Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK V CHAPTER X

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CHAPTER X

Of a battle done by Sir Gawaine against a Saracen, which
after was yielden and became Christian.

THEN they took their spears and ran each at other with all the
might they had, and smote each other through their shields into
their shoulders, wherefore anon they pulled out their swords, and
smote great strokes that the fire sprang out of their helms. 
Then Sir Gawaine was all abashed, and with Galatine his good
sword he smote through shield and thick hauberk made of thick
mails, and all to-rushed and break the precious stones, and made
him a large wound, that men might see both liver and lung.  Then
groaned that knight, and addressed him to Sir Gawaine, and with
an awk stroke gave him a great wound and cut a vein, which
grieved Gawaine sore, and he bled sore.  Then the knight said to
Sir Gawaine, bind thy wound or thy blee[ding] change, for thou
be-bleedest all thy horse and thy fair arms, for all the barbers
of Brittany shall not con staunch thy blood, for whosomever is
hurt with this blade he shall never be staunched of bleeding. 
Then answered Gawaine, it grieveth me but little, thy great words
shall not fear me nor lessen my courage, but thou shalt suffer
teen and sorrow or we depart, but tell me in haste who may
staunch my bleeding.  That may I do, said the knight, if I will,
and so will I if thou wilt succour and aid me, that I may be
christened and believe on God, and thereof I require thee of thy
<168>manhood, and it shall be great merit for thy soul.  I grant,
said Gawaine, so God help me, to accomplish all thy desire, but
first tell me what thou soughtest here thus alone, and of what
land and liegiance thou art of.  Sir, he said, my name is
Priamus, and a great prince is my father, and he hath been rebel
unto Rome and overridden many of their lands.  My father is
lineally descended of Alexander and of Hector by right line.  And
Duke Joshua and Maccabaeus were of our lineage.  I am right
inheritor of Alexandria and Africa, and all the out isles, yet
will I believe on thy Lord that thou believest on; and for thy
labour I shall give thee treasure enough.  I was so elate and
hauteyn in my heart that I thought no man my peer, nor to me
semblable.  I was sent into this war with seven score knights,
and now I have encountered with thee, which hast given to me of
fighting my fill, wherefore sir knight, I pray thee to tell me
what thou art.  I am no knight, said Gawaine, I have been brought
up in the guardrobe with the noble King Arthur many years, for to
take heed to his armour and his other array, and to point his
paltocks that long to himself.  At Yule last he made me yeoman,
and gave to me horse and harness, and an hundred pound in money;
and if fortune be my friend, I doubt not but to be well advanced
and holpen by my liege lord.  Ah, said Priamus, if his knaves be
so keen and fierce, his knights be passing good: now for the
King's love of Heaven, whether thou be a knave or a knight, tell
thou me thy name.  By God, said Sir Gawaine, now I will say thee
sooth, my name is Sir Gawaine, and known I am in his court and in
his chamber, and one of the knights of the Round Table, he dubbed
me a duke with his own hand.  Therefore grudge not if this grace
is to me fortuned, it is the goodness of God that lent to me my
strength.  Now am I better pleased, said Priamus, than thou hadst
given to me all the Provence and Paris the rich.  I had liefer to
have been torn with wild horses, than any varlet had won such
loos, or any page or priker should have had prize on me.  But now
sir knight I warn thee that hereby is a Duke of Lorraine with his
army, and <169>the noblest men of Dolphiny, and lords of
Lombardy, with the garrison of Godard, and Saracens of Southland,
y-numbered sixty thousand of good men of arms; wherefore but if
we hie us hence, it will harm us both, for we be sore hurt, never
like to recover; but take heed to my page, that he no horn blow,
for if he do, there be hoving here fast by an hundred knights
awaiting on my person, and if they take thee, there shall no
ransom of gold nor silver acquit thee.

Then Sir Gawaine rode over a water for to save him, and the
knight followed him, and so rode forth till they came to his
fellows which were in the meadow, where they had been all the
night.  Anon as Sir Wisshard was ware of Sir Gawaine and saw that
he was hurt, he ran to him sorrowfully weeping, and demanded of
him who had so hurt him; and Gawaine told how he had foughten
with that man, and each of them had hurt other, and how he had
salves to heal them; but I can tell you other tidings, that soon
we shall have ado with many enemies.

Then Sir Priamus and Sir Gawaine alighted, and let their horses
graze in the meadow, and unarmed them, and then the blood ran
freshly from their wounds.  And Priamus took from his page a vial
full of the four waters that came out of Paradise, and with
certain balm anointed their wounds, and washed them with that
water, and within an hour after they were both as whole as ever
they were.  And then with a trumpet were they all assembled to
council, and there Priamus told unto them what lords and knights
had sworn to rescue him, and that without fail they should be
assailed with many thousands, wherefore he counselled them to
withdraw them.  Then Sir Gawaine said, it were great shame to
them to avoid without any strokes; Wherefore I advise to take our
arms and to make us ready to meet with these Saracens and
misbelieving men, and with the help of God we shall overthrow
them and have a fair day on them.  And Sir Florence shall abide
still in this field to keep the stale as a noble knight, and we
shall not forsake yonder fellows.  Now, said Priamus, cease your
words, for I warn you ye shall find in yonder <170>woods many
perilous knights; they will put forth beasts to call you on, they
be out of number, and ye are not past seven hundred, which be
over few to fight with so many.  Nevertheless, said Sir Gawaine,
we shall once encounter them, and see what they can do, and the
best shall have the victory.