1.14 SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT
Late fourteenth century
Like Beowulf, Judith, and others, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight survives in only one manuscript, which contains three additional poems: Pearl, Patience, and Purity. We know almost nothing about the anonymous author. The remarkably detailed account of the hunt found in Gawain has led some scholars to believe that the author might have been attached in some way to a nobleman’s household. The poet’s fascination with courtly behavior in Gawain goes hand-in-hand with the religious imagery, such as the portrait of the Virgin Mary painted on the inside of Gawain’s shield. It is possible that he was some kind of secular cleric, perhaps in some kind of secretarial or administrative job.1 One of the few details that we know with certainty about the author is that his dialect comes from the Midlands of England, right along the northern border with Wales. Since Gawain finds both Sir Bertilak’s castle and the nearby Green Chapel in that exact area, it is reasonable to think that the author was from there.
The poem is organized into four parts, or fitts, which explore the tensions among the three main duties of Sir Gawain as a knight: loyalty to his lord (in this case, also his kin), proper courtly behavior (especially to women), and devotion to God. As with many medieval stories, anachronisms abound; Gawain wears the best Norman armor to be had in the fourteenth century, although the story is set much earlier, and the castle furnishings are up-to-date, complete with tapestries from Turkistan (line 858). The Gawain poem contains remarkable imagery (the change of seasons at the beginning of Part Two, or Fitt Two, is a good example) and a parallel plot in Part Three that is constructed perfectly (with a literal hunt outside and a figurative hunt inside).
The poem begins and ends with a reference to the fall of Troy; the first stanza follows the westward journey of certain Trojans, first to Rome and finally to Britain, with a reference to King Arthur’s court. Considering the amount of parallelism in the rest of the poem, it sets up a pattern: Troy falls because of corruption from within (the poem mentions the “traitor” in line 3); Rome falls because of corruption from within; and as the original audience already knew, Arthur’s court falls because of corruption from within. Considering that the story takes place when Arthur is still young, the emphasis on its future fall is surprising, and it reminds the reader to look for the cracks in the foundation that already exist. As described in the story, Arthur’s court bears more than a passing resemblance to the Norman royal court; considering that Richard II was deposed not long after this poem was written, the poem could be both a warning and somewhat prophetic.
Image 1.12 | Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Artist | Unknown
Source | Wikimedia Commons
License | Public Domain
The style and themes of the poem do nothing to contradict this hypothesis. The author uses unrhymed alliteration in the style of earlier Anglo-Saxon literature (which was considered old-fashioned by this point, and certainly was not in style in the Norman court), along with a five-line rhymed “bob and wheel” section at the end of each stanza. The description of the Green Knight is reminiscent of the Celtic Green Man stories; the holly branch is Christmas-related, but also another Celtic reference (holly was sacred to the Druids); the ax he carries at the feast is reminiscent of a Saxon battle ax (the battle of Hastings came down to Saxons with battle axes versus Norman cavalry). Near the end of the poem, there is an extended reference to Morgan le Fay, Arthur’s half-sister, whom the Green Knight calls “Morgan the Goddess” (line 2454), linking her to the Celtic goddess Morrigan.
The pro-Saxon/Celtic angle (which certainly fits the author’s location) becomes even more likely when examining Arthur’s court. Richard II was criticized for a variety of issues, including financial excesses and giving titles to flatterers and sycophants. When Gawain has left to search out the Green Knight, the court says that if he had not foolishly stepped forward, he would in time have been dubbed a duke, rather than beheaded because he was arrogant (lines 674-683). In other words, they belittle his “arrogance” at stepping forward to save the king, which they certainly would not have done, since inaction and cowardice evidently lead to promotion. Gawain’s bravery and nobility appear to be lost on the court. Their reactions at the end of the story are questionable as well, since they turn a reminder of Gawain’s one small flaw (which must be annoying to people who have many) into a meaningless fashion statement.
The fact that it is Gawain, and not Lancelot, who is the greatest knight of Arthur’s court is also a throwback to earlier Welsh traditions. Lancelot is mentioned only once, in the middle of a list of knights, but he is there—a reminder to the original audience that Lancelot and Guinevere are the reason that Arthur’s court will fall. (The fact that Morgan was exiled from the court by Guinevere for adultery makes Morgan’s message to the queen potentially a threat, since Gawain tells a story of how he resists adultery, while Guinevere does not.) Historically, Gawain was one of Arthur’s best warriors going back to the earliest stories. Chrétien de Troyes added Lancelot as the queen’s lover (and the greatest knight) in the eleventh century, and as Lancelot’s fame grew, Gawain’s star (and reputation) had declined. By making Gawain once again the center of the court, the author is reasserting a Celtic/British tradition over the recent French alterations.
1.14.1 Suggested Reading
Armitage, Simon, translator. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Norton, 2007.
Borroff, Marie, translator. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Edited by Marie Borroff and Laura L.
Howes. Norton Critical Edition. Norton, 2010.
Putter, Ad. An Introduction to the Gawain-Poet. Longman, 1996.
Tolkien, J.R.R., and E.V. Gordon, editors. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. 2nd edition edited by Norman Davis. Middle English version. Oxford UP, 1967.
1.14.2 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Siþen þe sege & þe assaut watz sesed at Troye,
Þe bor3 brittened & brent to bronde3 & askez,
Þe tulk þat þe trammes of tresoun þer wro3t,
Watz tried for his tricherie, þe trewest on erthe;
Hit watz Ennias þe athel, & his highe kynde,
Þat siþen depreced prouinces, & patrounes bicome
Welne3e of al þe wele in þe west iles,
Fro riche Romulus to Rome ricchis hym swyþe,
With gret bobbaunce þat bur3e he biges vpon fyrst,
& neuenes hit his aune nome, as hit now hat;
Ticius to Tuskan [turnes,] & teldes bigynnes;
Langaberde in Lumbardie lyftes vp homes;
& fer ouer þe French flod Felix Brutus
On mony bonkkes ful brode Bretayn he settez,
Where werre, & wrake, & wonder,
Bi syþez hatz wont þer-inne,
& oft boþe blysse & blunder
Ful skete hatz skyfted synne.
Ande quen þis Bretayn watz bigged bi þis burn rych,
Bolde bredden þerinne, baret þat lofden,
In mony turned tyme tene þat wro3ten;
Mo ferlyes on þis folde han fallen here oft
Þen in any oþer þat I wot, syn þat ilk tyme.
Of all Britain’s kings Arthur was the noblest.
Bot of alle þat here bult of Bretaygne kynges
Ay watz Arthur þe hendest; as I haf herde telle;
Forþi an aunter in erde I attle to schawe,
Þat a selly in si3t summe men hit holden,
& an outtrage awenture of Arthurez wonderez;
If 3e wyl lysten þis laye bot on littel quile,
I schal telle hit, as-tit, as I in toun herde,
As hit is stad & stoken,
In stori stif & stronge,
With lel letteres loken,
In londe so hatz ben longe.
Þis kyng lay at Camylot vpon kryst-masse,
With mony luflych lorde, ledez of þe best,
with all the knights of the Round Table,
Rekenly of þe rounde table alle þo rich breþer,
With rych reuel ory3t, & rechles merþes;
Þer tournayed tulkes bitymez ful mony,
Iusted ful Iolilé þise gentyle kni3tes,
Syþen kayred to þe court, caroles to make.
For þer þe fest watz ilyche ful fiften dayes,
With alle þe mete & þe mirþe þat men couþe a-vyse;
Such glaumande gle glorious to here,
Dere dyn vp-on day, daunsyng on ny3tes,
Al watz hap vpon he3e in hallez & chambrez,
With lordez & ladies, as leuest him þo3t;
With all þe wele of þe worlde þay woned þer samen,
Þe most kyd kny3tez vnder kryste seluen,
& þe louelokkest ladies þat euer lif haden,
& he þe comlokest kyng þat þe court haldes;
For al watz þis fayre folk in her first age,
Þe hapnest vnder heuen,
Kyng hy3est mon of wylle,
Hit were now gret nye to neuen
So hardy a here on hille.
Wyle nw 3er watz so 3ep þat hit watz nwe cummen,
Þat day doubble on þe dece watz þe douth serued,
Fro þe kyng watz cummen with kny3tes in to þe halle,
Þe chauntre of þe chapel cheued to an ende;
Loude crye watz þer kest of clerkez & oþer,
Nowel nayted o-newe, neuened ful ofte;
& syþen riche forth runnen to reche honde-selle,
3e3ed 3eres 3iftes on hi3, 3elde hem bi hond,
Debated busyly aboute þo giftes;
Ladies la3ed ful loude, þo3 þay lost haden,
& he þat wan watz not wrothe, þat may 3e wel trawe.
Alle þis mirþe þay maden to þe mete tyme;
When þay had waschen, worþyly þay wenten to sete,
Þe best burne ay abof, as hit best semed;
Whene Guenore ful gay, grayþed in þe myddes.
Dressed on þe dere des, dubbed al aboute,
Smal sendal bisides, a selure hir ouer
Of tryed Tolouse, of Tars tapites in-noghe,
Þat were enbrawded & beten wyth þe best gemmes,
Þat my3t be preued of prys wyth penyes to bye,
Þe comlokest to discrye,
Þer glent with y3en gray,
A semloker þat euer he sy3e,
Soth mo3t no mon say.
Bot Arthure wolde not ete til al were serued,
He watz so Ioly of his Ioyfnes, & sum-quat child gered,
His lif liked hym ly3t, he louied þe lasse
Auþer to lenge lye, or to longe sitte,
So bi-sied him his 3onge blod & his brayn wylde;
& also anoþer maner meued him eke,
Þat he þur3 nobelay had nomen, ho wolde neuer ete
Vpon such a dere day, er hym deuised were
Of sum auenturus þyng an vncouþe tale,
Of sum mayn meruayle, þat he my3t trawe,
Of alderes, of armes, of oþer auenturus,
Oþer sum segg hym bi-so3t of sum siker kny3t,
To Ioyne wyth hym in iustyng in Iopardé to lay,
Lede lif for lyf, leue vchon oþer,
As fortune wolde fulsun hom þe fayrer to haue.
Þis watz [þe] kynges countenaunce where he in court were,
At vch farand fest among his fre meny,
Þerfore of face so fere.
He sti3tlez stif in stalle,
Ful 3ep in þat nw 3ere,
Much mirthe he mas with alle.
Thus þer stondes in stale þe stif kyng his-seluen,
Talkkande bifore þe hy3e table of trifles ful hende
There gode Gawan watz grayþed, Gwenore bisyde
& Agrauayn a la dure mayn on þat oþer syde sittes
Boþe þe kynges sister sunes, & ful siker kni3tes;
Bischop Bawdewyn abof biginez þe table,
& Ywan, Vryn son, ette wit hym-seluen;
Þise were di3t on þe des, & derworþly serued,
& siþen mony siker segge at þe sidbordez.
Þen þe first cors come with crakkyng of trumpes,
Wyth mony baner ful bry3t, þat þer-bi henged,
Nwe nakryn noyse with þe noble pipes,
Wylde werbles & wy3t wakned lote,
Þat mony hert ful hi3e hef at her towches;
Dayntes dryuen þer-wyth of ful dere metes,
Foysoun of þe fresche, & on so fele disches,
Þat pine to fynde þe place þe peple bi-forne
For to sette þe syluener, þat sere sewes halden,
Iche lede as he loued hym-selue
Þer laght with-outen loþe,
Ay two had disches twelue,
Good ber, & bry3t wyn boþe.
Now wyl I of hor seruise say yow no more,
For veh wy3e may wel wit no wont þat þer were;
An oþer noyse ful newe ne3ed biliue,
Þat þe lude my3t haf leue lif-lode to cach.
For vneþe watz þe noyce not a whyle sesed,
& þe fyrst cource in þe court kyndely serued,
Þer hales in at þe halle dor an aghlich mayster,
On þe most on þe molde on mesure hyghe;
Fro þe swyre to þe swange so sware & so þik,
& his lyndes & his lymes so longe & so grete,
Half etayn in erde I hope þat he were.
Bot mon most I algate mynn hym to bene,
& þat þe myriest in his muckel þat my3t ride;
For of bak & of brest al were his bodi sturne,
Bot his wombe & his wast were worthily smale,
& alle his fetures fol3ande, in forme þat he hade,
For wonder of his hwe men hade,
Set in his semblaunt sene;
He ferde as freke were fade,
& oueral enker grene.
Ande al grayþed in grene þis gome & his wedes,
A strayt cote ful stre3t, þat stek on his sides,
A mere mantile abof, mensked with-inne,
With pelure pured apert þe pane ful clene,
With blyþe blaunner ful bry3t, & his hod boþe,
Þat watz la3t fro his lokke3, & layde on his schulderes
Heme wel haled, hose of þat same grene,
Þat spenet on his sparlyr, & clene spures vnder,
Of bry3t golde, vpon silk bordes, barred ful ryche
& scholes vnder schankes, þere þe schalk rides;
& alle his vesture uerayly watz clene verdure,
Boþe þe barres of his belt & oþer blyþe stones,
Þat were richely rayled in his aray clene,
Aboutte hymself & his sadel, vpon silk werkez,
Þat were to tor for to telle of tryfles þe halue,
Þat were enbrauded abof, wyth bryddes & fly3es,
With gay gaudi of grene, þe golde ay in myddes;
Þe pendauntes of his payttrure, þe proude cropure
His molaynes, & alle þe metail anamayld was þenne
Þe steropes þat he stod on, stayned of þe same,
& his arsounz al after, & his aþel sturtes,
Þat euer glemered1 & glent al of grene stones.
Þe fole þat he ferkkes on, fyn of þat ilke, sertayn;
A grene hors gret & þikke,
A stede ful stif to strayne,
In brawden brydel quik,
To þe gome he watz ful gayn.
Wel gay watz þis gome gered in grene,
& þe here of his hed of his hors swete;
Fayre fannand fax vmbe-foldes his schulderes;
His great beard, like a bush, hung on his breast.
A much berd as a busk ouer his brest henges,
Þat wyth his hi3lich here, þat of his hed reches,
Watz euesed al vmbetorne, abof his elbowes,
Þat half his armes þer vnder were halched in þe wyse
Of a kyngez capados, þat closes his swyre.
The horse’s mane was decked with golden threads.
Þe mane of þat mayn hors much to hit lyke
Wel cresped & cemmed wyth knottes ful mony,
Folden in wyth fildore aboute þe fayre grene,
Ay a herle of þe here, an oþer of golde;
Its tail was bound with a green band.
Þe tayl & his toppyng twynnen of a sute,
& bounden boþe wyth a bande of a bry3t grene,
Dubbed wyth ful dere stonez, as þe dok lasted,
Syþen þrawen wyth a þwong a þwarle knot alofte,
Þer mony bellez ful bry3t of brende golde rungen.
