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Le Morte Darthur by Thomas Malory

Part 8 out of 9

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of North Wales, nigh the Castle Perilous. Then said Sir
Tristram: Here shall ye abide me these ten days, and Gouvernail,
my squire, with you. And if so be I come not again by that day
take the next way into Cornwall; for in this forest are many
strange adventures, as I have heard say, and some of them I cast
me to prove or I depart. And when I may I shall hie me after
you.

Then Sir Tristram and Kehydius took their horses and departed
from their fellowship. And so they rode within that forest a
mile and more; and at the last Sir Tristram saw afore him a
likely knight, armed, sitting by a well, and a strong mighty
horse passing nigh him tied to an oak, and a man hoving and
riding by him leading an horse laden with spears. And this
knight that sat at the well seemed by his countenance to be
passing heavy. Then Sir Tristram rode near him and said: Fair
knight, why sit ye so drooping? ye seem to be a knight-errant by
your arms and harness, and therefore dress you to joust with one
of us, or with both. Therewithal that knight made no words, but
took his shield and buckled it about his neck, and lightly he
took his horse and leapt upon him. And then he took a great
spear of his squire, and departed his way a furlong. Sir
Kehydius asked leave of Sir Tristram to joust first. Do your
best, said Sir Tristram. So they met together, and there Sir
Kehydius had a fall, and was sore wounded on high above the paps.
Then Sir Tristram said: Knight, that is well jousted, now make
you ready unto me. I am ready, said the knight. And then that
knight took a greater spear in his hand, and encountered with Sir
Tristram, <369>and there by great force that knight smote down
Sir Tristram from his horse and had a great fall. Then Sir
Tristram was sore ashamed, and lightly he avoided his horse, and
put his shield afore his shoulder, and drew his sword. And then
Sir Tristram required that knight of his knighthood to alight
upon foot and fight with him. I will well, said the knight; and
so he alighted upon foot, and avoided his horse, and cast his
shield upon his shoulder, and drew his sword, and there they
fought a long battle together full nigh two hours. Then Sir
Tristram said: Fair knight, hold thine hand, and tell me of
whence thou art, and what is thy name. As for that, said the
knight, I will be avised; but an thou wilt tell me thy name
peradventure I will tell thee mine.

CHAPTER XI

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

NOW fair knight, he said, my name is Sir Tristram de Liones.
Sir, said the other knight, and my name is Sir Lamorak de Galis.
Ah, Sir Lamorak, said Sir Tristram, well be we met, and bethink
thee now of the despite thou didst me of the sending of the horn
unto King Mark's court, to the intent to have slain or
dishonoured my lady the queen, La Beale Isoud; and therefore wit
thou well, said Sir Tristram, the one of us shall die or we
depart. Sir, said Sir Lamorak, remember that we were together in
the Isle of Servage, and at that time ye promised me great
friendship. Then Sir Tristram would make no longer delays, but
lashed at Sir Lamorak; and thus they fought long till either were
weary of other. Then Sir Tristram said to Sir Lamorak: In all
my life met I never with such a knight that was so big and well
breathed as ye be, therefore, said Sir Tristram, it were pity
that any of us both should here be mischieved. Sir <370>said Sir
Lamorak, for your renown and name I will that ye have the worship
of this battle, and therefore I will yield me unto you. And
therewith he took the point of his sword to yield him. Nay, said
Sir Tristram, ye shall not do so, for well I know your proffers,
and more of your gentleness than for any fear or dread ye have of
me. And therewithal Sir Tristram proffered him his sword and
said: Sir Lamorak, as an overcome knight I yield me unto you as
to a man of the most noble prowess that ever I met withal. Nay,
said Sir Lamorak, I will do you gentleness; I require you let us
be sworn together that never none of us shall after this day have
ado with other. And therewithal Sir Tristram and Sir Lamorak
sware that never none of them should fight against other, nor for
weal nor for woe.

CHAPTER XII

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

AND this meanwhile there came Sir Palomides, the good knight,
following the Questing Beast that had in shape a head like a
serpent's head, and a body like a leopard, buttocks like a lion,
and footed like an hart; and in his body there was such a noise
as it had been the noise of thirty couple of hounds questing, and
such a noise that beast made wheresomever he went; and this beast
ever more Sir Palomides followed, for it was called his quest.
And right so as he followed this beast it came by Sir Tristram,
and soon after came Palomides. And to brief this matter he smote
down Sir Tristram and Sir Lamorak both with one spear; and so he
departed after the beast Galtisant, that was called the Questing
Beast; wherefore these two knights were passing wroth that Sir
Palomides would not fight on foot with them. Here men may
understand that be of worship, that he was never formed <371>that
all times might stand, but sometime he was put to the worse by
mal-fortune; and at sometime the worse knight put the better
knight to a rebuke.

Then Sir Tristram and Sir Lamorak gat Sir Kehydius upon a shield
betwixt them both, and led him to a forester's lodge, and there
they gave him in charge to keep him well, and with him they abode
three days. Then the two knights took their horses and at the
cross they departed. And then said Sir Tristram to Sir Lamorak:
I require you if ye hap to meet with Sir Palomides, say him that
he shall find me at the same well where I met him, and there I,
Sir Tristram, shall prove whether he be better knight than I.
And so either departed from other a sundry way, and Sir Tristram
rode nigh thereas was Sir Kehydius; and Sir Lamorak rode until he
came to a chapel, and there he put his horse unto pasture. And
anon there came Sir Meliagaunce, that was King Bagdemagus' son,
and he there put his horse to pasture, and was not ware of Sir
Lamorak; and then this knight Sir Meliagaunce made his moan of
the love that he had to Queen Guenever, and there he made a woful
complaint. All this heard Sir Lamorak, and on the morn Sir
Lamorak took his horse and rode unto the forest, and there he met
with two knights hoving under the wood-shaw. Fair knights, said
Sir Lamorak, what do ye hoving here and watching? and if ye be
knights-errant that will joust, lo I am ready. Nay, sir knight,
they said, not so, we abide not here to joust with you, but we
lie here in await of a knight that slew our brother. What knight
was that, said Sir Lamorak, that you would fain meet withal?
Sir, they said, it is Sir Launcelot that slew our brother, and if
ever we may meet with him he shall not escape, but we shall slay
him. Ye take upon you a great charge, said Sir Lamorak, for Sir
Launcelot is a noble proved knight. As for that we doubt not,
for there nis none of us but we are good enough for him. I will
not believe that, said Sir Lamorak, for I heard never yet of no
knight the days of my life but Sir Launcelot was too big for him.

<372>
CHAPTER XIII

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

RIGHT so as they stood talking thus Sir Lamorak was ware how Sir
Launcelot came riding straight toward them; then Sir Lamorak
saluted him, and he him again. And then Sir Lamorak asked Sir
Launcelot if there were anything that he might do for him in
these marches. Nay, said Sir Launcelot, not at this time I thank
you. Then either departed from other, and Sir Lamorak rode again
thereas he left the two knights, and then he found them hid in
the leaved wood. Fie on you, said Sir Lamorak, false cowards,
pity and shame it is that any of you should take the high order
of knighthood. So Sir Lamorak departed from them, and within a
while he met with Sir Meliagaunce. And then Sir Lamorak asked
him why he loved Queen Guenever as he did: For I was not far
from you when ye made your complaint by the chapel. Did ye so?
said Sir Meliagaunce, then will I abide by it: I love Queen
Guenever, what will ye with it? I will prove and make good that
she is the fairest lady and most of beauty in the world. As to
that, said Sir Lamorak, I say nay thereto, for Queen Morgawse of
Orkney, mother to Sir Gawaine, and his mother is the fairest
queen and lady that beareth the life. That is not so, said Sir
Meliagaunce, and that will I prove with my hands upon thy body.
Will ye so? said Sir Lamorak, and in a better quarrel keep I not
to fight. Then they departed either from other in great wrath.
And then they came riding together as it had been thunder, and
either smote other so sore that their horses fell backward to the
earth. And then they avoided their horses, and dressed their
shields, and drew their swords. And then they hurtled together
as wild boars, and thus they fought a great while. For
Meliagaunce was a good man and of great might, but Sir Lamorak
was <373>hard big for him, and put him always aback, but either
had wounded other sore.

And as they stood thus fighting, by fortune came Sir Launcelot
and Sir Bleoberis riding. And then Sir Launcelot rode betwixt
them, and asked them for what cause they fought so together: And
ye are both knights of King Arthur!

CHAPTER XIV

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

SIR, said Meliagaunce, I shall tell you for what cause we do this
battle. I praised my lady, Queen Guenever, and said she was the
fairest lady of the world, and Sir Lamorak said nay thereto, for
he said Queen Morgawse of Orkney was fairer than she and more of
beauty. Ah, Sir Lamorak, why sayest thou so? it is not thy part
to dispraise thy princess that thou art under her obeissance, and
we all. And therewith he alighted on foot, and said: For this
quarrel, make thee ready, for I will prove upon thee that Queen
Guenever is the fairest lady and most of bounty in the world.
Sir, said Sir Lamorak, I am loath to have ado with you in this
quarrel, for every man thinketh his own lady fairest; and though
I praise the lady that I love most ye should not be wroth; for
though my lady Queen Guenever, be fairest in your eye, wit ye
well Queen Morgawse of Orkney is fairest in mine eye, and so
every knight thinketh his own lady fairest; and wit ye well, sir,
ye are the man in the world except Sir Tristram that I am most
loathest to have ado withal, but, an ye will needs fight with me
I shall endure you as long as I may. Then spake Sir Bleoberis
and said: My lord Sir Launcelot, I wist you never so misadvised
as ye are now, for Sir Lamorak sayeth you but reason and
knightly; for I warn you I have a lady, and methinketh that she
is the fairest lady of the world. Were this a great reason that
ye <374>should be wroth with me for such language? And well ye
wot, that Sir Lamorak is as noble a knight as I know, and he hath
ought you and us ever good will, and therefore I pray you be good
friends. Then Sir Launcelot said unto Sir Lamorak. I pray you
forgive me mine evil will, and if I was misadvised I will amend
it. Sir, said Sir Lamorak, the amends is soon made betwixt you
and me. And so Sir Launcelot and Sir Bleoberis departed, and Sir
Meliagaunce and Sir Lamorak took their horses, and either
departed from other.

And within a while came King Arthur, and met with Sir Lamorak,
and jousted with him; and there he smote down Sir Lamorak, and
wounded him sore with a spear, and so he rode from him; wherefore
Sir Lamorak was wroth that he would not fight with him on foot,
howbeit that Sir Lamorak knew not King Arthur.

CHAPTER XV

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

NOW leave we of this tale, and speak we of Sir Tristram, that as
he rode he met with Sir Kay, the Seneschal; and there Sir Kay
asked Sir Tristram of what country he was. He answered that he
was of the country of Cornwall. It may well be, said Sir Kay,
for yet heard I never that ever good knight came out of Cornwall.
That is evil spoken, said Sir Tristram, but an it please you to
tell me your name I require you. Sir, wit ye well, said Sir Kay,
that my name is Sir Kay, the Seneschal. Is that your name? said
Sir Tristram, now wit ye well that ye are named the shamefullest
knight of your tongue that now is living; howbeit ye are called a
good knight, but ye are called unfortunate, and passing
overthwart of your tongue. And thus they rode together till they
came to a <375>bridge. And there was a knight would not let them
pass till one of them jousted with him; and so that knight
jousted with Sir Kay, and there that knight gave Sir Kay a fall:
his name was Sir Tor, Sir Lamorak's half-brother. And then they
two rode to their lodging, and there they found Sir Brandiles,
and Sir Tor came thither anon after. And as they sat at supper
these four knights, three of them spake all shame by Cornish
knights. Sir Tristram heard all that they said and he said but
little, but he thought the more, but at that time he discovered
not his name.

