Sir Gawayne and the Grene Knyght

Unknown author

Source: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Ed. by J.R.R. Tolkien and E.V. Gordon. 2nd ed. Oxford. Calendon Press, 1967. xxviii, 232 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.

E-Text: Corpus of Middle-English Prose and Verse.



folio 91r

Page 1

Passus I

SIÞEN þe sege and þe assaut watz sesed at Troye,
Þe bor3 brittened and brent to bronde3 and askez,
Þe tulk þat þe trammes of tresoun þer wro3t
Watz tried for his tricherie, þe trewest on erthe:
Hit watz Ennias þe athel, and his highe kynde,
Þat siþen depreced prouinces, and 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,
And neuenes hit his aune nome, as hit now hat;
Tirius to Tuskan and teldes bigynnes,
Langaberde in Lumbardie lyftes vp homes,
And fer ouer þe French flod Felix Brutus
On mony bonkkes ful brode Bretayn he settez
wyth wynne,
Where werre and wrake and wonder
Bi syþez hatz wont þerinne,
And oft boþe blysse and 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.
Bot of alle þat here bult, of Bretaygne kynges,
Ay watz Arthur þe hendest, as I haf herde telle.

folio 91v

Page 2Forþi an aunter in erde I attle to schawe,
Þat a selly in si3t summe men hit holden,
And 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,
with tonge,
As hit is stad and stoken
In stori stif and stronge,
With lel letteres loken,
In londe so hatz ben longe.

Þis kyng lay at Camylot vpon Krystmasse
With mony luflych lorde, ledez of þe best,
Rekenly of þe Rounde Table alle þo rich breþer,
With rych reuel ory3t and rechles merþes.
Þer tournayed tulkes by tymez ful mony,
Justed ful jolilé þise gentyle kni3tes,
Syþen kayred to þe court caroles to make.
For þer þe fest watz ilyche ful fiften dayes,
With alle þe mete and þe mirþe þat men couþe avyse;
Such glaum ande gle glorious to here,
Dere dyn vpon day, daunsyng on ny3tes,
Al watz hap vpon he3e in hallez and chambrez
With lordez and ladies, as leuest him þo3t.
With all þe wele of þe worlde þay woned þer samen,
Þe most kyd kny3tez vnder Krystes seluen,
And þe louelokkest ladies þat euer lif haden,
And he þe comlokest kyng þat þe court haldes;
For al watz þis fayre folk in her first age,
on sille,
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 into þe halle,
Page 3
Þe chauntré of þe chapel cheued to an ende,
Loude crye watz þer kest of clerkez and oþer,

folio 92r

Nowel nayted onewe, neuened ful ofte;
And syþen riche forth runnen to reche hondeselle,
3e3ed 3eres-3iftes on hi3, 3elde hem bi hond,
Debated busyly aboute þo giftes;
Ladies la3ed ful loude, þo3 þay lost haden,
And 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, and tars tapites innoghe,
Þat were enbrawded and beten wyth þe best gemmes
Þat my3t be preued of prys wyth penyes to bye,
in daye.
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 joly of his joyfnes, and sumquat childgered:
His lif liked hym ly3t, he louied þe lasse
Auþer to longe lye or to longe sitte,
So bisied him his 3onge blod and his brayn wylde.
And also an oþer maner meued him eke
Þat he þur3 nobelay had nomen, he 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 biso3t of sum siker kny3t
To joyne wyth hym in iustyng, in jopardé to lay,
Lede, lif for lyf, leue vchon oþer,
Page 4
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

folio 92v

in halle.
Þerfore of face so fere
He sti3tlez stif in stalle,
Ful 3ep in þat Nw 3ere
Much mirthe he mas withalle.

Thus þer stondes in stale þe stif kyng hisseluen,
Talkkande bifore þe hy3e table of trifles ful hende.
There gode Gawan watz grayþed Gwenore bisyde,
And Agrauayn a la dure mayn on þat oþer syde sittes,
Boþe þe kynges sistersunes and ful siker kni3tes;
Bischop Bawdewyn abof biginez þe table,
And Ywan, Vryn son, ette with hymseluen.
Þise were di3t on þe des and derworþly serued,
And siþen mony siker segge at þe sidbordez.
Þen þe first cors come with crakkyng of trumpes,
Wyth mony baner ful bry3t þat þerbi henged;
Nwe nakryn noyse with þe noble pipes,
Wylde werbles and wy3t wakned lote,
Þat mony hert ful hi3e hef at her towches.
Dayntés dryuen þerwyth of ful dere metes,
Foysoun of þe fresche, and on so fele disches
Þat pine to fynde þe place þe peple biforne
For to sette þe sylueren þat sere sewes halden
on clothe.
Iche lede as he loued hymselue
Þer laght withouten loþe;
Ay two had disches twelue,
Good ber and bry3t wyn boþe.

Now wyl I of hor seruise say yow no more,
For vch wy3e may wel wit no wont þat þer were.
An oþer noyse ful newe ne3ed biliue,
Þat þe lude my3t haf leue liflode to cach;
Page 5
For vneþe watz þe noyce not a whyle sesed,
And 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 and so þik,
And his lyndes and his lymes so longe and so grete,

folio 93r

Half etayn in erde I hope þat he were,
Bot mon most I algate mynn hym to bene,
And þat þe myriest in his muckel þat my3t ride;
For of bak and of brest al were his bodi sturne,
Both his wombe and his wast were worthily smale,
And alle his fetures fol3ande, in forme þat he hade,
ful clene;
For wonder of his hwe men hade,
Set in his semblaunt sene;
He ferde as freke were fade,
And oueral enker-grene.

Ande al grayþed in grene þis gome and his wedes:
A strayte cote ful stre3t, þat stek on his sides,
A meré mantile abof, mensked withinne
With pelure pured apert, þe pane ful clene
With blyþe blaunner ful bry3t, and his hod boþe,
Þat watz la3t fro his lokkez and layde on his schulderes;
Heme wel-haled hose of þat same,
Þat spenet on his sparlyr, and clene spures vnder
Of bry3t golde, vpon silk bordes barred ful ryche,
And scholes vnder schankes þere þe schalk rides;
And alle his vesture uerayly watz clene verdure,
Boþe þe barres of his belt and oþer blyþe stones,
Þat were richely rayled in his aray clene
Aboutte hymself and his sadel, vpon silk werkez.
Þat were to tor for to telle of tryfles þe halue
Þat were enbrauded abof, wyth bryddes and fly3es,
With gay gaudi of grene, þe golde ay inmyddes.
Þe pendauntes of his payttrure, þe proude cropure,
His molaynes, and alle þe metail anamayld was þenne,
Þe steropes þat he stod on stayned of þe same,
Page 6
And his arsounz al after and his aþel skyrtes,
Þat euer glemered and glent al of grene stones;
Þe fole þat he ferkkes on fyn of þat ilke,
A grene hors gret and þikke,
A stede ful stif to strayne,
In brawden brydel quik--

folio 93v

To þe gome he watz ful gayn.

Wel gay watz þis gome gered in grene,
And þe here of his hed of his hors swete.
Fayre fannand fax vmbefoldes his schulderes;
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;
Þe mane of þat mayn hors much to hit lyke,
Wel cresped and cemmed, wyth knottes ful mony
Folden in wyth fildore aboute þe fayre grene,
Ay a herle of þe here, an oþer of golde;
Þe tayl and his toppyng twynnen of a sute,
And 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,
with y3e.
He loked as layt so ly3t,
So sayd al þat hym sy3e;
Hit semed as no mon my3t
Vnder his dynttez dry3e.

Wheþer hade he no helme ne hawbergh nauþer,
Ne no pysan ne no plate þat pented to armes,
Ne no schafte ne no schelde to schwue ne to smyte,
Bot in his on honde he hade a holyn bobbe,
Page 7
Þat is grattest in grene when greuez ar bare,
And an ax in his oþer, a hoge and vnmete,
A spetos sparþe to expoun in spelle, quoso my3t.
Þe lenkþe of an eln3erde þe large hede hade,
Þe grayn al of grene stele and 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,

folio 94r

Þat watz wounden wyth yrn to þe wandez ende,
And al bigrauen with grene in gracios werkes;
A lace lapped aboute, þat louked at þe hede,
And so after þe halme halched ful ofte,
Wyth tryed tasselez þerto tacched innoghe
On botounz of þe bry3t grene brayden ful ryche.
Þis haþel heldez hym in and 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, and with hymself speke
To kny3tez he kest his y3e,
And reled hym vp and doun;
He stemmed, and con studie
Quo walt þer most renoun.

Ther watz lokyng on lenþe þe lude to beholde,
For vch mon had meruayle quat hit mene my3t
Þat a haþel and a horse my3t such a hwe lach,
As growe grene as þe gres and grener hit semed,
Þen grene aumayl on golde glowande bry3ter.
Al studied þat þer stod, and stalked hym nerre
Wyth al þe wonder of þe worlde what he worch schulde.
For fele sellyez had þay sen, bot such neuer are;
Forþi for fantoum and fayry3e þe folk þere hit demed.
Þerfore to answare watz ar3e mony aþel freke,
And al stouned at his steuen and stonstil seten
In a swoghe sylence þur3 þe sale riche;
Page 8
As al were slypped vpon slepe so slaked hor lotez
in hy3e--
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,
And rekenly hym reuerenced, for rad was he neuer,
And sayde, 'Wy3e, welcum iwys to þis place,

folio 94v

Þe hede of þis ostel Arthour I hat;
Li3t luflych adoun and lenge, I þe praye,
And quat-so þy wylle is we schal wyt after.'
'Nay, as help me,' quoþ 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,
And þy bur3 and þy burnes best ar holden,
Stifest vnder stel-gere on stedes to ryde,
Þe wy3test and þe worþyest of þe worldes kynde,
Preue for to play wyth in oþer pure laykez,
And here is kydde cortaysye, as I haf herd carp,
And 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, and no ply3t seche;
For had I founded in fere in fe3tyng wyse,
I haue a hauberghe at home and a helme boþe,
A schelde and 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
bi ry3t.'
Arthour con onsware,
And 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,
Page 9
Here is no mon me to mach, for my3tez so wayke.
Forþy I craue in þis court a Crystemas gomen,
For hit is 3ol and Nwe 3er, and 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 innogh, to hondele as hym lykes,

folio 95r

And 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, and lach þis weppen,
I quit-clayme hit for euer, kepe hit as his auen,
And I schal stonde hym a strok, stif on þis flet,
Ellez þou wyl di3t me þe dom to dele hym an oþer
And 3et gif hym respite,
A twelmonyth and a day;
Now hy3e, and let se tite
Dar any herinne o3t say.'
If he hem stowned vpon fyrst, stiller were þanne
Alle þe heredmen in halle, þe hy3 and þe lo3e.
Þe renk on his rouncé hym ruched in his sadel,
And runischly 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 richly, and ry3t hym to speke:
'What, is þis Arthures hous,' quoþ þe haþel þenne,
'Þat al þe rous rennes of þur3 ryalmes so mony?
Where is now your sourquydrye and your conquestes,
Your gryndellayk and your greme, and your grete wordes?
Now is þe reuel and þe renoun of þe Rounde Table
Ouerwalt wyth a worde of on wy3es speche,
For al dares for drede withoute dynt schewed!'
Wyth þis he la3es so loude þat þe lorde greued;
Þe blod schot for scham into his schyre face
and lere;
Page 10
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,
And as þou foly hatz frayst, fynde þe behoues.
I know no gome þat is gast of þy grete wordes;
Gif me now þy geserne, vpon Godez halue,
And I schal bayþen þy bone þat þou boden habbes.'

folio 95v

Ly3tly lepez he hym to, and la3t at his honde.
Þen feersly þat oþer freke vpon fote ly3tis.
Now hatz Arthure his axe, and þe halme grypez,
And 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 and more.
Wyth sturne schere þer he stod he stroked his berde,
And 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 beseche now with sa3ez sene
Þis melly mot be myne.

