the well. And then Sir Tristram rode softly thither, for
he deemed there was some knight errant that was at the
well. And when Sir Tristram came nigh him he descended
down from his horse and tied his horse fast till a tree, and
then he came near him on foot; and anon he was ware
where lay Sir Palomides by the well and sang loud and
merrily; and ever the complaints were of that noble
queen, La Beale Isoud, the which was marvellously and
wonderfully well said, and full dolefully and piteously
made. And all the whole song the noble knight, Sir
Tristram, heard from the beginning to the ending, the
which grieved and troubled him sore.

But then at the last, when Sir Tristram had heard all
Sir Palomides' complaints, he was wroth out of measure,
and thought for to slay him thereas he lay. Then Sir
Tristram remembered himself that Sir Palomides was
unarmed, and of the noble name that Sir Palomides had,
and the noble name that himself had, and then he made a
restraint of his anger; and so he went unto Sir Palomides
a soft pace and said: Sir Palomides, I have heard your
complaint, and of thy treason that thou hast owed me
so long, and wit thou well therefore thou shalt die; and
if it were not for shame of knighthood thou shouldest
not escape my hands, for now I know well thou hast
awaited me with treason. Tell me, said Sir Tristram,
how thou wilt acquit thee? Sir, said Palomides, thus I
will acquit me: as for Queen La Beale Isoud, ye shall wit
well that I love her above all other ladies in this world;
and well I wot it shall befall me as for her love as befell
to the noble knight Sir Kehydius, that died for the love
of La Beale Isoud. And now, Sir Tristram, I will that
ye wit that I have loved La Beale Isoud many a day, and
she hath been the causer of my worship, and else I had
been the most simplest knight in the world. For by her,
and because of her, I have won the worship that I have;
for when I remembered me of La Beale Isoud I won the
worship wheresomever I came for the most part; and yet
had I never reward nor bount of her the days of my life,
and yet have I been her knight guerdonless. And therefore,
Sir Tristram, as for any death I dread not, for I had
as lief die as to live. And if I were armed as thou art, I
should lightly do battle with thee. Well have ye uttered
your treason, said Tristram. I have done to you no
treason, said Palomides, for love is free for all men, and
though I have loved your lady, she is my lady as well as
yours; howbeit I have wrong if any wrong be, for ye
rejoice her, and have your desire of her, and so had I
never nor never am like to have, and yet shall I love her
to the uttermost days of my life as well as ye.


How there was a day set between Sir Tristram and Sir
Palomides for to fight, and how Sir Tristram was hurt.

THEN said Sir Tristram: I will fight with you to the
uttermost. I grant, said Palomides, for in a better
quarrel keep I never to fight, for an I die of your hands,
of a better knight's hands may I not be slain. And sithen
I understand that I shall never rejoice La Beale Isoud, I
have as good will to die as to live. Then set ye a day,
said Sir Tristram, that we shall do battle. This day
fifteen days, said Palomides, will I meet with you hereby,
in the meadow under Joyous Gard. Fie for shame, said
Sir Tristram, will ye set so long day? let us fight
to-morn. Not so, said Palomides, for I am meagre, and
have been long sick for the love of La Beale Isoud, and
therefore I will repose me till I have my strength again.
So then Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides promised faith
fully to meet at the well that day fifteen days. I am
remembered, said Sir Tristram to Palomides, that ye
brake me once a promise when that I rescued you from
Breuse Saunce Pit and nine knights; and then ye
promised me to meet me at the peron and the grave
beside Camelot, whereas at that time ye failed of your
promise. Wit you well, said Palomides unto Sir Tristram,
I was at that day in prison, so that I might not hold my
promise. So God me help, said Sir Tristram, an ye
had holden your promise this work had not been here
now at this time.

Right so departed Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides.
And so Sir Palomides took his horse and his harness, and
he rode unto King Arthur's court; and there Sir Palomides
gat him four knights and four sergeants-of-arms,
and so he returned againward unto Joyous Gard. And
in the meanwhile Sir Tristram chased and hunted at all
manner of venery; and about three days afore the battle
should be, as Sir Tristram chased an hart, there was an
archer shot at the hart, and by misfortune he smote Sir
Tristram in the thick of the thigh, and the arrow slew
Sir Tristram's horse and hurt him. When Sir Tristram
was so hurt he was passing heavy, and wit ye well he bled
sore; and then he took another horse, and rode unto
Joyous Gard with great heaviness, more for the promise
that he had made with Sir Palomides, as to do battle with
him within three days after, than for any hurt of his thigh.
Wherefore there was neither man nor woman that could
cheer him with anything that they could make to him,
neither Queen La Beale Isoud; for ever he deemed that
Sir Palomides had smitten him so that he should not be
able to do battle with him at the day set.


How Sir Palomides kept his day to have foughten, but Sir
Tristram might not come; and other things.

BUT in no wise there was no knight about Sir Tristram
that would believe that ever Sir Palomides would hurt Sir
Tristram, neither by his own hands nor by none other
consenting. Then when the fifteenth day was come, Sir
Palomides came to the well with four knights with him
of Arthur's court, and three sergeants-of-arms. And for
this intent Sir Palomides brought the knights with him
and the sergeants-of-arms, for they should bear record of
the battle betwixt Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides. And
the one sergeant brought in his helm, the other his spear,
the third his sword. So thus Palomides came into the
field, and there he abode nigh two hours; and then he
sent a squire unto Sir Tristram, and desired him to come
into the field to hold his promise.