Upon the morn Sir Tristram took his horse and abode them upon
their way. And there Sir Brandiles proffered to joust with Sir
Tristram, and Sir Tristram smote him down, horse and all, to the
earth. Then Sir Tor le Fise de Vayshoure encountered with Sir
Tristram and there Sir Tristram smote him down, and then he rode
his way, and Sir Kay followed him, but he would not of his
fellowship. Then Sir Brandiles came to Sir Kay and said: I would
wit fain what is that knight's name. Come on with me, said Sir
Kay, and we shall pray him to tell us his name. So they rode
together till they came nigh him, and then they were ware where
he sat by a well, and had put off his helm to drink at the well.
And when he saw them come he laced on his helm lightly, and took
his horse, and proffered them to joust. Nay, said Sir Brandiles,
we jousted late enough with you, we come not in that intent. But
for this we come to require you of knighthood to tell us your
name. My fair knights, sithen that is your desire, and to please
you, ye shall wit that my name is Sir Tristram de Liones, nephew
unto King Mark of Cornwall. In good time, said Sir Brandiles,
and well be ye found, and wit ye well that we be right glad that
we have found you, and we be of a fellowship that would be right
glad of your company. For ye are the knight in the world that
the noble fellowship of the Round Table most desireth to have the
company of. God thank them said Sir Tristram, of their great
goodness, but as yet I feel well that I am unable to be of their
fellowship, for I was <376>never yet of such deeds of worthiness
to be in the company of such a fellowship. Ah, said Sir Kay, an
ye be Sir Tristram de Liones, ye are the man called now most of
prowess except Sir Launcelot du Lake; for he beareth not the
life, Christian nor heathen, that can find such another knight,
to speak of his prowess, and of his hands, and his truth withal.
For yet could there never creature say of him dishonour and make
it good. Thus they talked a great while, and then they departed
either from other such ways as them seemed best.

CHAPTER XVI

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

NOW shall ye hear what was the cause that King Arthur came into
the Forest Perilous, that was in North Wales, by the means of a
lady. Her name was Annowre, and this lady came to King Arthur at
Cardiff; and she by fair promise and fair behests made King
Arthur to ride with her into that Forest Perilous; and she was a
great sorceress; and many days she had loved King Arthur, and
because she would have him to lie by her she came into that
country. So when the king was gone with her many of his knights
followed after King Arthur when they missed him, as Sir
Launcelot, Brandiles, and many other; and when she had brought
him to her tower she desired him to lie by her; and then the king
remembered him of his lady, and would not lie by her for no craft
that she could do. Then every day she would make him ride into
that forest with his own knights, to the intent to have had King
Arthur slain. For when this Lady Annowre saw that she might not
have him at her will, then she laboured by false means to have
destroyed King Arthur, and slain.

Then the Lady of the Lake that was alway friendly to King Arthur,
she understood by her subtle crafts that <377>King Arthur was
like to be destroyed. And therefore this Lady of the Lake, that
hight Nimue, came into that forest to seek after Sir Launcelot du
Lake or Sir Tristram for to help King Arthur; foras that same day
this Lady of the Lake knew well that King Arthur should be slain,
unless that he had help of one of these two knights. And thus
she rode up and down till she met with Sir Tristram, and anon as
she saw him she knew him. O my lord Sir Tristram, she said, well
be ye met, and blessed be the time that I have met with you; for
this same day, and within these two hours, shall be done the
foulest deed that ever was done in this land. O fair damosel,
said Sir Tristram, may I amend it. Come on with me, she said,
and that in all the haste ye may, for ye shall see the most
worshipfullest knight of the world hard bestead. Then said Sir
Tristram: I am ready to help such a noble man. He is neither
better nor worse, said the Lady of the Lake, but the noble King
Arthur himself. God defend, said Sir Tristram, that ever he
should be in such distress. Then they rode together a great
pace, until they came to a little turret or castle; and
underneath that castle they saw a knight standing upon foot
fighting with two knights; and so Sir Tristram beheld them, and
at the last the two knights smote down the one knight, and that
one of them unlaced his helm to have slain him. And the Lady
Annowre gat King Arthur's sword in her hand to have stricken off
his head. And therewithal came Sir Tristram with all his might,
crying: Traitress, traitress, leave that. And anon there Sir
Tristram smote the one of the knights through the body that he
fell dead; and then he rashed to the other and smote his back
asunder; and in the meanwhile the Lady of the Lake cried to King
Arthur: Let not that false lady escape. Then King Arthur
overtook her, and with the same sword he smote off her head, and
the Lady of the Lake took up her head and hung it up by the hair
of her saddle-bow. And then Sir Tristram horsed King Arthur and
rode forth with him, but he charged the Lady of the Lake not to
discover his name as at that time.

<378>
When the king was horsed he thanked heartily Sir Tristram, and
desired to wit his name; but he would not tell him, but that he
was a poor knight adventurous; and so he bare King Arthur
fellowship till he met with some of his knights. And within a
while he met with Sir Ector de Maris, and he knew not King Arthur
nor Sir Tristram, and he desired to joust with one of them. Then
Sir Tristram rode unto Sir Ector, and smote him from his horse.
And when he had done so he came again to the king and said: My
lord, yonder is one of your knights, he may bare you fellowship,
and another day that deed that I have done for you I trust to God
ye shall understand that I would do you service. Alas, said King
Arthur, let me wit what ye are? Not at this time, said Sir
Tristram. So he departed and left King Arthur and Sir Ector
together.

CHAPTER XVII

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

AND then at a day set Sir Tristram and Sir Lamorak met at the
well; and then they took Kehydius at the forester's house, and so
they rode with him to the ship where they left Dame Bragwaine and
Gouvernail, and so they sailed into Cornwall all wholly together.
And by assent and information of Dame Bragwaine when they were
landed they rode unto Sir Dinas, the Seneschal, a trusty friend
of Sir Tristram's. And so Dame Bragwaine and Sir Dinas rode to
the court of King Mark, and told the queen, La Beale Isoud, that
Sir Tristram was nigh her in that country. Then for very pure
joy La Beale Isoud swooned; and when she might speak she said:
Gentle knight Seneschal, help that I might speak with him, outher
my heart will brast. Then Sir Dinas and Dame <379>Bragwaine
brought Sir Tristram and Kehydius privily unto the court, unto a
chamber whereas La Beale Isoud had assigned it; and to tell the
joys that were betwixt La Beale Isoud and Sir Tristram, there is
no tongue can tell it, nor heart think it, nor pen write it. And
as the French book maketh mention, at the first time that ever
Sir Kehydius saw La Beale Isoud he was so enamoured upon her that
for very pure love he might never withdraw it. And at the last,
as ye shall hear or the book be ended, Sir Kehydius died for the
love of La Beale Isoud. And then privily he wrote unto her
letters and ballads of the most goodliest that were used in those
days. And when La Beale Isoud understood his letters she had
pity of his complaint, and unavised she wrote another letter to
comfort him withal.

And Sir Tristram was all this while in a turret at the
commandment of La Beale Isoud, and when she might she came unto
Sir Tristram. So on a day King Mark played at the chess under a
chamber window; and at that time Sir Tristram and Sir Kehydius
were within the chamber over King Mark, and as it mishapped Sir
Tristram found the letter that Kehydius sent unto La Beale Isoud,
also he had found the letter that she wrote unto Kehydius, and at
that same time La Beale Isoud was in the same chamber. Then Sir
Tristram came unto La Beale Isoud and said: Madam, here is a
letter that was sent unto you, and here is the letter that ye
sent unto him that sent you that letter. Alas, Madam, the good
love that I have loved you; and many lands and riches have I
forsaken for your love, and now ye are a traitress to me, the
which doth me great pain. But as for thee, Sir Kehydius, I
brought thee out of Brittany into this country, and thy father,
King Howel, I won his lands, howbeit I wedded thy sister Isoud la
Blanche Mains for the goodness she did unto me. And yet, as I am
true knight, she is a clean maiden for me; but wit thou well, Sir
Kehydius, for this falsehood and treason thou hast done me, I
will revenge it upon thee. And therewithal Sir Tristram drew out
his sword and said: Sir Kehydius, keep thee, and then <380>La
Beale Isoud swooned to the earth. And when Sir Kehydius saw Sir
Tristram come upon him he saw none other boot, but leapt out at a
bay-window even over the head where sat King Mark playing at the
chess. And when the king saw one come hurling over his head he
said: Fellow, what art thou, and what is the cause thou leapest
out at that window? My lord the king, said Kehydius, it fortuned
me that I was asleep in the window above your head, and as I
slept I slumbered, and so I fell down. And thus Sir Kehydius
excused him.

CHAP TER XVIII

How Sir Tristram departed from Tintagil, and how he
sorrowed and was so long in a forest till he was out
of his mind.

THEN Sir Tristram dread sore lest he were discovered unto the
king that he was there; wherefore he drew him to the strength of
the Tower, and armed him in such armour as he had for to fight
with them that would withstand him. And so when Sir Tristram saw
there was no resistance against him he sent Gouvernail for his
horse and his spear, and knightly he rode forth out of the castle
openly, that was called the Castle of Tintagil. And even at gate
he met with Gingalin, Sir Gawaine's son. And anon Sir Gingalin
put his spear in his rest, and ran upon Sir Tristram and brake
his spear; and Sir Tristram at that time had but a sword, and
gave him such a buffet upon the helm that he fell down from his
saddle, and his sword slid adown, and carved asunder his horse's
neck. And so Sir Tristram rode his way into the forest, and all
this doing saw King Mark. And then he sent a squire unto the
hurt knight, and commanded him to come to him, and so he did.
And when King Mark wist that it was Sir Gingalin he welcomed him
and gave him an horse, and asked him what knight it was that had
<381>encountered with him. Sir, said Gingalin, I wot not what
knight he was, but well I wot that he sigheth and maketh great
dole.

Then Sir Tristram within a while met with a knight of his own,
that hight Sir Fergus. And when he had met with him he made
great sorrow, insomuch that he fell down off his horse in a
swoon, and in such sorrow he was in three days and three nights.
Then at the last Sir Tristram sent unto the court by Sir Fergus,
for to spere what tidings. And so as he rode by the way he met
with a damosel that came from Sir Palomides, to know and seek how
Sir Tristram did. Then Sir Fergus told her how he was almost out
of his mind. Alas, said the damosel, where shall I find him? In
such a place, said Sir Fergus. Then Sir Fergus found Queen Isoud
sick in her bed, making the greatest dole that ever any earthly
woman made. And when the damosel found Sir Tristram she made
great dole because she might not amend him, for the more she made
of him the more was his pain. And at the last Sir Tristram took
his horse and rode away from her. And then was it three days or
that she could find him, and then she brought him meat and drink,
but he would none; and then another time Sir Tristram escaped
away from the damosel, and it happed him to ride by the same
castle where Sir Palomides and Sir Tristram did battle when La
Beale Isoud departed them. And there by fortune the damosel met
with Sir Tristram again, making the greatest dole that ever
earthly creature made; and she yede to the lady of that castle
and told her of the misadventure of Sir Tristram. Alas, said the
lady of that castle, where is my lord, Sir Tristram? Right here
by your castle, said the damosel. In good time, said the lady,
is he so nigh me; he shall have meat and drink of the best; and
an harp I have of his whereupon he taught me, for of goodly
harping he beareth the prize in the world. So this lady and
damosel brought him meat and drink, but he ate little thereof.
Then upon a night he put his horse from him, and then he unlaced
his armour, and then Sir Tristram would go into the wilderness,
<382>and brast down the trees and boughs; and otherwhile when he
found the harp that the lady sent him, then would he harp, and
play thereupon and weep together. And sometime when Sir Tristram
was in the wood that the lady wist not where he was, then would
she sit her down and play upon that harp: then would Sir Tristram
come to that harp, and hearken thereto, and sometime he would
harp himself. Thus he there endured a quarter of a year. Then
at the last he ran his way, and she wist not where he was become.
And then was he naked and waxed lean and poor of flesh; and so he
fell in the fellowship of herdmen and shepherds, and daily they
would give him some of their meat and drink. And when he did any
shrewd deed they would beat him with rods, and so they clipped
him with shears and made him like a fool.