'Wolde 3e, worþilych lorde,' quoþ Wawan to þe kyng,
'Bid me bo3e fro þis benche, and stonde by yow þere,
Þat I wythoute vylanye my3t voyde þis table,
And 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,
Þa3 3e 3ourself be talenttyf, to take hit to yourseluen,
Whil mony so bolde yow aboute vpon bench sytten,
Þat vnder heuen I hope non ha3erer of wylle,
Ne better bodyes on bent þer baret is rered.
I am þe wakkest, I wot, and of wyt feblest,
And lest lur of my lyf, quo laytes þe soþe--
Page 11
Bot for as much as 3e ar myn em I am only to prayse,
No bounté bot your blod I in my bodé knowe;
And syþen þis note is so nys þat no3t hit yow falles,
And I haue frayned hit at yow fyrst, foldez hit to me;
And if I carp not comlyly, let alle þis cort rych
bout blame.'
Ryche togeder con roun,
And syþen þay redden alle same
To ryd þe kyng wyth croun,
And gif Gawan þe game.

folio 96r

Þen comaunded þe kyng þe kny3t for to ryse;
And he ful radly vpros, and ruchched hym fayre,
Kneled doun bifore þe kyng, and cachez þat weppen;
And he luflyly hit hym laft, and lyfte vp his honde,
And gef hym Goddez blessyng, and gladly hym biddes
Þat his hert and his honde schulde hardi be boþe.
'Kepe þe, cosyn,' quoþ þe kyng, 'þat þou on kyrf sette,
And 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,
And he baldly hym bydez, he bayst neuer þe helder.
Þen carppez to Sir Gawan þe kny3t in þe grene,
'Refourme we oure forwardes, 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,' quoþ þe goode kny3t, 'Gawan I hatte,
Þat bede þe þis buffet, quat-so bifallez after,
And at þis tyme twelmonyth take at þe an oþer
Wyth what weppen so þou wylt, and wyth no wy3 ellez
on lyue.'
Þat oþer onswarez agayn,
'Sir Gawan, so mot I þryue
As I am ferly fayn
Þis dint þat þou schal dryue.

'Bigog,' quoþ þe grene kny3t, 'Sir Gawan, me lykes
Þat I schal fange at þy fust þat I haf frayst here.
And þou hatz redily rehersed, bi resoun ful trwe,
Page 12
Clanly al þe couenaunt þat I þe kynge asked,
Saf þat þou schal siker me, segge, bi þi trawþe,
Þat þou schal seche me þiself, where-so þou hopes
I may be funde vpon folde, and foch þe such wages
As þou deles me to-day bifore þis douþe ryche.'
'Where schulde I wale þe,' quoþ Gauan, 'where is þy place?
I wot neuer where þou wonyes, bi hym þat me wro3t,
Ne I know not þe, kny3t, by cort ne þi name.
Bot teche me truly þerto, and telle me how þou hattes,
And I schal ware alle my wyt to wynne me þeder,

folio 96v

And þat I swere þe for soþe, and by my seker traweþ.'
'Þat is innogh in Nwe 3er, hit nedes no more',
Quoþ þe gome in þe grene to Gawan þe hende;
'3if I þe telle trwly, quen I þe tape haue
And þou me smoþely hatz smyten, smartly I þe teche
Of my hous and my home and myn owen nome,
Þen may þou frayst my fare and forwardez holde;
And if I spende no speche, þenne spedez þou þe better,
For þou may leng in þy londe and layt no fyrre--
bot slokes!
Ta now þy grymme tole to þe,
And let se how þou cnokez.'
'Gladly, sir, for soþe',
Quoþ Gawan; his ax he strokes.

Þe 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, and gederes hit on hy3t,
Þe kay fot on þe folde he before sette,
Let him doun ly3tly ly3t on þe naked,
Þat þe scharp of þe schalk schyndered þe bones,
And schrank þur3 þe schyire grece, and schade hit in twynne,
Þat þe bit of þe broun stel bot on þe grounde.
Þe fayre hede fro þe halce hit 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;
Page 13
And nawþer faltered ne fel þe freke neuer þe helder,
Bot styþly he start forth vpon styf schonkes,
And runyschly he ra3t out, þere as renkkez stoden,
La3t to his lufly hed, and lyft hit vp sone;
And syþen bo3ez to his blonk, þe brydel he cachchez,
Steppez into stelbawe and strydez alofte,
And his hede by þe here in his honde haldez;
And as sadly þe segge hym in his sadel sette
As non vnhap had hym ayled, þa3 hedlez he were
in stedde.
He brayde his bulk aboute,

folio 97r

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,
Toward þe derrest on þe dece he dressez þe face,
And hit lyfte vp þe y3e-lyddez and loked ful brode,
And meled þus much with his muthe, as 3e may now here:
'Loke, Gawan, þou be grayþe to go as þou hettez,
And 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 hatz dalt--disserued þou habbez
To be 3ederly 3olden on Nw 3eres morn.
Þe kny3t of þe grene chapel men knowen me mony;
Forþi me for to fynde if þou fraystez, faylez þou neuer.
Þerfore com, oþer recreaunt be calde þe behoues.'
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 becom knwe non þere,
Neuer more þen þay wyste from queþen he watz wonnen.
What þenne?
Þe kyng and Gawen þare
At þat grene þay la3e and grenne,
3et breued watz hit ful bare
A meruayl among þo menne.
Page 14

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 bycommes such craft vpon Cristmasse,
Laykyng of enterludez, to la3e and to syng,
Among þise kynde caroles of kny3tez and ladyez.
Neuer þe lece to my mete I may me wel dres,
For I haf sen a selly, I may not forsake.'
He glent vpon Sir Gawen, and gaynly he sayde,
'Now, sir, heng vp þyn ax, þat hatz innogh hewen';

folio 97v

And hit watz don abof þe dece on doser to henge,
Þer alle men for meruayl my3t on hit loke,
And bi trwe tytel þerof to telle þe wonder.
Þenne þay bo3ed to a borde þise burnes togeder,
Þe kyng and þe gode kny3t, and kene men hem serued
Of alle dayntyez double, as derrest my3t falle;
Wyth alle maner of mete and 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 for to frayn
Þat þou hatz tan on honde.

Passus II

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, stafful 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, and 3eldez neuer lyke,
Þe forme to þe fynisment foldez ful selden.
Forþi þis 3ol ouer3ede, and þe 3ere after,
And vche sesoun serlepes sued after oþer:
Page 15
After Crystenmasse com þe crabbed lentoun,
Þat fraystez flesch wyth þe fysche and 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 and þe greuez grene ar her wedez,
Bryddez busken to bylde, and bremlych syngen
For solace of þe softe somer þat sues þerafter
bi bonk;
And blossumez bolne to blowe
Bi rawez rych and ronk,
Þen notez noble inno3e

folio 98r

Ar herde in wod so wlonk.

After þe sesoun of somer wyth þe soft wyndez
Quen Zeferus syflez hymself on sedez and erbez,
Wela wynne is þe wort þat waxes þeroute,
When þe donkande dewe dropez of þe leuez,
To bide a blysful blusch of þe bry3t sunne.
Bot þen hy3es heruest, and 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 and ly3ten on þe grounde,
And al grayes þe gres þat grene watz ere;
Þenne al rypez and rotez þat ros vpon fyrst,
And þus 3irnez þe 3ere in 3isterdayez mony,
And wynter wyndez a3ayn, as þe worlde askez,
no fage,
Til Me3elmas mone
Watz cumen wyth wynter wage;
Þen þenkkez Gawan ful sone
Of his anious uyage.

3et quyl Al-hal-day with Arþer he lenges;
And he made a fare on þat fest for þe frekez sake,
With much reuel and ryche of þe Rounde Table.
Page 16
Kny3tez ful cortays and 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,
And spekez of his passage, and 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 togeder,
Aywan, and Errik, and oþer ful mony,

folio 98v

Sir Doddinaual de Sauage, þe duk of Clarence,
Launcelot, and Lyonel, and Lucan þe gode,
Sir Boos, and Sir Byduer, big men boþe,
And 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 worthé as Wawan schulde wende on þat ernde,
To dry3e a delful dynt, and dele no more
wyth bronde.
Þe kny3t mad ay god chere,
And sayde, 'Quat schuld I wonde?
Of destinés derf and dere
What may mon do bot fonde?'

He dowellez þer al þat day, and dressez on þe morn,
Askez erly hys armez, and alle were þay bro3t.
Fyrst a tulé tapit ty3t ouer þe flet,
And miche watz þe gyld gere þat glent þeralofte;
Þe stif mon steppez þeron, and þe stel hondelez,
Dubbed in a dublet of a dere tars,
And 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;
Page 17
Queme quyssewes þen, þat coyntlych closed
His thik þrawen þy3ez, with þwonges to tachched;
And syþen þe brawden bryné of bry3t stel ryngez
Vmbeweued þat wy3 vpon wlonk stuffe,
And wel bornyst brace vpon his boþe armes,
With gode cowters and gay, and glouez of plate,
And alle þe godlych gere þat hym gayn schulde
þat tyde;
Wyth ryche cote-armure,
His gold sporez spend with pryde,
Gurde wyth a bront ful sure
With silk sayn vmbe his syde.

folio 99r

When he watz hasped in armes, his harnays watz ryche:
Þe lest lachet oþer loupe lemed of golde.
So harnayst as he watz he herknez his masse,
Offred and honoured at þe he3e auter.
Syþen he comez to þe kyng and to his cort-ferez,
Lachez lufly his leue at lordez and ladyez;
And þay hym kyst and conueyed, bikende hym to Kryst.
Bi þat watz Gryngolet grayth, and gurde with a sadel
Þat glemed ful gayly with mony golde frenges,
Ayquere naylet ful nwe, for þat note ryched;
Þe brydel barred aboute, with bry3t golde bounden;
Þe apparayl of þe payttrure and of þe proude skyrtez,
Þe cropore and þe couertor, acorded wyth þe arsounez;
And al watz rayled on red ryche golde naylez,
Þat al glytered and glent as glem of þe sunne.
Þenne hentes he þe helme, and hastily hit kysses,
Þat watz stapled stifly, and stoffed wythinne.
Hit watz hy3e on his hede, hasped bihynde,
Wyth a ly3tly vrysoun ouer þe auentayle,
Enbrawden and bounden wyth þe best gemmez
On brode sylkyn borde, and bryddez on semez,
As papiayez paynted peruyng bitwene,
Tortors and trulofez entayled so þyk
As mony burde þeraboute had ben seuen wynter
in toune.
Page 18
Þe cercle watz more o prys
Þat vmbeclypped hys croun,
Of diamauntez a deuys
Þat boþe were bry3t and broun.

THEN þay schewed hym þe schelde, þat was of schyr goulez
Wyth þe pentangel depaynt of pure golde hwez.
He braydez hit by þe bauderyk, aboute þe hals kestes,
Þat bisemed þe segge semlyly fayre.
And 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 sumquyle
In bytoknyng of trawþe, bi tytle þat hit habbez,

folio 99v

For hit is a figure þat haldez fyue poyntez,
And vche lyne vmbelappez and loukez in oþer,
And ayquere hit is endelez; and Englych hit callen
Oueral, as I here, þe endeles knot.
Forþy hit acordez to þis kny3t and to his cler armez,
For ay faythful in fyue and sere fyue syþez
Gawan watz for gode knawen, and as golde pured,
Voyded of vche vylany, wyth vertuez ennourned
in mote;
Forþy þe pentangel nwe
He ber in schelde and cote,
As tulk of tale most trwe
And gentylest kny3t of lote.

Fyrst he watz funden fautlez in his fyue wyttez,
And efte fayled neuer þe freke in his fyue fyngres,
And alle his afyaunce vpon folde watz in þe fyue woundez
Þat Cryst ka3t on þe croys, as þe crede tellez;
And quere-so-euer þys mon in melly watz stad,
His þro þo3t watz in þat, þur3 alle oþer þyngez,
Þat alle his forsnes he feng at þe fyue joyez
Þat þe hende heuen-quene had of hir chylde;
At þis cause þe kny3t comlyche hade
In þe inore half of his schelde hir ymage depaynted,
Þat quen he blusched þerto his belde neuer payred.
Page 19
Þe fyft fyue þat I finde þat þe frek vsed
Watz fraunchyse and fela3schyp forbe al þyng,
His clannes and his cortaysye croked were neuer,
And pité, þat passez alle poyntez, þyse pure fyue
Were harder happed on þat haþel þen on any oþer.
Now alle þese fyue syþez, for soþe, were fetled on þis kny3t,
And vchone halched in oþer, þat non ende hade,
And fyched vpon fyue poyntez, þat fayld neuer,
Ne samned neuer in no syde, ne sundred nouþer,
Withouten ende at any noke I oquere fynde,
Whereeuer þe gomen bygan, or glod to an ende.
Þerfore on his schene schelde schapen watz þe knot
Ryally wyth red golde vpon rede gowlez,

folio 100r

Þat is þe pure pentaungel wyth þe peple called
with lore.
Now grayþed is Gawan gay,
And la3t his launce ry3t þore,
And gef hem alle goud day,
He wende for euermore.