Such a fole vpon folde, ne freke þat hym rydes,
Watz neuer sene in þat sale wyth sy3t er þat tyme,
He loked as layt so ly3t,
So sayd al þat hym sy3e,
It seemed that no man might endure his dints.
Hit semed as no mon my3t,
Vnder his dynttez dry3e.
Wheþer hade he no helme ne hawb[e]rgh nauþer,
Ne no pysan, ne no plate þat pented to armes,
Ne no schafte, ne no schelde, to schwne ne to smyte,
Bot in his on honde he hade a holyn bobbe,
Þat is grattest in grene, when greuez ar bare,
& an ax in his oþer, a hoge & vn-mete,
A spetos sparþe to expoun in spelle quo-so my3t;
Þe hede of an eln3erde þe large lenkþe hade,
Þe grayn al of grene stele & of golde hewen,
Þe bit burnyst bry3t, with a brod egge,
As wel schapen to schere as scharp rasores;
Þe stele of a stif staf þe sturne hit bi-grypte,
Þat watz wounden wyth yrn to þe wandez ende,
& al bigrauen with grene, in gracios werkes;
A lace lapped aboute, þat louked at þe hede,
& so after þe halme halched ful ofte,
Wyth tryed tasselez þerto tacched in-noghe,
On botounz of þe bry3t grene brayden ful ryche.
Þis haþel heldez hym in, & þe halle entres,
Driuande to þe he3e dece, dut he no woþe,
Haylsed he neuer one, bot he3e he ouer loked.
Þe fyrst word þat he warp, “wher is,” he sayd,
“Þe gouernour of þis gyng? gladly I wolde
Se þat segg in sy3t, & with hym self speke raysoun.”
To kny3tez he kest his y3e,
& reled hym vp & doun,
He stemmed & con studie,
Quo walt þer most renoun.
Ther watz lokyng on lenþe, þe lude to be-holde,
For vch mon had meruayle quat hit mene my3t,
Þat a haþel & a horse my3t such a hwe lach,
As growe grene as þe gres & grener hit semed,
Þen grene aumayl on golde lowande bry3ter;
Al studied þat þer stod, & stalked hym nerre,
Wyth al þe wonder of þe worlde, what he worch schulde.
For fele sellyez had þay sen, bot such neuer are,
For-þi for fantoum & fayry3e þe folk þere hit demed;
Þerfore to answare watz ar3e mony aþel freke,
& al stouned at his steuen, & stonstil seten,
In a swoghe sylence þur3 þe sale riche
As al were slypped vpon slepe so slaked hor lotez
I deme hit not al for doute,
Bot sum for cortaysye,
Bot let hym þat al schulde loute,
Cast vnto þat wy3e.
Þenn Arþour bifore þe hi3 dece þat auenture byholdez,
& rekenly hym reuerenced, for rad was he neuer,
& sayde, “wy3e, welcum iwys to þis place,
Þe hede of þis ostel Arthour I hat,
Li3t luflych adoun, & lenge, I þe praye,
& quat so þy wylle is, we schal wyt after.”
“Nay, as help me,” quod þe haþel, “he þat on hy3e syttes,
To wone any quyle in þis won, hit watz not myn ernde;
Bot for þe los of þe lede is lyft vp so hy3e,
& þy bur3 & þy burnes best ar holden,
Stifest vnder stel-gere on stedes to ryde,
Þe wy3test & þe worþyest of þe worldes kynde,
Preue for to play wyth in oþer pure laykez;
& here is kydde cortaysye, as I haf herd carp,
& þat hatz wayned me hider, Iwyis, at þis tyme.
3e may be seker bi þis braunch þat I bere here,
Þat I passe as in pes, & no ply3t seche;
For had I founded in fere, in fe3tyng wyse,
I haue a hauberghe at home & a helme boþe,
A schelde, & a scharp spere, schinande bry3t,
Ande oþer weppenes to welde, I wene wel als,
Bot for I wolde no were, my wedez ar softer.
Bot if þou be so bold as alle burnez tellen,
Þou wyl grant me godly þe gomen þat I ask,
Arthour con onsware,
& sayd, “sir cortays kny3t,
If þou craue batayl bare,
Here faylez þou not to fy3t.”
“Nay, frayst I no fy3t, in fayth I þe telle,
Hit arn aboute on þis bench bot berdlez chylder;
If I were hasped in armes on a he3e stede,
Here is no mon me to mach, for my3tez so wayke.
For-þy I craue in þis court a crystmas gomen,
For hit is 3ol & nwe 3er, & here ar 3ep mony;
If any so hardy in þis hous holdez hymseluen,
Be so bolde in his blod, brayn in hys hede,
Þat dar stifly strike a strok for an oþer,
I schal gif hym of my gyft þys giserne ryche,
Þis ax, þat is heué in-nogh, to hondele as hym lykes,
& I schal bide þe fyrst bur, as bare as I sitte.
If any freke be so felle to fonde þat I telle,
Lepe ly3tly me to, & lach þis weppen,
I quit clayme hit for euer, kepe hit as his auen,
& I schal stonde hym a strok, stif on þis flet,
Ellez þou wyl di3t me þe dom to dele hym an oþer,
& 3et gif hym respite,
A twelmonyth & a day;—
Now hy3e, & let se tite
Dar any her-inne o3t say.”
If he hem stowned vpon fyrst, stiller were þanne
Alle þe hered-men in halle, þe hy3 & þe lo3e;
Þe renk on his rounce hym ruched in his sadel,
& runisch-ly his rede y3en he reled aboute,
Bende his bresed bro3ez, blycande grene,
Wayued his berde for to wayte quo-so wolde ryse.
When non wolde kepe hym with carp he co3ed ful hy3e,
Ande rimed hym ful richley, & ry3t hym to speke: “
What, is þis Arþures hous,” quod þe haþel þenne,
“Þat al þe rous rennes of, þur3 ryalmes so mony?
Where is now your sourquydrye & your conquestes,
Your gry[n]del-layk, & your greme, & your grete wordes?
Now is þe reuel & þe renoun of þe rounde table
Ouer-walt wyth a worde of on wy3es speche;
For al dares for drede, with-oute dynt schewed!”
Wyth þis he la3es so loude, þat þe lorde greued;
Þe blod schot for scham in-to his schyre face & lere;
He wex as wroth as wynde,
So did alle þat þer were
Þe kyng as kene bi kynde,
Þen stod þat stif mon nere.
Ande sayde, “haþel, by heuen þyn askyng is nys,
& as þou foly hatz frayst, fynde þe be-houes;
I know no gome þat is gast of þy grete wordes.
Gif me now þy geserne, vpon godez halue,
& I schal bayþen þy bone, þat þou boden habbes.”
Ly3tly lepez he hym to, & la3t at his honde;
Þen feersly þat oþer freke vpon fote ly3tis.
Now hatz Arthure his axe, & þe halme grypez,
& sturnely sturez hit aboute, þat stryke wyth hit þo3t.
Þe stif mon hym bifore stod vpon hy3t,
Herre þen ani in þe hous by þe hede & more;
Wyth sturne schere þer he stod, he stroked his berde,
& wyth a countenaunce dry3e he dro3 doun his cote,
No more mate ne dismayd for hys mayn dintez,
Þen any burne vpon bench hade bro3t hym to drynk of wyne,
Gawan, þat sate bi þe quene,
To þe kyng he can enclyne,
“I be-seche now with sa3ez sene,
Þis melly mot be myne.”
“Wolde 3e, worþilych lorde,” quod Gawan to þe kyng,
“Bid me bo3e fro þis benche, & stonde by yow þere,
Þat I wyth-oute vylanye my3t voyde þis table,
& þat my legge lady lyked not ille,
I wolde com to your counseyl, bifore your cort ryche.
For me þink hit not semly, as hit is soþ knawen,
Þer such an askyng is heuened so hy3e in your sale,
Þa33e 3our-self be talenttyf to take hit to your-seluen,
Whil mony so bolde yow aboute vpon bench sytten,
Þat vnder heuen, I hope, non ha3er er of wylle,
Ne better bodyes on bent, þer baret is rered;
I am þe wakkest, I wot, and of wyt feblest,
& lest lur of my lyf, quo laytes þe soþe,
Bot for as much as 3e ar myn em, I am only to prayse,
No bounté bot your blod I in my bodé knowe;
& syþen þis note is so nys, þat no3t hit yow falles,
& I haue frayned hit at yow fyrst, foldez hit to me,
& if I carp not comlyly, let alle þis cort rych, bout blame.”
Ryche to-geder con roun,
& syþen þay redden alle same,
To ryd þe kyng wyth croun,
& gif Gawan þe game.
Þen comaunded þe kyng þe kny3t for to ryse;
& he ful radly vp ros, & ruchched hym fayre,
Kneled doun bifore þe kyng, & cachez þat weppen;
& he luflyly hit hym laft, & lyfte vp his honde,
& gef hym goddez blessyng, & gladly hym biddes
Þat his hert & his honde schulde hardi be boþe.
“Kepe þe cosyn,” quod þe kyng, “þat þou on kyrf sette,
& if þou redez hym ry3t, redly I trowe,
Þat þou schal byden þe bur þat he schal bede after.
Gawan gotz to þe gome, with giserne in honde,
& he baldly hym bydez, he bayst neuer þe helder
Þen carppez to sir Gawan þe kny3t in þe grene,
“Refourme we oure for-wardes, er we fyrre passe.
Fyrst I eþe þe, haþel, how þat þou hattes,
Þat þou me telle truly, as I tryst may?”
“In god fayth,” quod þe goode kny3t, “Gawan I hatte,
Þat bede þe þis buffet, quatso bi-fallez after,
& at þis tyme twelmonyth take at þe anoþer,
Wyth what weppen so1 þou wylt, & wyth no wy3 elle3, on lyue.”
Þat oþer on-swarez agayn,
“Sir Gawan, so mot I þryue,
As I am ferly fayn.
Þis dint þat þou schal dryue.”
“Bigog,” quod þe grene kny3t, “sir Gawan, melykes,
Þat I schal fange at þy fust þat I haf frayst here;
& þou hatz redily rehersed, bi resoun ful trwe,
Clanly al þe couenaunt þat I þe kynge asked,
Saf þat þou schal siker me, segge, bi þi trawþe,
Þat þou schal seche me þi-self, whereso þou hopes
I may be funde vpon folde, & foch þe such wages
As þou deles me to day, bifore þis douþe ryche.”
“Where schulde I wale þe,” quod Gauan, “where is þy place?
I wot neuer where þou wonyes, bi hym þat me wro3t,
Ne I know not þe, kny3t, þy cort, ne þi name.
Bot teche me truly þer-to, & telle me howe þou hattes,
& I schal ware alle my wyt to wynne me þeder,
& þat I swere þe for soþe, & by my seker traweþ.”
“Þat is in-nogh in nwe 3er, hit nedes no more,”
Quod þe gome in þe grene to Gawan þe hende,
“3if I þe telle trwly, quen I þe tape haue,
& þou me smoþely hatz smyten, smartly I þe teche
Of my hous, & my home, & myn owen nome,
Þen may þou frayst my fare, & forwardez holde,
& if I spende no speche, þenne spedez þou þe better,
For þou may leng in þy londe, & layt no fyrre, bot slokes;
Ta now þy grymme tole to þe,
& let se how þou cnokez.”
“Gladly sir, for soþe,”
Quod Gawan; his ax he strokes.
The grene kny3t vpon grounde grayþely hym dresses,
A littel lut with þe hede, þe lere he discouerez,
His longe louelych lokkez he layd ouer his croun.
Let þe naked nec to þe note schewe.
Gauan gripped to his ax, & gederes hit on hy3t,
Þe kay fot on þe folde he be-fore sette,
Let hit doun ly3tly ly3t on þe naked,
Þat þe scharp of þe schalk schyndered þe bones,
& schrank þur3 þe schyire grece, & scade hit in twynne,
Þat þe bit of þe broun stel bot on þe grounde.
Þe fayre hede fro þe halce hit [felle] to þe erþe,
Þat fele hit foyned wyth her fete, þere hit forth roled;
Þe blod brayd fro þe body, þat blykked on þe grene;
& nawþer faltered ne fel þe freke neuer þe helder,
Bot styþly he start forth vpon styf schonkes,
& ru[n]yschly he ra3t out, þere as renkkez stoden,
La3t to his lufly hed, & lyft hit vp sone;
& syþen bo3ez to his blonk, þe brydel he cachchez,
Steppez in to stel bawe & strydez alofte,
& his hede by þe here in his honde haldez;
& as sadly þe segge hym in his sadel sette,
As non vnhap had hym ayled, þa3 hedlez he we[re], in stedde;
He brayde his bluk aboute,
Þat vgly bodi þat bledde,
Moni on of hym had doute,
Bi þat his resounz were redde.
For þe hede in his honde he haldez vp euen,
To-ward þe derrest on þe dece he dressez þe face,
& hit lyfte vp þe y3e-lyddez, & loked ful brode,
& meled þus much with his muthe, as 3e may now here.
“Loke, Gawan, þou be grayþe to go as þou hettez,
& layte as lelly til þou me, lude, fynde,
As þou hatz hette in þis halle, herande þise kny3tes;
To þe grene chapel þou chose, I charge þe to fotte,
Such a dunt as þou hat3z dalt disserued þou habbez,
To be 3ederly 3olden on nw 3eres morn;
Þe kny3t of þe grene chapel men knowen me mony;
Forþi me forto fynde if þou fraystez, faylez þou neuer,
come, or recreant be called.”
Þer-fore com, oþer recreaunt be calde þe be-houeus.”
With a runisch rout þe raynez he tornez,
Halled out at þe hal-dor, his hed in his hande,
Þat þe fyr of þe flynt fla3e fro fole houes.
To quat kyth he be-com, knwe non þere,
Neuermore þen þay wyste fram queþen he watz wonnen; what þenne?
Þe kyng & Gawen þare,
At þat grene þay la3e & grenne,
3et breued watz hit ful bare,
A meruayl among þo menne.
Þa3 Arþer þe hende kyng at hert hade wonder,
He let no semblaunt be sene, bot sayde ful hy3e
To þe comlych quene, wyth cortays speche,
“Dere dame, to day demay yow neuer;
Wel by-commes such craft vpon cristmasse,
Laykyng of enterludez, to la3e & to syng.
Among þise, kynde caroles of kny3tez & ladyez;
Neuer þe lece to my mete I may me wel dres,
For I haf sen a selly, I may not for-sake.”
He glent vpon sir Gawen, & gaynly he sayde,
“Now sir, heng vp þyn ax, þat hatz innogh hewen.”
& hit watz don abof þe dece, on doser to henge,
Þer alle men for meruayl my3t on hit loke,
& bi trwe tytel þerof to telle þe wonder.
