Le Morte Darthur



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How Sir Tristram jousted, and smote down King Arthur, because he told him not the cause why he bare that shield.

And if so be ye can descrive what ye bear, ye are worthy to bear the arms. As for that, said Sir Tristram, I will answer you; this shield was given me, not desired, of Queen Morgan le Fay; and as for me, I can not descrive these arms, for it is no point of my charge, and yet I trust to God to bear them with worship. Truly, said King Arthur, ye ought not to bear none arms but if ye wist what ye bear: but I pray you tell me your name. To what intent? said Sir Tristram. For I would wit, said Arthur. Sir, ye shall not wit as at this time. Then shall ye and I do battle together, said King Arthur. Why, said Sir Tristram, will ye do battle with me but if I tell you my name? and that little needeth you an ye were a man of worship, for ye have seen me this day have had great travail, and therefore ye are a villainous knight to ask battle of me, considering my great travail; howbeit I will not fail you, and have ye no doubt that I fear not you; though you think you have me at a great advantage yet shall I right well endure you. And there withal King Arthur dressed his shield and his spear, and Sir Tristram against him, and they came so eagerly together. And there King Arthur brake his spear all to pieces upon Sir Tristram’s shield. But Sir Tristram hit Arthur again, that horse and man fell to the earth. And there was King Arthur wounded on the left side, a great wound and a perilous.

Then when Sir Uwaine saw his lord Arthur lie on the ground sore wounded, he was passing heavy. And then he dressed his shield and his spear, and cried aloud unto Sir Tristram and said: Knight, defend thee. So they came together as thunder, and Sir Uwaine brised his spear all to pieces upon Sir Tristram’s shield, and Sir Tristram smote him harder and sorer, with such a might that he bare him clean out of his saddle to the earth. With that Sir Tristram turned about and said: Fair knights, I had no need to joust with you, for I have had enough to do this day. Then arose Arthur and went to Sir Uwaine, and said to Sir Tristram: We have as we have deserved, for through our orgulyté we demanded battle of you, and yet we knew not your name. Nevertheless, by Saint Cross, said Sir Uwaine, he is a strong knight at mine advice as any is now living.

Then Sir Tristram departed, and in every place he asked and demanded after Sir Launcelot, but in no place he could not hear of him whether he were dead or alive; wherefore Sir Tristram made great dole and sorrow. So Sir Tristram rode by a forest, and then was he ware of a fair tower by a marsh on that one side, and on that other side a fair meadow. And there he saw ten knights fighting together. And ever the nearer he came he saw how there was but one knight did battle against nine knights, and that one did so marvellously that Sir Tristram had great wonder that ever one knight might do so great deeds of arms. And then within a little while he had slain half their horses and unhorsed them, and their horses ran in the fields and forest. Then Sir Tristram had so great pity of that one knight that endured so great pain, and ever he thought it should be Sir Palomides, by his shield. And so he rode unto the knights and cried unto them, and bade them cease of their battle, for they did themselves great shame so many knights to fight with one. Then answered the master of those knights, his name was called Breuse Saunce Pité, that was at that time the most mischievoust knight living, and said thus: Sir knight, what have ye ado with us to meddle? and therefore, an ye be wise, depart on your way as ye came, for this knight shall not escape us. That were pity, said Sir Tristram, that so good a knight as he is should be slain so cowardly; and therefore I warn you I will succour him with all my puissance.


How Sir Tristram saved Sir Palomides’ life, and how they promised to fight together within a fortnight.

So Sir Tristram alighted off his horse because they were on foot, that they should not slay his horse, and then dressed his shield, with his sword in his hand, and he smote on the right hand and on the left hand passing sore, that well-nigh at every stroke he struck down a knight. And when they espied his strokes they fled all with Breuse Saunce Pité unto the tower, and Sir Tristram followed fast after with his sword in his hand, but they escaped into the tower, and shut Sir Tristram without the gate. And when Sir Tristram saw this he returned aback unto Sir Palomides, and found him sitting under a tree sore wounded. Ah, fair knight, said Sir Tristram, well be ye found. Gramercy, said Sir Palomides, of your great goodness, for ye have rescued me of my life, and saved me from my death. What is your name? said Sir Tristram. He said: My name is Sir Palomides. O Jesu, said Sir Tristram, thou hast a fair grace of me this day that I should rescue thee, and thou art the man in the world that I most hate; but now make thee ready, for I will do battle with thee. What is your name? said Sir Palomides. My name is Sir Tristram, your mortal enemy. It may be so, said Sir Palomides; but ye have done over much for me this day that I should fight with you; for inasmuch as ye have saved my life it will be no worship for you to have ado with me, for ye are fresh and I am wounded sore, and therefore, an ye will needs have ado with me, assign me a day and then I shall meet with you without fail. Ye say well, said Sir Tristram, now I assign you to meet me in the meadow by the river of Camelot, where Merlin set the peron. So they were agreed.

Then Sir Tristram asked Sir Palomides why the ten knights did battle with him. For this cause, said Sir Palomides; as I rode upon mine adventures in a forest here beside I espied where lay a dead knight, and a lady weeping beside him. And when I saw her making such dole, I asked her who slew her lord. Sir, she said, the falsest knight of the world now living, and he is the most villain that ever man heard speak of and his name is Sir Breuse Saunce Pité. Then for pity I made the damosel to leap on her palfrey, and I promised her to be her warrant, and to help her to inter her lord. And so, suddenly, as I came riding by this tower, there came out Sir Breuse Saunce Pité, and suddenly he struck me from my horse. And then or I might recover my horse this Sir Breuse slew the damosel. And so I took my horse again, and I was sore ashamed, and so began the medley betwixt us: and this is the cause wherefore we did this battle. Well, said Sir Tristram, now I understand the manner of your battle, but in any wise have remembrance of your promise that ye have made with me to do battle with me this day fortnight. I shall not fail you, said Sir Palomides. Well, said Sir Tristram, as at this time I will not fail you till that ye be out of the danger of your enemies.

So they mounted upon their horses, and rode together unto that forest, and there they found a fair well, with clear water bubbling. Fair sir, said Sir Tristram, to drink of that water have I courage; and then they alighted off their horses. And then were they ware by them where stood a great horse tied to a tree, and ever he neighed. And then were they ware of a fair knight armed, under a tree, lacking no piece of harness, save his helm lay under his head. By the good lord, said Sir Tristram, yonder lieth a well-faring knight; what is best to do? Awake him, said Sir Palomides. So Sir Tristram awaked him with the butt of his spear. And so the knight rose up hastily and put his helm upon his head, and gat a great spear in his hand; and without any more words he hurled unto Sir Tristram, and smote him clean from his saddle to the earth, and hurt him on the left side, that Sir Tristram lay in great peril. Then he walloped farther, and fetched his course, and came hurling upon Sir Palomides, and there he struck him a part through the body, that he fell from his horse to the earth. And then this strange knight left them there, and took his way through the forest. With this Sir Palomides and Sir Tristram were on foot, and gat their horses again, and either asked counsel of other, what was best to do. By my head, said Sir Tristram, I will follow this strong knight that thus hath shamed us. Well, said Sir Palomides, and I will repose me hereby with a friend of mine. Beware, said Sir Tristram unto Palomides, that ye fail not that day that ye have set with me to do battle, for, as I deem, ye will not hold your day, for I am much bigger than ye. As for that, said Sir Palomides, be it as it be may, for I fear you not, for an I be not sick nor prisoner, I will not fail you; but I have cause to have more doubt of you that ye will not meet with me, for ye ride after yonder strong knight. And if ye meet with him it is an hard adventure an ever ye escape his hands. Right so Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides departed, and either took their ways diverse.


How Sir Tristram sought a strong knight that had smitten him down, and many other knights of the Round Table.

And so Sir Tristram rode long after this strong knight. And at the last he saw where lay a lady overthwart a dead knight. Fair lady, said Sir Tristram, who hath slain your lord? Sir, she said, here came a knight riding, as my lord and I rested us here, and asked him of whence he was, and my lord said of Arthur’s court. Therefore, said the strong knight, I will joust with thee, for I hate all these that be of Arthur’s court. And my lord that lieth here dead amounted upon his horse, and the strong knight and my lord encountered together, and there he smote my lord throughout with his spear, and thus he hath brought me in great woe and damage. That me repenteth, said Sir Tristram, of your great anger; an it please you tell me your husband’s name. Sir, said she, his name was Galardoun, that would have proved a good knight. So departed Sir Tristram from that dolorous lady, and had much evil lodging. Then on the third day Sir Tristram met with Sir Gawaine and with Sir Bleoberis in a forest at a lodge, and either were sore wounded. Then Sir Tristram asked Sir Gawaine and Sir Bleoberis if they met with such a knight, with such a cognisance, with a covered shield. Fair sir, said these knights, such a knight met with us to our great damage. And first he smote down my fellow, Sir Bleoberis, and sore wounded him because he bade me I should not have ado with him, for why he was overstrong for me. That strong knight took his words at scorn, and said he said it for mockery. And then they rode together, and so he hurt my fellow. And when he had done so I might not for shame but I must joust with him. And at the first course he smote me down and my horse to the earth. And there he had almost slain me, and from us he took his horse and departed, and in an evil time we met with him. Fair knights, said Sir Tristram, so he met with me, and with another knight that hight Palomides, and he smote us both down with one spear, and hurt us right sore. By my faith, said Sir Gawaine, by my counsel ye shall let him pass and seek him no further; for at the next feast of the Round Table, upon pain of my head ye shall find him there. By my faith, said Sir Tristram, I shall never rest till that I find him. And then Sir Gawaine asked him his name. Then he said: My name is Sir Tristram. And so either told other their names, and then departed Sir Tristram and rode his way.

And by fortune in a meadow Sir Tristram met with Sir Kay, the Seneschal, and Sir Dinadan. What tidings with you, said Sir Tristram, with you knights? Not good, said these knights. Why so? said Sir Tristram; I pray you tell me, for I ride to seek a knight. What cognisance beareth he? said Sir Kay. He beareth, said Sir Tristram, a covered shield close with cloth. By my head, said Sir Kay, that is the same knight that met with us, for this night we were lodged within a widow’s house, and there was that knight lodged; and when he wist we were of Arthur’s court he spoke great villainy by the king, and specially by the Queen Guenever, and then on the morn was waged battle with him for that cause. And at the first recounter, said Sir Kay, he smote me down from my horse and hurt me passing sore; and when my fellow, Sir Dinadan, saw me smitten down and hurt he would not revenge me, but fled from me; and thus he departed. And then Sir Tristram asked them their names, and so either told other their names. And so Sir Tristram departed from Sir Kay, and from Sir Dinadan, and so he passed through a great forest into a plain, till he was ware of a priory, and there he reposed him with a good man six days.


