Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK X CHAPTER V

Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK X  Previous  Next 


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.