He sperred þe sted with þe spurez and sprong on his way,
So stif þat þe ston-fyr stroke out þerafter.
Al þat se3 þat semly syked in hert,
And 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,
And haf dy3t 3onder dere a duk to haue worþed;
A lowande leder of ledez in londe hym wel semez,
And 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 cauelaciounz on Crystmasse gomnez!'
Wel much watz þe warme water þat waltered of y3en,
When þat semly syre so3t fro þo wonez
þad daye.
Page 20
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 and dounez,
Ne no gome bot God bi gate wyth to karp,
Til þat he ne3ed ful neghe into þe Norþe Walez.
Alle þe iles of Anglesay on lyft half he haldez,
And farez 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

folio 100v

Þat auþer God oþer gome wyth goud hert louied.
And ay he frayned, as he ferde, at frekez þat he met,
If þay hade herde any karp of a kny3t grene,
In any grounde þeraboute, of þe grene chapel;
And al nykked hym wyth nay, þat neuer in her lyue
Þay se3e neuer no segge þat watz of suche hwez
of grene.
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,
And þat so foule and so felle þat fe3t hym byhode.
So mony meruayl bi mount þer þe mon fyndez,
Hit were to tore for to telle of þe tenþe dole.
Sumwhyle wyth wormez he werrez, and with wolues als,
Sumwhyle wyth wodwos, þat woned in þe knarrez,
Boþe wyth bullez and berez, and borez oþerquyle,
And etaynez, þat hym anelede of þe he3e felle;
Page 21
Nade he ben du3ty and dry3e, and Dry3tyn had serued,
Douteles he hade ben ded and dreped ful ofte.
For werre wrathed hym not so much þat wynter nas wors,
When þe colde cler water fro þe cloudez schadde,
And 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,
And henged he3e ouer his hede in hard iisse-ikkles.
Þus in peryl and payne and plytes ful harde
Bi contray cayrez þis kny3t, tyl Krystmasse euen,
al one;
Þe kny3t wel þat tyde
To Mary made his mone,
Þat ho hym red to ryde

folio 101r

And 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, and holtwodez vnder
Of hore okez ful hoge a hundreth togeder;
Þe hasel and 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 and myre, mon al hym one,
Carande for his costes, lest he ne keuer schulde
To se þe seruyse of þat syre, þat on þat self ny3t
Of a burde watz borne oure baret to quelle;
And þerfore sykyng he sayde, 'I beseche þe, lorde,
And Mary, þat is myldest moder so dere,
Of sum herber þer he3ly I my3t here masse,
Ande þy matynez to-morne, mekely I ask,
And þerto prestly I pray my pater and aue
and crede.'
He rode in his prayere,
And cryed for his mysdede,
Page 22
He sayned hym in syþes sere,
And sayde 'Cros Kryst me spede!'

NADE he sayned hymself, 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 vmbete3e mony tre mo þen two myle.
Þat holde on þat on syde þe haþel auysed,
As hit schemered and schon þur3 þe schyre okez;
Þenne hatz he hendly of his helme, and he3ly he þonkez
Jesus and sayn Gilyan, þat gentyle ar boþe,

folio 101v

Þat cortaysly had hym kydde, and his cry herkened.
'Now bone hostel,' coþe þe burne, 'I beseche yow 3ette!'
Þenne gerdez he to Gryngolet with þe gilt helez,
And he ful chauncely hatz chosen to þe chef gate,
Þat bro3t bremly þe burne to þe bryge ende
in haste.
Þe bryge watz breme vpbrayde,
Þe 3atez wer stoken faste,
Þe wallez were wel arayed,
Hit dut no wyndez blaste.

Þe burne bode on blonk, þat on bonk 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;
And syþen garytez ful gaye gered bitwene,
Wyth mony luflych loupe þat louked ful clene:
A better barbican þat burne blusched vpon neuer.
And innermore he behelde þat halle ful hy3e,
Towres telded bytwene, trochet ful þik,
Fayre fylyolez þat fy3ed, and ferlyly long,
Page 23
With coruon coprounes craftyly sle3e.
Chalkwhyt chymnees þer ches he inno3e
Vpon bastel rouez, þat blenked ful quyte;
So mony pynakle payntet watz poudred ayquere,
Among þe castel carnelez clambred so þik,
Þat pared out of papure purely hit semed.
Þe fre freke on þe fole hit fayr innoghe þo3t,
If he my3t keuer to com þe cloyster wythinne,
To herber in þat hostel whyl halyday lested,
He calde, and sone þer com
A porter pure plesaunt,
On þe wal his ernd he nome,
And haylsed þe kny3t erraunt.

'Gode sir,' quoþ Gawan, 'woldez þou go myn ernde
To þe he3 lorde of þis hous, herber to craue?'

folio 102r

'3e, Peter,' quoþ þe porter, 'and purely I trowee
Þat 3e be, wy3e, welcum to won quyle yow lykez.'
Þen 3ede þe wy3e 3erne and com a3ayn swyþe,
And folke frely hym wyth, to fonge þe kny3t.
Þay let doun þe grete dra3t and derely out 3eden,
And kneled doun on her knes vpon þe colde erþe
To welcum þis ilk wy3 as worþy hom þo3t;
Þay 3olden hym þe brode 3ate, 3arked vp wyde,
And he hem raysed rekenly, and rod ouer þe brygge.
Sere seggez hym sesed by sadel, quel he ly3t,
And syþen stabeled his stede stif men inno3e.
Kny3tez and swyerez comen doun þenne
For to bryng þis buurne 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 and his blasoun boþe þay token.
Þen haylsed he ful hendly þo haþelez vchone,
And 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
Page 24
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
and welde.'
'Graunt mercy,' quoþ Gawayn,
'Þer Kryst hit yow for3elde.'
As frekez þat semed fayn
Ayþer oþer in armez con felde.

Gawayn gly3t on þe gome þat godly hym gret,
And þu3t hit a bolde burne þat þe bur3 a3te,
A hoge haþel for þe nonez, and of hyghe eldee;
Brode, bry3t, watz his berde, and al beuer-hwed,
Sturne, stif on þe stryþþe on stalworth schonkez,
Felle face as þe fyre, and fre of hys speche;
And wel hym semed, for soþe, as þe segge þu3t,
To lede a lortschyp in lee of leudez ful gode.

folio 102v

Þe lorde hym charred to a chambre, and chefly cumaundez
To delyuer hym a leude, hym lo3ly to serue;
And þere were boun at his bode burnez inno3e,
Þat bro3t hym to a bry3t boure, þer beddyng watz noble,
Of cortynes of clene sylk wyth cler golde hemmez,
And couertorez ful curious with comlych panez
Of bry3t blaunner aboue, enbrawded bisydez,
Rudelez rennande on ropez, red golde ryngez,
Tapitez ty3t to þe wo3e of tuly and tars,
And vnder fete, on þe flet, of fol3ande sute.
Þer he watz dispoyled, wyth spechez of myerþe,
Þe burn of his bruny and of his bry3t wedez.
Ryche robes ful rad renkkez hym bro3ten,
For to charge, and to chaunge, and chose of þe best.
Sone as he on hent, and happed þerinne,
Þat sete on hym semly wyth saylande skyrtez,
Þe ver by his uisage verayly hit semed
Welne3 to vche haþel, alle on hwes
Lowande and lufly alle his lymmez vnder,
Þat a comloker kny3t neuer Kryst made
hem þo3t.
Page 25
Wheþen in worlde he were,
Hit semed as he mo3t
Be prynce withouten pere
In felde þer felle men fo3t.

A cheyer byfore þe chemné, þer charcole brenned,
Watz grayþed for Sir Gawan grayþely with cloþez,
Whyssynes vpon queldepoyntes þat koynt wer boþe;
And þenne a meré mantyle watz on þat mon cast
Of a broun bleeaunt, enbrauded ful ryche
And fayre furred wythinne with fellez of þe best,
Alle of ermyn in erde, his hode of þe same;
And he sete in þat settel semlych ryche,
And achaufed hym chefly, and þenne his cher mended.
Sone watz telded vp a tabil on trestez ful fayre,
Clad wyth a clene cloþe þat cler quyt schewed,
Sanap, and salure, and syluerin sponez.

folio 103r

Þe wy3e wesche at his wylle, and went to his mete.
Seggez hym serued semly inno3e
Wyth sere sewes and sete, sesounde of þe best,
Double-felde, as hit fallez, and fele kyn fischez,
Summe baken in bred, summe brad on þe gledez,
Summe soþen, summe in sewe sauered with spyces,
And ay sawes so sle3e þat þe segge lyked.
Þe freke calde hit a fest ful frely and ofte
Ful hendely, quen alle þe haþeles rehayted hym at onez,
'As hende,
Þis penaunce now 3e take,
And eft hit schal amende.'
Þat mon much merþe con make,
For wyn in his hed þat wende.

Þenne watz spyed and spured vpon spare wyse
Bi preué poyntez of þat prynce, put to hymseluen,
Þat he beknew 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,
And hit watz Wawen hymself þat in þat won syttez,
Page 26
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,
And alle þe men in þat mote maden much joye
To apere in his presense prestly þat tyme,
Þat alle prys and prowes and pured þewes
Apendes to hys persoun, and praysed is euer;
Byfore 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
And 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
and synge.
In menyng of manerez mere

folio 103v

Þis burne now schal vus bryng,
I hope þat may hym here
Schal lerne of luf-talkyng.'

Bi þat þe diner watz done and 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, and þe lady als,
Into a cumly closet coyntly ho entrez.
Gawan glydez ful gay and gos þeder sone;
Þe lorde laches hym by þe lappe and ledez hym to sytte,
And couþly hym knowez and callez hym his nome,
And sayde he watz þe welcomest wy3e of þe worlde;
And he hym þonkked þroly, and ayþer halched oþer,
And 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 and of lyre,
And of compas and colour and costes, of alle oþer,
Page 27
And wener þen Wenore, as þe wy3e þo3t.
Ho 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,
And he3ly honowred with haþelez aboute.
Bot vnlyke on to loke þo ladyes were,
For if þe 3onge watz 3ep, 3ol3e watz þat oþer;
Riche red on þat on rayled ayquere,
Rugh ronkled chekez þat oþer on rolled;
Kerchofes of þat on, wyth mony cler perlez,
Hir brest and 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 chalkquyte vayles,
Hir frount folden in sylk, enfoubled ayquere,
Toreted and treleted with tryflez aboute,

folio 104r

Þat no3t watz bare of þat burde bot þe blake bro3es,
Þe tweyne y3en and þe nase, þe naked lyppez,
And þose were soure to se and sellyly blered;
A mensk lady on molde mon may hir calle,
for Gode!
Hir body watz schort and þik,
Hir buttokez bal3 and brode,
More lykkerwys 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 lent hem a3aynes;
Þe alder he haylses, heldande ful lowe,
Þe loueloker he lappez a lyttel in armez,
He kysses hir comlyly, and kny3tly he melez.
Þay kallen hym of aquoyntaunce, and he hit quyk askez
To be her seruaunt sothly, if hemself lyked.
Þay tan hym bytwene hem, wyth talkyng hym leden
To chambre, to chemné, and chefly þay asken
Spycez, þat vnsparely men speded hom to bryng,
And þe wynnelych wyne þerwith vche tyme.
Þe lorde luflych aloft lepez ful ofte,
Page 28
Mynned merthe to be made vpon mony syþez,
Hent he3ly of his hode, and on a spere henged,
And wayned hom to wynne þe worchip þerof,
Þat most myrþe my3t meue þat Crystenmas whyle--
'And I schal fonde, bi my fayth, to fylter wyth þe best
Er me wont þe wede, 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 lord comaundet ly3t;
Sir Gawen his leue con nyme
And to his bed hym di3t.

