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The Book Of Sir Balin Le Savage - II

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

It happened so, at that time, that there was a poor knight with King Arthur, that had been prisoner with him half a year and more, for slaying a knight, which was cousin to King Arthur. The knight was named Balin le Savage, and by good means of the barons, he was delivered out of prison ; for he was a good man named of his body, and he was born in Northumberland. And so he went privily into the court and saw this adventure, whereof his heart rose, and would assay it as other knights did; but for because he was poor, and poorly arrayed, he put him not far in press. But in his heart he was fully assured (if his grace happened him) as any knight that was there. And, as that damsel took her leave of King Arthur and the barons, this knight, Balin, called unto her, and said, "Dam-sel, I pray you of your courtesy, to suffer me as well to assay as these lords ; though I am poorly clothed, in mine heart me seemeth I am fully assured as some of these other lords, and me seemeth in my heart to speed right well." The damsel beheld the poor knight, and saw he was a likely man ; but, because of his poor array, she thought he should be of no worship without villainy or treachery. And then she said to the knight Balin, "Sir, it is no need to put me to any more pain or labour, for it beseemeth not you to speed there, as others have failed." "Ah! fair damsel," said Balin, "worthiness and good graces, and good deeds, are not all only in raiment, but manhood and worship is hid within man's person; and many a worshipful knight is not known unto all people ; and therefore worship and hardiness is not in raiment and clothing." "By God !" said the damsel, "ye say truth; therefore ye shall assay to do what ye may." Then Balin took the sword by the girdle and scabbard, and drew it out easily; and when he looked upon the sword, it pleased him well. Then had the king and all the barons great marvel, that Balin had done that adventure; and many knights had great spite at Balin. "Truly," said the damsel, "that is a passing good knight, and the best man that ever I found, and most of worship, without treason, treachery, or villainy, and many marvels shall he achieve. Now gentlemen and courteous knights," said the damsel, "give me the sword again." "Nay," said Balin, "for. this sword will I keep, but it be taken from me by force." "Well," said the damsel, "ye are not wise to keep the sword from me; for ye shall slay with the sword the best friend that ye have, and the man that ye most love in this world ; and the sword shall be your destruction." "I shall take the adventure," said Balin, "that God will ordain to me ; but the sword ye shall not have at this time, by the faith of my body." "Ye shall repent it within a short time," said the damsel, "for I would have the sword more for your avail than for mine, for I am passing heavy for your sake; for ye will not believe that the sword shall be your destruction, and that is as great pity as ever I knew." With that the damsel departed, making the greatest sorrow that might be. Anon after Balin sent for his horse and his armour, and so would depart from the court, and took his leave of King Arthur. "Nay," said the king, "I sup-pose ye will not depart so lightly from this fellowship. I believe ye are displeased, that I have showed you unkindness ; blame me the less, for I was misinformed against you. But I weened you had not been such a knight as ye are of worship and prowess ; and if ye will abide in this court with my good knights, I shall so advance you, that ye shall be well pleased." "God thank your highness," said Balin, "for your bounty and highness may no man praise half to the value; but now at this time I must needs depart, beseeching you always of your good grace." "Truly," said King Arthur, "I am right wrath for your departing; I beseech you, fair knight, that ye will not tarry long, and ye shall be right welcome to me and all my barons, and I shall amend all that is amiss, and that I have done against you." "God thank your lordship," said Balin, and therewith made him ready to depart. Then the most part of the knights of the Round Table said, that Balin did not this ad-venture all only by might, but by witchcraft.

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