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Le Morte Darthur by Thomas Malory

Part 6 out of 9

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and let all this pass and be merry, for he is proved to be a man
of worship, and that is my joy.


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

THEN said Sir Gawaine and his brethren unto Arthur, Sir, an ye
will give us leave, we will go and seek our brother. Nay, said
Sir Launcelot, that shall ye not need; and so said Sir Baudwin of
Britain: for as by our advice the king shall send unto Dame
Lionesse a messenger, and pray her that she will come to the
court in all the haste that she may, and doubt ye not she will
come; and then she may give you best counsel where ye shall find
him. This is well said of you, said the king. So then goodly
letters were made, and the messenger sent forth, that night and
day he went till he came unto the Castle Perilous. And then the
lady Dame Lionesse was sent for, thereas she was with Sir
Gringamore her brother and Sir Gareth. And when she understood
this message, she bade him ride on his way unto King Arthur, and
she would come after in all goodly haste. Then when she came to
Sir Gringamore and to Sir Gareth, she told them all how King
Arthur had sent for her. That is because of me, said Sir Gareth.
Now advise me, said Dame Lionesse, <257>what shall I say, and in
what manner I shall rule me. My lady and my love, said Sir
Gareth, I pray you in no wise be ye aknowen where I am; but well
I wot my mother is there and all my brethren, and they will take
upon them to seek me, I wot well that they do. But this, madam,
I would ye said and advised the king when he questioned with you
of me. Then may ye say, this is your advice that, an it like his
good grace, ye will do make a cry against the feast of the
Assumption of our Lady, that what knight there proveth him best
he shall wield you and all your land. And if so be that he be a
wedded man, that his wife shall have the degree, and a coronal of
gold beset with stones of virtue to the value of a thousand
pound, and a white gerfalcon.

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

When Dame Lionesse was come to the Isle of Avilion, that was the
same isle thereas her brother Sir Gringamore dwelt, then she told
them all how she had done, and what promise she had made to King
Arthur. Alas, said Sir Gareth, I have been so wounded with
unhappiness sithen I came into this castle that I shall not be
able to do at that tournament like a knight; for I was never
thoroughly whole since I was hurt. Be ye of good cheer, said the
damosel Linet, for I undertake within these fifteen days to make
ye whole, and as lusty as ever ye were. And then she laid an
ointment and a salve to him as it pleased to her, that he was
never so fresh nor so lusty. Then said <258>the damosel Linet:
Send you unto Sir Persant of Inde, and assummon him and his
knights to be here with you as they have promised. Also, that ye
send unto Sir Ironside, that is the Red Knight of the Red Launds,
and charge him that he be ready with you with his whole sum of
knights, and then shall ye be able to match with King Arthur and
his knights. So this was done, and all knights were sent for
unto the Castle Perilous; and then the Red Knight answered and
said unto Dame Lionesse, and to Sir Gareth, Madam, and my lord
Sir Gareth, ye shall understand that I have been at the court of
King Arthur, and Sir Persant of Inde and his brethren, and there
we have done our homage as ye commanded us. Also Sir Ironside
said, I have taken upon me with Sir Persant of Inde and his
brethren to hold part against my lord Sir Launcelot and the
knights of that court. And this have I done for the love of my
lady Dame Lionesse, and you my lord Sir Gareth. Ye have well
done, said Sir Gareth; but wit you well ye shall be full sore
matched with the most noble knights of the world; therefore we
must purvey us of good knights, where we may get them. That is
well said, said Sir Persant, and worshipfully.

And so the cry was made in England, Wales, and Scotland, Ireland,
Cornwall, and in all the Out Isles, and in Brittany and in many
countries; that at the feast of our Lady the Assumption next
coming, men should come to the Castle Perilous beside the Isle of
Avilion; and there all the knights that there came should have
the choice whether them list to be on the one party with the
knights of the castle, or on the other party with King Arthur.
And two months was to the day that the tournament should be. And
so there came many good knights that were at their large, and
held them for the most part against King Arthur and his knights
of the Round Table and came in the side of them of the castle.
For Sir Epinogrus was the first, and he was the king's son of
Northumberland, and Sir Palamides the Saracen was another, and
Sir Safere his brother, and Sir Segwarides his brother, but they
were christened, and Sir Malegrine <259>another, and Sir Brian de
les Isles, a noble knight, and Sir Grummore Grummursum, a good
knight of Scotland, and Sir Carados of the dolorous tower, a
noble knight, and Sir Turquine his brother, and Sir Arnold and
Sir Gauter, two brethren, good knights of Cornwall. There came
Sir Tristram de Liones, and with him Sir Dinas, the Seneschal,
and Sir Sadok; but this Sir Tristram was not at that time knight
of the Table Round, but he was one of the best knights of the
world. And so all these noble knights accompanied them with the
lady of the castle, and with the Red Knight of the Red Launds;
but as for Sir Gareth, he would not take upon him more but as
other mean knights.


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

AND then there came with King Arthur Sir Gawaine, Agravaine,
Gaheris, his brethren. And then his nephews Sir Uwaine le
Blanchemains, and Sir Aglovale, Sir Tor, Sir Percivale de Galis,
and Sir Lamorak de Galis. Then came Sir Launcelot du Lake with
his brethren, nephews, and cousins, as Sir Lionel, Sir Ector de
Maris, Sir Bors de Ganis, and Sir Galihodin, Sir Galihud, and
many more of Sir Launcelot's blood, and Sir Dinadan, Sir La Cote
Male Taile, his brother, a good knight, and Sir Sagramore, a good
knight; and all the most part of the Round Table. Also there
came with King Arthur these knights, the King of Ireland, King
Agwisance, and the King of Scotland, King Carados and King Uriens
of the land of Gore, and King Bagdemagus and his son Sir
Meliaganus, and Sir Galahault the noble prince. All these kings,
princes, and earls, barons, and other noble knights, as Sir
Brandiles, Sir Uwaine les Avoutres, and Sir Kay, Sir Bedivere,
Sir Meliot <260>de Logres, Sir Petipase of Winchelsea, Sir
Godelake: all these came with King Arthur, and more that cannot
be rehearsed.

Now leave we of these kings and knights, and let us speak of the
great array that was made within the castle and about the castle
for both parties. The Lady Dame Lionesse ordained great array
upon her part for her noble knights, for all manner of lodging
and victual that came by land and by water, that there lacked
nothing for her party, nor for the other, but there was plenty to
be had for gold and silver for King Arthur and his knights. And
then there came the harbingers from King Arthur for to harbour
him, and his kings, dukes, earls, barons, and knights. And then
Sir Gareth prayed Dame Lionesse and the Red Knight of the Red
Launds, and Sir Persant and his brother, and Sir Gringamore, that
in no wise there should none of them tell not his name, and make
no more of him than of the least knight that there was, For, he
said, I will not be known of neither more nor less, neither at
the beginning neither at the ending. Then Dame Lionesse said
unto Sir Gareth: Sir, I will lend you a ring, but I would pray
you as you love me heartily let me have it again when the
tournament is done, for that ring increaseth my beauty much more
than it is of himself. And the virtue of my ring is that, that
is green it will turn to red, and that is red it will turn in
likeness to green, and that is blue it will turn to likeness of
white, and that is white it will turn in likeness to blue, and so
it will do of all manner of colours. Also who that beareth my
ring shall lose no blood, and for great love I will give you this
ring. Gramercy, said Sir Gareth, mine own lady, for this ring is
passing meet for me, for it will turn all manner of likeness that
I am in, and that shall cause me that I shall not be known. Then
Sir Gringamore gave Sir Gareth a bay courser that was a passing
good horse; also he gave him good armour and sure, and a noble
sword that sometime Sir Gringamore's father won upon an heathen
tyrant. And so thus every knight made him ready to that
tournament. And King Arthur was come two days to-fore the
<261>Assumption of our Lady. And there was all manner of royalty
of all minstrelsy that might be found. Also there came Queen
Guenever and the Queen of Orkney, Sir Gareth's mother.

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


How the knights bare them in the battle.

THEN Sir Brian de les Isles and Grummore Grummursum, knights of
the castle, encountered with Sir Aglovale, and Sir Tor smote down
Sir Grummore Grummursum to the earth. Then came in Sir Carados
of the dolorous tower, and Sir Turquine, knights of the castle;
and there encountered with them Sir Percivale de Galis and Sir
Lamorak de Galis, that were two brethren. And there encountered
Sir Percivale with Sir Carados, and either brake their spears
unto their hands, and then Sir Turquine with Sir Lamorak, and
either of them smote down other's horse and all to the
<262>earth, and either parties rescued other, and horsed them
again. And Sir Arnold and Sir Gauter, knights of the castle,
encountered with Sir Brandiles and Sir Kay, and these four
knights encountered mightily, and brake their spears to their
hands. Then came in Sir Tristram, Sir Sadok, and Sir Dinas,
knights of the castle, and there encountered Sir Tristram with
Sir Bedivere, and there Sir Bedivere was smitten to the earth
both horse and man. And Sir Sadok encountered with Sir Petipase,
and there Sir Sadok was overthrown. And there Uwaine les
Avoutres smote down Sir Dinas, the Seneschal. Then came in Sir
Persant of Inde, a knight of the castle, and there encountered
with him Sir Launcelot du Lake, and there he smote Sir Persant,
horse and man, to the earth. Then came Sir Pertolepe from the
castle, and there encountered with him Sir Lionel, and there Sir
Pertolepe, the Green Knight, smote down Sir Lionel, brother to
Sir Launcelot. All this was marked by noble heralds, who bare
him best, and their names.

