Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK X CHAPTER I

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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 orgulyt 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 Pit,
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.