Þenne þay bo3ed to a borde þise burnes to-geder,
Þe kyng & þe gode kny3t, & kene men hem serued
Of alle dayntyez double, as derrest my3t falle,
Wyth alle maner of mete & mynstralcie boþe;
Wyth wele walt þay þat day, til worþed an ende, in londe.
Now þenk wel, sir Gawan,
For woþe þat þou ne wonde,
Þis auenture forto frayn,
Þat þou hatz tan on honde.
FYTTE THE SECOND
This hanselle hatz Arthur of auenturus on fyrst,
In 3onge 3er, for he 3erned 3elpyng to here,
Tha3 hym wordez were wane, when þay to sete wenten;
Now ar þay stoken of sturne werk staf-ful her hond.
Gawan watz glad to begynne þose gomnez in halle,
Bot þa3 þe ende be heuy, haf 3e no wonder;
For þa3 men ben mery in mynde, quen þay han mayn drynk,
A 3ere 3ernes ful 3erne, & 3eldez neuer lyke,
Þe forme to þe fynisment foldez ful selden.
Forþi þis 3ol ouer-3ede, & þe 3ere after,
& vche sesoun serlepes sued after oþer;
After crystenmasse com þe crabbed lentoun,
Þat fraystez flesch wyth þe fysche & fode more symple
Bot þenne þe weder of þe worlde wyth wynter hit þrepez,
Colde clengez adoun, cloudez vplyften,
Schyre schedez þe rayn in schowrez ful warme,
Fallez vpon fayre flat, flowrez þere schewen,
Boþe groundez & þe greuez grene ar her wedez,
Bryddez busken to bylde, & bremlych syngen,
For solace of þe softe somer þat sues þer after, bi bonk;
& blossumez bolne to blowe,
Bi rawez rych & ronk,
Þen notez noble inno3e,
Ar herde in wod so wlonk.
After þe sesoun of somer wyth þe soft wyndez,
Quen Zeferus syflez hym-self on sedez & erbez,
Wela wynne is þe wort þat woxes þer-oute.
When þe donkande dewe dropez of þe leuez,
To bide a blysful blusch of þe bry3t sunne.
Bot þen hy3es heruest, & hardenes hym sone.
Warnez hym for þe wynter to wax ful rype;
He dryues wyth dro3t þe dust for to ryse.
Fro þe face of þe folde to fly3e ful hy3e;
Wroþe wynde of þe welkyn wrastelez with þe sunne,
Þe leuez lancen fro þe lynde, & ly3ten on þe grounde,
& al grayes þe gres, þat grene watz ere;
Þenne al rypez & rotez þat ros vpon fyrst,
& þus 3irnez þe 3ere in 3isterdayez mony,
& wynter wynde3 a3ayn, as þe worlde askez no sage.
Til me3el-mas mone,
Watz cumen wyth wynter wage;
Þen þenkkez Gawan ful sone,
Of his anious uyage.
3et quyl al-hal-day with Arþer he lenges,
& he made a fare on þat fest, for þe frekez sake,
With much reuel & ryche of þe rounde table;
Kny3tez ful cortays & comlych ladies,
Al for luf of þat lede in longynge þay were,
Bot neuer-þe-lece ne þe later þay neuened bot merþe,
Mony ioylez for þat ientyle iapez þer maden.
For aftter mete, with mournyng he melez to his eme,
& speke3 of his passage, & pertly he sayde,
“Now, lege lorde of my lyf, leue I yow ask;
3e knowe þe cost of þis cace, kepe I no more
To telle yow tenez þerof neuer bot trifel;
Bot I am boun to þe bur barely to morne,
To sech þe gome of þe grene, as god wyl me wysse.”
Þenne þe best of þe bur3 bo3ed to-geder,
Aywan, & Errik, & oþer ful mony,
Sir Doddinaual de Sauage, þe duk of Clarence,
Launcelot, & Lyonel, & Lucan þe gode,
Sir Boos, & sir Byduer, big men boþe,
& mony oþer menskful, with Mador de la Port.
Alle þis compayny of court com þe kyng nerre,
For to counseyl þe kny3t, with care at her hert;
Þere watz much derue doel driuen in þe sale,
Þat so worthe as Wawan schulde wende on þat ernde,
To dry3e a delful dynt, & dele no more wyth bronde.
Þe kny3t mad ay god chere,
& sayde, “quat schuld I wonde,
Of destines derf & dere,
What may mon do bot fonde?”
He dowellez þer al þat day, and dressez on þe morn,
Askez erly hys armez, & alle were þay bro3t
Fyrst a tule tapit, ty3t ouer þe flet,
& miche watz þe gyld gere þat glent þer alofte;
Þe stif mon steppez þeron, & þe stel hondolez,
Dubbed in a dublet of a dere tars,
& syþen a crafty capados, closed aloft,
Þat wyth a bry3t blaunner was bounden withinne;
Þenne set þay þe sabatounz vpon þe segge fotez,
His legez lapped in stel with luflych greuez,
With polaynez piched þerto, policed ful clene,
Aboute his knez knaged wyth knotez of golde;
Queme quyssewes þen, þat coyntlych closed
His thik þrawen þy3ez with þwonges to tachched;
& syþen þe brawden bryne of bry3t stel rynge3,
Vmbe-weued þat wy3, vpon wlonk stuffe;
& wel bornyst brace vpon his boþe armes,
With gode cowters & gay, & glouez of plate,
& alle þe godlych gere þat hym gayn schulde
Wyth ryche cote armure,
His gold sporez spend with pryde,
Gurde wyth a bront ful sure,
With silk sayn vmbe his syde.
When he watz hasped in armes, his harnays watz ryche;
Þe lest lachet ou[þ]er loupe lemed of golde;
So harnayst as he watZ he herkneZ his masse,
Offred & honoured at þe he3e auter;
Syþen he comeZ to þe kyng & to his cort-ferez,
Lachez lufly his leue at lordez & ladyez;
& þay hym kyst & conueyed, bikende hym to kryst.
Bi þat watz Gryngolet grayth, & gurde with a sadel,
Þat glemed ful gayly with mony golde frenges,
Ay quere naylet ful nwe for þat note ryched;
Þe brydel barred aboute, with bry3t golde bounden;
Þe apparayl of þe payttrure, & of þe proude skyrtez,
Þe cropore, & þe couertor, acorded wyth þe arsounez;
& al watz rayled on red ryche golde naylez,
Þat al glytered & glent as glem of þe sunne.
Þenne hentes he þe holme, & hastily hit kysses,
Þat watz stapled stifly, & stoffed wyth-inne:
Hit watz hy3e on his hede, hasped bihynde,
Wyth a ly3tli vrysoun ouer þe auentayle,
Enbrawden & bounden wyth þe best gemmez,
On brode sylkyn borde, & brydde3 on semez,
As papiayez paynted pernyng bitwene,
Tortors & trulofez entayled so þyk,
As mony burde þer aboute had ben seuen wynter
Þe cercle watz more o prys,
Þat vmbe-clypped hys croun,
Of diamauntez a deuys,
Þat boþe were bry3t & broun.
Then þay schewed hym þe schelde, þat was of schyr goulez,
Wyth þe pentangel de-paynt of pure golde hwez;
He braydez hit by þe baude-ryk, aboute þe hals kestes,
Þat bisemed þe segge semlyly fayre.
& quy þe pentangel apendez to þat prynce noble,
I am in tent yow to telle, þof tary hyt me schulde;
Hit is a syngne þat Salamon set sum-quyle,
In bytoknyng of trawþe, bi tytle þat hit habbez,
For hit is a figure þat haldez fyue poyntez,
& vche lyne vmbe-lappe3 & loukez in oþer,
& ayquere hit is endelez, & Englych hit callen
Oueral, as I here, þe endeles knot.
Forþy hit acordez to þis kny3t, & to his cler armez,
For ay faythful in fyue & sere fyue syþez,
Gawan watz for gode knawen, & as golde pured,
Voyded of vche vylany, wyth vertuez ennourned in mote;
Forþy þe pentangel nwe
He ber in schelde & cote,
As tulk of tale most trwe,
& gentylest kny3t of lote.
Fyrst he watz funden fautlez in his fyue wyttez,
& efte fayled neuer þe freke in his fyue fyngres,
& alle his afyaunce vpon folde watz in þe fyue woundez
Þat Cryst ka3t on þe croys, as þe crede tellez;
& quere-so-euer þys mon in melly watz stad,
His þro þo3t wat3 in þat, þur3 alle oþer þyngez,
Þat alle his forsnes he fong at þe fyue ioyez,
Þat þe hende heuen quene had of hir chylde;
At þis cause þe kny3t comlyche hade
In þe more half of his schelde hir ymage depaynted,
Þat quen he blusched þerto, his belde neuer payred.
Þe fyrst fyue þat I finde þat þe frek vsed,
Wat3 fraunchyse, & fela3schyp for-be2 al þyng;
His clannes & his cortaysye croked were neuer,
& pite, þat passez alle poyntez, þyse pure fyue
Were harder happed on þat haþel þen on any oþer.
Now alle þese fyue syþez, forsoþe, were fetled on þis kny3t,
& vchone halched in oþer, þat non ende hade,
& fyched vpon fyue poyntez, þat fayld neuer,
Ne samned neuer in no syde, ne sundred nouþ[er],
Withouten ende at any noke [a]i quere fynde,
Whereeuer þe gomen bygan, or glod to an ende.
Þerfore on his schene schelde schapen watz þe knot,
Þus alle wyth red golde vpon rede gowlez,
Þat is þe pure pentaungel wyth þe peple called, with lore.
Now grayþed is Gawan gay,
& la3t his launce ry3t þore,
& gef hem alle goud day,
He wende for euer more.
He sperred þe sted with þe spurez, & sprong on his way,
So stif þat þe ston fyr stroke out þer-after;
Al þat se3 þat semly syked in hert,
& sayde soþly al same segges til oþer,
Carande for þat comly, “bi Kryst, hit is scaþe,
Þat þou, leude, schal be lost, þat art of lyf noble!
To fynde hys fere vpon folde, in fayth is not eþe;
Warloker to haf wro3t had more wyt bene,
& haf dy3t 3onder dere a duk to haue worþed;
A lowande leder of ledez in londe hym wel semez,
& so had better haf ben þen britned to no3t,
Hadet wyth an aluisch mon, for angardez pryde.
Who knew euer any kyng such counsel to take,
As kny3tez in cauelounz on crystmasse gomnez!”
Wel much watz þe warme water þat waltered of y3en,
When þat semly syre so3t fro þo wonez þat daye;
He made non abode,
Bot wy3tly went hys way,
Mony wylsum way he rode,
Þe bok as I herde say.
Now ridez þis renk þur3 þe ryalme of Logres,
Sir Gauan on Godez halue, þa3 hym no gomen þo3t;
Oft, leudlez alone, he lengez on ny3tez,
Þer he fonde no3t hym byfore þe fare þat he lyked;
Hade he no fere bot his fole, bi frythez & dounez,
Ne no gome bot God, bi gate wyth to karp,
Til þat he ne3ed ful noghe1 in to þe Norþe Walez;
Alle þe iles of Anglesay on lyft half he haldez,
& fare3 ouer þe fordez by þe forlondez,
Ouer at þe Holy-Hede, til he hade eft bonk
In þe wyldrenesse of Wyrale; wonde þer bot lyte
Þat auþer God oþer gome wyth goud hert louied.
& ay he frayned, as he ferde, at frekez þat he met,
He enquires after the Green Knight of the Green Chapel,704
If þay hade herde any karp of a kny3t grene,
In any grounde þer-aboute, of þe grene chapel;2
& al nykked hym wyth nay, þat neuer in her lyue
Þay se3e neuer no segge þat watz of suche hwez
Þe kny3t tok gates straunge,
In mony a bonk vnbene,
His cher ful oft con chaunge,
Þat chapel er he my3t sene.
Mony klyf he ouerclambe in contrayez straunge,
Fer floten fro his frendez fremedly he rydez;
At vche warþe oþer water þer þe wy3e passed,
He fonde a foo hym byfore, bot ferly hit were,
& þat so foule & so felle, þat fe3t hym by-hode;
So mony meruayl hi mount þer þe mon fyndez,
Hit were to tore for to telle of þe tenþe dole.
Sumwhyle wyth wormez he werrez, & with wolues als,
Sumwhyle wyth wodwos, þat woned in þe knarrez,
Boþe wyth bullez & berez, & borez oþerquyle,
& etaynez, þat hym anelede, of þe he3e felle;
Nade he ben du3ty & dry3e, & dry3tyn had serued,
Douteles he hade ben ded, & dreped ful ofte.
For werre wrathed hym not so much, þat wynter was wors,
When þe colde cler water fro þe cloudez schadden,
& fres er hit falle my3t to þe fale erþe;
Ner slayn wyth þe slete he sleped in his yrnes,
Mo ny3tez þen innoghe in naked rokkez,
Þer as claterande fro þe crest þe colde borne rennez,
& henged he3e ouer his hede in hard ÿsse-ikkles.
Þus in peryl, & payne, & plytes ful harde,
Bi contray caryez þis kny3t, tyl kryst-masse euen, al one;
Þe kny3t wel þat tyde,
To Mary made his mone.
Þat ho hym red to ryde,
& wysse hym to sum wone.
Bi a mounte on þe morne meryly he rydes,
Into a forest ful dep, þat ferly watz wylde,
Hi3e hillez on vche a halue, & holtwodez vnder,
Of hore okez fill hoge a hundreth togeder;
Þe hasel & þe ha3þorne were harled al samen,
With ro3e raged mosse rayled aywhere,
With mony bryddez vnblyþe vpon bare twyges,
Þat pitosly þer piped for pyne of þe colde.
Þe gome vpon Gryngolet glydez hem vnder,
Þur3 mony misy & myre, mon al hym one,
Carande for his costes, lest he ne keuer schulde,
To se þe seruy of þat syre, þat on þat self ny3t
Of a burde watz borne, oure baret to quelle;
& þerfore sykyng he sayde, “I be-seche þe, lorde,
& Mary, þat is myldest moder so dere.
Of sum herber, þer he3ly I my3t here masse.
Ande þy matynez to-morne, mekely I ask,
& þer-to prestly I pray my pater & aue,
He rode in his prayere,
& cryed for his mysdede,
He sayned hym in syþes sere,
& sayde “cros Kryst me spede!”
Nade he sayned hym-self, segge, bot þrye,
Er he watz war in þe wod of a won in a mote.
Abof a launde, on a lawe, loken vnder bo3ez,
Of mony borelych bole, aboute bi þe diches;
A castel þe comlokest þat euer kny3t a3te,
Pyched on a prayere, a park al aboute,
With a pyked palays, pyned ful þik,
Þat vmbe-te3e mony tre mo þen two myle.
