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Humanities Libertexts

1.21: Fytte the Fourth

  • Page ID
    8730
  • I.

    Now ne3ez þe nw 3ere, & þe ny3t passez,

    Þe day dryuez to þe derk, as dry3tyn biddez;

    Bot wylde wederez of þe worlde wakned þeroute,

    Clowdes kesten kenly þe colde to þe erþe,

    Wyth ny3e innoghe of þe norþe, þe naked to tene;

    Þe snawe snitered ful snart, þat snayped þe wylde;

    Þe werbelande wynde wapped fro þe hy3e,

    & drof vche dale ful of dryftes ful grete.

    Þe leude lystened ful wel, þat le3 in his bedde,

    Þa3 he lowkez his liddez, ful lyttel he slepes;

    Bi vch kok þat crue, he knwe wel þe steuen.

    Deliuerly he dressed vp, er þe day sprenged,

    For þere watz ly3t of a lau[m]pe, þat lemed in his chambre;

    He called to his chamberlayn, þat cofly hym swared,

    & bede hym bryng hym his bruny, & his blonk sadel;

    Þat oþer ferkez hym vp, & fechez hym his wedez,

    & grayþez me sir Gawayn vpon a grett wyse.

    Fyrst he clad hym in his cloþez, þe colde for to were;

    & syþen his oþer harnays, þat holdely watz keped,

    Boþe his paunce, & his platez, piked ful clene,

    Þe ryngez rokked of þe roust, of his riche bruny;

    & al watz fresch as vpon fyrst, & he watz fayn þenne

    to þonk;

    He hade vpon vche pece,

    Wypped ful wel & wlonk;

    Þe gayest in to Grece,

    Þe burne bede bryng his blonk.

    II.

    Whyle þe wlonkest wedes he warp on hym-seluen;

    His cote, wyth be conysaunce of þe clere werkez,

    Ennurned vpon veluet vertuuus stonez,

    Aboute beten, & bounden, enbrauded semez,

    & fayre furred with-inne wyth fayre pelures.

    3et laft he not þe lace, þe ladiez gifte,

    Þat for-gat not Gawayn, for gode of hymseluen;

    Bi he hade belted þe bronde vpon his bal3e haunchez,

    Þenn dressed he his drurye double hym aboute;

    Swyþe sweþled vmbe his swange swetely, þat kny3t,

    Þe gordel of þe grene silke, þat gay wel bisemed,

    Vpon þat ryol red cloþe, þat ryche watz to schewe.

    Bot wered not þis ilk wy3e for wele þis gordel,

    For pryde of þe pendauntez, þa3 polyst þay were,

    & þa3 þe glyterande golde glent vpon endez,

    Bot forto sauen hymself, when suffer hym byhoued,

    To byde bale with-oute dabate, of bronde hym to were,

    oþer knyffe;

    Bi þat þe bolde mon boun,

    Wynnez þeroute bilyue,

    Alle þe meyny of renoun,

    He þonkkez ofte ful ryue.

    III.

    Thenne watz Gryngolet grayþe, þat gret watz & huge,

    & hade ben soiourned sauerly, & in a siker wyse,

    Hym lyst prik for poynt, þat proude hors þenne;

    Þe wy3e wynnez hym to, & wytez on his lyre,

    & sayde soberly hymself, & by his soth swerez,

    “Here is a meyny in þis mote, þat on menske þenkkez,

    Þe mon hem maynteines, ioy mot þay haue;

    Þe leue lady, on lyue luf hir bityde;

    3if þay for charyté cherysen a gest,

    & halden honour in her honde, þe haþel hem 3elde,

    Þat haldez þe heuen vpon hy3e, & also yow alle!

    & 3if I my3t lyf vpon londe lede any quyle,

    I schuld rech yow sum rewarde redyly, if I my3t.”

    Þenn steppez he into stirop, & strydez alofte;

    His schalk schewed hym his schelde, on schulder he hit la3t,

    Gordez to Gryngolet, with his gilt helez,

    & he startez on þe ston, stod he no lenger,

    to praunce;

    His haþel on hors watz þenne,

    Þat bere his spere & launce.

    “Þis kastel to Kryst I kenne,

    He gef hit ay god chaunce!”

