Page:Marie de France Lays Mason.djvu/136

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He who would tell divers tales must know how to vary the tune. To win the favour of any, he must speak to the understanding of all. I purpose in this place to show you the story of Milon, and—since few words are best—I will set out the adventure as briefly as I may.

Milon was born in South Wales. So great was his prowess that from the day he was dubbed knight there was no champion who could stand before him in the lists. He was a passing fair knight, open and brave, courteous to his friends, and stern to his foes. Men praised his name in whatever realm they talked of gallant deeds—Ireland, Norway, and Wales, yea, from Jutland even to Albania. Since he was praised by the frank, he was therefore envied of the mean. Nevertheless, by reason of his skill with the spear, he was counted a very worshipful knight, and was honourably entreated by many a prince in divers lands.

In Milon's own realm there lived a lord whose name has gone from mind. With this baron dwelt his daughter, a passing fair and gracious damsel. Much talk had this maiden heard of Milon's knightly deeds, so that she began to set her thoughts upon him, because of the good men spoke of him. She sent him a message by a sure hand, saying that if her love was to his mind, sweetly would it be to her heart. Milon rejoiced greatly when he knew this thing. He thanked the lady for her words,