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him all in white, with a covered shield. When he came nigh, Sir Tristram said aloud, “Welcome, sir knight, and well and truly have you kept your promise.” Then they made ready their shields and spears, and came together with all the might of their horses, so fiercely, that both the horses and the knights fell to the earth. And as soon as they might, they quitted their horses, and struck together with bright swords as men of might, and each wounded the other wonderfully sore, so that the blood ran out upon the grass. Thus they fought for the space of four hours, and never one would speak to the other one word. Then at last spake the white knight, and said, “ Sir, thou fightest wonderful well, as ever I saw knight; therefore, if it please you, tell me your name.” “Why dost thou ask my name ?” said Sir Tristram ; 66 art thou not Sir Palamedes ?” “ No, fair knight,” said he, “I am Sir Launcelot of the Lake." " Alas!” said Sir Tristram, “what have I done ? for you are the man of the world that I love best.” “Fair knight,” said Sir Launcelot, “ tell me your name." “ Truly, said he, “my name is Sir Tristram de Lionesse.” “ Alas! alas !” said Sir Launcelot, "what adventure has befallen me!” And therewith Sir Launcelot kneeled down, and yielded him up his sword; and Sir Tristram kneeled down, and yielded him up his sword; and so either gave other the degree. And then they both went to the stone, and sat them down upon it, and took off their helms, and each kissed
SIR TRISTRAM'S BATTLE WITH SIR LAUNCELOT. 165
the other a hundred times. And then anon they rode toward Camelot, and on the way they met with Sir Gawain and Sir Gaheris, that had made promise to Arthur never to come again to the court till they had brought Sir Tristram with them.
“ Return again,” said Sir Launcelot, “for your quest is done ; for I have met with Sir Tristram. Lo, here he is in his own person.” Then was Sir Gawain glad, and said to Sir Tristram, “ Ye are welcome.” With this came King Arthur, and when he wist there was Sir Tristram, he ran unto him, and took him by the hand, and said, “Sir Tristram, ye are as welcome as any knight that ever came to this court." Then Sir Tristram told the king how he came thither for to have had to do with Sir Palamedes, and how he had rescued him from Sir Breuse sans Pitie and the nine knights. Then King Arthur took Sir Tristram by the hand, and went to the Table Round, and Queen Guenever came, and many ladies with her, and all the ladies said with one voice, “Welcome, Sir Tristram.”
" Welcome,” said the knights. “Welcome,” said Arthur, “for one of the best of knights, and the gentlest of the world, and the man of most worship; for of all manner of hunting thou bearest the prize, and of all measures of blowing thou art the beginning, and of all the terms of hunting and hawking ye are the inventor, and of all instruments of music ye are the best skilled; therefore, gentle knight,” said Arthur, "ye are welcome to this court.” And then King Arthur made Sir Tristram knight of the Table Round with great nobley and feasting as can be thought.
SIR TRISTRAM AS A SPORTSMAN.
Tristram is often alluded to by the Romancers as the great authority and model in all matters relating to the chase. In the Faery Queene, Tristram, in answer to the inquiries of Sir Calidore, informs him of his name and parentage, and concludes:
“ All which my days I have not lewdly spent,
Nor spilt the blossom of my tender years
Of all that rangeth in the forest green,
“Ne is there hawk which mantleth on her perch,
* Feres, companions ; thewes, labors ; leers, learning.
THE ROUND TABLE.
THE famous enchanter, Merlin, had exerted all his skill in fabricating the Round Table. Of the seats which surrounded it he had constructed thirteen, in memory of the thirteen Apostles. Twelve of these seats only could be occupied, and they only by knights of the highest fame; the thirteenth represented the seat of the traitor Judas. It remained always empty. It was called the perilous seat, ever since a rash and haughty Saracen knight had dared to place himself in it, when the earth opened and swallowed him up.
A magic power wrote upon each seat the name of the knight who was entitled to sit in it. No one could succeed to a vacant seat unless he surpassed in valor and glorious deeds the knight who had occupied it before him ; without this qualification he would be violently repelled by a hidden force. Thus proof was made of all those who presented themselves to replace any companions of the order who had fallen.
One of the principal seats, that of Moraunt of Ireland, had been vacant ten years, and his name still remained over it ever since the time when that distinguished champion fell beneath the sword of Sir Tristram. Arthur now took Tristram by the hand and led him to that seat. Immediately the most melodious sounds were heard, and exquisite perfumes filled the place; the name of Moraunt disappeared, and that of Tristram blazed forth in light! The rare modesty of Tristram had now to be sub- jected to a severe task; for the clerks charged with the duty of preserving the annals of the Round Table attended, and he was required by the law of his order to declare what feats of arms he had accomplished to entitle him to take that seat. This ceremony being ended, Tristram received the congratulations of all his companions. Sir Launcelot and Guenever took the occasion to speak to him of the fair Isoude, and to express their wish that some happy chance might bring her to the kingdom of Loegria.
While Tristram was thus honored and caressed at the court of King Arthur, the most gloomy and malignant jealousy harassed the soul of Mark. He could not look upon Isoude without remembering that she loved Tristram, and the good fortune of his nephew goaded him to thoughts of vengeance. He at last resolved to go disguised into the kingdom of Loegria, attack Tristram by stealth, and put him to death. He took with him two knights, brought up