them. That is not of the best counsel, said one of Galihodin’s men, but send ye to them and wit what they will say; and so it was done. There came a squire unto Sir Tristram, and asked them whether they would joust or else to lose their lady. Not so, said Sir Tristram, tell your lord I bid him come as many as we be, and win her and take her. Sir, said Palomides, an it please you let me have this deed, and I shall undertake them all four. I will that ye have it, said Sir Tristram, at your pleasure. Now go and tell your lord Galihodin, that this same knight will encounter with him and his fellows.
How Sir Palomides jousted with Sir Galihodin, and after with Sir Gawaine, and smote them down.
THEN this squire departed and told Galihodin; and then he dressed his shield, and put forth a spear, and Sir Palomides another; and there Sir Palomides smote Galihodin so hard that he smote both horse and man to the earth. And there he had an horrible fall. And then came there another knight, and in the same wise he served him; and so he served the third and the fourth, that he smote them over their horses’ croups, and always Sir Palomides’ spear was whole. Then came six knights more of Galihodin’s men, and would have been avenged upon Sir Palomides. Let be, said Sir Galihodin, not so hardy, none of you all meddle with this knight, for he is a man of great bount<e’> and honour, and if he would ye
were not able to meddle with him. And right so they held them still. And ever Sir Palomides was ready to joust; and when he saw they would no more he rode unto Sir Tristram. Right well have ye done, said Sir Tristram, and worshipfully have ye done as a good knight should. This Galihodin was nigh cousin unto Galahalt, the haut prince; and this Galihodin was a king within the country of Surluse.</e’>
So as Sir Tristram, Sir Palomides, and La Beale Isoud rode together they saw afore them four knights, and every man had his spear in his hand: the first was Sir Gawaine, the second Sir Uwaine, the third Sir Sagramore le Desirous, and the fourth was Dodinas le Savage. When Sir Palomides beheld them, that the four knights were ready to joust, he prayed Sir Tristram to give him leave to have ado with them all so long as he might hold him on horseback. And if that I be smitten down I pray you revenge me. Well, said Sir Tristram, I will as ye will, and ye are not so fain to have worship but I would as fain increase your worship. And therewithal Sir Gawaine put forth his spear, and Sir Palomides another; and so they came so eagerly together that Sir Palomides smote Sir Gawaine to the earth, horse and all; and in the same wise he served Uwaine, Sir Dodinas, and Sagramore. All these four knights Sir Palomides smote down with divers spears And then Sir Tristram departed toward Lonazep.
And when they were departed then came thither Galihodin with his ten knights unto Sir Gawaine, and there he told him all how he had sped. I marvel, said Sir Gawaine, what knights they be, that are so arrayed in green. And that knight upon the white horse smote me down, said Galihodin, and my three fellows. And so he did to me, said Gawaine; and well I wot, said Sir Gawaine, that either he upon the white horse is Sir Tristram or else Sir Palomides, and that gay beseen lady is Queen Isoud. Thus they talked of one thing and of other.
And in the meanwhile Sir Tristram passed on till that he came to the well where his two pavilions were set; and there they alighted, and there they saw many pavilions and great array. Then Sir Tristram left there Sir Palomides and Sir Gareth with La Beale Isoud, and Sir Tristram and Sir Dinadan rode to Lonazep to hearken tidings; and Sir Tristram rode upon Sir Palomides’ white horse. And when he came into the castle Sir Dinadan heard a great horn blow, and to the horn drew many knights. Then Sir Tristram asked a knight: What meaneth the blast of that horn? Sir, said that knight, it is all those that shall hold against King Arthur at this tournament. The first is the King of Ireland, and the King of Surluse, the King of Listinoise, the King of Northumberland, and the King of the best part of Wales, with many other countries. And these draw them to a council, to understand what governance they shall be of; but the King of Ireland, whose name was Marhalt, and father to the good knight Sir Marhaus that Sir Tristram slew, had all the speech that Sir Tristram might hear it. He said: Lords and fellows, let us look to ourself, for wit ye well King Arthur is sure of many good knights, or else he would not with so few knights have ado with us; therefore by my counsel let every king have a standard and a cognisance by himself, that every knight draw to their natural lord, and then may every king and captain help his knights if they have need. When Sir Tristram had heard all their counsel he rode unto King Arthur for to hear of his counsel.
How Sir Tristram and his fellowship came into the tournament of Lonazep; and of divers jousts and matters.
BUT Sir Tristram was not so soon come into the place, but Sir Gawaine and Sir Galihodin went to King Arthur, and told him: That same green knight in the green harness with the white horse smote us two down, and six of our fellows this same day. Well, said Arthur. And then he called Sir Tristram and asked him what was his name. Sir, said Sir Tristram, ye shall hold me excused as at this time, for ye shall not wit my name. And there Sir Tristram returned and rode his way. I have marvel, said Arthur, that yonder knight will not tell me his name, but go thou, Griflet le Fise de Dieu, and pray him to speak with me betwixt us. Then Sir Griflet rode after him and overtook him, and said him that King Arthur prayed him for to speak with him secretly apart. Upon this covenant, said Sir Tristram, I will speak with him; that I will turn again so that ye will ensure me not to desire to hear my name. I shall undertake, said Sir Griflet, that he will not greatly desire it of you. So they rode together until they came to King Arthur. Fair sir, said King Arthur, what is the cause ye will not tell me your name? Sir, said Sir Tristram, without a cause I will not hide my name. Upon what party will ye hold? said King Arthur. Truly, my lord, said Sir Tristram, I wot not yet on what party I will be on, until I come to the field, and there as my heart giveth me, there will I hold; but to-morrow ye shall see and prove on what party I shall come. And therewithal he returned and went to his pavilions.
And upon the morn they armed them all in green, and came into the field; and there young knights began to joust, and did many worshipful deeds. Then spake Gareth unto Sir Tristram, and prayed him to give him leave to break his spear, for him thought shame to bear his spear whole again. When Sir Tristram heard him say so he laughed, and said: I pray you do your best. Then Sir Gareth gat a spear and proffered to joust. That saw a knight that was nephew unto the King of the Hundred Knights; his name was Selises, and a good man of arms. So this knight Selises then dressed him unto Sir Gareth, and they two met together so hard that either smote other down, his horse and all, to the earth, so they were both bruised and hurt; and there they lay till the King with the Hundred Knights halp Selises up, and Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides halp up Gareth again. And so they rode with Sir Gareth unto their pavilions, and then they pulled off his helm.
And when La Beale Isoud saw Sir Gareth bruised in the face she asked him what ailed him. Madam, said Sir Gareth, I had a great buffet, and as I suppose I gave another, but none of my fellows, God thank them, would not rescue me. Forsooth, said Palomides, it longed not to none of us as this day to joust, for there have not this day jousted no proved knights, and needly ye would joust. And when the other party saw ye proffered yourself to joust they sent one to you, a passing good knight of his age, for I know him well, his name is Selises; and worshipfully ye met with him, and neither of you are dishonoured, and therefore refresh yourself that ye may be ready and whole to joust to-morrow. As for that, said Gareth, I shall not fail you an I may bestride mine horse.
How Sir Tristram and his fellowship jousted, and of the noble feats that they did in that tourneying.
NOW upon what party, said Tristram, is it best we be withal as to-morn? Sir, said Palomides, ye shall have mine advice to be against King Arthur as to-morn, for on his party will be Sir Launcelot and many good knights of his blood with him. And the more men of worship that they be, the more worship we shall win. That is full knightly spoken, said Sir Tristram; and right so as ye counsel me, so will we do. In the name of God, said they all. So that night they were lodged with the best. And on the morn when it was day they were arrayed all in green trappings, shields and spears, and La Beale Isoud in the same colour, and her three damosels. And right so these four knights came into the field endlong and through. And so they led La Beale Isoud thither as she should stand and behold all the jousts in a bay window; but always she was wimpled that no man might see her visage. And then these three knights rode straight unto the party of the King of Scots.
When King Arthur had seen them do all this he asked Sir Launcelot what were these knights and that queen. Sir, said Launcelot, I cannot say you in certain, but if Sir Tristram be in this country, or Sir Palomides, wit ye well it be they m certain, and La Beale Isoud. Then Arthur called to him Sir Kay and said: Go lightly and wit how many knights there be here lacking of the Table Round, for by the sieges thou mayst know. So went Sir Kay and saw by the writings in the sieges that there lacked ten knights. And these be their names that be not here. Sir Tristram, Sir Palomides, Sir Percivale, Sir Gaheris, Sir Epinogris, Sir Mordred, Sir Dinadan, Sir La Cote Male Taile, and Sir Pelleas the noble knight. Well, said Arthur, some of these I dare undertake are here this day against us.
Then came therein two brethren, cousins unto Sir Gawaine, the one hight Sir Edward, that other hight Sir Sadok, the which were two good knights; and they asked of King Arthur that they might have the first jousts, for they were of Orkney. I am pleased, said King Arthur. Then Sir Edward encountered with the King of Scots, in whose party was Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides; and Sir Edward smote the King of Scots quite from his horse, and Sir Sadok smote down the King of North Wales, and gave him a wonder great fall, that there was a great cry on King Arthur’s party, and that made Sir Palomides passing wroth. And so Sir Palomides dressed his shield and his spear, and with all his might he met with Sir Edward of Orkney, that he smote him so hard that his horse might not stand on his feet, and so they hurtled to the earth; and then with the same spear Sir Palomides smote down Sir Sadok over his horse’s croup. O Jesu, said Arthur, what knight is that arrayed all in green? he jousteth mightily. Wit you well, said Sir Gawaine, he is a good knight, and yet shall ye see him joust better or he depart. And yet shall ye see, said Sir Gawaine, another bigger knight, in the same colour, than he is; for that same knight, said Sir Gawaine, that smote down right now my four cousins, he smote me down within these two days, and seven fellows more.