Þat holde on þat on syde þe haþel auysed,
As hit schemered & schon þur3 þe schyre okez;
Þenne hatz he hendly of his helme, & he3ly he þonkez
Iesus & say[nt] Gilyan, þat gentyle ar boþe,
Þat cortaysly hade hym kydde, & his cry herkened.
“Now bone hostel,” coþe þe burne, “I beseche yow 3ette!”
Þenne gerdez he to Gryngolet with þe gilt helez,
& he ful chauncely hatz chosen to þe chef gate,
Þat bro3t bremly þe burne to þe bryge ende,
Þe bryge watz breme vp-brayde,
Þe 3atez wer stoken faste,
Þe wallez were wel arayed,
Hit dut no wyndez blaste.
Þe burne bode on bonk, þat on blonk houed,
Of þe depe double dich þat drof to þe place,
Þe walle wod in þe water wonderly depe,
Ande eft a ful huge he3t hit haled vpon lofte,
Of harde hewen ston vp to þe tablez,
Enbaned vnder þe abataylment, in þe best lawe;
& syþen garytez ful gaye gered bitwene,
Wyth mony luflych loupe, þat louked ful clene;
A better barbican þat burne blusched vpon neuer;
& innermore he be-helde þat halle ful hy3e,
Towre telded bytwene trochet ful þik,
Fayre fylyolez þat fy3ed, & ferlyly long,
With coruon coprounes, craftyly sle3e;
Chalk whyt chymnees þer ches he in-no3e,
Vpon bastel rouez, þat blenked ful quyte;
So mony pynakle payntet watz poudred ay quere,
Among þe castel carnelez, clambred so þik,
Þat pared out of papure purely hit semed.
Þe fre freke on þe fole hit fayr inn[o]ghe þo3t,
If he my3t keuer to com þe cloyster wythinne,
To herber in þat hostel, whyl halyday lested
He calde, & sone þer com
A porter pure plesaunt,
On þe wal his ernd he nome,
& haylsed þe kny3t erraunt.
“Gode sir,” quod Gawan, “woldez þou go myn ernde,
To þe he3 lorde of þis hous, herber to craue?”
“3e, Peter,” quod þe porter, “& purely I trowe,
“You are welcome to dwell here as long as you like,” replied the porter.
Þat 3e be, wy3e, welcum to won quyle yow lykez.”
Þen 3ede þat wy3e a3ayn awyþe,
& folke frely hym wyth, to fonge þe kny3t;
Þay let doun þe grete dra3t, & derely out 3eden,
& kneled doun on her knes vpon þe colde erþe,
To welcum þis ilk wy3, as worþy hom þo3t;
and the gate is opened wide to receive him.820
Þay 3olden hym þe brode 3ate, 3arked vp wyde,
& he hem raysed rekenly, & rod ouer þe brygge;
Sere seggez hym sesed by sadel, quel2 he ly3t,
& syþen stabeled his stede stif men in-no3e.
Kny3tez & swyerez comen doun þenne,
For to bryng þis burne wyth blys into halle;
Quen he hef vp his helme, þer hi3ed innoghe
For to hent hit at his honde, þe hende to seruen,
His bronde & his blasoun boþe þay token.
Þen haylsed he ful hendly þo haþelez vch one,
& mony proud mon þer presed, þat prynce to honour;
Alle hasped in his he3 wede to halle þay hym wonnen,
Þer fayre fyre vpon flet fersly brenned.
Þenne þe lorde of þe lede loutez fro his chambre,
For to mete wyth menske þe mon on þe flor;
He sayde, “3e ar welcum to welde as yow lykez,
Þat here is, al is yowre awen, to haue at yowre wylle
“Graunt mercy,” quod Gawayn,
“Þer Kryst hit yow for-3elde,”
As frekez þat semed fayn,
Ayþer oþer in armez con felde.
Gawayn gly3t on þe gome þat godly hym gret,
& þu3t hit a bolde burne þat þe bur3 a3te,
A hoge haþel for þe nonez, & of hyghe elde;
Brode bry3t watz his berde, & al beuer hwed,
Sturne stif on þe stryþþe on stalworth schonkez,
Felle face as þe fyre, & fre of hys speche;
& wel hym semed for soþe, as þe segge þu3t,
To lede a lortschyp in lee of leudez ful gode.
Þe lorde hym charred to a chambre, & chefly cumaundez
To delyuer hym a leude, hym lo3ly to serue;
& þere were boun at his bode burnez inno3e,
Þat bro3t hym to a bry3t boure, þer beddyng wat3 noble,
Of cortynes of clene sylk, wyth cler golde hemmez,
& couertorez ful curious, with comlych panez,
Of bry3t blaunnier a-boue enbrawded bisydez,
Rudelez rennande on ropez, red golde ryngez,
Tapytez ty3t to þe wo3e, of tuly & tars,
& vnder fete, on þe flet, of fol3ande sute.
Þer he watz dispoyled, wyth spechez of myerþe,
Þe burn of his bruny, & of his bry3t wedez;
Ryche robes ful rad renkkez hem bro3ten,
For to charge, & to chaunge, & chose of þe best.
Sone as he on hent, & happed þerinne,
Þat sete on hym semly, wyth saylande skyrtez,
Þe ver by his uisage verayly hit semed
Wel ne3 to vche haþel alle on hwes,
Lowande & lufly, alle his lymmez vnder,
Þat a comloker kny3t neuer Kryst made,
Wheþen in worlde he were,
Hit semed as he my3t
Be prynce with-outen pere,
In felde þer felle men fy3t.
A cheyer by-fore þe chemné, þer charcole brenned,
Watz grayþed for sir Gawan, grayþely with cloþez,
Whyssynes vpon queldepoyntes, þa[t] koynt wer boþe;
& þenne a mere mantyle watz on þat mon cast,
Of a broun bleeaunt, enbrauded ful ryche,
& fayre furred wythinne with fellez of þe best,
Alle of ermyn in erde, his hode of þe same;
& he sete in þat settel semlych ryche,
& achaufed hym chefly, & þenne his cher mended.
Sone watz telded vp a tapit, on trestez ful fayre,
Clad wyth a clene cloþe, þat cler quyt schewed,
Sanap, & salure, & syluer-in sponez;
Þe wy3e wesche at his wylle, & went to his mete
Seggez hym serued semly in-no3e,
Wyth sere sewes & sete,2 sesounde of þe best,
Double felde, as hit fallez, & fele kyn fischez;
Summe baken in bred, summe brad on þe gledez,
Summe soþen, summe in sewe, sauered with spyces,
& ay sawes so sle3e3, þat þe segge lyked.
Þe freke calde hit a fest ful frely & ofte,
Ful hendely, quen alle þe haþeles re-hayted hym at onez as hende;
“Þis penaunce now 3e take,
& eft hit schal amende;”
Þat mon much merþe con make.
For wyn in his hed þat wende.
Þenne watz spyed & spured vpon spare wyse.
Bi preue poyntez of þat prynce, put to hymseluen,
Þat he be-knew cortaysly of þe court þat he were,
Þat aþel Arthure þe hende haldez hym one,
Þat is þe ryche ryal kyng of þe rounde table;
& hit watz Wawen hymself þat in þat won syttez,
Comen to þat krystmasse, as case hym þen lymped.
When þe lorde hade lerned þat he þe leude hade,
Loude la3ed he þerat, so lef hit hym þo3t,
& alle þe men in þat mote maden much joye,
To apere in his presense prestly þat tyme,
Þat alle prys, & prowes, & pured þewes
Apendes to hys persoun, & praysed is euer,
By-fore alle men vpon molde, his mensk is þe most.
Vch segge ful softly sayde to his fere,
“Now schal we semlych se sle3tez of þewez, &
þe teccheles termes of talkyng noble,
Wich spede is in speche, vnspurd may we lerne,
Syn we haf fonged þat fyne fader of nurture;
God hatz geuen vus his grace godly for soþe,
Þat such a gest as Gawan grauntez vus to haue,
When burnez blyþe of his burþe schal sitte & synge.
In menyng of manerez mere,
Þis burne now schal vus bryng,
I hope þat may hym here,
Schal lerne of luf-talkyng.”
Bi þat þe diner watz done, & þe dere vp,
Hit watz ne3 at þe niy3t ne3ed þe tyme;
Chaplaynez to þe chapeles chosen þe gate,
Rungen ful rychely, ry3t as þay schulden,
To þe hersum euensong of þe hy3e tyde.
Þe lorde loutes þerto, & þe lady als,
Into a comly closet coyntly ho entrez;
Gawan glydez ful gay, & gos þeder sone;
Þe lorde laches hym by þe lappe, & ledez hym to sytte,
& couþly hym knowez, & callez hym his nome,
& sayde he watz þe welcomest wy3e of þe worlde;
& he hym þonkked þroly, & ayþer halched oþer.
& seten soberly samen þe seruise quyle;
Þenne lyst þe lady to loke on þe kny3t.
Þenne com ho of hir closet, with mony cler burdez,
Ho watz þe fayrest in felle, of flesche & of lyre,
& of compas, & colour, & costes of alle oþer,
& wener þen Wenore, as þe wy3e þo3t.
He ches þur3 þe chaunsel, to cheryche þat hende;
An oþer lady hir lad bi þe lyft honde,
Þat watz alder þen ho, an auncian hit semed,
& he3ly honowred with haþelez aboute.
Bot yn-lyke on to loke þo ladyes were,
For if þe 3onge watz 3ep, 3ol3e watz þat oþer;
Riche red on þat on rayled ay quere,
Rugh ronkled chekez þat oþer on rolled;
Kerchofes of þat on wyth mony cler perlez
Hir brest & hir bry3t þrote bare displayed,
Schon schyrer þen snawe, þat schedez on hillez;
Þat oþer wyth a gorger watz gered ouer þe swyre,
Chymbled ouer hir blake chyn with mylkquyte vayles,
Hir frount folden in sylk, enfoubled ay quere,
Toret & treieted with tryflez aboute,
Þat no3t watz bare of þat burde bot þe blake bro3es.
Þe tweyne y3en, & þe nase, þe naked lyppez,
& þose were soure to se, & sellyly blered;
A mensk lady on molde mon may hir calle, for gode;
Hir body watz schort & þik.
Hir buttokez bay & brode,
More lykker-wys on to lyk,
Watz þat scho hade on lode.
When Gawayn gly3t on þat gay, þat graciously loked,
Wyth leue la3t of þe lorde he went hem a3aynes;
Þe alder he haylses, heldande ful lowe,
Þe loueloker he lappez a lyttel in armez,
He kysses hir comlyly, & kny3tly he melez;
Þay kallen hym of a quoyntaunce, & he hit quyk askez
To be her seruaunt sothly, if hem-self lyked.
Þay tan hym bytwene hem, wyth talkyng hym leden
To chambre, to chemné, & chefly þay asken
Spycez, þat vnsparely men speded hom to bryng,
& þe wynnelych wyne þerwith vche tyme.
Þe lorde luflych aloft lepez ful ofte,
Mynned merthe to be made vpon mony syþez.
Hent he3ly of his hode, & on a spere henged,
& wayned hom to wynne þe worchip þerof,
Þat most myrþe my3t mene þat crystenmas whyle;
“& i schal fonde, bi my fayth, to fylter wyth þe best,
Er me wont þe wede3, with help of my frendez.”
Þus wyth la3ande lotez þe lorde hit tayt makez,
For to glade sir Gawayn with gomnez in halle þat ny3t;
Til þat hit watz tyme,
Þe kyng comaundet ly3t,
Sir Gawen his leue con nyme,
& to his bed hym di3t.
On þe morne, as vch mon mynez þat tyme,
[Þ]at dry3tyn for oure destyné to de3e watz borne,
Wele waxez in vche a won in worlde, for his sake;
So did hit þere on þat day, þur3 dayntes mony;
Boþe at mes & at mele, messes ful quaynt
Derf men vpon dece drest of þe best.
Þe olde auncian wyf he3est ho syttez;
Þe lorde lufly her by lent, as I trowe;
Gawan & þe gay burde to-geder þay seten,
Euen inmyddez, as þe messe metely come;
& syþen þur3 al þe sale, as hem best semed,
Bi vche grome at his degre grayþely wat3z serued.
Þer watz mete, þer watz myrþe, þer watz much ioye,
Þat for to telle þerof hit me tene were,
& to poynte hit 3et I pyned me parauenture;
Bot 3et I wot þat Wawen & þe wale burde
Such comfort of her compaynye ca3ten togeder,
Þur3 her dere dalyaunce of her derne wordez,
Wyth clene cortays carp, closed fro fylþe;
& hor play watz passande vche prynce gomen,
Trumpez & nakerys,
Much pypyng þer repayres,
Vche mon tented hys,
& þay two tented þayres.
Much dut watz þer dryuen þat day & þat oþer,
& þe þryd as þro þronge in þerafter;
Þe ioye of sayn Ionez day watz gentyle to here,
& watz þe last of þe layk, leudez þer þo3ten.
Þer wer gestes to go vpon þe gray morne,
Forþy wonderly þay woke, & þe wyn dronken,
Daunsed ful dre3ly wyth dere carolez;
At þe last, when hit wat3 late, þay lachen her leue,
Vchon to wende on his way, þat watz wy3e stronge.
Gawan gef hym god day, þe godmon hym lachchez,
Ledes hym to his awen chambre, þ[e] chymné bysyde,
& þere he dra3ez hym on dry3e, & derely hym þonkkez,
Of þe wynne worschip & he hym wayned hade,
As to honour his hous on þat hy3e tyde,
& enbelyse his bur3 with his bele chere.
“Iwysse sir, quyl I leue, me worþez þe better,
Þat Gawayn hatz ben my gest, at Goddez awen fest.”
“Grant merci sir,” quod Gawayn, “in god fayth hit is yowrez,
Al þe honour is your awen, þe he3e kyng yow 3elde;
& I am wy3e at your wylle, to worch youre hest,
As I am halden þerto, in hy3e & in lo3e, bi ri3t.”
Þe lorde fast can hym payne,
To holde lenger þe kny3t,
To hym answrez Gawayn,
Bi non way þat he my3t.
Then frayned þe freke ful fayre at him-seluen,
Quat derne dede had hym dryuen, at þat dere tyme,
So kenly fro þe kyngez kourt to kayre al his one,
Er þe halidayez holly were halet out of toun?
“For soþe sir,” quod þe segge, “3e sayn bot þe trawþe
A he3e ernde & a hasty me hade fro þo wonez,
For I am sumned my selfe to sech to a place,
I wot in worlde wheder warde to wende, hit to fynde;
I nolde, bot if I hit negh my3t on nw3eres morne,
For alle þe londe in-wyth Logres, so me oure lorde help!
Forþy, sir, þis enquest I require yow here,
Þat 3e me telle with trawþe, if euer 3e tale herde
Of þe grene chapel, quere hit on grounde stondez,
& of þe kny3t þat hit kepes, of colour of grene?