How Sir Tristram smote down Sir Sagramore le Desirous and Sir Dodinas le Savage.

And then he sent his man that hight Gouvernail, and commanded him to go to a city thereby to fetch him new harness; for it was long time afore that that Sir Tristram had been refreshed, his harness was brised and broken. And when Gouvernail, his servant, was come with his apparel, he took his leave at the widow, and mounted upon his horse, and rode his way early on the morn. And by sudden adventure Sir Tristram met with Sir Sagramore le Desirous, and with Sir Dodinas le Savage. And these two knights met with Sir Tristram and questioned with him, and asked him if he would joust with them. Fair knights, said Sir Tristram, with a good will I would joust with you, but I have promised at a day set, near hand, to do battle with a strong knight; and therefore I am loath to have ado with you, for an it misfortuned me here to be hurt I should not be able to do my battle which I promised. As for that, said Sagramore, maugre your head, ye shall joust with us or ye pass from us. Well, said Sir Tristram, if ye enforce me thereto I must do what I may. And then they dressed their shields, and came running together with great ire. But through Sir Tristram’s great force he struck Sir Sagramore from his horse. Then he hurled his horse farther, and said to Sir Dodinas: Knight, make thee ready; and so through fine force Sir Tristram struck Dodinas from his horse. And when he saw them lie on the earth he took his bridle, and rode forth on his way, and his man Gouvernail with him.

Anon as Sir Tristram was passed, Sir Sagramore and Sir Dodinas gat again their horses, and mounted up lightly and followed after Sir Tristram. And when Sir Tristram saw them come so fast after him he returned with his horse to them, and asked them what they would. It is not long ago sithen I smote you to the earth at your own request and desire: I would have ridden by you, but ye would not suffer me, and now meseemeth ye would do more battle with me. That is truth, said Sir Sagramore and Sir Dodinas, for we will be revenged of the despite ye have done to us. Fair knights, said Sir Tristram, that shall little need you, for all that I did to you ye caused it; wherefore I require you of your knighthood leave me as at this time, for I am sure an I do battle with you I shall not escape without great hurts, and as I suppose ye shall not escape all lotless. And this is the cause why I am so loath to have ado with you; for I must fight within these three days with a good knight, and as valiant as any is now living, and if I be hurt I shall not be able to do battle with him. What knight is that, said Sir Sagramore, that ye shall fight withal? Sirs, said he, it is a good knight called Sir Palomides. By my head, said Sir Sagramore and Sir Dodinas, ye have cause to dread him, for ye shall find him a passing good knight, and a valiant. And because ye shall have ado with him we will forbear you as at this time, and else ye should not escape us lightly. But, fair knight, said Sir Sagramore, tell us your name. Sir, said he, my name is Sir Tristram de Liones. Ah, said Sagramore and Sir Dodinas, well be ye found, for much worship have we heard of you. And then either took leave of other, and departed on their way.


How Sir Tristram met at the peron with Sir Launcelot, and how they fought together unknown.

Then departed Sir Tristram and rode straight unto Camelot, to the peron that Merlin had made to-fore, where Sir Lanceor, that was the king’s son of Ireland, was slain by the hands of Balin. And in that same place was the fair lady Colombe slain, that was love unto Sir Lanceor; for after he was dead she took his sword and thrust it through her body. And by the craft of Merlin he made to inter this knight, Lanceor, and his lady, Colombe, under one stone. And at that time Merlin prophesied that in that same place should fight two the best knights that ever were in Arthur’s days, and the best lovers. So when Sir Tristram came to the tomb where Lanceor and his lady were buried he looked about him after Sir Palomides. Then was he ware of a seemly knight came riding against him all in white, with a covered shield. When he came nigh Sir Tristram he said on high: Ye be welcome, sir knight, and well and truly have ye holden your promise. And then they dressed their shields and spears, and came together with all their might of their horses; and they met so fiercely that both their horses and knights fell to the earth, and as fast as they might avoided their horses, and put their shields afore them; and they struck together with bright swords, as men that were of might, and either wounded other wonderly sore, that the blood ran out upon the grass. And thus they fought the space of four hours, that never one would speak to other one word, and of their harness they had hewn off many pieces. O Lord Jesu, said Gouvernail, I marvel greatly of the strokes my master hath given to your master. By my head, said Sir Launcelot’s servant, your master hath not given so many but your master has received as many or more. O Jesu, said Gouvernail, it is too much for Sir Palomides to suffer or Sir Launcelot, and yet pity it were that either of these good knights should destroy other’s blood. So they stood and wept both, and made great dole when they saw the bright swords over-covered with blood of their bodies.

Then at the last spake Sir Launcelot and said: Knight, thou fightest wonderly well as ever I saw knight, therefore, an it please you, tell me your name. Sir, said Sir Tristram, that is me loath to tell any man my name. Truly, said Sir Launcelot, an I were required I was never loath to tell my name. It is well said, said Sir Tristram, then I require you to tell me your name? Fair knight, he said, my name is Sir Launcelot du Lake. Alas, said Sir Tristram, what have I done! for ye are the man in the world that I love best. Fair knight, said Sir Launcelot, tell me your name? Truly, said he, my name is Sir Tristram de Liones. O Jesu, said Sir Launcelot, what adventure is befallen me! And therewith Sir Launcelot kneeled down and yielded him up his sword. And therewith Sir Tristram kneeled adown, and yielded him up his sword. And so either gave other the degree. And then they both forthwithal went to the stone, and set them down upon it, and took off their helms to cool them, and either kissed other an hundred times. And then anon after they took off their helms and rode to Camelot. And there they met with Sir Gawaine and with Sir Gaheris that had made promise to Arthur never to come again to the court till they had brought Sir Tristram with them.


How Sir Launcelot brought Sir Tristram to the court, and of the great joy that the king and other made for the coming of Sir Tristram.

Return again, said Sir Launcelot, for your quest is done, for I have met with Sir Tristram: lo, here is his own person! Then was Sir Gawaine glad, and said to Sir Tristram: Ye are welcome, for now have ye eased me greatly of my labour. For what cause, said Sir Gawaine, came ye into this court? Fair sir, said Sir Tristram, I came into this country because of Sir Palomides; for he and I had assigned at this day to have done battle together at the peron, and I marvel I hear not of him. And thus by adventure my lord, Sir Launcelot, and I met together. With this came King Arthur, and when he wist that there was Sir Tristram, then he ran unto him and took him by the hand and said: Sir Tristram, ye are as welcome as any knight that ever came to this court. And when the king had heard how Sir Launcelot and he had foughten, and either had wounded other wonderly sore, then the king made great dole. Then Sir Tristram told the king how he came thither for to have had ado with Sir Palomides. And then he told the king how he had rescued him from the nine knights and Breuse Saunce Pité; and how he found a knight lying by a well, and that knight smote down Sir Palomides and me, but his shield was covered with a cloth. So Sir Palomides left me, and I followed after that knight; and in many places I found where he had slain knights, and forjousted many. By my head, said Sir Gawaine, that same knight smote me down and Sir Bleoberis, and hurt us sore both, he with the covered shield. Ah, said Sir Kay, that knight smote me adown and hurt me passing sore, and fain would I have known him, but I might not. Jesu, mercy, said Arthur, what knight was that with the covered shield? I know not, said Sir Tristram; and so said they all. Now, said King Arthur, then wot I, for it is Sir Launcelot. Then they all looked upon Sir Launcelot and said: Ye have beguiled us with your covered shield. It is not the first time, said Arthur, he hath done so. My lord, said Sir Launcelot, truly wit ye well I was the same knight that bare the covered shield; and because I would not be known that I was of your court I said no worship of your house. That is truth, said Sir Gawaine, Sir Kay, and Sir Bleoberis.

Then King Arthur took Sir Tristram by the hand and went to the Table Round. Then came Queen Guenever and many ladies with her, and all the ladies said at one voice: Welcome, Sir Tristram! Welcome, said the damosels. Welcome, said knights. Welcome, said Arthur, for one of the best knights, and the gentlest of the world, and the man of most worship; for of all manner of hunting thou bearest the prize, and of all measures of blowing thou art the beginning, and of all the terms of hunting and hawking ye are the beginner, of all instruments of music ye are the best; therefore, gentle knight, said Arthur, ye are welcome to this court. And also, I pray you, said Arthur, grant me a boon. It shall be at your commandment, said Tristram. Well, said Arthur, I will desire of you that ye will abide in my court. Sir, said Sir Tristram, thereto is me loath, for I have ado in many countries. Not so, said Arthur, ye have promised it me, ye may not say nay. Sir, said Sir Tristram, I will as ye will. Then went Arthur unto the sieges about the Round Table, and looked in every siege the which were void that lacked knights. And then the king saw in the siege of Marhaus letters that said: This is the siege of the noble knight, Sir Tristram. And then Arthur made Sir Tristram Knight of the Table Round, with great nobley and great feast as might be thought. For Sir Marhaus was slain afore by the hands of Sir Tristram in an island; and that was well known at that time in the court of Arthur, for this Marhaus was a worthy knight. And for evil deeds that he did unto the country of Cornwall Sir Tristram and he fought. And they fought so long, tracing and traversing, till they fell bleeding to the earth; for they were so sore wounded that they might not stand for bleeding. And Sir Tristram by fortune recovered, and Sir Marhaus died through the stroke on the head. So leave we of Sir Tristram and speak we of King Mark.


How for the despite of Sir Tristram King Mark came with two knights into England, and how he slew one of the knights.

