Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK IV CHAPTER IX

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Of the battle between King Arthur and Accolon.

AND then they dressed them on both parties of the field, and let
their horses run so fast that either smote other in the midst of
the shield with their spear-heads, that both horse and man went
to the earth; and then they started up both, and pulled out their
swords.  The meanwhile that they were thus at the battle, came
the Damosel of the Lake into the field, that put Merlin under the
stone; and she came thither for love of King Arthur, for she knew
how Morgan le Fay had so ordained that King Arthur should have
been slain that day, and therefore she came to save his life. 
And so they went eagerly to the battle, and gave many great
strokes, but always Arthur's sword bit not like Accolon's sword;
but for the most part, every stroke that Accolon gave he wounded
sore Arthur, that it was marvel he stood, and always his blood
fell from him fast.

When Arthur beheld the ground so sore be-bled he was dismayed,
and then he deemed treason that his sword was changed; for his
sword bit not steel as it was wont to do, therefore he dreaded
him sore to be dead, for ever him seemed that the sword in
Accolon's hand was Excalibur, for at every stroke that Accolon
struck he drew blood on Arthur.  Now, knight, said Accolon unto
Arthur, keep thee well from me; but Arthur answered not again,
and gave him such a buffet on the helm that it made him to stoop,
nigh falling down to the earth.  Then <116>Sir Accolon withdrew
him a little, and came on with Excalibur on high, and smote Sir
Arthur such a buffet that he fell nigh to the earth.  Then were
they wroth both, and gave each other many sore strokes, but
always Sir Arthur lost so much blood that it was marvel he stood
on his feet, but he was so full of knighthood that knightly he
endured the pain.  And Sir Accolon lost not a deal of blood,
therefore he waxed passing light, and Sir Arthur was passing
feeble, and weened verily to have died; but for all that he made
countenance as though he might endure, and held Accolon as short
as he might.  But Accolon was so bold because of Excalibur that
he waxed passing hardy.  But all men that beheld him said they
saw never knight fight so well as Arthur did considering the
blood that he bled.  So was all the people sorry for him, but the
two brethren would not accord.  Then always they fought together
as fierce knights, and Sir Arthur withdrew him a little for to
rest him, and Sir Accolon called him to battle and said, It is no
time for me to suffer thee to rest.  And therewith he came
fiercely upon Arthur, and Sir Arthur was wroth for the blood that
he had lost, and smote Accolon on high upon the helm, so
mightily, that he made him nigh to fall to the earth; and
therewith Arthur's sword brast at the cross, and fell in the
grass among the blood, and the pommel and the sure handles he
held in his hands.  When Sir Arthur saw that, he was in great
fear to die, but always he held up his shield and lost no ground,
nor bated no cheer.