Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK V CHAPTER VII

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How Lucius sent certain spies in a bushment for to have
taken his knights being prisoners, and how they were letted.

NOW turn we to the Emperor of Rome, which espied that these
prisoners should be sent to Paris, and anon he sent to lie in a
bushment certain knights and princes with sixty thousand men, for
to rescue his knights and lords that were prisoners.  And so on
the morn as Launcelot and Sir Cador, chieftains and governors of
all them that conveyed the prisoners, as they should pass through
a wood, Sir Launcelot sent certain knights to espy if any were in
the woods to let them.  And when the said knights came into the
wood, anon they espied and saw the great embushment, and returned
and told Sir Launcelot that there lay in await for them three
score thousand Romans.  And then Sir Launcelot with such knights
as he had, and men of war to the number of ten thousand, put them
in array, and met with them and fought with them manly, and slew
and detrenched many of the Romans, and slew many knights and
admirals of the party of the Romans and Saracens; there <162>was
slain the king of Lyly and three great lords, Aladuke, Herawd,
and Heringdale.  But Sir Launcelot fought so nobly that no man
might endure a stroke of his hand, but where he came he showed
his prowess and might, for he slew down right on every side; and
the Romans and Saracens fled from him as the sheep from the wolf
or from the lion, and put them, all that abode alive, to flight.

And so long they fought that tidings came to King Arthur, and
anon he graithed him and came to the battle, and saw his knights
how they had vanquished the battle, he embraced them knight by
knight in his arms, and said, Ye be worthy to wield all your
honour and worship; there was never king save myself that had so
noble knights.  Sir, said Cador, there was none of us failed
other, but of the prowess and manhood of Sir Launcelot were more
than wonder to tell, and also of his cousins which did that day
many noble feats of war.  And also Sir Cador told who of his
knights were slain, as Sir Berel, and other Sir Moris and Sir
Maurel, two good knights.  Then the king wept, and dried his eyes
with a kerchief, and said, Your courage had near-hand destroyed
you, for though ye had returned again, ye had lost no worship;
for I call it folly, knights to abide when they be overmatched. 
Nay, said Launcelot and the other, for once shamed may never be