Then King Mark had great despite of the renown of Sir Tristram, and then he chased him out of Cornwall: yet was he nephew unto King Mark, but he had great suspicion unto Sir Tristram because of his queen, La Beale Isoud; for him seemed that there was too much love between them both. So when Sir Tristram departed out of Cornwall into England King Mark heard of the great prowess that Sir Tristram did there, the which grieved him sore. So he sent on his part men to espy what deeds he did. And the queen sent privily on her part spies to know what deeds he had done, for great love was between them twain. So when the messengers were come home they told the truth as they had heard, that he passed all other knights but if it were Sir Launcelot. Then King Mark was right heavy of these tidings, and as glad was La Beale Isoud. Then in great despite he took with him two good knights and two squires, and disguised himself, and took his way into England, to the intent for to slay Sir Tristram. And one of these two knights hight Bersules, and the other knight was called Amant. So as they rode King Mark asked a knight that he met, where he should find King Arthur. He said: At Camelot. Also he asked that knight after Sir Tristram, whether he heard of him in the court of King Arthur. Wit you well, said that knight, ye shall find Sir Tristram there for a man of as great worship as is now living; for through his prowess he won the tournament of the Castle of Maidens that standeth by the Hard Rock. And sithen he hath won with his own hands thirty knights that were men of great honour. And the last battle that ever he did he fought with Sir Launcelot; and that was a marvellous battle. And not by force Sir Launcelot brought Sir Tristram to the court, and of him King Arthur made passing great joy, and so made him Knight of the Table Round; and his seat was where the good knight’s, Sir Marhaus, seat was. Then was King Mark passing sorry when he heard of the honour of Sir Tristram; and so they departed.

Then said King Mark unto his two knights: Now will I tell you my counsel: ye are the men that I trust most to alive, and I will that ye wit my coming hither is to this intent, for to destroy Sir Tristram by wiles or by treason; and it shall be hard if ever he escape our hands. Alas, said Sir Bersules, what mean you? for ye be set in such a way ye are disposed shamefully; for Sir Tristram is the knight of most worship that we know living, and therefore I warn you plainly I will never consent to do him to the death; and therefore I will yield my service, and forsake you. When King Mark heard him say so, suddenly he drew his sword and said: Ah, traitor; and smote Sir Bersules on the head, that the sword went to his teeth. When Amant, the knight, saw him do that villainous deed, and his squires, they said it was foul done, and mischievously: Wherefore we will do thee no more service, and wit ye well, we will appeach thee of treason afore Arthur. Then was King Mark wonderly wroth and would have slain Amant; but he and the two squires held them together, and set nought by his malice. When King Mark saw he might not be revenged on them, he said thus unto the knight, Amant: Wit thou well, an thou appeach me of treason I shall thereof defend me afore King Arthur; but I require thee that thou tell not my name, that I am King Mark, whatsomever come of me. As for that, said Sir Amant, I will not discover your name; and so they departed, and Amant and his fellows took the body of Bersules and buried it.


How King Mark came to a fountain where he found Sir Lamorak complaining for the love of King Lot’s wife.

Then King Mark rode till he came to a fountain, and there he rested him, and stood in a doubt whether he would ride to Arthur’s court or none, or return again to his country. And as he thus rested him by that fountain there came by him a knight well armed on horseback; and he alighted, and tied his horse until a tree, and set him down by the brink of the fountain; and there he made great languor and dole, and made the dolefullest complaint of love that ever man heard; and all this while was he not ware of King Mark. And this was a great part of his complaint: he cried and wept, saying: O fair Queen of Orkney, King Lot’s wife, and mother of Sir Gawaine, and to Sir Gaheris, and mother to many other, for thy love I am in great pains. Then King Mark arose and went near him and said: Fair knight, ye have made a piteous complaint. Truly, said the knight, it is an hundred part more ruefuller than my heart can utter. I require you, said King Mark, tell me your name. Sir, said he, as for my name I will not hide it from no knight that beareth a shield, and my name is Sir Lamorak de Galis. But when Sir Lamorak heard King Mark speak, then wist he well by his speech that he was a Cornish knight. Sir, said Sir Lamorak, I understand by your tongue ye be of Cornwall, wherein there dwelleth the shamefullest king that is now living, for he is a great enemy to all good knights; and that proveth well, for he hath chased out of that country Sir Tristram, that is the worshipfullest knight that now is living, and all knights speak of him worship; and for jealousness of his queen he hath chased him out of his country. It is pity, said Sir Lamorak, that ever any such false knight-coward as King Mark is, should be matched with such a fair lady and good as La Beale Isoud is, for all the world of him speaketh shame, and of her worship that any queen may have. I have not ado in this matter, said King Mark, neither nought will I speak thereof. Well said, said Sir Lamorak. Sir, can ye tell me any tidings? I can tell you, said Sir Lamorak, that there shall be a great tournament in haste beside Camelot, at the Castle of Jagent; and the King with the Hundred Knights and the King of Ireland, as I suppose, make that tournament.

Then there came a knight that was called Sir Dinadan, and saluted them both. And when he wist that King Mark was a knight of Cornwall he reproved him for the love of King Mark a thousand fold more than did Sir Lamorak. Then he proffered to joust with King Mark. And he was full loath thereto, but Sir Dinadan edged him so, that he jousted with Sir Lamorak. And Sir Lamorak smote King Mark so sore that he bare him on his spear end over his horse’s tail. And then King Mark arose again, and followed after Sir Lamorak. But Sir Dinadan would not joust with Sir Lamorak, but he told King Mark that Sir Lamorak was Sir Kay, the Seneschal. That is not so, said King Mark, for he is much bigger than Sir Kay; and so he followed and overtook him, and bade him abide. What will you do? said Sir Lamorak. Sir, he said, I will fight with a sword, for ye have shamed me with a spear; and therewith they dashed together with swords, and Sir Lamorak suffered him and forbare him. And King Mark was passing hasty, and smote thick strokes. Sir Lamorak saw he would not stint, and waxed somewhat wroth, and doubled his strokes, for he was one of the noblest knights of the world; and he beat him so on the helm that his head hung nigh on the saddle bow. When Sir Lamorak saw him fare so, he said: Sir knight, what cheer? meseemeth you have nigh your fill of fighting, it were pity to do you any more harm, for ye are but a mean knight, therefore I give you leave to go where ye list. Gramercy, said King Mark, for ye and I be not matches.

Then Sir Dinadan mocked King Mark and said: Ye are not able to match a good knight. As for that, said King Mark, at the first time I jousted with this knight ye refused him. Think ye that it is a shame to me? said Sir Dinadan: nay, sir, it is ever worship to a knight to refuse that thing that he may not attain, there fore your worship had been much more to have refused him as I did; for I warn you plainly he is able to beat such five as ye and I be; for ye knights of Cornwall are no men of worship as other knights are. And because ye are no men of worship ye hate all men of worship, for never was bred in your country such a knight as is Sir Tristram.


How King Mark, Sir Lamorak, and Sir Dinadan came to a castle, and how King Mark was known there.

Then they rode forth all together, King Mark, Sir Lamorak, and Sir Dinadan, till that they came to a bridge, and at the end thereof stood a fair tower. Then saw they a knight on horseback well armed, brandishing a spear, crying and proffering himself to joust. Now, said Sir Dinadan unto King Mark, yonder are two brethren, that one hight Alein, and the other hight Trian, that will joust with any that passeth this passage. Now proffer yourself, said Dinadan to King Mark, for ever ye be laid to the earth. Then King Mark was ashamed, and therewith he feutred his spear, and hurtled to Sir Trian, and either brake their spears all to pieces, and passed through anon. Then Sir Trian sent King Mark another spear to joust more; but in no wise he would not joust no more. Then they came to the castle all three knights, and prayed the lord of the castle of harbour. Ye are right welcome, said the knights of the castle, for the love of the lord of this castle, the which hight Sir Tor le Fise Aries. And then they came into a fair court well repaired, and they had passing good cheer, till the lieutenant of this castle, that hight Berluse, espied King Mark of Cornwall. Then said Berluse: Sir knight, I know you better than you ween, for ye are King Mark that slew my father afore mine own eyen; and me had ye slain had I not escaped into a wood; but wit ye well, for the love of my lord of this castle I will neither hurt you nor harm you, nor none of your fellowship. But wit ye well, when ye are past this lodging I shall hurt you an I may, for ye slew my father traitorly. But first for the love of my lord, Sir Tor, and for the love of Sir Lamorak, the honourable knight that here is lodged, ye shall have none ill lodging; for it is pity that ever ye should be in the company of good knights; for ye are the most villainous knight or king that is now known alive, for ye are a destroyer of good knights, and all that ye do is but treason.


How Sir Berluse met with King Mark, and how Sir Dinadan took his part.

Then was King Mark sore ashamed, and said but little again. But when Sir Lamorak and Sir Dinadan wist that he was King Mark they were sorry of his fellowship. So after supper they went to lodging. So on the morn they arose early, and King Mark and Sir Dinadan rode together; and three mile from their lodging there met with them three knights, and Sir Berluse was one, and that other his two cousins. Sir Berluse saw King Mark, and then he cried on high: Traitor, keep thee from me for wit thou well that I am Berluse. Sir knight, said Sir Dinadan, I counsel you to leave off at this time, for he is riding to King Arthur; and because I have promised to conduct him to my lord King Arthur needs must I take a part with him; howbeit I love not his condition, and fain I would be from him. Well, Dinadan, said Sir Berluse, me repenteth that ye will take part with him, but now do your best. And then he hurtled to King Mark, and smote him sore upon the shield, that he bare him clean out of his saddle to the earth. That saw Sir Dinadan, and he feutred his spear, and ran to one of Berluse’s fellows, and smote him down off his saddle. Then Dinadan turned his horse, and smote the third knight in the same wise to the earth, for Sir Dinadan was a good knight on horseback; and there began a great battle, for Berluse and his fellows held them together strongly on foot. And so through the great force of Sir Dinadan King Mark had Berluse to the earth, and his two fellows fled; and had not been Sir Dinadan King Mark would have slain him. And so Sir Dinadan rescued him of his life, for King Mark was but a murderer. And then they took their horses and departed and left Sir Berluse there sore wounded.

Then King Mark and Sir Dinadan rode forth a four leagues English, till that they came to a bridge where hoved a knight on horseback, armed and ready to joust. Lo, said Sir Dinadan unto King Mark, yonder hoveth a knight that will joust, for there shall none pass this bridge but he must joust with that knight. It is well, said King Mark, for this jousts falleth with thee. Sir Dinadan knew the knight well that he was a noble knight, and fain he would have jousted, but he had had liefer King Mark had jousted with him, but by no mean King Mark would not joust. Then Sir Dinadan might not refuse him in no manner. And then either dressed their spears and their shields, and smote together, so that through fine force Sir Dinadan was smitten to the earth; and lightly he rose up and gat his horse, and required that knight to do battle with swords. And he answered and said: Fair knight, as at this time I may not have ado with you no more, for the custom of this passage is such. Then was Sir Dinadan passing wroth that he might not be revenged of that knight; and so he departed, and in no wise would that knight tell his name. But ever Sir Dinadan thought he should know him by his shield that it should be Sir Tor.