This meanwhile as they stood thus talking there came into the place Sir Tristram upon a black horse, and or ever he stint he smote down with one spear four good knights of Orkney that were of the kin of Sir Gawaine; and Sir Gareth and Sir Dinadan everych of them smote down a good knight. Jesu, said Arthur, yonder knight upon the black horse doth mightily and marvellously well. Abide you, said Sir Gawaine; that knight with the black horse began not yet. Then Sir Tristram made to horse again the two kings that Edward and Sadok had unhorsed at the beginning. And then Sir Tristram drew his sword and rode into the thickest of the press against them of Orkney; and there he smote down knights, and rashed off helms, and pulled away their shields, and hurtled down many knights: he fared so that Sir Arthur and all knights had great marvel when they saw one knight do so great deeds of arms. And Sir Palomides failed not upon the other side, but did so marvellously well that all men had wonder. For there King Arthur likened Sir Tristram that was on the black horse like to a wood lion, and likened Sir Palomides upon the white horse unto a wood leopard, and Sir Gareth and Sir Dinadan unto eager wolves. But the custom was such among them that none of the kings would help other, but all the fellowship of every standard to help other as they might; but ever Sir Tristram did so much deeds of arms that they of Orkney waxed weary of him, and so withdrew them unto Lonazep
How Sir Tristram was unhorsed and smitten down by Sir Launcelot, and after that Sir Tristram smote down King Arthur.
THEN was the cry of heralds and all manner of common people: The Green Knight hath done marvellously, and beaten all them of Orkney. And there the heralds numbered that Sir Tristram that sat upon the black horse had smitten down with spears and swords thirty knights; and Sir Palomides had smitten down twenty knights, and the most part of these fifty knights were of the house of King Arthur, and proved knights. So God me help, said Arthur unto Sir Launcelot, this is a great shame to us to see four knights beat so many knights of mine; and therefore make you ready, for we will have ado with them. Sir, said Launcelot, wit ye well that there are two passing good knights, and great worship were it not to us now to have ado with them, for they have this day sore travailed. As for that, said Arthur, I will be avenged; and therefore take with you Sir Bleoberis and Sir Ector, and I will be the fourth, said Arthur. Sir, said Launcelot, ye shall find me ready, and my brother Sir Ector, and my cousin Sir Bleoberis. And so when they were ready and on horseback: Now choose, said Sir Arthur unto Sir Launcelot, with whom that ye will encounter withal. Sir, said Launcelot, I will meet with the green knight upon the black horse, that was Sir Tristram; and my cousin Sir Bleoberis shall match the green knight upon the white horse, that was Sir Palomides; and my brother Sir Ector shall match with the green knight upon the white horse, that was Sir Gareth. Then must I, said Sir Arthur, have ado with the green knight upon the grisled horse, and that was Sir Dinadan. Now every man take heed to his fellow, said Sir Launcelot. And so they trotted on together, and there encountered Sir Launcelot against Sir Tristram. So Sir Launcelot smote Sir Tristram so sore upon the shield that he bare horse and man to the earth; but Sir Launcelot weened that it had been Sir Palomides, and so he passed forth. And then Sir Bleoberis encountered with Sir Palomides, and he smote him so hard upon the shield that Sir Palomides and his white horse rustled to the earth. Then Sir Ector de Maris smote Sir Gareth so hard that down he fell off his horse. And the noble King Arthur encountered with Sir Dinadan, and he smote him quite from his saddle. And then the noise turned awhile how the green knights were slain down.
When the King of Northgalis saw that Sir Tristram had a fall, then he remembered him how great deeds of arms Sir Tristram had done. Then he made ready many knights, for the custom and cry was such, that what knight were smitten down, and might not be horsed again by his fellows, outher by his own strength, that as that day he should be prisoner unto the party that had smitten him down. So came in the King of Northgalis, and he rode straight unto Sir Tristram; and when he came nigh him he alighted down suddenly and betook Sir Tristram his horse, and said thus: Noble knight, I know thee not of what country that thou art, but for the noble deeds that thou hast done this day take there my horse, and let me do as well I may; for, as Jesu me help, thou art better worthy to have mine horse than I myself. Gramercy, said Sir Tristram, and if I may I shall quite you: look that ye go not far from us, and as I suppose, I shall win you another horse. And therewith Sir Tristram mounted upon his horse, and there he met with King Arthur, and he gave him such a buffet upon the helm with his sword that King Arthur had no power to keep his saddle. And then Sir Tristram gave the King of Northgalis King Arthur’s horse: then was there great press about King Arthur for to horse him again; but Sir Palomides would not suffer King Arthur to be horsed again, but ever Sir Palomides smote on the right hand and on the left hand mightily as a noble knight. And this meanwhile Sir Tristram rode through the thickest of the press, and smote down knights on the right hand and on the left hand, and raced off helms, and so passed forth unto his pavilions, and left Sir Palomides on foot; and Sir Tristram changed his horse and disguised himself all in red, horse and harness.
How Sir Tristram changed his harness and it was all red, and how he demeaned him, and how Sir Palomides slew Launcelot’s horse.
AND when the queen La Beale Isoud saw that Sir Tristram was unhorsed, and she wist not where he was, then she wept greatly. But Sir Tristram, when he was ready, came dashing lightly into the field, and then La Beale Isoud espied him. And so he did great deeds of arms; with one spear, that was great, Sir Tristram smote down five knights or ever he stint. Then Sir Launcelot espied him readily, that it was Sir Tristram, and then he repented him that he had smitten him down; and so Sir Launcelot went out of the press to repose him and lightly he came again. And now when Sir Tristram came into the press, through his great force he put Sir Palomides upon his horse, and Sir Gareth, and Sir Dinadan, and then they began to do marvellously; but Sir Palomides nor none of his two fellows knew not who had holpen them on horseback again. But ever Sir Tristram was nigh them and succoured them, and they [knew] not him, because he was changed into red armour: and all this while Sir Launcelot was away.
So when La Beale Isoud knew Sir Tristram again upon his horse-back she was passing glad, and then she laughed and made good cheer. And as it happened, Sir Palomides looked up toward her where she lay in the window, and he espied how she laughed; and therewith he took such a rejoicing that he smote down, what with his spear and with his sword, all that ever he met; for through the sight of her he was so enamoured in her love that he seemed at that time, that an both Sir Tristram and Sir Launcelot had been both against him they should have won no worship of him; and in his heart, as the book saith, Sir Palomides wished that with his worship he might have ado with Sir Tristram before all men, because of La Beale Isoud. Then Sir Palomides began to double his strength, and he did so marvellously that all men had wonder of him, and ever he cast up his eye unto La Beale Isoud. And when he saw her make such cheer he fared like a lion, that there might no man withstand him; and then Sir Tristram beheld him, how that Sir Palomides bestirred him; and then he said unto Sir Dinadan: So God me help, Sir Palomides is a passing good knight and a well enduring, but such deeds saw I him never do, nor never heard I tell that ever he did so much in one day. It is his day, said Dinadan; and he would say no more unto Sir Tristram; but to himself he said: An if ye knew for whose love he doth all those deeds of arms, soon would Sir Tristram abate his courage. Alas, said Sir Tristram, that Sir Palomides is not christened. So said King Arthur, and so said all those that beheld him. Then all people gave him the prize, as for the best knight that day, that he passed Sir Launcelot outher Sir Tristram. Well, said Dinadan to himself, all this worship that Sir Palomides hath here this day he may thank the Queen Isoud, for had she been away this day Sir Palomides had not gotten the prize this day.
Right so came into the field Sir Launcelot du Lake, and saw and heard the noise and cry and the great worship that Sir Palomides had. He dressed him against Sir Palomides, with a great mighty spear and a long, and thought to smite him down. And when Sir Palomides saw Sir Launcelot come upon him so fast, he ran upon Sir Launcelot as fast with his sword as he might; and as Sir Launcelot should have stricken him he smote his spear aside, and smote it a-two with his sword. And Sir Palomides rushed unto Sir Launcelot, and thought to have put him to a shame; and with his sword he smote his horse’s neck that Sir Launcelot rode upon, and then Sir Launcelot fell to the earth. Then was the cry huge and great: See how Sir Palomides the Saracen hath smitten down Sir Launcelot’s horse. Right then were there many knights wroth with Sir Palomides because he had done that deed; therefore many knights held there against that it was unknightly done in a tournament to kill an horse wilfully, but that it had been done in plain battle, life for life.
How Sir Launcelot said to Sir Palomides, and how the prize of that day was given unto Sir Palomides.
WHEN Sir Ector de Maris saw Sir Launcelot his brother have such a despite, and so set on foot, then he gat a spear eagerly, and ran against Sir Palomides, and he smote him so hard that he bare him quite from his horse. That saw Sir Tristram, that was in red harness, and he smote down Sir Ector de Maris quite from his horse. Then Sir Launcelot dressed his shield upon his shoulder, and with his sword naked in his hand, and so came straight upon Sir Palomides fiercely and said: Wit thou well thou hast done me this day the greatest despite that ever any worshipful knight did to me in tournament or in jousts, and therefore I will be avenged upon thee, therefore take keep to yourself. Ah, mercy, noble knight, said Palomides, and forgive me mine unkindly deeds, for I have no power nor might to withstand you, and I have done so much this day that well I wot I did never so much, nor never shall in my life-days; and therefore, most noble knight, I require thee spare me as at this day, and I promise you I shall ever be your knight while I live: an ye put me from my worship now, ye put me from the greatest worship that ever I had or ever shall have in my life-days. Well, said Sir Launcelot, I see, for to say thee sooth, ye have done marvellously well this day; and I understand a part for whose love ye do it, and well I wot that love is a great mistress. And if my lady were here as she nis not, wit you well, said Sir Launcelot, ye should not bear away the worship. But beware your love be not discovered, for an Sir Tristram may know it ye will repent it; and sithen my quarrel is not here, ye shall have this day the worship as for me; considering the great travail and pain that ye have had this day, it were no worship for me to put you from it. And therewithal Sir Launcelot suffered Sir Palomides to depart.
Then Sir Launcelot by great force and might gat his own horse maugre twenty knights. So when Sir Launcelot was horsed he did many marvels, and so did Sir Tristram, and Sir Palomides in like wise. Then Sir Launcelot smote down with a spear Sir Dinadan, and the King of Scotland, and the King of Wales, and the King of Northumberland, and the King of Listinoise. So then Sir Launcelot and his fellows smote down well a forty knights. Then came the King of Ireland and the King of the Straight Marches to rescue Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides. There began a great medley, and many knights were smitten down on both parties; and always Sir Launcelot spared Sir Tristram, and he spared him. And Sir Palomides would not meddle with Sir Launcelot, and so there was hurtling here and there. And then King Arthur sent out many knights of the Table Round; and Sir Palomides was ever in the foremost front, and Sir Tristram did so strongly well that the king and all other had marvel. And then the king let blow to lodging; and because Sir Palomides began first, and never he went nor rode out of the field to repose, but ever he was doing marvellously well either on foot or on horseback, and longest during, King Arthur and all the kings gave Sir Palomides the honour and the gree as for that day.
