Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK II CHAPTER V

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How Balin was pursued by Sir Lanceor, knight of Ireland,
and how he jousted and slew him.

AND so this Lady Lile of Avelion took her this sword that she
brought with her, and told there should no man pull it out of the
sheath but if he be one of the best knights of this realm, and he
should be hard and full of prowess, and with that sword he should
slay her brother.  This was the cause that the damosel came into
this court.  I know it as well as ye.  Would God she had not come
into this court, but she came never in fellowship of worship to
do good, but always great harm; and that <56>knight that hath
achieved the sword shall be destroyed by that sword, for the
which will be great damage, for there liveth not a knight of more
prowess than he is, and he shall do unto you, my Lord Arthur,
great honour and kindness; and it is great pity he shall not
endure but a while, for of his strength and hardiness I know not
his match living.

So the knight of Ireland armed him at all points, and dressed his
shield on his shoulder, and mounted upon horseback, and took his
spear in his hand, and rode after a great pace, as much as his
horse might go; and within a little space on a mountain he had a
sight of Balin, and with a loud voice he cried, Abide, knight,
for ye shall abide whether ye will or nill, and the shield that
is to-fore you shall not help.  When Balin heard the noise, he
turned his horse fiercely, and said, Fair knight, what will ye
with me, will ye joust with me?  Yea, said the Irish knight,
therefore come I after you.  Peradventure, said Balin, it had
been better to have holden you at home, for many a man weeneth to
put his enemy to a rebuke, and oft it falleth to himself.  Of
what court be ye sent from? said Balin.  I am come from the court
of King Arthur, said the knight of Ireland, that come hither for
to revenge the despite ye did this day to King Arthur and to his
court.  Well, said Balin, I see well I must have ado with you,
that me forthinketh for to grieve King Arthur, or any of his
court; and your quarrel is full simple, said Balin, unto me, for
the lady that is dead, did me great damage, and else would I have
been loath as any knight that liveth for to slay a lady.  Make
you ready, said the knight Lanceor, and dress you unto me, for
that one shall abide in the field.  Then they took their spears,
and came together as much as their horses might drive, and the
Irish knight smote Balin on the shield, that all went shivers off
his spear, and Balin hit him through the shield, and the hauberk
perished, and so pierced through his body and the horse's croup,
and anon turned his horse fiercely, and drew out his sword, and
wist not that he had slain him; and then he saw him lie as a dead