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

When King Agwisance of Ireland saw Sir Gareth fare so, he
marvelled what he might be that one time seemed <263>green, and
another time, at his again coming, he seemed blue. And thus at
every course that he rode to and fro he changed his colour, so
that there might neither king nor knight have ready cognisance of
him. Then Sir Agwisance, the King of Ireland, encountered with
Sir Gareth, and there Sir Gareth smote him from his horse, saddle
and all. And then came King Carados of Scotland, and Sir Gareth
smote him down horse and man. And in the same wise he served
King Uriens of the land of Gore. And then came in Sir
Bagdemagus, and Sir Gareth smote him down, horse and man, to the
earth. And Bagdemagus' son, Meliganus, brake a spear upon Sir
Gareth mightily and knightly. And then Sir Galahault, the noble
prince, cried on high: Knight with the many colours, well hast
thou jousted; now make thee ready that I may joust with thee.
Sir Gareth heard him, and he gat a great spear, and so they
encountered together, and there the prince brake his spear; but
Sir Gareth smote him upon the left side of the helm that he
reeled here and there, and he had fallen down had not his men
recovered him.

So God me help, said King Arthur, that same knight with the many
colours is a good knight. Wherefore the king called unto him Sir
Launcelot, and prayed him to encounter with that knight. Sir,
said Launcelot, I may well find in my heart for to forbear him as
at this time, for he hath had travail enough this day; and when a
good knight doth so well upon some day, it is no good knight's
part to let him of his worship, and namely, when he seeth a
knight hath done so great labour; for peradventure, said Sir
Launcelot, his quarrel is here this day, and peradventure he is
best beloved with this lady of all that be here; for I see well
he paineth him and enforceth him to do great deeds, and
therefore, said Sir Launcelot, as for me, this day he shall have
the honour; though it lay in my power to put him from it I would


Yet of the said tournament.

THEN when this was done there was drawing of swords, and then
there began a sore tournament. And there did Sir Lamorak
marvellous deeds of arms; and betwixt Sir Lamorak and Sir
Ironside, that was the Red Knight of the Red Launds, there was
strong battle; and betwixt Sir Palamides and Bleoberis there was
a strong battle; and Sir Gawaine and Sir Tristram met, and there
Sir Gawaine had the worse, for he pulled Sir Gawaine from his
horse, and there he was long upon foot, and defouled. Then came
in Sir Launcelot, and he smote Sir Turquine, and he him; and then
came Sir Carados his brother, and both at once they assailed him,
and he as the most noblest knight of the world worshipfully
fought with them both, that all men wondered of the noblesse of
Sir Launcelot. And then came in Sir Gareth, and knew that it was
Sir Launcelot that fought with the two perilous knights. And then
Sir Gareth came with his good horse and hurtled them in-sunder,
and no stroke would he smite to Sir Launcelot. That espied Sir
Launcelot, and deemed it should be the good knight Sir Gareth:
and then Sir Gareth rode here and there, and smote on the right
hand and on the left hand, and all the folk might well espy where
that he rode. And by fortune he met with his brother Sir
Gawaine, and there he put Sir Gawaine to the worse, for he put
off his helm, and so he served five or six knights of the Round
Table, that all men said he put him in the most pain, and best he
did his devoir. For when Sir Tristram beheld him how he first
jousted and after fought so well with a sword, then he rode unto
Sir Ironside and to Sir Persant of Inde, and asked them, by their
faith, What manner a knight is yonder knight that seemeth in so
many divers colours? Truly, meseemeth, said Tristram, that he
putteth himself in great pain, for he <265>never ceaseth. Wot ye
not what he is? said Sir Ironside. No, said Sir Tristram. Then
shall ye know that this is he that loveth the lady of the castle,
and she him again; and this is he that won me when I besieged the
lady of this castle, and this is he that won Sir Persant of Inde,
and his three brethren. What is his name, said Sir Tristram, and
of what blood is he come? He was called in the court of King
Arthur, Beaumains, but his right name is Sir Gareth of Orkney,
brother to Sir Gawaine. By my head, said Sir Tristram, he is a
good knight, and a big man of arms, and if he be young he shall
prove a full noble knight. He is but a child, they all said, and
of Sir Launcelot he was made knight. Therefore he is mickle the
better, said Tristram. And then Sir Tristram, Sir Ironside, Sir
Persant, and his brother, rode together for to help Sir Gareth;
and then there were given many strong strokes.

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


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

BUT before he was in so many colours, and now he is but in one
colour; that is yellow. Now go, said King Arthur <266>unto
divers heralds, and ride about him, and espy what manner knight
he is, for I have spered of many knights this day that be upon
his party, and all say they know him not. And so an herald rode
nigh Gareth as he could; and there he saw written about his helm
in gold, This helm is Sir Gareth of Orkney. Then the herald
cried as he were wood, and many heralds with him:--This is Sir
Gareth of Orkney in the yellow arms; wherby[*4] all kings and
knights of Arthur's beheld him and awaited; and then they pressed
all to behold him, and ever the heralds cried: This is Sir
Gareth of Orkney, King Lot's son. And when Sir Gareth espied
that he was discovered, then he doubled his strokes, and smote
down Sir Sagramore, and his brother Sir Gawaine. O brother, said
Sir Gawaine, I weened ye would not have stricken me.

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

So when he heard him say so he thrang here and there, and so with
great pain he gat out of the press, and there he met with his
dwarf. O boy, said Sir Gareth, thou hast beguiled me foul this
day that thou kept my ring; give it me anon again, that I may
hide my body withal; and so he took it him. And then they all
wist not where he was become; and Sir Gawaine had in manner
espied where Sir Gareth rode, and then he rode after with all his
might. That espied Sir Gareth, and rode lightly into the forest,
that Sir Gawaine wist not where he was become. And when Sir
Gareth wist that Sir Gawaine was passed, he asked the dwarf of
best counsel. Sir, said the dwarf, meseemeth it were best, now
that ye are escaped from spying, that ye send my lady Dame
Lionesse her ring. It is well advised, said Sir Gareth; now have
it here and bear it to her, and say that I recommend me unto her
good grace, and say her I will come when I may, and I pray her to
be true and faithful to me as I will be to her. Sir, said the
dwarf, it shall be done as ye command: and so he rode his way,
and did his errand unto the lady. Then she said, Where is my
knight, Sir Gareth? Madam, said the dwarf, he bade me say that
he would not be long from you. And so lightly the dwarf came
again unto Sir Gareth, that would full fain <267>have had a
lodging, for he had need to be reposed. And then fell there a
thunder and a rain, as heaven and earth should go together. And
Sir Gareth was not a little weary, for of all that day he had but
little rest, neither his horse nor he. So this Sir Gareth rode
so long in that forest until the night came. And ever it
lightened and thundered, as it had been wood. At the last by
fortune he came to a castle, and there he heard the waits upon
the walls.


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

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

When Sir Gareth saw that torch-light he cried on high: Whether
thou be lord or lady, giant or champion, I take no force so that
I may have harbour this night; and if it so be that I must needs
fight, spare me not to-morn when I have rested me, for both I and
mine horse be weary. Sir knight, said the lady, thou speakest
knightly and boldly; but wit thou well the lord of this castle
loveth not King Arthur, nor none of his court, for my lord hath
ever been against him; and therefore thou were better not to come
within this castle; for an thou come in this night, thou must
come in under such form, that wheresomever <268>thou meet my
lord, by stigh or by street, thou must yield thee to him as
prisoner. Madam, said Sir Gareth, what is your lord, and what is
his name? Sir, my lord's name is the Duke de la Rowse. Well
madam, said Sir Gareth, I shall promise you in what place I meet
your lord I shall yield me unto him and to his good grace; with
that I understand he will do me no harm: and if I understand that
he will, I will release myself an I can with my spear and my
sword. Ye say well, said the duchess; and then she let the
drawbridge down, and so he rode into the hall, and there he
alighted, and his horse was led into a stable; and in the hall he
unarmed him and said, Madam, I will not out of this hall this
night; and when it is daylight, let see who will have ado with
me, he shall find me ready. Then was he set unto supper, and had
many good dishes. Then Sir Gareth list well to eat, and knightly
he ate his meat, and eagerly; there was many a fair lady by him,
and some said they never saw a goodlier man nor so well of
eating. Then they made him passing good cheer, and shortly when
he had supped his bed was made there; so he rested him all night.

And on the morn he heard mass, and brake his fast and took his
leave at the duchess, and at them all; and thanked her goodly of
her lodging, and of his good cheer; and then she asked him his
name. Madam, he said, truly my name is Gareth of Orkney, and
some men call me Beaumains. Then knew she well it was the same
knight that fought for Dame Lionesse. So Sir Gareth departed and
rode up into a mountain, and there met him a knight, his name was
Sir Bendelaine, and said to Sir Gareth: Thou shalt not pass this
way, for either thou shalt joust with me, or else be my prisoner.
Then will I joust, said Sir Gareth. And so they let their horses
run, and there Sir Gareth smote him throughout the body; and Sir
Bendelaine rode forth to his castle there beside, and there died.
So Sir Gareth would have rested him, and he came riding to
Bendelaine's castle. Then his knights and servants espied that
it was he that had slain their lord. Then they armed twenty good
men, and <269>came out and assailed Sir Gareth; and so he had no
spear, but his sword, and put his shield afore him; and there
they brake their spears upon him, and they assailed him passingly
sore. But ever Sir Gareth defended him as a knight.