How King Mark mocked Sir Dinadan, and how they met with six knights of the Round Table.

So as they rode by the way King Mark then began to mock Sir Dinadan, and said: I weened you knights of the Table Round might not in no wise find their matches. Ye say well, said Sir Dinadan; as for you, on my life I call you none of the best knights; but sith ye have such a despite at me I require you to joust with me to prove my strength. Not so, said King Mark, for I will not have ado with you in no manner; but I require you of one thing, that when ye come to Arthur’s court discover not my name, for I am there so hated. It is shame to you, said Sir Dinadan, that ye govern you so shamefully; for I see by you ye are full of cowardice, and ye are a murderer, and that is the greatest shame that a knight may have; for never a knight being a murderer hath worship, nor never shall have; for I saw but late through my force ye would have slain Sir Berluse, a better knight than ye, or ever ye shall be, and more of prowess. Thus they rode forth talking till they came to a fair place, where stood a knight, and prayed them to take their lodging with him. So at the request of that knight they reposed them there, and made them well at ease, and had great cheer. For all errant-knights were welcome to him, and specially all those of Arthur’s court. Then Sir Dinadan demanded his host what was the knight’s name that kept the bridge. For what cause ask you it? said the host. For it is not long ago, said Sir Dinadan, sithen he gave me a fall. Ah, fair knight, said his host, thereof have ye no marvel, for he is a passing good knight, and his name is Sir Tor, the son of Aries le Vaysher. Ah, said Sir Dinadan, was that Sir Tor? for truly so ever me thought.

Right as they stood thus talking together they saw come riding to them over a plain six knights of the court of King Arthur, well armed at all points. And there by their shields Sir Dinadan knew them well. The first was the good knight Sir Uwaine, the son of King Uriens, the second was the noble knight Sir Brandiles, the third was Ozana le Cure Hardy, the fourth was Uwaine les Aventurous, the fifth was Sir Agravaine, the sixth Sir Mordred, brother to Sir Gawaine. When Sir Dinadan had seen these six knights he thought in himself he would bring King Mark by some wile to joust with one of them. And anon they took their horses and ran after these knights well a three mile English. Then was King Mark ware where they sat all six about a well, and ate and drank such meats as they had, and their horses walking and some tied, and their shields hung in divers places about them. Lo, said Sir Dinadan, yonder are knights-errant that will joust with us. God forbid, said King Mark, for they be six and we but two. As for that, said Sir Dinadan, let us not spare, for I will assay the foremost; and therewith he made him ready. When King Mark saw him do so, as fast as Sir Dinadan rode toward them, King Mark rode froward them with all his menial meiny. So when Sir Dinadan saw King Mark was gone, he set the spear out of the rest, and threw his shield upon his back, and came, riding to the fellowship of the Table Round. And anon Sir Uwaine knew Sir Dinadan, and welcomed him, and so did all his fellowship.


How the six knights sent Sir Dagonet to joust with King Mark, and how King Mark refused him.

And then they asked him of his adventures, and whether he had seen Sir Tristram or Sir Launcelot. So God me help, said Sir Dinadan, I saw none of them sithen I departed from Camelot. What knight is that, said Sir Brandiles, that so suddenly departed from you, and rode over yonder field? Sir, said he, it was a knight of Cornwall, and the most horrible coward that ever bestrode horse. What is his name? said all these knights. I wot not, said Sir Dinadan. So when they had reposed them, and spoken together, they took their horses and rode to a castle where dwelt an old knight that made all knights-errant good cheer. Then in the meanwhile that they were talking came into the castle Sir Griflet le Fise de Dieu, and there was he welcome; and they all asked him whether he had seen Sir Launcelot or Sir Tristram. Sirs, he answered, I saw him not sithen he departed from Camelot. So as Sir Dinadan walked and beheld the castle, thereby in a chamber he espied King Mark, and then he rebuked him, and asked him why he departed so. Sir, said he, for I durst not abide because they were so many. But how escaped ye? said King Mark. Sir, said Sir Dinadan, they were better friends than I weened they had been. Who is captain of that fellowship? said the king. Then for to fear him Sir Dinadan said that it was Sir Launcelot. O Jesu, said the king, might I know Sir Launcelot by his shield? Yea, said Dinadan, for he beareth a shield of silver and black bends. All this he said to fear the king, for Sir Launcelot was not in his fellowship. Now I pray you, said King Mark, that ye will ride in my fellowship. That is me loath to do, said Sir Dinadan, because ye forsook my fellowship.

Right so Sir Dinadan went from King Mark, and went to his own fellowship; and so they mounted upon their horses, and rode on their ways, and talked of the Cornish knight, for Dinadan told them that he was in the castle where they were lodged. It is well said, said Sir Griflet, for here have I brought Sir Dagonet, King Arthur’s fool, that is the best fellow and the merriest in the world. Will ye do well? said Sir Dinadan: I have told the Cornish knight that here is Sir Launcelot, and the Cornish knight asked me what shield he bare. Truly, I told him that he bare the same shield that Sir Mordred beareth. Will ye do well? said Sir Mordred; I am hurt and may not well bear my shield nor harness, and therefore put my shield and my harness upon Sir Dagonet, and let him set upon the Cornish knight. That shall be done, said Sir Dagonet, by my faith. Then anon was Dagonet armed him in Mordred’s harness and his shield, and he was set on a great horse, and a spear in his hand. Now, said Dagonet, shew me the knight, and I trow I shall bear him down. So all these knights rode to a woodside, and abode till King Mark came by the way. Then they put forth Sir Dagonet, and he came on all the while his horse might run, straight upon King Mark. And when he came nigh King Mark, he cried as he were wood, and said: Keep thee, knight of Cornwall, for I will slay thee. Anon, as King Mark beheld his shield, he said to himself: Yonder is Sir Launcelot; alas, now am I destroyed; and therewithal he made his horse to run as fast as it might through thick and thin. And ever Sir Dagonet followed after King Mark, crying and rating him as a wood man, through a great forest. When Sir Uwaine and Sir Brandiles saw Dagonet so chase King Mark, they laughed all as they were wood. And then they took their horses, and rode after to see how Sir Dagonet sped, for they would not for no good that Sir Dagonet were shent, for King Arthur loved him passing well, and made him knight with his own hands. And at every tournament he began to make King Arthur to laugh. Then the knights rode here and there, crying and chasing after King Mark, that all the forest rang of the noise.


How Sir Palomides by adventure met King Mark flying, and how he overthrew Dagonet and other knights.

So King Mark rode by fortune by a well, in the way where stood a knight-errant on horseback, armed at all points, with a great spear in his hand. And when he saw King Mark coming flying he said: Knight, return again for shame and stand with me, and I shall be thy warrant. Ah, fair knight, said King Mark, let me pass, for yonder cometh after me the best knight of the world, with the black bended shield. Fie, for shame, said the knight, he is none of the worthy knights, and if he were Sir Launcelot or Sir Tristram I should not doubt to meet the better of them both. When King Mark heard him say that word, he turned his horse and abode by him. And then that strong knight bare a spear to Dagonet, and smote him so sore that he bare him over his horse’s tail, and nigh he had broken his neck. And anon after him came Sir Brandiles, and when he saw Dagonet have that fall he was passing wroth, and cried: Keep thee, knight, and so they hurtled together wonder sore. But the knight smote Sir Brandiles so sore that he went to the earth, horse and man. Sir Uwaine came after and saw all this. Jesu, said he, yonder is a strong knight. And then they feutred their spears, and this knight came so eagerly that he smote down Sir Uwaine. Then came Ozana with the hardy heart, and he was smitten down. Now, said Sir Griflet, by my counsel let us send to yonder errant-knight, and wit whether he be of Arthur’s court, for as I deem it is Sir Lamorak de Galis. So they sent unto him, and prayed the strange knight to tell his name, and whether he were of Arthur’s court or not. As for my name they shall not wit, but tell them I am a knight-errant as they are, and let them wit that I am no knight of King Arthur’s court; and so the squire rode again unto them and told them his answer of him. By my head, said Sir Agravaine, he is one of the strongest knights that ever I saw, for he hath overthrown three noble knights, and needs we must encounter with him for shame. So Sir Agravaine feutred his spear, and that other was ready, and smote him down over his horse to the earth. And in the same wise he smote Sir Uwaine les Avoutres and also Sir Griflet. Then had he served them all but Sir Dinadan, for he was behind, and Sir Mordred was unarmed, and Dagonet had his harness.

So when this was done, this strong knight rode on his way a soft pace, and King Mark rode after him, praising him mickle; but he would answer no words, but sighed wonderly sore, hanging down his head, taking no heed to his words. Thus they rode well a three mile English, and then this knight called to him a varlet, and bade him ride until yonder fair manor, and recommend me to the lady of that castle and place, and pray her to send me refreshing of good meats and drinks. And if she ask thee what I am, tell her that I am the knight that followeth the glatisant beast: that is in English to say the questing beast; for that beast wheresomever he yede he quested in the belly with such a noise as it had been a thirty couple of hounds. Then the varlet went his way and came to the manor, and saluted the lady, and told her from whence he came. And when she understood that he came from the knight that followed the questing beast: O sweet Lord Jesu, she said, when shall I see that noble knight, my dear son Palomides? Alas, will he not abide with me? and therewith she swooned and wept, and made passing great dole. And then also soon as she might she gave the varlet all that he asked. And the varlet returned unto Sir Palomides, for he was a varlet of King Mark. And as soon as he came, he told the knight’s name was Sir Palomides. I am well pleased, said King Mark, but hold thee still and say nothing. Then they alighted and set them down and reposed them a while. Anon withal King Mark fell asleep. When Sir Palomides saw him sound asleep he took his horse and rode his way, and said to them: I will not be in the company of a sleeping knight. And so he rode forth a great pace.


How King Mark and Sir Dinadan heard Sir Palomides making great sorrow and mourning for La Beale Isoud.