CHAPTER XIX

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

AND upon a day Dagonet, King Arthur's fool, came into Cornwall
with two squires with him; and as they rode through that forest
they came by a fair well where Sir Tristram was wont to be; and
the weather was hot, and they alighted to drink of that well, and
in the meanwhile their horses brake loose. Right so Sir Tristram
came unto them, and first he soused Sir Dagonet in that well, and
after his squires, and thereat laughed the shepherds; and
forthwithal he ran after their horses and brought them again one
by one, and right so, wet as they were, he made them leap up and
ride their ways. Thus Sir Tristram endured there an half year
naked, and would never come in town nor village. The meanwhile
the damosel that Sir Palomides sent to seek Sir Tristram, she
yede unto Sir Palomides and told him all the mischief <383>that
Sir Tristram endured. Alas, said Sir Palomides, it is great pity
that ever so noble a knight should be so mischieved for the love
of a lady; but nevertheless, I will go and seek him, and comfort
him an I may. Then a little before that time La Beale Isoud had
commanded Sir Kehydius out of the country of Cornwall. So Sir
Kehydius departed with a dolorous heart, and by adventure he met
with Sir Palomides, and they enfellowshipped together; and either
complained to other of their hot love that they loved La Beale
Isoud. Now let us, said Sir Palomides, seek Sir Tristram, that
loved her as well as we, and let us prove whether we may recover
him. So they rode into that forest, and three days and three
nights they would never take their lodging, but ever sought Sir
Tristram.

And upon a time, by adventure, they met with King Mark that was
ridden from his men all alone. When they saw him Sir Palomides
knew him, but Sir Kehydius knew him not. Ah, false king, said
Sir Palomides, it is pity thou hast thy life, for thou art a
destroyer of all worshipful knights, and by thy mischief and thy
vengeance thou hast destroyed that most noble knight, Sir
Tristram de Liones. And therefore defend thee, said Sir
Palomides, for thou shalt die this day. That were shame, said
King Mark, for ye two are armed and I am unarmed. As for that,
said Sir Palomides, I shall find a remedy therefore; here is a
knight with me, and thou shalt have his harness. Nay, said King
Mark, I will not have ado with you, for cause have ye none to me;
for all the misease that Sir Tristram hath was for a letter that
he found; for as to me I did to him no displeasure, and God
knoweth I am full sorry for his disease and malady. So when the
king had thus excused him they were friends, and King Mark would
have had them unto Tintagil; but Sir Palomides would not, but
turned unto the realm of Logris, and Sir Kehydius said that he
would go into Brittany.

Now turn we unto Sir Dagonet again, that when he and his squires
were upon horseback he deemed that the shepherds had sent that
fool to array them so, because <384>that they laughed at them,
and so they rode unto the keepers of beasts and all to-beat them.
Sir Tristram saw them beat that were wont to give him meat and
drink, then he ran thither and gat Sir Dagonet by the head, and
gave him such a fall to the earth that he bruised him sore so
that he lay still. And then he wrast his sword out of his hand,
and therewith he ran to one of his squires and smote off his
head, and the other fled. And so Sir Tristram took his way with
that sword in his hand, running as he had been wild wood. Then
Sir Dagonet rode to King Mark and told him how he had sped in
that forest. And therefore, said Sir Dagonet, beware, King Mark,
that thou come not about that well in the forest, for there is a
fool naked, and that fool and I fool met together, and he had
almost slain me. Ah, said King Mark, that is Sir Matto le
Breune, that fell out of his wit because he lost his lady; for
when Sir Gaheris smote down Sir Matto and won his lady of him,
never since was he in his mind, and that was pity, for he was a
good knight.

CHAPTER XX

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

THEN Sir Andred, that was cousin unto Sir Tristram, made a lady
that was his paramour to say and to noise it that she was with
Sir Tristram or ever he died. And this tale she brought unto
King Mark's court, that she buried him by a well, and that or he
died he besought King Mark to make his cousin, Sir Andred, king
of the country of Liones, of the which Sir Tristram was lord of.
All this did Sir Andred because he would have had Sir Tristram's
lands. And when King Mark heard tell that Sir Tristram was dead
he wept and made great dole. But when Queen Isoud heard of these
tidings she made such sorrow that she was nigh out of her mind;
and so upon <385>a day she thought to slay herself and never to
live after Sir Tristram's death. And so upon a day La Beale
Isoud gat a sword privily and bare it to her garden, and there
she pight the sword through a plum tree up to the hilt, so that
it stuck fast, and it stood breast high. And as she would have
run upon the sword and to have slain herself all this espied King
Mark, how she kneeled down and said: Sweet Lord Jesu, have mercy
upon me, for I may not live after the death of Sir Tristram de
Liones, for he was my first love and he shall be the last. And
with these words came King Mark and took her in his arms, and
then he took up the sword, and bare her away with him into a
tower; and there he made her to be kept, and watched her surely,
and after that she lay long sick, nigh at the point of death.

This meanwhile ran Sir Tristram naked in the forest with the
sword in his hand, and so he came to an hermitage, and there he
laid him down and slept; and in the meanwhile the hermit stole
away his sword, and laid meat down by him. Thus was he kept
there ten days; and at the last he departed and came to the
herdmen again. And there was a giant in that country that hight
Tauleas, and for fear of Sir Tristram more than seven year he
durst never much go at large, but for the most part he kept him
in a sure castle of his own; and so this Tauleas heard tell that
Sir Tristram was dead, by the noise of the court of King Mark.
Then this Tauleas went daily at large. And so he happed upon a
day he came to the herdmen wandering and langering, and there he
set him down to rest among them. The meanwhile there came a
knight of Cornwall that led a lady with him, and his name was Sir
Dinant; and when the giant saw him he went from the herdmen and
hid him under a tree, and so the knight came to that well, and
there he alighted to repose him. And as soon as he was from his
horse this giant Tauleas came betwixt this knight and his horse,
and took the horse and leapt upon him. So forthwith he rode unto
Sir Dinant and took him by the collar, and pulled him afore him
upon his horse, and there would <386>have stricken off his head.
Then the herdmen said unto Sir Tristram: Help yonder knight.
Help ye him, said Sir Tristram. We dare not, said the herdmen.
Then Sir Tristram was ware of the sword of the knight thereas it
lay; and so thither he ran and took up the sword and struck off
Sir Tauleas' head, and so he yede his way to the herdmen.

CHAPTER XXI

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

THEN the knight took up the giant's head and bare it with him
unto King Mark, and told him what adventure betid him in the
forest, and how a naked man rescued him from the grimly giant,
Tauleas. Where had ye this adventure? said King Mark. Forsooth,
said Sir Dinant, at the fair fountain in your forest where many
adventurous knights meet, and there is the mad man. Well, said
King Mark, I will see that wild man. So within a day or two King
Mark commanded his knights and his hunters that they should be
ready on the morn for to hunt, and so upon the morn he went unto
that forest. And when the king came to that well he found there
lying by that well a fair naked man, and a sword by him. Then
King Mark blew and straked, and therewith his knights came to
him; and then the king commanded his knights to: Take that naked
man with fairness, and bring him to my castle. So they did
softly and fair, and cast mantles upon Sir Tristram, and so led
him unto Tintagil; and there they bathed him, and washed him, and
gave him hot suppings till they had brought him well to his
remembrance; but all this while there was no creature that knew
Sir Tristram, nor what man he was.

So it fell upon a day that the queen, La Beale Isoud, heard of
such a man, that ran naked in the forest, and <387>how the king
had brought him home to the court. Then La Beale Isoud called
unto her Dame Bragwaine and said: Come on with me, for we will
go see this man that my lord brought from the forest the last
day. So they passed forth, and spered where was the sick man.
And then a squire told the queen that he was in the garden taking
his rest, and reposing him against the sun. So when the queen
looked upon Sir Tristram she was not remembered of him. But ever
she said unto Dame Bragwaine: Meseemeth I should have seen him
heretofore in many places. But as soon as Sir Tristram saw her
he knew her well enough. And then he turned away his visage and
wept.

Then the queen had always a little brachet with her that Sir
Tristram gave her the first time that ever she came into
Cornwall, and never would that brachet depart from her but if Sir
Tristram was nigh thereas was La Beale Isoud; and this brachet
was sent from the king's daughter of France unto Sir Tristram for
great love. And anon as this little brachet felt a savour of Sir
Tristram, she leapt upon him and licked his lears and his ears,
and then she whined and quested, and she smelled at his feet and
at his hands, and on all parts of his body that she might come
to. Ah, my lady, said Dame Bragwaine unto La Beale Isoud, alas,
alas, said she, I see it is mine own lord, Sir Tristram. And
thereupon Isoud fell down in a swoon, and so lay a great while
And when she might speak she said: My lord Sir Tristram, blessed
be God ye have your life, and now I am sure ye shall be
discovered by this little brachet, for she will never leave you.
And also I am sure as soon as my lord, King Mark, do know you he
will banish you out of the country of Cornwall, or else he will
destroy you; for God's sake, mine own lord, grant King Mark his
will, and then draw you unto the court of King Arthur, for there
are ye beloved, and ever when I may I shall send unto you; and
when ye list ye may come to me, and at all times early and late I
will be at your commandment, to live as poor a life as ever did
queen <388>or lady. O Madam, said Sir Tristram, go from me, for
mickle anger and danger have I escaped for your love.

CHAPTER XXII

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

THEN the queen departed, but the brachet would not from him; and
therewithal came King Mark, and the brachet set upon him, and
bayed at them all. There withal Sir Andred spake and said: Sir,
this is Sir Tristram, I see by the brachet. Nay, said the king,
I cannot suppose that. Then the king asked him upon his faith
what he was, and what was his name. So God me help, said he, my
name is Sir Tristram de Liones; now do by me what ye list. Ah,
said King Mark, me repenteth of your recovery. And then he let
call his barons to judge Sir Tristram to the death. Then many of
his barons would not assent thereto, and in especial Sir Dinas,
the Seneschal, and Sir Fergus. And so by the advice of them all
Sir Tristram was banished out of the country for ten year, and
thereupon he took his oath upon a book before the king and his
barons. And so he was made to depart out of the country of
Cornwall; and there were many barons brought him unto his ship,
of the which some were his friends and some his foes. And in the
meanwhile there came a knight of King Arthur's, his name was
Dinadan, and his coming was for to seek after Sir Tristram; then
they showed him where he was armed at all points going to the
ship. Now fair knight, said Sir Dinadan, or ye pass this court
that ye will joust with me I require thee. With a good will,
said Sir Tristram, an these lords will give me leave. Then the
barons granted thereto, and so they ran together, and there Sir
Tristram gave Sir Dinadan a fall. And then he prayed Sir
Tristram to give him leave to go in his <389>fellowship. Ye
shall be right welcome, said then Sir Tristram.

And so they took their horses and rode to their ships together,
and when Sir Tristram was in the sea he said: Greet well King
Mark and all mine enemies, and say them I will come again when I
may; and well am I rewarded for the fighting with Sir Marhaus,
and delivered all this country from servage; and well am I
rewarded for the fetching and costs of Queen Isoud out of
Ireland, and the danger that I was in first and last, and by the
way coming home what danger I had to bring again Queen Isoud from
the Castle Pluere; and well am I rewarded when I fought with Sir
Bleoberis for Sir Segwarides' wife; and well am I rewarded when I
fought with Sir Blamore de Ganis for King Anguish, father unto La
Beale Isoud; and well am I rewarded when I smote down the good
knight, Sir Lamorak de Galis, at King Mark's request; and well am
I rewarded when I fought with the King with the Hundred Knights,
and the King of Northgalis, and both these would have put his
land in servage, and by me they were put to a rebuke; and well am
I rewarded for the slaying of Tauleas, the mighty giant, and many
other deeds have I done for him, and now have I my warison. And
tell King Mark that many noble knights of the Table Round have
spared the barons of this country for my sake. Also am I not
well rewarded when I fought with the good knight Sir Palomides
and rescued Queen Isoud from him; and at that time King Mark said
afore all his barons I should have been better rewarded. And
forthwithal he took the sea.