Þer watz stabled bi statut a steuen vus by-twene,
To mete þat mon at þat mere, 3if I my3t last;
& of þat ilk nw3ere hot neked now wontez,
& I wolde loke on þat lede, if God me let wolde,
Gladloker, bi Goddez sun, þen any god welde!
Forþi, Iwysse, bi 3owre wylle, wende me bihoues,
Naf I now to busy bot bare þre dayez,
& me als fayn to falle feye as fayly of myyn ernde.”
Þenne la3ande quod þe lorde, “now leng þe by-houes,
For I schal teche yow to þa[t] terme bi þe tymez ende,
Þe grene chapayle vpon grounde, greue yow no more;
Bot 3e schal be in yowre bed, burne, at þyn ese,
Quyle forth dayej, & ferk on pe fyrst of pe 3ere,
& cum to þat merk at mydmorn, to make quat yow likez in spenne;
Dowellez whyle new 3eres daye,
& rys, & raykez þenne,
Mon schal yow sette in waye,
Hit is not two myle henne.”
Þenne watz Gawan ful glad, & gomenly he la3ed,—
“Now I þonk yow þryuandely þur3 alle oþer þynge,
Now acheued is my chaunce, I schal at your wylle
Dowelle, & ellez do quat 3e demen.”
Þenne sesed hym þe syre, & set hym bysyde,
Let þe ladiez be fette, to lyke hem þe better;
Þer watz seme solace by hemself stille;
Þe lorde let for luf lotez so myry,
As wy3 þat wolde of his wyte, ne wyst quat he my3t.
Þenne he carped to þe kny3t, criande loude,
“3e han demed to do þe dede þat I bidde;
Wyl 3e halde þis hes here at þys onez?”
“3e sir, forsoþe,” sayd þe segge trwe,
“Whyl I byde in yowre bor3e, be bayn to 3ow[r]e hest.”
“For 3e haf trauayled,” quod þe tulk, “towen fro ferre,
& syþen waked me wyth, 3e arn not wel waryst,
Nauþer of sostnaunce ne of slepe, soþly I knowe;
3e schal lenge in your lofte, & ly3e in your ese,
To-morn quyle þe messequyle, & to mete wende,
When 3e wyl, wyth my wyf, þat wyth yow schal sitte,
& comfort yow with compayny, til I to cort torne,
& I schal erly ryse,
On huntyng wyl I wende.”
Gauayn grantez alle þyse,
Hym heldande, as þe hende.
“3et firre,” quod þe freke, “a forwarde we make;
Quat-so-euer I wynne in þe wod, hit worþez to yourez,
& quat chek so 3e acheue, chaunge me þerforne;
Swete, swap we so, sware with trawþe,
Queþer, leude, so lymp lere oþer better.”
“Bi God,” quod Gawayn þe gode, “I grant þertylle,
& þat yow lyst forto layke, lef hit me þynkes.
“Who bringez vus þis beuerage, þis bargayn is maked:”
So sayde þe lorde of þat lede; þay la3ed vchone,
Þay dronken, & daylyeden, & dalten vnty3tel,
Þise lordez & ladyez, quyle þat hem lyked;
& syþen with frenkysch fare & fele fayre lotez
Þay stoden, & stemed, & stylly speken,
Kysten ful comlyly, & ka3ten her leue.
With mony leude ful ly3t, & lemande torches,
Vche burne to his bed watz bro3t at þe laste,
To bed 3et er þay 3ede,
Recorded couenauntez ofte;
Þe olde lorde of þat leude,
Cowþe wel halde layk a-lofte.
FYTTE THE THIRD
Ful erly bifore þe day þe folk vp-rysen,
Gestes þat go wolde, hor gromez þay calden,
& þay busken vp bilyue, blonkkez to sadel,
Tyffen he[r] takles, trussen her males,
Richen hem þe rychest, to ryde alle arayde,
Lepen vp ly3tly, lachen her brydeles,
Vche wy3e on his way, þer hym wel lyked.
Þe leue lorde of þe londe watz not þe last,
Arayed for þe rydyng, with renkkez ful mony;
Ete a sop hastyly, when he hade herde masse,
With bugle to bent felde he buskez bylyue;
By þat þat any dayly3t lemed vpon erþe,
He with his haþeles on hy3e horsses weren.
Þenne þise cacheres þat couþe, cowpled hor houndez,
Vnclosed þe kenel dore, & calde hem þeroute,
Blwe bygly in bugle þre bare mote;
Braches bayed þerfore, & breme noyse maked,
& þay chastysed, & charred, on chasyng þat went;
A hundreth of hunteres, as I haf herde telle, of þe best;
To trystors vewters 3od,
Couples huntes of kest,
Þer ros for blastez gode,
Gret rurd in þat forest.
At þe fyrst quethe of þe quest quaked þe wylde;
Der drof in þe dale, doted for drede,
Hi3ed to þe hy3e, bot heterly þay were
Restayed with þe stablye, þat stoutly ascryed;
Þay let þe herttez haf þe gate, with þe hy3e hedes,
Þe breme bukkez also, with hor brode paumez;
For þe fre lorde hade defende in fermysoun tyme,
Þat þer schulde no mon mene to þe male dere.
Þe hindez were halden in, with hay & war,
Þe does dryuen with gret dyn to þe depe sladez;
Þer my3t mon se, as þay slypte, slentyng of arwes,
At vche [þat] wende vnder wande wapped a flone,
Þat bigly bote on þe broun, with ful brode hedez,
What! þay brayen, & bleden, bi bonkkez þay de3en.
& ay rachches in a res radly hem fol3es,
Hunterez wyth hy3e horne hasted hem after,
Wyth such a crakkande kry, as klyffes haden brusten;
What wylde so at-waped wy3es þat schotten,
Watz al to-raced & rent, at þe resayt.
Bi þay were tened at þe hy3e, & taysed to þe wattrez,
Þe ledez were so lerned at þe lo3e trysteres,
& þe grehoundez so grete, þat geten hem bylyue,
& hem to fylched, as fast as frekez my3t loke, þer-ry3t.
Þe lorde for blys abloy
Ful oft con launce & ly3t,
& drof þat day wyth Ioy
Thus to þe derk ny3t.
Þus laykez þis lorde by lynde wodez euez,
& Gawayn þe god mon, in gay bed lygez,
Lurkkez quyl þe dayly3t lemed on þe wowes,
Vnder couertour ful clere, cortyned aboute;
& as in slomeryng he slode, sle3ly he herde
A littel dyn at his dor, & derfly vpon;
& he heuez vp his hed out of þe cloþes,
A corner of þe cortyn he ca3t vp a lyttel,
& waytez warly þiderwarde, quat hit be my3t.
Hit watz þe ladi, loflyest to beholde,
Þat dro3 þe dor after hir ful dernly & stylle,
& bo3ed towarde þe bed; & þe burne schamed.
& layde hym doun lystyly, & let as he slepte.
& ho stepped stilly & stel to his bedde,
Kest vp þe cortyn, & creped withinne,
& set hir ful softly on þe bed-syde,
& lenged þere selly longe, to loke quen he wakened.
Þe lede lay lurked a ful longe quyle,
Compast in his concience to quat þat cace my3t
Mene oþer amount--to meruayle hym þo3t;
Bot 3et he sayde in hymself, “more semly hit were
To aspye wyth my spelle [in] space quat ho wolde.”
þen he wakenede, & wroth, & to hir warde torned,
& vnlouked his y3e-lyddez, & let as hym wondered,
& sayned hym, as bi his sa3e þe sauer to worthe, with hande.
Wyth chynne & cheke ful swete,
Boþe quit & red in-blande,
Ful lufly con ho lete,
Wyth lyppez smal la3ande.
“God moroun, sir Gawayn,” sayde þat fayr lady,
“3e ar a sleper vnsly3e, þat mon may slyde hider;
Now ar 3e tan astyt, bot true vus may schape,
I schal bynde yow in your bedde, þat be 3e trayst:”
Al la3ande þe lady lanced þo bourdez.
“Goud moroun g[aye],”1 quod Gawayn þe blyþe,
“Me schal worþe at your wille, & þat me wel lykez,
For I 3elde me 3ederly, & 3e3e after grace,
& þat is þe best, be my dome, for me byhouez nede;”
& þus he bourded a3ayn with mony a blyþe la3ter.
“Bot wolde 3e, lady louely, þen leue me grante,
& deprece your prysoun, & pray hym to ryse,
I wolde bo3e of þis bed, & busk me better,
I schulde keuer þe more comfort to karp yow wyth.”
“Nay, for soþe, beau sir,” sayd þat swete,
“3e schal not rise of your bedde, I rych yow better,
I schal happe yow here þat oþer half als,
& syþen karp wyth my kny3t þat I ka3t haue;
For I wene wel, Iwysse, sir Wawen 3e are,
Þat alle þe worlde worchipez, quere-so 3e ride;
Your honour, your hendelayk is hendely praysed
With lordez, wyth ladyes, with alle þat lyf bere.
& now 3e ar here, iwysse, & we bot oure one;
“My lorde & his ledez ar on lenþe faren,
Oþer burnez in her bedde, & my burdez als,
Þe dor drawen, & dit with a derf haspe;
& syþen I haue in þis hous hym þat al lykez,
I schal ware my whyle wel, quyl hit lastez, with tale;
3e ar welcum to my cors,
Yowre awen won to wale,
Me behouez of fyne force,
Your seruaunt be & schale.”
“In god fayth,” quod Gawayn, “gayn hit me þynkkez,
Þa3 I be not now he þat 3e of speken;
To reche to such reuerence as 3e reherce here
I am wy3e vn-worþy, I wot wel my-seluen;
Bi God, I were glad, & yow god þo3t,
At sa3e oþer at seruyce þat I sette my3t
To þe plesaunce of your prys--hit were a pure ioye.”
“In god fayth, sir Gawayn,” quod þe gay lady,
“Þe prys & þe prowes þat plesez al oþer,
If I hit lakked, oþer set at ly3t, hit were littel daynté;
Bot hit ar ladyes inno3e, þat leuer wer nowþe
Haf þe hende in hor holde, as I þe habbe here,
To daly witt derely your daynté wordez,
Keuer hem comfort, & colen her carez,
Þen much of þe garysourn oþer golde þat þay hauen;
Bot I louue þat ilk lorde þat þe lyfte haldez,
I haf hit holly in my honde þat al desyres, þur3e grace.”
Scho made hym so gret chere,
Þat watz so fayr of face,
Þe kny3t with speches skere,
A[n]swared to vche a cace.
“Madame,” quod þe myry mon, “Mary yow 3elde,
For I haf founden, in god fayth, yowre fraunchis nobele,
& oþer ful much of oþer folk fongen hor dedez;
Bot þe daynté þat þay delen for my disert nysen,
Hit is þe worchyp of yourzself, þat no3t hot wel connez.”
“Bi Mary,” quod þe menskful, “me þynk hit anoþer;
For were I worth al þe wone of wymmen alyue,
& al þe wele of þe worlde were in my honde,
& I schulde chepen & chose, to cheue me a lorde,
For þe costes þat I haf knowen vpun þe kny3t here,
Of bewté, & debonerté, & blyþe semblaunt,
& þat I haf er herkkened, & halde hit here trwee,
Þer schulde no freke vpon folde bifore yow be chosen.”
“Iwysse, worþy,” quod þe wy3e, “3e haf waled wel better,
Bot I am proude of þe prys þat 3e put on me,
& soberly your seruaunt my souerayn I holde yow,
& yowre kny3t I becom, & Kryst yow for3elde.”
Þus þay meled of muchquat, til mydmorn paste,
& ay þe lady let lyk, a hym loued mych;
Þe freke ferde with defence, & feted ful fayre.
Þa3 I were burde bry3test, þe burde in mynde hade,
Þe lasse luf in his lode, for lur þat he so3t, boute hone;
Þe dunte þat schulde hym deue,
& nedez hit most be done;
Þe lady þenn spek of leue.
He granted hir ful sone.
Þenne ho gef hym god day, & wyth a glent la3ed.
& as ho stod, ho stonyed hym wyth ful stor wordez:
“Now he þat spedez vche spech, þis disport 3elde yow!
Bot þat 3e be Gawan, hit gotz in mynde.”
“Querfore?” quod þe freke, & freschly he askez,
Ferde lest he hade fayled in fourme of his castes;
Bot þe burde hym blessed, & bi þis skyl sayde,
“So god as Gawayn gaynly is halden,
& cortaysye is closed so clene in hym-seluen,
Couth not ly3tly haf lenged so long wyth a lady,
Bot he had craued a cosse, bi his courtaysye,
Bi sum towch of summe tryfle, at sum talez ende.”
Þen quod Wowen, “I-wysse, worþe as yow lykez,
I schal kysse at your comaundement, as a kny3t fallez,
& fire lest he displese yow, so plede hit no more.”
Ho comes nerre with þat, & cachez hym in armez,
Loutez luflych adoun, & þe leude kyssez;
Þay comly bykennen to Kryst ayþer oþer;
Ho dos hir forth at þe dore, withouten dyn more.
& he ryches hym to ryse, & rapes hym sone,
Clepes to his chamberlayn, choses his wede,
Bo3ez forth, quen he watz boun, blyþely to masse,
& þenne he meued to his mete þat menskly hym keped,
& made myry al day til þe mone rysed,
Watz neuer freke fayrer fonge,
Bitwene two so dyngne dame,
Þe alder & þe 3onge,
Much solace set þay same.
And ay þe lorde of þe londe is lent on his gamnez,
To hunt in holtez & heþe, at hyndez barayne,
Such a sowme he þer slowe bi þat þe sunne heldet,
Of dos & of oþer dere, to deme were wonder.
Þenne fersly þay flokked in folk at þe laste,
& quykly of þe quelled dere a querré þay maked;
Þe best bo3ed þerto, with burnez innoghe,
Gedered þe grattest of gres þat þer were,
& didden hem derely vndo, as þe dede askez;
Serched hem at þe asay, summe þat þer were,
Two fyngeres þay fonde of þe fowlest of alle;
Syþen þay slyt þe slot, sesed þe erber,
Schaued wyth a scharp knyf, & þe schyre knitten;
Syþen rytte þay þe foure lymmes, & rent of þe hyde,
Þen brek þay þe bale, þe bowelez out token,
Lystily forlancyng, & bere of þe knot;
Þay gryped to þe gargulun, & grayþely departed
Þe wesaunt fro þe wynt-hole, & walt out þe guttez;
Þen scher þay out þe schulderez with her scharp knyuez,
Haled hem by a lyttel hole, to haue hole sydes;
Siþen britned þay þe brest, & brayden hit in twynne,
& eft at þe gargulun bigynez on þenne,
Ryuez hit vp radly, ry3t to þe by3t,
Voydez out þe avanters, & verayly þerafter
Alle þe rymez by þe rybbez radly þay lance;
So ryde þay of by resoun bi þe rygge bonez,
Euenden to þe haunche, þat henged alle samen,
& heuen hit vp al hole, & hwen hit of þere,
& þat þayneme for þe noumbles, bi nome as I trowe,
Bi þe by3t al of þe þy3es,
Þe lappez þay lance bihynde,
To hewe hit in two þay hy3es,
Bi þe bakbon to vnbynde.
