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B A L L A D XVIII.
SIR LANCELOT DU LA K E. *
HEN Arthur first in court began,
And was approved king;
won;, And conquest home did bring :
Then into Britain straight he came,
Where fifty good and able
Which were of the Round Table.
And many jufts and tournaments
Before him there were prest,
And far surmount the rest.
But one Sir Lancelot du Lake,
Who was approved well,
All others did excell.
When he had rested him a while,
To play, and game, and sport;
In some advent'rous fort :
* The title of the old copies is, but very improperly, “ The noble atchievements of king Artbur, and his knights of the round tables. To the tune of Flying Fame."
Why should not I? quoth Lancelot tho,
For that cause came I hither.
And I will bring thee thither,
Whereas the mightiest knight doth dwell,
That now is of great fame :
And then what is thy name.
“ My name is Lancelot du Lake."
Quoth the, It likes me, then ; Here dwells a kright that never was
O’ermatch'd of any man;
Who hath in prison threescore knights
And four, that he hath bound; Knights of King Arthurs court they be,
And of the Table Round.
She brought him to a river then,
And also to a tree,
His fellows fhields to see.
He struck so hard, the bason broke :
When Tarquin heard the sound,
Whereon a knight was bound.
Sir knight, then said Sir Lancelot,
Bring me that horse load hither,
We'll try our force together:
That's over much, quoth Lancelot tho;
Defend thee by and by.
And each at other fly.
They couch'd their spears, and horses run,
As though they had been thunder ; And each ftruck then
the shield, Wherewith they brake afunder.
Their horses backs brake under them ;
The knights they were astound: To avoid their horses they made hafte
To light upon the ground.
They took them to their fields full fast,
Their swords they dặew out then ; With mighty strokes moft eagerly
Each one at other run.
They wounded were, and bled full sore,
For breath they both did stand ; And leaning on their swords a while,
Quoth Tarquin, Hold thy hand;
And tell to me what I shall ak.
Say on, quoth Lancelot tho. Thou art, quoth Tarquin, the best knight
That ever I did know ;
And like a knight that I did hate :
So that thou be not he, I will deliver all the rest,
And eke accord with thee.
That is well faid, quoth Lancelot then ;
But fith it so must be,
I pray thee fhow to me?
His name is Lancelot du Lake ;
He few my brother dear ;
I would I had him here.
Thy wilh thou hast, but now unknown ;
I am Lancelot du Lake,
King Hands son of Benwake :
And I defy thee, do thy worst.”
Ha, ha, quoth Tarquin tho,
Before that we do go.
If thou be Lancelot du Lake,
Then welcome shalt thou be;
For now I dèfy thee.
They hurled then together fast,
Like two wild boars so rashing,
At one another flashing :
The ground besprinkled was with blood,
Tarquìn began to faint ;
So low, he did repent.