Then Sir Tristram commanded Sir Dinadan to fetch the queen La Beale Isoud, and bring her to his two pavilions that stood by the well. And so Dinadan did as he was commanded. But when Sir Palomides understood and wist that Sir Tristram was in the red armour, and on a red horse, wit ye well that he was glad, and so was Sir Gareth and Sir Dinadan, for they all weened that Sir Tristram had been taken prisoner. And then every knight drew to his inn. And then King Arthur and every knight spake of those knights; but above all men they gave Sir Palomides the prize, and all knights that knew Sir Palomides had wonder of his deeds. Sir, said Sir Launcelot unto Arthur, as for Sir Palomides an he be the green knight I dare say as for this day he is best worthy to have the degree, for he reposed him never, nor never changed his weeds, and he began first and longest held on. And yet, well I wot, said Sir Launcelot, that there was a better knight than he, and that shall be proved or we depart, upon pain of my life. Thus they talked on either party; and so Sir Dinadan railed with Sir Tristram and said: What the devil is upon thee this day? for Sir Palomides’ strength feebled never this day, but ever he doubled his strength.
How Sir Dinadan provoked Sir Tristram to do well.
AND thou, Sir Tristram, farest all this day as though thou hadst been asleep, and therefore I call thee coward. Well, Dinadan, said Sir Tristram, I was never called coward or now of no earthly knight in my life; and wit thou well, sir, I call myself never the more coward though Sir Launcelot gave me a fall, for I outcept him of all knights. And doubt ye not Sir Dinadan, an Sir Launcelot have a quarrel good, he is too over good for any knight that now is living; and yet of his sufferance, largess, bounty, and courtesy, I call him knight peerless: and so Sir Tristram was in manner wroth with Sir Dinadan. But all this language Sir Dinadan said because he would anger Sir Tristram, for to cause him to awake his spirits and to be wroth; for well knew Sir Dinadan that an Sir Tristram were thoroughly wroth Sir Palomides should not get the prize upon the morn. And for this intent Sir Dinadan said all this railing and language against Sir Tristram. Truly, said Sir Palomides, as for Sir Launcelot, of his noble knighthood, courtesy, and prowess, and gentleness, I know not his peer; for this day, said Sir Palomides, I did full uncourteously unto Sir Launcelot, and full unknightly, and full knightly and courteously he did to me again; for an he had been as ungentle to me as I was to him, this day I had won no worship. And therefore, said Palomides, I shall be Sir Launcelot’s knight while my life lasteth. This talking was in the houses of kings. But all kings, lords, and knights, said, of clear knighthood, and of pure strength, of bounty, of courtesy, Sir Launcelot and Sir Tristram bare the prize above all knights that ever were in Arthur’s days. And there were never knights in Arthur’s days did half so many deeds as they did; as the book saith, no ten knights did not half the deeds that they did, and there was never knight in their days that required Sir Launcelot or Sir Tristram of any quest, so it were not to their shame, but they performed their desire.
How King Arthur and Sir Lancelot came to see La Beale Isoud, and how Palomides smote down King Arthur.
SO on the morn Sir Launcelot departed, and Sir Tristram was ready, and La Beale Isoud with Sir Palomides and Sir Gareth. And so they rode all in green full freshly beseen unto the forest. And Sir Tristram left Sir Dinadan sleeping in his bed. And so as they rode it happed the king and Launcelot stood in a window, and saw Sir Tristram ride and Isoud. Sir, said Launcelot, yonder rideth the fairest lady of the world except your queen, Dame Guenever. Who is that? said Sir Arthur. Sir, said he, it is Queen Isoud that, out-taken my lady your queen, she is makeless. Take your horse, said Arthur, and array you at all rights as I will do, and I promise you, said the king, I will see her. Then anon they were armed and horsed, and either took a spear and rode unto the forest. Sir, said Launcelot, it is not good that ye go too nigh them, for wit ye well there are two as good knights as now are living, and therefore, sir, I pray you be not too hasty. For peradventure there will be some knights be displeased an we come suddenly upon them. As for that, said Arthur, I will see her, for I take no force whom I grieve. Sir, said Launcelot, ye put yourself in great jeopardy. As for that, said the king, we will take the adventure. Right so anon the king rode even to her, and saluted her, and said: God you save. Sir, said she, ye are welcome. Then the king beheld her, and liked her wonderly well.
With that came Sir Palomides unto Arthur, and said: Uncourteous knight, what seekest thou here? thou art uncourteous to come upon a lady thus suddenly, therefore withdraw thee. Sir Arthur took none heed of Sir Palomides’ words, but ever he looked still upon Queen Isoud Then was Sir Palomides wroth, and therewith he took a spear, and came hurtling upon King Arthur, and smote him down with a spear. When Sir Launcelot saw that despite of Sir Palomides, he said to himself: I am loath to have ado with yonder knight, and not for his own sake but for Sir Tristram. And one thing I am sure of, if I smite down Sir Palomides I must have ado with Sir Tristram, and that were overmuch for me to match them both, for they are two noble knights; notwithstanding, whether I live or I die, needs must I revenge my lord, and so will I, whatsomever befall of me. And therewith Sir Launcelot cried to Sir Palomides: Keep thee from me. And then Sir Launcelot and Sir Palomides rushed together with two spears strongly, but Sir Launcelot smote Sir Palomides so hard that he went quite out of his saddle, and had a great fall. When Sir Tristram saw Sir Palomides have that fall, he said to Sir Launcelot: Sir knight, keep thee, for I must joust with thee. As for to joust with me, said Sir Launcelot, I will not fail you, for no dread I have of you; but I am loath to have ado with you an I might choose, for I will that ye wit that I must revenge my special lord that was unhorsed unwarly and unknightly. And therefore, though I revenged that fall, take ye no displeasure therein, for he is to me such a friend that I may not see him shamed.
Anon Sir Tristram understood by his person and by his knightly words that it was Sir Launcelot du Lake, and verily Sir Tristram deemed that it was King Arthur, he that Sir Palomides had smitten down. And then Sir Tristram put his spear from him, and put Sir Palomides again on horseback, and Sir Launcelot put King Arthur on horseback and so departed. So God me help, said Sir Tristram unto Palomides, ye did not worshipfully when ye smote down that knight so suddenly as ye did. And wit ye well ye did yourself great shame, for the knights came hither of their gentleness to see a fair lady; and that is every good knight’s part, to behold a fair lady; and ye had not ado to play such masteries afore my lady. Wit thou well it will turn to anger, for he that ye smote down was King Arthur, and that other was the good knight Sir Launcelot. But I shall not forget the words of Sir Launcelot when that he called him a man of great worship, thereby I wist that it was King Arthur. And as for Sir Launcelot, an there had been five hundred knights in the meadow, he would not have refused them, and yet he said he would refuse me. By that again I wist that it was Sir Launcelot, for ever he forbeareth me in every place, and showeth me great kindness; and of all knights, I out-take none, say what men will say, he beareth the flower of all chivalry, say it him whosomever will. An he be well angered, and that him list to do his utterance without any favour, I know him not alive but Sir Launcelot is over hard for him, be it on horseback or on foot. I may never believe, said Palomides, that King Arthur will ride so privily as a poor errant knight. Ah, said Sir Tristram, ye know not my lord Arthur, for all knights may learn to be a knight of him. And therefore ye may be sorry, said Sir Tristram, of your unkindly deeds to so noble a king. And a thing that is done may not be undone, said Palomides. Then Sir Tristram sent Queen Isoud unto her lodging in the priory, there to behold all the tournament.
How the second day Palomides forsook Sir Tristram, and went to the contrary part against him.
THEN there was a cry unto all knights, that when they heard an horn blow they should make jousts as they did the first day. And like as the brethren Sir Edward and Sir Sadok began the jousts the first day, Sir Uwaine the king’s son Urien and Sir Lucanere de Buttelere began the jousts the second day. And at the first encounter
Sir Uwaine smote down the King’s son of Scots; and Sir Lucanere ran against the King of Wales, and they brake their spears all to pieces; and they were so fierce both, that they hurtled together that both fell to the earth. Then they of Orkney horsed again Sir Lucanere. And then came in Sir Tristram de Liones; and then Sir Tristram smote down Sir Uwaine and Sir Lucanere; and Sir Palomides smote down other two knights and Sir Gareth smote down other two knights. Then said Sir Arthur unto Sir Launcelot: See yonder three knights do passingly well, and namely the first that jousted. Sir, said Launcelot, that knight began not yet but ye shall see him this day do marvellously. And then came into the place the duke’s son of Orkney, and then they began to do many deeds of arms.
When Sir Tristram saw them so begin, he said to Palomides: How feel ye yourself? may ye do this day as ye did yesterday? Nay, said Palomides, I feel myself so weary, and so sore bruised of the deeds of yesterday, that I may not endure as I did yesterday. That me repenteth, said Sir Tristram, for I shall lack you this day. Sir Palomides said: Trust not to me, for I may not do as I did. All these words said Palomides for to beguile Sir Tristram. Sir, said Sir Tristram unto Sir Gareth, then must I trust upon you; wherefore I pray you be not far from me to rescue me. An need be, said Sir Gareth, I shall not fail you in all that I may do. Then Sir Palomides rode by himself; and then in despite of Sir Tristram he put himself in the thickest press among them of Orkney, and there he did so marvellously deeds of arms that all men had wonder of him, for there might none stand him a stroke.
When Sir Tristram saw Sir Palomides do such deeds, he marvelled and said to himself: He is weary of my company. So Sir Tristram beheld him a great while and did but little else, for the noise and cry was so huge and great that Sir Tristram marvelled from whence came the strength that Sir Palomides had there in the field Sir, said Sir Gareth unto Sir Tristram, remember ye not of the words that Sir Dinadan said to you yesterday, when he called you a coward; forsooth, sir, he said it for none ill, for ye are the man in the world that he most loveth, and all that he said was for your worship. And therefore, said Sir Gareth to Sir Tristram, let me know this day what ye be; and wonder ye not so upon Sir Palomides, for he enforceth himself to win all the worship and honour from you. I may well believe it, said Sir Tristram. And sithen I understand his evil will and his envy, ye shall see, if that I enforce myself, that the noise shall be left that now is upon him.