    IV.

    The brygge watz brayde doun, & þe brode 3atez

    Vnbarred, & born open, vpon boþe halue;

    Þe burne blessed hym bilyue, & þe bredez passed;

    Prayses þe porter, bifore þe prynce kneled,

    Gef hym God & goud day, þat Gawayn he saue;

    & went on his way, with his wy3e one,

    Þat schulde teche hym to tourne to þat tene place,

    Þer þe ruful race he schulde re-sayue.

    Þay bo3en bi bonkkez, þer bo3e3 ar bare,

    They climb by cliffs,

    Þay clomben bi clyffez, þer clengez þe colde;

    Þe heuen watz vphalt, bot vgly þer-vnder,

    Mist muged on þe mor, malt on þe mountez,

    Vch hille hade a hatte, a myst-hakel huge;

    Brokez byled, & breke, bi bonkkez aboute,

    Schyre schaterande on schorez, þer þay doun schowued.

    Welawylle watz þe way, þer þay bi wod schulden,

    Til hit watz sone sesoun, þat þe sunne ryses,

    þat tyde;

    Þay were on a hille ful hy3e,

    Þe quyte snaw lay bisyde;

    Þe burne þat rod hym by

    Bede his mayster abide.

    V.

    “For I haf wonnen yow hider, wy3e, at þis tyme,

    & now nar 3e not fer fro þat note place,

    Þat 3e han spied & spuryed so specially after;

    Bot I schal say yow for soþe, syþen I yow knowe,

    & 3e ar a lede vpon lyue, þat I wel louy,

    Wolde 3e worch bi my wytte, 3e worþed þe better.

    Þe place þat 3e prece to, ful perelous is halden;

    Þer wonez a wy3e in þat waste, þe worst vpon erþe;

    For he is stiffe, & sturne, & to strike louies,

    & more he is þen any mon vpon myddelerde,

    & his body bigger þen þe best fowre.

    Þat ar in Arþurez hous, Hestor oþer oþer.

    He cheuez þat chaunce at þe chapel grene;

    Þer passes non bi þat place, so proude in his armes,

    Þat he ne dyngez hym to deþe, with dynt of his honde;

    For he is a mon methles, & mercy non vses,

    For be hit chorle, oþer chaplayn, þat bi þe chapel rydes,

    Monk, oþer masseprest, oþer any mon elles,

    Hym þynk as queme hym to quelle, as quyk go hym seluen.

    Forþy I say þe as soþe as 3e in sadel sitte,

    Com 3e þere, 3e be kylled, [I] may þe kny3t rede,

    Trawe 3e me þat trwely, þa3 3e had twenty lyues

    to spende;

    He hatz wonyd here ful 3ore,

    On bent much baret bende,

    A3ayn his dyntez sore,

    3e may not yow defende.”

    VI.

    “Forþy, goude sir Gawayn, let þe gome one,

    & gotz away sum oþer gate; vpon Goddez halue;

    Cayrez bi sum oþer kyth, þer Kryst mot yow spede;

    & I schal hy3 me hom a3ayn, & hete yow fyrre,

    Þat I schal swere bi God, & alle his gode hal3ez,

    As help me God & þe halydam, & oþez innoghe,

    Þat I schal lelly yow layne, & lance neuer tale,

    Þat euer 3e fondet to fle, for freke þat I wyst.”

    “Grant merci;” quod Gawayn, & gruchyng he sayde,

    “Wel worth þe wy3e, þat woldez my gode,

    & þat lelly me layne, I leue wel þou woldez!

    Bot helde þou hit neuer so holde, & I here passed,

    Founded for ferde for to fle, in fourme þat þou tellez,

    I were a kny3t kowarde, I my3t not be excused.

    Bot I wy1 to þe chape1, for chaunce þat may falle,

    & talk wyth þat ilk tulk þe tale þat me lyste,

    Worþe hit wele, oþer wo, as þe wyrde lykez hit hafe;

    Þa3e he be a sturn knape,

    To sti3tel, & stad with staue,

    “Full well can God devise his servants for to save.”

    Ful wel con dry3tyn schape,

    His seruauntez forto saue.”

    VII.