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

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

Then he rode a great pace till that he came to a castle, and
there he heard much mourning of ladies and gentlewomen. So there
came by him a page. What noise is this, said Sir Gareth, that I
hear within this castle? Sir knight, said the page, here be
within this castle thirty ladies, and all they be widows; for
here is a knight that waiteth daily upon this castle, and his
name is the Brown Knight without Pity, and he is the periloust
knight that now liveth; and therefore sir, said the page, I rede
you flee. Nay, said Sir Gareth, I will not flee though thou be
afeard of him. And then the page saw where came the Brown
Knight: Lo, said the page, yonder he cometh. Let me deal with
him, said Sir Gareth. And when either of other had a sight they
let their horses run, and the Brown Knight brake his spear, and
Sir Gareth smote him throughout the body, that he overthrew him
to the ground stark dead. So Sir Gareth rode into the castle,
and prayed the ladies that he might repose him. Alas, said the
ladies, <270>ye may not be lodged here. Make him good cheer,
said the page, for this knight hath slain your enemy. Then they
all made him good cheer as lay in their power. But wit ye well
they made him good cheer, for they might none otherwise do, for
they were but poor.

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

AND among all these ladies she was named the fairest, and
peerless. Then when Sir Gawaine saw her there was many a goodly
look and goodly words, that all men of worship had joy to behold
them. Then came King Arthur and many other kings, and Dame
Guenever, and the Queen of Orkney. And there the king asked his
nephew, Sir Gareth, whether he would have that lady as paramour,
or to have her to his wife. My lord, wit you well that I love
her above all ladies living. Now, fair lady, said King Arthur,
what say ye? Most noble King, said Dame Lionesse, wit you well
that my lord, Sir Gareth, is to me more liefer to have and wield
as my husband, than any king or prince that is christened; and if
I may not have him I promise you I will never have none. For, my
lord Arthur, said Dame Lionesse, wit ye well he is my first love,
and he shall be the last; and if ye will suffer him to <274>have
his will and free choice I dare say he will have me. That is
truth, said Sir Gareth; an I have not you and wield not you as my
wife, there shall never lady nor gentlewoman rejoice me. What,
nephew, said the king, is the wind in that door? for wit ye well
I would not for the stint of my crown to be causer to withdraw
your hearts; and wit ye well ye cannot love so well but I shall
rather increase it than distress it. And also ye shall have my
love and my lordship in the uttermost wise that may lie in my
power. And in the same wise said Sir Gareth's mother.

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

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


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

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

And so when this solemnization was done, then came in the Green
Knight, Sir Pertolepe, with thirty knights, and there he did
homage and fealty to Sir Gareth, and these knights to hold of him
for evermore. Also Sir Pertolepe said: I pray you that at this
feast I may be your chamberlain. With a good will, said Sir
Gareth sith it liketh you to take so simple an office. Then came
in the Red Knight, with three score knights with him, and did to
Sir Gareth homage and fealty, and all those knights to hold of
him for evermore. And then this Sir Perimones prayed Sir Gareth
to grant him to be his chief butler at that high feast. I will
well, said Sir Gareth, that ye have this office, and it were
better. Then came in Sir Persant of Inde, with an hundred
knights with him, and there he did homage and fealty, and all his
knights should do him service, and hold their lands of him for
ever; and there he prayed Sir Gareth to make him his sewer-chief
at the feast. I will well, said Sir Gareth, that ye have it and
it were better. Then came the Duke de la Rowse with an hundred
knights with him, and there he did homage and fealty to Sir
Gareth, and so to hold their <276>lands of him for ever. And he
required Sir Gareth that he might serve him of the wine that day
of that feast. I will well, said Sir Gareth, and it were better.
Then came in the Red Knight of the Red Launds, that was Sir
Ironside, and he brought with him three hundred knights, and
there he did homage and fealty, and all these knights to hold
their lands of him for ever. And then he asked Sir Gareth to be
his carver. I will well, said Sir Gareth, an it please you.

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

So the first day there jousted Sir Lamorak de Galis, for he
overthrew thirty knights, and did passing marvellously deeds of
arms; and then King Arthur made Sir Persant and his two brethren
Knights of the Round Table to their lives' end, and gave them
great lands. Also the second day there jousted Tristram best,
and he overthrew forty knights, and did there marvellous deeds of
arms. And there King Arthur made Ironside, that was the Red
Knight of the Red Launds, a Knight of the Table Round to his
life's end, and gave him great lands. The third day there
jousted Sir Launcelot du Lake, and he overthrew fifty knights,
and did many marvellous deeds of arms, that all men wondered on
him. And there King Arthur <277>made the Duke de la Rowse a
Knight of the Round Table to his life's end, and gave him great
lands to spend. But when these jousts were done, Sir Lamorak and
Sir Tristram departed suddenly, and would not be known, for the
which King Arthur and all the court were sore displeased. And so
they held the court forty days with great solemnity. And this
Sir Gareth was a noble knight, and a well-ruled, and fair-

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

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


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

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

So when this King Meliodas had been with his wife, within a while
she waxed great with child, and she was a full meek lady, and
well she loved her lord, and he her again, so there was great joy
betwixt them. Then there was a lady in that country that had
loved King Meliodas long, and by no mean she never could get his
love; therefore she let ordain upon a day, as King Meliodas rode
a-hunting, for he was a great chaser, and there by an enchantment
she made him chase an hart by himself alone <279>till that he
came to an old castle, and there anon he was taken prisoner by
the lady that him loved. When Elizabeth, King Meliodas' wife,
missed her lord, and she was nigh out of her wit, and also as
great with child as she was, she took a gentlewoman with her, and
ran into the forest to seek her lord. And when she was far in
the forest she might no farther, for she began to travail fast of
her child. And she had many grimly throes; her gentlewoman
helped her all that she might, and so by miracle of Our Lady of
Heaven she was delivered with great pains. But she had taken
such cold for the default of help that deep draughts of death
took her, that needs she must die and depart out of this world;
there was none other bote.

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

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


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

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

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

When the queen of Meliodas wist of the death of her son, wit ye
well that she was heavy. But yet the king understood nothing of
her treason. Notwithstanding the <281>queen would not leave
this, but eft she let ordain more poison, and put it in a piece.
And by fortune King Meliodas, her husband, found the piece with
wine where was the poison, and he that was much thirsty took the
piece for to drink thereout. And as he would have drunken
thereof the queen espied him, and then she ran unto him, and
pulled the piece from him suddenly. The king marvelled why she
did so, and remembered him how her son was suddenly slain with
poison. And then he took her by the hand, and said: Thou false
traitress, thou shalt tell me what manner of drink this is, or
else I shall slay thee. And therewith he pulled out his sword,
and sware a great oath that he should slay her but if she told
him truth. Ah! mercy, my lord, said she, and I shall tell you
all. And then she told him why she would have slain Tristram,
because her children should rejoice his land. Well, said King
Meliodas, and therefore shall ye have the law. And so she was
condemned by the assent of the barons to be burnt; and then was
there made a great fire, and right as she was at the fire to take
her execution, young Tristram kneeled afore King Meliodas, and
besought him to give him a boon. I will well, said the king
again. Then said young Tristram, Give me the life of thy queen,
my stepmother. That is unrightfully asked, said King Meliodas,
for thou ought of right to hate her, for she would have slain
thee with that poison an she might have had her will; and for thy
sake most is my cause that she should die.

Sir, said Tristram, as for that, I beseech you of your mercy that
you will forgive it her, and as for my part, God forgive it her,
and I do; and so much it liked your highness to grant me my boon,
for God's love I require you hold your promise. Sithen it is so,
said the king, I will that ye have her life. Then, said the
king, I give her to you, and go ye to the fire and take her, and
do with her what ye will. So Sir Tristram went to the fire, and
by the commandment of the king delivered her from the death. But
after that King Meliodas would never have ado with her, as at bed
and board. But by the <282>good means of young Tristram he made
the king and her accorded. But then the king would not suffer
young Tristram to abide no longer in his court.


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

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

And after, as he grew in might and strength, he laboured ever in
hunting and in hawking, so that never gentleman more, that ever
we heard read of. And as the book saith, he began good measures
of blowing of beasts of venery, and beasts of chase, and all
manner of vermin, and all these terms we have yet of hawking and
hunting. And therefore the book of venery, of hawking, and
hunting, is called the book of Sir Tristram. Wherefore, as
meseemeth, all gentlemen that bear old arms ought of right to
honour Sir Tristram for the goodly terms that gentlemen have and
use, and shall to the day of doom, that thereby in a manner all
men of worship may dissever a gentleman from a yeoman, and from a
yeoman a villain. For he that gentle is will draw him unto
gentle tatches, and to follow the customs of noble gentlemen.

Thus Sir Tristram endured in Cornwall until he was <283>big and
strong, of the age of eighteen years. And then the King Meliodas
had great joy of Sir Tristram, and so had the queen, his wife.
For ever after in her life, because Sir Tristram saved her from
the fire, she did never hate him more after, but loved him ever
after, and gave Tristram many great gifts; for every estate loved
him, where that he went.