Boþe þe hede & þe hals þay hwen of þenne,
& syþen sunder þay þe sydez swyft fro þe chyne,
& þe corbeles fee þay kest in a greue;
Þenn þurled þay ayþer þik side þur3, bi þe rybbe,
& henged þenne a[y]þer bi ho3ez of þe fourchez,
Vche freke for his fee, as fallez forto haue.
Vpon a felle of þe fayre best, fede þay þayr houndes,
Wyth þe lyuer & þe ly3tez, þe leþer of þe paunchez,
& bred baþed in blod, blende þeramongez;
Baldely þay blw prys, bayed þayr rachchez,
Syþen fonge þay her flesche folden to home,
Strakande ful stoutly mony stif motez.
Bi þat þe dayly3t wat3 done, þe douthe watz al wonen
Into þe comly castel, þer þe kny3t bidez
Wyth blys & bry3t fyr bette,
Þe lord is comen þer-tylle,
When Gawayn wyth hym mette,
Þer watz bot wele at wylle.
Thenne comaunded þe lorde in þat sale to samen alle þe meny,
Boþe þe ladyes on loghe to ly3t with her burdes,
Bifore alle þe folk on þe flette, frekez he beddez
Verayly his venysoun to fech hym byforne;
& al godly in gomen Gaway[n] he called,
Techez hym to þe tayles of ful tayt bestes,
Schewez hym þe schyree grece schorne vpon rybbes.
“How payez yow þis play? haf I prys wonnen?
Haue I þryuandely þonk þur3 my craft serued?”
“3e Iwysse,” quod þat oþer wy3e, “here is wayth fayrest
Þat I se3 þis seuen 3ere in sesoun of wynter.”
“& al I gif yow, Gawayn,” quod þe gome þenne,
“For by acorde of couenaunt 3e craue hit as your awen.”
“Þis is soth,” quod þe segge, “I say yow þatilke,
& I haf worthyly þis wonez wyth-inne,
Iwysse with as god wylle hit worþez to 3ourez.”
He hasppez his fayre hals his armez wythinne,
& kysses hym as comlyly as he couþe awyse:
“Tas yow þere my cheuicaunce, I cheued no more,
I wowche hit saf fynly, þa3 feler hit were.”
“Hit is god,” quod þe god mon, “grant mercy þerfore,
Hit may be such, hit is þe better, & 3e me breue wolde
Where 3e wan þis ilk wele, bi wytte of yorseluen.”
“Þat watz not forward,” quod he, “frayst me no more,
For 3e haftan þat yow tydez, trawe non oþer
Þay la3ed, & made hem blyþe,
Wyth lotez þat were to lowe,
To soper þay 3ede as-swyþe,
Wyth dayntes nwe innowe.
And syþen by þe chymné in chamber þay seten.
Wy3ez þe walle wyn we3ed to hem oft,
& efte in her bourdyng þay bayþen in þe morn,
To fylle þe same forwardez þat þay byfore maden,
Þat chaunce so bytydez hor cheuysaunce to chaunge,
What nwez so þay nome, at na3t quen þay metten
Þay acorded of þe couenauntez byfore þe court alle;
Þe beuerage watz bro3t forth in bourde at þat tyme;
Þenne þay louelych le3ten leue at þe last,
Vche burne to his bedde busked bylyue.
Scarce had the cock cackled thrice when the lord was up.
Bi þat þe coke hade crowe3 & cakled bot þryse,
Þe lorde watz lopen of his bedde, þe leudez vchone,
So þat þe mete & þe masse watz metely delyuered;
Þe douthe dressed to þe wod, er any day sprenged,
He3 with hunte & hornez,
Þur3 playnez þay passe in space,
Vncoupled among þo þornez,
Rachez þat ran on race.
Sone þay calle of a quest in aker syde,
Þe hunt rehayted þe houndez, þat hit fyrst mynged,
Wylde wordez hym warp wyth a wrast noyce;
Þe howndez þat hit herde, hastid þider swyþe,
& fellen as fast to þe fuyt, fourty at ones;
Þenne such a glauerande glam of gedered rachchez
Ros, þat þe rocherez rungen aboute;
Hunterez hem hardened with horne & wyth muthe.
Þen al in a semblé sweyed togeder,
Bitwene a flosche in þat fryth, & a foo cragge;
In a knot, bi a clyffe, at þe kerre syde,
Þer as þe rogh rocher vnrydely watz fallen,
Þay ferden to þe fyndyng, & frekez hem after;
Þay vmbekesten þe knarre & þe knot boþe.
Wy3ez, whyl þay wysten wel wyt inne hem hit were,
Þe best þat þer breued watz wyth þe blod houndez.
Þenne þay beten on þe buskez, & bede hym vp ryse,
& he vnsoundyly out so3t seggez ouerþwert,
On þe sellokest swyn swenged out þere,
Long sythen for þe sounder þat wi3t for-olde,
For he watz b[este &] bor alþer-grattest,
[And eue]re quen he gronyed, þenne greued mony,
For [þre a]t þe fyrst þrast he þry3t to þe erþe,
& [sped hym] forth good sped, boute spyt more,
[Ande þay] halowed hyghe ful hy3e & hay! hay! cryed
Haden hornez to mouþe heterly rechated;
Full quickly the hunters pursue him.
Mony watz þe myry mouthe of men & of houndez,
Þat buskkez after þis bor, with bost & wyth noyse,
Ful oft he bydez þe baye,
& maymez þe mute Inn melle,
He hurtzez of þe houndez, & þay
Ful 3omerly 3aule & 3elle.
Schalkez to schote at hym schowen to þenne,
Haled to hym of her arewez, hitten hym oft;
Bot þe poyntez payred at þe pyth þat py3t in his scheldez,
& þe barbez of his browe bite non wolde--
Þa3 þe schauen schaft schyndered in pecez,
Þe hede hypped a3ayn, were-so-euer hit hitte;
Bot quon þe dyntez hym dered of her dry3e strokez,
Þen, brayn-wod for bate, on burnez he rasez,
Hurtez hem ful heterly þer he forth hy3ez,
& mony ar3ed þerat, & onlyte dro3en.
Bot þe lorde on a ly3t horce launces hym after,
As burne bolde vpon bent his bugle he blowez,
He rechated, & r[ode] þur3 ronez ful þyk,
Suande þis wy[ld]e swyn til þe sunne schafted.
Þis day wyth þis ilk dede þay dryuen on þis wyse,
Whyle oure luflych lede lys in his bedde,
Gawayn grayþely at home, in gerez ful ryche
Þe lady no3t for3ate,
Com to hym to salue,
Ful erly ho watz hym ate,
His mode forto remwe.
Ho commes to þe cortyn, & at þe kny3t totes,
Sir Wawen her welcumed worþy on fyrst,
& ho hym 3eldez a3ayn, ful 3erne of hir wordez,
Settez hir sof[t]ly by his syde, & swyþely ho la3ez,
& wyth a luflych loke ho layde1 hym þyse wordez:
“Sir, 3if 3e be Wawen, wonder me þynkkez,
Wy3e þat is so wel wrast alway to god,
& connez not of compaynye þe costez vndertake,
& if mon kennes yow hom to knowe, 3e kest hom of your mynde;
Þou hatz for3eten 3ederly þat 3isterday I ta3tte
Bi alder-truest token of talk þat I cowþe.”
“What is þat?” quod þe wyghe, “Iwysse I wot neuer,
If hit be sothe þat 3e breue, þe blame is myn awen.”
“3et I kende yow of kyssyng,” quod þe clere þenne,
“Quereso countenaunce is couþe, quikly to clayme,
Þat bicumes vche a kny3t, þat cortaysy vses.”
“Do way,” quod þat derf mon, “my dere, þat speche,
For þat durst I not do, lest I denayed were,
If I were werned, I were wrang Iwysse, 3if I profered.”
“Ma fay,” quod þe mere wyf, “3e may not be werned,
3e ar stif innoghe to constrayne wyth strenkþe,
3if yow lykez, 3if any were so vilanous þat yow denaye wolde.”
“3e, be God,” quod Gawayn, “good is your speche,
Bot þrete is vnþryuande in þede þer I lende,
& vche gift þat is geuen not with goud wylle;
I am at your comaundement, to kysse quen yow lykez,
3e may lach quen yow lyst, & leue quen yow þynkkez,
Þe lady loutez adoun,
& comlyly kysses his face,
Much speche þay þer expoun,
Of druryes greme & grace.
“I woled wyt at yow, wy3e,” þat worþy þer sayde,
“& yow wrathed not þerwyth, what were þe skylle,
Þat so 3ong & so 3epe, as 3e [ar] at þis tyme,
So cortayse, so kny3tyly, as 3e ar knowen oute,
& of alle cheualry to chose, þe chef þyng alosed,
Is þe lel layk of luf, þe lettrure of armes;
F[or] to telle of þis tenelyng of þis trwe kny3tez,
Hit is þe tytelet, token, & tyxt of her werkkez,
How le[des] for her lele luf hor lyuez han auntered,
Endured for her drury dulful stoundez,
& after wenged with her walour & voyded her care,
and so renowned a knight,
& bro3t blysse into boure, with bountees hor awen.
& 3e ar kny3t comlokest kyd of your elde,
Your worde & your worchip walkez ayquere,
& I haf seten by yourself here sere twyes,
3et herde I neuer of your hed helde no wordez
Þat euer longed to luf, lasse ne more;
& 3e, þat ar so cortays & coynt of your hetes,
Oghe to a 3onke þynk 3ern to schewe,
& teche sum tokenez of trweluf craftes.
Why ar 3e lewed, þat alle þe los weldez,
Oþer elles 3e demen me to dille, your dalyaunce to herken?
I com hider sengel, & sitte,
To lerne at yow sum game,
Dos, techez me of your wytte,
Whil my lorde is fro hame.”
“In goud fayþe,” quod Gawayn, “God yow for3elde,
Gret is þe gode gle, & gomen to me huge,
Þat so worþy as 3e wolde wynne hidere,
& pyne yow with so pouer a mon, as play wyth your kny3t,
With anyskynnez countenaunce, hit keuerez me ese;
Bot to take þe toruayle to my-self, to trwluf expoun,
& towche þe temez of tyxt, & talez of armez,
To yow þat, I wot wel, weldez more sly3t
Of þat art, bi þe half, or a hundreth of seche
As I am, oþer euer schal, in erde þer I leue,
Hit were a fole fele-folde, my fre, by my trawþe.
I wolde yowre wylnyng worche at my my3t,
As I am hy3ly bihalden, & euermore wylle
Be seruaunt to yourseluen, so saue me dry3tyn!”
Þus hym frayned þat fre, & fondet hym ofte,
For to haf wonnen hym to wo3e, what-so scho þo3t ellez,
Bot he de fended hym so fayr, þat no faut semed,
Ne non euel on nawþer halue, nawþer þay wysten,
Þay la3ed & layked longe,
At þe last scho con hym kysse,
Hir leue fayre con scho fonge,
& went hir waye Iwysse.
Then ruþes hym þe renk, & ryses to þe masse,
& siþen hor diner watz dy3t & derely serued.
Þe lede with þe ladyez layked alle day,
Bot þe lorde ouer þe londez launced ful ofte,
Swez his vncely swyn, þat swyngez bi þe bonkkez,
& bote þe best of his brachez þe bakkez in sunder;
Þer he bode in his bay, tel bawemen hit breken,
& made hym, mawgref his bed, forto mwe vtter;
So felle flonez per flete, when þe folk gedered;
Bot 3et þe styffest to start bi stoundez he made,
Til at þe last he watz so mat, he my3t no more renne,
Bot in þe hast þat he my3t, he to a hole wynnez,
Of a rasse, bi a rokk, þer rennez þe boerne.
He gete þe bonk at his bak, bigynez to scrape,
Þe froþe femed at his mouth vnfayre bi þe wykez,
Whettez his whyte tuschez; with hym þen irked
Alle þe burnez so bolde, þat hym by stoden,
To nye hym on-ferum, bot ne3e hym non durst
He hade hurt so mony byforne,
Þat al þu3t þenne ful loþe,
Be more wyth his tusche3 torne,
Þat breme watz [&] braynwod bothe.
Til þe kny3t com hymself, kachande his blonk,
Sy3 hym byde at þe bay, his burnez bysyde,
He ly3tes luflych adoun, leuez his corsour,
Braydez out a bry3t bront, & bigly forth strydez,
Foundez fast þur3 þe forth, þer þe felle bydez,
Þe wylde watz war of þe wy3e with weppen in honde,
Hef hy3ly þe here, so hetterly he fnast,
Þat fele ferde for þe freke3, lest felle hym þe worre;
Þe swyn settez hym out on þe segge euen,
Þat þe burne & þe bor were boþe vpon hepez,
In þe wy3test of þe water, þe worre hade þat oþer;
For þe mon merkkez hym wel, as þay mette fyrst,
Set sadly þe scharp in þe slot euen,
Hit hym vp to þe hult, þat þe hert schyndered,
& he 3arrande hym 3elde, & 3edoun þe water,
A hundreth houndez hym hent,
Þat bremely con hym bite,
Burnez him bro3t to bent,
& doggez to dethe endite.
There watz blawyng of prys in mony breme home,
He3e halowing on hi3e, with haþelez þat my3t;
Brachetes bayed þat best, as bidden þe maysterez,
Of þat chargeaunt chace þat were chef huntes.
Þenne a wy3e þat watz wys vpon wodcraftez,
To vnlace þis bor lufly bigynnez.
Fyrst he hewes of his hed, & on hi3e settez,
& syþen rendez him al roghe bi þe rygge after,
Braydez out þe boweles, brennez hom on glede,
With bred blent þerwith his braches rewardez;
Syþen he britnez out þe brawen in bry3t brode [s]cheldez,
& hatz out þe hastlettez, as hi3tly bisemez;
& 3et hem halchez al hole þe haluez togeder,
& syþen on a stif stange stoutly hem henges.
Now with þis ilk swyn þay swengen to home;
Þe bores hed watz borne bifore þe burnes seluen,
Þat him forferde in þe forþe, þur3 forse of his honde,
Til he se3 sir Gawayne,
In halle hym þo3t ful longe,
He calde, & he com gayn,
His feez þer for to fonge.
Þe lorde ful lowde with lote, & la3ed myry,
When he se3e sir G: with solace he spekez;
Þe goude ladyez were geten, & gedered þe meyny,
He schewez hem þe scheldez, & schapes hem þe tale,
Of þe largesse, & þe lenþe, þe liþernez alse,
Of þe were of þe wylde swyn, in wod þer he fled.
