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How Sir Tristram departed unarmed and met with Sir
Palomides, and how they smote each other, and how Sir
Palomides forbare him.

AND so when the day came Sir Tristram took his leave at
La Beale Isoud, and she sent with him four knights, and
within half a mile he sent them again: and within a mile
after Sir Tristram saw afore him where Sir Palomides had
stricken down a knight, and almost wounded him to the
death.  Then Sir Tristram repented him that he was not
armed, and then he hoved still.  With that Sir Palomides
knew Sir Tristram, and cried on high:  Sir Tristram, now
be we met, for or we depart we will redress our old sores.
As for that, said Sir Tristram, there was yet never
Christian man might make his boast that ever I fled from
him; and wit ye well, Sir Palomides, thou that art a
Saracen shall never make thy boast that Sir Tristram de
Liones shall flee from thee.  And therewith Sir Tristram
made his horse to run, and with all his might he came
straight upon Sir Palomides, and brast his spear upon him
an hundred pieces.  And forthwithal Sir Tristram drew
his sword.  And then he turned his horse and struck at
Palomides six great strokes upon his helm; and then
Sir Palomides stood still, and beheld Sir Tristram, and
marvelled of his woodness, and of his folly.  And then
Sir Palomides said to himself:  An Sir Tristram were
armed, it were hard to cease him of this battle, and if I
turn again and slay him I am ashamed wheresomever that
I go.

Then Sir Tristram spake and said:  Thou coward
knight, what castest thou to do; why wilt thou not do
battle with me? for have thou no doubt I shall endure all
thy malice.  Ah, Sir Tristram, said Palomides, full well
thou wottest I may not fight with thee for shame, for thou
art here naked and I am armed, and if I slay thee,
dishonour shall be mine.  And well thou wottest, said Sir
Palomides to Sir Tristram, I know thy strength and thy
hardiness to endure against a good knight.  That is truth,
said Sir Tristram, I understand thy valiantness well.  Ye
say well, said Sir Palomides; now, I require you, tell me
a question that I shall say to you.  Tell me what it is, said
Sir Tristram, and I shall answer you the truth, as God me
help.  I put case, said Sir Palomides, that ye were armed
at all rights as well as I am, and I naked as ye be, what
would you do to me now, by your true knighthood?
Ah, said Sir Tristram, now I understand thee well, Sir
Palomides, for now must I say mine own judgment, and
as God me bless, that I shall say shall not be said for no
fear that I have of thee.  But this is all: wit Sir
Palomides, as at this time thou shouldest depart from me, for
I would not have ado with thee.  No more will I, said
Palomides, and therefore ride forth on thy way.  As for
that I may choose, said Sir Tristram, either to ride or to
abide.  But Sir Palomides, said Sir Tristram, I marvel of
one thing, that thou that art so good a knight, that thou
wilt not be christened, and thy brother, Sir Safere, hath
been christened many a day.