<390>
CHAPTER XXIII

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

AND at the next landing, fast by the sea, there met with Sir
Tristram and with Sir Dinadan, Sir Ector de Maris and Sir Bors de
Ganis; and there Sir Ector jousted with Sir Dinadan, and he smote
him and his horse down. And then Sir Tristram would have jousted
with Sir Bors, and Sir Bors said that he would not joust with no
Cornish knights, for they are not called men of worship; and all
this was done upon a bridge. And with this came Sir Bleoberis
and Sir Driant, and Sir Bleoberis proffered to joust with Sir
Tristram, and there Sir Tristram smote down Sir Bleoberis. Then
said Sir Bors de Ganis: I wist never Cornish knight of so great
valour nor so valiant as that knight that beareth the trappings
embroidered with crowns. And then Sir Tristram and Sir Dinadan
departed from them into a forest, and there met them a damosel
that came for the love of Sir Launcelot to seek after some noble
knights of King Arthur's court for to rescue Sir Launcelot. And
so Sir Launcelot was ordained, for-by the treason of Queen Morgan
le Fay to have slain Sir Launcelot, and for that cause she
ordained thirty knights to lie in await for Sir Launcelot, and
this damosel knew this treason. And for this cause the damosel
came for to seek noble knights to help Sir Launcelot. For that
night, or the day after, Sir Launcelot should come where these
thirty knights were. And so this damosel met with Sir Bors and
Sir Ector and with Sir Driant, and there she told them all four
of the treason of Morgan le Fay; and then they promised her that
they would be nigh where Sir Launcelot should meet with the
thirty knights. And if so be they set upon him we will do
rescues as we can.

So the damosel departed, and by adventure the damosel met with
Sir Tristram and with Sir Dinadan, and there <391>the damosel
told them all the treason that was ordained for Sir Launcelot.
Fair damosel, said Sir Tristram, bring me to that same place
where they should meet with Sir Launcelot. Then said Sir
Dinadan: What will ye do? it is not for us to fight with thirty
knights, and wit you well I will not thereof; as to match one
knight two or three is enough an they be men, but for to match
fifteen knights that will I never undertake. Fie for shame, said
Sir Tristram, do but your part. Nay, said Sir Dinadan, I will
not thereof but if ye will lend me your shield, for ye bear a
shield of Cornwall; and for the cowardice that is named to the
knights of Cornwall, by your shields ye be ever forborne. Nay,
said Sir Tristram, I will not depart from my shield for her sake
that gave it me. But one thing, said Sir Tristram, I promise
thee, Sir Dinadan, but if thou wilt promise me to abide with me,
here I shall slay thee, for I desire no more of thee but answer
one knight. And if thy heart will not serve thee, stand by and
look upon me and them. Sir, said Sir Dinadan, I promise you to
look upon and to do what I may to save myself, but I would I had
not met with you.

So then anon these thirty knights came fast by these four
knights, and they were ware of them, and either of other. And so
these thirty knights let them pass, for this cause, that they
would not wrath them, if case be that they had ado with Sir
Launcelot; and the four knights let them pass to this intent,
that they would see and behold what they would do with Sir
Launcelot. And so the thirty knights passed on and came by Sir
Tristram and by Sir Dinadan, and then Sir Tristram cried on high:
Lo, here is a knight against you for the love of Sir Launcelot.
And there he slew two with one spear and ten with his sword. And
then came in Sir Dinadan and he did passing well, and so of the
thirty knights there went but ten away, and they fled. All this
battle saw Sir Bors de Ganis and his three fellows, and then they
saw well it was the same knight that jousted with them at the
bridge; then they took their horses and rode unto Sir Tristram,
and praised him and thanked him of his good <392>deeds, and they
all desired Sir Tristram to go with them to their lodging; and he
said: Nay, he would not go to no lodging. Then they all four
knights prayed him to tell them his name. Fair lords, said Sir
Tristram, as at this time I will not tell you my name.

CHAPTER XXIV

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

THEN Sir Tristram and Sir Dinadan rode forth their way till they
came to the shepherds and to the herdmen, and there they asked
them if they knew any lodging or harbour there nigh hand.
Forsooth, sirs, said the herdmen, hereby is good lodging in a
castle; but there is such a custom that there shall no knight be
harboured but if he joust with two knights, and if he be but one
knight he must joust with two. And as ye be therein soon shall
ye be matched. There is shrewd harbour, said Sir Dinadan; lodge
where ye will, for I will not lodge there. Fie for shame, said
Sir Tristram, are ye not a knight of the Table Round? wherefore
ye may not with your worship refuse your lodging. Not so, said
the herdmen, for an ye be beaten and have the worse ye shall not
be lodged there, and if ye beat them ye shall be well harboured.
Ah, said Sir Dinadan, they are two sure knights. Then Sir
Dinadan would not lodge there in no manner but as Sir Tristram
required him of his knighthood; and so they rode thither. And to
make short tale, Sir Tristram and Sir Dinadan smote them down
both, and so they entered into the castle and had good cheer as
they could think or devise.

And when they were unarmed, and thought to be merry and in good
rest, there came in at the gates Sir Palomides and Sir Gaheris,
requiring to have the custom of the castle. What array is this?
said Sir Dinadan, I would have my rest. That may not be, said
Sir Tristram; <393>now must we needs defend the custom of this
castle, insomuch as we have the better of the lords of this
castle, and therefore, said Sir Tristram, needs must ye make you
ready. In the devil's name, said Sir Dinadan, came I into your
company. And so they made them ready; and Sir Gaheris
encountered with Sir Tristram, and Sir Gaheris had a fall; and
Sir Palomides encountered with Sir Dinadan, and Sir Dinadan had a
fall: then was it fall for fall. So then must they fight on
foot. That would not Sir Dinadan, for he was so sore bruised of
the fall that Sir Palomides gave him. Then Sir Tristram unlaced
Sir Dinadan's helm, and prayed him to help him. I will not, said
Sir Dinadan, for I am sore wounded of the thirty knights that we
had but late ago to do withal. But ye fare, said Sir Dinadan
unto Sir Tristram, as a madman and as a man that is out of his
mind that would cast himself away, and I may curse the time that
ever I saw you, for in all the world are not two such knights
that be so wood as is Sir Launcelot and ye Sir Tristram; for once
I fell in the fellowship of Sir Launcelot as I have done now with
you, and he set me a work that a quarter of a year I kept my bed.
Jesu defend me, said Sir Dinadan, from such two knights, and
specially from your fellowship. Then, said Sir Tristram, I will
fight with them both. Then Sir Tristram bade them come forth
both, for I will fight with you. Then Sir Palomides and Sir
Gaheris dressed them, and smote at them both. Then Dinadan smote
at Sir Gaheris a stroke or two, and turned from him. Nay, said
Sir Palomides, it is too much shame for us two knights to fight
with one. And then he did bid Sir Gaheris stand aside with that
knight that hath no list to fight. Then they rode together and
fought long, and at the last Sir Tristram doubled his strokes,
and drove Sir Palomides aback more than three strides. And then
by one assent Sir Gaheris and Sir Dinadan went betwixt them, and
departed them in-sunder. And then by assent of Sir Tristram they
would have lodged together. But Sir Dinadan would not lodge in
that castle. And then he cursed the time that ever he came in
their <394>fellowship, and so he took his horse, and his harness,
and departed.

Then Sir Tristram prayed the lords of that castle to lend him a
man to bring him to a lodging, and so they did, and overtook Sir
Dinadan, and rode to their lodging two mile thence with a good
man in a priory, and there they were well at ease. And that same
night Sir Bors and Sir Bleoberis, and Sir Ector and Sir Driant,
abode still in the same place thereas Sir Tristram fought with
the thirty knights; and there they met with Sir Launcelot the
same night, and had made promise to lodge with Sir Colgrevance
the same night.

CHAPTER XXV

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

BUT anon as the noble knight, Sir Launcelot, heard of the shield
of Cornwall, then wist he well that it was Sir Tristram that
fought with his enemies. And then Sir Launcelot praised Sir
Tristram, and called him the man of most worship in the world.
So there was a knight in that priory that hight Pellinore, and he
desired to wit the name of Sir Tristram, but in no wise he could
not; and so Sir Tristram departed and left Sir Dinadan in the
priory, for he was so weary and so sore bruised that he might not
ride. Then this knight, Sir Pellinore, said to Sir Dinadan:
Sithen that ye will not tell me that knight's name I will ride
after him and make him to tell me his name, or he shall die
therefore. Beware, sir knight, said Sir Dinadan, for an ye
follow him ye shall repent it. So that knight, Sir Pellinore,
rode after Sir Tristram and required him of jousts. Then Sir
Tristram smote him down and wounded him through the shoulder, and
so he passed on his way. And on the next day following Sir
Tristram met with <395>pursuivants, and they told him that there
was made a great cry of tournament between King Carados of
Scotland and the King of North Wales, and either should joust
against other at the Castle of Maidens; and these pursuivants
sought all the country after the good knights, and in especial
King Carados let make seeking for Sir Launcelot du Lake, and the
King of Northgalis let seek after Sir Tristram de Liones. And at
that time Sir Tristram thought to be at that jousts; and so by
adventure they met with Sir Kay, the Seneschal, and Sir Sagramore
le Desirous; and Sir Kay required Sir Tristram to joust, and Sir
Tristram in a manner refused him, because he would not be hurt
nor bruised against the great jousts that should be before the
Castle of Maidens, and therefore thought to repose him and to
rest him. And alway Sir Kay cried: Sir knight of Cornwall,
joust with me, or else yield thee to me as recreant. When Sir
Tristram heard him say so he turned to him, and then Sir Kay
refused him and turned his back. Then Sir Tristram said: As I
find thee I shall take thee. Then Sir Kay turned with evil will,
and Sir Tristram smote Sir Kay down, and so he rode forth.

Then Sir Sagramore le Desirous rode after Sir Tristram, and made
him to joust with him, and there Sir Tristram smote down Sir
Sagramore le Desirous from his horse, and rode his way; and the
same day he met with a damosel that told him that he should win
great worship of a knight adventurous that did much harm in all
that country. When Sir Tristram heard her say so, he was glad to
go with her to win worship. So Sir Tristram rode with that
damosel a six mile, and then met him Sir Gawaine, and therewithal
Sir Gawaine knew the damosel, that she was a damosel of Queen
Morgan le Fay. Then Sir Gawaine understood that she led that
knight to some mischief. Fair knight, said Sir Gawaine, whither
ride you now with that damosel? Sir, said Sir Tristram, I wot
not whither I shall ride but as the damosel will lead me. Sir,
said Sir Gawaine, ye shall not ride with her, for she and her
lady did never good, but ill. And then Sir Gawaine pulled out
his sword and said: Damosel, but if thou tell me anon <396>for
what cause thou leadest this knight with thee thou shalt die for
it right anon: I know all your lady's treason, and yours.
Mercy, Sir Gawaine, she said, and if ye will save my life I will
tell you. Say on, said Sir Gawaine, and thou shalt have thy
life. Sir, she said, Queen Morgan le Fay, my lady, hath ordained
a thirty ladies to seek and espy after Sir Launcelot or Sir
Tristram, and by the trains of these ladies, who that may first
meet any of these two knights they should turn them unto Morgan
le Fay's castle, saying that they should do deeds of worship; and
if any of the two knights came there, there be thirty knights
lying and watching in a tower to wait upon Sir Launcelot or upon
Sir Tristram. Fie for shame, said Sir Gawaine, that ever such
false treason should be wrought or used in a queen, and a king's
sister, and a king and queen's daughter.

CHAPTER XXVI

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

SIR, said Sir Gawaine, will ye stand with me, and we will see the
malice of these thirty knights. Sir, said Sir Tristram, go ye to
them, an it please you, and ye shall see I will not fail you, for
it is not long ago since I and a fellow met with thirty knights
of that queen's fellowship; and God speed us so that we may win
worship. So then Sir Gawaine and Sir Tristram rode toward the
castle where Morgan le Fay was, and ever Sir Gawaine deemed well
that he was Sir Tristram de Liones, because he heard that two
knights had slain and beaten thirty knights. And when they came
afore the castle Sir Gawaine spake on high and said: Queen
Morgan le Fay, send out your knights that ye have laid in a watch
for Sir Launcelot and for Sir Tristram. Now, said Sir Gawaine, I
know your false treason, and through all places where that I ride
men shall know of your false treason; and now let see, said Sir
<397>Gawaine, whether ye dare come out of your castle, ye thirty
knights. Then the queen spake and all the thirty knights at
once, and said: Sir Gawaine, full well wottest thou what thou
dost and sayest; for by God we know thee passing well, but all
that thou speakest and dost, thou sayest it upon pride of that
good knight that is there with thee. For there be some of us
that know full well the hands of that knight over all well. And
wit thou well, Sir Gawaine, it is more for his sake than for
thine that we will not come out of this castle. For wit ye well,
Sir Gawaine, the knight that beareth the arms of Cornwall, we
know him and what he is.

