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How the two knights met together, and of their talking, and
how they began their battle.

SIR, said the damosel Linet unto Sir Beaumains, look ye be glad
and light, for yonder is your deadly enemy, and at yonder window
is my lady, my sister, Dame Lionesse.  Where? said Beaumains. 
Yonder, said the damosel, and pointed with her finger.  That is
truth, said Beaumains.  She beseemeth afar the fairest lady that
ever I looked upon; and truly, he said, I ask no better quarrel
than now for to do battle, for truly she shall be my lady, and
for her I will fight.  And ever he looked up to the window with
glad countenance, and the Lady Lionesse made curtsey to him down
to the earth, with holding up both their hands.

With that the Red Knight of the Red Launds called to Sir
Beaumains, Leave, sir knight, thy looking, and behold me, I
counsel thee; for I warn thee well she is my lady, and for her I
have done many strong battles.  If thou have so done, said
Beaumains, meseemeth it was but waste labour, for she loveth none
of thy fellowship, and thou to love that loveth not thee is but
great folly.  For an I understood that she were not glad of my
coming, I would be advised or I did battle for her.  But I
understand by the besieging of this castle she may forbear thy
fellowship.  And therefore wit thou well, thou Red Knight of the
Red Launds, I love her, and will rescue her, or else to die. 
Sayst thou that? said the Red Knight, meseemeth thou ought of
reason to be ware by yonder knights that thou sawest hang upon
yonder trees.  Fie for shame, said Beaumains, that ever thou
shouldest say or do so evil, for in that thou shamest thyself and
knighthood, and thou mayst be sure there will no lady love thee
that knoweth thy wicked customs.  And now thou weenest that the
sight of these hanged knights should fear me.  Nay truly,
<238>not so; that shameful sight causeth me to have courage and
hardiness against thee, more than I would have had against thee
an thou wert a well-ruled knight.  Make thee ready, said the Red
Knight of the Red Launds, and talk no longer with me.

Then Sir Beaumains bade the damosel go from him; and then they
put their spears in their rests, and came together with all their
might that they had both, and either smote other in midst of
their shields that the paitrelles, surcingles, and cruppers
brast, and fell to the earth both, and the reins of their bridles
in their hands; and so they lay a great while sore astonied, that
all that were in the castle and in the siege weened their necks
had been broken; and then many a stranger and other said the
strange knight was a big man, and a noble jouster, for or now we
saw never no knight match the Red Knight of the Red Launds: thus
they said, both within the castle and without.  Then lightly they
avoided their horses and put their shields afore them, and drew
their swords and ran together like two fierce lions, and either
gave other such buffets upon their helms that they reeled
backward both two strides; and then they recovered both, and
hewed great pieces off their harness and their shields that a
great part fell into the fields.