On þe morne, as vch mon mynez þat tyme
Þat 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 dayntés mony:

folio 104v

Boþe at mes and 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 and þe gay burde togeder þay seten,
Euen inmyddez, as þe messe metely come,
And syþen þur3 al þe sale as hem best semed.
Bi vche grome at his degré grayþely watz serued
Þer watz mete, þer watz myrþe, þer watz much ioye,
Þat for to telle þerof hit me tene were,
And to poynte hit 3et I pyned me parauenture.
Bot 3et I wot þat Wawen and 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,
Þat hor play watz passande vche prynce gomen,
in vayres.
Trumpez and nakerys,
Much pypyng þer repayres;
Vche mon tented hys,
And þay two tented þayres.
Page 29

Much dut watz þer dryuen þat day and þat oþer,
And þe þryd as þro þronge in þerafter;
Þe ioye of sayn Jonez day watz gentyle to here,
And watz þe last of þe layk, leudez þer þo3ten.
Þer wer gestes to go vpon þe gray morne,
Forþy wonderly þay woke, and þe wyn dronken,
Daunsed ful dre3ly wyth dere carolez.
At þe last, when hit watz 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, þe chymné bysyde,
And þere he dra3ez hym on dry3e, and derely hym þonkkez
Of þe wynne worschip þat he hym wayued hade,
As to honour his hous on þat hy3e tyde,
And enbelyse his bur3 with his bele chere:
'Iwysse sir, quyl I leue, me worþez þe better

folio 105r

Þat Gawayn hatz ben my gest at Goddez awen fest.'
'Grant merci, sir,' quoþ Gawayn, 'in god fayth hit is yowrez,
Al þe honour is your awen--þe he3e kyng yow 3elde!
And I am wy3e at your wylle to worch youre hest,
As I am halden þerto, in hy3e and in lo3e,
bi ri3t.'
Þe lorde fast can hym payne
To holde lenger þe kny3t;
To hym answarez Gawayn
Bi non way þat he my3t.

Then frayned þe freke ful fayre at himseluen
Quat derue 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,' quoþ þe segge, '3e sayn bot þe trawþe,
A he3e ernde and a hasty me hade fro þo wonez,
For I am sumned myselfe to sech to a place,
I ne wot in worlde whederwarde to wende hit to fynde.
I nolde bot if I hit negh my3t on Nw 3eres morne
For alle þe londe inwyth 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
Page 30
Of þe grene chapel, quere hit on grounde stondez,
And of þe kny3t þat hit kepes, of colour of grene.
Þer watz stabled bi statut a steuen vus bytwene
To mete þat mon at þat mere, 3if I my3t last;
And of þat ilk Nw 3ere bot neked now wontez,
And 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,
And me als fayn to falle feye as fayly of myyn ernde.'
Þenne la3ande quoþ þe lorde, 'Now leng þe byhoues,
For I schal teche yow to þat 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 dayez, and ferk on þe fyrst of þe 3ere,

folio 105v

And cum to þat merk at mydmorn, to make quat yow likez
in spenne.
Dowellez whyle New 3eres daye,
And rys, and raykez þenne,
Mon schal yow sette in waye,
Hit is not two myle henne.'

Þenne watz Gawan ful glad, and gomenly he la3ed:
'Now I þonk yow þryuandely þur3 alle oþer þynge,
Now acheued is my chaunce, I schal at your wylle
Dowelle, and ellez do quat 3e demen.'
Þenne sesed hym þe syre and 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, for soþe,' sayd þe segge trwe,
'Whyl I byde in yowre bor3e, be bayn to 3owre hest.'
'For 3e haf trauayled,' quoþ þe tulk, 'towen fro ferre,
And syþen waked me wyth, 3e arn not wel waryst
Nauþer of sostnaunce ne of slepe, soþly I knowe;
Page 31
3e schal lenge in your lofte, and ly3e in your ese
To-morn quyle þe messequyle, and to mete wende
When 3e wyl, wyth my wyf, þat wyth yow schal sitte
And comfort yow with compayny, til I to cort torne;
3e lende,
And I schal erly ryse,
On huntyng wyl I wende.'
Gauayn grantez alle þyse,
Hym heldande, as þe hende.

'3et firre,' quoþ þe freke, 'a forwarde we make:
Quat-so-euer I wynne in þe wod hit worþez to yourez,
And quat chek so 3e acheue chaunge me þerforne.
Swete, swap we so, sware with trawþe,
Queþer, leude, so lymp, lere oþer better.'
'Bi God,' quoþ Gawayn þe gode, 'I grant þertylle,

folio 106r

And þat yow lyst for to layke, lef hit me þynkes.'
'Who bryngez vus þis beuerage, þis bargayn is maked':
So sayde þe lorde of þat lede; þay la3ed vchone,
Þay dronken and daylyeden and dalten vnty3tel,
Þise lordez and ladyez, quyle þat hem lyked;
And syþen with Frenkysch fare and fele fayre lotez
Þay stoden and stemed and stylly speken,
Kysten ful comlyly and ka3ten her leue.
With mony leude ful ly3t and lemande torches
Vche burne to his bed watz bro3t at þe laste,
ful softe.
To bed 3et er þay 3ede,
Recorded couenauntez ofte;
Þe olde lorde of þat leude
Cowþe wel halde layk alofte.

Passus III

Ful erly bifore þe day þe folk vprysen,
Gestes þat go wolde hor gromez þay calden,
And þay busken vp bilyue blonkkez to sadel,
Page 32
Tyffen her 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 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 and calde hem þeroute,
Blwe bygly in buglez þre bare mote;
Braches bayed þerfore and breme noyse maked;
And þay chastysed and 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;

folio 106v

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 meue to þe male dere.
Þe hindez were halden in with hay! and war!
Þe does dryuen with gret dyn to þe depe sladez;
Þer my3t mon se, as þay slypte, slentyng of arwes--
At vche wende vnder wande wapped a flone--
Þat bigly bote on þe broun with ful brode hedez.
What! þay brayen, and bleden, bi bonkkez þay de3en,
And ay rachches in a res radly hem fol3es,
Hunterez wyth hy3e horne hasted hem after
Wyth such a crakkande kry as klyffes haden brusten.
Page 33
What wylde so atwaped wy3es þat schotten
Watz al toraced and rent at þe resayt,
Bi þay were tened at þe hy3e and taysed to þe wattrez;
Þe ledez were so lerned at þe lo3e trysteres,
And þe grehoundez so grete, þat geten hem bylyue
And hem tofylched, as fast as frekez my3t loke,
Þe lorde for blys abloy
Ful oft con launce and ly3t,
And drof þat day wyth joy
Thus to þe derk ny3t.

Þus laykez þis lorde by lynde-wodez euez,
And Gawayn þe god mon in gay bed lygez,
Lurkkez quyl þe dayly3t lemed on þe wowes,
Vnder couertour ful clere, cortyned aboute;
And as in slomeryng he slode, sle3ly he herde
A littel dyn at his dor, and dernly vpon;
And he heuez vp his hed out of þe cloþes,

folio 107r

A corner of þe cortyn he ca3t vp a lyttel,
And waytez warly þiderwarde quat hit be my3t.
Hit watz þe ladi, loflyest to beholde,
Þat dro3 þe dor after hir ful dernly and stylle,
And bo3ed towarde þe bed; and þe burne schamed,
And layde hym doun lystyly, and let as he slepte;
And ho stepped stilly and stel to his bedde,
Kest vp þe cortyn and creped withinne,
And set hir ful softly on þe bed-syde,
And 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
Meue 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, and wroth, and to hir warde torned,
And vnlouked his y3e-lyddez, and let as hym wondered,
And sayned hym, as bi his sa3e þe sauer to worthe,
with hande.
Page 34
Wyth chynne and cheke ful swete,
Boþe quit and red in blande,
Ful lufly con ho lete
Wyth lyppez smal la3ande.

'God moroun, Sir Gawayn,' sayde þat gay lady,
'3e ar a sleper vnsly3e, þat mon may slyde hider;
Now ar 3e tan as-tyt! 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, gay,' quoþ Gawayn þe blyþe,
'Me schal worþe at your wille, and þat me wel lykez,
For I 3elde me 3ederly, and 3e3e after grace,
And þat is þe best, be my dome, for me byhouez nede':
And þus he bourded a3ayn with mony a blyþe la3ter.
'Bot wolde 3e, lady louely, þen leue me grante,
And deprece your prysoun, and pray hym to ryse,
I wolde bo3e of þis bed, and busk me better;
I schulde keuer þe more comfort to karp yow wyth.'

folio 107v

'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,
And syþen karp wyth my kny3t þat I ka3t haue;
For I wene wel, iwysse, Sir Wowen 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.
And now 3e ar here, iwysse, and we bot oure one;
My lorde and his ledez ar on lenþe faren,
Oþer burnez in her bedde, and my burdez als,
Þe dor drawen and dit with a derf haspe;
And 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, and schale.'
Page 35

'In god fayth,' quoþ 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 vnworþy, I wot wel myseluen.
Bi God, I were glad, and 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,' quoþ þe gay lady,
'Þe prys and 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 with derely your daynté wordez,
Keuer hem comfort and colen her carez,
Þen much of þe garysoun 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,

folio 108r

Þat watz so fayr of face,
Þe kny3t with speches skere
Answared to vche a cace.

'Madame,' quoþ þe myry mon, 'Mary yow 3elde,
For I haf founden, in god fayth, yowre fraunchis nobele,
And oþer ful much of oþer folk fongen bi hor dedez,
Bot þe daynté þat þay delen, for my disert nys euen,
Hit is þe worchyp of yourself, þat no3t bot wel connez.'
'Bi Mary,' quoþ þe menskful, 'me þynk hit an oþer;
For were I worth al þe wone of wymmen alyue,
And al þe wele of þe worlde were in my honde,
And I schulde chepen and chose to cheue me a lorde,
For þe costes þat I haf knowen vpon þe, kny3t, here,
Of bewté and debonerté and blyþe semblaunt,
And þat I haf er herkkened and halde hit here trwee,
Þer schulde no freke vpon folde bifore yow be chosen.'
'Iwysse, worþy,' quoþ þe wy3e, '3e haf waled wel better,
Bot I am proude of þe prys þat 3e put on me,
And, soberly your seruaunt, my souerayn I holde yow,
Page 36
And yowre kny3t I becom, and Kryst yow for3elde.'
Þus þay meled of muchquat til mydmorn paste,
And ay þe lady let lyk as hym loued mych;
Þe freke ferde with defence, and 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,
And nedez hit most be done.
Þe lady þenn spek of leue,
He granted hir ful sone.

Þenne ho gef hym god day, and wyth a glent la3ed,
And 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?' quoþ þe freke, and freschly he askez,
Ferde lest he hade fayled in fourme of his castes;
Bot þe burde hym blessed, and 'Bi þis skyl' sayde:

folio 108v

'So god as Gawayn gaynly is halden,
And cortaysye is closed so clene in hymseluen,
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 quoþ Wowen: 'Iwysse, worþe as yow lykez;
I schal kysse at your comaundement, as a kny3t fallez,
And fire, lest he displese yow, so plede hit no more.'
Ho comes nerre with þat, and cachez hym in armez,
Loutez luflych adoun and þe leude kyssez.
Þay comly bykennen to Kryst ayþer oþer;
Ho dos hir forth at þe dore withouten dyn more;
And he ryches hym to ryse and rapes hym sone,
Clepes to his chamberlayn, choses his wede,
Bo3ez forth, quen he watz boun, blyþely to masse;
And þenne he meued to his mete þat menskly hym keped,
And made myry al day, til þe mone rysed,
with game.
Watz neuer freke fayrer fonge
Bitwene two so dyngne dame,
Page 37
Þe alder and þe 3onge;
Much solace set þay same.