Then Sir Gawaine and Sir Tristram departed and rode on their ways
a day or two together; and there by adventure, they met with Sir
Kay and Sir Sagramore le Desirous. And then they were glad of
Sir Gawaine, and he of them, but they wist not what he was with
the shield of Cornwall, but by deeming. And thus they rode
together a day or two. And then they were ware of Sir Breuse
Saunce Pite chasing a lady for to have slain her, for he had
slain her paramour afore. Hold you all still, said Sir Gawaine,
and show none of you forth, and ye shall see me reward yonder
false knight; for an he espy you he is so well horsed that he
will escape away. And then Sir Gawaine rode betwixt Sir Breuse
and the lady, and said: False knight, leave her, and have ado
with me. When Sir Breuse saw no more but Sir Gawaine he feutred
his spear, and Sir Gawaine against him; and there Sir Breuse
overthrew Sir Gawaine, and then he rode over him, and overthwart
him twenty times to have destroyed him; and when Sir Tristram saw
him do so villainous a deed, he hurled out against him. And when
Sir Breuse saw him with the shield of Cornwall he knew him well
that it was Sir Tristram, and then he fled, and Sir Tristram
followed after him; and Sir Breuse Saunce Pite was so horsed that
he went his way quite, and Sir Tristram followed him long, for he
would fain have been avenged upon him. And so when he had long
chased him, he saw a fair well, and thither he rode to repose
him, and tied his horse till a tree.

<398>
CHAPTER XXVII

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

AND then he pulled off his helm and washed his visage and his
hands, and so he fell asleep. In the meanwhile came a damosel
that had sought Sir Tristram many ways and days within this land.
And when she came to the well she looked upon him, and had
forgotten him as in remembrance of Sir Tristram, but by his horse
she knew him, that hight Passe-Brewel that had been Sir
Tristram's horse many years. For when he was mad in the forest
Sir Fergus kept him. So this lady, Dame Bragwaine, abode still
till he was awake. So when she saw him wake she saluted him, and
he her again, for either knew other of old acquaintance; then she
told him how she had sought him long and broad, and there she
told him how she had letters from Queen La Beale Isoud. Then
anon Sir Tristram read them, and wit ye well he was glad, for
therein was many a piteous complaint. Then Sir Tristram said:
Lady Bragwaine, ye shall ride with me till that tournament be
done at the Castle of Maidens, and then shall bear letters and
tidings with you. And then Sir Tristram took his horse and
sought lodging, and there he met with a good ancient knight and
prayed him to lodge with him. Right so came Gouvernail unto Sir
Tristram, that was glad of that lady. So this old knight's name
was Sir Pellounes, and he told of the great tournament that
should be at the Castle of Maidens. And there Sir Launcelot and
thirty-two knights of his blood had ordained shields of Cornwall.
And right so there came one unto Sir Pellounes, and told him that
Sir Persides de Bloise was come home; then that knight held up
his hands and thanked God of his coming home. And there Sir
Pellounes told Sir Tristram that in two years he had not seen his
son, Sir Persides. Sir, said Sir Tristram, I know your son well
enough for a good knight.

<399>
So on a time Sir Tristram and Sir Persides came to their lodging
both at once, and so they unarmed them, and put upon them their
clothing. And then these two knights each welcomed other. And
when Sir Persides understood that Sir Tristram was of Cornwall,
he said he was once in Cornwall: And there I jousted afore King
Mark; and so it happed me at that time to overthrow ten knights,
and then came to me Sir Tristram de Liones and overthrew me, and
took my lady away from me, and that shall I never forget, but I
shall remember me an ever I see my time. Ah, said Sir Tristram,
now I understand that ye hate Sir Tristram. What deem ye, ween
ye that Sir Tristram is not able to withstand your malice? Yes,
said Sir Persides, I know well that Sir Tristram is a noble
knight and a much better knight than I, yet shall I not owe him
my good will. Right as they stood thus talking at a bay-window
of that castle, they saw many knights riding to and fro toward
the tournament. And then was Sir Tristram ware of a likely
knight riding upon a great black horse, and a black-covered
shield. What knight is that, said Sir Tristram, with the black
horse and the black shield? he seemeth a good knight. I know him
well, said Sir Persides, he is one of the best knights of the
world. Then is it Sir Launcelot, said Tristram. Nay, said Sir
Persides, it is Sir Palomides, that is yet unchristened.

CHAPTER XXVIII

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

THEN they saw much people of the country salute Sir Palomides.
And within a while after there came a squire of the castle, that
told Sir Pellounes that was lord of that castle, that a knight
with a black shield had smitten down thirteen knights. Fair
brother, said Sir Tristram unto Sir Persides, let us cast upon us
cloaks, and let us go see <400>the play. Not so, said Sir
Persides, we will not go like knaves thither, but we will ride
like men and good knights to withstand our enemies. So they
armed them, and took their horses and great spears, and thither
they went thereas many knights assayed themself before the
tournament. And anon Sir Palomides saw Sir Persides, and then he
sent a squire unto him and said: Go thou to the yonder knight
with the green shield and therein a lion of gold, and say him I
require him to joust with me, and tell him that my name is Sir
Palomides. When Sir Persides understood that request of Sir
Palomides, he made him ready, and there anon they met together,
but Sir Persides had a fall. Then Sir Tristram dressed him to be
revenged upon Sir Palomides, and that saw Sir Palomides that was
ready and so was not Sir Tristram, and took him at an advantage
and smote him over his horse's tail when he had no spear in his
rest. Then stert up Sir Tristram and took his horse lightly, and
was wroth out of measure, and sore ashamed of that fall. Then
Sir Tristram sent unto Sir Palomides by Gouvernail, and prayed
him to joust with him at his request. Nay, said Sir Palomides,
as at this time I will not joust with that knight, for I know him
better than he weeneth. And if he be wroth he may right it to-
morn at the Castle of Maidens, where he may see me and many other
knights.

With that came Sir Dinadan, and when he saw Sir Tristram wroth he
list not to jape. Lo, said Sir Dinadan, here may a man prove, be
a man never so good yet may he have a fall, and he was never so
wise but he might be overseen, and he rideth well that never
fell. So Sir Tristram was passing wroth, and said to Sir
Persides and to Sir Dinadan: I will revenge me. Right so as
they stood talking there, there came by Sir Tristram a likely
knight riding passing soberly and heavily with a black shield.
What knight is that? said Sir Tristram unto Sir Persides. I know
him well, said Sir Persides, for his name is Sir Briant of North
Wales; so he passed on among other knights of North Wales. And
there came <401>in Sir Launcelot du Lake with a shield of the
arms of Cornwall, and he sent a squire unto Sir Briant, and
required him to joust with him. Well, said Sir Briant, sithen I
am required to joust I will do what I may; and there Sir
Launcelot smote down Sir Briant from his horse a great fall. And
then Sir Tristram marvelled what knight he was that bare the
shield of Cornwall. Whatsoever he be, said Sir Dinadan, I
warrant you he is of King Ban's blood, the which be knights of
the most noble prowess in the world, for to account so many for
so many. Then there came two knights of Northgalis, that one
hight Hew de la Montaine, and the other Sir Madok de la Montaine,
and they challenged Sir Launcelot foot-hot. Sir Launcelot not
refusing them but made him ready, with one spear he smote them
down both over their horses' croups; and so Sir Launcelot rode
his way. By the good lord, said Sir Tristram, he is a good
knight that beareth the shield of Cornwall, and meseemeth he
rideth in the best manner that ever I saw knight ride.

Then the King of Northgalis rode unto Sir Palomides and prayed
him heartily for his sake to joust with that knight that hath
done us of Northgalis despite. Sir, said Sir Palomides, I am
full loath to have ado with that knight, and cause why is, for as
to-morn the great tournament shall be; and therefore I will keep
myself fresh by my will. Nay, said the King of Northgalis, I
pray you require him of jousts. Sir, said Sir Palomides, I will
joust at your request, and require that knight to joust with me,
and often I have seen a man have a fall at his own request.

CHAPTER XXIX

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

THEN Sir Palomides sent unto Sir Launcelot a squire, and required
him of jousts. Fair fellow, said Sir Launcelot, <402>tell me thy
lord's name. Sir, said the squire, my lord's name is Sir
Palomides, the good knight. In good hour, said Sir Launcelot,
for there is no knight that I saw this seven years that I had
liefer ado withal than with him. And so either knights made them
ready with two great spears. Nay, said Sir Dinadan, ye shall see
that Sir Palomides will quit him right well. It may be so, said
Sir Tristram, but I undertake that knight with the shield of
Cornwall shall give him a fall. I believe it not, said Sir
Dinadan. Right so they spurred their horses and feutred their
spears, and either hit other, and Sir Palomides brake a spear
upon Sir Launcelot, and he sat and moved not; but Sir Launcelot
smote him so lightly that he made his horse to avoid the saddle,
and the stroke brake his shield and the hauberk, and had he not
fallen he had been slain. How now, said Sir Tristram, I wist
well by the manner of their riding both that Sir Palomides should
have a fall.

Right so Sir Launcelot rode his way, and rode to a well to drink
and to repose him, and they of Northgalis espied him whither he
rode; and then there followed him twelve knights for to have
mischieved him, for this cause that upon the morn at the
tournament of the Castle of Maidens that he should not win the
victory. So they came upon Sir Launcelot suddenly, and unnethe
he might put upon him his helm and take his horse, but they were
in hands with him; and then Sir Launcelot gat his spear, and rode
through them, and there he slew a knight and brake a spear in his
body. Then he drew his sword and smote upon the right hand and
upon the left hand, so that within a few strokes he had slain
other three knights, and the remnant that abode he wounded them
sore all that did abide. Thus Sir Launcelot escaped from his
enemies of North Wales, and then Sir Launcelot rode his way till
a friend, and lodged him till on the morn; for he would not the
first day have ado in the tournament
because of his great labour. And on the first day he was with
King Arthur thereas he was set on high upon a scaffold to discern
who was best worthy of his deeds. So <403>Sir Launcelot was with
King Arthur, and jousted not the first day.

CHAPTER XXX

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

NOW turn we unto Sir Tristram de Liones, that commanded
Gouvernail, his servant, to ordain him a black shield with none
other remembrance therein. And so Sir Persides and Sir Tristram
departed from their host Sir Pellounes, and they rode early
toward the tournament, and then they drew them to King Carados'
side, of Scotland; and anon knights began the field what of King
Northgalis' part, and what of King Carados' part, and there began
great party. Then there was hurling and rashing. Right so came
in Sir Persides and Sir Tristram and so they did fare that they
put the King of Northgalis aback. Then came in Sir Bleoberis de
Ganis and Sir Gaheris with them of Northgalis, and then was Sir
Persides smitten down and almost slain, for more than forty horse
men went over him. For Sir Bleoberis did great deeds of arms,
and Sir Gaheris failed him not. When Sir Tristram beheld them,
and saw them do such deeds of arms, he marvelled what they were.
Also Sir Tristram thought shame that Sir Persides was so done to;
and then he gat a great spear in his hand, and then he rode to
Sir Gaheris and smote him down from his horse. And then was Sir
Bleoberis wroth, and gat a spear and rode against Sir Tristram in
great ire; and there Sir Tristram met with him, and smote Sir
Bleoberis from his horse So then the King with the Hundred
Knights was wroth, and he horsed Sir Bleoberis and Sir Gaheris
again, and there began a great medley; and ever Sir Tristram held
them passing short, and ever Sir Bleoberis was passing busy upon
Sir Tristram; and there came Sir Dinadan against Sir Tristram,
and Sir Tristram gave him such a buffet that he swooned <404>in
his saddle. Then anon Sir Dinadan came to Sir Tristram and said:
Sir, I know thee better than thou weenest; but here I promise
thee my troth I will never come against thee more, for I promise
thee that sword of thine shall never come on mine helm.

