Le Morte D'Arthur
Strength and Skill Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"Hit doth me good to fele your myght. And yet, my lorde, I shewed nat the utteraunce."
"In Goddys name," seyde Sir Launcelot, "for I promyse you be the fayth of my body, I had as muche to do as I myght have to save myself fro you unshamed – and therefore have ye no dought of none erthely knyght." (182.8-13)
The fact that Gareth is able to battle Launcelot to the draw while not even doing "the utteraunce" (trying his hardest), marks him as a truly excellent and strong knight. In fact, as Launcelot tells him here, it basically means that he will be undefeated, since Launcelot himself can't be beat. Welcome to the ranks, Gareth.
"Alas," she seyde, "that ever suche a kychyn page sholde have the fortune to destroy such two knyghtes! Yet thou wenyste thou haste done doughtyly? That is nat so, for the fyrste knyght his horse stumbled, and there he was drowned in the watir, and never hit was be thy force nother be thy myghte; and the laste knyght, by myshappe thou camyste behynde hym and by myssefortune thou slewyst hym." (184.17-23)
Gareth's female companion just can't seem to believe that he is a good knight. So why is she being so skeptical? Probably because she sees him as a poor nobody, and most people in her day thought that a knight had to be a nobleman. In a way, his success threatens her very belief system. Except for the fact that he is, in fact, a nobleman.
He sente yonge Trystram with Governayle into Fraunce to lerne the langage and nurture and dedis of armys. And there was Trystram more than seven yere.
So whan he had lerned what he myght in tho contreyes, than he com to his fadir Kynge Melyodas agayne. And so Trystram lerned to be an harper passyng all other, and there was none suche called in no contrey; and so in harpynge and on instrumentys of musyke in his youthe he applied hym for to lerne. And aftir, as he growed in myght and stregnth, he laboured in huntynge, and in hawkynge – never jantylman more that ever we herde of. (231.5-15)
Trystram is a little bit different from most of the Arthurian knights because, besides being a great fighter, he's something of a Renaissance man. His father sends him to France to school to learn the language and knightly skills, and when he returns home he also becomes a great musician. Finally, he excels in hunting and hawking. He's quite the well-rounded guy.