And ay þe lorde of þe londe is lent on his gamnez,
To hunt in holtez and heþe at hyndez barayne;
Such a sowme he þer slowe bi þat þe sunne heldet,
Of dos and of oþer dere, to deme were wonder.
Þenne fersly þay flokked in folk at þe laste,
And quykly of þe quelled dere a querré þay maked.
Þe best bo3ed þerto with burnez innoghe,
Gedered þe grattest of gres þat þer were,
And 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, and þe schyre knitten;
Syþen rytte þay þe foure lymmes, and rent of þe hyde,
Þen brek þay þe balé, þe bowelez out token

folio 109r

Lystily for laucyng þe lere of þe knot;
Þay gryped to þe gargulun, and grayþely departed
Þe wesaunt fro þe wynt-hole, and 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 and brayden hit in twynne,
And eft at þe gargulun bigynez on þenne,
Ryuez hit vp radly ry3t to þe by3t,
Voydez out þe avanters, and 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,
And heuen hit vp al hole, and hwen hit of þere,
And þat þay neme for þe noumbles bi nome, as I trowe,
bi kynde;
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 and þe hals þay hwen of þenne,
And syþen sunder þay þe sydez swyft fro þe chyne,
Page 38
And þe corbeles fee þay kest in a greue;
Þenn þurled þay ayþer þik side þur3 bi þe rybbe,
And henged þenne ayþer bi ho3ez of þe fourchez,
Vche freke for his fee, as fallez for to haue.
Vpon a felle of þe fayre best fede þay þayr houndes
Wyth þe lyuer and þe ly3tez, þe leþer of þe paunchez,
And 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 watz done þe douthe watz al wonen
Into þe comly castel, þer þe kny3t bidez
ful stille,
Wyth blys and bry3t fyr bette.
Þe lorde is comen þertylle;
When Gawayn wyth hym mette
Þer watz bot wele at wylle.

folio 109v

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,
And al godly in gomen Gawayn 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,' quoþ þat oþer wy3e, 'here is wayth fayrest
Þat I se3 þis seuen 3ere in sesoun of wynter.'
'And al I gif yow, Gawayn,' quoþ þe gome þenne,
'For by acorde of couenaunt 3e craue hit as your awen.'
'Þis is soth,' quoþ þe segge, 'I say yow þat ilke:
Þat I haf worthyly wonnen þis wonez wythinne,
Iwysse with as god wylle hit worþez to 3ourez.'
He hasppez his fayre hals his armez wythinne,
And kysses hym as comlyly as he couþe awyse:
Page 39
'Tas yow þere my cheuicaunce, I cheued no more;
I wowche hit saf fynly, þa3 feler hit were.'
'Hit is god,' quoþ þe godmon, 'grant mercy þerfore.
Hit may be such hit is þe better, and 3e me breue wolde
Where 3e wan þis ilk wele bi wytte of yorseluen.'
'Þat watz not forward,' quoþ he, 'frayst me no more.
For 3e haf tan þat yow tydez, trawe non oþer
3e mowe.'
Þay la3ed, and made hem blyþe
Wyth lotez þat were to lowe;
To soper þay 3ede as-swyþe,
Wyth dayntés nwe innowe.

And syþen by þe chymné in chamber þay seten,
Wy3ez þe walle wyn we3ed to hem oft,
And efte in her bourdyng þay bayþen in þe morn
To fylle þe same forwardez þat þay byfore maden:
Wat 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;

folio 110r

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.
Bi þat þe coke hade crowen and cakled bot þryse,
Þe lorde watz lopen of his bedde, þe leudez vchone;
So þat þe mete and þe masse watz metely delyuered,
Þe douthe dressed to þe wod, er any day sprenged,
to chace;
He3 with hunte and hornez
Þur3 playnez þay passe in space,
Vncoupled among þo þornez
Rachez þat ran on race.

SONE þay calle of a quest in a ker 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,
And fellen as fast to þe fuyt, fourty at ones;
Page 40
Þenne such a glauer ande glam of gedered rachchez
Ros, þat þe rocherez rungen aboute;
Hunterez hem hardened with horne and wyth muthe.
Þen al in a semblé sweyed togeder,
Bitwene a flosche in þat fryth and 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, and frekez hem after;
Þay vmbekesten þe knarre and þe knot boþe,
Wy3ez, whyl þay wysten wel wythinne hem hit were,
Þe best þat þer breued watz wyth þe blodhoundez.
Þenne þay beten on þe buskez, and bede hym vpryse,
And he vnsoundyly out so3t seggez ouerþwert;
On þe sellokest swyn swenged out þere,
Long sythen fro þe sounder þat si3ed for olde,
For he watz breme, bor alþer-grattest,
Ful grymme quen he gronyed; þenne greued mony,
For þre at þe fyrst þrast he þry3t to þe erþe,
And sparred forth good sped boute spyt more.
Þise oþer halowed hyghe! ful hy3e, and hay! hay! cryed,

folio 110v

Haden hornez to mouþe, heterly rechated;
Mony watz þe myry mouthe of men and of houndez
Þat buskkez after þis bor with bost and wyth noyse
to quelle.
Ful oft he bydez þe baye,
And maymez þe mute inn melle;
He hurtez of þe houndez, and þay
Ful 3omerly 3aule and 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,
And þe barbez of his browe bite non wolde--
Þa3 þe schauen schaft schyndered in pecez,
Þe hede hypped a3ayn were-so-euer hit hitte.
Page 41
Bot quen þe dyntez hym dered of her dry3e strokez,
Þen, braynwod for bate, on burnez he rasez,
Hurtez hem ful heterly þer he forth hy3ez,
And mony ar3ed þerat, and on lyte dro3en.
Bot þe lorde on a ly3t horce launces hym after,
As burne bolde vpon bent his bugle he blowez,
He rechated, and rode þur3 ronez ful þyk,
Suande þis wylde 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
of hewe.
Þe lady no3t for3ate,
Com to hym to salue;
Ful erly ho watz hym ate
His mode for to remwe.

Ho commes to þe cortyn, and at þe kny3t totes.
Sir Wawen her welcumed worþy on fyrst,
And ho hym 3eldez a3ayn ful 3erne of hir wordez,
Settez hir softly by his syde, and swyþely ho la3ez,
And wyth a luflych loke ho layde hym þyse wordez:
'Sir, 3if 3e be Wawen, wonder me þynkkez,
Wy3e þat is so wel wrast alway to god,
And connez not of compaynye þe costez vndertake,

folio 111r

And 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?' quoþ þe wyghe, 'Iwysse I wot neuer;
If hit be sothe þat 3e breue, þe blame is myn awen.'
'3et I kende yow of kyssyng,' quoþ þe clere þenne,
'Quere-so countenaunce is couþe quikly to clayme;
Þat bicumes vche a kny3t þat cortaysy vses.'
'Do way,' quoþ þat derf mon, 'my dere, þat speche,
For þat durst I not do, lest I deuayed were;
If I were werned, I were wrang, iwysse, 3if I profered.'
'Ma fay,' quoþ þe meré wyf, '3e may not be werned,
Page 42
3e ar stif innoghe to constrayne wyth strenkþe, 3if yow lykez,
3if any were so vilanous þat yow devaye wolde.'
'3e, be God,' quoþ Gawayn, 'good is your speche,
Bot þrete is vnþryuande in þede þer I lende,
And 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, and leue quen yow þynkkez,
in space.'
Þe lady loutez adoun,
And comlyly kysses his face,
Much speche þay þer expoun
Of druryes greme and grace.

'I woled wyt at yow, wy3e,' þat worþy þer sayde,
'And yow wrathed not þerwyth, what were þe skylle
Þat so 3ong and so 3epe as 3e at þis tyme,
So cortayse, so kny3tyly, as 3e ar knowen oute--
And of alle cheualry to chose, þe chef þyng alosed
Is þe lel layk of luf, þe lettrure of armes;
For to telle of þis teuelyng of þis trwe kny3tez,
Hit is þe tytelet token and tyxt of her werkkez,
How ledes for her lele luf hor lyuez han auntered,
Endured for her drury dulful stoundez,
And after wenged with her walour and voyded her care,
And bro3t blysse into boure with bountees hor awen--
And 3e ar kny3t comlokest kyd of your elde,

folio 111v

Your worde and your worchip walkez ayquere,
And 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;
And 3e, þat ar so cortays and coynt of your hetes,
Oghe to a 3onke þynk 3ern to schewe
And 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?
For schame!
I com hider sengel, and sitte
To lerne at yow sum game;
Page 43
Dos, techez me of your wytte,
Whil my lorde is fro hame.'

'In goud fayþe,' quoþ Gawayn, 'God yow for3elde!
Gret is þe gode gle, and gomen to me huge,
Þat so worþy as 3e wolde wynne hidere,
And 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 myself to trwluf expoun,
And towche þe temez of tyxt and 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 folé felefolde, my fre, by my trawþe.
I wolde yowre wylnyng worche at my my3t,
As I am hy3ly bihalden, and euermore wylle
Be seruaunt to yourseluen, so saue me Dry3tyn!'
Þus hym frayned þat fre, and fondet hym ofte,
For to haf wonnen hym to wo3e, what-so scho þo3t ellez;
Bot he defended hym so fayr þat no faut semed,
Ne non euel on nawþer halue, nawþer þay wysten
bot blysse.
Þay la3ed and layked longe;
At þe last scho con hym kysse,
Hir leue fayre con scho fonge
And went hir waye, iwysse.

Then ruþes hym þe renk and ryses to þe masse,

folio 112r

And siþen hor diner watz dy3t and 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
And bote þe best of his brachez þe bakkez in sunder
Þer he bode in his bay, tel bawemen hit breken,
And madee hym mawgref his hed for to mwe vtter,
So felle flonez þer 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.
Page 44
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
for woþe;
He hade hurt so mony byforne
Þat al þu3t þenne ful loþe
Be more wyth his tusches torne,
Þat breme watz and 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 and 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 freke, lest felle hym þe worre.
Þe swyn settez hym out on þe segge euen,
Þat þe burne and 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,
And he 3arrande hym 3elde, and 3edoun þe water

folio 112v

ful tyt.
A hundreth houndez hym hent,
Þat bremely con hym bite,
Burnez him bro3t to bent,
And doggez to dethe endite.

There watz blawyng of prys in mony breme horne,
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 and on hi3e settez,
Page 45
And 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 cheldez,
And hatz out þe hastlettez, as hi3tly bisemez;
And 3et hem halchez al hole þe haluez togeder,
And 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
so stronge.
Til he se3 Sir Gawayne
In halle hym po3t ful longe;
He calde, and he com gayn
His feez þer for to fonge.

Þe lorde ful lowde with lote and la3ter myry,
When he se3e Sir Gawayn, with solace he spekez;
Þe goude ladyez were geten, and gedered þe meyny,
He schewez hem þe scheldez, and schapes hem þe tale
Of þe largesse and 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,
And 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,

folio 113r

And let lodly þerat þe lorde for to here.
'Now, Gawayn,' quoþ þe godmon, 'þis gomen is your awen
Bi fyn forwarde and faste, faythely 3e knowe.'
'Hit is sothe,' quoþ þe segge, 'and as siker trwe
Alle my get I schal yow gif agayn, bi my trawþe.'
He hent þe haþel aboute þe halse, and hendely hym kysses,
And eftersones of þe same he serued hym þere.
'Now ar we euen,' quoþ þe haþel, 'in þis euentide
Of alle þe couenauntes þat we knyt, syþen I com hider,
bi lawe.'
Þe lorde sayde, 'Bi saynt Gile,
3e ar þe best þat I knowe!
Page 46
3e ben ryche in a whyle,
Such chaffer and 3e drowe.'

Þenne þay teldet tablez trestes alofte,
Kesten cloþen vpon; clere ly3t þenne
Wakned bi wo3ez, waxen torches;
Seggez sette and serued in sale al aboute;
Much glam and gle glent vp þerinne
Aboute þe fyre vpon flet, and on fele wyse
At þe soper and after, mony aþel songez,
As coundutes of Krystmasse and carolez newe
With al þe manerly merþe þat mon may of telle,
And euer oure luflych kny3t þe lady bisyde.
Such semblaunt to þat segge semly ho made
Wyth stille stollen countenaunce, þat stalworth to plese,
Þat al forwondered watz þe wy3e, and wroth with hymseluen,
Bot he nolde not for his nurture nurne hir a3aynez,
Bot dalt with hir al in daynté, 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,
And to þe chemné þay past.