With that came Sir Bleoberis, and Sir Tristram gave him such a
buffet that down he laid his head; and then he caught him so sore
by the helm that he pulled him under his horse's feet. And then
King Arthur blew to lodging. Then Sir Tristram departed to his
pavilion, and Sir Dinadan rode with him; and Sir Persides and
King Arthur then, and the kings upon both parties, marvelled what
knight that was with the black shield. Many said their advice,
and some knew him for Sir Tristram, and held their peace and
would nought say. So that first day King Arthur, and all the
kings and lords that were judges, gave Sir Tristram the prize;
howbeit they knew him not, but named him the Knight with the
Black Shield.

CHAPTER XXXI

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

THEN upon the morn Sir Palomides returned from the King of
Northgalis, and rode to King Arthur's side, where was King
Carados, and the King of Ireland, and Sir Launcelot's kin, and
Sir Gawaine's kin. So Sir Palomides sent the damosel unto Sir
Tristram that he sent to seek him when he was out of his mind in
the forest, and this damosel asked Sir Tristram what he was and
what was his name? As for that, said Sir Tristram, tell Sir
Palomides ye shall not wit as at this time unto the time I have
broken two spears upon him. But let him wit thus much, said Sir
Tristram, that I am the same knight that he smote down in over-
evening[*10] at the tourna<405>ment; and tell him plainly on what
party that Sir Palomides be I will be of the contrary party.
Sir, said the damosel, ye shall understand that Sir Palomides
will be on King Arthur's side, where the most noble knights of
the world be. In the name of God, said Sir Tristram, then will I
be with the King of Northgalis, because Sir Palomides will be on
King Arthur's side, and else I would not but for his sake. So
when King Arthur was come they blew unto the field; and then
there began a great party, and so King Carados jousted with the
King of the Hundred Knights, and there King Carados had a fall:
then was there hurling and rushing, and right so came in knights
of King Arthur's, and they bare aback the King of Northgalis'
knights.

[*10] ``the evening afore,'' W. de W.

Then Sir Tristram came in, and began so roughly and so bigly that
there was none might withstand him, and thus Sir Tristram dured
long. And at the last Sir Tristram fell among the fellowship of
King Ban, and there fell upon him Sir Bors de Ganis, and Sir
Ector de Maris, and Sir Blamore de Ganis, and many other knights.
And then Sir Tristram smote on the right hand and on the left
hand, that all lords and ladies spake of his noble deeds. But at
the last Sir Tristram should have had the worse had not the King
with the Hundred Knights been. And then he came with his
fellowship and rescued Sir Tristram, and brought him away from
those knights that bare the shields of Cornwall. And then Sir
Tristram saw another fellowship by themself, and there were a
forty knights together, and Sir Kay, the Seneschal, was their
governor. Then Sir Tristram rode in amongst them, and there he
smote down Sir Kay from his horse; and there he fared among those
knights like a greyhound among conies.

Then Sir Launcelot found a knight that was sore wounded upon the
head. Sir, said Sir Launcelot, who wounded you so sore? Sir, he
said, a knight that beareth a black shield, and I may curse the
time that ever I met with him, for he is a devil and no man. So
Sir Launcelot departed from him and thought to meet with Sir
Tristram, <406>and so he rode with his sword drawn in his hand to
seek Sir Tristram; and then he espied him how he hurled here and
there, and at every stroke Sir Tristram wellnigh smote down a
knight. O mercy Jesu! said the king, sith the times I bare arms
saw I never no knight do so marvellous deeds of arms. And if I
should set upon this knight, said Sir Launcelot to himself, I did
shame to myself, and therewithal Sir Launcelot put up his sword.
And then the King with the Hundred Knights and an hundred more of
North Wales set upon the twenty of Sir Launcelot's kin: and they
twenty knights held them ever together as wild swine, and none
would fail other. And so when Sir Tristram beheld the noblesse
or these twenty knights he marvelled of their good deeds, for he
saw by their fare and by their rule that they had liefer die than
avoid the field. Now Jesu, said Sir Tristram, well may he be
valiant and full of prowess that hath such a sort of noble
knights unto his kin, and full like is he to be a noble man that
is their leader and governor. He meant it by Sir Launcelot du
Lake. So when Sir Tristram had beholden them long he thought
shame to see two hundred knights battering upon twenty knights.
Then Sir Tristram rode unto the King with the Hundred Knights and
said: Sir, leave your fighting with those twenty knights, for ye
win no worship of them, ye be so many and they so few; and wit ye
well they will not out of the field I see by their cheer and
countenance; and worship get ye none an ye slay them. Therefore
leave your fighting with them, for I to increase my worship I
will ride to the twenty knights and help them with all my might
and power. Nay, said the King with the Hundred Knights, ye shall
not do so; now I see your courage and courtesy I will withdraw my
knights for your pleasure, for evermore a good knight will favour
another, and like will draw to like.

<407>
CHAPTER XXXII

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

THEN the King with the Hundred Knights withdrew his knights. And
all this while, and long to-fore, Sir Launcelot had watched upon
Sir Tristram with a very purpose to have fellowshipped with him.
And then suddenly Sir Tristram, Sir Dinadan, and Gouvernail, his
man, rode their way into the forest, that no man perceived where
they went. So then King Arthur blew unto lodging, and gave the
King of Northgalis the prize because Sir Tristram was upon his
side. Then Sir Launcelot rode here and there, so wood as lion
that fauted his fill, because he had lost Sir Tristram, and so he
returned unto King Arthur. And then in all the field was a noise
that with the wind it might be heard two mile thence, how the
lords and ladies cried: The Knight with the Black Shield hath
won the field. Alas, said King Arthur, where is that knight
become? It is shame to all those in the field so to let him
escape away from you; but with gentleness and courtesy ye might
have brought him unto me to the Castle of Maidens. Then the
noble King Arthur went unto his knights and comforted them in the
best wise that he could, and said: My fair fellows, be not
dismayed, howbeit ye have lost the field this day. And many were
hurt and sore wounded, and many were whole. My fellows, said
King Arthur, look that ye be of good cheer, for to-morn I will be
in the field with you and revenge you of your enemies. So that
night King Arthur and his knights reposed themself.

The damosel that came from La Beale Isoud unto Sir Tristram, all
the while the tournament was a-doing she was with Queen Guenever,
and ever the queen asked her for what cause she came into that
country. Madam, she answered, I come for none other cause but
from my lady <408>La Beale Isoud to wit of your welfare. For in
no wise she would not tell the queen that she came for Sir
Tristram's sake. So this lady, Dame Bragwaine, took her leave of
Queen Guenever, and she rode after Sir Tristram. And as she rode
through the forest she heard a great cry; then she commanded her
squire to go into the forest to wit what was that noise. And so
he came to a well, and there he found a knight bounden till a
tree crying as he had been wood, and his horse and his harness
standing by him. And when he espied that squire, therewith he
abraid and brake himself loose, and took his sword in his hand,
and ran to have slain the squire. Then he took his horse and
fled all that ever he might unto Dame Bragwaine, and told her of
his adventure. Then she rode unto Sir Tristram's pavilion, and
told Sir Tristram what adventure she had found in the forest.
Alas, said Sir Tristram, upon my head there is some good knight
at mischief.

Then Sir Tristram took his horse and his sword and rode thither,
and there he heard how the knight complained unto himself and
said: I, woful knight Sir Palomides, what misadventure befalleth
me, that thus am defoiled with falsehood and treason, through Sir
Bors and Sir Ector. Alas, he said, why live I so long! And then
he gat his sword in his hands, and made many strange signs and
tokens; and so through his raging he threw his sword into that
fountain. Then Sir Palomides wailed and wrang his hands. And at
the last for pure sorrow he ran into that fountain, over his
belly, and sought after his sword. Then Sir Tristram saw that,
and ran upon Sir Palomides, and held him in his arms fast. What
art thou, said Palomides, that holdeth me so? I am a man of this
forest that would thee none harm. Alas, said Sir Palomides, I
may never win worship where Sir Tristram is; for ever where he is
an I be there, then get I no worship; and if he be away for the
most part I have the gree, unless that Sir Launcelot be there or
Sir Lamorak. Then Sir Palomides said: Once in Ireland Sir
Tristram put me to the worse, and another time in Cornwall, and
in other places in this land. What would ye do, said Sir
<409>Tristram, an ye had Sir Tristram? I would fight with him,
said Sir Palomides, and ease my heart upon him; and yet, to say
thee sooth, Sir Tristram is the gentlest knight in this world
living. What will ye do, said Sir Tristram, will ye go with me
to your lodging? Nay, said he, I will go to the King with the
Hundred Knights, for he rescued me from Sir Bors de Ganis and Sir
Ector and else had I been slain traitorly. Sir Tristram said him
such kind words that Sir Palomides went with him to his lodging.
Then Gouvernail went to-fore, and charged Dame Bragwaine to go
out of the way to her lodging And bid ye Sir Persides that he
make him no quarrels. And so they rode together till they came
to Sir Tristram's pavilion, and there Sir Palomides had all the
cheer that might be had all that night. But in no wise Sir
Palomides might not know what was Sir Tristram; and so after
supper they yede to rest, and Sir Tristram for great travail
slept till it was day. And Sir Palomides might not sleep for
anguish; and in the dawning of the day he took his horse privily,
and rode his way unto Sir Gaheris and unto Sir Sagramore le
Desirous, where they were in their pavilions; for they three were
fellows at the beginning of the tournament. And then upon the
morn the king blew unto the tournament upon the third day.

CHAPTER XXXIII

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

SO the King of Northgalis and the King with the Hundred Knights,
they two encountered with King Carados and with the King of
Ireland; and there the King with the Hundred Knights smote down
King Carados, and the King of Northgalis smote down the King of
Ireland. With that came in Sir Palomides, and when he came he
made great work, for by his indented <410>shield he was well
known. So came in King Arthur, and did great deeds of arms
together, and put the King of Northgalis and the King with the
Hundred Knights to the worse. With this came in Sir Tristram
with his black shield, and anon he jousted with Sir Palomides,
and there by fine force Sir Tristram smote Sir Palomides over his
horse's croup. Then King Arthur cried: Knight with the Black
Shield, make thee ready to me, and in the same wise Sir Tristram
smote King Arthur. And then by force of King Arthur's knights
the King and Sir Palomides were horsed again. Then King Arthur
with a great eager heart he gat a spear in his hand, and there
upon the one side he smote Sir Tristram over his horse. Then
foot-hot Sir Palomides came upon Sir Tristram, as he was upon
foot, to have overridden him. Then Sir Tristram was ware of him,
and there he stooped aside, and with great ire he gat him by the
arm, and pulled him down from his horse. Then Sir Palomides
lightly arose, and then they dashed together mightily with their
swords; and many kings, queens, and lords, stood and beheld them.
And at the last Sir Tristram smote Sir Palomides upon the helm
three mighty strokes, and at every stroke that he gave him he
said: This for Sir Tristram's sake. With that Sir Palomides
fell to the earth grovelling.

Then came the King with the Hundred Knights, and brought Sir
Tristram an horse, and so was he horsed again. By then was Sir
Palomides horsed, and with great ire he jousted upon Sir Tristram
with his spear as it was in the rest, and gave him a great dash
with his sword. Then Sir Tristram avoided his spear, and gat him
by the neck with his both hands, and pulled him clean out of his
saddle, and so he bare him afore him the length of ten spears,
and then in the presence of them all he let him fall at his
adventure. Then Sir Tristram was ware of King Arthur with a
naked sword in his hand, and with his spear Sir Tristram ran upon
King Arthur; and then King Arthur boldly abode him and with his
sword he smote a-two his spear, and therewithal Sir Tristram
stonied; and so King Arthur gave him three or four <411>strokes
or he might get out his sword, and at the last Sir Tristram drew
his sword and [either] assailed other passing hard. With that
the great press departed [them]. Then Sir Tristram rode here and
there and did his great pain, that eleven of the good knights of
the blood of King Ban, that was of Sir Launcelot's kin, that day
Sir Tristram smote down; that all the estates marvelled of his
great deeds and all cried upon the Knight with the Black Shield.