Now turn we unto Sir Dinadan, that found these seven knights passing heavy. And when he wist how that they sped, as heavy was he. My lord Uwaine, said Dinadan, I dare lay my head it is Sir Lamorak de Galis. I promise you all I shall find him an he may be found in this country. And so Sir Dinadan rode after this knight; and so did King Mark, that sought him through the forest. So as King Mark rode after Sir Palomides he heard the noise of a man that made great dole. Then King Mark rode as nigh that noise as he might and as he durst. Then was he ware of a knight that was descended off his horse, and had put off his helm, and there he made a piteous complaint and a dolorous, of love.

Now leave we that, and talk we of Sir Dinadan, that rode to seek Sir Palomides. And as he came within a forest he met with a knight, a chaser of a deer. Sir, said Sir Dinadan, met ye with a knight with a shield of silver and lions’ heads? Yea, fair knight, said the other, with such a knight met I with but a while agone, and straight yonder way he yede. Gramercy, said Sir Dinadan, for might I find the track of his horse I should not fail to find that knight. Right so as Sir Dinadan rode in the even late he heard a doleful noise as it were of a man. Then Sir Dinadan rode toward that noise; and when he came nigh that noise he alighted off his horse, and went near him on foot. Then was he ware of a knight that stood under a tree, and his horse tied by him, and the helm off his head; and ever that knight made a doleful complaint as ever made knight. And always he made his complaint of La Beale Isoud, the Queen of Cornwall, and said: Ah, fair lady, why love I thee! for thou art fairest of all other, and yet showest thou never love to me, nor bounty. Alas, yet must I love thee. And I may not blame thee, fair lady, for mine eyes be cause of this sorrow. And yet to love thee I am but a fool, for the best knight of the world loveth thee, and ye him again, that is Sir Tristram de Liones. And the falsest king and knight is your husband, and the most coward and full of treason, is your lord, King Mark. Alas, that ever so fair a lady and peerless of all other should be matched with the most villainous knight of the world. All this language heard King Mark, what Sir Palomides said by him; wherefore he was adread when he saw Sir Dinadan, lest he espied him, that he would tell Sir Palomides that he was King Mark; and therefore he withdrew him, and took his horse and rode to his men, where he commanded them to abide. And so he rode as fast as he might unto Camelot; and the same day he found there Amant, the knight, ready that afore Arthur had appealed him of treason; and so, lightly the king commanded them to do battle. And by misadventure King Mark smote Amant through the body. And yet was Amant in the righteous quarrel. And right so he took his horse and departed from the court for dread of Sir Dinadan, that he would tell Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides what he was. Then were there maidens that La Beale Isoud had sent to Sir Tristram, that knew Sir Amant well.


How King Mark had slain Sir Amant wrongfully to-fore King Arthur, and Sir Launcelot fetched King Mark to King Arthur.

Then by the license of King Arthur they went to him and spake with him; for while the truncheon of the spear stuck in his body he spake: Ah, fair damosels, said Amant, recommend me unto La Beale Isoud, and tell her that I am slain for the love of her and of Sir Tristram. And there he told the damosels how cowardly King Mark had slain him, and Sir Bersules, his fellow. And for that deed I appealed him of treason, and here am I slain in a righteous quarrel; and all was because Sir Bersules and I would not consent by treason to slay the noble knight, Sir Tristram. Then the two maidens cried aloud that all the court might hear it, and said: O sweet Lord Jesu, that knowest all hid things, why sufferest Thou so false a traitor to vanquish and slay a true knight that fought in a righteous quarrel? Then anon it was sprung to the king, and the queen, and to all the lords, that it was King Mark that had slain Sir Amant, and Sir Bersules afore hand; wherefore they did their battle. Then was King Arthur wroth out of measure, and so were all the other knights. But when Sir Tristram knew all the matter he made great dole and sorrow out of measure, and wept for sorrow for the loss of the noble knights, Sir Bersules and of Sir Amant.

When Sir Launcelot espied Sir Tristram weep he went hastily to King Arthur, and said: Sir, I pray you give me leave to return again to yonder false king and knight. I pray you, said King Arthur, fetch him again, but I would not that ye slew him, for my worship. Then Sir Launcelot armed him in all haste, and mounted upon a great horse, and took a spear in his hand and rode after King Mark. And from thence a three mile English Sir Launcelot over took him, and bade him: Turn recreant king and knight, for whether thou wilt or not thou shalt go with me to King Arthur’s court. King Mark returned and looked upon Sir Launcelot, and said: Fair sir, what is your name? Wit thou well, said he, my name is Sir Launcelot, and therefore defend thee. And when King Mark wist that it was Sir Launcelot, and came so fast upon him with a spear, he cried then aloud: I yield me to thee, Sir Launcelot, honourable knight. But Sir Launcelot would not hear him, but came fast upon him. King Mark saw that, and made no defence, but tumbled adown out of his saddle to the earth as a sack, and there he lay still, and cried Sir Launcelot mercy. Arise, recreant knight and king. I will not fight, said King Mark, but whither that ye will I will go with you. Alas, alas, said Sir Launcelot, that I may not give thee one buffet for the love of Sir Tristram and of La Beale Isoud, and for the two knights that thou hast slain traitorly. And so he mounted upon his horse and brought him to King Arthur; and there King Mark alighted in that same place, and threw his helm from him upon the earth, and his sword, and fell flat to the earth of King Arthur’s feet, and put him in his grace and mercy. So God me help, said Arthur, ye are welcome in a manner, and in a manner ye are not welcome. In this manner ye are welcome, that ye come hither maugre thy head, as I suppose. That is truth, said King Mark, and else I had not been here, for my lord, Sir Launcelot, brought me hither through his fine force, and to him am I yolden to as recreant. Well, said Arthur, ye understand ye ought to do me service, homage, and fealty. And never would ye do me none, but ever ye have been against me, and a destroyer of my knights; now, how will ye acquit you? Sir, said King Mark, right as your lordship will require me, unto my power, I will make a large amends. For he was a fair speaker, and false thereunder. Then for great pleasure of Sir Tristram, to make them twain accorded, the king withheld King Mark as at that time, and made a broken love-day between them.


How Sir Dinadan told Sir Palomides of the battle between Sir Launcelot and Sir Tristam.

Now turn we again unto Sir Palomides, how Sir Dinadan comforted him in all that he might, from his great sorrow. What knight are ye? said Sir Palomides. Sir, I am a knight-errant as ye be, that hath sought you long by your shield. Here is my shield, said Sir Palomides, wit ye well, an ye will ought, therewith I will defend it. Nay, said Sir Dinadan, I will not have ado with you but in good manner. And if ye will, ye shall find me soon ready. Sir, said Sir Dinadan, whitherward ride you this way? By my head, said Sir Palomides, I wot not, but as fortune leadeth me. Heard ye or saw ye ought of Sir Tristram? So God me help, of Sir Tristram I both heard and saw, and not for then we loved not inwardly well together, yet at my mischief Sir Tristram rescued me from my death; and yet, or he and I departed, by both our assents we assigned a day that we should have met at the stony grave that Merlin set beside Camelot, and there to have done battle together; howbeit I was letted, said Sir Palomides, that I might not hold my day, the which grieveth me sore; but I have a large excuse. For I was prisoner with a lord, and many other more, and that shall Sir Tristram right well understand, that I brake it not of fear of cowardice. And then Sir Palomides told Sir Dinadan the same day that they should have met. So God me help, said Sir Dinadan, that same day met Sir Launcelot and Sir Tristram at the same grave of stone. And there was the most mightiest battle that ever was seen in this land betwixt two knights, for they fought more than two hours. And there they both bled so much blood that all men marvelled that ever they might endure it. And so at the last, by both their assents, they were made friends and sworn-brethren for ever, and no man can judge the better knight. And now is Sir Tristram made a knight of the Round Table, and he sitteth in the siege of the noble knight, Sir Marhaus. By my head, said Sir Palomides, Sir Tristram is far bigger than Sir Launcelot, and the hardier knight. Have ye assayed them both? said Sir Dinadan. I have seen Sir Tristram fight, said Sir Palomides, but never Sir Launcelot to my witting. But at the fountain where Sir Launcelot lay asleep, there with one spear he smote down Sir Tristram and me, said Palomides, but at that time they knew not either other. Fair knight, said Sir Dinadan, as for Sir Launcelot and Sir Tristram let them be, for the worst of them will not be lightly matched of no knights that I know living. No, said Sir Palomides, God defend, but an I had a quarrel to the better of them both I would with as good a will fight with him as with you. Sir, I require you tell me your name, and in good faith I shall hold you company till that we come to Camelot; and there shall ye have great worship now at this great tournament; for there shall be the Queen Guenever, and La Beale Isoud of Cornwall. Wit you well, sir knight, for the love of La Beale Isoud I will be there, and else not, but I will not have ado in King Arthur’s court. Sir, said Dinadan, I shall ride with you and do you service, so you will tell me your name. Sir, ye shall understand my name is Sir Palomides, brother to Safere, the good and noble knight. And Sir Segwarides and I, we be Saracens born, of father and mother. Sir, said Sir Dinadan, I thank you much for the telling of your name. For I am glad of that I know your name, and I promise you by the faith of my body, ye shall not be hurt by me by my will, but rather be advanced. And thereto will I help you with all my power, I promise you, doubt ye not. And certainly on my life ye shall win great worship in the court of King Arthur, and be right welcome. So then they dressed on their helms and put on their shields, and mounted upon their horses, and took the broad way towards Camelot. And then were they ware of a castle that was fair and rich, and also passing strong as any was within this realm.


How Sir Lamorak jousted with divers knights of the castle wherein was Morgan le Fay.

Sir Palomides, said Dinadan, here is a castle that I know well, and therein dwelleth Queen Morgan le Fay, King Arthur’s sister; and King Arthur gave her this castle, the which he hath repented him sithen a thousand times, for sithen King Arthur and she have been at debate and strife; but this castle could he never get nor win of her by no manner of engine; and ever as she might she made war on King Arthur. And all dangerous knights she withholdeth with her, for to destroy all these knights that King Arthur loveth. And there shall no knight pass this way but he must joust with one knight, or with two, or with three. And if it hap that King Arthur’s knight be beaten, he shall lose his horse and his harness and all that he hath, and hard, if that he escape, but that he shall be prisoner. So God me help, said Palomides, this is a shameful custom, and a villainous usance for a queen to use, and namely to make such war upon her own lord, that is called the Flower of Chivalry that is christian or heathen; and with all my heart I would destroy that shameful custom. And I will that all the world wit she shall have no service of me. And if she send out any knights, as I suppose she will, for to joust, they shall have both their hands full. And I shall not fail you, said Sir Dinadan, unto my puissance, upon my life.