Þat oþer kny3t ful comly comended his dedez,
& praysed hit as gret prys, þat he proued hade;
For suche a brawne of a best, þe bolde burne sayde,
Ne such sydes of a swyn, segh he neuer are.
Þenne hondeled þay þe hoge hed, þe hende mon hit praysed,
& let lodly þerat þe lorde forte here:
“Now Gawayn,” quod þe god mon, “þis gomen is your awen,
Bi fyn forwarde & faste, faythely 3e knowe.”
“Hit is sothe,” quod þe segge, “& as siker trwe;
Alle my get I schal yow gif agayn, bi my trawþe.”
He [hent] þe haþel aboute þe halse, & hendely hym kysses,
& eftersones of þe same he serued hym þere.
“Now ar we euen,” quod þe haþel, “in þis euentide,
Of alle þe couenauntes þat we knyt, syþen I com hider,
Þe lorde sayde, “bi saynt Gile,
3e ar þe best þat I knowe,
3e ben ryche in a whyle,
Such chaffer & 3e drowe.”
Þenne þay teldet tablez [on] trestes alofte,
Kesten cloþe3 vpon, clere ly3t þenne
Wakned bi wo3ez, waxen torches
Seggez sette, & serued in sale al aboute;
Much glam & gle glent vp þer-inne,
Aboute þe fyre vpon flet, & on fele wyse,
At þe soper & after, mony aþel songez,
As coundutes of krystmasse, & carolez newe,
With alle þe manerly merþe þat mon may of telle.
& euer oure luflych kny3t þe lady bi-syde;
Such semblaunt to þat segge semly ho made,
Wyth stille stollen countenaunce, þat stalworth to plese,
Þat al forwondered watz þe wy3e, & wroth with hymseluen,
Bot he nolde not for his nurture nurne hir a3aynez,
Bot dalt with hir al in daynte, how-se-euer þe dede turned
Quen þay hade played in halle,
As longe as hor wylle hom last,
To chambre he con hym calle,
& to þe chemne þay past.
Ande þer þay dronken, & dalten, & demed eft nwe,
To norne on þe same note, on nwe3erez euen;
Bot þe kny3t craued leue, to kayre on þe morn,
For hit watz ne3 at þe terme, þat he to schulde.
Þe lorde hym letted of þat, to lenge hym resteyed,
& sayde, “as I am trwe segge, I siker my trawþe,
Þou schal cheue to þe grene chapel, þy charres to make,
Leude, on nw 3erez ly3t, longe bifore pryme:
Forþy þow lye in þy loft, & lach þyn ese,
& I schal hunt in þis holt, & halde þe towchez,
Chaunge wyth þe cheuisaunce, bi þat I charre hider;
For I haf fraysted þe twys, & faythful I fynde þe,
Now þrid tyme þrowe best þenk on þe morne,
Make we mery quyl we may, & mynne vpon Ioye,
For þe lur may mon lach, when-so mon lykez.”
Þis watz grayþely graunted, & Gawayn is lenged,
Bliþe bro3t watz hym drynk, & þay to bedde 3eden,
Sir Gawayn lis & slepes,
Ful stille & softe al ni3t;
Þe lorde þat his crafte3 kepes,
Ful erly he watz di3t.
After messe a morsel he & his men token,
Miry watz þe mornyng, his mounture he askes;
Alle þe haþeles þat on horse schulde helden hym after,
Were boun busked on hor blonkke3, bifore þe halle 3atez;
Ferly fayre watz þe folde, for þe forst clenged,
In rede rudede vpon rak rises þe sunne,
& ful clere costez þe clowdes of þe welkyn.
Hunteres vnhardeled bi a holt syde,
Rocheres roungen bi rys, for rurde of her hornes;
Summe fel in þe fute, þer þe fox bade,
Traylez ofte a trayteres, bi traunt of her wyles;
A kenet kryes þerof, þe hunt on hym calles,
His fela3es fallen hym to, þat fnasted ful þike,
Runnen forth in a rabel, in his ry3t fare;
& he fyskez hem byfore; þay founden hym sone,
& quen þay seghe hym with sy3t, þay sued hym fast,
Wre3ande h[ym] ful [w]eterly with a wroth noyse;
& he trantes & tornayeez þur3 mony tene greue;
Hamlounez, & herkenez, bi heggez ful ofte;
At þe last bi a littel dich he lepez ouer a spenné,
Stelez out ful stilly bi a strothe rande,
and by a rugged path seeks to get clear from the hounds.
Went haf wylt of þe wode, with wylez fro þe houndes,
Þenne watz he went, er he wyst, to5 a wale tryster,
Þer þre þro at a þrich þrat hym at ones, al graye;
He blenched a3ayn bilyue,
& stifly start onstray,
With alle þe wo on lyue,
To þe wod he went away.
Thenne watz hit lif vpon list to lyþen þe houndez,
When alle þe mute hade hym met, menged togeder,
Suche a sor3e at þat sy3t þay sette on his hede,
As alle þe clamberande clyffes hade clatered on hepes;
Here he watz halawed, when haþelez hym metten,
Loude he watz 3ayned, with 3arande speche;
Þer he watz þreted, & ofte þef called,
& ay þe titleres at his tayl, þat tary he ne my3t;
Ofte he watz runnen at, when he out rayked,
& ofte reled in a3ayn, so reniarde watz wylé.
& 3e he lad hem bi lag, mon, þe lorde & his meyny;
On þis maner bi þe mountes, quyle myd-ouer-vnder,
Whyle þe hende kny3t at home holsumly slepes,
Withinne þe comly cortynes, on þe colde morne.
Bot þe lady for luf let not to slepe,
Ne þe purpose to payre, þat py3t in hir hert,
Bot ros hir vp radly, rayked hir þeder,
In a mery mantyle, mete to þe erþe,
Þat watz furred ful fyne with fellez, wel pured,
No hwe3 goud on hir hede, bot þe ha3er stones
Trased aboute hir tressour, be twenty in clusteres;
Hir þryuen face & hir þrote þrowen al naked,
Hir brest bare bifore, & bihinde eke.
Ho comez withinne þe chambre dore, & closes hit hir after,
Waynez vp a wyndow, & on þe wy3e callez,
& radly þus rehayted hym, with hir riche worde3,
“A! mon, how may þou slepe,
Þis morning is so clere?”
He watz in drowping depe,
Bot þenne he con hir here.
In dre3 droupyng of dreme draueled þat noble,
As mon þat watz in mornyng of mony þro þo3tes,
How þat destiné schulde þat day [dy3t] his wyrde,
At þe grene chapel, when he þe gome metes,
& bihoues his buffet abide, withoute debate more;
Bot quen þat comly he keuered his wyttes,
Swenges out of þe sweuenes, & swarez with hast.
Þe lady luflych com la3ande swete,
Felle ouer his fayre face, & fetly him kyssed;
He welcumez hir worþily, with a wale chere;
He se3 hir so glorious, & gayly atyred,
So fautles of hir fetures, & of so fyne hewes,
Wi3t wallande Ioye warmed his hert;
With smoþe smylyng & smolt þay smeten into merþe,
Þat al watz blis & bonchef, þat breke hem bitwene,
Þay lanced wordes gode,
Much wele þen watz þerinne,
Gret perile bitwene hem stod,
Nif mare of hir kny3t mynne.
For þat prynce of pris depresed hym so þikke.
Nurned hym so ne3e þe þred, þat nede hym bihoued,
Oþer lach þer hir luf, oþer lodly refuse;
He cared for his cortaysye, lest craþayn he were,
& more for his meschef, 3if he schulde make synne,
& be traytor to þat tolke, þat þat telde a3t.
“God schylde,” quod þe schalk, “þat schal not befalle!”
With luf-la3yng a lyt, he layd hym bysyde
Alle þe spechez of specialté þat sprange of her mouthe.
Quod þat burde to þe burne, “blame 3e disserue,
3if 3e luf not þat lyf þat 3e lye nexte,
Bifore alle þe wy3ez in þe worlde, wounded in hert,
Bot if 3e haf a lemman, a leuer, þat yow lykez better,
& folden fayth to þat fre, festned so harde,
Þat yow lausen ne lyst--& þat I leue nouþe;
And þat 3e telle me þat, now trwly I pray yow,
For alle þe lufez vpon lyue, layne not þe soþe,
Þe kny3t sayde, “be sayn Ion,”
& smeþely con he smyle,
“In fayth I welde ri3t non,
Ne non wil welde þe quile.”
“Þat is a worde,” quod þat wy3t, “þat worst is of alle,
Bot I am swared for soþe, þat sore me þinkkez;
Kysse me now coraly, & I schal cach heþen,
I may bot mourne vpon molde, as may þat much louyes.”
Sykande ho swe3e doun, & semly hym kyssed,
& siþen ho seueres hym fro, & says as ho stondes,
“Now, dere, at þis departyng, do me þis ese,
Gif me sumquat of þy gifte, þi gloue if hit were,
Þat I may mynne on þe mon, my mournyng to lassen.”
“Now Iwysse,” quod þat wy3e, “I wolde I hade here
Þe leuest þing for þy luf, þat I in londe welde,
For 3e haf deserued, forsoþe, sellyly ofte
More rewarde bi resoun, þen I reche my3t,
Bot to dele yow for drurye, þat dawed bot neked;
Hit is not your honour to haf at þis tyme
A gloue for a garysoun, of Gawaynez giftez,
& I am here [on] an erande in erdez vncouþe,
& haue no men wyth no malez, with menskful þingez;
Þat mislykez me, ladé, for luf at þis tyme,
Iche tolke mon do as he is tan, tas to non ille,
“Nay, hende of hy3e honours,”
Quod þat lufsum vnder lyne,
“Þa3 I hade o3t of yourez,
3et schulde 3e haue of myne.”
Ho ra3t hym a riche rynk of red golde werkez,
Wyth a starande ston, stondande alofte,
Þat bere blusschande bemez as þe bry3t sunne;
Wyt 3e wel, hit watz worth wele ful hoge.
Bot þe renk hit renayed, & redyly he sayde,
“I wil no giftez for gode, my gay, at þis tyme;
I haf none yow to norne, ne no3t wyl I take.”
Ho bede hit hym ful bysily, & he hir bode wernes,
& swere swyftel[y] his sothe, þat he hit sese nolde;
& ho sore þat he forsoke, & sayde þerafter,
“If 3e renay my rynk, to ryche for hit semez,
3e wolde not so hy3ly halden be to me,
I schal gif yow my girdel, þat gaynes yow lasse.”
Ho la3t a lace ly3tly, þat leke vmbe hir sydez,
Knit vpon hir kyrtel, vnder þe clere mantyle,
Gered hit watz with grene sylke, & with golde schaped,
No3t bot arounde brayden, beten with fyngrez;
& þat ho bede to þe burne, & blyþely biso3t
Þa3 hit vn-worþi were, þat he hit take wolde.
& he nay þat he nolde neghe in no wyse,
Nauþer golde ne garysoun, er God hym grace sende,
To acheue to þe chaunce þat he hade chosen þere.
“& þerfore, I pray yow, displese yow no3t,
& lettez be your bisinesse, for I bayþe hit yow neuer
I am derely to yow biholde,
Bicause of your sembelaunt,
& euer in hot & colde
To be your trwe seruaunt.
“Now forsake 3e þis silke.” sayde þe burde þenne,
“For hit is symple in hit-self. & so hit wel semez?
Lo! so hit is littel, & lasse hit is worþy;
Bot whoso knew þe costes þat knit ar þerinne,
He wolde hit prayse at more prys, parauenture;
For quat gome so is gorde with þis grene lace,
While he hit hade hemely halched aboute,
Þer is no haþel vnder heuen to-hewe hym þat my3t;
For he my3t not he slayn, for sly3t vpon erþe.”
Þen kest þe kny3t, & hit come to his hert,
Hit were a Iuel for þe Iopardé, þat hym iugged were,
When he acheued to þe chapel, his chek forto fech;
My3t he haf slypped to þe vnslayn, þe sle3t were noble.
Þenne ho þulged with hir þrepe, & þoled hir to speke,
& ho bere on hym þe belt, & bede hit hym swyþe,
& he granted, & [ho] hym gafe with a goud wylle,
& biso3t hym, for hir sake, disceuer hit neuer,
Bot to lelly layne for hir lorde; þe leude hym acordez.
Þat neuer wy3e schulde hit wyt, Iwysse, bot þay twayne,
He þonkked hir oft ful swyþe,
Ful þro with hert & þo3t.
Bi þat on þrynne syþe,
Ho hatz kyst þe kny3t so to3t.
Thenne lachchez ho hir leue, & leuez hym þere,
For more myrþe of þat mon mo3t ho not gete;
When ho watz gon, sir Gawayn gerez hym sone,
Rises, & riches hym in araye noble,
Lays vp þe luf-lace, þe lady hym ra3t,
Hid hit ful holdely, þer he hit eft fonde;
Syþen cheuely to þe chapel choses he þe waye,
Preuely aproched to a prest, & prayed hym þere
Þat he wolde lyfte his lyf, & lern hym better,
How his sawle schulde be saued, when he schuld seye heþen.
Þere he schrof hym schyrly, & schewed his mysdedez,
Of þe more & þe mynne, & merci besechez,
& of absolucioun he on þe segge calles;
& he asoyled hym surely, & sette hym so clene,
As domezday schulde haf ben di3t on þe morn.
& syþen he mace hym as mery among þe fre ladyes,
With comlych caroles, & alle kynnes ioye,
As neuer he did bot þat daye, to þe derk ny3t,
Vche mon hade daynte þare,
Of hym, & sayde Iwysse,
Þus myry he watz neuer are,
Syn he com hider, er þis.
Now hym lenge in þat lee, þer luf hym bityde;
3et is þe lorde on þe launde, ledande his gomnes,
He hatz forfaren þis fox, þat he fol3ed longe;
As he sprent ouer a spenné, to spye þe schrewe,
Þer as he herd þe howndes, þat hasted hym swyþe,
Renaud com richchande þur3 a ro3e greue,
& alle þe rabel in a res, ry3t at his helez.
Þe wy3e watz war of þe wylde, & warly abides,
& brayde3 out þe bry3t bronde, & at þe best castez;
& he schunt for þe scharp, & schulde haf arered,
A rach rapes hym to, ry3t er he my3t,
& ry3t bifore þe hors fete þay fel on hym alle,
& woried me þis wyly wyth a wroth noyse.