CHAPTER XXXIV

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

THEN this cry was so large that Sir Launcelot heard it. And then
he gat a great spear in his hand and came towards the cry. Then
Sir Launcelot cried: The Knight with the Black Shield, make thee
ready to joust with me. When Sir Tristram heard him say so he
gat his spear in his hand, and either abashed down their heads,
and came together as thunder; and Sir Tristram's spear brake in
pieces, and Sir Launcelot by malfortune struck Sir Tristram on
the side a deep wound nigh to the death; but yet Sir Tristram
avoided not his saddle, and so the spear brake. Therewithal Sir
Tristram that was wounded gat out his sword, and he rushed to Sir
Launcelot, and gave him three great strokes upon the helm that
the fire sprang thereout, and Sir Launcelot abashed his head
lowly toward his saddle-bow. And therewithal Sir Tristram
departed from the field, for he felt him so wounded that he
weened he should have died; and Sir Dinadan espied him and
followed him into the forest. Then Sir Launcelot abode and did
many marvellous deeds.

So when Sir Tristram was departed by the forest's side he
alighted, and unlaced his harness and freshed his wound; then
weened Sir Dinadan that he should have died. Nay, nay, said Sir
Tristram, Dinadan never dread <412>thee, for I am heart-whole,
and of this wound I shall soon be whole, by the mercy of God. By
that Sir Dinadan was ware where came Palomides riding straight
upon them. And then Sir Tristram was ware that Sir Palomides
came to have destroyed him. And so Sir Dinadan gave him warning,
and said: Sir Tristram, my lord, ye are so sore wounded that ye
may not have ado with him, therefore I will ride against him and
do to him what I may, and if I be slain ye may pray for my soul;
and in the meanwhile ye may withdraw you and go into the castle,
or in the forest, that he shall not meet with you. Sir Tristram
smiled and said: I thank you, Sir Dinadan, of your good will,
but ye shall wit that I am able to handle him. And then anon
hastily he armed him, and took his horse, and a great spear in
his hand, and said to Sir Dinadan: Adieu; and rode toward Sir
Palomides a soft pace. Then when Sir Palomides saw that, he made
countenance to amend his horse, but he did it for this cause, for
he abode Sir Gaheris that came after him. And when he was come
he rode toward Sir Tristram. Then Sir Tristram sent unto Sir
Palomides, and required him to joust with him; and if he smote
down Sir Palomides he would do no more to him; and if it so
happened that Sir Palomides smote down Sir Tristram, he bade him
do his utterance. So they were accorded. Then they met
together, and Sir Tristram smote down Sir Palomides that he had a
grievous fall, so that he lay still as he had been dead. And
then Sir Tristram ran upon Sir Gaheris, and he would not have
jousted; but whether he would or not Sir Tristram smote him over
his horse's croup, that he lay still as though he had been dead.
And then Sir Tristram rode his way and left Sir Persides' squire
within the pavilions, and Sir Tristram and Sir Dinadan rode to an
old knight's place to lodge them. And that old knight had five
sons at the tournament, for whom he prayed God heartily for their
coming home. And so, as the French book saith, they came home
all five well beaten.

And when Sir Tristram departed into the forest Sir <413>Launcelot
held alway the stour like hard, as a man araged that took no heed
to himself, and wit ye well there was many a noble knight against
him. And when King Arthur saw Sir Launcelot do so marvellous
deeds of arms he then armed him, and took his horse and his
armour, and rode into the field to help Sir Launcelot; and so
many knights came in with King Arthur. And to make short tale in
conclusion, the King of Northgalis and the King of the Hundred
Knights were put to the worse; and because Sir Launcelot abode
and was the last in the field the prize was given him. But Sir
Launcelot would neither for king, queen, nor knight, have the
prize, but where the cry was cried through the field: Sir
Launcelot, Sir Launcelot hath won the field this day, Sir
Launcelot let make another cry contrary: Sir Tristram hath won
the field, for he began first, and last he hath endured, and so
hath he done the first day, the second, and the third day.

CHAPTER XXXV

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

THEN all the estates and degrees high and low said of Sir
Launcelot great worship, for the honour that he did unto Sir
Tristram; and for that honour doing to Sir Tristram he was at
that time more praised and renowned than an he had overthrown
five hundred knights; and all the people wholly for this
gentleness, first the estates both high and low, and after the
commonalty cried at once: Sir Launcelot hath won the field
whosoever say nay. Then was Sir Launcelot wroth and ashamed, and
so therewithal he rode to King Arthur. Alas, said the king, we
are all dismayed that Sir Tristram is thus departed from us. By
God, said King Arthur, he is one of the noblest knights that ever
I saw hold spear or sword in hand, and the most courteoust knight
in his <414>fighting; for full hard I saw him, said King Arthur,
when he smote Sir Palomides upon the helm thrice, that he abashed
his helm with his strokes, and also he said: Here is a stroke
for Sir Tristram, and thus thrice he said. Then King Arthur, Sir
Launcelot, and Sir Dodinas le Savage took their horses to seek
Sir Tristram, and by the means of Sir Persides he had told King
Arthur where Sir Tristram was in his pavilion. But when they
came there, Sir Tristram and Sir Dinadan were gone.

Then King Arthur and Sir Launcelot were heavy, and returned again
to the Castle of Maidens making great dole for the hurt of Sir
Tristram, and his sudden departing. So God me help, said King
Arthur, I am more heavy that I cannot meet with him than for all
the hurts that all my knights have had at the tournament. Right
so came Sir Gaheris and told King Arthur how Sir Tristram had
smitten down Sir Palomides, and it was at Sir Palomides' own
request. Alas, said King Arthur, that was great dishonour to Sir
Palomides, inasmuch as Sir Tristram was sore wounded, and now may
we all, kings, and knights, and men of worship, say that Sir
Tristram may be called a noble knight, and one of the best
knights that ever I saw the days of my life. For I will that ye
all, kings and knights, know, said King Arthur, that I never saw
knight do so marvellously as he hath done these three days; for
he was the first that began and that longest held on, save this
last day. And though he was hurt, it was a manly adventure of
two noble knights, and when two noble men encounter needs must
the one have the worse, like as God will suffer at that time. As
for me, said Sir Launcelot, for all the lands that ever my father
left me I would not have hurt Sir Tristram an I had known him at
that time; that I hurt him was for I saw not his shield. For an
I had seen his black shield, I would not have meddled with him
for many causes; for late he did as much for me as ever did
knight, and that is well known that he had ado with thirty
knights, and no help save Sir Dinadan. And one thing shall I
promise, said Sir Launcelot, Sir Palomides <415>shall repent it
as in his unkindly dealing for to follow that noble knight that I
by mishap hurted thus. Sir Launcelot said all the worship that
might be said by Sir Tristram. Then King Arthur made a great
feast to all that would come. And thus we let pass King Arthur,
and a little we will turn unto Sir Palomides, that after he had a
fall of Sir Tristram, he was nigh-hand araged out of his wit for
despite of Sir Tristram. And so he followed him by adventure.
And as he came by a river, in his woodness he would have made his
horse to have leapt over; and the horse failed footing and fell
in the river, wherefore Sir Palomides was adread lest he should
have been drowned; and then he avoided his horse, and swam to the
land, and let his horse go down by adventure.

CHAPTER XXXVI

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

AND when he came to the land he took off his harness, and sat
roaring and crying as a man out of his mind. Right so came a
damosel even by Sir Palomides, that was sent from Sir Gawaine and
his brother unto Sir Mordred, that lay sick in the same place
with that old knight where Sir Tristram was. For, as the French
book saith, Sir Persides hurt so Sir Mordred a ten days afore;
and had it hot been for the love of Sir Gawaine and his brother,
Sir Persides had slain Sir Mordred. And so this damosel came by
Sir Palomides, and she and he had language together, the which
pleased neither of them; and so the damosel rode her ways till
she came to the old knight's place, and there she told that old
knight how she met with the woodest knight by adventure that ever
she met withal. What bare he in his shield? said Sir Tristram.
It was indented with white and black, said <416>the damosel. Ah,
said Sir Tristram, that was Sir Palomides, the good knight. For
well I know him, said Sir Tristram, for one of the best knights
living in this realm. Then that old knight took a little
hackney, and rode for Sir Palomides, and brought him unto his own
manor; and full well knew Sir Tristram Sir Palomides, but he said
but little, for at that time Sir Tristram was walking upon his
feet, and well amended of his hurts; and always when Sir
Palomides saw Sir Tristram he would behold him full marvellously,
and ever him seemed that he had seen him. Then would he say unto
Sir Dinadan: An ever I may meet with Sir Tristram he shall not
escape mine hands. I marvel, said Sir Dinadan, that ye boast
behind Sir Tristram, for it is but late that he was in your
hands, and ye in his hands; why would ye not hold him when ye had
him? for I saw myself twice or thrice that ye gat but little
worship of Sir Tristram. Then was Sir Palomides ashamed. So
leave we them a little while in the old castle with the old
knight Sir Darras.

Now shall we speak of King Arthur, that said to Sir Launcelot:
Had not ye been we had not lost Sir Tristram, for he was here
daily unto the time ye met with him, and in an evil time, said
Arthur, ye encountered with him. My lord Arthur, said Launcelot,
ye put upon me that I should be cause of his departition; God
knoweth it was against my will. But when men be hot in deeds of
arms oft they hurt their friends as well as their foes. And my
lord, said Sir Launcelot, ye shall understand that Sir Tristram
is a man that I am loath to offend, for he hath done for me more
than ever I did for him as yet. But then Sir Launcelot made
bring forth a book: and then Sir Launcelot said: Here we are ten
knights that will swear upon a book never to rest one night where
we rest another this twelvemonth until that we find Sir Tristram.
And as for me, said Sir Launcelot, I promise you upon this book
that an I may meet with him, either with fairness or foulness I
shall bring him to this court, or else I shall die therefore.
And the names of these <417>ten knights that had undertaken this
quest were these following: First was Sir Launcelot, Sir Ector
de Maris, Sir Bors de Ganis, and Bleoberis, and Sir Blamore de
Ganis, and Lucan the Butler, Sir Uwaine, Sir Galihud Lionel, and
Galiodin. So these ten noble knights departed from the court of
King Arthur, and so they rode upon their quest together until
they came to a cross where departed four ways, and there departed
the fellowship in four to seek Sir Tristram.

And as Sir Launcelot rode by adventure he met with Dame Bragwaine
that was sent into that country to seek Sir Tristram, and she
fled as fast as her palfrey might go. So Sir Launcelot met with
her and asked her why she fled. Ah, fair knight, said Dame
Bragwaine, I flee for dread of my life, for here followeth me Sir
Breuse Saunce Pite to slay me. Hold you nigh me, said Sir
Launcelot. Then when Sir Launcelot saw Sir Breuse Saunce Pite,
Sir Launcelot cried unto him, and said: False knight destroyer
of ladies and damosels, now thy last days be come. When Sir
Breuse Saunce Pite saw Sir Launcelot's shield he knew it well,
for at that time he bare not the arms of Cornwall, but he bare
his own shield. And then Sir Breuse fled, and Sir Launcelot
followed after him. But Sir Breuse was so well horsed that when
him list to flee he might well flee, and also abide when him
list. And then Sir Launcelot returned unto Dame Bragwaine, and
she thanked him of his great labour.