So as they stood on horseback afore the castle, there came a knight with a red shield, and two squires after him; and he came straight unto Sir Palomides, the good knight, and said to him: Fair and gentle knight-errant, I require thee for the love thou owest unto knighthood, that ye will not have ado here with these men of this castle; for this was Sir Lamorak that thus said. For I came hither to seek this deed, and it is my request; and therefore I beseech you, knight, let me deal, and if I be beaten revenge me. In the name of God, said Palomides, let see how ye will speed, and we shall behold you. Then anon came forth a knight of the castle, and proffered to joust with the Knight with the Red Shield. Anon they encountered together, and he with the red shield smote him so hard that he bare him over to the earth. Therewith anon came another knight of the castle, and he was smitten so sore that he avoided his saddle. And forthwithal came the third knight, and the Knight with the Red Shield smote him to the earth. Then came Sir Palomides, and besought him that he might help him to joust. Fair knight, said he unto him, suffer me as at this time to have my will, for an they were twenty knights I shall not doubt them. And ever there were upon the walls of the castle many lords and ladies that cried and said: Well have ye jousted, Knight with the Red Shield. But as soon as the knight had smitten them down, his squire took their horses, and avoided their saddles and bridles of the horses, and turned them into the forest, and made the knights to be kept to the end of the jousts. Right so came out of the castle the fourth knight, and freshly proffered to joust with the Knight with the Red Shield: and he was ready, and he smote him so hard that horse and man fell to the earth, and the knight’s back brake with the fall, and his neck also. O Jesu, said Sir Palomides, that yonder is a passing good knight, and the best jouster that ever I saw. By my head, said Sir Dinadan, he is as good as ever was Sir Launcelot or Sir Tristram, what knight somever he be.


How Sir Palomides would have jousted for Sir Lamorak with the knights of the castle.

Then forthwithal came a knight out of the castle, with a shield bended with black and with white. And anon the Knight with the Red Shield and he encountered so hard that he smote the knight of the castle through the bended shield and through the body, and brake the horse’s back. Fair knight, said Sir Palomides, ye have overmuch on hand, therefore I pray you let me joust, for ye had need to be reposed. Why sir, said the knight, seem ye that I am weak and feeble? and sir, methinketh ye proffer me wrong, and to me shame, when I do well enough. I tell you now as I told you erst; for an they were twenty knights I shall beat them, and if I be beaten or slain then may ye revenge me. And if ye think that I be weary, and ye have an appetite to joust with me, I shall find you jousting enough. Sir, said Palomides, I said it not because I would joust with you, but meseemeth that ye have overmuch on hand. And therefore, an ye were gentle, said the Knight with the Red Shield, ye should not proffer me shame; therefore I require you to joust with me, and ye shall find that I am not weary. Sith ye require me, said Sir Palomides, take keep to yourself. Then they two knights came together as fast as their horses might run, and the knight smote Sir Palomides sore on the shield that the spear went into his side a great wound, and a perilous. And therewithal Sir Palomides avoided his saddle. And that knight turned unto Sir Dinadan; and when he saw him coming he cried aloud, and said: Sir, I will not have ado with you; but for that he let it not, but came straight upon him. So Sir Dinadan for shame put forth his spear and all to-shivered it upon the knight. But he smote Sir Dinadan again so hard that he smote him clean from his saddle; but their horses he would not suffer his squires to meddle with, and because they were knights-errant.

Then he dressed him again to the castle, and jousted with seven knights more, and there was none of them might withstand him, but he bare him to the earth. And of these twelve knights he slew in plain jousts four. And the eight knights he made them to swear on the cross of a sword that they should never use the evil customs of the castle. And when he had made them to swear that oath he let them pass. And ever stood the lords and the ladies on the castle walls crying and saying: Knight with the Red Shield, ye have marvellously well done as ever we saw knight do. And therewith came a knight out of the castle unarmed, and said: Knight with the Red Shield, overmuch damage hast thou done to us this day, therefore return whither thou wilt, for here are no more will have ado with thee; for we repent sore that ever thou camest here, for by thee is fordone the old custom of this castle. And with that word he turned again into the castle, and shut the gates. Then the Knight with the Red Shield turned and called his squires, and so passed forth on his way, and rode a great pace.

And when he was past Sir Palomides went to Sir Dinadan, and said: I had never such a shame of one knight that ever I met; and therefore I cast me to ride after him, and to be revenged with my sword, for a-horseback I deem I shall get no worship of him. Sir Palomides, said Dinadan, ye shall not meddle with him by my counsel, for ye shall get no worship of him; and for this cause, ye have seen him this day have had overmuch to do, and overmuch travailed. By almighty Jesu, said Palomides, I shall never be at ease till that I have had ado with him. Sir, said Dinadan, I shall give you my beholding. Well, said Palomides, then shall ye see how we shall redress our mights. So they took their horses of their varlets, and rode after the Knight with the Red Shield; and down in a valley beside a fountain they were ware where he was alighted to repose him, and had done off his helm for to drink at the well.


How Sir Lamorak jousted with Sir Palomides, and hurt him grievously.

Then Palomides rode fast till he came nigh him. And then he said: Knight, remember ye of the shame ye did to me right now at the castle, therefore dress thee, for I will have ado with thee. Fair knight, said he to Palomides, of me ye win no worship, for ye have seen this day that I have been travailed sore. As for that, said Palomides, I will not let, for wit ye well I will be revenged. Well, said the knight, I may happen to endure you. And therewithal he mounted upon his horse, and took a great spear in his hand ready for to joust. Nay, said Palomides, I will not joust, for I am sure at jousting I get no prize. Fair knight, said that knight, it would beseem a knight to joust and to fight on horseback. Ye shall see what I will do, said Palomides. And therewith he alighted down upon foot, and dressed his shield afore him and pulled out his sword. Then the Knight with the Red Shield descended down from his horse, and dressed his shield afore him, and so he drew out his sword. And then they came together a soft pace, and wonderly they lashed together passing thick the mountenance of an hour or ever they breathed. Then they traced and traversed, and waxed wonderly wroth, and either behight other death; they hewed so fast with their swords that they cut in down half their swords and mails, that the bare flesh in some place stood above their harness. And when Sir Palomides beheld his fellow’s sword over-hylled with his blood it grieved him sore: some while they foined, some while they struck as wild men. But at the last Sir Palomides waxed faint, because of his first wound that he had at the castle with a spear, for that wound grieved him wonderly sore. Fair knight, said Palomides, meseemeth we have assayed either other passing sore, and if it may please thee, I require thee of thy knighthood tell me thy name. Sir, said the knight to Palomides, that is me loath to do, for thou hast done me wrong and no knighthood to proffer me battle, considering my great travail, but an thou wilt tell me thy name I will tell thee mine. Sir, said he, wit thou well my name is Palomides. Ah, sir, ye shall understand my name is Sir Lamorak de Galis, son and heir unto the good knight and king, King Pellinore, and Sir Tor, the good knight, is my half brother. When Sir Palomides heard him say so he kneeled down and asked mercy, For outrageously have I done to you this day; considering the great deeds of arms I have seen you do, shamefully and unknightly I have required you to do battle. Ah, Sir Palomides, said Sir Lamorak, overmuch have ye done and said to me. And therewith he embraced him with his both hands, and said: Palomides, the worthy knight, in all this land is no better than ye, nor more of prowess, and me repenteth sore that we should fight together. So it doth not me, said Sir Palomides, and yet am I sorer wounded than ye be; but as for that I shall soon thereof be whole. But certainly I would not for the fairest castle in this land, but if thou and I had met, for I shall love you the days of my life afore all other knights except my brother, Sir Safere. I say the same, said Sir Lamorak, except my brother, Sir Tor. Then came Sir Dinadan, and he made great joy of Sir Lamorak. Then their squires dressed both their shields and their harness, and stopped their wounds. And thereby at a priory they rested them all night.


How it was told Sir Launcelot that Dagonet chased King Mark, and how a knight overthrew him and six knights.

Now turn we again. When Sir Ganis and Sir Brandiles with his fellows came to the court of King Arthur they told the king, Sir Launcelot, and Sir Tristram, how Sir Dagonet, the fool, chased King Mark through the forest, and how the strong knight smote them down all seven with one spear. There was great laughing and japing at King Mark and at Sir Dagonet. But all these knights could not tell what knight it was that rescued King Mark. Then they asked King Mark if that he knew him, and he answered and said: He named himself the Knight that followed the Questing Beast, and on that name he sent one of my varlets to a place where was his mother; and when she heard from whence he came she made passing great dole, and discovered to my varlet his name, and said: Oh, my dear son, Sir Palomides, why wilt thou not see me? And therefore, sir, said King Mark, it is to understand his name is Sir Palomides, a noble knight. Then were all these seven knights glad that they knew his name.

Now turn we again, for on the morn they took their horses, both Sir Lamorak, Palomides, and Dinadan, with their squires and varlets, till they saw a fair castle that stood on a mountain well closed, and thither they rode, and there they found a knight that hight Galahalt, that was lord of that castle, and there they had great cheer and were well eased. Sir Dinadan, said Sir Lamorak, what will ye do? Oh sir, said Dinadan, I will to-morrow to the court of King Arthur. By my head, said Sir Palomides, I will not ride these three days, for I am sore hurt, and much have I bled, and therefore I will repose me here. Truly, said Sir Lamorak, and I will abide here with you; and when ye ride, then will I ride, unless that ye tarry over long; then will I take my horse. Therefore I pray you, Sir Dinadan, abide and ride with us. Faithfully, said Dinadan, I will not abide, for I have such a talent to see Sir Tristram that I may not abide long from him. Ah, Dinadan, said Sir Palomides, now do I understand that ye love my mortal enemy, and therefore how should I trust you. Well, said Dinadan, I love my lord Sir Tristram, above all other, and him will I serve and do honour. So shall I, said Sir Lamorak, in all that may lie in my power.