    “Mary!” quod þat oþer mon, “now þou so much spellez,

    Þat þou wylt þyn awen nye nyme to þyseluen,

    & þe lyst lese þy lyf, þe lette I ne kepe;

    Haf here þi helme on þy hede, þi spere in þi honde,

    & ryde me doun þis ilk rake, bi 3on rokke syde,

    till thou come to the bottom of the valley;

    Til þou be bro3t to þe boþem of þe brem valay;

    Þenne loke a littel on þe launde, on þi lyfte honde,

    & þou schal se in þat slade þe self chapel,

    & þe borelych burne on bent, þat hit kepez.

    Now farez wel on Godez half, Gawayn þe noble,

    For alle þe golde vpon grounde I nolde go with þe,

    Ne bere þe fela3schip þur3 þis fryth on fote fyrre.”

    Bi þat þe wy3e in þe wod wendez his brydel,

    Hit þe hors with þe helez, as harde as he my3t,

    Lepez hym ouer þe launde, & leuez þe kny3t þere, al one.

    “Bi Goddez self,” quod Gawayn,

    “I wyl nauþer grete ne grone,

    To Goddez wylle I am ful bayn,

    & to hym I haf me tone.”

    VIII.

    Thenne gyrdez he to Gryngolet, & gederez þe rake,

    Schowuez in bi a schore, at a scha3e syde,

    Ridez þur3 þe ro3e bonk, ry3t to þe dale;

    & þenne he wayted hym aboute, & wylde hit hym þo3t,

    & se3e no syngne of resette, bisydez nowhere,

    Bot hy3e bonkkez & brent, vpon boþe halue,

    & ru3e knokled knarrez, with knorned stonez;

    Þe skwez of þe scowtes skayued hym þo3t.

    Þenne he houed, & wythhylde his hors at þat tyde,

    & ofte chaunged his cher, þe chapel to seche;

    He se3 non suche in no syde, & selly hym þo3t,

    Sone a lyttel on a launde, a lawe as hit we[re];

    A bal3 ber3, bi a bonke, þe brymme by-syde,

    Bi a for3 of a flode, þat ferked þare;

    Þe borne blubred þer-inne, as hit boyled hade.

    Þe kny3t kachez his caple, & com to þe lawe,

    Li3tez doun luflyly, & at a lynde tachez

    Þe rayne, & his riche, with a ro3e braunche;

    Þen[n]e he bo3ez to þe ber3e, aboute hit he walkez,

    D[e]batande with hymself, quat hit be my3t.

    Hit hade a hole on þe ende, & on ayþer syde,

    & ouergrowen with gresse in glodes ay where,

    & al watz hol3 in-with, nobot an olde caue,

    Or a creuisse of an olde cragge, he couþe hit no3t deme with spelle,

    “We, lorde,” quod þe gentyle kny3t,

    “Wheþer þis be þe grene chapelle;

    He my3t aboute myd-ny3t,

    [Þ]e dele his matynnes telle!”

    IX.

    “Now iwysse,” quod 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!”

    With he3e helme on his hede, his launce in his honde,

    He romez vp to þe rokke of þo ro3 wonez;

    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, & whette, as water at a mulne,

    What! hit rusched, & ronge, rawþe to here.

    Þenne “bi Godde,” quod 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 for-goo,

    Drede dotz me no lote.”

    X.

    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,” quod on on þe bonke, abouen ouer his hede,

    “& þou schal haf al in hast, þat I þe hy3t ones.”

    3et he rusched on þat rurde, rapely a þrowe,

    & wyth quettyng a-wharf, er he wolde ly3t;

    & syþen he keuerez bi a cragge, & comez of a hole,

    Whyrlande out of a wro, wyth a felle weppen,

    A denez ax nwe dy3t, þe dynt with [t]o 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.

    & þe gome in þe erene gered as fyrst,

    Boþe þe lyre & þe leggez, lokkez, & berde,

    Saue þat fayre on his fote he foundz3 on þe erþe,

    Sette þe stele to þe stone, & stalked bysyde.

    When he wan to þe watter, þer he wade nolde,

    He hypped ouer on hys ax, & orpedly strydez,

    Bremly broþe on a bent, þat brode watz aboute,

    on snawe.

    Sir Gawayn þe kny3t con mete.