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

THEN it befell that King Anguish of Ireland sent unto King Mark
of Cornwall for his truage, that Cornwall had paid many winters.
And all that time King Mark was behind of the truage for seven
years. And King Mark and his barons gave unto the messenger of
Ireland these words and answer, that they would none pay; and
bade the messenger go unto his King Anguish, and tell him we will
pay him no truage, but tell your lord, an he will always have
truage of us of Cornwall, bid him send a trusty knight of his
land, that will fight for his right, and we shall find another
for to defend our right. With this answer the messengers
departed into Ireland. And when King Anguish understood the
answer of the messengers he was wonderly wroth. And then he
called unto him Sir Marhaus, the good knight, that was nobly
proved, and a Knight of the Table Round. And this Marhaus was
brother unto the queen of Ireland. Then the king said thus:
Fair brother, Sir Marhaus, I pray you go into Cornwall for my
sake, and do battle for our truage that of right we ought to
have; and whatsomever ye spend ye shall have sufficiently, more
than ye shall need. Sir, said Marhaus, wit ye well that I shall
not be loath to do battle in the right of you and your land with
the best knight of the Table Round; for I know them, <284>for the
most part, what be their deeds; and for to advance my deeds and
to increase my worship I will right gladly go unto this journey
for our right.

So in all haste there was made purveyance for Sir Marhaus, and he
had all things that to him needed; and so he departed out of
Ireland, and arrived up in Cornwall even fast by the Castle of
Tintagil. And when King Mark understood that he was there
arrived to fight for Ireland, then made King Mark great sorrow
when he understood that the good and noble knight Sir Marhaus was
come. For they knew no knight that durst have ado with him. For
at that time Sir Marhaus was called one of the famousest and
renowned knights of the world. And thus Sir Marhaus abode in the
sea, and every day he sent unto King Mark for to pay the truage
that was behind of seven year, other else to find a knight to
fight with him for the truage. This manner of message Sir
Marhaus sent daily unto King Mark.

Then they of Cornwall let make cries in every place, that what
knight would fight for to save the truage of Cornwall, he should
be rewarded so that he should fare the better, term of his life.
Then some of the barons said to King Mark, and counselled him to
send to the court of King Arthur for to seek Sir Launcelot du
Lake, that was that time named for the marvelloust knight of all
the world. Then there were some other barons that counselled the
king not to do so, and said that it was labour in vain, because
Sir Marhaus was a knight of the Round Table, therefore any of
them will be loath to have ado with other, but if it were any
knight at his own request would fight disguised and unknown. So
the king and all his barons assented that it was no bote to seek
any knight of the Round Table. This mean while came the language
and the noise unto King Meliodas, how that Sir Marhaus abode
battle fast by Tintagil, and how King Mark could find no manner
knight to fight for him. When young Tristram heard of this he
was wroth, and sore ashamed that there durst no knight in
Cornwall have ado with Sir Marhaus of Ireland.


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

THEREWITHAL Tristram went unto his father, King Meliodas, and
asked him counsel what was best to do for to recover Cornwall
from truage. For, as meseemeth, said Sir Tristram, it were shame
that Sir Marhaus, the queen's brother of Ireland, should go away
unless that he were foughten withal. As for that, said King
Meliodas, wit you well, son Tristram, that Sir Marhaus is called
one of the best knights of the world, and Knight of the Table
Round; and therefore I know no knight in this country that is
able to match with him. Alas, said Sir Tristram, that I am not
made knight; and if Sir Marhaus should thus depart into Ireland,
God let me never have worship: an I were made knight I should
match him. And sir, said Tristram, I pray you give me leave to
ride to King Mark; and, so ye be not displeased, of King Mark
will I be made knight. I will well, said King Meliodas, that ye
be ruled as your courage will rule you. Then Sir Tristram
thanked his father much. And then he made him ready to ride into

In the meanwhile there came a messenger with letters of love from
King Faramon of France's daughter unto Sir Tristram, that were
full piteous letters, and in them were written many complaints of
love; but Sir Tristram had no joy of her letters nor regard unto
her. Also she sent him a little brachet that was passing fair.
But when the king's daughter understood that Sir Tristram would
not love her, as the book saith, she died for sorrow. And then
the same squire that brought the letter and the brachet came
again unto Sir Tristram, as after ye shall hear in the tale.

So this young Sir Tristram rode unto his eme, King Mark of
Cornwall. And when he came there he heard say that there would
no knight fight with Sir Marhaus. <286>Then yede Sir Tristram
unto his eme and said: Sir, if ye will give me the order of
knighthood, I will do battle with Sir Marhaus. What are ye, said
the king, and from whence be ye come? Sir, said Tristram, I come
from King Meliodas that wedded your sister, and a gentleman wit
ye well I am. King Mark beheld Sir Tristram and saw that he was
but a young man of age, but he was passingly well made and big.
Fair sir, said the king, what is your name, and where were ye
born? Sir, said he again, my name is Tristram, and in the
country of Liones was I born. Ye say well, said the king; and if
ye will do this battle I shall make you knight. Therefore I come
to you, said Sir Tristram, and for none other cause. But then
King Mark made him knight. And therewithal, anon as he had made
him knight, he sent a messenger unto Sir Marhaus with letters
that said that he had found a young knight ready for to take the
battle to the uttermost. It may well be, said Sir Marhaus; but
tell King Mark I will not fight with no knight but he be of blood
royal, that is to say, other king's son, other queen's son, born
of a prince or princess.

When King Mark understood that, he sent for Sir Tristram de
Liones and told him what was the answer of Sir Marhaus. Then
said Sir Tristram: Sithen that he saith so, let him wit that I
am come of father side and mother side of as noble blood as he
is: for, sir, now shall ye know that I am King Meliodas' son,
born of your own sister, Dame Elizabeth, that died in the forest
in the birth of me. O Jesu, said King Mark, ye are welcome fair
nephew to me. Then in all the haste the king let horse Sir
Tristram, and armed him in the best manner that might be had or
gotten for gold or silver. And then King Mark sent unto Sir
Marhaus, and did him to wit that a better born man than he was
himself should fight with him, and his name is Sir Tristram de
Liones, gotten of King Meliodas, and born of King Mark's sister.
Then was Sir Marhaus glad and blithe that he should fight with
such a gentleman. And so by the assent of King Mark and of Sir
Marhaus they let ordain that they <287>should fight within an
island nigh Sir Marhaus' ships; and so was Sir Tristram put into
a vessel both his horse and he, and all that to him longed both
for his body and for his horse. Sir Tristram lacked nothing.
And when King Mark and his barons of Cornwall beheld how young
Sir Tristram departed with such a carriage to fight for the right
of Cornwall, there was neither man nor woman of worship but they
wept to see and understand so young a knight to jeopardy himself
for their right.


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

SO to shorten this tale, when Sir Tristram was arrived within the
island he looked to the farther side, and there he saw at an
anchor six ships nigh to the land; and under the shadow of the
ships upon the land, there hoved the noble knight, Sir Marhaus of
Ireland. Then Sir Tristram commanded his servant Gouvernail to
bring his horse to the land, and dress his harness at all manner
of rights. And then when he had so done he mounted upon his
horse; and when he was in his saddle well apparelled, and his
shield dressed upon his shoulder, Tristram asked Gouvernail,
Where is this knight that I shall have ado withal? Sir, said
Gouvernail, see ye him not? I weened ye had seen him; yonder he
hoveth under the umbre of his ships on horseback, with his spear
in his hand and his shield upon his shoulder. That is truth,
said the noble knight, Sir Tristram, now I see him well enough.

Then he commanded his servant Gouvernail to go to his vessel
again: And commend me unto mine eme King Mark, and pray him, if
that I be slain in this battle, for to inter my body as him
seemed best; and as for me, let him wit that I will never yield
me for cowardice; and if I be slain and flee not, then they have
lost no truage for <288>me; and if so be that I flee or yield me
as recreant, bid mine eme never bury me in Christian burials.
And upon thy life, said Sir Tristram to Gouvernail, come thou not
nigh this island till that thou see me overcome or slain, or else
that I win yonder knight. So either departed from other sore


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

AND then Sir Marhaus avised Sir Tristram, and said thus: Young
knight, Sir Tristram, what dost thou here? me sore repenteth of
thy courage, for wit thou well I have been assayed, and the best
knights of this land have been assayed of my hand; and also I
have matched with the best knights of the world, and therefore by
my counsel return again unto thy vessel. And fair knight, and
well-proved knight, said Sir Tristram, thou shalt well wit I may
not forsake thee in this quarrel, for I am for thy sake made
knight. And thou shalt well wit that I am a king's son born, and
gotten upon a queen; and such promise I have made at my uncle's
request and mine own seeking, that I shall fight with thee unto
the uttermost, and deliver Cornwall from the old truage. And
also wit thou well, Sir Marhaus, that this is the greatest cause
that thou couragest me to have ado with thee, for thou art called
one of the most renowned knights of the world, and because of
that noise and fame that thou hast thou givest me courage to have
ado with thee, for never yet was I proved with good knight; and
sithen I took the order of knighthood this day, I am well pleased
that I may have ado with so good a knight as thou art. And now
wit thou well, Sir Marhaus, that I cast me to get worship on thy
body; and if that I be not proved, I trust to God that I shall be
worshipfully proved upon thy body, and to <289>deliver the
country of Cornwall for ever from all manner of truage from
Ireland for ever.