Ande þer þay dronken, and dalten, and demed eft nwe
To norne on þe same note on Nwe 3erez euen;
Bot þe kny3t craued leue to kayre on þe morn,
For hit watz ne3 at þe terme þat he to schulde.

folio 113v

Þe lorde hym letted of þat, to lenge hym resteyed,
And 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 and lach þyn ese,
And I schal hunt in þis holt, and halde þe towchez,
Chaunge wyth þe cheuisaunce, bi þat I charre hider;
For I haf fraysted þe twys, and faythful I fynde þe.
Now "þrid tyme þrowe best" þenk on þe morne,
Make we mery quyl we may and mynne vpon joye,
For þe lur may mon lach when-so mon lykez.'
Þis watz grayþely graunted, and Gawayn is lenged,
Page 47
Bliþe bro3t watz hym drynk, and þay to bedde 3eden
with li3t.
Sir Gawayn lis and slepes
Ful stille and softe al ni3t;
Þe lorde þat his craftez kepes,
Ful erly he watz di3t.

After messe a morsel he and 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 blonkkez bifore þe halle 3atez.
Ferly fayre watz þe folde, for þe forst clenged;
In rede rudede vpon rak rises þe sunne,
And 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 traueres bi traunt of her wyles;
A kenet kyres þerof, þe hunt on hym calles;
His fela3es fallen hym to, þat fnasted ful þike,
Runnen forth in a rabel in his ry3t fare,
And he fyskez hem byfore; þay founden hym sone,
And quen þay seghe hym with sy3t þay sued hym fast,
Wre3ande hym ful weterly with a wroth noyse;
And he trantes and tornayeez þur3 mony tene greue,
Hauilounez, and herkenez bi heggez ful ofte.

folio 114r

At þe last bi a littel dich he lepez ouer a spenne,
Stelez out ful stilly bi a strothe rande,
Went haf wylt of þe wode with wylez fro þe houndes;
Þenne watz he went, er he wyst, to a wale tryster,
Þer þre þro at a þrich þrat hym at ones,
al graye.
He blenched a3ayn bilyue
And stifly start on-stray,
With alle þe wo on lyue
To þe wod he went away.
Page 48

Thenne watz hit list vpon lif 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 and ofte þef called,
And ay þe titleres at his tayl, þat tary he ne my3t;
Ofte he watz runnen at, when he out rayked,
And ofte reled in a3ayn, so Reniarde watz wylé.
And 3e he lad hem bi lagmon, þe lorde and 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 hwef goud on hir hede bot þe ha3er stones
Trased aboute hir tressour be twenty in clusteres;
Hir þryuen face and hir þrote þrowen al naked,
Hir brest bare bifore, and bihinde eke.
Ho comez withinne þe chambre dore, and closes hit hir after,
Wayuez vp a wyndow, and on þe wy3e callez,
And radly þus rehayted hym with hir riche wordes,
with chere:
'A! mon, how may þou slepe,

folio 114v

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 dele hym his wyrde
At þe grene chapel, when he þe gome metes,
And bihoues his buffet abide withoute debate more;
Bot quen þat comly com he keuered his wyttes,
Page 49
Swenges out of þe sweuenes, and swarez with hast.
Þe lady luflych com la3ande swete,
Felle ouer his fayre face, and fetly hym kyssed;
He welcumez hir worþily with a wale chere.
He se3 hir so glorious and gayly atyred,
So fautles of hir fetures and of so fyne hewes,
Wi3t wallande joye warmed his hert.
With smoþe smylyng and smolt þay smeten into merþe,
Þat al watz blis and bonchef þat breke hem bitwene,
and wynne.
Þay lanced wordes gode,
Much wele þen watz þerinne;
Gret perile bitwene hem stod,
Nif Maré of hir kny3t mynne.

For þat prynces 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,
And more for his meschef 3if he schulde make synne,
And be traytor to þat tolke þat þat telde a3t.
'God schylde,' quoþ 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.
Quoþ 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,
And folden fayth to þat fre, festned so harde

folio 115r

Þat yow lausen ne lyst--and 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
for gile.'
Þe kny3t sayde, 'Be sayn Jon,'
And smeþely con he smyle,
'In fayth I welde ri3t non,
Ne non wil welde þe quile.'

'Þat is a worde,' quoþ þat wy3t, 'þat worst is of alle,
Page 50
Bot I am swared for soþe, þat sore me þinkkez.
Kysse me now comly, and I schal cach heþen,
I may bot mourne vpon molde, as may þat much louyes.'
Sykande ho swe3e doun and semly hym kyssed,
And siþen ho seueres hym fro, and 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,' quoþ þat wy3e, 'I wolde I hade here
Þe leuest þing for þy luf þat I in londe welde,
For 3e haf deserued, for soþe, 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,
And I am here an erande in erdez vncouþe,
And 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
ne pine.'
'Nay, hende of hy3e honours,'
Quoþ þat lufsum vnder lyne,
'Þa3 I hade no3t 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, and redyly he sayde,

folio 115v

'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, and he hir bode wernes,
And swere swyfte by his sothe þat he hit sese nolde,
And ho soré þat he forsoke, and 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.'
Page 51
Ho la3t a lace ly3tly þat leke vmbe hir sydez,
Knit vpon hir kyrtel vnder þe clere mantyle,
Gered hit watz with grene sylke and with golde schaped,
No3t bot arounde brayden, beten with fyngrez;
And þat ho bede to þe burne, and blyþely biso3t,
Þa3 hit vnworþi were, þat he hit take wolde.
And 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.
'And þerfore, I pray yow, displese yow no3t,
And lettez be your bisinesse, for I bayþe hit yow neuer
to graunte;
I am derely to yow biholde
Bicause of your sembelaunt,
And euer in hot and colde
To be your trwe seruaunt.'

'Now forsake 3e þis silke,' sayde þe burde þenne,
'For hit is symple in hitself? And so hit wel semez.
Lo! so hit is littel, and lasse hit is worþy;
Bot who-so 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 tohewe hym þat my3t,
For he my3t not be slayn for sly3t vpon erþe.'
Þen kest þe kny3t, and hit come to his hert
Hit were a juel for þe jopardé þat hym iugged were:
When he acheued to þe chapel his chek for to fech,
My3t he haf slypped to be vnslayn, þe sle3t were noble.

folio 116r

Þenne he þulged with hir þrepe and þoled hir to speke,
And ho bere on hym þe belt and bede hit hym swyþe--
And he granted and hym gafe with a goud wylle--
And biso3t hym, for hir sake, disceuer hit neuer,
Bot to lelly layne fro hir lorde; þe leude hym acordez
Þat neuer wy3e schulde hit wyt, iwysse, bot þay twayne
for no3te;
He þonkked hir oft ful swyþe,
Ful þro with hert and þo3t.
Page 52
Bi þat on þrynne syþe
Ho hatz kyst þe kny3t so to3t.

Thenne lachchez ho hir leue, and leuez hym þere,
For more myrþe of þat mon mo3t ho not gete.
When ho watz gon, Sir Gawayn gerez hym sone,
Rises and 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,
Preuély aproched to a prest, and prayed hym þere
Þat he wolde lyste his lyf and lern hym better
How his sawle schulde be saued when he schuld seye heþen.
Þere he schrof hym schyrly and schewed his mysdedez,
Of þe more and þe mynne, and merci besechez,
And of absolucioun he on þe segge calles;
And he asoyled hym surely and sette hym so clene
As domezday schulde haf ben di3t on þe morn.
And syþen he mace hym as mery among þe fre ladyes,
With comlych caroles and alle kynnes ioye,
As neuer he did bot þat daye, to þe derk ny3t,
with blys.
Vche mon hade daynté þare
Of hym, and 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 spenne to spye þe schrewe,

folio 116v

Þer as he herd þe howndes þat hasted hym swyþe,
Renaud com richchande þur3 a ro3e greue,
And alle þe rabel in a res ry3t at his helez.
Þe wy3e watz war of þe wylde, and warly abides,
And braydez out þe bry3t bronde, and at þe best castez.
And he schunt for þe scharp, and schulde haf arered;
A rach rapes hym to, ry3t er he my3t,
And ry3t bifore þe hors fete þay fel on hym alle,
Page 53
And woried me þis wyly wyth a wroth noyse.
Þe lorde ly3tez bilyue, and lachez hym sone,
Rased hym ful radly out of þe rach mouþes,
Haldez he3e ouer his hede, halowez faste,
And þer bayen hym mony braþ 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,
And 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
with lote.
Hor houndez þay þer rewarde,
Her hedez þay fawne and frote,
And syþen þay tan Reynarde,
And tyruen of his cote.

And 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-byside,
Sir Gawayn þe gode, þat glad watz withalle,
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,
And his hode of þat ilke henged on his schulder,
Blande al of blaunner were boþe al aboute.
He metez me þis godmon inmyddez þe flore,
And al with gomen he hym gret, and goudly he sayde,
'I schal fylle vpon fyrst oure forwardez nouþe,

folio 117r

Þat we spedly han spoken, þer spared watz no drynk.'
Þen acoles he þe kny3t and kysses hym þryes,
As sauerly and sadly as he hem sette couþe.
'Bi Kryst,' quoþ þat oþer kny3t, '3e cach much sele
In cheuisaunce of þis chaffer, 3if 3e hade goud chepez.'
'3e, of þe chepe no charg,' quoþ chefly þat oþer,
'As is pertly payed þe chepez þat I a3te.'
Page 54
'Mary,' quoþ þat oþer mon, 'myn is bihynde,
For I haf hunted al þis day, and no3t haf I geten
Bot þis foule fox felle--þe fende haf þe godez!--
And þat is ful pore for to pay for suche prys þinges
As 3e haf þry3t me here þro, suche þre cosses
so gode.'
'Ino3,' quoþ Sir Gawayn,
'I þonk yow, bi þe rode',
And how þe fox watz slayn
He tolde hym as þay stode.

With merþe and mynstralsye, with metez at hor wylle,
Þay maden as mery as any men mo3ten--
With la3yng of ladies, with lotez of bordes
Gawayn and þe godemon so glad were þay boþe--
Bot if þe douthe had doted, oþer dronken ben oþer.
Boþe þe mon and 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, and fayre he hym þonkkez:
'Of such a selly 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,
And 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,' quoþ þe godmon, 'wyth a goud wylle
Al þat euer I yow hy3t halde schal I redé.'
Þer asyngnes he a seruaunt to sett hym in þe waye,

folio 117v

And coundue hym by þe downez, þat he no drechch had,
For to ferk þur3 þe fryth and fare at þe gaynest
bi greue.
Þe lorde Gawayn con þonk,
Such worchip he wolde hym weue.
Þen at þo ladyez wlonk
Þe kny3t hatz tan his leue.
Page 55

With care and wyth kyssyng he carppez hem tille,
And fele þryuande þonkkez he þrat hom to haue,
And þay 3elden hym a3ayn 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 and his solace and his sere pyne,
Þat þay wyth busynes had ben aboute hym to serue;
And vche segge as soré to seuer with hym þere
As þay hade wonde worþyly with þat wlonk euer.
Þen with ledes and ly3t he watz ladde to his chambre
And blyþely 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;
And 3e wyl a whyle be stylle
I schal telle yow how þay wro3t.

Passus IV

NOW ne3ez þe Nw 3ere, and 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,
And 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.

folio 118r

Deliuerly he dressed vp, er þe day sprenged,
For þere watz ly3t of a laumpe þat lemed in his chambre;
He called to his chamberlayn, þat cofly hym swared,
And bede hym bryng hym his bruny and his blonk sadel;
Page 56
Þat oþer ferkez hym vp and fechez hym his wedez,
And grayþez me Sir Gawayn vpon a grett wyse.
Fyrst he clad hym in his cloþez þe colde for to were,
And syþen his oþer harnays, þat holdely watz keped,
Boþe his paunce and his platez, piked ful clene,
Þe ryngez rokked of þe roust of his riche bruny;
And al watz fresch as vpon fyrst, and he watz fayn þenne
to þonk;
He hade vpon vche pece,
Wypped ful wel and wlonk;
Þe gayest into Grece,
Þe burne bede bryng his blonk.