So on the morn Sir Dinadan rode unto the court of King Arthur; and by the way as he rode he saw where stood an errant knight, and made him ready for to joust. Not so, said Dinadan, for I have no will to joust. With me shall ye joust, said the knight, or that ye pass this way. Whether ask ye jousts, by love or by hate? The knight answered: Wit ye well I ask it for love, and not for hate. It may well be so, said Sir Dinadan, but ye proffer me hard love when ye will joust with me with a sharp spear. But, fair knight, said Sir Dinadan, sith ye will joust with me, meet with me in the court of King Arthur, and there shall I joust with you. Well, said the knight, sith ye will not joust with me, I pray you tell me your name. Sir knight, said he, my name is Sir Dinadan. Ah, said the knight, full well know I you for a good knight and a gentle, and wit you well I love you heartily. Then shall there be no jousts, said Dinadan, betwixt us. So they departed. And the same day he came to Camelot, where lay King Arthur. And there he saluted the king and the queen, Sir Launcelot, and Sir Tristram; and all the court was glad of Sir Dinadan, for he was gentle, wise, and courteous, and a good knight. And in especial, the valiant knight Sir Tristram loved Sir Dinadan passing well above all other knights save Sir Launcelot.

Then the king asked Sir Dinadan what adventures he had seen. Sir, said Dinadan, I have seen many adventures, and of some King Mark knoweth, but not all. Then the king hearkened Sir Dinadan, how he told that Sir Palomides and he were afore the castle of Morgan le Fay, and how Sir Lamorak took the jousts afore them, and how he forjousted twelve knights, and of them four he slew, and how after he smote down Sir Palomides and me both. t I may not believe that, said the king, for Sir Palomides is a passing good knight. That is very truth, said Sir Dinadan, but yet I saw him better proved, hand for hand. And then he told the king all that battle, and how Sir Palomides was more weaker, and more hurt, and more lost of his blood. And without doubt, said Sir Dinadan, had the battle longer lasted, Palomides had been slain. O Jesu, said King Arthur, this is to me a great marvel. Sir, said Tristram, marvel ye nothing thereof, for at mine advice there is not a valianter knight in the world living, for I know his might. And now I will say you, I was never so weary of knight but if it were Sir Launcelot. And there is no knight in the world except Sir Launcelot that did so well as Sir Lamorak. So God me help, said the king, I would that knight, Sir Lamorak, came to this Court. Sir, said Dinadan, he will be here in short space, and Sir Palomides both, but I fear that Palomides may not yet travel.


How King Arthur let do cry a jousts, and how Sir Lamorak came in, and overthrew Sir Gawaine and many other.

Then within three days after the king let make a jousting at a priory. And there made them ready many knights of the Round Table, for Sir Gawaine and his brethren made them ready to joust; but Tristram, Launcelot, nor Dinadan, would not joust, but suffered Sir Gawaine, for the love of King Arthur, with his brethren, to win the gree if they might. Then on the morn they apparelled them to joust, Sir Gawaine and his four brethren, and did there great deeds of arms. And Sir Ector de Maris did marvellously well, but Sir Gawaine passed all that fellowship; wherefore King Arthur and all the knights gave Sir Gawaine the honour at the beginning.

Right so King Arthur was ware of a knight and two squires, the which came out of a forest side, with a shield covered with leather, and then he came slyly and hurtled here and there, and anon with one spear he had smitten down two knights of the Round Table. Then with his hurtling he lost the covering of his shield, then was the king and all other ware that he bare a red shield. O Jesu, said King Arthur, see where rideth a stout knight, he with the red shield. And there was noise and crying: Beware the Knight with the Red Shield. So within a little while he had overthrown three brethren of Sir Gawaine’s. So God me help, said King Arthur, meseemeth yonder is the best jouster that ever I saw. With that he saw him encounter with Sir Gawaine, and he smote him down with so great force that he made his horse to avoid his saddle. How now, said the king, Sir Gawaine hath a fall; well were me an I knew what knight he were with the red shield. I know him well, said Dinadan, but as at this time ye shall not know his name. By my head, said Sir Tristram, he jousted better than Sir Palomides, and if ye list to know his name, wit ye well his name is Sir Lamorak de Galis.

As they stood thus talking, Sir Gawaine and he encountered together again, and there he smote Sir Gawaine from his horse, and bruised him sore. And in the sight of King Arthur he smote down twenty knights, beside Sir Gawaine and his brethren. And so clearly was the prize given him as a knight peerless. Then slyly and marvellously Sir Lamorak withdrew him from all the fellowship into the forest side. All this espied King Arthur, for his eye went never from him. Then the king, Sir Launcelot, Sir Tristram, and Sir Dinadan, took their hackneys, and rode straight after the good knight, Sir Lamorak de Galis, and there found him. And thus said the king: Ah, fair knight, well be ye found. When he saw the king he put off his helm and saluted him, and when he saw Sir Tristram he alighted down off his horse and ran to him to take him by the thighs, but Sir Tristram would not suffer him, but he alighted or that he came, and either took other in arms, and made great joy of other. The king was glad, and also was all the fellowship of the Round Table, except Sir Gawaine and his brethren. And when they wist that he was Sir Lamorak, they had great despite at him, and were wonderly wroth with him that he had put him to dishonour that day.

Then Gawaine called privily in council all his brethren, and to them said thus: Fair brethren, here may ye see, whom that we hate King Arthur loveth, and whom that we love he hateth. And wit ye well, my fair brethren, that this Sir Lamorak will never love us, because we slew his father, King Pellinore, for we deemed that he slew our father, King of Orkney. And for the despite of Pellinore, Sir Lamorak did us a shame to our mother, therefore I will be revenged. Sir, said Sir Gawaine’s brethren, let see how ye will or may be revenged, and ye shall find us ready. Well, said Gawaine, hold you still and we shall espy our time.


How King Arthur made King Mark to be accorded with Sir Tristram, and how they departed toward Cornwall.

Now pass we our matter, and leave we Sir Gawaine, and speak of King Arthur, that on a day said unto King Mark: Sir, I pray you give me a gift that I shall ask you. Sir, said King Mark, I will give you whatsomever ye desire an it be in my power. Sir, gramercy, said Arthur. This I will ask you, that ye will be good lord unto Sir Tristram, for he is a man of great honour; and that ye will take him with you into Cornwall, and let him see his friends, and there cherish him for my sake. Sir, said King Mark, I promise you by the faith of my body, and by the faith that I owe to God and to you, I shall worship him for your sake in all that I can or may. Sir, said Arthur, and I will forgive you all the evil will that ever I ought you, an so be that you swear that upon a book before me. With a good will, said King Mark; and so he there sware upon a book afore him and all his knights, and therewith King Mark and Sir Tristram took either other by the hands hard knit together. But for all this King Mark thought falsely, as it proved after, for he put Sir Tristram in prison, and cowardly would have slain him.

Then soon after King Mark took his leave to ride into Cornwall, and Sir Tristram made him ready to ride with him, whereof the most part of the Round Table were wroth and heavy, and in especial Sir Launcelot, and Sir Lamorak, and Sir Dinadan, were wroth out of measure. For well they wist King Mark would slay or destroy Sir Tristram. Alas, said Dinadan, that my lord, Sir Tristram, shall depart. And Sir Tristram took such sorrow that he was amazed like a fool. Alas, said Sir Launcelot unto King Arthur, what have ye done, for ye shall lose the most man of worship that ever came into your court. It was his own desire, said Arthur, and therefore I might not do withal, for I have done all that I can and made them at accord. Accord, said Sir Launcelot, fie upon that accord, for ye shall hear that he shall slay Sir Tristram, or put him in a prison, for he is the most coward and the villainest king and knight that is now living.

And therewith Sir Launcelot departed, and came to King Mark, and said to him thus: Sir king, wit thou well the good knight Sir Tristram shall go with thee. Beware, I rede thee, of treason, for an thou mischief that knight by any manner of falsehood or treason, by the faith I owe to God and to the order of knighthood, I shall slay thee with mine own hands. Sir Launcelot, said the king, overmuch have ye said to me, and I have sworn and said over largely afore King Arthur in hearing of all his knights, that I shall not slay nor betray him. It were to me overmuch shame to break my promise. Ye say well, said Sir Launcelot, but ye are called so false and full of treason that no man may believe you. Forsooth it is known well wherefore ye came into this country, and for none other cause but for to slay Sir Tristram. So with great dole King Mark and Sir Tristram rode together, for it was by Sir Tristram’s will and his means to go with King Mark, and all was for the intent to see La Beale Isoud, for without the sight of her Sir Tristram might not endure.


How Sir Percivale was made knight of King Arthur, and how a dumb maid spake, and brought him to the Round Table.

Now turn we again unto Sir Lamorak, and speak we of his brethren, Sir Tor, which was King Pellinore’s first son and begotten of Aryes, wife of the cowherd, for he was a bastard; and Sir Aglovale was his first son begotten in wedlock; Sir Lamorak, Dornar, Percivale, these were his sons too in wedlock. So when King Mark and Sir Tristram were departed from the court there was made great dole and sorrow for the departing of Sir Tristram. Then the king and his knights made no manner of joys eight days after. And at the eight days’ end there came to the court a knight with a young squire with him. And when this knight was unarmed, he went to the king and required him to make the young squire a knight. Of what lineage is he come? said King Arthur. Sir, said the knight, he is the son of King Pellinore, that did you some time good service, and he is a brother unto Sir Lamorak de Galis, the good knight. Well, said the king, for what cause desire ye that of me that I should make him knight? Wit you well, my lord the king, that this young squire is brother to me as well as to Sir Lamorak, and my name is Aglavale. Sir Aglavale, said Arthur, for the love of Sir Lamorak, and for his father’s love, he shall be made knight to-morrow. Now tell me, said Arthur, what is his name? Sir, said the knight, his name is Percivale de Galis. So on the morn the king made him knight in Camelot. But the king and all the knights thought it would be long or that he proved a good knight.

Then at the dinner, when the king was set at the table, and every knight after he was of prowess, the king commanded him to be set among mean knights; and so was Sir Percivale set as the king commanded. Then was there a maiden in the queen’s court that was come of high blood, and she was dumb and never spake word. Right so she came straight into the hall, and went unto Sir Percivale, and took him by the hand and said aloud, that the king and all the knights might hear it: Arise, Sir Percivale, the noble knight and God’s knight, and go with me; and so he did. And there she brought him to the right side of the Siege Perilous, and said, Fair knight, take here thy siege, for that siege appertaineth to thee and to none other. Right so she departed and asked a priest. And as she was confessed and houselled then she died. Then the king and all the court made great joy of Sir Percivale.


How Sir Lamorak visited King Lot’s wife, and how Sir Gaheris slew her which was his own mother.