Then Sir Tristram rode into the thickest of the press, and then he did so marvellously well, and did so great deeds of arms, that all men said that Sir Tristram did double so much deeds of arms as Sir Palomides had done aforehand. And then the noise went plain from Sir Palomides, and all the people cried upon Sir Tristram. O Jesu, said the people, see how Sir Tristram smiteth down with his spear so many knights. And see, said they all, how many knights he smiteth down with his sword, and of how many knights he rashed off their helms and their shields; and so he beat them all of Orkney afore him. How now, said Sir Launcelot unto King Arthur, I told you that this day there would a knight play his pageant. Yonder rideth a knight ye may see he doth knightly, for he hath strength and wind. So God me help, said Arthur to Launcelot, ye say sooth, for I saw never a better knight, for he passeth far Sir Palomides. Sir, wit ye well, said Launcelot, it must be so of right, for it is himself, that noble knight Sir Tristram. I may right well believe it, said Arthur.
But when Sir Palomides heard the noise and the cry was turned from him, he rode out on a part and beheld Sir Tristram. And when Sir Palomides saw Sir Tristram do so marvellously well he wept passingly sore for despite, for he wist well he should no worship win that day; for well knew Sir Palomides, when Sir Tristram would put forth his strength and his manhood, be should get but little worship that day,
How Sir Tristram departed of the field, and awaked Sir Dinadan, and changed his array into black.
THEN came King Arthur, and the King of Northgalis, and Sir Launcelot du Lake; and Sir Bleoberis, Sir Bors de Ganis, Sir Ector de Maris, these three knights came into the field with Sir Launcelot. And then Sir Launcelot with the three knights of his kin did so great deeds of arms that all the noise began upon Sir Launcelot. And so they beat the King of Wales and the King of Scots far aback, and made them to avoid the field; but Sir Tristram and Sir Gareth abode still in the field and endured all that ever there came, that all men had wonder that any knight might endure so many strokes. But ever Sir Launcelot, and his three kinsmen by the commandment of Sir Launcelot, forbare Sir Tristram. Then said Sir Arthur: Is that Sir Palomides that endureth so well? Nay, said Sir Launcelot, wit ye well it is the good knight Sir Tristram, for yonder ye may see Sir Palomides beholdeth and hoveth, and doth little or nought. And sir, ye shall understand that Sir Tristram weeneth this day to beat us all out of the field. And as for me, said Sir Launcelot, I shall not beat him, beat him whoso will. Sir, said Launcelot unto Arthur, ye may see how Sir Palomides hoveth yonder, as though he were in a dream; wit ye well he is full heavy that Tristram doth such deeds of arms Then is he but a fool, said Arthur, for never was Sir Palomides, nor never shall be, of such prowess as Sir Tristram. And if he have any envy at Sir Tristram, and cometh in with him upon his side he is a false knight.
As the king and Sir Launcelot thus spake, Sir Tristram rode privily out of the press, that none espied him but La Beale Isoud and Sir Palomides, for they two would not let off their eyes upon Sir Tristram. And when Sir Tristram came to his pavilions he found Sir Dinadan in his bed asleep. Awake, said Tristram, ye ought to be ashamed so to sleep when knights have ado in the field. Then Sir Dinadan arose lightly and said: What will ye that I shall do? Make you ready, said Sir Tristram, to ride with me into the field. So when Sir Dinadan was armed he looked upon Sir Tristram’s helm and on his shield, and when he saw so many strokes upon his helm and upon his shield he said: In good time was I thus asleep, for had I been with you I must needs for shame there have followed you; more for shame than any prowess that is in me; that I see well now by those strokes that I should have been truly beaten as I was yesterday. Leave your japes, said Sir Tristram, and come off, that [we] were in the field again. What, said Sir Dinadan, is your heart up? yesterday ye fared as though ye had dreamed. So then Sir Tristram was arrayed in black harness. O Jesu, said Dinadan, what aileth you this day? meseemeth ye be wilder than ye were yesterday. Then smiled Sir Tristram and said to Dinadan: Await well upon me; if ye see me overmatched look that ye be ever behind me, and I shall make you ready way by God’s grace. So Sir Tristram and Sir Dinadan took their horses. All this espied Sir Palomides, both their going and their coming, and so did La Beale Isoud, for she knew Sir Tristram above all other.
How Sir Palomides changed his shield and his armour for to hurt Sir Tristram, and how Sir Launcelot did to Sir Tristram.
THEN when Sir Palomides saw that Sir Tristram was disguised, then he thought to do him a shame. So Sir Palomides rode to a knight that was sore wounded, that sat under a fair well from the field. Sir knight, said Sir Palomides, I pray you to lend me your armour and your shield, for mine is over-well known in this field, and that hath done me great damage; and ye shall have mine armour and my shield that is as sure as yours. I will well, said the knight, that ye have mine armour and my shield, if they may do you any avail. So Sir Palomides armed him hastily in that knight’s armour and his shield that shone as any crystal or silver, and so he came riding into the field. And then there was neither Sir Tristram nor none of King Arthur’s party that knew Sir Palomides. And right so as Sir Palomides was come into the field Sir Tristram smote down three knights, even in the sight of Sir Palomides. And then Sir Palomides rode against Sir Tristram, and either met other with great spears, that they brast to their hands. And then they dashed together with swords eagerly. Then Sir Tristram had marvel what knight he was that did battle so knightly with him. Then was Sir Tristram wroth, for he felt him passing strong, so that he deemed he might not have ado with the remnant of the knights, because of the strength of Sir Palomides. So they lashed together and gave many sad strokes together, and many knights marvelled what knight he might be that so encountered with the black knight, Sir Tristram. Full well knew La Beale Isoud that there was Sir Palomides that fought with Sir Tristram, for she espied all in her window where that she stood, as Sir Palomides changed his harness with the wounded knight. And then she began to weep so heartily for the despite of Sir Palomides that there she swooned.
Then came in Sir Launcelot with the knights of Orkney. And when the other party had espied Sir Launcelot, they cried: Return, return, here cometh Sir Launcelot du Lake. So there came knights and said: Sir Launcelot, ye must needs fight with yonder knight in the black harness, that was Sir Tristram, for he hath almost overcome that good knight that fighteth with him with the silver shield, that was Sir Palomides. Then Sir Launcelot rode betwixt Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides, and Sir Launcelot said to Palomides: Sir knight, let me have the battle, for ye have need to be reposed. Sir Palomides knew Sir Launcelot well, and so did Sir Tristram, but because Sir Launcelot was far hardier knight than himself therefore he was glad, and suffered Sir Launcelot to fight with Sir Tristram. For well wist he that Sir Launcelot knew not Sir Tristram, and there he hoped that Sir Launcelot should beat or shame Sir Tristram, whereof Sir Palomides was full fain. And so Sir Launcelot gave Sir Tristram many sad strokes, but Sir Launcelot knew not Sir Tristram, but Sir Tristram knew well Sir Launcelot. And thus they fought long together, that La Beale Isoud was well-nigh out of her mind for sorrow.
Then Sir Dinadan told Sir Gareth how that knight in the black harness was Sir Tristram: And this is Launcelot that fighteth with him, that must needs have the better of him, for Sir Tristram hath had too much travail this day. Then let us smite him down, said Sir Gareth. So it is better that we do, said Sir Dinadan, than Sir Tristram be shamed, for yonder hoveth the strong knight with the silver shield to fall upon Sir Tristram if need be. Then forthwithal Gareth rushed upon Sir Launcelot, and gave him a great stroke upon his helm so hard that he was astonied. And then came Sir Dinadan with a spear, and he smote Sir Launcelot such a buffet that horse and all fell to the earth. O Jesu, said Sir Tristram to Sir Gareth and Sir Dinadan, fie for shame, why did ye smite down so good a knight as he is, and namely when I had ado with him? now ye do yourself great shame, and him no disworship; for I held him reasonable hot, though ye had not holpen me.
Then came Sir Palomides that was disguised, and smote down Sir Dinadan from his horse. Then Sir Launcelot, because Sir Dinadan had smitten him aforehand, then Sir Launcelot assailed Sir Dinadan passing sore, and Sir Dinadan defended him mightily. But well understood Sir Tristram that Sir Dinadan might not endure Sir Launcelot, wherefore Sir Tristram was sorry. Then came Sir Palomides fresh upon Sir Tristram. And when Sir Tristram saw him come, he thought to deliver him at once, because that he would help Sir Dinadan, because he stood in great peril with Sir Launcelot. Then Sir Tristram hurtled unto Sir Palomides and gave him a great buffet, and then Sir Tristram gat Sir Palomides and pulled him down underneath him. And so fell Sir Tristram with him; and Sir Tristram leapt up lightly and left Sir Palomides, and went betwixt Sir Launcelot and Dinadan, and then they began to do battle together.
Right so Sir Dinadan gat Sir Tristram’s horse, and said on high that Sir Launcelot might hear it: My lord Sir Tristram, take your horse. And when Sir Launcelot heard him name Sir Tristram: O Jesu, said Launcelot, what have I done? I am dishonoured. Ah, my lord Sir Tristram, said Launcelot, why were ye disguised? ye have put yourself in great peril this day; but I pray you noble knight to pardon me, for an I had known you we had not done this battle. Sir, said Sir Tristram, this is not the first kindness ye showed me. So they were both horsed again.
Then all the people on the one side gave Sir Launcelot the honour and the degree, and on the other side all the people gave to the noble knight Sir Tristram the honour and the degree; but Launcelot said nay thereto: For I am not worthy to have this honour, for I will report me unto all knights that Sir Tristram hath been longer in the field than I, and he hath smitten down many more knights this day than I have done. And therefore I will give Sir Tristram my voice and my name, and so I pray all my lords and fellows so to do. Then there was the whole voice of dukes and earls, barons and knights, that Sir Tristram this day is proved the best knight.
How Sir Tristram departed with La Beale Isoud, and how Palomides followed and excused him.
THEN they blew unto lodging, and Queen Isoud was led unto her pavilions. But wit you well she was wroth out of measure with Sir Palomides, for she saw all his treason from the beginning to the ending. And all this while neither Sir Tristram, neither Sir Gareth nor Dinadan, knew not of the treason of Sir Palomides; but afterward ye shall hear that there befell the greatest debate betwixt Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides that might be.