When Sir Marhaus had heard him say what he would, he said then
thus again: Fair knight, sithen it is so that thou castest to
win worship of me, I let thee wit worship may thou none lose by
me if thou mayest stand me three strokes; for I let thee wit for
my noble deeds, proved and seen, King Arthur made me Knight of
the Table Round.

Then they began to feutre their spears, and they met so fiercely
together that they smote either other down, both horse and all.
But Sir Marhaus smote Sir Tristram a great wound in the side with
his spear, and then they avoided their horses, and pulled out
their swords, and threw their shields afore them. And then they
lashed together as men that were wild and courageous. And when
they had stricken so together long, then they left their strokes,
and foined at their breaths and visors; and when they saw that
that might not prevail them, then they hurtled together like rams
to bear either other down. Thus they fought still more than half
a day, and either were wounded passing sore, that the blood ran
down freshly from them upon the ground. By then Sir Tristram
waxed more fresher than Sir Marhaus, and better winded and
bigger; and with a mighty stroke he smote Sir Marhaus upon the
helm such a buffet that it went through his helm, and through the
coif of steel, and through the brain-pan, and the sword stuck so
fast in the helm and in his brain-pan that Sir Tristram pulled
thrice at his sword or ever he might pull it out from his head;
and there Marhaus fell down on his knees, the edge of Tristram's
sword left in his brain-pan. And suddenly Sir Marhaus rose
grovelling, and threw his sword and his shield from him, and so
ran to his ships and fled his way, and Sir Tristram had ever his
shield and his sword.

And when Sir Tristram saw Sir Marhaus withdraw him, he said: Ah!
Sir Knight of the Round Table, why withdrawest thou thee? thou
dost thyself and thy kin great shame, for I am but a young
knight, or now I was never proved, and rather than I should
withdraw me from <290>thee, I had rather be hewn in an hundred
pieces. Sir Marhaus answered no word but yede his way sore
groaning. Well, Sir Knight, said Sir Tristram, I promise thee
thy sword and thy shield shall be mine; and thy shield shall I
wear in all places where I ride on mine adventures, and in the
sight of King Arthur and all the Round Table.


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

ANON Sir Marhaus and his fellowship departed into Ireland. And
as soon as he came to the king, his brother, he let search his
wounds. And when his head was searched a piece of Sir Tristram's
sword was found therein, and might never be had out of his head
for no surgeons, and so he died of Sir Tristram's sword; and that
piece of the sword the queen, his sister, kept it for ever with
her, for she thought to be revenged an she might.

Now turn we again unto Sir Tristram, that was sore wounded, and
full sore bled that he might not within a little while, when he
had taken cold, unnethe stir him of his limbs. And then he set
him down softly upon a little hill, and bled fast. Then anon
came Gouvernail, his man, with his vessel; and the king and his
barons came with procession against him. And when he was come
unto the land, King Mark took him in his arms, and the king and
Sir Dinas, the seneschal, led Sir Tristram into the castle of
Tintagil. And then was he searched in the best manner, and laid
in his bed. And when King Mark saw his wounds he wept heartily,
and so did all his lords. So God me help, said King Mark, I
would not for all my lands that my nephew died. So Sir Tristram
lay there a month and more, and ever he was like to die of that
stroke that Sir Marhaus smote him first with the spear. For, as
the <291>French book saith, the spear's head was envenomed, that
Sir Tristram might not be whole. Then was King Mark and all his
barons passing heavy, for they deemed none other but that Sir
Tristram should not recover. Then the king let send after all
manner of leeches and surgeons, both unto men and women, and
there was none that would behote him the life. Then came there a
lady that was a right wise lady, and she said plainly unto King
Mark, and to Sir Tristram, and to all his barons, that he should
never be whole but if Sir Tristram went in the same country that
the venom came from, and in that country should he be holpen or
else never. Thus said the lady unto the king.

When King Mark understood that, he let purvey for Sir Tristram a
fair vessel, well victualled, and therein was put Sir Tristram,
and Gouvernail with him, and Sir Tristram took his harp with him,
and so he was put into the sea to sail into Ireland; and so by
good fortune he arrived up in Ireland, even fast by a castle
where the king and the queen was; and at his arrival he sat and
harped in his bed a merry lay, such one heard they never none in
Ireland before that time.

And when it was told the king and the queen of such a knight that
was such an harper, anon the king sent for him, and let search
his wounds, and then asked him his name. Then he answered, I am
of the country of Liones, and my name is Tramtrist, that thus was
wounded in a battle as I fought for a lady's right. So God me
help, said King Anguish, ye shall have all the help in this land
that ye may have here; but I let you wit, in Cornwall I had a
great loss as ever had king, for there I lost the best knight of
the world; his name was Marhaus, a full noble knight, and Knight
of the Table Round; and there he told Sir Tristram wherefore Sir
Marhaus was slain. Sir Tristram made semblant as he had been
sorry, and better knew he how it was than the king.


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

THEN the king for great favour made Tramtrist to be put in his
daughter's ward and keeping, because she was a noble surgeon.
And when she had searched him she found in the bottom of his
wound that therein was poison, and so she healed him within a
while; and therefore Tramtrist cast great love to La Beale Isoud,
for she was at that time the fairest maid and lady of the world.
And there Tramtrist learned her to harp, and she began to have a
great fantasy unto him. And at that time Sir Palamides, the
Saracen, was in that country, and well cherished with the king
and the queen. And every day Sir Palamides drew unto La Beale
Isoud and proffered her many gifts, for he loved her passingly
well. All that espied Tramtrist, and full well knew he Sir
Palamides for a noble knight and a mighty man. And wit you well
Sir Tramtrist had great despite at Sir Palamides, for La Beale
Isoud told Tramtrist that Palamides was in will to be christened
for her sake. Thus was there great envy betwixt Tramtrist and
Sir Palamides.

Then it befell that King Anguish let cry a great jousts and a
great tournament for a lady that was called the Lady of the
Launds, and she was nigh cousin unto the king. And what man won
her, three days after he should wed her and have all her lands.
This cry was made in England, Wales, Scotland, and also in France
and in Brittany. It befell upon a day La Beale Isoud came unto
Sir Tramtrist, and told him of this tournament. He answered and
said: Fair lady, I am but a feeble knight, and but late I had
been dead had not your good ladyship been. Now, fair lady, what
would ye I should do in this matter? well ye wot, my lady, that I
may not joust. Ah, Tramtrist, said La Beale Isoud, why will ye
not have ado at that tournament?<293> well I wot Sir Palamides
shall be there, and to do what he may; and therefore Tramtrist, I
pray you for to be there, for else Sir Palamides is like to win
the degree. Madam, said Tramtrist, as for that, it may be so,
for he is a proved knight, and I am but a young knight and late
made; and the first battle that I did it mishapped me to be sore
wounded as ye see. But an I wist ye would be my better lady, at
that tournament I will be, so that ye will keep my counsel and
let no creature have knowledge that I shall joust but yourself,
and such as ye will to keep your counsel, my poor person shall I
jeopard there for your sake, that, peradventure, Sir Palamides
shall know when that I come. Thereto, said La Beale Isoud, do
your best, and as I can, said La Beale Isoud, I shall purvey
horse and armour for you at my device. As ye will so be it, said
Sir Tramtrist, I will be at your commandment.

So at the day of jousts there came Sir Palamides with a black
shield, and he overthrew many knights, that all the people had
marvel of him. For he put to the worse Sir Gawaine, Gaheris,
Agravaine, Bagdemagus, Kay, Dodinas le Savage, Sagramore le
Desirous, Gumret le Petit, and Griflet le Fise de Dieu. All
these the first day Sir Palamides struck down to the earth. And
then all manner of knights were adread of Sir Palamides, and many
called him the Knight with the Black Shield. So that day Sir
Palamides had great worship.

Then came King Anguish unto Tramtrist, and asked him why he would
not joust. Sir, he said, I was but late hurt, and as yet I dare
not adventure me. Then came there the same squire that was sent
from the king's daughter of France unto Sir Tristram. And when
he had espied Sir Tristram he fell flat to his feet. All that
espied La Beale Isoud, what courtesy the squire made unto Sir
Tristram. And therewithal suddenly Sir Tristram ran unto his
squire, whose name was Hebes le Renoumes, and prayed him heartily
in no wise to tell his name. Sir, said Hebes, I will not
discover your name but if ye command me.


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

THEN Sir Tristram asked him what he did in those countries. Sir,
he said, I came hither with Sir Gawaine for to be made knight,
and if it please you, of your hands that I may be made knight.
Await upon me as to-morn secretly, and in the field I shall make
you a knight.

Then had La Beale Isoud great suspicion unto Tramtrist, that he
was some man of worship proved, and therewith she comforted
herself, and cast more love unto him than she had done to-fore.
And so on the morn Sir Palamides made him ready to come into the
field as he did the first day. And there he smote down the King
with the Hundred Knights, and the King of Scots. Then had La
Beale Isoud ordained and well arrayed Sir Tristram in white horse
and harness. And right so she let put him out at a privy
postern, and so he came into the field as it had been a bright
angel. And anon Sir Palamides espied him, and therewith he
feutred a spear unto Sir Tramtrist, and he again unto him. And
there Sir Tristram smote down Sir Palamides unto the earth. And
then there was a great noise of people: some said Sir Palamides
had a fall, some said the Knight with the Black Shield had a
fall. And wit you well La Beale Isoud was passing glad. And
then Sir Gawaine and his fellows nine had marvel what knight it
might be that had smitten down Sir Palamides. Then would there
none joust with Tramtrist, but all that there were forsook him,
most and least. Then Sir Tristram made Hebes a knight, and
caused him to put himself forth, and did right well that day. So
after Sir Hebes held him with Sir Tristram.