Þe lorde ly3tez bilyue, & cachez by sone,
Rased hym ful radly out of þe rach mouþes,
Haldez he3e ouer his hede, halowez faste,
& þer bayen hym mony bray houndez;
Huntes hy3ed hem þeder, with hornez ful mony,
Ay rechatande ary3t til þay þe renk se3en;
Bi þat watz comen his compeyny noble,
Alle þat euer ber bugle blowed at ones,
& alle þise oþer halowed, þat hade no hornes,
Hit watz þe myriest mute þat euer men herde,
Þe rich rurd þat þer watz raysed for renaude saule,
Hor houndez þay þer rewarde,
Her hedez þay fawne & frote,
& syþen þay tan reynarde,
& tyrnen of his cote.
& þenne þay helden to home, for hit watz nie3 ny3t,
Strakande ful stoutly in hor store hornez;
Þe lorde is ly3t at þe laste at hys lef home,
Fyndez fire vpon flet, þe freke þer by-side,
Sir Gawayn þe gode, þat glad watz with alle,
Among þe ladies for luf he ladde much ioye,
He were a bleaunt of blwe, þat bradde to þe erþe,
His surkot semed hym wel, þat softe watz forred,
& his hode of þat ilke henged on his schulder,
Blande al of blaunner were boþe al aboute.
He metez me þis god mon inmyddez þe flore,
& al with gomen he hym gret, & goudly he sayde,
“I schal fylle vpon fyrst oure forwardez nouþe,
Þat we spedly han spoken, þer spared watz no drynk;”
Þen acoles he [þe] kny3t, & kysses hym þryes,
As sauerly & sadly as he hem sette couþe.
“Bi Kryst,” quod þat oþer kny3t, “3e cach much sele,
In cheuisaunce of þis chaffer, 3if 3e hade goud chepez.”
“3e of þe chepe no charg,” quod chefly þat oþer,
“As is pertly payed þe chepez þat I a3te.”
“Mary,” quod þat oþer mon, “myn is bihynde,
For I haf hunted al þis day, & no3t haf I geten,
Bot þis foule fox felle, þe fende haf þe godez,
& þat is ful pore, for to pay for suche prys þinges,
As 3e haf þry3t me here, þro suche þre cosses,
“Ino3,” quod sir Gawayn,
“I þonk yow, bi þe rode;”
& how þe fox watz slayn,
He tolde hym, as þay stode.
With merþe & mynstralsye, wyth metez at hor wylle,
Þay maden as mery as any men mo3ten,
With la3yng of ladies, with lotez of bordes;
Gawayn & þe gode mon so glad were þay boþe,
Bot if þe douthe had doted, oþer dronken ben oþer,
Boþe þe mon & þe meyny maden mony iapez,
Til þe sesoun watz se3en, þat þay seuer moste;
Burnez to hor bedde behoued at þe laste.
Þenne lo3ly his leue at þe lorde fyrst
Fochchez þis fre mon, & fayre he hym þonkkez;
“Of such a sellyly soiorne, as I haf hade here,
Your honour, at þis hy3e fest, þe hy3e kyng yow 3elde!
I 3ef yow me for on of yourez, if yowreself lykez,
For I mot nedes, as 3e wot, meue to morne;
& 3e me take sum tolke, to teche, as 3e hy3t,
Þe gate to þe grene chapel, as god wyl me suffer
To dele, on nw 3erez day, þe dome of my wyrdes.”
“In god fayþe,” quod þe god mon, “wyth a goud wylle;
Al þat euer I yow hy3t, halde schal I rede.”
Þer asyngnes he a seruaunt, to sett hym in þe waye,
& coundue hym by þe downez, þat he no drechch had,
For to f[e]rk þur3 þe fryth, & fare at þe gaynest,
Þe lorde Gawayn con þonk,
Such worchip he wolde hym weue;
Þen at þo ladyez wlonk.
Þe kny3t hatz tan his leue.
With care & wyth kyssyng he carppez hem tille,
& fele þryuande þonkkez he þrat hom to haue,
& þay 3elden hym a3ay[n] 3eply þat ilk;
Þay bikende hym to Kryst, with ful colde sykyngez.
Syþen fro þe meyny he menskly departes;
Vche mon þat he mette, he made hem a þonke,
For his seruyse, & his solace, & his sere pyne,
Þat þay wyth busynes had ben, aboute hym to serue;
& vche segge as sore, to seuer with hym þere,
As þay hade wonde worþyly with þat wlonk euer.
Þen with ledes & ly3t he watz ladde to his chambre,
& blybely bro3t to his bedde, to be at his rest;
3if he ne slepe soundyly, say ne dar I,
For he hade muche on þe morn to mynne, 3if he wolde, in þo3t;
Let hym ly3e þere stille,
He hatz nere þat he so3t,
& 3e wyl a whyle be stylle,
I schal telle yow how þay wro3t.
FYTTE THE FOURTH.
Now ne3ez þe nw 3ere, & þe ny3t passez,
Þe day dryuez to þe derk, as dry3tyn biddez;
Bot wylde wederez of þe worlde wakned þeroute,
Clowdes kesten kenly þe colde to þe erþe,
Wyth ny3e innoghe of þe norþe, þe naked to tene;
Þe snawe snitered ful snart, þat snayped þe wylde;
Þe werbelande wynde wapped fro þe hy3e,
& drof vche dale ful of dryftes ful grete.
Þe leude lystened ful wel, þat le3 in his bedde,
Þa3 he lowkez his liddez, ful lyttel he slepes;
Bi vch kok þat crue, he knwe wel þe steuen.
Deliuerly he dressed vp, er þe day sprenged,
For þere watz ly3t of a lau[m]pe, þat lemed in his chambre;
He called to his chamberlayn, þat cofly hym swared,
& bede hym bryng hym his bruny, & his blonk sadel;
Þat oþer ferkez hym vp, & fechez hym his wedez,
& grayþez me sir Gawayn vpon a grett wyse.
Fyrst he clad hym in his cloþez, þe colde for to were;
& syþen his oþer harnays, þat holdely watz keped,
Boþe his paunce, & his platez, piked ful clene,
Þe ryngez rokked of þe roust, of his riche bruny;
& al watz fresch as vpon fyrst, & he watz fayn þenne
He hade vpon vche pece,
Wypped ful wel & wlonk;
Þe gayest in to Grece,
Þe burne bede bryng his blonk.
Whyle þe wlonkest wedes he warp on hym-seluen;
His cote, wyth be conysaunce of þe clere werkez,
Ennurned vpon veluet vertuuus stonez,
Aboute beten, & bounden, enbrauded semez,
& fayre furred with-inne wyth fayre pelures.
3et laft he not þe lace, þe ladiez gifte,
Þat for-gat not Gawayn, for gode of hymseluen;
Bi he hade belted þe bronde vpon his bal3e haunchez,
Þenn dressed he his drurye double hym aboute;
Swyþe sweþled vmbe his swange swetely, þat kny3t,
Þe gordel of þe grene silke, þat gay wel bisemed,
Vpon þat ryol red cloþe, þat ryche watz to schewe.
Bot wered not þis ilk wy3e for wele þis gordel,
For pryde of þe pendauntez, þa3 polyst þay were,
& þa3 þe glyterande golde glent vpon endez,
Bot forto sauen hymself, when suffer hym byhoued,
To byde bale with-oute dabate, of bronde hym to were,
Bi þat þe bolde mon boun,
Wynnez þeroute bilyue,
Alle þe meyny of renoun,
He þonkkez ofte ful ryue.
Thenne watz Gryngolet grayþe, þat gret watz & huge,
& hade ben soiourned sauerly, & in a siker wyse,
Hym lyst prik for poynt, þat proude hors þenne;
Þe wy3e wynnez hym to, & wytez on his lyre,
& sayde soberly hymself, & by his soth swerez,
“Here is a meyny in þis mote, þat on menske þenkkez,
Þe mon hem maynteines, ioy mot þay haue;
Þe leue lady, on lyue luf hir bityde;
3if þay for charyté cherysen a gest,
& halden honour in her honde, þe haþel hem 3elde,
Þat haldez þe heuen vpon hy3e, & also yow alle!
& 3if I my3t lyf vpon londe lede any quyle,
I schuld rech yow sum rewarde redyly, if I my3t.”
Þenn steppez he into stirop, & strydez alofte;
His schalk schewed hym his schelde, on schulder he hit la3t,
Gordez to Gryngolet, with his gilt helez,
& he startez on þe ston, stod he no lenger,
His haþel on hors watz þenne,
Þat bere his spere & launce.
“Þis kastel to Kryst I kenne,
He gef hit ay god chaunce!”
The brygge watz brayde doun, & þe brode 3atez
Vnbarred, & born open, vpon boþe halue;
Þe burne blessed hym bilyue, & þe bredez passed;
Prayses þe porter, bifore þe prynce kneled,
Gef hym God & goud day, þat Gawayn he saue;
& went on his way, with his wy3e one,
Þat schulde teche hym to tourne to þat tene place,
Þer þe ruful race he schulde re-sayue.
Þay bo3en bi bonkkez, þer bo3e3 ar bare,
They climb by cliffs,
Þay clomben bi clyffez, þer clengez þe colde;
Þe heuen watz vphalt, bot vgly þer-vnder,
Mist muged on þe mor, malt on þe mountez,
Vch hille hade a hatte, a myst-hakel huge;
Brokez byled, & breke, bi bonkkez aboute,
Schyre schaterande on schorez, þer þay doun schowued.
Welawylle watz þe way, þer þay bi wod schulden,
Til hit watz sone sesoun, þat þe sunne ryses,
Þay were on a hille ful hy3e,
Þe quyte snaw lay bisyde;
Þe burne þat rod hym by
Bede his mayster abide.
“For I haf wonnen yow hider, wy3e, at þis tyme,
& now nar 3e not fer fro þat note place,
Þat 3e han spied & spuryed so specially after;
Bot I schal say yow for soþe, syþen I yow knowe,
& 3e ar a lede vpon lyue, þat I wel louy,
Wolde 3e worch bi my wytte, 3e worþed þe better.
Þe place þat 3e prece to, ful perelous is halden;
Þer wonez a wy3e in þat waste, þe worst vpon erþe;
For he is stiffe, & sturne, & to strike louies,
& more he is þen any mon vpon myddelerde,
& his body bigger þen þe best fowre.
Þat ar in Arþurez hous, Hestor oþer oþer.
He cheuez þat chaunce at þe chapel grene;
Þer passes non bi þat place, so proude in his armes,
Þat he ne dyngez hym to deþe, with dynt of his honde;
For he is a mon methles, & mercy non vses,
For be hit chorle, oþer chaplayn, þat bi þe chapel rydes,
Monk, oþer masseprest, oþer any mon elles,
Hym þynk as queme hym to quelle, as quyk go hym seluen.
Forþy I say þe as soþe as 3e in sadel sitte,
Com 3e þere, 3e be kylled, [I] may þe kny3t rede,
Trawe 3e me þat trwely, þa3 3e had twenty lyues
He hatz wonyd here ful 3ore,
On bent much baret bende,
A3ayn his dyntez sore,
3e may not yow defende.”
“Forþy, goude sir Gawayn, let þe gome one,
& gotz away sum oþer gate; vpon Goddez halue;
Cayrez bi sum oþer kyth, þer Kryst mot yow spede;
& I schal hy3 me hom a3ayn, & hete yow fyrre,
Þat I schal swere bi God, & alle his gode hal3ez,
As help me God & þe halydam, & oþez innoghe,
Þat I schal lelly yow layne, & lance neuer tale,
Þat euer 3e fondet to fle, for freke þat I wyst.”
“Grant merci;” quod Gawayn, & gruchyng he sayde,
“Wel worth þe wy3e, þat woldez my gode,
& þat lelly me layne, I leue wel þou woldez!
Bot helde þou hit neuer so holde, & I here passed,
Founded for ferde for to fle, in fourme þat þou tellez,
I were a kny3t kowarde, I my3t not be excused.
Bot I wy1 to þe chape1, for chaunce þat may falle,
& talk wyth þat ilk tulk þe tale þat me lyste,
Worþe hit wele, oþer wo, as þe wyrde lykez hit hafe;
Þa3e he be a sturn knape,
To sti3tel, & stad with staue,
“Full well can God devise his servants for to save.”
Ful wel con dry3tyn schape,
His seruauntez forto saue.”
“Mary!” quod þat oþer mon, “now þou so much spellez,
Þat þou wylt þyn awen nye nyme to þyseluen,
& þe lyst lese þy lyf, þe lette I ne kepe;
Haf here þi helme on þy hede, þi spere in þi honde,
& ryde me doun þis ilk rake, bi 3on rokke syde,
till thou come to the bottom of the valley;
Til þou be bro3t to þe boþem of þe brem valay;
Þenne loke a littel on þe launde, on þi lyfte honde,
& þou schal se in þat slade þe self chapel,
& þe borelych burne on bent, þat hit kepez.
Now farez wel on Godez half, Gawayn þe noble,
For alle þe golde vpon grounde I nolde go with þe,
Ne bere þe fela3schip þur3 þis fryth on fote fyrre.”
Bi þat þe wy3e in þe wod wendez his brydel,
Hit þe hors with þe helez, as harde as he my3t,
Lepez hym ouer þe launde, & leuez þe kny3t þere, al one.
“Bi Goddez self,” quod Gawayn,
“I wyl nauþer grete ne grone,
To Goddez wylle I am ful bayn,
& to hym I haf me tone.”
Thenne gyrdez he to Gryngolet, & gederez þe rake,
Schowuez in bi a schore, at a scha3e syde,
Ridez þur3 þe ro3e bonk, ry3t to þe dale;
& þenne he wayted hym aboute, & wylde hit hym þo3t,
& se3e no syngne of resette, bisydez nowhere,
Bot hy3e bonkkez & brent, vpon boþe halue,
& ru3e knokled knarrez, with knorned stonez;
Þe skwez of þe scowtes skayued hym þo3t.
Þenne he houed, & wythhylde his hors at þat tyde,
& ofte chaunged his cher, þe chapel to seche;
He se3 non suche in no syde, & selly hym þo3t,
Sone a lyttel on a launde, a lawe as hit we[re];
A bal3 ber3, bi a bonke, þe brymme by-syde,
Bi a for3 of a flode, þat ferked þare;
Þe borne blubred þer-inne, as hit boyled hade.
Þe kny3t kachez his caple, & com to þe lawe,
Li3tez doun luflyly, & at a lynde tachez
Þe rayne, & his riche, with a ro3e braunche;
Þen[n]e he bo3ez to þe ber3e, aboute hit he walkez,
D[e]batande with hymself, quat hit be my3t.
Hit hade a hole on þe ende, & on ayþer syde,
& ouergrowen with gresse in glodes ay where,
& al watz hol3 in-with, nobot an olde caue,
Or a creuisse of an olde cragge, he couþe hit no3t deme with spelle,
“We, lorde,” quod þe gentyle kny3t,
“Wheþer þis be þe grene chapelle;
He my3t aboute myd-ny3t,
[Þ]e dele his matynnes telle!”
“Now iwysse,” quod Wowayn, “wysty is here;
Þis oritore is vgly, wi