So when the tournament was done, Sir Tristram, Gareth, and Dinadan, rode with La Beale Isoud to these pavilions. And ever Sir Palomides rode with them in their company disguised as he was. But when Sir Tristram had espied him that he was the same knight with the shield of silver that held him so hot that day: Sir knight, said Sir Tristram, wit ye well here is none that hath need of your fellowship, and therefore I pray you depart from us. Sir Palomides answered again as though he had not known Sir Tristram: Wit you well, sir knight, from this fellowship will I never depart, for one of the best knights of the world commanded me to be in this company, and till he discharge me of my service I will not be discharged. By that Sir Tristram knew that it was Sir Palomides. Ah, Sir Palomides, said the noble knight Sir Tristram, are ye such a knight? Ye have been named wrong, for ye have long been called a gentle knight, and as this day ye have showed me great ungentleness, for ye had almost brought me unto my death. But, as for you, I suppose I should have done well enough, but Sir Launcelot with you was overmuch; for I know no knight living but Sir Launcelot is over good for him, an he will do his uttermost. Alas, said Sir Palomides, are ye my lord Sir Tristram? Yea, sir, and that ye know well enough. By my knighthood, said Palomides, until now I knew you not; I weened that ye had been the King of Ireland, for well I wot ye bare his arms. His arms I bare, said Sir Tristram, and that will I stand by, for I won them once in a field of a full noble knight, his name was Sir Marhaus; and with great pain I won that knight, for there was none other recover, but Sir Marhaus died through false leeches; and yet was he never yolden to me. Sir, said Palomides, I weened ye had been turned upon Sir Launcelot’s party, and that caused me to turn. Ye say well, said Sir Tristram, and so I take you, and I forgive you.
So then they rode into their pavilions; and when they were alighted they unarmed them and washed their faces and hands, and so yode unto meat, and were set at their table. But when Isoud saw Sir Palomides she changed then her colours, and for wrath she might not speak. Anon Sir Tristram espied her countenance and said: Madam, for what cause make ye us such cheer? we have been sore travailed this day. Mine own lord, said La Beale Isoud, for God’s sake be ye not displeased with me, for I may none otherwise do; for I saw this day how ye were betrayed and nigh brought to your death. Truly, sir, I saw every deal, how and in what wise, and therefore, sir, how should I suffer in your presence such a felon and traitor as Sir Palomides; for I saw him with mine eyes, how he beheld you when ye went out of the field. For ever he hoved still upon his horse till he saw you come in againward. And then forthwithal I saw him ride to the hurt knight, and changed harness with him, and then straight I saw him how he rode into the field. And anon as he had found you he encountered with you, and thus wilfully Sir Palomides did battle with you; and as for him, sir, I was not greatly afraid, but I dread sore Launcelot, that knew you not. Madam, said Palomides, ye may say whatso ye will, I may not contrary you, but by my knighthood I knew not Sir Tristram. Sir Palomides, said Sir Tristram, I will take your excuse, but well I wot ye spared me but little, but all is pardoned on my part. Then La Beale Isoud held down her head and said no more at that time.
How King Arthur and Sir Launcelot came unto their pavilions as they sat at supper, and of Sir Palomides.
AND therewithal two knights armed came unto the pavilion, and there they alighted both, and came in armed at all pieces. Fair knights, said Sir Tristram, ye are to blame to come thus armed at all pieces upon me while we are at our meat; if ye would anything when we were in the field there might ye have eased your hearts. Not so, said the one of those knights, we come not for that intent, but wit ye well Sir Tristram, we be come hither as your friends. And I am come here, said the one, for to see you, and this knight is come for to see La Beale Isoud. Then said Sir Tristram: I require you do off your helms that I may see you. That will we do at your desire, said the knights. And when their helms were off, Sir Tristram thought that he should know them.
Then said Sir Dinadan privily unto Sir Tristram: Sir, that is Sir Launcelot du Lake that spake unto you first, and the other is my lord King Arthur. Then, said Sir Tristram unto La Beale Isoud, Madam arise, for here is my lord, King Arthur. Then the king and the queen kissed, and Sir Launcelot and Sir Tristram braced either other in arms, and then there was joy without measure; and at the request of La Beale Isoud, King Arthur and Launcelot were unarmed, and then there was merry talking. Madam, said Sir Arthur, it is many a day sithen that I have desired to see you, for ye have been praised so far; and now I dare say ye are the fairest that ever I saw, and Sir Tristram is as fair and as good a knight as any that I know; therefore me beseemeth ye are well beset together. Sir, God thank you, said the noble knight, Sir Tristram, and Isoud; of your great goodness and largess ye are peerless. Thus they talked of many things and of all the whole jousts. But for what cause, said King Arthur, were ye, Sir Tristram, against us? Ye are a knight of the Table Round; of right ye should have been with us. Sir, said Sir Tristram, here is Dinadan, and Sir Gareth your own nephew, caused me to be against you. My lord Arthur, said Gareth, I may well bear the blame, but it were Sir Tristram’s own deeds. That may I repent, said Dinadan, for this unhappy Sir Tristram brought us to this tournament, and many great buffets he caused us to have. Then the king and Launcelot laughed that they might not sit.
What knight was that, said Arthur, that held you so short, this with the shield of silver? Sir, said Sir Tristram, here he sitteth at this board. What, said Arthur, was it Sir Palomides? Wit ye well it was he, said La Beale Isoud. So God me help, said Arthur, that was unknightly done of you of so good a knight, for I have heard many people call you a courteous knight. Sir, said Palomides, I knew not Sir Tristram, for he was so disguised. So God me help, said Launcelot, it may well be, for I knew not Sir Tristram; but I marvel why ye turned on our party. That was done for the same cause, said Launcelot. As for that, said Sir Tristram, I have pardoned him, and I would be right loath to leave his fellowship, for I love right well his company: so they left off and talked of other things.
And in the evening King Arthur and Sir Launcelot departed unto their lodging; but wit ye well Sir Palomides had envy heartily, for all that night he had never rest in his bed, but wailed and wept out of measure. So on the morn Sir Tristram, Gareth, and Dinadan arose early, and then they went unto Sir Palomides’ chamber, and there they found him fast asleep, for he had all night watched, and it was seen upon his cheeks that he had wept full sore. Say nothing, said Sir Tristram, for I am sure he hath taken anger and sorrow for the rebuke that I gave to him, and La Beale Isoud.
How Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides did the next day, and how King Arthur was unhorsed.
THEN Sir Tristram let call Sir Palomides, and bade him make him ready, for it was time to go to the field. When they were ready they were armed, and clothed all in red, both Isoud and all they; and so they led her passing freshly through the field, into the priory where was her lodging. And then they heard three blasts blow, and every king and knight dressed him unto the field. And the first that was ready to joust was Sir Palomides and Sir Kainus le Strange, a knight of the Table Round. And so they two encountered together, but Sir Palomides smote Sir Kainus so hard that he smote him quite over his horse’s croup. And forthwithal Sir Palomides smote down another knight, and brake then his spear, and pulled out his sword and did wonderly well. And then the noise began greatly upon Sir Palomides. Lo, said King Arthur, yonder Palomides beginneth to play his pageant. So God me help, said Arthur, he is a passing good knight. And right as they stood talking thus, in came Sir Tristram as thunder, and he encountered with Sir Kay the Seneschal, and there he smote him down quite from his horse; and with that same spear Sir Tristram smote down three knights more, and then he pulled out his sword and did marvellously. Then the noise and cry changed from Sir Palomides and turned to Sir Tristram, and all the people cried: O Tristram, O Tristram. And then was Sir Palomides clean forgotten.
How now, said Launcelot unto Arthur, yonder rideth a knight that playeth his pageants. So God me help, said Arthur to Launcelot, ye shall see this day that yonder two knights shall here do this day wonders. Sir, said Launcelot, the one knight waiteth upon the other, and enforceth himself through envy to pass the noble knight Sir Tristram, and he knoweth not of the privy envy the which Sir Palomides hath to him; for all that the noble Sir Tristram doth is through clean knighthood. And then Sir Gareth and Dinadan did wonderly great deeds of arms, as two noble knights, so that King Arthur spake of them great honour and worship; and the kings and knights of Sir Tristram’s side did passingly well, and held them truly together. Then Sir Arthur and Sir Launcelot took their horses and dressed them, and gat into the thickest of the press. And there Sir Tristram unknowing smote down King Arthur, and then Sir Launcelot would have rescued him, but there were so many upon Sir Launcelot that they pulled him down from his horse. And then the King of Ireland and the King of Scots with their knights did their pain to take King Arthur and Sir Launcelot prisoner. When Sir Launcelot heard them say so, he fared as it had been an hungry lion, for he fared so that no knight durst nigh him.
Then came Sir Ector de Maris, and he bare a spear against Sir Palomides, and brast it upon him all to shivers. And then Sir Ector came again and gave Sir Palomides such a dash with a sword that he stooped down upon his saddle bow. And forthwithal Sir Ector pulled down Sir Palomides under his feet; and then Sir Ector de Maris gat Sir Launcelot du Lake an horse, and brought it to him, and bade him mount upon him; but Sir Palomides leapt afore and gat the horse by the bridle, and leapt into the saddle. So God me help, said Launcelot, ye are better worthy to have that horse than I. Then Sir Ector brought Sir Launcelot another horse. Gramercy, said Launcelot unto his brother. And so when he was horsed again, with one spear he smote down four knights. And then Sir Launcelot brought to King Arthur one of the best of the four horses. Then Sir Launcelot with King Arthur and a few of his knights of Sir Launcelot’s kin did marvellous deeds; for that time, as the book recordeth, Sir Launcelot smote down and pulled down thirty knights. Notwithstanding the other party held them so fast together that King Arthur and his knights were overmatched. And when Sir Tristram saw that, what labour King Arthur and his knights, and in especial the noble deeds that Sir Launcelot did with his own hands, he marvelled greatly.
How Sir Tristram turned to King Arthur’s side, and how Palomides would not.
