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The Book Of Sir Balin Le Savage - XVI

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

AND when Garnish beheld her so lying, for pure sorrow his mouth and nose burst out on bleeding, and with his sword he smote off both their heads; and then he made sorrow out of measure, and said, "Oh ! Balin, much sorrow thou hast brought to me; for hadst thou not showed me that sight, I should have passed my sorrow." "Forsooth," said Balin, "I did it to this intent, that it should assuage thy courage, and that ye might see and know their falsehood, and to cause you to leave that lady's love. God knoweth I did none other but as I would you did to me." "Alas !" said Garnish, "now is my sorrow double that I may not endure, now have I slain that I most loved in all my life." Therewith suddenly he rove himself on his own sword unto the hilt. When Balin saw that, he dressed him from thence, lest folks should say that he had slain them; and so he rode forth, and within three days he came by a cross, and thereon was letters of gold written, that said, "It is not for a knight alone to ride towards this castle." Then saw he an old hoary gentleman coming toward, that said, "Balin le Savage, thou passeth thy bounds this way; therefore turn again, and it will avail thee." And he vanished away anon, and so he heard a horn blow, as it had been the death of a beast. "That blast," said Balin, "is blown for me; for I am the prize, and yet am I not dead." And therewith he saw a hundred ladies and many knights that welcomed him with fair semblance, and made him passing good cheer unto his sight, and led him into the castle, and there was dancing and minstrelsy, and all manner of joy. Then the chief lady of the castle said, "Knight with the two swords, ye must have a do and joust with a knight hereby that keepeth an island ; for there may no man pass this way, but he may joust, or he pass." "That is an unhappy custom," said Balin, "that a knight may not pass this way, but if he joust."

"Ye shall have a do but with one knight," said the lady. "Well," said Balin, "since I shall thereto, I am ready; but travelling men are often weary, and their horses also ; but though my horse be weary, my heart is not weary, I would be fain there my death should be." "Sir," said a knight to Balin, "me thinketh your shield is not good, I will lend you a bigger ; thereof, I pray you." And so he took the shield that was unknown, and left his own, and so he rode unto the island, and put him and his horse in a great boat. And when he came on the other side he met with a damsel, and she said, "O knight, Balin, why have you left your own shield ; alas ; ye have put yourself in great danger ; for by your shield you should have been known. It is great pity of you as ever was of knight, for of prowess and hardiness thou hast no fellow living." "Me repenteth," said Balin, "that ever I came within this country ; but I may not turn now again for shame, and what adventure shall fall to me, be it life or death, I will take the adventure that shall come to me." And then he looked on his armour, and understood he was well armed, and therewith blessed him, and mounted upon his horse.

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