When the squire was come to Joyous Gard, anon as
Sir Tristram heard of his coming he let command that the
squire should come to his presence thereas he lay in his
bed. My lord Sir Tristram, said Palomides' squire, wit
you well my lord, Palomides, abideth you in the field,
and he would wit whether ye would do battle or not.
Ah, my fair brother, said Sir Tristram, wit thou well that
I am right heavy for these tidings; therefore tell Sir
Palomides an I were well at ease I would not lie here, nor
he should have no need to send for me an I might either
ride or go; and for thou shalt say that I am no liar--Sir
Tristram showed him his thigh that the wound was six
inches deep. And now thou hast seen my hurt, tell thy
lord that this is no feigned matter, and tell him that I had
liefer than all the gold of King Arthur that I were whole;
and tell Palomides as soon as I am whole I shall seek him
endlong and overthwart, and that I promise you as I am true
knight; and if ever I may meet with him, he shall have
battle of me his fill. And with this the squire departed;
and when Palomides wist that Tristram was hurt he was
glad and said: Now I am sure I shall have no shame, for
I wot well I should have had hard handling of him, and
by likely I must needs have had the worse, for he is the
hardest knight in battle that now is living except Sir

And then departed Sir Palomides whereas fortune led
him, and within a month Sir Tristram was whole of his
hurt. And then he took his horse, and rode from
country to country, and all strange adventures he achieved
wheresomever he rode; and always he enquired for Sir
Palomides, but of all that quarter of summer Sir Tristram
could never meet with Sir Palomides. But thus as Sir
Tristram sought and enquired after Sir Palomides Sir
Tristram achieved many great battles, wherethrough all
the noise fell to Sir Tristram, and it ceased of Sir
Launcelot; and therefore Sir Launcelot's brethren and his
kinsmen would have slain Sir Tristram because of his
fame. But when Sir Launcelot wist how his kinsmen
were set, he said to them openly: Wit you well, that an
the envy of you all be so hardy to wait upon my lord, Sir
Tristram, with any hurt, shame, or villainy, as I am true
knight I shall slay the best of you with mine own hands
Alas, fie for shame, should ye for his noble deeds await
upon him to slay him. Jesu defend, said Launcelot, that
ever any noble knight as Sir Tristram is should be
destroyed with treason. Of this noise and fame sprang
into Cornwall, and among them of Liones, whereof they
were passing glad, and made great joy. And then they
of Liones sent letters unto Sir Tristram of recommendation,
and many great gifts to maintain Sir Tristram's estate;
and ever, between, Sir Tristram resorted unto Joyous Gard
whereas La Beale Isoud was, that loved him as her life.

And here followeth the eleventh book which is of
Sir Launcelot.>



How Sir Launcelot rode on his adventure, and how he holp
a dolorous lady from her pain, and how that he fought
with a dragon.

NOW leave we Sir Tristram de Liones, and speak we of
Sir Launcelot du Lake, and of Sir Galahad, Sir Launcelot's
son, how he was gotten, and in what manner, as the book
of French rehearseth. Afore the time that Sir Galahad
was gotten or born, there came in an hermit unto King
Arthur upon Whitsunday, as the knights sat at the Table
Round. And when the hermit saw the Siege Perilous, he
asked the king and all the knights why that siege was
void. Sir Arthur and all the knights answered: There
shall never none sit in that siege but one, but if he be
destroyed. Then said the hermit: Wot ye what is he?
Nay, said Arthur and all the knights, we wot not who is
he that shall sit therein. Then wot I, said the hermit,
for he that shall sit there is unborn and ungotten, and
this same year he shall be gotten that shall sit there in
that Siege Perilous, and he shall win the Sangreal. When
this hermit had made this mention he departed from the
court of King Arthur.

And then after this feast Sir Launcelot rode on his
adventure, till on a time by adventure he passed over the
pont of Corbin; and there he saw the fairest tower that ever
he saw, and there-under was a fair town full of people; and
all the people, men and women, cried at once: Welcome,
Sir Launcelot du Lake, the flower of all knighthood,
for by thee all we shall be holpen out of danger. What
mean ye, said Sir Launcelot, that ye cry so upon me?
Ah, fair knight, said they all, here is within this tower a
dolorous lady that hath been there in pains many winters
and days, for ever she boileth in scalding water; and but
late, said all the people, Sir Gawaine was here and he
might not help her, and so he left her in pain. So may
I, said Sir Launcelot, leave her in pain as well as Sir
Gawaine did. Nay, said the people, we know well that
it is Sir Launcelot that shall deliver her. Well, said
Launcelot, then shew me what I shall do.

Then they brought Sir Launcelot into the tower; and
when he came to the chamber thereas this lady was, the
doors of iron unlocked and unbolted. And so Sir Launcelot
went into the chamber that was as hot as any stew.
And there Sir Launcelot took the fairest lady by the hand
that ever he saw, and she was naked as a needle; and by
enchantment Queen Morgan le Fay and the Queen of
Northgalis had put her there in that pains, because she
was called the fairest lady of that country; and there she
had been five years, and never might she be delivered out
of her great pains unto the time the best knight of the

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