Whyle þe wlonkest wedes he warp on hymseluen--
His cote wyth þe conysaunce of þe clere werkez
Ennurned vpon veluet, vertuus stonez
Aboute beten and bounden, enbrauded semez,
And fayre furred withinne wyth fayre pelures--
3et laft he not þe lace, þe ladiez gifte,
Þat forgat 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,
And þa3 þe glyterande golde glent vpon endez,
Bot for to sauen hymself, when suffer hym byhoued,
To byde bale withoute dabate of bronde hym to were
oþer knyffe.
Bi þat þe bolde mon boun
Wynnez þeroute bilyue,
Alle þe meyny of renoun
He þonkkez ofte ful ryue.

folio 118v

Thenne watz Gryngolet grayþe, þat gret watz and huge,
And hade ben soiourned sauerly and in a siker wyse,
Hym lyst prik for poynt, þat proude hors þenne.
Page 57
Þe wy3e wynnez hym to and wytez on his lyre,
And sayde soberly hymself and 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,
And halden honour in her honde, þe haþel hem 3elde
Þat haldez þe heuen vpon hy3e, and also yow alle!
And 3if I my3t lyf vpon londe lede any quyle,
I schuld rech yow sum rewarde redyly, if I my3t.'
Þenn steppez he into stirop and strydez alofte;
His schalk schewed hym his schelde, on schulder he hit la3t,
Gordez to Gryngolet with his gilt helez,
And he startez on þe ston, stod he no lenger
to praunce.
His haþel on hors watz þenne,
Þat bere his spere and launce.
'Þis kastel to Kryst I kenne':
He gef hit ay god chaunce.

The brygge watz brayde doun, and þe brode 3atez
Vnbarred and born open vpon boþe halue.
Þe burne blessed hym bilyue, and þe bredez passed--
Prayses þe porter bifore þe prynce kneled,
Gef hym God and goud day, þat Gawayn he saue--
And went on his way with his wy3e one,
Þat schulde teche hym to tourne to þat tene place
Þer þe ruful race he schulde resayue.
Þay bo3en bi bonkkez þer bo3ez ar bare,
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 and breke bi bonkkez aboute,
Schyre schaterande on schorez, þer þay doun schowued.

folio 119r

Wela wylle watz þe way þer þay bi wod schulden,
Til hit watz sone sesoun þat þe sunne ryses
þat tyde.
Þay were on a hille ful hy3e,
Þe quyte snaw lay bisyde;
Page 58
Þe burne þat rod hym by
Bede his mayster abide.

'For I haf wonnen yow hider, wy3e, at þis tyme,
And now nar 3e not fer fro þat note place
Þat 3e han spied and spuryed so specially after;
Bot I schal say yow for soþe, syþen I yow knowe,
And 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 and sturne, and to strike louies,
And more he is þen any mon vpon myddelerde,
And 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, and 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 hymseluen.
Forþy I say þe, as soþe as 3e in sadel sitte,
Com 3e þere, 3e be kylled, may þe kny3t rede,
Trawe 3e me þat trwely, þa3 3e had twenty lyues
to spende.
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,
And gotz away sum oþer gate, vpon Goddez halue!
Cayrez bi sum oþer kyth, þer Kryst mot yow spede,
And I schal hy3 me hom a3ayn, and hete yow fyrre

folio 119v

Þat I schal swere bi God and alle his gode hal3ez,
As help me God and þe halydam, and oþez innoghe,
Þat I schal lelly yow layne, and lance neuer tale
Þat euer 3e fondet to fle for freke þat I wyst.'
Page 59
'Grant merci', quoþ Gawayn, and gruchyng he sayde:
'Wel worth þe, wy3e, þat woldez my gode,
And þat lelly me layne I leue wel þou woldez.
Bot helde þou hit neuer so holde, and 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 wyl to þe chapel, for chaunce þat may falle,
And 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, and stad with staue,
Ful wel con Dry3tyn schape
His seruauntez for to saue.'

'Mary!' quoþ þat oþer mon, 'now þou so much spellez,
Þat þou wylt þyn awen nye nyme to þyseluen,
And þe lyst lese þy lyf, þe lette I ne kepe.
Haf here þi helme on þy hede, þi spere in þi honde,
And ryde me doun þis ilk rake bi 3on rokke syde,
Til þou be bro3t to þe boþem of þe brem valay;
Þenne loke a littel on þe launde, on þi lyfte honde,
And þou schal se in þat slade þe self chapel,
And 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 wyth 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, and leuez þe kny3t þere
al one.
'Bi Goddez self,' quoþ Gawayn,
'I wyl nauþer grete ne grone;
To Goddez wylle I am ful bayn,
And to hym I haf me tone.'

folio 120r

Thenne gyrdez he to Gryngolet, and gederez þe rake,
Schowuez in bi a schore at a scha3e syde,
Ridez þur3 þe ro3e bonk ry3t to þe dale;
Page 60
And þenne he wayted hym aboute, and wylde hit hym þo3t,
And se3e no syngne of resette bisydez nowhere,
Bot hy3e bonkkez and brent vpon boþe halue,
And ru3e knokled knarrez with knorned stonez;
Þe skwez of þe scowtes skayned hym þo3t.
Þenne he houed, and wythhylde his hors at þat tyde,
And ofte chaunged his cher þe chapel to seche:
He se3 non suche in no syde, and selly hym þo3t,
Saue, a lyttel on a launde, a lawe as hit were;
A bal3 ber3 bi a bonke þe brymme bysyde,
Bi a for3 of a flode þat ferked þare;
Þe borne blubred þerinne as hit boyled hade.
Þe kny3t kachez his caple, and com to þe lawe,
Li3tez doun luflyly, and at a lynde tachez
Þe rayne and his riche with a ro3e braunche.
Þenne he bo3ez to þe ber3e, aboute hit he walkez,
Debatande with hymself quat hit be my3t.
Hit hade a hole on þe ende and on ayþer syde,
And ouergrowen with gresse in glodes aywhere,
And al watz hol3 inwith, nobot an olde caue,
Or a creuisse of an olde cragge, he couþe hit no3t deme
with spelle.
'We! Lorde,' quoþ þe gentyle kny3t,
'Wheþer þis be þe grene chapelle?
Here my3t aboute mydny3t
Þe dele his matynnes telle!

'Now iwysse,' quoþ Wowayn, 'wysty is here;
Þis oritore is vgly, with erbez ouergrowen;
Wel bisemez þe wy3e wruxled in grene
Dele here his deuocioun on þe deuelez wyse.
Now I fele hit is þe fende, in my fyue wyttez,
Þat hatz stoken me þis steuen to strye me here.
Þis is a chapel of meschaunce, þat chekke hit bytyde!
Hit is þe corsedest kyrk þat euer I com inne!'

folio 120v

With he3e helme on his hede, his launce in his honde,
He romez vp to þe roffe of þe ro3 wonez.
Page 61
Þene herde he of þat hy3e hil, in a harde roche
Bi3onde þe broke, in a bonk, a wonder breme noyse,
Quat! hit clatered in þe clyff, as hit cleue schulde,
As one vpon a gryndelston hade grounden a syþe.
What! hit wharred and whette, as water at a mulne;
What! hit rusched and ronge, rawþe to here.
Þenne 'Bi Godde,' quoþ Gawayn, 'þat gere, as I trowe,
Is ryched at þe reuerence me, renk, to mete
bi rote.
Let God worche! "We loo"--
Hit helppez me not a mote.
My lif þa3 I forgoo,
Drede dotz me no lote.'

Thenne þe kny3t con calle ful hy3e:
'Who sti3tlez in þis sted me steuen to holde?
For now is gode Gawayn goande ry3t here.
If any wy3e o3t wyl, wynne hider fast,
Oþer now oþer neuer, his nedez to spede.'
'Abyde', quoþ on on þe bonke abouen ouer his hede,
'And þou schal haf al in hast þat I þe hy3t ones.'
3et he rusched on þat rurde rapely a þrowe.
And wyth quettyng awharf, er he wolde ly3t;
And syþen he keuerez bi a cragge, and comez of a hole,
Whyrlande out of a wro wyth a felle weppen,
A denez ax nwe dy3t, þe dynt with to 3elde,
With a borelych bytte bende by þe halme,
Fyled in a fylor, fowre fote large--
Hit watz no lasse bi þat lace þat lemed ful bry3t--
And þe gome in þe grene gered as fyrst,
Boþe þe lyre and þe leggez, lokkez and berde,
Saue þat fayre on his fote he foundez on þe erþe,
Sette þe stele to þe stone, and stalked bysyde.
When he wan to þe watter, þer he wade nolde,
He hypped ouer on hys ax, and orpedly strydez,
Bremly broþe on a bent þat brode watz aboute,
on snawe.

folio 121r

Sir Gawayn þe kny3t con mete,
He ne lutte hym noþyng lowe;
Page 62
Þat oþer sayde, 'Now, sir swete,
Of steuen mon may þe trowe.'

'Gawayn,' quoþ þat grene gome, 'God þe mot loke!
Iwysse þou art welcom, wy3e, to my place,
And þou hatz tymed þi trauayl as truee mon schulde,
And þou knowez þe couenauntez kest vus bytwene:
At þis tyme twelmonyth þou toke þat þe falled,
And I schulde at þis Nwe 3ere 3eply þe quyte.
And we ar in þis valay verayly oure one;
Here ar no renkes vs to rydde, rele as vus likez.
Haf þy helme of þy hede, and haf here þy pay.
Busk no more debate þen I þe bede þenne
When þou wypped of my hede at a wap one.'
'Nay, bi God,' quoþ Gawayn, 'þat me gost lante,
I schal gruch þe no grwe for grem þat fallez.
Bot sty3tel þe vpon on strok, and I schal stonde stylle
And warp þe no wernyng to worch as þe lykez,
He lened with þe nek, and lutte,
And schewed þat schyre al bare,
And lette as he no3t dutte;
For drede he wolde not dare.

THEN þe gome in þe grene grayþed hym swyþe,
Gederez vp hys grymme tole Gawayn to smyte;
With alle þe bur in his body he ber hit on lofte,
Munt as ma3tyly as marre hym he wolde;
Hade hit dryuen adoun as dre3 as he atled,
Þer hade ben ded of his dynt þat do3ty watz euer.
Bot Gawayn on þat giserne glyfte hym bysyde,
As hit com glydande adoun on glode hym to schende,
And schranke a lytel with þe schulderes for þe scharp yrne.
Þat oþer schalk wyth a schunt þe schene wythhaldez,
And þenne repreued he þe prynce with mony prowde wordez:
'Þou art not Gawayn,' quoþ þe gome, 'þat is so goud halden,
Þat neuer ar3ed for no here by hylle ne be vale,

folio 121v

And now þou fles for ferde er þou fele harmez!
Such cowardise of þat kny3t cowþe I neuer here.
Page 63
Nawþer fyked I ne fla3e, freke, quen þou myntest,
Ne kest no kauelacion in kyngez hous Arthor.
My hede fla3 to my fote, and 3et fla3 I neuer;
And þou, er any harme hent, ar3ez in hert;
Wherfore þe better burne me burde be called
Quoþ Gawayn, 'I schunt onez,
And so wyl I no more;
Bot þa3 my hede falle on þe stonez,
I con not hit restore.

'Bot busk, burne, bi þi fayth, and bryng me to þe poynt.
Dele to me my destiné, and do hit out of honde,
For I schal stonde þe a strok, and start no more
Til þyn ax haue me hitte: haf here my trawþe.'
'Haf at þe þenne!' quoþ þat oþer, and heuez hit alofte,
And waytez as wroþely as he wode were.
He myntez at hym ma3tyly, bot not þe mon rynez,
Withhelde heterly his honde, er hit hurt my3t.
Gawayn grayþely hit bydez, and glent with no membre,
Bot stode stylle as þe ston, oþer a stubbe auþer
Þat raþeled is in roché grounde with rotez a hundreth.
Þen muryly efte con he mele, þe mon in þe grene:
'So, now þou hatz þi hert holle, hitte me bihous.
Halde þe now þe hy3e hode þat Arþur þe ra3t,
And kepe þy kanel at þis kest, 3if hit keuer may.'
Gawayn ful gryndelly with greme þenne sayde:
'Wy! þresch on, þou þro mon, þou þretez to longe;
I hope þat þi hert ar3e wyth þyn awen seluen.'
'For soþe,' quoþ þat oþer freke, 'so felly þou spekez,
I wyl no lenger on lyte lette þin ernde
ri3t nowe.'
Þenne tas he hym stryþe to stryke,
And frounsez boþe lyppe and browe;
No meruayle þa3 hym myslyke
Þat hoped of no rescowe.

