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The Age Of Chivalry - A. KING ARTHUR AND HIS KNIGHTS - Chapter XVI. Sir Palamedes Post by :Richard N Adams Category :Nonfictions Author :Thomas Bulfinch Date :January 2011 Read :2103

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The Age Of Chivalry - A. KING ARTHUR AND HIS KNIGHTS - Chapter XVI. Sir Palamedes

While Sir Tristram and the fair Isoude abode yet at La Joyeuse
Garde, Sir Tristram rode forth one day, without armor, having no
weapon but his spear and his sword. And as he rode he came to a
place where he saw two knights in battle, and one of them had
gotten the better and the other lay overthrown. The knight who had
the better was Sir Palamedes. When Sir Palamedes knew Sir
Tristram, he cried out, "Sir Tristram, now we be met, and ere we
depart we will redress our old wrongs." "As for that," said Sir
Tristram, "there never yet was Christian man that might make his
boast that I ever fled from him, and thou that art a Saracen shalt
never say that of me." And therewith Sir Tristram made his horse
to run, and with all his might came straight upon Sir Palamedes,
and broke his spear upon him. Then he drew his sword and struck at
Sir Palamedes six great strokes, upon his helm. Sir Palamedes saw
that Sir Tristram had not his armor on, and he marvelled at his
rashness and his great folly; and said to himself, "If I meet and
slay him, I am shamed wheresoever I go." Then Sir Tristram cried
out and said, "Thou coward knight, why wilt thou not do battle
with me? for have thou no doubt I shall endure all thy malice."
"Ah, Sir Tristram!" said Sir Palamedes, "thou knowest I may not
fight with thee for shame; for thou art here naked, and I am
armed; now I require that thou answer me a question that I shall
ask you." "Tell me what it is," said Sir Tristram. "I put the
case," said Palamedes, "that you were well armed, and I naked as
ye be; what would you do to me now, by your true knighthood?"
"Ah!" said Sir Tristram, "now I understand thee well, Sir
Palamedes; and, as God bless me, what I shall say shall not be
said for fear that I have of thee. But if it were so, thou
shouldest depart from me, for I would not have to do with thee."
"No more will I with thee," said Sir Palamedes, "and therefore
ride forth on thy way." "As for that, I may choose," said Sir
Tristram, "either to ride or to abide. But, Sir Palamedes, I
marvel at one thing,--that thou art so good a knight, yet that
thou wilt not be christened." "As for that," said Sir Palamedes,
"I may not yet be christened, for a vow which I made many years
ago; yet in my heart I believe in our Saviour and his mild mother,
Mary; but I have yet one battle to do, and when that is done I
will be christened, with a good will." "By my head," said Sir
Tristram, "as for that one battle, thou shalt seek it no longer;
for yonder is a knight, whom you have smitten down. Now help me to
be clothed in his armor, and I will soon fulfil thy vow." "As ye
will," said Sir Palamedes, "so shall it be." So they rode both
unto that knight that sat on a bank; and Sir Tristram saluted him,
and he full weary saluted him again. "Sir," said Sir Tristram, "I
pray you to lend me your whole armor; for I am unarmed, and I must
do battle with this knight." "Sir," said the hurt knight, "you
shall have it, with a right good will," Then Sir Tristram unarmed
Sir Galleron, for that was the name of the hurt knight, and he as
well as he could helped to arm Sir Tristram. Then Sir Tristram
mounted upon his own horse, and in his hand he took Sir Galleron's
spear. Thereupon Sir Palamedes was ready, and so they came hurling
together, and each smote the other in the midst of their shields.
Sir Palamedes' spear broke, and Sir Tristram smote down the horse.
Then Sir Palamedes leapt from his horse, and drew out his sword.
That saw Sir Tristram, and therewith he alighted and tied his
horse to a tree. Then they came together as two wild beasts,
lashing the one on the other, and so fought more than two hours;
and often Sir Tristram smote such strokes at Sir Palamedes that he
made him to kneel, and Sir Palamedes broke away Sir Tristram's
shield, and wounded him. Then Sir Tristram was wroth out of
measure, and he rushed to Sir Palamedes and wounded him passing
sore through the shoulder, and by fortune smote Sir Palamedes'
sword out of his hand And if Sir Palamedes had stooped for his
sword Sir Tristram had slain him. Then Sir Palamedes stood and
beheld his sword with a full sorrowful heart. "Now," said Sir
Tristram, "I have thee at a vantage, as thou hadst me to-day; but
it shall never be said, in court, or among good knights, that Sir
Tristram did slay any knight that was weaponless; therefore take
thou thy sword, and let us fight this battle to the end." Then
spoke Sir Palamedes to Sir Tristram: "I have no wish to fight this
battle any more. The offence that I have done unto you is not so
great but that, if it please you, we may be friends. All that I
have offended is for the love of the queen, La Belle Isoude, and I
dare maintain that she is peerless among ladies; and for that
offence ye have given me many grievous and sad strokes, and some I
have given you again. Wherefore I require you, my lord Sir
Tristram, forgive me all that I have offended you, and this day
have me unto the next church; and first I will be clean confessed,
and after that see you that I be truly baptized, and then we will
ride together unto the court of my lord, King Arthur, so that we
may be there at the feast of Pentecost." "Now take your horse,"
said Sir Tristram, "and as you have said, so shall it be done." So
they took their horses, and Sir Galleron rode with them. When they
came to the church of Carlisle, the bishop commanded to fill a
great vessel with water; and when he had hallowed it, he then
confessed Sir Palamedes clean, and christened him, and Sir
Tristram and Sir Galleron were his godfathers. Then soon after
they departed, and rode towards Camelot, where the noble King
Arthur and Queen Guenever were keeping a court royal. And the king
and all the court were glad that Sir Palamedes was christened.
Then Sir Tristram returned again to La Joyeuse Garde, and Sir
Palamedes went his way.

Not long after these events Sir Gawain returned from Brittany, and
related to King Arthur the adventure which befell him in the
forest of Breciliande, how Merlin had there spoken to him, and
enjoined him to charge the king to go without delay upon the quest
of the Holy Greal. While King Arthur deliberated Tristram
determined to enter upon the quest, and the more readily, as it
was well known to him that this holy adventure would, if achieved,
procure him the pardon of all his sins. He immediately departed
for the kingdom of Brittany, hoping there to obtain from Merlin
counsel as to the proper course to pursue to insure success.

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On arriving in Brittany Tristram found King Hoel engaged in a warwith a rebellious vassal, and hard pressed by his enemy. His bestknights had fallen in a late battle, and he knew not where to turnfor assistance. Tristram volunteered his aid. It was accepted; andthe army of Hoel, led by Tristram, and inspired by his example,gained a complete victory. The king, penetrated by the most livelysentiments of gratitude, and having informed himself of Tristram'sbirth, offered him his daughter in marriage. The princess wasbeautiful and accomplished, and bore the same name with the Queenof Cornwall; but this one is designated by the

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The famous enchanter, Merlin, had exerted all his skill infabricating the Round Table. Of the seats which surrounded it hehad constructed thirteen, in memory of the thirteen Apostles.Twelve of these seats only could be occupied, and they only byknights of the highest fame; the thirteenth represented the seatof the traitor Judas. It remained always empty. It was called thePERILOUS SEAT, ever since a rash and haughty Saracen knight haddared to place himself in it, when the earth opened and swallowedhim up. "In our great hall there stood a vacant chair, Fashion'd by Merlin ere he