Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK I CHAPTER IX

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Of the first war that King Arthur had, and
how he won the field.

THEN King Arthur came out of his tower, and had under his gown a
jesseraunt of double mail, and there went with <14>him the
Archbishop of Canterbury, and Sir Baudwin of Britain, and Sir
Kay, and Sir Brastias: these were the men of most worship that
were with him.  And when they were met there was no meekness, but
stout words on both sides; but always King Arthur answered them,
and said he would make them to bow an he lived.  Wherefore they
departed with wrath, and King Arthur bade keep them well, and
they bade the king keep him well.  So the king returned him to
the tower again and armed him and all his knights.  What will ye
do? said Merlin to the kings; ye were better for to stint, for ye
shall not here prevail though ye were ten times so many.  Be we
well advised to be afeared of a dream-reader? said King Lot. 
With that Merlin vanished away, and came to King Arthur, and bade
him set on them fiercely; and in the meanwhile there were three
hundred good men, of the best that were with the kings, that went
straight unto King Arthur, and that comforted him greatly.  Sir,
said Merlin to Arthur, fight not with the sword that ye had by
miracle, till that ye see ye go unto the worse, then draw it out
and do your best.  So forthwithal King Arthur set upon them in
their lodging.  And Sir Baudwin, Sir Kay, and Sir Brastias slew
on the right hand and on the left hand that it was marvel; and
always King Arthur on horseback laid on with a sword, and did
marvellous deeds of arms, that many of the kings had great joy of
his deeds and hardiness.

Then King Lot brake out on the back side, and the King with the
Hundred Knights, and King Carados, and set on Arthur fiercely
behind him.  With that Sir Arthur turned with his knights, and
smote behind and before, and ever Sir Arthur was in the foremost
press till his horse was slain underneath him.  And therewith
King Lot smote down King Arthur.  With that his four knights
received him and set him on horseback.  Then he drew his sword
Excalibur, but it was so bright in his enemies' eyes, that it
gave light like thirty torches.  And therewith he put them a-
back, and slew much people.  And then the commons of Carlion
arose with clubs and staves <15 CHAP. X  OF KING BAN AND KING
BORS>and slew many knights; but all the kings held them together
with their knights that were left alive, and so fled and
departed.  And Merlin came unto Arthur, and counselled him to
follow them no further.