The Battle of the Two Knights: Or the Lay of the Peron-Stone, and the Refrain of the Dead Lady, Columbe, Who Loved the King of Ireland's Son

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The Battle of the Two Knights: Or the Lay of the Peron-Stone, and the Refrain of the Dead Lady, Columbe, Who Loved the King of Ireland's Son

                       I
What horseman, bound for Camelot,
         Halts at the Peron-stone,
Where Balin slew Sir Lanceor
         The King of Ireland's son:
Where Columbe sleeps, who could not bear
         Her love should lie alone.
                   Oh Columbe, lady Columbe,
                   There liest thou with thy love:
                   You little think of them that ride
                   And shake the earth above.


                      II
Is it Sir Tristan halts his horse,
         And stays his trampling pride,
To ponder on the Peron-stone
         Where you lie side by side?
Oh, now he sees another Knight
         Against him set to ride.

                      III
The new Knight has a snow-white shield,
         And helm and hauberk white:
Sir Tristan's soul grows great in him,
         To see so great a knight:
He lifts his heart, and cries on high, —
         "Ye be most welcome, Knight!"

                      IV
They wheel, they set, they dress their spears,
         And holding, hurling on,
They drive; they thrust so fierce together
         That horse and man are overthrown, —
They bruise the green life from the grass,
         Beside the Peron-stone.
                   Oh Columbe, lady Columbe,
                   There liest thou with thy love, —
                   You little think of them that ride
                   And shake the earth above.


                      V
The knights avoid their horses;
         They put their shields before:
They strake together with bright swords,
         Belike four hours and more:
The blood full red on the green grass, —
         So wonderly they strake, and sore.

                      VI
Their Squires cry out for pity:
         Cried Gouvernail: "What blows
Are they my master deals to thine!"
         "And what fierce buffets those
He takes of mine!" the other said, —
         "What he endures, God knows!"

                      VII
"O Knight!" cried out that other, —
         "Thou fightest wonderly, —
Tell me thy name!" "First tell me thine,
         And I will so to thee!"
"But mine is Lancelot du Lake;
         "Now knightly tell thine me!"
                    [Oh Columbe, lady Columbe,
                   There liest thou with thy love, —
                   But little think of them that ride
                   And shake the earth above.
]

                      VIII
"O Lancelot," then Tristan said, —
         "What ill thing have I done?
Ye are the one man I do love,
         The best, the knightliest one!"
"But tell me then," said Lancelot, —
         "By what name thou art known?"

                      IX
"Sir Tristan I, of Lyonesse;
         If thou art Lancelot,
Then all that honour I have won,
         And all my deeds are naught:
Now men shall say, behold the knight
         That with his best friend fought."

                      X
Then each to other knelt there
         And yielded up his sword:
And each one yielded the degree
         In honour's dear accord,
Then rose, and on the Peron-stone
         Each sat, and kissed his lord.
                    Oh Columbe, lady Columbe,
                    There liest thou with thy love:
                   But little think of them that sit
                   The Peron-stone above.


                      XI
Anon they rise, and from the stone
         They take the road again,
To Camelot, — and knightly make
         An honour of each stain:
And now they meet Sir Gaheris
         And with him Sir Gawain.

                      XII
"We ride," said they, "oh Lancelot,
         Sir Tristan to discover!"
"Return then," cries Sir Lancelot, —
         "All your quest is over:
I have brought you Sir Tristan, —
         Earth's most knightliest lover!"

                      XIII
Now in they fare, and King Arthur's ta'en
         Sir Tristan at the door
With both his hands. But when he heard
         How wonderly and sore
Sir Lancelot and Sir Tristan fought, —
         Great dole he made therefore.
                   Oh Columbe, lady Columbe,
                   There liest thou with thy love:
                   You little reck of them that ride
                   And shake the earth above.