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sides, a brave and loyal knight, who received her with great consideration.
Tristram conducted the damsel of Queen Isoude to the tournament, and had her placed in the balcony among the ladies of the queen. He then joined the tourney. Nothing could exceed his strength and valor. Launcelot admired him, and by a secret presentiment declined to dispute the honor of the day with a knight so gallant and so skilful. Arthur descended from the balcony to greet the conqueror; but the modest and devoted Tristram, content with having borne off the prize in the sight of the messenger of Isoude, made his escape with her, and disappeared.
The next day the tourney recommenced. Tristram assumed different armor, that he might not be known; but he was soon detected by the terrible blows that he gave. Arthur and Guenever had no doubt that it was the same knight who had borne off the prize of the day before. Arthur's gallant spirit was roused. After Launcelot of the Lake and Sir Gawain, he was accounted the best knight of the Round Table. He went privately and armed himself, and came into the tourney in undistinguished
He ran a just with Tristram, whom he shook in his seat; but Tristram, who did not know him, threw him out of the saddle. Arthur recovered himself, and, content with having made proof of the stranger knight, bade Launcelot finish the adventure, and vindicate the honor of the Round Table. Sir Launcelot, at the bidding of the monarch, assailed Tristram, whose lance was already broken in former encounters. But the law of this sort of combat was, that the knight, after having broken his lance, must fight with his sword, and must not refuse to meet with his shield the lance of his antagonist. Tristram met Launcelot's charge upon his shield, which that terrible lance could not fail to pierce. It inflicted a wound upon Tristram's side, and, breaking, left the iron in the wound. But Tristram also with his sword smote so vigorously on Launcelot's casque that he cleft it, and wounded his head. The wound was not deep, but the blood flowed into his eyes, and blinded him for a moment, and Tristram, who thought himself mortally wounded, retired from the field. Launcelot declared to the king that he had never received such a blow in his life before.
Tristram hastened to Gouvernail, his squire, who drew forth the iron, bound up the wound, and gave him immediate ease. Tristram, after the tournament, kept retired in his tent, but Arthur, with the consent of all the knights of the Round Table, decreed him the honors of the second day. But it was no longer a secret that the victor of the two days was the same individual, and Gouvernail, being questioned, confirmed the suspicions of Launcelot and Arthur, that it was no other than Sir Tristram of Leonais, the nephew of the king of Cornwall.
King Arthur, who desired to reward his distin
guished valor, and knew that his uncle Mark had ungratefully banished him, would have eagerly availed himself of the opportunity to attach Tristram to his court, - all the knights of the Round Table declaring with acclamation that it would be impossible to find a more worthy companion. But Tristram had already departed in search of adventures, and the damsel of Queen Isoude returned to her mistress.
SIR TRISTRAM'S BATTLE WITH SIR LAUNCELOT.
SIR TRISTRAM rode through a forest, and saw ten men fighting, and one man did battle against nine. So he rode to the knights and cried to them, bidding them cease their battle, for they did themselves great shame, so many knights to fight against one. Then answered the master of the knights (his name was Sir Breuse sans Pitie, who was at that time the most villanous knight living): “Sir knight, what have ye to do to meddle with us? If ye be wise, depart on your way as you came, for this knight shall not escape us.” “ That were pity,” said Sir Tristram, “that so good a knight should be slain so cowardly; therefore I warn you I will succor him with all my puissance.'
Then Sir Tristram alighted off his horse, because they were on foot, that they should not slay his horse. And he smote on the right hand and on the left so vigorously, that well-nigh at every stroke he struck down a knight. At last they fled, with Breuse sans Pitie, into the tower, and shut Sir Tris
SIR TRISTRAM'S BATTLE WITH SIR LAUNCELOT. 163
tram without the gate. Then Sir Tristram returned back to the rescued knight, and found him sitting under a tree, sore wounded. “Fair knight,” said he,“ how is it with you ?” “ Sir knight,” said Sir Palamedes, for he it was, “I thank you of your great goodness, for ye have rescued me from death.” “What is your name?” said Sir Tristram. He said, “My name is Sir Palamedes.” “Say ye so?” said Sir Tristram; “now know that thou art the man in the world that I most hate; therefore make thee ready, for I will do battle with thee.” “What is your name?” said Sir Palamedes. “My name is Sir Tristram, your mortal enemy.” “It may be so,” said Sir Palamedes ; “but you have done overmuch for me this day, that I should fight with you. Moreover, it will be no honor for you to have to do with me, for you are fresh and I am wounded. Therefore, if you will needs have to do with me, assign me a day, and I shall meet you without fail.” “You say well,” said Sir Tristram ; “now I assign you to meet me in the meadow by the river of Camelot, where Merlin set the monument.” were agreed. Then they departed, and took their ways diverse. Sir Tristram passed through a great forest into a plain, till he came to a priory, and there he reposed him with a good man six days.
Then departed Sir Tristram, and rode straight into Camelot to the monument of Merlin, and there he looked about him for Sir Palamedes. And he perceived a seemly knight, who came riding against