    He ne lutte hym no þyng lowe,

    Þat oþer sayde, “now, sir swete,

    Of steuen mon may þe trowe.”

    XI.

    “Gawayn,” quod þat grene gome, “God þe mot loke!

    Iwysse þou art welcom, wy3e, to my place,

    & þou hatz tymed þi trauayl as true mon schulde;

    & þou knowez þe couenauntez kest vus by-twene,

    At þis tyme twelmonyth þou toke þat þe falled,

    & I schulde at þis nwe 3ere 3eply þe quyte.

    & 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, & 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,” quod Gawayn, “þat me gost lante,

    I schal gruch þe no grwe, for grem þat fallez;

    Botsty3tel þe vpon on strok, & I schal stonde stylle,

    & warp þe no wernyng, to worch as þe lykez, no whare.”

    He lened with þe nek, & lutte,

    & schewed þat schyre al bare,

    & lette as he no3t dutte,

    For drede he wolde not dare.

    XII.

    Then þe gome in þe grene grayþed hym swyþe,

    Gederez yp 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,

    & schranke a lytel with þe schulderes, for þe scharp yrne.

    Þat oþer schalk wyth a schunt þe schene wythhaldez,

    & þenne repreued he þe prynce with mony prowde wordez:

    “Þou art not Gawayn,” quod þe gome, “þat is so goud halden,

    Þat neuer ar3ed for no here, by hylle ne be vale,

    & now þou fles for ferde, er þou fele harmez;

    Such cowardise of þat kny3t cowþe I neuer here.

    Nawþer fyked I, ne fla3e, freke, quen þou myntest,

    Ne kest no kauelacion, in kyngez hous Arthor,

    My hede fla3 to my fote, & 3et fla3 I neuer;

    & þou, er any harme hent, ar3ez in hert,

    Wherfore þe better burne me burde be called þerfore.”

    Quod Gawayn, “I schunt onez,

    & so wyl I no more,

    Bot pa3 my hede falle on þe stonez,

    I con not hit restore.

    XIII.

    Bot busk, burne, bi þi fayth, & bryng me to þe poynt,

    Dele to me my destiné, & do hit out of honde,

    For I schal stonde þe a strok, & start no more,

    Til þyn ax haue me hitte, haf here my trawþe.”

    “Haf at þe þenne,” quod þat oþer, & heuez hit alofte,

    & waytez as wroþely, as he wode were;

    He myntez at hym ma3tyly, bot not þe mon ryuez,

    Withhelde heterly h[i]s honde, er hit hurt my3t.

    Gawayn grayþely hit bydez, & glent with no membre,

    Bot stode stylle as þe ston, oþer a stubbe auþer,

    Þat raþeled is in roche 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 bihou[e]s;

    Halde þe now þe hy3e hode, þat Arþur þe ra3t,

    & kepe þy kanel at þis kest, 3if hit keuer may.”

    Gawaym 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,” quod 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,

    & frounses boþe lyppe & browe,

    No meruayle þa3 hym myslyke,

    Þat hoped of no rescowe.

    XIV.

    He lyftes ly3tly his lome, & let hit doun fayre,

    With þe barbe of þe bitte bi þe bare nek

    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 over his schulderes schot to þe erþe.

    & quen þe burne se3 þe blode blenk on þe snawe,

    He sprit forth spenne fote more þen a spere lenþe,

    Hent heterly his helme, & on his hed cast,

    Schot with his schulderez his fayre schelde vnder,

    Braydez out a bry3t sworde, & 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,

    & if þow rechez me any mo, I redyly schal quyte,

    & 3elde 3ederly a3ayn, & þer to 3e tryst,

    & foo;

    Bot on stroke here me fallez,

    Þe couenaunt schop ry3t so,

    [Sikered] in Arþurez hallez,

    & þer-fore, hende, now hoo!”

    XV.