He lyftes ly3tly his lome, and let hit doun fayre

folio 122r

With þe barbe of þe bitte bi þe bare nek;
Page 64
Þa3 he homered heterly, hurt hym no more
Bot snyrt hym on þat on syde, þat seuered þe hyde.
Þe scharp schrank to þe flesche þur3 þe schyre grece,
Þat þe schene blod ouer his schulderes schot to þe erþe;
And quen þe burne se3 þe blode blenk on þe snawe,
He sprit forth spenne-fote more þen a spere lenþe,
Hent heterly his helme, and on his hed cast,
Schot with his schulderez his fayre schelde vnder,
Braydez out a bry3t sworde, and bremely he spekez--
Neuer syn þat he watz burne borne of his moder
Watz he neuer in þis worlde wy3e half so blyþe--
'Blynne, burne, of þy bur, bede me no mo!
I haf a stroke in þis sted withoute stryf hent,
And if þow rechez me any mo, I redyly schal quyte,
And 3elde 3ederly a3ayn--and þerto 3e tryst--
and foo.
Bot on stroke here me fallez--
Þe couenaunt schop ry3t so,
Fermed in Arþurez hallez--
And þerfore, hende, now hoo!'

The haþel heldet hym fro, and on his ax rested,
Sette þe schaft vpon schore, and to þe scharp lened,
And loked to þe leude þat on þe launde 3ede,
How þat do3ty, dredles, deruely þer stondez
Armed, ful a3lez: in hert hit hym lykez.
Þenn he melez muryly wyth a much steuen,
And wyth a rynkande rurde he to þe renk sayde:
'Bolde burne, on þis bent be not so gryndel.
No mon here vnmanerly þe mysboden habbez,
Ne kyd bot as couenaunde at kyngez kort schaped.
I hy3t þe a strok and þou hit hatz, halde þe wel payed;
I relece þe of þe remnaunt of ry3tes alle oþer.
Iif I deliuer had bene, a boffet paraunter
I couþe wroþeloker haf waret, to þe haf wro3t anger.
Fyrst I mansed þe muryly with a mynt one,
And roue þe wyth no rof-sore, with ry3t I þe profered

folio 122v

Page 65
For þe forwarde þat we fest in þe fyrst ny3t,
And þou trystyly þe trawþe and trwly me haldez,
Al þe gayne þow me gef, as god mon schulde.
Þat oþer munt for þe morne, mon, I þe profered,
Þou kyssedes my clere wyf--þe cossez me ra3tez.
For boþe two here I þe bede bot two bare myntes
boute scaþe.
Trwe mon trwe restore,
Þenne þar mon drede no waþe.
At þe þrid þou fayled þore,
And þerfor þat tappe ta þe.

'For hit is my wede þat þou werez, þat ilke wouen girdel,
Myn owen wyf hit þe weued, I wot wel for soþe.
Now know I wel þy cosses, and þy costes als,
And þe wowyng of my wyf: I wro3t hit myseluen.
I sende hir to asay þe, and sothly me þynkkez
On þe fautlest freke þat euer on fote 3ede;
As perle bi þe quite pese is of prys more,
So is Gawayn, in god fayth, bi oþer gay kny3tez.
Bot here yow lakked a lyttel, sir, and lewté yow wonted;
Bot þat watz for no wylyde werke, ne wowyng nauþer,
Bot for 3e lufed your lyf; þe lasse I yow blame.'
Þat oþer stif mon in study stod a gret whyle,
So agreued for greme he gryed withinne;
Alle þe blode of his brest blende in his face,
Þat al he schrank for schome þat þe schalk talked.
Þe forme worde vpon folde þat þe freke meled:
'Corsed worth cowarddyse and couetyse boþe!
In yow is vylany and vyse þat vertue disstryez.'
Þenne he ka3t to þe knot, and þe kest lawsez,
Brayde broþely þe belt to þe burne seluen:
'Lo! þer þe falssyng, foule mot hit falle!
For care of þy knokke cowardyse me ta3t
To acorde me with couetyse, my kynde to forsake,
Þat is larges and lewté þat longez to kny3tez.
Now am I fawty and falce, and ferde haf ben euer
Of trecherye and vntrawþe: boþe bityde sor3e
and care!

folio 123r

Page 66
I biknowe yow, kny3t, here stylle,
Al fawty is my fare;
Letez me ouertake your wylle
And efte I schal be ware.'

Thenn lo3e þat oþer leude and luflyly sayde:
'I halde hit hardily hole, þe harme þat I hade.
Þou art confessed so clene, beknowen of þy mysses,
And hatz þe penaunce apert of þe poynt of myn egge,
I halde þe polysed of þat ply3t, and pured as clene
As þou hadez neuer forfeted syþen þou watz fyrst borne;
And I gif þe, sir, þe gurdel þat is golde-hemmed,
For hit is grene as my goune. Sir Gawayn, 3e maye
Þenk vpon þis ilke þrepe, þer þou forth þryngez
Among prynces of prys, and þis a pure token
Of þe chaunce of þe grene chapel at cheualrous kny3tez.
And 3e schal in þis Nwe 3er a3ayn to my wonez,
And we schyn reuel þe remnaunt of þis ryche fest
ful bene.'
Þer laþed hym fast þe lorde
And sayde: 'With my wyf, I wene,
We schal yow wel acorde,
Þat watz your enmy kene.'

'Nay, for soþe,' quoþ þe segge, and sesed hys helme,
And hatz hit of hendely, and þe haþel þonkkez,
'I haf soiorned sadly; sele yow bytyde,
And he 3elde hit yow 3are þat 3arkkez al menskes!
And comaundez me to þat cortays, your comlych fere,
Boþe þat on and þat oþer, myn honoured ladyez,
Þat þus hor kny3t wyth hor kest han koyntly bigyled.
Bot hit is no ferly þa3 a fole madde,
And þur3 wyles of wymmen be wonen to sor3e,
For so watz Adam in erde with one bygyled,
And Salamon with fele sere, and Samson eftsonez--
Dalyda dalt hym hys wyrde--and Dauyth þerafter
Watz blended with Barsabe, þat much bale þoled.
Now þese were wrathed wyth her wyles, hit were a wynne huge
Page 67
To luf hom wel, and leue hem not, a leude þat couþe.

folio 123v

For þes wer forne þe freest, þat fol3ed alle þe sele
Exellently of alle þyse oþer, vnder heuenryche
þat mused;
And alle þay were biwyled
With wymmen þat þay vsed.
Þa3 I be now bigyled,
Me þink me burde be excused.

'Bot your gordel', quoþ Gawayn, 'God yow for3elde!
Þat wyl I welde wyth guod wylle, not for þe wynne golde,
Ne þe saynt, ne þe sylk, ne þe syde pendaundes,
For wele ne for worchyp, ne for þe wlonk werkkez,
Bot in syngne of my surfet I schal se hit ofte,
When I ride in renoun, remorde to myseluen
Þe faut and þe fayntyse of þe flesche crabbed,
How tender hit is to entyse teches of fylþe;
And þus, quen pryde schal me pryk for prowes of armes,
Þe loke to þis luf-lace schal leþe my hert.
Bot on I wolde yow pray, displeses yow neuer:
Syn 3e be lorde of þe 3onder londe þer I haf lent inne
Wyth yow wyth worschyp--þe wy3e hit yow 3elde
Þat vphaldez þe heuen and on hy3 sittez--
How norne 3e yowre ry3t nome, and þenne no more?'
'Þat schal I telle þe trwly,' quoþ þat oþer þenne,
'Bertilak de Hautdesert I hat in þis londe.
Þur3 my3t of Morgne la Faye, þat in my hous lenges,
And koyntyse of clergye, bi craftes wel lerned,
Þe maystrés of Merlyn mony hatz taken--
For ho hatz dalt drwry ful dere sumtyme
With þat conable klerk, þat knowes alle your kny3tez
at hame;
Morgne þe goddes
Þerfore hit is hir name:
Weldez non so hy3e hawtesse
Þat ho ne con make ful tame--

'Ho wayned me vpon þis wyse to your wynne halle
For to assay þe surquidré, 3if hit soth were
Page 68
Þat rennes of þe grete renoun of þe Rounde Table;
Ho wayned me þis wonder your wyttez to reue,

folio 124r

For to haf greued Gaynour and gart hir to dy3e
With glopnyng of þat ilke gome þat gostlych speked
With his hede in his honde bifore þe hy3e table.
Þat is ho þat is at home, þe auncian lady;
Ho is euen þyn aunt, Arþurez half-suster,
Þe duches do3ter of Tyntagelle, þat dere Vter after
Hade Arþur vpon, þat aþel is nowþe.
Þerfore I eþe þe, haþel, to com to þyn aunt,
Make myry in my hous; my meny þe louies,
And I wol þe as wel, wy3e, bi my faythe,
As any gome vnder God for þy grete trauþe.'
And he nikked hym naye, he nolde bi no wayes.
Þay acolen and kyssen and kennen ayþer oþer
To þe prynce of paradise, and parten ry3t þere
on coolde;
Gawayn on blonk ful bene
To þe knygez bur3 buskez bolde,
And þe kny3t in þe enker-grene
Whiderwarde-so-euer he wolde.

Wylde wayez in þe worlde Wowen now rydez
On Gryngolet, þat þe grace hade geten of his lyue;
Ofte he herbered in house and ofte al þeroute,
And mony aventure in vale, and venquyst ofte,
Þat I ne ty3t at þis tyme in tale to remene.
Þe hurt watz hole þat he hade hent in his nek,
And þe blykkande belt he bere þeraboute
Abelef as a bauderyk bounden bi his syde,
Loken vnder his lyfte arme, þe lace, with a knot,
In tokenyng he watz tane in tech of a faute.
And þus he commes to þe court, kny3t al in sounde.
Þer wakned wele in þat wone when wyst þe grete
Þat gode Gawayn watz commen; gayn hit hym þo3t.
Þe kyng kyssez þe kny3t, and þe whene alce,
And syþen mony syker kny3t þat so3t hym to haylce,
Of his fare þat hym frayned; and ferlyly he telles,
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Biknowez alle þe costes of care þat he hade,
Þe chaunce of þe chapel, þe chere of þe kny3t,

folio 124v

Þe luf of þe ladi, þe lace at þe last.
Þe nirt in þe nek he naked hem schewed
Þat he la3t for his vnleuté at þe leudes hondes
for blame.
He tened quen he schulde telle,
He groned for gref and grame;
Þe blod in his face con melle,
When he hit schulde schewe, for schame.

'Lo! lorde,' quoþ þe leude, and þe lace hondeled,
'Þis is þe bende of þis blame I bere in my nek,
Þis is þe laþe and þe losse þat I la3t haue
Of couardise and couetyse þat I haf ca3t þare;
Þis is þe token of vntrawþe þat I am tan inne,
And I mot nedez hit were wyle I may last;
For mon may hyden his harme, bot vnhap ne may hit,
For þer hit onez is tachched twynne wil hit neuer.'
Þe kyng comfortez þe kny3t, and alle þe court als
La3en loude þerat, and luflyly acorden
Þat lordes and ladis þat longed to þe Table,
Vche burne of þe broþerhede, a bauderyk schulde haue,
A bende abelef hym aboute of a bry3t grene,
And þat, for sake of þat segge, in swete to were.
For þat watz acorded þe renoun of þe Rounde Table,
And he honoured þat hit hade euermore after,
As hit is breued in þe best boke of romaunce.
Þus in Arthurus day þis aunter bitidde,
Þe Brutus bokez þerof beres wyttenesse;
Syphen Brutus, þe bolde burne, bo3ed hider fyrst,
After þe segge and þe asaute watz sesed at Troye,
Mony aunterez here-biforne
Haf fallen suche er þis.
Now þat here þe croun of þorne,
He bryng vus to his blysse! AMEN.

Aerius, 2004