CHAPTER XXXVII

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

NOW will we speak of Sir Lucan the butler, that by fortune he
came riding to the same place thereas was Sir Tristram, and in he
came in none other intent but to ask harbour. Then the porter
asked what was his name. Tell your lord that my name is Sir
Lucan, the butler, a <418>Knight of the Round Table. So the
porter went unto Sir Darras, lord of the place, and told him who
was there to ask harbour. Nay, nay, said Sir Daname, that was
nephew to Sir Darras, say him that he shall not be lodged here,
but let him wit that I, Sir Daname, will meet with him anon, and
bid him make him ready. So Sir Daname came forth on horseback,
and there they met together with spears, and Sir Lucan smote down
Sir Daname over his horse's croup, and then he fled into that
place, and Sir Lucan rode after him, and asked after him many
times.

Then Sir Dinadan said to Sir Tristram: It is shame to see the
lord's cousin of this place defoiled. Abide, said Sir Tristram,
and I shall redress it. And in the meanwhile Sir Dinadan was on
horseback, and he jousted with Lucan the butler, and there Sir
Lucan smote Dinadan through the thick of the thigh, and so he
rode his way; and Sir Tristram was wroth that Sir Dinadan was
hurt, and followed after, and thought to avenge him; and within a
while he overtook Sir Lucan, and bade him turn; and so they met
together so that Sir Tristram hurt Sir Lucan passing sore and
gave him a fall. With that came Sir Uwaine, a gentle knight, and
when he saw Sir Lucan so hurt he called Sir Tristram to joust
with him. Fair knight, said Sir Tristram, tell me your name I
require you. Sir knight, wit ye well my name is Sir Uwaine le
Fise de Roy Ureine. Ah, said Sir Tristram, by my will I would
not have ado with you at no time. Ye shall not so, said Sir
Uwaine, but ye shall have ado with me. And then Sir Tristram saw
none other bote, but rode against him, and overthrew Sir Uwaine
and hurt him in the side, and so he departed unto his lodging
again. And when Sir Dinadan understood that Sir Tristram had
hurt Sir Lucan he would have ridden after Sir Lucan for to have
slain him, but Sir Tristram would not suffer him. Then Sir
Uwaine let ordain an horse litter, and brought Sir Lucan to the
abbey of Ganis, and the castle thereby hight the Castle of Ganis,
of the which Sir Bleoberis was lord. And at that castle Sir
Launcelot promised all his fellows to meet in the quest of Sir
Tristram.

<419>
So when Sir Tristram was come to his lodging there came a damosel
that told Sir Darras that three of his sons were slain at that
tournament, and two grievously wounded that they were never like
to help themself. And all this was done by a noble knight that
bare the black shield, and that was he that bare the prize. Then
came there one and told Sir Darras that the same knight was
within, him that bare the black shield. Then Sir Darras yede
unto Sir Tristram's chamber, and there he found his shield and
showed it to the damosel. Ah sir, said the damosel, that same is
he that slew your three sons. Then without any tarrying Sir
Darras put Sir Tristram, and Sir Palomides, and Sir Dinadan,
within a strong prison, and there Sir Tristram was like to have
died of great sickness; and every day Sir Palomides would reprove
Sir Tristram of old hate betwixt them. And ever Sir Tristram
spake fair and said little. But when Sir Palomides saw the
falling of sickness of Sir Tristram, then was he heavy for him,
and comforted him in all the best wise he could. And as the
French book saith, there came forty knights to Sir Darras that
were of his own kin, and they would have slain Sir Tristram and
his two fellows, but Sir Darras would not suffer that, but kept
them in prison, and meat and drink they had. So Sir Tristram
endured there great pain, for sickness had undertaken him, and
that is the greatest pain a prisoner may have. For all the while
a prisoner may have his health of body he may endure under the
mercy of God and in hope of good deliverance; but when sickness
toucheth a prisoner's body, then may a prisoner say all wealth is
him bereft, and then he hath cause to wail and to weep. Right so
did Sir Tristram when sickness had undertaken him, for then he
took such sorrow that he had almost slain himself.

<420>
CHAPTER XXXVIII

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

NOW will we speak, and leave Sir Tristram, Sir Palomides, and Sir
Dinadan in prison, and speak we of other knights that sought
after Sir Tristram many divers parts of this land. And some yede
into Cornwall; and by adventure Sir Gaheris, nephew unto King
Arthur, came unto King Mark, and there he was well received and
sat at King Mark's own table and ate of his own mess. Then King
Mark asked Sir Gaheris what tidings there were in the realm of
Logris. Sir, said Sir Gaheris, the king reigneth as a noble
knight; and now but late there was a great jousts and tournament
as ever I saw any in the realm of Logris, and the most noble
knights were at that jousts. But there was one knight that did
marvellously three days, and he bare a black shield, and of all
knights that ever I saw he proved the best knight. Then, said
King Mark, that was Sir Launcelot, or Sir Palomides the paynim.
Not so, said Sir Gheris, for both Sir Launcelot and Sir Palomides
were on the contrary party against the Knight with the Black
Shield. Then was it Sir Tristram, said the king. Yea, said Sir
Gaheris. And therewithal the king smote down his head, and in
his heart he feared sore that Sir Tristram should get him such
worship in the realm of Logris wherethrough that he himself
should not be able to withstand him. Thus Sir Gaheris had great
cheer with King Mark, and with Queen La Beale Isoud, the which
was glad of Sir Gaheris' words; for well she wist by his deeds
and manners that it was Sir Tristram. And then the king made a
feast royal, and to that feast came Sir Uwaine le Fise de Roy
Ureine, and some called him Uwaine le Blanchemains. And this Sir
Uwaine challenged all the knights of Cornwall. Then was the king
wood wroth that he had no knights to answer him. Then Sir
<421>Andred, nephew unto King Mark, leapt up and said: I will
encounter with Sir Uwaine. Then he yede and armed him and horsed
him in the best manner. And there Sir Uwaine met with Sir
Andred, and smote him down that he swooned on the earth. Then
was King Mark sorry and wroth out of measure that he had no
knight to revenge his nephew, Sir Andred.

So the king called unto him Sir Dinas, the Seneschal, and prayed
him for his sake to take upon him to joust with Sir Uwaine. Sir,
said Sir Dinas, I am full loath to have ado with any knight of
the Round Table. Yet, said the king, for my love take upon thee
to joust. So Sir Dinas made him ready, and anon they encountered
together with great spears, but Sir Dinas was overthrown, horse
and man, a great fall. Who was wroth but King Mark! Alas, he
said, have I no knight that will encounter with yonder knight?
Sir, said Sir Gaheris, for your sake I will joust. So Sir
Gaheris made him ready, and when he was armed he rode into the
field. And when Sir Uwaine saw Sir Gaheris' shield he rode to
him and said: Sir, ye do not your part. For, sir, the first
time ye were made Knight of the Round Table ye sware that ye
should not have ado with your fellowship wittingly. And pardie,
Sir Gaheris, ye knew me well enough by my shield, and so do I
know you by your shield, and though ye would break your oath I
would not break mine; for there is not one here, nor ye, that
shall think I am afeard of you, but I durst right well have ado
with you, and yet we be sisters' sons. Then was Sir Gaheris
ashamed, and so therewithal every knight went their way, and Sir
Uwaine rode into the country.

Then King Mark armed him, and took his horse and his spear, with
a squire with him. And then he rode afore Sir Uwaine, and
suddenly at a gap he ran upon him as he that was not ware of him,
and there he smote him almost through the body, and there left
him. So within a while there came Sir Kay and found Sir Uwaine,
and asked him how he was hurt. I wot not, said Sir Uwaine, why
nor wherefore, but by treason I am sure I gat this <422>hurt; for
here came a knight suddenly upon me or that I was ware, and
suddenly hurt me. Then there was come Sir Andred to seek King
Mark. Thou traitor knight, said Sir Kay, an I wist it were thou
that thus traitorly hast hurt this noble knight thou shouldst
never pass my hands. Sir, said Sir Andred, I did never hurt him,
and that I will report me to himself. Fie on you false knight,
said Sir Kay, for ye of Cornwall are nought worth. So Sir Kay
made carry Sir Uwaine to the Abbey of the Black Cross, and there
he was healed. And then Sir Gaheris took his leave of King Mark,
but or he departed he said: Sir king, ye did a foul shame unto
you and your court, when ye banished Sir Tristram out of this
country, for ye needed not to have doubted no knight an he had
been here. And so he departed.

CHAPTER XXXIX

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

THEN there came Sir Kay, the Seneschal, unto King Mark, and there
he had good cheer showing outward. Now, fair lords, said he,
will ye prove any adventure in the forest of Morris, in the which
I know well is as hard an adventure as I know any. Sir, said Sir
Kay, I will prove it. And Sir Gaheris said he would be avised
for King Mark was ever full of treason: and therewithal Sir
Gaheris departed and rode his way. And by the same way that Sir
Kay should ride he laid him down to rest, charging his squire to
wait upon Sir Kay; And warn me when he cometh. So within a
while Sir Kay came riding that way, and then Sir Gaheris took his
horse and met him, and said: Sir Kay, ye are not wise to ride at
the request of King Mark, for he dealeth all with treason. Then
said Sir Kay: I require you let us prove this adventure. I
shall not fail you, said Sir Gaheris. And so they rode that time
till a lake that was that time called the <423>Perilous Lake, and
there they abode under the shaw of the wood.

The meanwhile King Mark within the castle of Tintagil avoided all
his barons, and all other save such as were privy with him were
avoided out of his chamber. And then he let call his nephew Sir
Andred, and bade arm him and horse him lightly; and by that time
it was midnight. And so King Mark was armed in black, horse and
all; and so at a privy postern they two issued out with their
varlets with them, and rode till they came to that lake. Then
Sir Kay espied them first, and gat his spear, and proffered to
joust. And King Mark rode against him, and smote each other full
hard, for the moon shone as the bright day. And there at that
jousts Sir Kay's horse fell down, for his horse was not so big as
the king's horse, and Sir Kay's horse bruised him full sore.
Then Sir Gaheris was wroth that Sir Kay had a fall. Then he
cried: Knight, sit thou fast in thy saddle, for I will revenge
my fellow. Then King Mark was afeard of Sir Gaheris, and so with
evil will King Mark rode against him, and Sir Gaheris gave him
such a stroke that he fell down. So then forthwithal Sir Gaheris
ran unto Sir Andred and smote him from his horse quite, that his
helm smote in the earth, and nigh had broken his neck. And
therewithal Sir Gaheris alighted, and gat up Sir Kay. And then
they yode both on foot to them, and bade them yield them, and
tell their names outher they should die. Then with great pain
Sir Andred spake first, and said: It is King Mark of Cornwall,
therefore be ye ware what ye do, and I am Sir Andred, his cousin.
Fie on you both, said Sir Gaheris, for a false traitor, and false
treason hast thou wrought and he both, under the feigned cheer
that ye made us! it were pity, said Sir Gaheris, that thou
shouldst live any longer. Save my life, said King Mark, and I
will make amends; and consider that I am a king anointed. It
were the more shame, said Sir Gaheris, to save thy life; thou art
a king anointed with cream, and therefore thou shouldst hold with
all men of worship; and therefore thou art worthy to die. With
that he lashed at <424>King Mark without saying any more, and
covered him with his shield and defended him as he might. And
then Sir Kay lashed at Sir Andred, and therewithal King Mark
yielded him unto Sir Gaheris. And then he kneeled adown, and
made his oath upon the cross of the sword, that never while he
lived he would be against errant-knights. And also he sware to
be good friend unto Sir Tristram if ever he came into Cornwall.

By then Sir Andred was on the earth, and Sir Kay would have slain
him. Let be, said Sir Gaheris, slay him not I pray you. It were
pity, said Sir Kay, that he should live any longer, for this is
nigh cousin unto Sir Tristram, and ever he hath been a traitor
unto him, and by him he was exiled out of Cornwall, and therefore
I will slay him, said Sir Kay. Ye shall not, said Sir Gaheris;
sithen I have given the king his life, I pray you give him his
life. And therewithal Sir Kay let him go. And so Sir Kay and
Sir Gaheris rode their way unto Dinas, the Seneschal, for because
they heard say that he loved well Sir Tristram. So they reposed
them there, and soon after they rode unto the realm of Logris.
And so within a little while they met with Sir Launcelot that
always had Dame Bragwaine with him, to that intent he weened to
have met the sooner with Sir Tristram; and Sir Launcelot asked

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