Medieval Arthurian Legend
Chrétien de Troyes: The Knight of the Lion
12th century, Old French. Middle English translation, 14th century, British Library.
It was ridiculous, that neither of the knights knew who the other was, when there was such great love between them.
Al a sevenight dayes bidene, wald noght Sir Gawayn be sene, – For the last seven days Sir Gawain had not been seen. He was in another town, for he intended to come on the appointed day in such a way that no man would see his face; the arms he bore were not his own. He did not want to be recognised.
Sir Yvain and his damsel took lodgings in the town. And there Sir Yvain kept his head down, so that nobody would know that he was the Knight of the Lion.
When the morning of the combat arrived, the two knights came before the king and soon a great assembly had gathered. Everyone hurried to the court to see what would happen.
Of tham this was a selly case, that nowther wist what other wase; ful grete luf was betwix tham twa, – It was ridiculous, that neither of these knights knew who the other was, when there was such great love between them. The king had no idea who they were for they would not show their faces. Both knights cast a glove on behalf of their respective maidens, then, armed with shield and lance they rode onto the field of combat. They spurred their horses with hatred for one another, although had either known who the other really was he would have cast his arms around him in friendship!