And when Sir Palamides had received this fall, wit ye well that
he was sore ashamed, and as privily as he might <295>he withdrew
him out of the field. All that espied Sir Tristram, and lightly
he rode after Sir Palamides and overtook him, and bade him turn,
for better he would assay him or ever he departed. Then Sir
Palamides turned him, and either lashed at other with their
swords. But at the first stroke Sir Tristram smote down
Palamides, and gave him such a stroke upon the head that he fell
to the earth. So then Tristram bade yield him, and do his
commandment, or else he would slay him. When Sir Palamides
beheld his countenance, he dread his buffets so, that he granted
all his askings. Well said, said Sir Tristram, this shall be
your charge. First, upon pain of your life that ye forsake my
lady La Beale Isoud, and in no manner wise that ye draw not to
her. Also this twelvemonth and a day that ye bear none armour
nor none harness of war. Now promise me this, or here shalt thou
die. Alas, said Palamides, for ever am I ashamed. Then he sware
as Sir Tristram had commanded him. Then for despite and anger
Sir Palamides cut off his harness, and threw them away.

And so Sir Tristram turned again to the castle where was La Beale
Isoud; and by the way he met with a damosel that asked after Sir
Launcelot, that won the Dolorous Guard worshipfully; and this
damosel asked Sir Tristram what he was. For it was told her that
it was he that smote down Sir Palamides, by whom the ten knights
of King Arthur's were smitten down. Then the damosel prayed Sir
Tristram to tell her what he was, and whether that he were Sir
Launcelot du Lake, for she deemed that there was no knight in the
world might do such deeds of arms but if it were Launcelot. Fair
damosel, said Sir Tristram, wit ye well that I am not Sir
Launcelot, for I was never of such prowess, but in God is all
that he may make me as good a knight as the good knight Sir
Launcelot. Now, gentle knight, said she, put up thy visor; and
when she beheld his visage she thought she saw never a better
man's visage, nor a better faring knight. And then when the
damosel knew certainly that he was not Sir Launcelot, then she
took her leave, and departed <296>from him. And then Sir
Tristram rode privily unto the postern, where kept him La Beale
Isoud, and there she made him good cheer, and thanked God of his
good speed. So anon, within a while the king and the queen
understood that it was Tramtrist that smote down Sir Palamides;
then was he much made of, more than he was before.


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

THUS was Sir Tramtrist long there well cherished with the king
and the queen, and namely with La Beale Isoud. So upon a day the
queen and La Beale Isoud made a bain for Sir Tramtrist. And when
he was in his bain the queen and Isoud, her daughter, roamed up
and down in the chamber; and therewhiles Gouvernail and Hebes
attended upon Tramtrist, and the queen beheld his sword thereas
it lay upon his bed. And then by unhap the queen drew out his
sword and beheld it a long while, and both they thought it a
passing fair sword; but within a foot and an half of the point
there was a great piece thereof out-broken of the edge. And when
the queen espied that gap in the sword, she remembered her of a
piece of a sword that was found in the brain-pan of Sir Marhaus,
the good knight that was her brother. Alas then, said she unto
her daughter, La Beale Isoud, this is the same traitor knight
that slew my brother, thine eme. When Isoud heard her say so she
was passing sore abashed, for passing well she loved Tramtrist,
and full well she knew the cruelness of her mother the queen.

Anon therewithal the queen went unto her own chamber, and sought
her coffer, and there she took out the piece or the sword that
was pulled out of Sir Marhaus' head after that he was dead. And
then she ran with that piece of iron to the sword that lay upon
the bed. And <297>when she put that piece of steel and iron unto
the sword, it was as meet as it might be when it was new broken.
And then the queen gripped that sword in her hand fiercely, and
with all her might she ran straight upon Tramtrist where he sat
in his bain, and there she had rived him through had not Sir
Hebes gotten her in his arms, and pulled the sword from her, and
else she had thrust him through.

Then when she was let of her evil will she ran to the King
Anguish, her husband, and said on her knees: O my lord, here
have ye in your house that traitor knight that slew my brother
and your servant, that noble knight, Sir Marhaus. Who is that,
said King Anguish, and where is he? Sir, she said, it is Sir
Tramtrist, the same knight that my daughter healed. Alas, said
the king, therefore am I right heavy, for he is a full noble
knight as ever I saw in field. But I charge you, said the king
to the queen, that ye have not ado with that knight, but let me
deal with him.

Then the king went into the chamber unto Sir Tramtrist, and then
was he gone unto his chamber, and the king found him all ready
armed to mount upon his horse. When the king saw him all ready
armed to go unto horseback, the king said: Nay, Tramtrist, it
will not avail to compare thee against me; but thus much I shall
do for my worship and for thy love; in so much as thou art within
my court it were no worship for me to slay thee: therefore upon
this condition I will give thee leave for to depart from this
court in safety, so thou wilt tell me who was thy father, and
what is thy name, and if thou slew Sir Marhaus, my brother.


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

SIR, said Tristram, now I shall tell you all the truth: my
father's name is Sir Meliodas, King of Liones, and my <298>mother
hight Elizabeth, that was sister unto King Mark of Cornwall; and
my mother died of me in the forest, and because thereof she
commanded, or she died, that when I were christened they should
christen me Tristram; and because I would not be known in this
country I turned my name and let me call Tramtrist; and for the
truage of Cornwall I fought for my eme's sake, and for the right
of Cornwall that ye had posseded many years. And wit ye well,
said Tristram unto the king, I did the battle for the love of
mine uncle, King Mark, and for the love of the country of
Cornwall, and for to increase mine honour; for that same day that
I fought with Sir Marhaus I was made knight, and never or then
did I battle with no knight, and from me he went alive, and left
his shield and his sword behind.

So God me help, said the king, I may not say but ye did as a
knight should, and it was your part to do for your quarrel, and
to increase your worship as a knight should; howbeit I may not
maintain you in this country with my worship, unless that I
should displease my barons, and my wife and her kin. Sir, said
Tristram, I thank you of your good lordship that I have had with
you here, and the great goodness my lady, your daughter, hath
shewed me, and therefore, said Sir Tristram, it may so happen
that ye shall win more by my life than by my death, for in the
parts of England it may happen I may do you service at some
season, that ye shall be glad that ever ye shewed me your good
lordship. With more I promise you as I am true knight, that in
all places I shall be my lady your daughter's servant and knight
in right and in wrong, and I shall never fail her, to do as much
as a knight may do. Also I beseech your good grace that I may
take my leave at my lady, your daughter, and at all the barons
and knights. I will well, said the king.

Then Sir Tristram went unto La Beale Isoud and took his leave of
her. And then he told her all, what he was, and how he had
changed his name because he would not be known, and how a lady
told him that he should never be whole till he came into this
country where the <299>poison was made, wherethrough I was near
my death had not your ladyship been. O gentle knight, said La
Isoud, full woe am I of thy departing, for I saw never man that I
owed so good will to. And therewithal she wept heartily. Madam,
said Sir Tristram, ye shall understand that my name is Sir
Tristram de Liones, gotten of King Meliodas, and born of his
queen. And I promise you faithfully that I shall be all the days
of my life your knight. Gramercy, said La Beale Isoud, and I
promise you there-against that I shall not be married this seven
years but by your assent; and to whom that ye will I shall be
married to him will I have, and he will have me if ye will

And then Sir Tristram gave her a ring, and she gave him another;
and therewith he departed from her, leaving her making great dole
and lamentation; and he straight went unto the court among all
the barons, and there he took his leave at most and least, and
openly he said among them all: Fair lords, now it is so that I
must depart: if there be any man here that I have offended unto,
or that any man be with me grieved, let complain him here afore
me or that ever I depart, and I shall amend it unto my power.
And if there be any that will proffer me wrong, or say of me
wrong or shame behind my back, say it now or never, and here is
my body to make it good, body against body. And all they stood
still, there was not one that would say one word; yet were there
some knights that were of the queen's blood, and of Sir Marhaus'
blood, but they would not meddle with him.


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

SO Sir Tristram departed, and took the sea, and with good wind he
arrived up at Tintagil in Cornwall; and <300>when King Mark was
whole in his prosperity there came tidings that Sir Tristram was
arrived, and whole of his wounds: thereof was King Mark passing
glad, and so were all the barons; and when he saw his time he
rode unto his father, King Meliodas, and there he had all the
cheer that the king and the queen could make him. And then
largely King Meliodas and his queen departed of their lands and
goods to Sir Tristram.

Then by the license of King Meliodas, his father, he returned
again unto the court of King Mark, and there he lived in great
joy long time, until at the last there befell a jealousy and an
unkindness betwixt King Mark and Sir Tristram, for they loved
both one lady. And she was an earl's wife that hight Sir
Segwarides. And this lady loved Sir Tristram passingly well.
And he loved her again, for she was a passing fair lady, and that
espied Sir Tristram well. Then King Mark understood that and was
jealous, for King Mark loved her passingly well.