    The haþel heldet hym fro, & on his ax rested,

    Sette þe schaft vpon schore, & to be scharp lened,

    & 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,

    & wyth a r[a]ykande rurde he to þe renk sayde,

    “Bolde burne, on þis bent be not so gryndel;

    No mon here vn-manerly þe mysboden habbez,

    Ne kyd, bot as couenaunde, at kyngez kort schaped;

    I hy3t þe a strok, & þou hit hatz, halde þe wel payed,

    I relece þe of þe remnaunt, of ry3tes alle oþer;

    3if 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,

    & roue þe wyth no rof, sore with ry3t I þe profered,

    For þe forwarde that we fest in þe fyrst ny3t,

    & þou trystyly þe trawþe & trwly me haldez,

    Al þe gayne þow me gef, as god mon shulde;

    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,

    & þerfor þat tappe ta þe.

    XVI.

    For hit is my wede þat þou werez, þat ilke wouen girdel,

    Myn owen wyf hit þe weued, I wot wel forsoþe;

    Now know I wel þy cosses, & þy costes als,

    & þe wowyng of my wyf, I wro3t hit myseluen;

    I sende hir to asay þe, & 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 you lakked a lyttel, sir, & lewte 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 & couetyse boþe!

    In yow is vylany & vyse, þat vertue disstryez.”

    Þenne he ka3t to þe knot, & 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 & lewte, þat longez to kny3tez.

    Now am I fawty, & falce, & ferde haf ben euer;

    Of trecherye & vn-trawþe boþe bityde sor3e & care!

    I biknowe yow, kny3t, here stylle,

    Al fawty is my fare,

    Letez me ouer-take your wylle,

    & efle I schal be ware.”

    XVII.

    Thenne lo3e þat oþer leude, & luflyly sayde,

    “I halde hit hardily hole, þe harme þat I hade;

    Þou art confessed so clene, beknowen of þy mysses,

    & hatz þe penaunce apert, of þe poynt of myn egge,

    I halde þe polysed of þat ply3t, & pured as clene,

    As þou hadez neuer forfeted, syþen þou watz fyrst borne.

    & 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, & þis a pure token

    Of þe chaunce of þe grene chapel, at cheualrous kny3tez;

    & 3e schal in þis nwe 3er a3ayn to my wonez,

    & we schyn reuel þe remnaunt of þis ryche fest, ful bene.”

    Þer laþed hym fast þe lorde,

    & sayde, “with my wyf, I wene,

    We schal yow wel acorde,

    Þat watz your enmy kene.”

    XVIII.

    “Nay, for soþe,” quod þe segge, & sesed hys helme,

    & hatz hit of hendely, & þe haþel þonkkez,

    “I haf soiorned sadly, sele yow bytyde,

    & he 3elde hit yow 3are, þat 3arkkez al menskes!

    & comaundez me to þat cortays, your comlych fere,

    Boþe þat on & þat oþer, myn honoured ladyez.

    Þat þus hor kny3t wyth hor kest han koyntly bigyled.

    Bot hit is no ferly, þa3 a fole madde,

    & þur3 wyles of wymmen be wonen to sor3e;

    For so watz Adam in erde with one bygyled,

    & Salamon with fele sere, & Samson eft sonez,

    Dalyda dalt hym hys wyrde, & Dauyth þerafter

    Watz blended with Barsabe, þat much bale þoled.

    Now þese were wrathed wyth her wyles, hit were a wynne huge,

    To luf hom wel, & leue hem not, a leude þat couþe,

    For þes wer forne þe freest þat fol3ed alle þe sele,

    Exellently of alle þyse oþer, vnder heuenryche, þat mused;

    & alle þay were biwyled,

    With wymmen þat þay vsed,

    Þa3 I be now bigyled,

    Me þink me burde be excused.”

    XIX.

    “Bot your gordel,” quod Gawayn: “God yow for3elde!

    Þat wyl I welde wyth good 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 & þe fayntyse of þe flesche crabbed,

    How tender hit is to entyse teches of fylþe;

    & 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 3onde[r] londe, þer I haf lent inne,

    Wyth yow wyth worschyp,—þe wy3e hit yow 3elde

    Þat vphaldez þe heuen, & on hy3 sittez,—

    How norne 3e yowre ry3t nome, & þenne no more?”

    “Þat schal I telle þe trwly,” quod þat oþer þenne,

    “Bernlak de Hautdesert I hat in þis londe,

    Þur3 my3t of Morgne la Faye, þat in my hous lenges,

    & koyntyse of clergye, bi craftes wel lerned,

    Þe maystres of Merlyn, mony ho taken;

    For ho hatz dalt drwry ful dere sum tyme,

    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.