THEN Sir Tristram called unto him Sir Palomides, Sir Gareth, and Sir Dinadan, and said thus to them: My fair fellows, wit ye well that I will turn unto King Arthur’s party, for I saw never so few men do so well, and it will be shame unto us knights that be of the Round Table to see our lord King Arthur, and that noble knight Sir Launcelot, to be dishonoured. It will be well done, said Sir Gareth and Sir Dinadan. Do your best, said Palomides, for I will not change my party that I came in withal. That is for my sake, said Sir Tristram; God speed you in your journey. And so departed Sir Palomides from them. Then Sir Tristram, Gareth, and Dinadan, turned with Sir Launcelot. And then Sir Launcelot smote down the King of Ireland quite from his horse; and so Sir Launcelot smote down the King of Scots, and the King of Wales; and then Sir Arthur ran unto Sir Palomides and smote him quite from his horse; and then Sir Tristram bare down all that he met. Sir Gareth and Sir Dinadan did there as noble knights; then all the parties began to flee. Alas, said Palomides, that ever I should see this day, for now have I lost all the worship that I won; and then Sir Palomides went his way wailing, and so withdrew him till he came to a well, and there he put his horse from him, and did off his armour, and wailed and wept like as he had been a wood man. Then many knights gave the prize to Sir Tristram, and there were many that gave the prize unto Sir Launcelot. Fair lords, said Sir Tristram, I thank you of the honour ye would give me, but I pray you heartily that ye would give your voice to Sir Launcelot, for by my faith said Sir Tristram, I will give Sir Launcelot my voice. But Sir Launcelot would not have it, and so the prize was given betwixt them both.
Then every man rode to his lodging, and Sir Bleoberis and Sir Ector rode with Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud unto their pavilions. Then as Sir Palomides was at the well wailing and weeping, there came by him flying the kings of Wales and of Scotland, and they saw Sir Palomides in that arage. Alas, said they, that so noble a man as ye be should be in this array. And then those kings gat Sir Palomides’ horse again, and made him to arm him and mount upon his horse, and so he rode with them, making great dole. So when Sir Palomides came nigh the pavilions thereas Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud was in, then Sir Palomides prayed the two kings to abide him there the while that he spake with Sir Tristram. And when he came to the port of the pavilions, Sir Palomides said on high: Where art thou, Sir Tristram de Liones? Sir, said Dinadan, that is Palomides. What, Sir Palomides, will ye not come in here among us? Fie on thee traitor, said Palomides, for wit you well an it were daylight as it is night I should slay thee, mine own hands. And if ever I may get thee, said Palomides, thou shalt die for this day’s deed. Sir Palomides, said Sir Tristram, ye wite me with wrong, for had ye done as I did ye had won worship. But sithen ye give me so large warning I shall be well ware of you. Fie on thee, traitor, said Palomides, and therewith departed.
Then on the morn Sir Tristram, Bleoberis, and Sir Ector de Maris, Sir Gareth, Sir Dinadan, what by water and what by land, they brought La Beale Isoud unto Joyous Gard, and there reposed them a seven night, and made all the mirths and disports that they could devise. And King Arthur and his knights drew unto Camelot, and Sir Palomides rode with the two kings; and ever he made the greatest dole that any man could think, for he was not all only so dolorous for the departing from La Beale Isoud, but he was a part as sorrowful to depart from the fellowship of Sir Tristram; for Sir Tristram was so kind and so gentle that when Sir Palomides remembered him thereof he might never be merry.
How Sir Bleoberis and Sir Ector reported to Queen Guenever of the beauty of La Beale Isoud.
SO at the seven nights’ end Sir Bleoberis and Sir Ector departed from Sir Tristram and from the queen; and these two good knights had great gifts; and Sir Gareth and Sir Dinadan abode with Sir Tristram. And when Sir Bleoberis and Sir Ector were come there as the Queen Guenever was lodged, in a castle by the seaside, and through the grace of God the queen was recovered of her malady, then she asked the two knights from whence they came. They said that they came from Sir Tristram and from La Beale Isoud. How doth Sir Tristram, said the queen, and La Beale Isoud? Truly, said those two knights, he doth as a noble knight should do; and as for the Queen Isoud, she is peerless of all ladies; for to speak of her beauty, bount<e’>, and mirth, and of her
goodness, we saw never her match as far as we have ridden and gone. O mercy Jesu, said Queen Guenever, so saith all the people that have seen her and spoken with her. God would that I had part of her conditions; and it is misfortuned me of my sickness while that tournament endured. And as I suppose I shall never see in all my life such an assembly of knights and ladies as ye have done.</e’>
Then the knights told her how Palomides won the degree at the first day with great noblesse; and the second day Sir Tristram won the degree; and the third day Sir Launcelot won the degree. Well, said Queen Guenever, who did best all these three days? So God me help, said these knights, Sir Launcelot and Sir Tristram had least dishonour. And wit ye well Sir Palomides did passing well and mightily; but he turned against the party that he came in withal, and that caused him to lose a great part of his worship, for it seemed that Sir Palomides is passing envious. Then shall he never win worship, said Queen Guenever, for an it happeth an envious man once to win worship he shall be dishonoured twice therefore; and for this cause all men of worship hate an envious man, and will shew him no favour, and he that is courteous, and kind, and gentle, hath favour in every place.
How Epinogris complained by a well, and how Sir Palomides came and found him, and of their both sorrowing.
NOW leave we of this matter and speak we of Sir Palomides, that rode and lodged him with the two kings, whereof the kings were heavy. Then the King of Ireland sent a man of his to Sir Palomides, and gave him a great courser, and the King of Scotland gave him great gifts; and fain they would have had Sir Palomides to have abiden with them, but in no wise he would abide; and so he departed, and rode as adventures would guide him, till it was nigh noon. And then in a forest by a well Sir Palomides saw where lay a fair wounded knight and his horse bounden by him; and that knight made the greatest dole that ever he heard man make, for ever he wept, and therewith he sighed as though he would die. Then Sir Palomides rode near him and saluted him mildly and said: Fair knight, why wail ye so? let me lie down and wail with you, for doubt not I am much more heavier than ye are; for I dare say, said Palomides, that my sorrow is an hundred fold more than yours is, and therefore let us complain either to other. First, said the wounded knight, I require you tell me your name, for an thou be none of the noble knights of the Round Table thou shalt never know my name, whatsomever come of me. Fair knight, said Palomides, such as I am, be it better or be it worse, wit thou well that my name is Sir Palomides, son and heir unto King Astlabor, and Sir Safere and Sir Segwarides are my two brethren; and wit thou well as for myself I was never christened, but my two brethren are truly christened. O noble knight, said that knight, well is me that I have met with you; and wit ye well my name is Epinogris, the king’s son of Northumberland. Now sit down, said Epinogris, and let us either complain to other.
Then Sir Palomides began his complaint. Now shall I tell you, said Palomides, what woe I endure. I love the fairest queen and lady that ever bare life, and wit ye well her name is La Beale Isoud, King Mark’s wife of Cornwall. That is great folly, said Epinogris, for to love Queen Isoud, for one of the best knights of the world loveth her, that is Sir Tristram de Liones. That is truth, said Palomides, for no man knoweth that matter better than I do, for I have been in Sir Tristram’s fellowship this month, and with La Beale Isoud together; and alas, said Palomides, unhappy man that I am, now have I lost the fellowship of Sir Tristram for ever, and the love of La Beale Isoud for ever, and I am never like to see her more, and Sir Tristram and I be either to other mortal enemies. Well, said Epinogris, sith that ye loved La Beale Isoud, loved she you ever again by anything that ye could think or wit, or else did ye rejoice her ever in any pleasure? Nay, by my knighthood, said Palomides, I never espied that ever she loved me more than all the world, nor never had I pleasure with her, but the last day she gave me the greatest rebuke that ever I had, the which shall never go from my heart. And yet I well deserved that rebuke, for I did not knightly, and therefore I have lost the love of her and of Sir Tristram for ever; and I have many times enforced myself to do many deeds for La Beale Isoud’s sake, and she was the causer of my worship-winning. Alas, said Sir Palomides, now have I lost all the worship that ever I won, for never shall me befall such prowess as I had in the fellowship of Sir Tristram.
How Sir Palomides brought Sir Epinogris his lady; and how Sir Palomides and Sir Safere were assailed.
NAY, nay, said Epinogris, your sorrow is but japes to my sorrow; for I rejoiced my lady and won her with my hands, and lost her again: alas that day! Thus first I won her, said Epinogris; my lady was an earl’s daughter, and as the earl and two knights came from the tournament of Lonazep, for her sake I set upon this earl and on his two knights, my lady there being present; and so by fortune there I slew the earl and one of the knights, and the other knight fled, and so that night I had my lady. And on the morn as she and I reposed us at this well-side there came there to me an errant knight, his name was Sir Helior le Preuse, an hardy knight, and this Sir Helior challenged me to fight for my lady. And then we went to battle first upon horse and after on foot, but at the last Sir Helior wounded me so that he left me for dead, and so he took my lady with him; and thus my sorrow is more than yours, for I have rejoiced and ye rejoiced never. That is truth, said Palomides, but sith I can never recover myself I shall promise you if I can meet with Sir Helior I shall get you your lady again, or else he shall beat me.
Then Sir Palomides made Sir Epinogris to take his horse, and so they rode to an hermitage, and there Sir Epinogris rested him. And in the meanwhile Sir Palomides walked privily out to rest him under the leaves, and there beside he saw a knight come riding with a shield that he had seen Sir Ector de Maris bear beforehand; and there came after him a ten knights, and so these ten knights hoved under the leaves for heat. And anon after there came a knight with a green shield and therein a white lion, leading a lady upon a palfrey. Then this knight with the green shield that seemed to be master of the ten knights, he rode fiercely after Sir Helior, for it was he that hurt Sir Epinogris. And when he came nigh Sir Helior he bade him defend his lady. I will defend her, said Helior, unto my power. And so they ran together so mightily that either of these knights smote other down, horse and all, to the earth; and then they won up lightly and drew their swords and their shields, and lashed together mightily more than an hour. All this Sir Palomides saw and beheld, but ever at the last the knight with Sir Ector’s shield was bigger, and at the last this knight smote Sir Helior down, and then that knight unlaced his helm to have stricken off his head. And then he cried mercy, and prayed him to save his life, and bade him take his lady. Then Sir Palomides dressed him up, because he wist well that that same lady was Epinogris’ lady, and he promised him to help him.
Then Sir Palomides went straight to that lady, and took her by the hand, and asked her whether she knew a knight that hight Epinogris. Alas, she said, that ever he knew me or I him, for I have for his sake lost my worship, and also his life grieveth me most of all. Not so, lady, said Palomides, come on with me, for here is Epinogris in this hermitage. Ah! well is me, said the lady, an he be alive. Whither wilt thou with that lady? said the knight with Sir Ector’s shield. I will do with her what me list, said Palomides. Wit you well, said that knight, thou speakest over large, though thou seemest me to have at advantage, because thou sawest me do battle but late. Thou weenest, sir knight, to have that lady away from me so lightly? nay, think it never not; an thou were as good a knight as is Sir Launcelot, or as is Sir Tristram, or Sir Palomides, but thou shalt win her dearer than ever did I. And so they went unto battle upon foot, and there they gave many sad strokes, and either wounded other passing sore, and thus they fought still more than an hour.
