Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK IX CHAPTER XXIX

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CHAPTER XXIX

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

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

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