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The Book Of Sir Balin Le Savage - IV

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

AT that time there was in King Arthur's court a knight that was the king's son of Ireland, and his name was Lanceor; and he was a proud knight, and he counted himself one of the best knights of the court, and he had great spite at Balin for the achieving of the sword, than any should be accounted of more prowess than he was, and he asked King Arthur, "If he would give him leave to ride after Balin, and to revenge the despite that he hath done." "Do your best," said King Arthur, "for I am right wrath with Balin ; I would he were quit of the despite that he hath done to me and to my court." Then this Lanceor went to his hostel to make him ready ; in the meanwhile came Merlin to King Arthur's court, and there it was told him of the adventure of the sword, and of the Lady of the Lake. "Now shall I say to you," said Merlin, "this damsel that here standeth, that brought the sword unto your court, I shall tell you the cause of her coming, she is the falsest damsel that liveth." "Say not so," said they; "she hath a brother, a passing good knight of prowess, and a full true man ; and this damsel loved another that held her to paramour, and this good knight, her brother, met with the knight that held her to paramour, and slew him by force of his hands. When this false damsel understood this, she went to the lady Lily of Avelion, and be-sought her of help to be avenged on her brother. And so this lady Lily, of Avelion, took her this sword, which she brought with her, and told that there should no man draw it out of the scabbard, but if he were one of the best knights of this realm, and he should be hardy and full of prowess, and with that sword he should slay her brother. This was the cause that the damsel came into this court." "I know it as well as ye do," said Merlin; "would to God she had never come into this court, for she came never in fellowship of worship to do good, but always great harm, and that knight which hath achieved the sword shall be destroyed by that sword ; wherefore it shall be great damage, for there is not a living knight of more prowess than he is, and he shall do unto you my lord, King Arthur, great honour and kindness ; and great pity it is for he shall not endure but a while, and as for his strength and hardiness, I know not his match living." But the knight of Ireland armed him in all points, and dressed him his shield on his shoulder, and mounted upon horseback, and took his spear in his hand, and rode after as fast as his horse could run; and within a little on a mountain he had a sight of Balin, and with a loud voice he cried to him, and said, "Abide knight, for ye shall abide, whether ye will or not; and the shield that is before you, shall not help you." When Balin heard that noise, he turned his horse fiercely, and said, "Fair knight, what will you with me; will ye joust with me?" "Yes," said the Irish knight, "there-fore am I come after you." "Peradventure," said Balin, "it had been better to have holden you at home; for many a man weeneth to put his enemy to rebuke, and often it falleth to him-self. Of what court be ye sent from?" "I am come from the court of King Arthur," said the knight of Ireland, "that am come hither for to revenge the despite that ye have done this day to King Arthur and to his court."

"Well," said Balin, "I see well I must have ado with you, which me forethinketh for to grieve King Arthur or any of his knights, and your quarrel is full simple to me," said Balin; "for the lady that is dead did great damage, and else I would have been as loth as any knight that liveth for to slay a lady." "Make you ready," said the knight Lanceor, "and dress you to me; for one of us shall abide in the field." Then they took their spears in all the haste they might, and came together as fast as their horses might drive, and the king's son of Ireland smote Balin upon his shield, that his spear went all to shivers. And Balin smote him with such a might, that it went through his shield and perished the hawberk, and so pierced through his body and the horse croup; and anon Balin turned his horse fiercely, and drew out his sword, and wist not that he had slain him, and then he saw him lie as a dead corpse.

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