Now turn we unto Sir Lamorak, that much was there praised. Then, by the mean of Sir Gawaine and his brethren, they sent for their mother there besides, fast by a castle beside Camelot; and all was to that intent to slay Sir Lamorak. The Queen of Orkney was there but a while, but Sir Lamorak wist of their being, and was full fain; and for to make an end of this matter, he sent unto her, and there betwixt them was a night assigned that Sir Lamorak should come to her. Thereof was ware Sir Gaheris, and there he rode afore the same night, and waited upon Sir Lamorak, and then he saw where he came all armed. And where Sir Lamorak alighted he tied his horse to a privy postern, and so he went into a parlour and unarmed him; and then he went unto the queen’s bed, and she made of him passing great joy, and he of her again, for either loved other passing sore. So when the knight, Sir Gaheris, saw his time, he came to their bedside all armed, with his sword naked, and suddenly gat his mother by the hair and struck off her head.

When Sir Lamorak saw the blood dash upon him all hot, the which he loved passing well, wit you well he was sore abashed and dismayed of that dolorous knight. And therewithal, Sir Lamorak leapt out of the bed in his shirt as a knight dismayed, saying thus: Ah, Sir Gaheris, knight of the Table Round, foul and evil have ye done, and to you great shame. Alas, why have ye slain your mother that bare you? with more right ye should have slain me. The offence hast thou done, said Gaheris, notwithstanding a man is born to offer his service; but yet shouldst thou beware with whom thou meddlest, for thou hast put me and my brethren to a shame, and thy father slew our father; and thou to lie by our mother is too much shame for us to suffer. And as for thy father, King Pellinore, my brother Sir Gawaine and I slew him. Ye did him the more wrong, said Sir Lamorak, for my father slew not your father, it was Balin le Savage: and as yet my father’s death is not revenged. Leave those words, said Sir Gaheris, for an thou speak feloniously I will slay thee. But because thou art naked I am ashamed to slay thee. But wit thou well, in what place I may get thee I shall slay thee; and now my mother is quit of thee; and withdraw thee and take thine armour, that thou were gone. Sir Lamorak saw there was none other bote, but fast armed him, and took his horse and rode his way making great sorrow. But for the shame and dolour he would not ride to King Arthur’s court, but rode another way.

But when it was known that Gaheris had slain his mother the king was passing wroth, and commanded him to go out of his court. Wit ye well Sir Gawaine was wroth that Gaheris had slain his mother and let Sir Lamorak escape. And for this matter was the king passing wroth, and so was Sir Launcelot, and many other knights. Sir, said Sir Launcelot, here is a great mischief befallen by felony, and by forecast treason, that your sister is thus shamefully slain. And I dare say that it was wrought by treason, and I dare say ye shall lose that good knight, Sir Lamorak, the which is great pity. I wot well and am sure, an Sir Tristram wist it, he would never more come within your court, the which should grieve you much more and all your knights. God defend, said the noble King Arthur, that I should lose Sir Lamorak or Sir Tristram, for then twain of my chief knights of the Table Round were gone. Sir, said Sir Launcelot, I am sure ye shall lose Sir Lamorak, for Sir Gawaine and his brethren will slay him by one mean or other; for they among them have concluded and sworn to slay him an ever they may see their time. That shall I let, said Arthur.


How Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred met with a knight fleeing, and how they both were overthrown, and of Sir Dinadan.

Now leave we of Sir Lamorak, and speak of Sir Gawaine’s brethren, and specially of Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred. As they rode on their adventures they met with a knight fleeing, sore wounded; and they asked him what tidings. Fair knights, said he, here cometh a knight after me that will slay me. With that came Sir Dinadan riding to them by adventure, but he would promise them no help. But Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred promised him to rescue him. Therewithal came that knight straight unto them, and anon he proffered to joust. That saw Sir Mordred and rode to him, but he struck Mordred over his horse’s tail. That saw Sir Agravaine, and straight he rode toward that knight, and right so as he served Mordred so he served Agravaine, and said to them: Sirs, wit ye well both that I am Breuse Saunce Pité, that hath done this to you. And yet he rode over Agravaine five or six times. When Dinadan saw this, he must needs joust with him for shame. And so Dinadan and he encountered together, that with pure strength Sir Dinadan smote him over his horse’s tail. Then he took his horse and fled, for he was on foot one of the valiantest knights in Arthur’s days, and a great destroyer of all good knights.

Then rode Sir Dinadan unto Sir Mordred and unto Sir Agravaine. Sir knight, said they all, well have ye done, and well have ye revenged us, wherefore we pray you tell us your name. Fair sirs, ye ought to know my name, the which is called Sir Dinadan. When they understood that it was Dinadan they were more wroth than they were before, for they hated him out of measure because of Sir Lamorak. For Dinadan had such a custom that he loved all good knights that were valiant, and he hated all those that were destroyers of good knights. And there were none that hated Dinadan but those that ever were called murderers. Then spake the hurt knight that Breuse Saunce Pité had chased, his name was Dalan, and said: If thou be Dinadan thou slewest my father. It may well be so, said Dinadan, but then it was in my defence and at his request. By my head, said Dalan, thou shalt die therefore, and therewith he dressed his spear and his shield. And to make the shorter tale, Sir Dinadan smote him down off his horse, that his neck was nigh broken. And in the same wise he smote Sir Mordred and Sir Agravaine. And after, in the quest of the Sangreal, cowardly and feloniously they slew Dinadan, the which was great damage, for he was a great bourder and a passing good knight.

And so Sir Dinadan rode to a castle that hight Beale-Valet. And there he found Sir Palomides that was not yet whole of the wound that Sir Lamorak gave him. And there Dinadan told Palomides all the tidings that he heard and saw of Sir Tristram, and how he was gone with King Mark, and with him he hath all his will and desire. Therewith Sir Palomides waxed wroth, for he loved La Beale Isoud. And then he wist well that Sir Tristram enjoyed her.


How King Arthur, the Queen, and Launcelot received letters out of Cornwall, and of the answer again.

Now leave we Sir Palomides and Sir Dinadan in the Castle of Beale-Valet, and turn we again unto King Arthur. There came a knight out of Cornwall, his name was Fergus, a fellow of the Round Table. And there he told the king and Sir Launcelot good tidings of Sir Tristram, and there were brought goodly letters, and how he left him in the castle of Tintagil. Then came the damosel that brought goodly letters unto King Arthur and unto Sir Launcelot, and there she had passing good cheer of the king, and of the Queen Guenever, and of Sir Launcelot. Then they wrote goodly letters again. But Sir Launcelot bade ever Sir Tristram beware of King Mark, for ever he called him in his letters King Fox, as who saith, he fareth all with wiles and treason. Whereof Sir Tristram in his heart thanked Sir Launcelot. Then the damosel went unto La Beale Isoud, and bare her letters from the king and from Sir Launcelot, whereof she was in passing great joy. Fair damosel, said La Beale Isoud, how fareth my Lord Arthur, and the Queen Guenever, and the noble knight, Sir Launcelot? She answered, and to make short tale: Much the better that ye and Sir Tristram be in joy. God reward them, said La Beale Isoud, for Sir Tristram suffereth great pain for me, and I for him.

So the damosel departed, and brought letters to King Mark. And when he had read them, and understood them, he was wroth with Sir Tristram, for he deemed that he had sent the damosel unto King Arthur. For Arthur and Launcelot in a manner threated King Mark. And as King Mark read these letters he deemed treason by Sir Tristram. Damosel, said King Mark, will ye ride again and bear letters from me unto King Arthur? Sir, she said, I will be at your commandment to ride when ye will. Ye say well, said the king; come again, said the king, to-morn, and fetch your letters. Then she departed and told them how she should ride again with letters unto Arthur. Then we pray you, said La Beale Isoud and Sir Tristram, that when ye have received your letters, that ye would come by us that we may see the privity of your letters. All that I may do, madam, ye wot well I must do for Sir Tristram, for I have been long his own maiden.

So on the morn the damosel went to King Mark to have had his letters and to depart. I am not avised, said King Mark, as at this time to send my letters. Then privily and secretly he sent letters unto King Arthur, and unto Queen Guenever, and unto Sir Launcelot. So the varlet departed, and found the king and the queen in Wales, at Carlion. And as the king and the queen were at mass the varlet came with the letters. And when mass was done the king and the queen opened the letters privily by themself. And the beginning of the king’s letters spake wonderly short unto King Arthur, and bade him entermete with himself and with his wife, and of his knights; for he was able enough to rule and keep his wife.


How Sir Launcelot was wroth with the letter that he received from King Mark, and of Dinadan which made a lay of King Mark.

When King Arthur understood the letter, he mused of many things, and thought on his sister’s words, Queen Morgan le Fay, that she had said betwixt Queen Guenever and Sir Launcelot. And in this thought he studied a great while. Then he bethought him again how his sister was his own enemy, and that she hated the queen and Sir Launcelot, and so he put all that out of his thought. Then King Arthur read the letter again, and the latter clause said that King Mark took Sir Tristram for his mortal enemy; wherefore he put Arthur out of doubt he would be revenged of Sir Tristram. Then was King Arthur wroth with King Mark. And when Queen Guenever read her letter and understood it, she was wroth out of measure, for the letter spake shame by her and by Sir Launcelot. And so privily she sent the letter unto Sir Launcelot. And when he wist the intent of the letter he was so wroth that he laid him down on his bed to sleep, whereof Sir Dinadan was ware, for it was his manner to be privy with all good knights. And as Sir Launcelot slept he stole the letter out of his hand, and read it word by word. And then he made great sorrow for anger. And so Sir Launcelot awaked, and went to a window, and read the letter again, the which made him angry.

Sir, said Dinadan, wherefore be ye angry? discover your heart to me: forsooth ye wot well I owe you good will, howbeit I am a poor knight and a servitor unto you and to all good knights. For though I be not of worship myself I love all those that be of worship. It is truth, said Sir Launcelot, ye are a trusty knight, and for great trust I will shew you my counsel. And when Dinadan understood all, he said: This is my counsel: set you right nought by these threats, for King Mark is so villainous, that by fair speech shall never man get of him. But ye shall see what I shall do; I will make a lay for him, and when it is made I shall make an harper to sing it afore him. So anon he went and made it, and taught it an harper that hight Eliot. And when he could it, he taught it to many harpers. And so by the will of Sir Launcelot, and of Arthur, the harpers went straight into Wales, and into Cornwall, to sing the lay that Sir Dinadan made by King Mark, the which was the worst lay that ever harper sang with harp or with any other instruments.