Book VII - Chapter XVI - 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, 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.