Then Sir Palomides had marvel what knight he might be that was so strong and so well breathed during, and thus said Palomides: Knight, I require thee tell me thy name. Wit thou well, said that knight, I dare tell thee my name, so that thou wilt tell me thy name. I will, said Palomides. Truly, said that knight, my name is Safere, son of King Astlabor, and Sir Palomides and Sir Segwarides are my brethren. Now, and wit thou well, my name is Sir Palomides. Then Sir Safere kneeled down upon his knees, and prayed him of mercy; and then they unlaced their helms and either kissed other weeping. And in the meanwhile Sir Epinogris arose out of his bed, and heard them by the strokes, and so he armed him to help Sir Palomides if need were.
How Sir Palomides and Sir Safere conducted Sir Epinogris to his castle, and of other adventures.
THEN Sir Palomides took the lady by the hand and brought her to Sir Epinogris, and there was great joy betwixt them, for either swooned for joy. When they were met: Fair knight and lady, said Sir Safere, it were pity to depart you; Jesu send you joy either of other. Gramercy, gentle knight, said Epinogris; and much more thanks be to my lord Sir Palomides, that thus hath through his prowess made me to get my lady. Then Sir Epinogris required Sir Palomides and Sir Safere, his brother, to ride with them unto his castle, for the safeguard of his person. Sir, said Palomides, we will be ready to conduct you because that ye are sore wounded; and so was Epinogris and his lady horsed, and his lady behind him upon a soft ambler. And then they rode unto his castle, where they had great cheer and joy, as great as ever Sir Palomides and Sir Safere had in their life-days.
So on the morn Sir Safere and Sir Palomides departed, day until after noon. And at the last they heard a great weeping and a great noise down in a manor. Sir, said then Sir Safere, let us wit what noise this is. I will well, said Sir Palomides. And so they rode forth till that they came to a fair gate of a manor, and there sat an old man saying his prayers and beads. Then Sir Palomides and Sir Safere alighted and left their horses, and went within the gates, and there they saw full many goodly men weeping. Fair sirs, said Palomides, wherefore weep ye and make this sorrow? Anon one of the knights of the castle beheld Sir Palomides and knew him, and then went to his fellows and said: Fair fellows, wit ye well all, we have in this castle the same knight that slew our lord at Lonazep, for I know him well; it is Sir Palomides. Then they went unto harness, all that might bear harness, some on horseback and some on foot, to the number of three score. And when they were ready they came freshly upon Sir Palomides and upon Sir Safere with a great noise, and said thus: Keep thee, Sir Palomides, for thou art known, and by right thou must be dead, for thou hast slain our lord; and therefore wit ye well we will slay thee, therefore defend thee.
Then Sir Palomides and Sir Safere, the one set his back to the other, and gave many great strokes, and took many great strokes; and thus they fought with a twenty knights and forty gentlemen and yeomen nigh two hours. But at the last though they were loath, Sir Palomides and Sir Safere were taken and yolden, and put in a strong prison; and within three days twelve knights passed upon them, and they found Sir Palomides guilty, and Sir Safere not guilty, of their lord’s death. And when Sir Safere should be delivered there was great dole betwixt Sir Palomides and him, and many piteous complaints that Sir Safere made at his departing, there is no maker can rehearse the tenth part. Fair brother, said Palomides, let be thy dolour and thy sorrow. And if I be ordained to die a shameful death, welcome be it; but an I had wist of this death that I am deemed unto, I should never have been yolden. So Sir Safere departed from his brother with the greatest dolour and sorrow that ever made knight.
And on the morn they of the castle ordained twelve knights to ride with Sir Palomides unto the father of the same knight that Sir Palomides slew; and so they bound his legs under an old steed’s belly. And then they rode with Sir Palomides unto a castle by the seaside, that hight Pelownes, and there Sir Palomides should have justice. Thus was their ordinance; and so they rode with Sir Palomides fast by the castle of Joyous Gard. And as they passed by that castle there came riding out of that castle by them one that knew Sir Palomides. And when that knight saw Sir Palomides bounden upon a crooked courser, the knight asked Sir Palomides for what cause he was led so. Ah, my fair fellow and knight, said Palomides, I ride toward my death for the slaying of a knight at a tournament of Lonazep; and if I had not departed from my lord Sir Tristram, as I ought not to have done, now might I have been sure to have had my life saved; but I pray you, sir knight, recommend me unto my lord, Sir Tristram, and unto my lady, Queen Isoud, and say to them if ever I trespassed to them I ask them forgiveness. And also I beseech you recommend me unto my lord, King Arthur, and to all the fellowship of the Round Table, unto my power. Then that knight wept for pity of Sir Palomides; and therewithal he rode unto Joyous Gard as fast as his horse might run, and lightly that knight descended down off his horse and went unto Sir Tristram, and there he told him all as ye have heard, and ever the knight wept as he had been mad.
How Sir Tristram made him ready to rescue Sir Palomides, but Sir Launcelot rescued him or he came.
WHEN Sir Tristram heard how Sir Palomides went to his death, he was heavy to hear that, and said: Howbeit that I am wroth with Sir Palomides, yet will not I suffer him to die so shameful a death, for he is a full noble knight. And then anon Sir Tristram was armed and took his horse and two squires with him, and rode a great pace toward the castle of Pelownes where Sir Palomides was judged to death. And these twelve knights that led Sir Palomides passed by a well whereas Sir Launcelot was, which was alighted there, and had tied his horse to a tree, and taken off his helm to drink of that well; and when he saw these knights, Sir Launcelot put on his helm and suffered them to pass by him. And then was he ware of Sir Palomides bounden, and led shamefully to his death. O Jesu, said Launcelot, what misadventure is befallen him that he is thus led toward his death? Forsooth, said Launcelot, it were shame to me to suffer this noble knight so to die an I might help him, therefore I will help him whatsomever come of it, or else I shall die for Sir Palomides’ sake. And then Sir Launcelot mounted upon his horse, and gat his spear in his hand, and rode after the twelve knights that led Sir Palomides. Fair knights, said Sir Launcelot, whither lead ye that knight? it beseemeth him full ill to ride bounden. Then these twelve knights suddenly turned their horses and said to Sir Launcelot: Sir knight, we counsel thee not to meddle with this knight, for he hath deserved death, and unto death he is judged. That me repenteth, said Launcelot, that I may not borrow him with fairness, for he is over good a knight to die such a shameful death. And therefore, fair knights, said Sir Launcelot, keep you as well as ye can, for I will rescue that knight or die for it.
Then they began to dress their spears, and Sir Launcelot smote the foremost down, horse and man, and so he served three more with one spear; and then that spear brast, and therewithal Sir Launcelot drew his sword, and then he smote on the right hand and on the left hand. Then within a while he left none of those twelve knights, but he had laid them to the earth, and the most part of them were sore wounded. And then Sir Launcelot took the best horse that he found, and loosed Sir Palomides and set him upon that horse; and so they returned again unto Joyous Gard, and then was Sir Palomides ware of Sir Tristram how he came riding. And when Sir Launcelot saw him he knew him well, but Sir Tristram knew him not because Sir Launcelot had on his shoulder a golden shield. So Sir Launcelot made him ready to joust with Sir Tristram, that Sir Tristram should not ween that he were Sir Launcelot. Then Sir Palomides cried aloud to Sir Tristram: O my lord, I require you joust not with this knight, for this good knight hath saved me from my death. When Sir Tristram heard him say so he came a soft trotting pace toward them. And then Sir Palomides said: My lord, Sir Tristram, much am I beholding unto you of your great goodness, that would proffer your noble body to rescue me undeserved, for I have greatly offended you. Notwithstanding, said Sir Palomides, here met we with this noble knight that worshipfully and manly rescued me from twelve knights, and smote them down all and wounded them sore.
How Sir Tristram and Launcelot, with Palomides, came to joyous Gard; and of Palomides and Sir Tristram.
FAIR knight, said Sir Tristram unto Sir Launcelot, of whence be ye? I am a knight errant, said Sir Launcelot, that rideth to seek many adventures. What is your name? said Sir Tristram. Sir, at this time I will not tell you. Then Sir Launcelot said unto Sir Tristram and to Palomides: Now either of you are met together I will depart from you. Not so, said Sir Tristram; I pray you of knighthood to ride with me unto my castle. Wit you well, said Sir Launcelot, I may not ride with you, for I have many deeds to do in other places, that at this time I may not abide with you. Ah, mercy Jesu, said Sir Tristram, I require you as ye be a true knight to the order of knighthood, play you with me this night. Then Sir Tristram had a grant of Sir Launcelot: howbeit though he had not desired him he would have ridden with them, outher soon have come after them; for Sir Launcelot came for none other cause into that country but for to see Sir Tristram. And when they were come within Joyous Gard they alighted, and their horses were led into a stable; and then they unarmed them. And when Sir Launcelot was unhelmed, Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides knew him. Then Sir Tristram took Sir Launcelot in arms, and so did La Beale Isoud; and Palomides kneeled down upon his knees and thanked Sir Launcelot. When Sir Launcelot saw Sir Palomides kneel he lightly took him up and said thus: Wit thou well, Sir Palomides, I and any knight in this land, of worship ought of very right succour and rescue so noble a knight as ye are proved and renowned, throughout all this realm endlong and overthwart. And then was there joy among them, and the oftener that Sir Palomides saw La Beale Isoud the heavier he waxed day by day.
Then Sir Launcelot within three or four days departed, and with him rode Sir Ector de Maris; and Dinadan and Sir Palomides were there left with Sir Tristram a two months and more. But ever Sir Palomides faded and mourned, that all men had marvel wherefore he faded so away. So upon a day, in the dawning, Sir Palomides went into the forest by himself alone; and there he found a well, and then he looked into the well, and in the water he saw his own visage, how he was disturbed and defaded, nothing like that he was. What may this mean? said Sir Palomides, and thus he said to himself: Ah, Palomides, Palomides, why art thou defaded, thou that was wont to be called one of the fairest knights of the world? I will no more lead this life, for I love that I may never get nor recover. And therewithal he laid him down by the well. And then he began to make a rhyme of La Beale Isoud and him.
