Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK X CHAPTER VII

Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK X  Previous  Next 


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

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.