So it fell upon a day this lady sent a dwarf unto Sir Tristram,
and bade him, as he loved her, that he would be with her the
night next following. Also she charged you that ye come not to
her but if ye be well armed, for her lover was called a good
knight. Sir Tristram answered to the dwarf: Recommend me unto
my lady, and tell her I will not fail but I will be with her the
term that she hath set me. And with this answer the dwarf
departed. And King Mark espied that the dwarf was with Sir
Tristram upon message from Segwarides' wife; then King Mark sent
for the dwarf, and when he was come he made the dwarf by force to
tell him all, why and wherefore that he came on message from Sir
Tristram. Now, said King Mark, go where thou wilt, and upon pain
of death that thou say no word that thou spakest with me; so the
dwarf departed from the king.

And that same night that the steven was set betwixt Segwarides'
wife and Sir Tristram, King Mark armed him, and made him ready,
and took two knights of his counsel with him; and so he rode
afore for to abide by the way for to wait upon Sir Tristram. And
as Sir Tristram came <301>riding upon his way with his spear in
his hand, King Mark came hurtling upon him with his two knights
suddenly. And all three smote him with their spears, and King
Mark hurt Sir Tristram on the breast right sore. And then Sir
Tristram feutred his spear, and smote his uncle, King Mark, so
sore, that he rashed him to the earth, and bruised him that he
lay still in a swoon, and long it was or ever he might wield
himself. And then he ran to the one knight, and eft to the
other, and smote them to the cold earth, that they lay still.
And therewithal Sir Tristram rode forth sore wounded to the lady,
and found her abiding him at a postern.


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

AND there she welcomed him fair, and either halsed other in arms,
and so she let put up his horse in the best wise, and then she
unarmed him. And so they supped lightly, and went to bed with
great joy and pleasaunce; and so in his raging he took no keep of
his green wound that King Mark had given him. And so Sir
Tristram be-bled both the over sheet and the nether, and pillows,
and head sheet. And within a while there came one afore, that
warned her that her lord was near-hand within a bow-draught. So
she made Sir Tristram to arise, and so he armed him, and took his
horse, and so departed. By then was come Segwarides, her lord,
and when he found her bed troubled and broken, and went near and
beheld it by candle light, then he saw that there had lain a
wounded knight. Ah, false traitress, then he said, why hast thou
betrayed me? And therewithal he swang out a sword, and said:
But if thou tell me who hath been here, here thou shalt die. Ah,
my lord, mercy, said the lady, and held up her hands, saying:
Slay me not, and I shall tell you all who hath <302>been here.
Tell anon, said Segwarides, to me all the truth. Anon for dread
she said: Here was Sir Tristram with me, and by the way as he
came to me ward, he was sore wounded. Ah, false traitress, said
Segwarides, where is he become? Sir, she said, he is armed, and
departed on horseback, not yet hence half a mile. Ye say well,
said Segwarides.

Then he armed him lightly, and gat his horse, and rode after Sir
Tristram that rode straightway unto Tintagil. And within a while
he overtook Sir Tristram, and then he bade him, Turn, false
traitor knight. And Sir Tristram anon turned him against him.
And therewithal Segwarides smote Sir Tristram with a spear that
it all to-brast; and then he swang out his sword and smote fast
at Sir Tristram. Sir knight, said Sir Tristram, I counsel you
that ye smite no more, howbeit for the wrongs that I have done
you I will forbear you as long as I may. Nay, said Segwarides,
that shall not be, for either thou shalt die or I.

Then Sir Tristram drew out his sword, and hurtled his horse unto
him fiercely, and through the waist of the body he smote Sir
Segwarides that he fell to the earth in a swoon. And so Sir
Tristram departed and left him there. And so he rode unto
Tintagil and took his lodging secretly, for he would not be known
that he was hurt. Also Sir Segwarides' men rode after their
master, whom they found lying in the field sore wounded, and
brought him home on his shield, and there he lay long or that he
were whole, but at the last he recovered. Also King Mark would
not be aknown of that Sir Tristram and he had met that night.
And as for Sir Tristram, he knew not that King Mark had met with
him. And so the king askance came to Sir Tristram, to comfort
him as he lay sick in his bed. But as long as King Mark lived he
loved never Sir Tristram after that; though there was fair
speech, love was there none. And thus it passed many weeks and
days, and all was forgiven and forgotten; for Sir Segwarides
durst not have ado with Sir Tristram, because of his noble
prowess, and also because he was <303>nephew unto King Mark;
therefore he let it overslip: for he that hath a privy hurt is
loath to have a shame outward.


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

THEN it befell upon a day that the good knight Bleoberis de
Ganis, brother to Blamore de Ganis, and nigh cousin unto the good
knight Sir Launcelot du Lake, this Bleoberis came unto the court
of King Mark, and there he asked of King Mark a boon, to give him
what gift that he would ask in his court. When the king heard
him ask so, he marvelled of his asking, but because he was a
knight of the Round Table, and of a great renown, King Mark
granted him his whole asking. Then, said Sir Bleoberis, I will
have the fairest lady in your court that me list to choose. I
may not say nay, said King Mark; now choose at your adventure.
And so Sir Bleoberis did choose Sir Segwarides' wife, and took
her by the hand, and so went his way with her; and so he took his
horse and gart set her behind his squire, and rode upon his way.

When Sir Segwarides heard tell that his lady was gone with a
knight of King Arthur's court, then he armed him and rode after
that knight for to rescue his lady. So when Bleoberis was gone
with this lady, King Mark and all the court was wroth that she
was away. Then were there certain ladies that knew that there
were great love between Sir Tristram and her, and also that lady
loved Sir Tristram above all other knights. Then there was one
lady that rebuked Sir Tristram in the horriblest wise, and called
him coward knight, that he would for shame of his knighthood see
a lady so shamefully be taken away from his uncle's court. But
she meant that either of them had loved other with entire heart.
But Sir Tristram <304>answered her thus: Fair lady, it is not my
part to have ado in such matters while her lord and husband is
present here; and if it had been that her lord had not been here
in this court, then for the worship of this court peradventure I
would have been her champion, and if so be Sir Segwarides speed
not well, it may happen that I will speak with that good knight
or ever he pass from this country.

Then within a while came one of Sir Segwarides' squires, and told
in the court that Sir Segwarides was beaten sore and wounded to
the point of death; as he would have rescued his lady Sir
Bleoberis overthrew him and sore hath wounded him. Then was King
Mark heavy thereof, and all the court. When Sir Tristram heard
of this he was ashamed and sore grieved; and then was he soon
armed and on horseback, and Gouvernail, his servant, bare his
shield and spear. And so as Sir Tristram rode fast he met with
Sir Andred his cousin, that by the commandment of King Mark was
sent to bring forth, an ever it lay in his power, two knights of
Arthur's court, that rode by the country to seek their
adventures. When Sir Tristram saw Sir Andred he asked him what
tidings. So God me help, said Sir Andred, there was never worse
with me, for here by the commandment of King Mark I was sent to
fetch two knights of King Arthur's court, and that one beat me
and wounded me, and set nought by my message. Fair cousin, said
Sir Tristram, ride on your way, and if I may meet them it may
happen I shall revenge you. So Sir Andred rode into Cornwall,
and Sir Tristram rode after the two knights, the which one hight
Sagramore le Desirous, and the other hight Dodinas le Savage.


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

THEN within a while Sir Tristram saw them afore him, two likely
knights. Sir, said Gouvernail unto his master, Sir, I would
counsel you not to have ado with them, for they be two proved
knights of Arthur's court. As for that, said Sir Tristram, have
ye no doubt but I will have ado with them to increase my worship,
for it is many day sithen I did any deeds of arms. Do as ye
list, said Gouvernail. And therewithal anon Sir Tristram asked
them from whence they came, and whither they would, and what they
did in those marches. Sir Sagramore looked upon Sir Tristram,
and had scorn of his words, and asked him again, Fair knight, be
ye a knight of Cornwall? Whereby ask ye it? said Sir Tristram.
For it is seldom seen, said Sir Sagramore, that ye Cornish
knights be valiant men of arms; for within these two hours there
met us one of your Cornish knights, and great words he spake, and
anon with little might he was laid to the earth. And, as I trow,
said Sir Sagramore, ye shall have the same handsel that he had.
Fair lords, said Sir Tristram, it may so happen that I may better
withstand than he did, and whether ye will or nill I will have
ado with you, because he was my cousin that ye beat. And
therefore here do your best, and wit ye well but if ye quit you
the better here upon this ground, one knight of Cornwall shall
beat you both.