And in the meanwhile Sir Tristram was that same day ridden into the forest to chase the hart of greese; but Sir Tristram would not ride a-hunting never more unarmed, because of Sir Breuse Saunce Pit<e’>. And so as Sir Tristram
rode into that forest up and down, he heard one sing marvellously loud, and that was Sir Palomides that lay by the well. And then Sir Tristram rode softly thither, for he deemed there was some knight errant that was at the well. And when Sir Tristram came nigh him he descended down from his horse and tied his horse fast till a tree, and then he came near him on foot; and anon he was ware where lay Sir Palomides by the well and sang loud and merrily; and ever the complaints were of that noble queen, La Beale Isoud, the which was marvellously and wonderfully well said, and full dolefully and piteously made. And all the whole song the noble knight, Sir Tristram, heard from the beginning to the ending, the which grieved and troubled him sore.</e’>
But then at the last, when Sir Tristram had heard all Sir Palomides’ complaints, he was wroth out of measure, and thought for to slay him thereas he lay. Then Sir Tristram remembered himself that Sir Palomides was unarmed, and of the noble name that Sir Palomides had, and the noble name that himself had, and then he made a restraint of his anger; and so he went unto Sir Palomides a soft pace and said: Sir Palomides, I have heard your complaint, and of thy treason that thou hast owed me so long, and wit thou well therefore thou shalt die; and if it were not for shame of knighthood thou shouldest not escape my hands, for now I know well thou hast awaited me with treason. Tell me, said Sir Tristram, how thou wilt acquit thee? Sir, said Palomides, thus I will acquit me: as for Queen La Beale Isoud, ye shall wit well that I love her above all other ladies in this world; and well I wot it shall befall me as for her love as befell to the noble knight Sir Kehydius, that died for the love of La Beale Isoud. And now, Sir Tristram, I will that ye wit that I have loved La Beale Isoud many a day, and she hath been the causer of my worship, and else I had been the most simplest knight in the world. For by her, and because of her, I have won the worship that I have; for when I remembered me of La Beale Isoud I won the worship wheresomever I came for the most part; and yet had I never reward nor bount<e’> of her the days of my life,
and yet have I been her knight guerdonless. And therefore, Sir Tristram, as for any death I dread not, for I had as lief die as to live. And if I were armed as thou art, I should lightly do battle with thee. Well have ye uttered your treason, said Tristram. I have done to you no treason, said Palomides, for love is free for all men, and though I have loved your lady, she is my lady as well as yours; howbeit I have wrong if any wrong be, for ye rejoice her, and have your desire of her, and so had I never nor never am like to have, and yet shall I love her to the uttermost days of my life as well as ye.</e’>
How there was a day set between Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides for to fight, and how Sir Tristram was hurt.
THEN said Sir Tristram: I will fight with you to the uttermost. I grant, said Palomides, for in a better quarrel keep I never to fight, for an I die of your hands, of a better knight’s hands may I not be slain. And sithen I understand that I shall never rejoice La Beale Isoud, I have as good will to die as to live. Then set ye a day, said Sir Tristram, that we shall do battle. This day fifteen days, said Palomides, will I meet with you hereby, in the meadow under Joyous Gard. Fie for shame, said Sir Tristram, will ye set so long day? let us fight to-morn. Not so, said Palomides, for I am meagre, and have been long sick for the love of La Beale Isoud, and therefore I will repose me till I have my strength again. So then Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides promised faith fully to meet at the well that day fifteen days. I am remembered, said Sir Tristram to Palomides, that ye brake me once a promise when that I rescued you from Breuse Saunce Pit<e’> and nine knights; and then ye
promised me to meet me at the peron and the grave beside Camelot, whereas at that time ye failed of your promise. Wit you well, said Palomides unto Sir Tristram, I was at that day in prison, so that I might not hold my promise. So God me help, said Sir Tristram, an ye had holden your promise this work had not been here now at this time.</e’>
Right so departed Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides. And so Sir Palomides took his horse and his harness, and he rode unto King Arthur’s court; and there Sir Palomides gat him four knights and four sergeants-of-arms, and so he returned againward unto Joyous Gard. And in the meanwhile Sir Tristram chased and hunted at all manner of venery; and about three days afore the battle should be, as Sir Tristram chased an hart, there was an archer shot at the hart, and by misfortune he smote Sir Tristram in the thick of the thigh, and the arrow slew Sir Tristram’s horse and hurt him. When Sir Tristram was so hurt he was passing heavy, and wit ye well he bled sore; and then he took another horse, and rode unto Joyous Gard with great heaviness, more for the promise that he had made with Sir Palomides, as to do battle with him within three days after, than for any hurt of his thigh. Wherefore there was neither man nor woman that could cheer him with anything that they could make to him, neither Queen La Beale Isoud; for ever he deemed that Sir Palomides had smitten him so that he should not be able to do battle with him at the day set.
How Sir Palomides kept his day to have foughten, but Sir Tristram might not come; and other things.
BUT in no wise there was no knight about Sir Tristram that would believe that ever Sir Palomides would hurt Sir Tristram, neither by his own hands nor by none other consenting. Then when the fifteenth day was come, Sir Palomides came to the well with four knights with him of Arthur’s court, and three sergeants-of-arms. And for this intent Sir Palomides brought the knights with him and the sergeants-of-arms, for they should bear record of the battle betwixt Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides. And the one sergeant brought in his helm, the other his spear, the third his sword. So thus Palomides came into the field, and there he abode nigh two hours; and then he sent a squire unto Sir Tristram, and desired him to come into the field to hold his promise.
When the squire was come to Joyous Gard, anon as Sir Tristram heard of his coming he let command that the squire should come to his presence thereas he lay in his bed. My lord Sir Tristram, said Palomides’ squire, wit you well my lord, Palomides, abideth you in the field, and he would wit whether ye would do battle or not. Ah, my fair brother, said Sir Tristram, wit thou well that I am right heavy for these tidings; therefore tell Sir Palomides an I were well at ease I would not lie here, nor he should have no need to send for me an I might either ride or go; and for thou shalt say that I am no liar–Sir Tristram showed him his thigh that the wound was six inches deep. And now thou hast seen my hurt, tell thy lord that this is no feigned matter, and tell him that I had liefer than all the gold of King Arthur that I were whole; and tell Palomides as soon as I am whole I shall seek him endlong and overthwart, and that I promise you as I am true knight; and if ever I may meet with him, he shall have battle of me his fill. And with this the squire departed; and when Palomides wist that Tristram was hurt he was glad and said: Now I am sure I shall have no shame, for I wot well I should have had hard handling of him, and by likely I must needs have had the worse, for he is the hardest knight in battle that now is living except Sir Launcelot.
And then departed Sir Palomides whereas fortune led him, and within a month Sir Tristram was whole of his hurt. And then he took his horse, and rode from country to country, and all strange adventures he achieved wheresomever he rode; and always he enquired for Sir Palomides, but of all that quarter of summer Sir Tristram could never meet with Sir Palomides. But thus as Sir Tristram sought and enquired after Sir Palomides Sir Tristram achieved many great battles, wherethrough all the noise fell to Sir Tristram, and it ceased of Sir Launcelot; and therefore Sir Launcelot’s brethren and his kinsmen would have slain Sir Tristram because of his fame. But when Sir Launcelot wist how his kinsmen were set, he said to them openly: Wit you well, that an the envy of you all be so hardy to wait upon my lord, Sir Tristram, with any hurt, shame, or villainy, as I am true knight I shall slay the best of you with mine own hands Alas, fie for shame, should ye for his noble deeds await upon him to slay him. Jesu defend, said Launcelot, that ever any noble knight as Sir Tristram is should be destroyed with treason. Of this noise and fame sprang into Cornwall, and among them of Liones, whereof they were passing glad, and made great joy. And then they of Liones sent letters unto Sir Tristram of recommendation, and many great gifts to maintain Sir Tristram’s estate; and ever, between, Sir Tristram resorted unto Joyous Gard whereas La Beale Isoud was, that loved him as her life.
How Sir Launcelot rode on his adventure, and how he holp a dolorous lady from her pain, and how that he fought with a dragon.
NOW leave we Sir Tristram de Liones, and speak we of Sir Launcelot du Lake, and of Sir Galahad, Sir Launcelot’s son, how he was gotten, and in what manner, as the book of French rehearseth. Afore the time that Sir Galahad was gotten or born, there came in an hermit unto King Arthur upon Whitsunday, as the knights sat at the Table Round. And when the hermit saw the Siege Perilous, he asked the king and all the knights why that siege was void. Sir Arthur and all the knights answered: There shall never none sit in that siege but one, but if he be destroyed. Then said the hermit: Wot ye what is he? Nay, said Arthur and all the knights, we wot not who is he that shall sit therein. Then wot I, said the hermit, for he that shall sit there is unborn and ungotten, and this same year he shall be gotten that shall sit there in that Siege Perilous, and he shall win the Sangreal. When this hermit had made this mention he departed from the court of King Arthur.
And then after this feast Sir Launcelot rode on his adventure, till on a time by adventure he passed over the pont of Corbin; and there he saw the fairest tower that ever he saw, and there-under was a fair town full of people; and all the people, men and women, cried at once: Welcome, Sir Launcelot du Lake, the flower of all knighthood, for by thee all we shall be holpen out of danger. What mean ye, said Sir Launcelot, that ye cry so upon me? Ah, fair knight, said they all, here is within this tower a dolorous lady that hath been there in pains many winters and days, for ever she boileth in scalding water; and but late, said all the people, Sir Gawaine was here and he might not help her, and so he left her in pain. So may I, said Sir Launcelot, leave her in pain as well as Sir Gawaine did. Nay, said the people, we know well that it is Sir Launcelot that shall deliver her. Well, said Launcelot, then shew me what I shall do.
Then they brought Sir Launcelot into the tower; and when he came to the chamber thereas this lady was, the doors of iron unlocked and unbolted. And so Sir Launcelot went into the chamber that was as hot as any stew. And there Sir Launcelot took the fairest lady by the hand that ever he saw, and she was naked as a needle; and by enchantment Queen Morgan le Fay and the Queen of Northgalis had put her there in that pains, because she was called the fairest lady of that country; and there she had been five years, and never might she be delivered out of her great pains unto the time the best knight of the