    XX.

    Ho wayned me vpon þis wyse to your wynne halle,

    For to assay þe surquidre, 3if hit soth were,

    Þat rennes of þe grete renoun of þe Rounde Table;

    Ho wayned me þis wonder, your wyttez to reue,

    For to haf greued Gaynour, & gart hir to dy3e.

    With gopnyng of þat ilke gomen, 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 þy naunt,

    Make myry in my hous, my meny þe louies,

    & I wol þe as wel, wy3e, bi my faythe,

    As any gome vnder God, for þy grete trauþe.”

    & he nikked hym naye, he nolde bi no wayes;

    Þay acolen & kyssen, [bikennen] ayþer oþer

    To þe prynce of paradise, & parten ry3t þere,

    on coolde;

    Gawayn on blonk ful bene,

    To þe kyngez bur3 buskez bolde,

    & þe kny3t in þe enker grene,

    Whiderwarde-so-euer he wolde.

    XXI.

    Wylde waye3 in þe worlde Wowen now rydez,

    On Gryngolet, þat þe grace hade geten of his lyue;

    Ofte he herbered in house, & ofte al þeroute,

    & mony a-venture in vale, & venquyst ofte,

    Þat I ne ty3t, at þis tyme, in tale to remene.

    Þe hurt watz hole, þat he hade hent in his nek,

    & þe blykkande belt he bere þeraboute,

    A belef 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;

    & 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, & þe whene alce,

    & syþen mony syker kny3t, þat so3t hym to haylce,

    Of his fare þat hym frayned, & ferlyly he telles;

    Biknowoz alle þe costes of care þat he hade,—

    Þe chaunce of þe chapel, þe chere of þe kny3t,

    Þe luf of þe ladi, þe lace at þe last.

    Þe nirt in þe nek he naked hem schewed,

    Þat he la3t for his vnleute at þe leudes hondes,

    for blame;

    He tened quen he schulde telle,

    He groned for gref & grame;

    Þe blod in his face con melle,

    When he hit schulde schewe, for schame.

    XXII.

    “Lo! lorde,” quod þe leude, & þe lace hondeled,

    “Þis is þe bende of þis blame I bere [in] my nek,

    Þis is þe laþe & þe losse, þat I la3t haue,

    Of couardise & couetyse, þat I haf ca3t þare,

    Þis is þe token of vn-trawþe, þat I am tan inne,

    & I mot nedez hit were, wyle I may last;

    For non may hyden his harme, bot vnhap ne may hit,

    For þer hit onez is tachched, twynne wil hit neuer.”

    Þe kyng comfortez þe kny3t, & alle þe court als,

    La3en loude þerat, & luflyly acorden,

    Þat lordes & ladis, þat longed to þe Table,

    Vche burne of þe broþerhede a bauderyk schulde haue,

    A bende, a belef hym aboute, of a bry3t grene,

    & þat, for sake of þat segge, in swete to were.

    For þat watz acorded þe renoun of þe Rounde Table,

    & 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;

    Syþen Brutus, þe bolde burne, bo3ed hider fyrst,

    After þe segge & þe asaute watz sesed at Troye,

    Iwysse;

    Mony aunterez here-biforne,

    Haf fallen suche er þis:

    Now þat bere þe croun of þorne,

    He bryng vus to his blysse! AMEN.

    HONY SOYT QUI MAL PENCE.

    1.14.3 Reading and Review Questions

    1. How does Gawain’s manner of speaking in court compare to his words to the Green Knight at the very end? What changes, if anything?

    2. In Part Three (or Fitt Three), in what ways do the words and the actions of the lady directly parallel the hunt outside? How is each day different, and how does the level of danger inside correspond to the level of danger outside?

    3. In what ways is Gawain the best knight of King Arthur’s court? Is he wise? Mature? Why or why not?

    4. What effect does Gawain’s misogynistic outburst at the end have on our view of his previous actions? Does the Green Knight seem to agree or not? Considering the context, why does Gawain act that way?

    5. What view or views of religion appear in the story? How do they explain (or complicate) the actions of the characters?

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