When Sir Dodinas le Savage heard him say so he gat a spear in his
hand, and said, Sir knight, keep well thyself: And then they
departed and came together as it had been thunder. And Sir
Dodinas' spear brast in-sunder, but Sir Tristram smote him with a
more might, that he smote him clean over the horse-croup, that
nigh he had broken his neck. When Sir Sagramore saw his fellow
have such a <306>fall he marvelled what knight he might be. And
he dressed his spear with all his might, and Sir Tristram against
him, and they came together as the thunder, and there Sir
Tristram smote Sir Sagramore a strong buffet, that he bare his
horse and him to the earth, and in the falling he brake his

When this was done Sir Tristram asked them: Fair knights, will
ye any more? Be there no bigger knights in the court of King
Arthur? it is to you shame to say of us knights of Cornwall
dishonour, for it may happen a Cornish knight may match you.
That is truth, said Sir Sagramore, that have we well proved; but
I require thee, said Sir Sagramore, tell us your right name, by
the faith and troth that ye owe to the high order of knighthood.
Ye charge me with a great thing, said Sir Tristram, and sithen ye
list to wit it, ye shall know and understand that my name is Sir
Tristram de Liones, King Meliodas' son, and nephew unto King
Mark. Then were they two knights fain that they had met with
Tristram, and so they prayed him to abide in their fellowship.
Nay, said Sir Tristram, for I must have ado with one of your
fellows, his name is Sir Bleoberis de Ganis. God speed you well,
said Sir Sagramore and Dodinas. Sir Tristram departed and rode
onward on his way. And then was he ware before him in a valley
where rode Sir Bleoberis, with Sir Segwarides' lady, that rode
behind his squire upon a palfrey.


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

THEN Sir Tristram rode more than a pace until that he had
overtaken him. Then spake Sir Tristram: Abide, he said, Knight
of Arthur's court, bring again that lady, or deliver her to me.
I will do neither, said Bleoberis, for I dread no Cornish knight
so sore that me list to deliver her. <307>Why, said Sir
Tristram, may not a Cornish knight do as well as another knight?
this same day two knights of your court within this three mile
met with me, and or ever we departed they found a Cornish knight
good enough for them both. What were their names? said
Bleoberis. They told me, said Sir Tristram, that the one of them
hight Sir Sagramore le Desirous, and the other hight Dodinas le
Savage. Ah, said Sir Bleoberis, have ye met with them? so God me
help, they were two good knights and men of great worship, and if
ye have beat them both ye must needs be a good knight; but if it
so be ye have beat them both, yet shall ye not fear me, but ye
shall beat me or ever ye have this lady. Then defend you, said
Sir Tristram. So they departed and came together like thunder,
and either bare other down, horse and all, to the earth.

Then they avoided their horses, and lashed together eagerly with
swords, and mightily, now tracing and traversing on the right
hand and on the left hand more than two hours. And sometime they
rushed together with such a might that they lay both grovelling
on the ground. Then Sir Bleoberis de Ganis stert aback, and said
thus: Now, gentle good knight, a while hold your hands, and let
us speak together. Say what ye will, said Tristram, and I will
answer you. Sir, said Bleoberis, I would wit of whence ye be,
and of whom ye be come, and what is your name? So God me help,
said Sir Tristram, I fear not to tell you my name. Wit ye well I
am King Meliodas' son, and my mother is King Mark's sister, and
my name is Sir Tristram de Liones, and King Mark is mine uncle.
Truly, said Bleoberis, I am right glad of you, for ye are he that
slew Marhaus the knight, hand for hand in an island, for the
truage of Cornwall; also ye overcame Sir Palamides the good
knight, at a tournament in an island, where ye beat Sir Gawaine
and his nine fellows. So God me help, said Sir Tristram, wit ye
well that I am the same knight; now I have told you my name, tell
me yours with good will. Wit ye well that my name is Sir
Bleoberis de Ganis, and my brother hight Sir Blamore de Ganis,
that is called a <308>good knight, and we be sister's children
unto my lord Sir Launcelot du Lake, that we call one of the best
knights of the world. That is truth, said Sir Tristram, Sir
Launcelot is called peerless of courtesy and of knighthood; and
for his sake, said Sir Tristram, I will not with my good will
fight no more with you, for the great love I have to Sir
Launcelot du Lake. In good faith, said Bleoberis, as for me I
will be loath to fight with you; but sithen ye follow me here to
have this lady, I shall proffer you kindness, courtesy, and
gentleness right here upon this ground. This lady shall be
betwixt us both, and to whom that she will go, let him have her
in peace. I will well, said Tristram, for, as I deem, she will
leave you and come to me. Ye shall prove it anon, said


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

So when she was set betwixt them both she said these words unto
Sir Tristram: Wit ye well, Sir Tristram de Liones, that but late
thou wast the man in the world that I most loved and trusted, and
I weened thou hadst loved me again above all ladies; but when
thou sawest this knight lead me away thou madest no cheer to
rescue me, but suffered my lord Segwarides ride after me; but
until that time I weened thou haddest loved me, and therefore now
I will leave thee, and never love thee more. And therewithal she
went unto Sir Bleoberis.

When Sir Tristram saw her do so he was wonderly wroth with that
lady, and ashamed to come to the court. Sir Tristram, said Sir
Bleoberis, ye are in the default, for I hear by this lady's words
she before this day trusted you above all earthly knights, and,
as she saith, ye have deceived her, therefore wit ye well, there
may no man hold that will away; and rather than ye should be
heartily <309>displeased with me I would ye had her, an she would
abide with you. Nay, said the lady, so God me help I will never
go with him; for he that I loved most I weened he had loved me.
And therefore, Sir Tristram, she said, ride as thou came, for
though thou haddest overcome this knight, as ye was likely, with
thee never would I have gone. And I shall pray this knight so
fair of his knighthood, that or ever he pass this country, that
he will lead me to the abbey where my lord Sir Segwarides lieth.
So God me help, said Bleoberis, I let you wit, good knight Sir
Tristram, because King Mark gave me the choice of a gift in this
court, and so this lady liked me best--notwithstanding, she is
wedded and hath a lord, and I have fulfilled my quest, she shall
be sent unto her husband again, and in especial most for your
sake, Sir Tristram; and if she would go with you I would ye had
her. I thank you, said Sir Tristram, but for her love I shall
beware what manner a lady I shall love or trust; for had her
lord, Sir Segwarides, been away from the court, I should have
been the first that should have followed you; but sithen that ye
have refused me, as I am true knight I shall her know passingly
well that I shall love or trust. And so they took their leave
one from the other and departed.

And so Sir Tristram rode unto Tintagil, and Sir Bleoberis rode
unto the abbey where Sir Segwarides lay sore wounded, and there
he delivered his lady, and departed as a noble knight; and when
Sir Segwarides saw his lady, he was greatly comforted; and then
she told him that Sir Tristram had done great battle with Sir
Bleoberis, and caused him to bring her again. These words
pleased Sir Segwarides right well, that Sir Tristram would do so
much; and so that lady told all the battle unto King Mark betwixt
Sir Tristram and Sir Bleoberis.


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

THEN when this was done King Mark cast always in his heart how he
might destroy Sir Tristram. And then he imagined in himself to
send Sir Tristram into Ireland for La Beale Isoud. For Sir
Tristram had so praised her beauty and her goodness that King
Mark said that he would wed her, whereupon he prayed Sir Tristram
to take his way into Ireland for him on message. And all this
was done to the intent to slay Sir Tristram. Notwithstanding,
Sir Tristram would not refuse the message for no danger nor peril
that might fall, for the pleasure of his uncle, but to go he made
him ready in the most goodliest wise that might be devised. For
Sir Tristram took with him the most goodliest knights that he
might find in the court; and they were arrayed, after the guise
that was then used, in the goodliest manner. So Sir Tristram
departed and took the sea with all his fellowship. And anon, as
he was in the broad sea a tempest took him and his fellowship,
and drove them back into the coast of England; and there they
arrived fast by Camelot, and full fain they were to take the

And when they were landed Sir Tristram set up his pavilion upon
the land of Camelot, and there he let hang his shield upon the
pavilion. And that same day came two knights of King Arthur's,
that one was Sir Ector de Maris, and Sir Morganor. And they
touched the shield, and bade him come out of the pavilion for to
joust, an he would joust. Ye shall be answered, said Sir
Tristram, an ye will tarry a little while. So he made him ready,
and first he smote down Sir Ector de Maris, and after he smote
down Sir Morganor, all with one spear, and sore bruised them.
And when they lay upon the earth they asked Sir <311>Tristram
what he was, and of what country he was knight. Fair lords, said
Sir Tristram, wit ye well that I am of Cornwall. Alas, said Sir
Ector, now am I ashamed that ever any Cornish knight should
overcome me. And then for despite Sir Ector put off his armour
from him, and went on foot, and would not ride.


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

THEN it fell that Sir Bleoberis and Sir Blamore de Ganis, that
were brethren, they had summoned the King Anguish of Ireland for
to come to Arthur's court upon pain of forfeiture of King
Arthur's good grace. And if the King of Ireland came not in, at
the day assigned and set, the king should lose his lands. So it
happened that at the day assigned, King Arthur neither Sir
Launcelot might not be there for to give the judgment, for King
Arthur was with Sir Launcelot at the Castle Joyous Garde. And so
King Arthur assigned King Carados and the King of Scots to be
there that day as judges. So when the kings were at Camelot King
Anguish of Ireland was come to know his accusers. Then was there
Sir Blamore de Ganis, and appealed the King of Ireland of
treason, that he had slain a cousin of his in his court in
Ireland by treason. The king was sore abashed of his accusation,
for-why he was come at the summons of King Arthur, and or he came
at Camelot he wist not wherefore he was sent after. And when the
king heard Sir Blamore say his will, he understood well there was
none other remedy but for to answer him knightly; for the custom
was such in those days, that an any man were appealed of any
treason or murder he should fight body for body, or else to find
another knight for him. And all manner of murders in those days

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